7 Days Holiday Survival Guide

The holidays can be fun but also stressful. We compiled a seven day guide to help you live purposefully and cultivate healthy relationships even during this season’s many festivities.

 

Day One: Thanksgiving

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Congratulations! You made it to today! That certainly is just cause to be thankful. Of course your life is not perfect. Maybe things did not go according to your 2017 plans and New Year’s resolution. While there are lots of things to complain and be despondent about, it is far better for your wellbeing to be thankful instead.

So look around. What else can you give thanks for? Here are a few suggestions/hints:

1. Life (means there is still hope for you);
2. Family (means you are not alone in this world);
3. Friends (means there are people who care about you);
4. Co-workers (means you have a job);
5. Home (means you have shelter from the rain);
6. Safety (means you can rest a while);
7. Food (means you have sustenance to keep you alive);
8. Transportation (means you can get to various destinations faster);
9. A church (means you have a place to be spiritually fed);
10. A loving God (means you have a hope for redemption in Jesus Christ).

Meditation: “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#thanksgiving #dayone #bethankful #relationships #lookaround #life #family #friends #co-workers #food #safety #transportation #LovingGod #home #Achurch

 

Day Two: Peace

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Peace is a gift not possessed by everyone. Deep inner peace frees you from worry and anxiety. It is not dependent on external conditions. It does not change based on situations and circumstances.

Peace is not a commodity that can be bought, wished for, or developed. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and is contrary to worry, fear, and anxiety. Peace tramples on those life robbing dispositions and states of being.

This holiday season, pray for peace for yourself and those around you. Pray for the peace of God to enable you to share about His love and goodness in the midst of your festivities. So whether your holiday gatherings are loud and merry or quiet and somber, pray for the peace of God which far exceeds anything we can ever understand.

Meditation: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#peace #daytwo #innerpeace #HolySpirit #dontworry #prayabouteverything #tellGod

 

Day Three: Compassion

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Can we talk? Let’s talk holiday gatherings (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s) for a few minutes.
So, you will be celebrating the holidays with family and/or friends. Whether you are hosting or you were invited, you likely will be in the company of people you enjoy and maybe some who require a bit more patience and prayer from you. Chances are there will be at least one instance where a little bit of compassion will go a long way. Hey, for some of you compassion will save the meal, the day, relationships, and maybe an inheritance.

It may not be easy for you to show compassion to your loved one, family friend, or the random person you happen to cross paths with. That person may be engaging in a lifestyle which lies in contrast to how you live your life. That person may have willfully made life choices which resulted in their current situation/ misfortune/ mess (you choose the best word 😉). You may look at this person and be at a loss for words or simply just want to shake your head in amazement. You however, will choose to demonstrate compassion to this person. Why? Because it is what the Lord asks us to do.

So with the help of the Holy Spirit at work within you, compassion will be your response to this person. Then do ensure that you pray that God’s desires will be made manifest in that person’s life and also yours. Today move with a purpose.

Meditation: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#compassion #daythree #relationships #holidaygatherings

 

Day Four: Joy

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The official unofficial start to the hustle and bustle/ endless shopping season is here. This season is dubbed the most wonderful time of the year. Indeed it is probably the most festive time of the year in many, many regions throughout the globe. People generally are happier and carefree.

We certainly should be merry when we turn our attention to the basis of this time of the year. When we strip away the eating and drinking and mass consumerism we can focus our attention on the supernatural birth of the Savior, Emmanuel.

While happiness and merriment are wonderful conditions, the remembrance of this historical event moves us pass happiness and merriment to JOY! Because happiness is a temporary state dependent on external circumstances but joy is a far greater emotion one that can be experienced in times of peace and war, in the face of sorrow and merriment.

Let’s ask the Lord to give us joy remembering that we ought always to be joyful. Let’s ask even as we enter into the largest season of merriment.

Meditation: 

“Always be joyful.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#joy #dayfour #hustleandbustle #Emmanuel #bejoyful #fruitoftheSpirit #happinessvsjoy

 

Day Five: Love

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The lights are going up, wreaths on the door, list making, gift shopping, and Christmas songs have filled the air. The Christmas season is well on its way. It’s like a wave hit our shores and washed over us all. Christmas celebrations have overwhelmed us whether we like it or not. So where are you in this season? What has washed over you and overwhelmed your heart and mind? Hopefully it is the gift of love. You see freely God sent Love to our planet and washed over our World when Christ was born. Many celebrate this gift of love every year at Christmas. We are fortunate to celebrate and benefit from God’s unconditional love. It truly is the best kind of love.

In the Greek language, the language of much of the New Testament writings, the word is agape. Many describe it as a God kind of love. That is only God can love truly in spite of. In our striving to be like Christ we nevertheless can love others and love God through the work of Jesus Christ. Pray that God will allow you to extend His love to others in all you do this Christmas season.

Meditation: “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
‭‭John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#love #dayfive #agape #loveGod #loveothers

 

Day Six: Patience

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The lines will be long. People will be extremely busy. Things will be out of stock. There will be changes in travel plans. Some people will show up, some people will not. Others will be eager to participate, others…not so much. ‘Tis the season for a whole lot of this and then some. You are likely to experience some kind of disappointment this season because disappointment is enviable. It is a part of humanness.

Exercise patience in the face of this all. Patience calls for restraint in the absence of anger. Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Therefore trying to patiently survive this holiday season in your own strength will be difficult if not impossible in the absence of the Holy Spirit. So enlist the power of the Holy Spirit. Ask with confidence knowing that God wants to be in communication, in relationship with his creation.

Meditation: “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:2‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

#patience #daysix #bepatient #disappontment #restraint #fruitoftheHolySpirit

 

Day Seven: Kindness

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It’s easy to be kind to the people you like and love. It’s a bit more difficult to demonstrate kindness to neighbors, strangers, and people who “rub you the wrong way”. Sometimes it sneaks up on you. You are having a great day. The kind of day where you could easily run and have a “mountain top experience”. Then out of nowhere comes this person who you would rather not encounter. Here they are however, approaching you or already in front of you. You see them. They see you.

These are the encounters that really “test our faith”. It’s easy to repeat “Christianese” especially when things are going well. (i.e. I’m too blessed to be stressed.). It is an entirely different situation when you are face to face with a situation of testing. Every situation of testing; every person you may encounter that you are not very fond of, can be traversed successfully. For the testing of your faith will bring about patience.

The gift of kindness equips us to “experience victory” even when we encounter that unexpected situation or person. Kindness is a condition of your heart. With a heart full of kindness you are equipped and then able to demonstrate good works to others. It is only developed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord help us to be kind to our neighbors and do them no harm.

 

Meditation: “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:32‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬

#kindness #dayseven #bekindtoyourneighbor #forgive #test #testingofyourfaith #tooblessed #Christianese

Continue reading “7 Days Holiday Survival Guide”

Moving Day

There really is such a thing as staying too long, overstaying your time. It’s important that we remain sensitive to the timing and direction of God in our lives.

Many of us don’t like change. Some of our life situations may be less than desirable. Yet many times we opt to remain in a situation or place rather than move or change to something else.

Fear can paralyze us. Sometimes in the physical sense but more so in the emotional and spiritual realm. Fear may inhibit you from engaging or trying something that is in your heart. God may be nudging and nudging you to move on but you remain in your current place because you do not want to fail, because you do not know what is on the other side, because no one else has ventured in that place before.

In the Biblical account of the 12 Hebrew spies, we learned that only 2 believed Israel could successfully conquer the giants and possess the land of Canaan, the Promise Land. The majority of the spies brought a negative and fear laced report about the land and doubted Israel’s ability to possess the land. They essentially doubted God, questioned His instructions to them, and denied His power (Numbers 13).

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Consequently, the children of God continued to wander in the dessert for 40 years. Of those 12 spies, only the two which brought the report of promise, faith, hope, (Joshua and Caleb), were permitted to enter the Promise Land. The other men died before the next generation was permitted to enter Canaan (Number 14). That is a powerful story and a costly lesson.

Reflection: Where is your Promise Land? Are you ready to move?

Keep your antennas up. Don’t overstay your time. Deny fear the ability to gain ground in your life. Stamp it out! Most importantly, be obedient to the voice of God.

Meditation: For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬).

Rejection

Rejection hurts! It brings with it unwanted feelings and negative thoughts.

Unsolicited evaluations of others often trigger moments of rejection and can leave you feeling like you are and never will be good enough. You may never be the right size, never be the right color, never speak the right way, dress the right way, walk, act…etc.

Listening to the chatter of others can be deafening. These negative evaluations may force us to question our decisions and denigrate ourselves. Those negative evaluations are extremely detrimental to our sense of self and at times our wellbeing.

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Why not listen instead to the one voice that always speaks love to us? It is the one voice that trumps all others. Why not listen to the voice of God? What He says about us is what really matters.

When we read God’s Word we realize that He loves us for who we are even in light of the components of our self that can and should be changed. He and only He can love us and move us to the place of lasting change, with our acceptance of the Savior. He may use other people to mentor and disciple us in some areas. These processes however, should always be enveloped with love. Ultimately, the only person who unequivocally can determine what warrants change in a person is God. He can and will shape us into who He intended for us to be. We soon realize that we do not have to live according to others’ standards of the right color, the right gait, shape, etc. Those are components of ourselves that have no bearing in eternity.

Reflection: What is your natural reaction when you feel rejected? Sometimes we may respond by inflicting pain upon ourselves or even hurting others when we feel rejected. It takes work but we can successfully move past moments of rejection towards our destines.

So look forward! Don’t look back!

Meditation: Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Isaiah 43:18-19

Loving on you today!

 

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Dare To Be…

We are still a few weeks from a new year and it’s probably not your midlife birthday. So this is not about a New Year’s resolution or working through a midlife crisis. It is an opportunity for some self-introspection. So look closely.

Dare to be different. Dare to step out by faith. Dare to start a women’s or men’s group. Ministry opportunity. Business. Career advancement. Dare to relinquish rigid family customs. Dare to step into the unknown place. Dare to do what God has placed in your heart.

We at Royally Relational join with you in prayer as you step out by faith. We trust that you will respond to the call God placed on your life in this season.

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For Meditation: The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalms‬ ‭37:23‬ ‭‬‬

Pivot

Few things can shake your foundation and change the course of your life like chronic pain, a life threatening diagnosis, a natural disaster, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a close relationship.

In the midst of these situations you may experience feelings of loneliness, sadness, hurt, frustration, confusion, and anger. If you are currently facing one of these situations you may be asking, “Why me?”, “Where do I go from here?” or “What’s next for my life?”

Many of us have asked the same questions. I surmise we will not find all the answers to our questions this side of heaven. While that can be disappointing, may I suggest another perspective?

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Perhaps this can be your time to pivot. This can be a new beginning. This may not be the life you envisioned. God however, is not a bit surprised by your circumstances.

Rest confidently knowing that God is with you as you step out on faith and continue your journey on a new road.

For Meditation: “Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever. Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forever.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭125:1-2‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

May He perpetually wrap you in His arms.

Take The Gift

The gift of a relationship may not come in the package you expected. The needed friendship may not come from the person you anticipated. Many times our expectations of an individual do not come to fruition. The person God positions to bless us may be one that is unexpected and unanticipated. But…take the gift.

While we are busy being enamored by a person’s physique or style of dress, God has already evaluated their hearts, and consequently their fit into or not into our life, purpose, and destiny. So look deeper. Look beyond surface level variables.

Gift

For Meditation: But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16:7‬ ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Remember…take the gift!

Superhero

Quick…who is your favorite super hero? Batman? Spiderman? She-Ra? Superman? Wonder Woman? Okay, how much are you like that super hero? Or even better, how much would you like to be like that super hero character?

Superhero

On our best days, we might be able to tackle every item on our to do lists, help resolve a passionate disagreement between loved ones, or productively power through a full day of work. On our not so good days, we may barely be able to tend to our needs much less those of someone else.

The good news is, on our not so good days we can rely on the strength of someone who is far greater than any super hero. Maybe today you can take off your finite super hero cape and rest comfortably knowing that God’s grace is all you need and His power works best in weakness.

For Meditation: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬a‬

Waiting

Waiting can be hard! Not like waiting on a line or waiting on a bus. But waiting for God to work on your behalf.

Sand Time
We trust His words, try to ensure our faith is a tad bit more than that mustard seed, and give thanks with a grateful heart. But waiting…well waiting patiently can really test your patience. He knows, He knows, He knows. So while you are yet waiting, praying, and giving thanks, do meditate on these two verses.

For Meditation:

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:31

Plan B

For years I had a plan B. Even when I decided to walk away from my self prescribed path I still had a plan B, and C, and D, and so forth. I found myself perpetually thinking things through. Going over the various scenarios, looking back from where I came, and looking for ways to rejoin the group should my surrender to God plan fail. Thank God He continued to be merciful and patient with me.

Total Surrender means letting go of your Plan B. Because keeping a backup plan means you are expecting God to fail. You are not confident in His plan, His doing, and you are ready to step in and take control when God messes up.

God has us covered. He knows what we need and when we need it. We are so precious to Him.

Plan B

Reflection
1. Do you have a plan B?
2. What would you lose if you surrendered your plan B to God? What would you gain?

Meditation
“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Prayer
Lord help us to relinquish control and trust completely in You. Amen.

Why I Resigned From Being God’s Project Manager

I’m a planner….a serious and dedicated planner.
I planned the birth of my first child. I planned my role on the PTA before that child was born. I planned my career path. I planned my type of husband. I planned where I would live. (Hey, go hard or go home! Right?)

Fortunately, none of these events unfolded the way I planned. My first child was scheduled for five years after I got married. She was born the year after I was married. My husband’s daily life is not what I anticipated. I have lived in some interesting places, and on and on. If my life unfolded the way I planned, I would miss/lose sooo much. It took many years of my planning however, to come to this conclusion.

Instead, while dealing with the periodic deviations to my plans, I questioned God. I wondered if He loved me. I wondered if He heard my prayers. I wondered if I should even keep praying. At times I felt upset, discouraged, and helpless. Thankfully, I discovered that when I stopped focusing on myself (i.e. why not me, why not now, why aren’t things progressing according to my plans), and instead focused on God, things made sense, life was worth living, I felt better, and I experienced joy and peace.

You see, I believe in the sovereignty of God. That is, God is in control and rules over all things; that nothing happens without his permission, His authority. My beliefs and my actions however, were not in sync. You see, not only was I a planner, I also appointed myself as God’s helper, his project manager for my life. God was (and still is), sovereign but in my actions I decided that God needed help in fulfilling my life timeline. Yes, I know, a tad presumptuous. (Clearly God is merciful…y’all keep praying for me 😀). So I finally decided to resign my self appointment and surrender my plans in light of God’s plans. I finally believed and trusted that I am God’s masterpiece and that He has good things planned for me (Ephesians 2:10)

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Today, standing in a place of repentance, reflection, prayer, joy, and peace, here are three things I learned.

(1) In my obsessive planning and subsequent disappointment, questioning, and depressive state, I was denying the sovereignty of God.

(2) God will wait for you to come to yourself and return to the path where He is the leader, (picture a tour guide leading a group).

(3) He really has this (my life, your life, this world), all figured out.

Prayer: Today, I encourage you to trust God. Trust that He loves you with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). Trust that he really has good plans for you, plans for a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). Trust that He knows you (Psalm 139:1). Trust that everything in your life will work together for good (Romans 8:28). Lastly, maybe today you can take a break from planning your life. Stop trying to control it all. Maybe today you can let God be God in your life. Friends, today let’s be still and reflect on the fact that He is God (Psalm 46:10a). And when you have reflected and meditated on His promises try to move to a place of thanksgiving and worship (Psalm 136).

Lord, help us to trust you and to believe that you love us and take delight in us. Today, we surrender our lives to you. We thank you for your everlasting love.