It’s the 12th Day of Christmas! Do you know what that means?

Happy New Year, my friends, and a blessed Epiphany Day to you.

I didn’t grow up celebrating Epiphany, but each year I am learning more about this special observance. Though we didn’t plan it on purpose, we kept our Christmas decorations up later this year, and in light of what I’m learning about Epiphany and the Twelve Days of Christmas, the presence of our decorated and lighted tree has been a sweet and comforting blessing.  I almost hated to see it packed away…. Then again, it’s kind of nice to enjoy that “clean” look to our living spaces. 😉

I’m certainly no expert, but I did want to pass along some of what I’ve learned so far about Epiphany.

Did you know that the traditional 12 days of Christmas are not the 12 days leading up to Christmas, but the 12 days afterward?  In most of the Western church culture, the 12 days of Christmas begin either on Christmas night (Dec. 25) or the next morning (Dec. 26) and extend through January 6th, which is known as Epiphany.  January 6th is also known as the Twelfth Day, and many families have an additional gathering of family, friends, and gifts on this occasion.  

Epiphany means “to show,” “to make known,” or “to reveal.”  It is a part of the Christmas season where we are to reflect on how the wise men sought out the Christ-Child, brought Him gifts, and revealed Jesus to the on-looking world as the Real Lord and King.

It is to be a time where we focus on the truth that those who seek Jesus will find Him, just as the Wise Men did.  When the Wise Men bowed down to Jesus and presented Him their valuable gifts, they acknowledged Him as King of all Kings… not just King of the religious people, but King of everyone, of you and of me.  PTL!

Some homes celebrate a “Season of Epiphany”  which begins today, January 6, and will last through Ash Wednesday.  During this time, observers will reflect upon the life of Jesus, the Gift of Jesus, and the mission of Jesus and His church body in light of the Nativity…what it means to belong to Him, to be filled by Him, and to be poured out for His glory.  I want to live in observance of this season of Epiphany.  How about you?

Epiphany trumpets the call for all of us to become wise men (and women) who seek Jesus, searching for Him with all of our hearts (Jer. 29:13) as we present ourselves to Him as gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Epiphany. SmellingCoffee.com

 

“When they saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy. And on going into the house, they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped Him. Then opening their treasure bags, they presented to Him gifts – gold and frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:10-11 (Amp)

 

Gold This was a standard gift to a king. It represented kingship and power.

My gift of Gold would be my submission to God/Jesus as my KING. It would be my pledge and willful gift of obedience as His servant in every way. Without delay. Without question. Without pouting. Without arguement. Without bargaining. Without demanding a gift in return… Presenting Jesus with Gold means bowing before Him with a “Yes, Lord… I am Your handmaiden… Let it be to me as You have said…” kind of answer to any request/command His Word makes of us.

Like gold is the standard other monetary values are based upon, Obedience and Submission are the standards that our lives in Christ are to be based upon. Our lives are to be willfully and joyfully marked by these traits. Obedience and Submission are more valuable and everlasting than gold.


Frankincense
– This was a special incense used for worship.

My gift of Frankincense is my worship, praise, prayers, and passionate desire for personal intimate fellowship with God my King, Father, Creator; Jesus Christ my Savior, Friend, Lover; and The Holy Spirit my Counselor, Convictor, and Teacher.

Praise, worship, gratitude, and intimacy with Jesus is especially a gift when life isn’t going as we would like it. When times are hard, and we wonder why God is allowing certain things to cross our lives, yet we choose to praise, worship, thank, and walk with Him… This is the sacrificial Frankincense that blesses His heart.


Myrrh – This was used to embalm bodies of the dead.

My gift of Myrrh is the dying of self in my physical body, so that the Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit can embalm me, stiffen me to the sway of this world, and preserve me to live for and through my God and King.

For me, this Myrrh is probably the hardest gift to give. I don’t mind saying I “want” to give this gift to Jesus, but actually doing it will be a minute by minute battle: Who will I give in to? The flesh or the spirit? The wolf or the dove?

We give Myrrh to Jesus as we choose to act and react in ways that are pleasing to Him instead of gratifying to our flesh. It will be a gift we give in every choice that we make – in every area of our lives – alone, with God, with family, at home, in public… and it will span the physical and emotional and spiritual.

Giving Myrrh means dying to self so we can live to Jesus.


The question before us on this Epiphany Day is: Will you and I choose to bow before Him each day and present Jesus with these gifts of submission / obedience, worship, and death to self?

 

Yes, Lord! SmellingCoffee.com


As we move ahead into 2018, let’s do it with a mindset of Epiphany…of seeking Jesus, and presenting Him with our own gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.  

Epiphany - When Wise Men (and Women) Still Seek Jesus. SmellingCoffee.com

It is a wise man and a wise woman who will seek the Lord, because:

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
    to the one who seeks him;”
Lamentations 3:25


Happy New Year, and a blessed Season of Epiphany to you all ~

If you’d like to learn more about Epiphany, this is an excellent web article.  Also, This is a wonderful website about all of the Christian observances during the church year. I highly encourage you to visit and study through this site, link by link.  I promise, you’ll be blessed! 🙂

signature

 

 

 

 

PS: Don’t want to miss another Smelling Coffee blog post? Just enter your address below.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

(Be sure to check your inbox for a note from me and to verify your email address.) No spam, I promise… Only encouraging words of Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place. 🙂

 

God Blesses Those Who Mourn ~ A Word for the Grieving Soul

Hello, friends!  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Three months, I believe, since my last blog post.  I began the Fall with a renewed determination to delve back into blogging and to edit and re-publish my Christmas book, Keeping Christ AS Christmas.   But in His wisdom and perfect timing, God had other and more precious plans for my time.

My sweet mom needed our help (and a hip replacement) so she moved in with us in early October.  Though she was in tremendous pain, we have spent days on end visiting, laughing, watching Christmas movies, drinking coffee, and just being together… and these days have been the greatest treasure.  After what seemed like insurmountable delays, she finally had her surgery in December and was released from Rehab on Dec. 22, just in time for Christmas.  We praise Jesus that she is doing wonderfully!!!  (I’m so grateful that the Lord allowed me a schedule to be able to serve her in this way. More than that… I’m doubly grateful that she and my husband love each other like Mother and Son!)

We are counting our blessings this Christmas season as Mom is with us in our home.  But this day, December 27, is also a bittersweet date for our family.  It’s the day our Daddy went to live with Jesus 21 years ago.  We adults remember it like it was just a few years ago – yet our son, Nathan, was just a newborn.  He has lived a lifetime without this wonderful man in his life.  Seems like we all have.  None of my dad’s grandchildren even know him.  He only laid eyes on Nathan for 10 short weeks.  But God has been so present in our lives and ever so faithful…faithful to my Mom as her Husband… and to us as our Father… and to our children in providing other grandfathers or grandfather-figures in their lives.  None of us were left alone, and that has been such a blessing from God!

We miss Daddy so much.  But we no longer grieve for him, nor do we long for him to live here on this earth with us.  And that… that is peace and contentment, which is also a blessing from God, enabled by His good grace.

On Christmas Eve, I noticed on my Facebook feed that four of my friends had lost someone in their immediate family this year on December 23!  That’s just a small sampling of the loss and pain many are walking through during this “festive” season.  My family has been there, too.  It colors every holiday memory for years to come.  But today, on this day we will never forget, I wanted to share that there is also hope and joy on the other side.

Are you grieving during this

I found this post from December 2011 and felt led to share it again. If you are heavy with grief over any kind of loss today, I pray that the Lord will use His Words to strengthen and soothe your heart.

I am praying for you ~

December 2011. God Blesses Those Who Mourn

My heart is heavy this morning for so many who are missing loved ones this month… My own precious Daddy died two days after Christmas (fifteen years ago, and we still miss his presence in our lives). Our blogging friend, Bella Mella – Melanie Dorsey and her family are grieving the loss of their 12 year old son, Andrew, who moved to Heaven two years ago on the 15th. The news is full of tragedy, made especially difficult during this season where love and family and memories are so cherished. I’m praying for many who are mourning this month.

As I drank my coffee and opened God’s Word this morning to see what He had to say from my study through Matthew, as God often does, He had a beautiful Word about those who mourn. I knew immediately that He gave it to me, as well as to many of you… to any of you who mourn.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.” (NIV)

That’s the verse most of us know. The second of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. But read it in these other translations and versions:

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.” (Mt. 5:4 The Message)

“Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted!” (Mt. 5:4 Amplified)

“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Mt. 5:4 New Living Translation)

I’m using the New Living Translation as I study verse by verse through Matthew, and the different wording of a familiar verse was a blessing to my heart.  Between the NLT and the AMP, this is what I wrote in my journal this morning, and what I want to pass along to you:

“God blesses those who mourn with His comfort and matchless grace. Thank you, O Lord! You bless each need with a deeper revelation of yourself. In that way, we are blessed with the happiness only produced by the experience of Your favor conditioned by the revelation of your Matchless Grace.

Conditioned = restored, nourished, hydrated, refreshed. When we look back on the loss we are mourning, we will see what you have done for, in, and through us as we walk each step with You and in Your strength alone. Your grace conditions, restores, nourishes, hydrates, and refreshes each dry and weary heart. In this… In you… is the blessing… when we are in the midst of deep sorrow and grief.

Thank you, O Lord, for the blessing of Your Strength, Your Help, Your Carriage, Your Nourishing, Your Conditioning, Your Mercy, Your Love, and Your Presence as we walk the days of mourning. Thank you that weeping will last but a night, and that joy WILL come in the ‘mourning‘.”

My sweet friends, if you are mourning – especially during this supposedly “festive” season, I am praying for you. Rest assured of this: God knows. God understands. God will not leave you nor will He forsake you, Assuredly not! (Heb. 13:5)

With love, from the deepest part of my soul~

signature

PS: Don’t want to miss another Smelling Coffee blog post? Just enter your address below.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

(Be sure to check your inbox for a note from me and to verify your email address.) No spam, I promise… Only encouraging words of Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place. 🙂

 

The “Bumpy Pumpkin” Challenge

 

The Bumpy Pumpkin Challenge Directions. SmellingCoffee.com A 3 part challenge of finding beauty in the bumps.

I noticed something the other day that I can’t get get out of my mind.  I was in the produce aisles at the W-mart super store (now big city friends with your Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and I don’t even remember what else is available out there… we here in our small town America are GRATEFUL  for our local WM!!!  We even stroll through it’s aisles on date nights with our husbands after dinner. hahaha! But that’s a whole other post entirely. So don’t judge! grin.) when I noticed a huge selection of lumpy, bumpy, warty, scarred, molded-looking, multi-colored-not-your-typical-rounded-orange-picture-perfect-pumpkins.

Because a friend of mine has a daughter that lives in a town with a Trader Joe’s, I was introduced to these bumpy gourds last year.  (Of course, many of these are heirloom varieties and have been around forever, and all have been popular in decorating for a few years now… yada yada yada… but I hadn’t seen any up close and personal until then.) I found them fascinating.  And to be honest… a bit ugly.  At first.

But then, the more I looked at the details, the more beautiful these creations became.

The Bumpy Pumpkin Challenge Directions. SmellingCoffee.com A 3 part challenge of finding beauty in the bumps.

The scars, bumps, and color variations on the outside are the very things that make them stand above the perfectly round orange gourds we’ve come to expect to see when we think of “pumpkins.”  Their uniqueness made them beautiful.  And valuable.  And set apart for a special use.

The Bumpy Pumpkin Challenge Directions. SmellingCoffee.com A 3 part challenge of finding beauty in the bumps.

I did a little research on them, and found that on a whole, the inside fruit of the warty heirloom varieties is rich and sweet.

I couldn’t stop thinking about those bumpy pumpkins God created… and how, to me, they began to represent the precious people He fashioned in His image and traded Jesus’ life to save.

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder… as in the One who Created it.  He promises to make everything beautiful in its time (Ecc. 3:11) – which includes us, lumps, bumps, and all!

Beauty is really in the eye of Your Beholder. SmellingCoffee.com

With that in mind, I want to throw out a 3 part “Bumpy Pumpkin Challenge” to you.  Of course, I’m taking it myself, too.

The Bumpy Pumpkin Challenge:

From now through Thanksgiving:

1.  Every time you see yourself, and find yourself focusing on your own imperfections staring back at you, think of these pumpkins, and find something about yourself for which you can be thankful.  Even if it’s your warts, scars, or discoloration from the “expected normal.”   If you keep looking, with the help of the Holy Spirit and the love of the Father, and redemption of the Son, you will find a unique person, made in the image of God, beautiful, valuable, and created to be set apart for a special use.  There is something beautiful about yourself for which you can be thankful.  Ask the Lord to help you notice the beauty,  and then thank God for it.  Every time.

2.  When you come upon a “bumpy pumpkin person”... you know the kind I’m talking about – the one that might be a “difficult person” in your life, or the one that is harder to love than the others… look past the warts and scars and bumps to find the beauty.  It’s there somewhere.  Just like it’s in you… it’s in that person too, who also was created in the image of God, and is loved by Him (hard as it may be to believe at the time!).  Ask the Lord to help you notice the beauty, and then thank God for the something beautiful about that person.  

3.  When you see a pumpkin of any kind, let that serve as a reminder to ask the Lord to let His beauty shine through you to touch the lives of those around you. – For His Glory.  You don’t have to know or understand how He will do this… just make your grateful self available to Him for His use, and He will make Himself beautifully glorious through you.  Then thank Him in advance for what He will do.  

Are you up for the challenge?  Let me know!  I can’t wait to see how God will use these little acts of thankfulness over bumpy pumpkins. 🙂  Here it is in a summary pic you can copy and keep with you as a reminder.

The Bumpy Pumpkin Challenge Directions. SmellingCoffee.com A 3 part challenge of finding beauty in the bumps.


Speaking of beauty, this is a favorite verse of mine that I pray every day as I get ready in the morning:

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish you the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish it.  Psalm 90:17 (KJV2000)

(I love how the Aramaic Bible in Plain English closes out this verse… emphasis, mine.)

Let the sweetness of Lord Jehovah our God be upon us, because of the works of his hands which he has fashioned for us, and he formed us among the work of his hands!  Psalm 90:17 (ABPE)

Lumps, bumps, and all~

signature

PS: Don’t want to miss another Smelling Coffee blog post? Just enter your address below.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

(Be sure to check your inbox for a note from me and to verify your email address.) No spam, I promise… Only encouraging words of Faith, Family, Food, Fun, and Living Life brewed in the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ in every place. 🙂

 

The Blessing of Having (and Being) an “Aunt Bibby”

The blessing of investing in someone's life... of Being a Bibby. SmellingCoffee.com

Do you have an “Aunt Bibby” in your life? Do you even know what one is? 😉  I say that with a smile on my face this morning because today is my Aunt Bibby’s birthday, and I could think of no better way to celebrate her than to introduce her to you. Aunt Bibby is […]

[Continue reading...]

When You Don’t Understand What God is Doing

When you don't understand what God is doing. SmellingCoffee.com

It’s something we often wonder about, isn’t it?  Especially these days when so many are hurting, flooding, burning, and there’s nothing we can do to stop it.  Where is God in the midst of all of this suffering? God answered enough of that question for me a little over seven years ago, when my family […]

[Continue reading...]

My Children, Baby Moses, and the Public School System

My Children, Baby Moses, and the Public School System. SmellingCoffee.com

Are you sending a child into a new school situation this year – from preschool to college?  Do you need a reminder that God is watching over the ones He has entrusted to you, as you entrust them to Him in this new school year? I do.  And my children are in college now!  After […]

[Continue reading...]

It’s “Fall Mix” Time!!!

The BEST snack mix for Fall. SmellingCoffee.com

Hi everyone!  First of all, if you are in the process of recovering from Harvey or evacuating from Irma, you are never far from my thoughts and prayers!  I even hesitate in posting something trivial here, as if we have already forgotten the tragedy in which you are walking.  But this post is actually in […]

[Continue reading...]

15 Bible Verses to Encourage You

As I watch the news and Twitter feeds and pay attention to those around me, this one thing I know: Harvey-caused or not, many people are either literally and/or figuratively flooded right now.   How about you? Are you overwhelmed by the flood of life’s circumstances? Do you need some encouragement today? Are you dry […]

[Continue reading...]