Top 5 Favorite Christmas Songs!

It’s that time of year again, the Christmas season and by now we are in the full swing of gift buying (unless you’re one of those last minute shoppers), baking, gift wrapping, and travel organizing for your plans. In other words, the most anxious time of the year! Fear not though, Christmas music is here to calm those nerves! Every store, restaurant, radio station, and at this rate TV commercial has the holiday music pumping to the point where you’re singing every word out in your sleep.

Every year it seems to be that the music starts getting played earlier and earlier where before you know it Christmas has completely highjacked Thanksgiving! As annoying as some of those tunes can be, you just can’t seem to help blaring them and getting them stuck in your head over and over again where you convince yourself that there’s nothing better in the world than Christmas music. With that being said, here is a top 5 list of the songs I’ve convinced myself are the best around:

Runner Up: Mary, Did You Know? -Pentatonix

This song gives me all the feels. It’s so good & makes us wonder what Mary expected with who her son was coming into this world and the amazing things he’d do. I just love the mother/son bond and even though I’m not (yet) a mother, I love the intimacy of this song and the wonder of Jesus.

Pentatonic does an absolutely breath-taking version of this song & it’s my favorite:

5) Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy -Pentatonix

Yes, another Pentatonix song because I can’t get enough of them! This song is from the Nutcracker and as a dancer myself I am partial to this song. I find it majestic and it captures the magic of Christmas. So much fun! Plus the way Pentatonix performs this, just leaves you in aw!

4) Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass -All Time Low

Because who doesn’t love bitter romance at the holidays? As if the holidays aren’t stressful enough, let’s throw in a relationship break up. This song is just pure realism for some people and there is nothing swishy washy about it. Plus ATL is my favorite band & they kick ass so yay for them doing a Christmas song!

Here is there humorous music video for it:

3) Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays -NSYNC

It really wouldn’t be Christmas without NSYNC (at least for me). This Christmas jam from the 90s is straight fire! I have loved this song since I was a pre-teen! I basically had NSYNC music for every occasion and Christmas was no different. I practically wore out their Christmas album on my walkman! This never gets old. Super nostalgic for me.

2) O Come, O Come, Emmanuel -Enya

This song gives me the chills. To say it’s beautiful is an understatement. It gives me all the feels and I have to get my Jesus fix here. It’s so spiritual and really puts me on another level. It captures the pure spirit and feel of Christmas to me. It actually makes me emotional sometimes to listen to this. & Enya sings gorgeously and does the best job.

1) Run Run Rudolph -Chuck Berry & Luke Bryan

My number one favorite Christmas song right here! It’s straight fun and gets you pumped for Christmas. It captures the American Christmas. I never get tired of this song and it always puts me in an upbeat mood and ready for Christmas. Chuck Berry does the classic rock n’ roll which is timeless .Then Luke Bryan does a country rock twist on it and it’s really good. Musically, just a great song at Christmas that pumps me up!

R.I.P Chuck Barry

 

Merry Christmas,

Lightning

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Russia, Russia, Russia!

Are you sick of hearing about Russia? Join the club. Yet it consumes part of the media platform right now. At least when we’re not talking about North Korea or which celebrity now wants to kill POTUS Donald Trump. I wrote about this very topic of Russia and how we just need to put it to rest. Am I a political analyst? No. Am I am expert in any means? No. Why should you read it? I don’t know, maybe because I’m a millennial independent who leans right, who so happens to work in conservative talk radio and hears about this very topic almost every other day. Just my thoughts…

See attached my blog on WRKO AM680 about Russia, Trump, and the media’s obsession with it, HERE

-Lightning

Motivation Monday

Motivation:

 

The loss of a job, can feel like the loss of you a part of you at least. Some people feel depressed, lost, and hopeless. It’s actually natural to feel those things. Your working environment/career is a big part of your life. If you get laid off, fired, etc. you might grieve afterwards and that is okay. You are grieving what once was, a time in your life that you are now parting from. Acknowledge your feelings, it’s acceptable because you’re human. After your grieving phase, you might start to feel hopeless, less than, etc. because you’re now searching for a sense of purpose. You’re out there drifting around, trying to touch land somewhere else. You’re trying to get there, put yourself out there but it doesn’t happen right away. The longer time goes on, the more self-loathing can set in. Let me continue with saying that, I know what it feels like to go your whole life having a job since you were 15 to all of a sudden having nothing. Being left without a job. It’s a total lifestyle wakeup call, turning event in life. Here’s the thing though, that people tend to do that is a huge mistake. They place their worth in their work. Let me elaborate, they place their self worth in an Earthly job. They feel that based on the earthly job that they have and money, determines their entire self worth. People use jobs and occupations to validate their very own existence and that they are worth something based on how high in the working world they can get. Sadly, people get stuck in that mind set and I’m ashamed to admit that I had a taste of that mindset too. While we certainly need money to live and survive, money & material wealth do not mean shit when it comes to your value as a person. Yes, strive for personal accomplishments that you set for yourself and live life the best you can but remember a life worth living is a life who realizes the value in oneself not based on circumstance but based on personal development as an individual & just being. What is the most important thing to you? The jobs you held or the people and relationships that helped you blossom as a being? Do not ever believe that you are not good enough. Maybe you’re just not ready yet. Always strive to do the best you can in anything your heart desires but remember to have confidence in who you are as a person. Remember you are worth something. Determine your worth for yourself, do not let others determine it for you.

xoxo,

Marita

When Times Get Tough…Remember By: Sharon Jaynes

When Times Get Tough…Remember. Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart(Luke 2:19 NIV).

Friend to Friend

Have you ever thought about what Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have experienced at the foot of the cross? We don’t have a lot of information about what was going on in her heart, only that she was there — standing below her precious flesh-torn, blood drenched, and physically battered Son.

We do know she heard the hammer hit the nails, saw the Roman spear pierce His side; felt the labor of His breathing. As His heart burst, her chest ached. For six hours she watched him die.

Pierced. How perfectly that word described her at this moment. The sword that had hung over her head for 33 years now pierced her heart.

It must have seemed like an eternity since a symphony of angels announced his birth. On that day a cacophony of accusers hurled insults and accusations.

“Crucify him!” the savage rabble demanded.

“He could save others but he can’t save himself,” the burly soldiers taunted.

Where are those angels now, she must have thought. If she could have peered into the spiritual realm, she would have found them hovering low, silent in full armor array.

It is difficult to envision God’s presence surrounding the tragedies in our lives. Somehow the two don’t seem to be able to co-exist in our minds. It is almost incomprehensible to picture angles standing by while mere humans taunted and tortured the Son of God.

What do we do when life doesn’t make sense? We remember. Mary remembered.

Mary remembered Gabriel’s announcement.

Mary remembered Elizabeth’s welcome.

Mary remembered Joseph’s dreams.

Mary remembered the shepherd’s arrival.

Mary remembered the Magi’s gifts.

Mary remembered Simeon’s prophesy.

Mary remembered Anna’s words.

Mary remembered the 12-year-old boy in His Father’s house.

Mary remembered the water transformed to wine.

Mary remembered the miracles.

Mary remembered the teaching.

Mary remembered the healings.

Mary remembered.

After the shepherds’ visit in the stables that first Christmas evening, Luke tells us, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). No doubt her thoughts returned to that treasure chest of memories for the reassurance she so needed. The events of Jesus’ life slipped through her mind like beads on a string with the knot of faith tied securely in the end.

And friend that is what we must do.

The Bible tells us that in Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). When we treasure God’s Word in our hearts, just as Mary did in hers, it calms the waves of doubt during the storms of life. The storm may not be removed, but God’s Word will help us to hold steady as the difficulties of life toss us to and fro.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, as life tosses me to-and-fro, help me to remember. Help me to remember Your promises. Help me remember the ways You have blessed me in the past. You are my Rock, my Redeemer, and my Restorer. And though I may not always understand, I know that Your ways serve a greater purpose in my life than I may ever know.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Sometimes I Talk Too Much By: Lysa Terkeurst

OCTOBER 29, 2015

Sometimes I Talk Too Much LYSA TERKEURST

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:21 (NLT)

I have some opinions.

I have some thoughts.

I have a plethora of words that beg to be spoken.

And if I’m not careful those words can be too much. Maybe you can relate.

Unchecked words that come too fast bring with them a rush of trouble. That’s why it’s important for us to consider three things with our words …

  1. Listening should take precedence over speaking.

Honestly, I think a lot of relationship troubles could be solved if we made the commitment to listen more than we speak. Gosh this is hard, isn’t it? Sometimes when I’m listening to someone all I can focus on is when I’m going to be able to jump in and say what’s screaming in my brain. Later I realize all that focus on my next words prevented me from really listening to what they were trying to say.

What if I made the commitment today to do more listening than speaking? I’m going to challenge myself to not interrupt. Wait until there is a true pause in the conversation. Truly consider what the other person has said. And then respond with care.

“To answer before listening — that is folly and shame.” Proverbs 18:13 (NIV)

  1. Words should be measured.

I need to engage my brain before I engage my mouth. Just like I consider how a purchase will affect my bank account, I have to consider how words will affect my relationship account. I can do this by thinking about how my words will come across and intentionally asking myself if there are better words that could be used in this situation?

“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2 (NIV)

  1. Once words are spoken, I can’t un-speak them.

Once words come out of my mouth I can’t gather them back in. It’s like once you squeeze too much toothpaste out, you can’t get it back into the tube. Now certainly, I can quickly say I’m sorry. I can ask for forgiveness. I can attempt to make the wrong right. But I can’t un-speak my words.

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Proverbs 18:21

If my greatest desire is to honor the Lord with every word I say and interaction I have, these three things are crucial for me to keep in mind. Instead of allowing my flesh reactions to lead me, I’ve got to boss my thoughts and opinions around using God’s Truth.

Dear Lord, I always want my words to reflect the fact that You live within me. But sometimes my first reaction isn’t as God-honoring as it should be. Help me to keep these three perspectives in mind as I deny my flesh response and follow Your teaching in this. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Proverbs 10:19, “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” (NIV)

Galatians 5:16-17, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” (NIV)

Operation Purge By: Mary Southerland

Operation Purge Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:38, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I am on a mission. I have been thinking about and carefully planning every step of this mission for over a year. I have gathered the required supplies, notified all parties concerned, issued warnings, and marked strategic dates on my calendar.

It is “Go” time for Operation Purge!

I am systematically purging our home of every unnecessary, unused, or no longer wanted item. My husband is on board as well. Just to be safe, I said, “Honey, if you really, really want to keep something, it would be wise to put a yellow sticker on it, or it is outta here!” I think the gravity of Operation Purge began to dawn on him at that moment, but he solemnly nodded his head in agreement.

Operation Purge is going to be brutal! Why? One reason is that I am simply over “stuff.” We have moved and downsized three times in the last ten years, so I know how to eliminate and donate. Operation Purge goes far beyond anything I have done so far.

God has called me on the carpet and convicted me of the truth that if something is no longer serving a purpose in our lives, it could very well be meeting a need in the life of someone else.

Take my Coca-Cola dishes. At one point in my life, I was an avid collector of all things Coke. Part of my collection was an eight place setting of ceramic Coca Cola dishes. Our family used them for a couple of years until I got tired of them and moved on to something new. I carefully packed the dishes and stored them in our attic. We moved those very heavy boxes of dishes three times without using them. Never unpacked them. Just moved them.

During a spring-cleaning frenzy, I found the dishes and realized I did not want them anymore and certainly did not want to move them one more time. Neither did our son and daughter. So I gave them to our church thrift store that sells just about anything you could imagine to help fund our mission work in downtown Kansas City.

A few weeks later, a friend who works in one of our missions said, “I have a story to tell you about those Coca Cola dishes. We gave them to a woman who is a single mom. She has worked very hard to complete our program and get a job. When she was ready to move into her first apartment with her three children, we told her she could have the set of dishes you donated. She burst into tears and told us it was the first set of dishes she had ever owned in her life.”

My possessions are nothing more than resources loaned to me by God for me to disperse. They are not earned rewards or deserved pleasures. Every spiritual gift, every financial resource and each possession has been given to me by God as a way to serve others.

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others” (I Peter 4:10, NIV).

I have said it before and I will say it again. I want to live my life with open hands, dusty feet, calloused knees, and rolled-up sleeves. I want to be a generous giver. I may not have much money, but I can give what I have.

Let Operation Purge begin!

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for reminding me that what I have is temporary but that who I am is eternal. Give me a heart that loves to give. I pray that others would see You in the way I give myself away in service and that I would never count on earthly possessions for the peace and contentment only You can give.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Your Life Can Display God’s Power By: Tracie Miles

Your Life Can Display God’s Power TRACIE MILES

“‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.’” John 9:3 (NLT)

Have you ever wondered why God allows you to suffer? Was it something you did wrong? Or was someone else at fault? We want to find someone to blame, especially when so much bad happens in our world.

I struggle with these thoughts as well, but years ago God’s Word helped me see a different perspective. Jesus’ disciples had these same questions, and John chapter 9 records Jesus’ interesting response.

Jesus and His disciples were walking through the streets of a city when they encountered a blind man. One of the disciples asked Jesus why the man was blind: “As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. ‘Rabbi,’ his disciples asked him, ‘why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?’” (John 9:1-2, NLT)

Jesus lovingly put their confusion to rest with today’s key verse, “‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him’” (John 9:3).

I imagine the disciples standing there, looking perplexed by Jesus’ answer. How could this man’s blindness display the power of God? How could this physical infirmity bring glory to God? How could his life serve a higher purpose?

The passage continues, “Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, ‘Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam’ (Siloam means ‘sent’). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!” (John 9:6-7, NLT)

The blind man’s sight was completely healed, but notice that his healing wasn’t immediate. He wasn’t healed when Jesus spat on the mud and smeared it on his eyes, but only after he obeyed what Jesus instructed him to do.

The blind man was healed when he chose to obey the command of Jesus to “go.” Without questioning or hesitating, the man went and his obedience resulted in not only healing, but discovering a holy purpose from his pain.

Like many, this man had been suffering with undeserved physical and emotional challenges for decades. He may have lived his entire life feeling inferior, unloved, rejected, excluded and possibly believing he had no purpose. He may have also assumed his past and his current limitations rendered him useless. After all, he didn’t have any special skills or qualifications … or even eyesight.

But here stood Jesus, telling everyone this man’s life could serve as proof of the power of God. But it only happened because of obedience.

Unlike the blind man in this story, we often talk ourselves out of obedience, rather than trusting and obeying God’s command to “go.” But when we walk in faith, even when we don’t feel ready and have to push through our doubts, fears and hesitations, true healing and purpose can begin to take shape in our hearts and lives.

We don’t always get answers to why something happened. But regardless of our circumstances or our limitations, when we choose to take a leap of faith, we too can experience true spiritual healing and see a new perspective about our past for the very first time.

What a wonderful world this would be if we all caught a glimpse of how God wants to turn our pain into purpose and use our lives as proof of His power.

Lord, I want my life to serve as proof of Your goodness. Fill me with courage and motivation to go and share with others what You have done for me. Show me how You can turn my pain into purpose and make my life count for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY: Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NLT)

Psalm 119:60, “I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.” (NIV)