The Christmas Story – Better Than Any Hallmark Movie

By Major Beth Desplancke

In the middle of October one of my yearly holiday tradition begins. Before Halloween even hits the calendar, the Hallmark channel starts its “Countdown to Christmas” airing romantic holiday movies 24/7 until the New Year. Despite the busyness of the season, I make sure to fit lots of Hallmark Christmas movie viewing into the schedule. I note the new Christmas movie air dates and try to fit in one “live” Christmas viewing a week; yes, that means sitting still for 2 hours at a time. I set my DVR to record those movies I can’t watch at the time they air (and yes, I might be still viewing Christmas movies until almost March).

Perhaps I love a good Christmas romance because my husband and I started dating in December over 25 years ago. Perhaps I love them because they are fun, whimsical and simply help me relax. I think the real reason I enjoy them is because they all basically boil down to the search for hope. In case you aren’t familiar with the Hallmark Christmas movie genre, let me share with you the basic premise (and yes, once you’ve seen one or two, you really have seen them all). The main character is usually unhappy, unsatisfied or unfulfilled in their life. During Christmas, something causes them to step away from their ordinary life, to leave the big city to go to a small town, to set aside their daily schedule and experience Christmas fun, and in the process, they find the love of their life. And yes, they always end with a kiss.

Well, the real Christmas story is so much better than any Hallmark movie!

In the beginning when God created the world, everything was perfect. He created man and woman and they lived in a garden, naked and unashamed. They walked and talked with God. In this garden of perfection there was one and only one rule – one tree out of all the trees in this garden that they weren’t to eat from, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The enemy, the devil, tempted them and twisted God’s word, and then woman ate from the tree and then gave the fruit to her husband, and he also ate. Immediately they were aware of their nakedness, ashamed, afraid and hid. Instead of walking with God and conversing with Him, they were hiding from Him.

At that moment, sin entered the world and has caused separation between God and us ever since. God said there would be pain and suffering due to their sin, but at the same time He gave the first promise of Savior in Genesis 3:15. He told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” From that point on, God’s people have been waiting for the promised One who would crush the enemy’s head.

In Genesis 12 God calls Abram out to be His people. God promises that Abram (later renamed Abraham) Abraham would be a great nation and his nation will be a blessing, and declares, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (v. 3b). Abraham’s descendants become the nation of Israel, and throughout the Old Testament God promised the Messiah would come from Abraham’s line.

The Old Testament ends with the word curse or destruction (depending on what translation you are using; Malachi 4:6). Throughout the Old Testament, prophets spoke of the coming Promised Messiah. And then, between the Old and New Testaments there are 400 years of silence – God sends no new messenger or prophet. God’s people are still under the curse and waiting for the Promised Messiah.

Talk about a hopeless situation. It appears that things will never get better. And then the Gospel of Matthew begins the New Testament with the words telling of the birth of the promised messiah. An angel appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him that Mary is pregnant, and what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. The angel gives this message: “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:22). Into a hopeless world, hope is born. God’s people are still under the curse of sin, but finally the Savior has come.

Jesus, our Savior came to bring the hope of salvation. When sin entered the world back in the garden of Eden, it created a distance between us and God. In the garden, innocent animals paid the price for Adam and Eve’s sin – an animal died so that God could clothe Adam and Eve with garments of skin. Centuries later, God sent His Son, Jesus, with the sole purpose of being the Savior of the world. He came to earth as a baby, a grew up to be a man, lived a sinless life, and gave Himself willingly to die on the cross for our sins. Why? John 3:16-17 tells us: For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

The Christmas story is a love story. The Christmas story is a story of hope – there is a possibility for a better life. The Christmas story is a story for everyone. In Luke chapter 2, angels appeared to shepherds heralding the announcement of Christ’s birth: “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12).

My prayer is that you will know the hope that comes at Christmas through Jesus, our Savior.

Flourishing in the Contentment Season

By Colonel Genevera Vincent

Contentment is such a lovely word! When I hear the word, I have thoughts of home, surrounded by the people you love, enjoying a good meal and stories that make you laugh. I think of a peaceful place to “steal” away after a long day and just be quiet. I think of long walks with my husband, enjoying each other’s company and taking in the beauty and nature of God. I think of a task completed when I know I’ve given it my best shot.

The past few months in my life have been a little chaotic…packing, cleaning house, saying good-bye to family and friends, finishing up one appointment and starting a new one in a new location, a new country. One would think that it would be difficult to feel contentment, surrounded by such change and the unknown. I am grateful though to say that at this moment in my life…the season I am in right now is certainly one of contentment. When you are where you feel God has ordained you to be, that brings a great sense of contentment.

As I prepared to leave family and friends behind, I will admit there were moments of anxiety and tears, especially as I said good-bye to my parents who are experiencing health challenges in their senior years. However, as I leave them in the care and keeping of other family members, and to the God who loves them, I can still feel a sense of contentment that God will provide for them.

The apostle Paul, in 2 Corinthians 11, gives a litany of things he could boast about, but they are not your typical list (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). He boasts because he’s been beaten more, imprisoned, shipwrecked, hungry, thirsty, in danger from bandits and the list continues. And then, in Philippians chapter 4, he declares that he has learned to be content whatever the circumstances (Philippians 4:11-12). A study of Paul’s life reveals that his circumstances were often less than ideal. I guess that really says it-contentment is not about whether everything is peaceful and “coming up roses”. Contentment is not based on circumstances; contentment is a state of being. It is possible, as I am surrounded by change-new place, new people and new processes- to find contentment amidst chaos. I too, like Paul, can testify to having a contentment I can’t really explain.

For the past 36 years of officership, with changing appointments, I have said a lot of good-byes and hellos, I have grieved the loss of appointments and people I loved, while embracing a new family and opportunities that God affords me. I testify to the fact that in every circumstance, God has been faithful in providing his peace and contentment. I have lived my life very aware of the goodness and faithfulness of God. As I reflect on my life and where God has led me, I do so with gratitude that he always provides exactly what I need.

So, in this season of change for me, God is providing a sense of contentment. He brings calmness amid chaos. He provides new friendships and relationships to fill the void of ones now distant. God is good! God is faithful! I am content in Him!

Welcome to the West

By Major Beth Desplancke

On September 1, 2022, Colonel Genevera Vincent joined the Western Territory’s family as the Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries.  Her and her husband, Colonel Eddie (serving as the West’s Chief Secretary) hail from the Canada and Bermuda Territory. Commissioned in 1986, Colonels Eddie & Genevera had the wonderful privilege to serve as Corps Officers for 19 years. After being Corps Officers, they served 7 years as Divisional Youth Secretaries, then 4 years at THQ in Personnel. Before arriving to the West, they served as the Divisional Commanders of their home division, Newfoundland and Labrador Division, for 6 years.

Installation of Colonels Eddie & Genevera Vincent; Photo by John Docter

When asked if she had a favorite appointment, she couldn’t name one. She mentioned that every appointment had high and low moments. She has enjoyed her different roles in each appointment and has loved the opportunity to journey with people. Their 19 years as corps officers were very special to them. Through the years she can trace God’s hand of blessing and faithfulness through her life.

In her words, they were “gobsmacked” when they got their appointment to the USA Western Territory. Having visited California before, they had said “we could live here,” but never imagined in a million years that they would get to. When I interviewed Colonel Genevera, (only being here two weeks) she commented that “It doesn’t look like home,” as she stares at a palm tree right out her window, “but it feels like home.”

They leave their son Stephen, a firefighter, and his wife Melanie, a preschool teacher, and their son Ryan, a software developer, back home in Calgary. However, they are now closer to them here in California than when they were in Newfoundland. Genevera is excitedly anticipating Christmas, her favorite holiday, when all the family will not be a celebrating a white Christmas in sunny Southern California, but will be together, for the first Christmas in 3 years. She loves to entertain and especially loves to cook.

Ryan, Genevera, Stephen, Melanie, and Eddie Vincent

When I asked Genevera to describe herself she said she was a sensible morning person, who wakes up immediately, rather than hitting the snooze button. For her, her glass is always half-full. When I asked her to describe herself with only three adjectives, she immediately said friendly. When she couldn’t think of any others, her husband was able to include a few more, “She is beautiful, humorous and compassionate.” After just a few minutes of talking with her she felt like a long-time friend.

When asked about a skill she would like to master, her response was sewing. One Christmas she said she would love to learn to sew, so her husband got her a sewing machine for Christmas. Her friend, Sylvia, casually asked her about what she had gotten for Christmas one evening at songsters. When Genevera mentioned she got a sewing machine, Sylvia was quick to encourage her to start quilting. Genevera panicked at first but signed up for a “Block-of-the-Month Club.” Each month she received the materials and directions to make a 12” block. The following Christmas, Eddie bought her the finishing kit for the quilt, and she made her first quilt, “Garden Trails.” Since then, she has made 2 more quilts. She says she still needs a lot of direction.

Genevera is a woman who is flourishing in her walk with the Lord. At the welcome chapel held at Territorial Headquarters she said, “We bring who we are. We consider ourselves servants of the Most High God. We have a deep love for God, love and appreciation for people, and long to see lives transformed.” She has walked with Jesus most of her life, having received Christ as her personal Savior at the age of 7. Whenever she was asked what she was going to be when she grew up, she always said a Salvation Army Officer.

Colonel Genevera sharing your testimony; Photo by John Docter

I asked Genevera when she hears the word “flourish” what comes to mind? Her response, “growth and beauty and life.” What tips does she have for women in order for them to flourish in their daily lives? “Quality time with God is the key, if we want to make a difference and be a transforming influence.” As a woman of the Word, when asked what her favorite Bible verse was, she shared she has lots. The verse that came to her mind as one of her go-to-often verse is Psalm 18:1-2 which says, I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Genevera participated in Arrow Leadership program in 2020. During that time, she learned this quote that has become her motto for life and for flourishing: Live passionately, Listen More, Laugh often, and Love always. Genevera is excited to represent the USA West and is ready to make connections with the women throughout the territory. She said that if she had a warning label it would say, “Don’t get me started on story telling or laughing.” As she visits around the territory, she is ready to talk, share stories, laugh, and probably over a cup of tea, to flourish together.

Farewell Greetings

By Colonel Donna Igleheart

Dear Friends,

I greet you today in the wonderful and lovely name of Jesus. I pray that your summer has been blessed with sun kissed days, outdoor adventures, and moments to pause and reflect nature’s cue of God’s beauty and goodness in this season. As I write you today my house is filled with moving boxes and in my heart and mind there’s the reality that one season is ending and another adventure awaits me.

Looking back upon our arrival to the Western Territory in July 2020, it was certainly an unusual season that was layered with challenges such as masks, social distancing and one cancelled opportunity after another to meet and connect in person. I wondered if I would ever see the lovely faces of those I served alongside in the same building! However, God was still at work, ever present and faithful in the unusual. Even though our time has been much too brief, I choose joy in the treasured moments of connection with you, be it in person or online.

Please receive these final words from my heart to yours, as a heartfelt thank you for the warm embrace you have extended to us over these past two years of serving alongside you in the amazing Western Territory.

I never imagined that the ‘yes’ to serve God as an officer, now thirty years ago, would have afforded me this incredible opportunity to serve in another territory. I have found myself saying, “Lord, thank you for where I am today.” The journey to the West has enriched my life and given me a deeper sense of purpose and calling. God has reminded me that the sweetest things in life cost nothing but one willing “yes” after another. There is an unexpected delight when Jesus opens doors on a new horizon, and I count it pure delight for the path that led me to you. You have sown seeds of kindness, goodness, and grace and the roots of love and acceptance ran deep.

“She will be standing firm like a flourishing tree planted by God’s design, deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of life. She is never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever prosperous.” Psalm 1:3 (The Passion Translation)

In the coming months, the Territorial Women’s Ministries Department will launch a new theme, “Flourish.” As women of this great territory, I encourage you to stand firm on the foundation of God’s word, remain in the fellowship of one another, continue to look for ways to serve those who need a helping hand up, and lean in and learn how to better the world around you. You may never fully see the fruit of your labor and service in the seeds you sow today but keep sowing.

All around us the symphony of God’s Kingdom calls us to stand firm and with God’s help we can and will indeed, “Flourish” bearing fruit in every season. May you sense God’s deep love for you, and may He usher in a new season where small steps become giant leaps forward, where small seeds produce a great harvest and where childlike faith gives you victory!

Our eyes will always be on the beautiful people and vast ministry of the Western Territory. May God richly bless and keep you.

Note: We wish Colonel Donna Igleheart best wishes as she takes up her leadership in her new appointment. As of September 1, 2022 she will have the rank of Commissioner and will be serving as the Territorial President of Women’s Ministries of the USA Southern Territory.

“In My Dependence”

By Commissioner Colleen Riley

Just a quick thought this month that has been on my heart and mind. We will be celebrating Independence Day here in the USA this month. Along with the flags, BBQ’s, fireworks, and gratitude to those who have served and fought for our freedoms, I am struck by the word – Independence. I am grateful to live in a country where we can worship God, pray, serve others and truly be free in so many ways. We are free to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to share His love with others in a way that many places across the world are unable to. I don’t take that for granted.

This year, I want to look at the word Independence in a new way – “In my Dependence” on Christ is how I can be free. “In my dependence” on His grace, I am free from the things that would hold me back from a life of joy. Dependence on the Savior is freedom. It is not like what the world wants you to do – dependence on media, peer pressure, the influences of the world telling me I am not enough, or I am too old, or…… you fill in the blank. “In my Dependence on God” I can be, you can be fully reliant on Christ and in total freedom to be who we were created to be.

So Happy In Dependence Day, Friends. Rejoice – you are a daughter of the King!  

“Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17

Facing Change

By Major Beth Desplancke

June is finally here! As a child June was probably my favorite month. It meant the end of school, and the beginning of summer vacation! I loved school, don’t get me wrong, but I loved the change that summer would bring: a change in pace, a change of schedule, and a change of habits (summer meant not waking up so early to get to school, lots of sunshine and for me lots of swimming).

Sometimes June doesn’t feel like a good change. The June I finished 6th grade (the end of elementary school where I lived), there was already anxiety about what 7th grade was like. How would I ever get used to going to 6 different classes with 6 different teachers each day?

In The Salvation Army, June is also a month of transition for a lot of the corps (local churches). I remember many Junes as a kid, where I was having to say goodbye to a corps officer that I knew and loved, and either at the end of June or the first week in July, we would be welcoming someone new into our church and into our hearts.

No matter what kind of change takes place – change is scary. And to be honest, we have all endured a lot of change the past two years, since the words “COVID” and “global pandemic” became buzz words in our daily vocabulary.

I don’t know about you, but the amount of change that was taking place at such a fast pace was becoming exhausting. At one point, I felt completely overwhelmed, anxious and fearful about what the future held. The rules seemed to change daily, so I turned to what was familiar to me – the Bible.
As the world began to shut down in March of 2020, I decided to camp in the book of Psalms. Over the past two years, I have lost count of how many times I have read the 150 chapters of Psalms. I simply started reading at chapter 1, and would go through until the end, and then begin again. Some days I read several chapters, and others maybe a few verses. Early on in the pandemic I had trouble sleeping and, too many nights to count I actually read all 150 psalms.

One of my favorite psalms is Psalm 46, v. 1-3 says this: God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. And in verse 10, which most of us probably know well, says, He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Change is inevitable. Even though change is hard, there is one thing I can do – I can obey what verse 10 says and be still and know that God is God. I do this by focusing on who He is. First, God is constant! No matter what changes life brings, God does not change. He is constant in a world of never-ending changes. Hebrews 13:8 says He is the same yesterday, today and forever. everything else changes, He does not. He is my constant source of help, refuge and strength.

When life changes, I can also be still and know that God is in control! God was and is and always will be in control. He is never taken by surprise or caught off guard. When changes seem sudden to us, He is unfazed. God was and is and will always be on the throne. COVID did not usurp His authority as Creator, King and Ruler of all!

John C. Maxwell writes, “Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.” Changes come in our lives whether we like it or not, but how we respond to change is up to us. Any change feels uncomfortable and even chaotic. Whatever changes we will face this month, we can be still and know that God is a God who is constant and in control!

Spring Forecast…. Let Good Things Grow!

By Colonel Donna Igleheart

One of the things I have learned living in the West is that anything is possible in the spring. This past week we experienced 90 degree plus temps in Southern California and a few days later I woke up to snow in Oregon! Both were a surprise to those who forecast the weather and made for extra cautious news alerts, heat warnings, delays and cancellations in the Northwest.

Spring typically means that warmer temperatures warm the ground which may have frozen over the winter months, as it grows softer and more yielding to plants. Spring is often marked by increased rainfall, which helps to water the infant seeds taking root in the ground. Spring is often referred to as the season of new beginnings, even referred to as the favorite season of the year with its transition into life and beauty before the heat of summer sets in. It’s said after a dreary winter, spring brings forth mood improvement, even causing people to be happier! So many good reasons to embrace the spring forecast and watch and see good things grow.

Whether it’s the bud of a tulip planted the previous fall or one of the earliest crops breaking through the soil, that first sign of new life in the garden shifts our attention to the season that is upon us. No matter how long or cold the winter has been, a new chapter is here.

So as women of God, how can we too harness the goodness of this fresh start and season? We can start with the smallest change to plowing deeply! Be still! Set aside time to spend in the word of God. Listen to music and immerse yourself in the melody and lyrics. Look around at God’s beautiful creation. Be more intentional about showing gratitude. Ask others about their story and share yours!

If you desire to have fellowship and Bible study and are waiting for someone to ask you for a seat at the table and it hasn’t happened, invite yourself! Perhaps God is calling you to be the very one to break forth new ground for someone else or many!

It’s been a dry and weary season for most. What if we forecast for ourselves with God’s help, to grow good seeds of hope, nurturing relationships, patience in the waiting, forgiveness in the hurting, healing through bitterness, or peace over anxiety? Just as the gardener or farmer sets her eyes on the prize and hope of a fruitful crop, so can we harness its hope and strength to then nourish the parts of our life that might be craving a fresh new start. Each of us has an opportunity to plant, fruit to bear, and in return Jesus will bless! There’s never been a greater time for a forecast of strong, brave, and flourishing women needed to burst forth in confidence and step into spring so that others might be revived and flourish too.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, Encourage one another and build each other up. These words alone would make for a beautiful spring forecast and in return good seeds will grow.

Keep shining, beautiful women of the Western Territory and keep your eyes on Jesus! Blessings of grace and peace.

He is Risen!

By Commissioner Colleen Riley

He is Risen! It’s April and this month I am reminded more profoundly than ever before, of the goodness of God, the sacrifice of Jesus, and the precious and perfect gift that was given on the cross for me and for you.

I am struck by the fact that one moment, men and women were proclaiming “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (John 12:13) and shortly after, Jesus was carrying His own cross to His death. I am not sure that I can fully comprehend the moment of triumph and the moment of seeming defeat in its fullness. Yet, I know that this was all in the plan from the very beginning. This gift was for me, even before I was born. This was and is a gift for you.

The resurrection is the foundation of my faith. Jesus came in flesh and blood as a man, died and rose again and confirmed that He is the Son of God. His rising from the dead was real and physical and miraculous. He tells Mary Magdalene and the other Mary that He is alive, and I love this – they clasped His feet and worshipped Him. They knew it was Him, they believed He was alive, and they worshipped Him. (Matthew 28:9)

This Easter, I want to have such deep faith every day, that no matter if the grounds shake or the waters roar, I will clasp the feet of Jesus and worship the Risen King. I don’t feel worthy of the sacrifice that Jesus made for me. But I know that I serve a God who in His infinite love for us, gave us this perfect gift so that we can have eternal life with Him. I don’t have to earn it, it is a free gift.

So let us celebrate and sing Hosanna to the King of Kings and thank Him for this gift of life He bestowed on us. If you, or someone you know doesn’t know the Savior, reach out so that we can share the infinite gift of grace, forgiveness, love, and a promise to be with us always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

International Women’s Day

By Colonel Donna Igleheart

March 8, 2022 is recognized as International Women’s Day. It’s an opportunity to pay tribute to all the women who have stood up against an unjust society, paving the way for the freedom of future generations. It’s a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s a day to celebrate women from around the globe for their contributions to the world! It’s a day to celebrate our Creator for His love and His plans for every one of us. It’s a day to celebrate YOU!

In Acts 16 we find a beautiful story of a woman named Lydia. I would encourage you to read once again this story of obedience on Paul’s part that led to a transformational life for Lydia.

We find her story here because God had a specific encounter for her, He had a plan to use her in a way she never could have imagined. The story of Lydia is a reminder that God shows up in unexpected places and He uses women in all walks and seasons of life. Her story becomes quite extraordinary and transformational for generations to come.

Lydia by trade, sold expensive purple cloth. She must have had a reputation as someone of influence, wealth, and who was educated. However, she was lacking the most significant detail in her story…she didn’t know Jesus. She was a woman of prayer and as she heard Paul speaking about Jesus, she didn’t waste time to kneel and open her heart. The Word says that she lost no time in confessing her sins and was baptized in the same river where she had gathered many times to pray. We read that members of her household were also saved!! She immediately opened her home to Paul and the other missionaries. This conversion had even greater purpose for the story continues that Lydia became the first person to share the gospel in Europe. God uses women!

Lives are transformed when people see the image of God through you and me. Lydia could have said, someone else can open their home, someone else can go to Europe and share Jesus, but she realized her purpose and allowed God to use her. People need to see God being used in our lives; our lives must be so transparent that others see the heart of God through our actions and love for others, even though we may feel like it’s not enough! You may be searching, doubting or questioning your purpose. Your circumstances may feel overwhelming today. Every woman before us has faced her battles, but God will use you where you are when your heart is opened to His leading. Some are called to a riverbank, some are called to Africa, some are called to the communities right where they are.

We are all called to make a difference for the Kingdom. We are to be Kingdom women! Thank you for loving Jesus and preparing the way for others to follow. I’m blessed to call you beloved sisters in Christ!

Check out this LINK to learn more about how The Salvation Army is celebrating International Women’s Day!

God’s Love Letter

By Major Beth Desplancke

Back when my husband and I were dating, early on in our relationship, Frank had to go out of town for a conference and was gone for almost two weeks. In that time, I remember receiving a long love letter from him. In this letter he talked about his dreams for our future, including marriage, family, and our life as Officers together. It was several handwritten pages filled with messages of love.

I was surprised to receive something other than a bill in the mail. The fact that he had written his letter so neatly, which meant he took some time to make legible (I did not fall in love with him because of his penmanship), and he openly shared his heart with me was thrilling. At this time, we had only been dating a little more than 2 months (to be honest, we had dated without dating for a lot longer, but two months was us “officially dating”), so what he wrote was things I had never heard before. He is much more guarded with his words in person, but on paper he was so open and so free, and everything he wrote oozed with love for me.

What did I do with that letter after I read it? You know, I read it again and again and again. I absorbed every word that was lovingly written on the page. I laughed at some of his ideas, cried tears of joy that God had finally led me to the “one” whom I would spend the rest of my life. I carried that letter around with me for weeks (it was tucked in my Bible so I could read it during class since it was while I was a cadet at CFOT). I prayed over it. I dreamed about it. I shared tidbits from it with my close friends! I still have that letter in a special box of treasures 25 years later!

I didn’t treat it like it was junk mail. It was not thrown into the trash unread. It wasn’t casual correspondence that I read once and then moved on with my life. It wasn’t a bill that I dreaded receiving. It was a beautiful letter filled with words of love from someone who is very dear to me.

God did the same thing. He gave us a love letter – His Word! We have 66 books filled with messages from Him about His love for us, and His desire for us to have a relationship with Him. And just like the love letter my husband sent me 25 years ago (he has sent me more since then), I didn’t just look at it once and then discard it. I treasured it! I meditated on it! I cherished it!

Let me share with you just a few of my favorite love verses from our Heavenly Father, who loves us more than any human possibly could love us. Hopefully we will treasure these words, cherish them and meditate on them!

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are. 1 John 3:1a

Have you taken the time to read God’s love letter to you lately? May we be women who know God and His love, and love to be in a deeper relationship with Him through reading His love letter to us daily. May we read God’s Word, memorize it, think on it, chew on it, devour and digest it, and most importantly may we take what we read in God’s amazing love letter to us and live it out in our daily lives. May these words be true of each of us:

My passion and delight is in your word, for I love what you say to me! I long for more revelation of your truth, for I love the light of your word as I meditate on your decrees. (Psalm 119:47-48, The Passion Translation)