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I am thankful that God has not left me where I was but keeps moving me forward in to deeper and more meaningful relationship, which keeps changing me for the better. I am thankful to look back at my failures and short comings and know that it is not who I am now. I am thankful for progress and pushing and challenging and knowing that only by God's mercy + grace am I able to put one foot in front of the other.

I am thankful for the chaos and the crazy because I am able to embrace and savor the stillness that much better - being able to bask in his goodness in both and see that he good.

Someone one once brought up the thought, though I cannot recall the source or person, if God were to come down and interrupt you at some point in worship - midway through a song during service - what would your response be? Are you focusing on worshiping God or something else? Is the tune catchy? What are the next words of the next verse? Is your heart in your worship? Is the person next you off key? Or is the fact the person next you is raising her hand distracting you more important than worshiping God? Is your mind racing or are you meeting with God?

Hope you will be crafting along with Pocket Blessings this month, as we make these sweet tree ornaments. The message behind them can be found here. We are doing both fabric ornaments and ones made out of sticks. There is a tutorial on how to make the stick one here. Since I could not find one on how to make the fabric ones, here is a quick step by step.

There is nothing more soothing than a warm cup filled with a scrumptious drink on a brisk morning. Sitting and relaxing as you hold it close. Enjoying the heat of it, as it warms your cold fingers but careful not to drink it down quite yet as it is still too hot and a burning tongue emanates thoughts.

When melted butter is needed in baking, it is usually recommended to cut up the stick in to smaller cubes before putting it in to the heat source. This makes it melt faster and who wants to wait when they are in the middle of making some gooey, chocolate brownies? Not this girl. Although while baking the other day, I placed my half stick of butter hastily in to toaster oven without cutting it. As I took it out to cut up because it was taking longer than anticipated, God reminded me that united we stand, divided we fall.

For the month of November, Pocket Blessings will be making tree ornaments. In the bible, trees are often used to symbolize a person being rooted in God. Truly growing in relation and faith with him. Growing in trust and reliance.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. Jeremiah 17:8

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. Psalm 92:12-13

This is the sort of life that God wants to instill in each of us. He wants us to be thriving and growing in him. Constantly learning more about who he is and revealing those characteristics in ourselves. It is the abundant life of following Christ and in that there is nothing better.

This is the message that we want to portray to the recipients of these ornaments. The relationship and growth that is offered because Christ was born. Christmas is a fun holiday but the fact Jesus was born in to the world, God with us, is simply amazing. 

Praying that if you do not have roots in Christ, that you would seek him and find him and bask in his grace. Praying that you would learn and find the truth. Praying that if have never experienced Christmas in the light of Jesus, that this year you would have new eyes to see the beauty of the God of the universe coming to earth to die for your sins. All because of love. Because he loves you.

Here's to roots and growth and Christmas.

A simple tutorial on how to make the trees and printable tags will be posted next week. Here's God's will leading to you in some way to participate in little crafts of kindness,

For more info on what Pocket Blessings is all about, read it here

Penny loves to help me in the kitchen and is naturally my baking side kick. Her three year old self has mastered pouring and scooping and stirring and tasting. Depending on what we are concocting, she will stay glued to the chair for the entire duration of the product without a second thought of her toys in the living room. Especially if she knows she is going to get to lick the spoon, which only happens when frosting is being made, since all other batters have some sort of raw egg. After all of her efforts of mixing and measuring, she is rewarded with her spoon full of frosting and the world is good.

The bible says that we have rewards and treasures and are promised them in to the next life. When we believe in Jesus, we are promised eternal life. We have done nothing to earn this. The reward for believing. The reward for our faith.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

When life gets hard and the future seems hazy and you do not know what the outcome is going to be, it is easy to fall away. It is easy to make your own path to fix the problem. To go off and play with your own toys, away from God, instead of sticking around through the hard parts - through the work.

That is when you have to ask yourself: is Jesus and the promise of eternal life enough for you? Are you okay with a reward you cannot touch or see or fully grasp? Is your dedication worth it? Is the pain of an illness or the loss of a loved one or the financial instability or the ridicule from friends and family or the pressures at work worth it?

If we know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more so does God know how to good give gifts? (Matthew 7:11) Can you imagine what it means to have rewards in heaven? What it really means to have eternal life and rewards. Jesus comes and saves us; we simply believe in him and we have eternal life, (John 3:16) not because of anything we have done. We are faithful and store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:1-4). It is truly amazing the love that God has for us and the gifts he graciously gives us now and promises to come.

Praying that your eyes would be focus on Jesus and the work that he did on the cross for you. Praying that you would embrace the rewards God has for you in this life and the next. That you would enjoy the work he has put you here to accomplish and that you would be obedient to do it, despite the impending trials.

Praying that your perspective would be one of eternity. That you would see how God is using you for his eternal purposes and that you would be okay with that, no matter the cost because you know your rewards on earth are temporary and eternity is ever coming.

Here's to your promised rewards and eternity and an ever changing perspective of trials.

New stages are inevitable with children. The only constant with children is change. Change in height and weight and speech and understanding. My daughter is at the independent stage. She likes to dress and pour and snap herself. She also likes to walk by herself, without my hand naturally. This has been an ever increasing battle of safety and obedience all in one, accompanied with my ability to allow her some freedom. She is learning to hold on to the cart or stroller and walk in step with me and I am learning how to let go and give her freedom.

When you accept Jesus in your life, you are given a new found freedom from sin. You have been set free. Sin no longer has a hold on you because Jesus took it away (Romans 3:23). 

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:18

Do you believe that you were set free from sin? When you accept the freedom that comes from accepting Christ, you are lifted out of the pit of sin. Your perspective changes and you can see the other side. Whatever entangles you, addictions or malice or anger or guilt, becomes a victory in Christ. You are able to grow and develop the righteousness that comes with following Jesus.

Sin no longer has a stronghold over you when you accept Jesus. Jesus came to set the captives free (Luke 4:18). He came to set you free from whatever holds you hostage. Anxiety. Depression. Loneliness. Grief. Insecurities. Bad relationships. Lies. He offers freedom. He offers life. Not a life of monotony or comfort but one of fullness and abundance (John 10:10). A life that changes eternal destinies and impacts the world for his glory.

Praying that you see the freedom that you have in Jesus if you have accepted him as your personal Savior and if you have not, that your eyes would be open to the freedom that is being offered to you. 

Praying that you would be set free from any sin that you are currently wrestling with and that you would be able to use that victory to help another going through a similar trial, as our trials are not just for us but to benefit others in the name of Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:4). Praying that you would live each day in the freedom that comes with following Christ and learn how to navigate through it in your walk.

This song, Shake the World, by Finding Favour is a fun way to wrap up the freedom and its effects on you and those around you. Things change and you are never the same. Neither are those you encounter. Have a listen. 

When we all start marching to the beat of the drum
Moving to the rhythm of the Kingdom to come
It's gonna shake the world
You are here to make a difference in the kingdom of God now. You meant to be free in Christ.

Here's to being set free and showing others the freedom God has given you in hopes of setting them free.