Be Ye Glad

God Knows. God Cares. God Is Listening.

Good news, my friend.
He’s not making a list.
He’s not checking it twice.
And He’s not gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.

Why? Because He already knows. “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3). Not you, not me, not anyone.

Even so, He is coming to town.

He came to Bethlehem two thousand years ago.
Over the centuries He has come into millions of hearts.
And one glorious day He will come again.

While we wait in anticipation, we honor Him most by reading and obeying His Word. This week’s verse for A Season of Joy covers a lot of ground in ten short words. Grab your hot chocolate, your latte, your Earl Grey, and let’s dive in.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope,... Romans 12:12

Be joyful in hope,… Romans 12:12

God calls us to “be happy” (CEB). It’s not a feeling, not a mere emotion. It’s a being thing. A doing thing. An act of obedience. A verb: “joying” (WYC).

I can’t wait for somebody to ask, “What are you doing today, Liz?” so I can say, “I’m joying.” Love. It.

In Greek the word for “glad” and the word for “grace” come from the same root. That means God doesn’t expect us to do this gladness thing on our own. “Be happy or else.” No way. He provides the grace, the gift, and the reason for our joy: ”Base your happiness on your hope in Christ” (PHILLIPS).

Your Savior wants you to be “cheerfully expectant” (MSG), thinking about “all God is planning for you” (TLB). Just imagine what surprises He has in store for you today, tomorrow, next week, next year…oh!

Embracing our hope, our future, our “confidence in Christ” (AMP) means we can weather the happy times and the hard times. It’s wonderful to visit with family and friends, to share a festive meal, to open presents, to laugh until we leak. But in the end, such joys are reduced to memories. Only our hope in Christ lasts forever.

...patient in affliction,... Romans 12:12

…patient in affliction,… Romans 12:12

Oops. Things suddenly got serious. No happy-happy-joy-joy in this part of the verse. The Greek word for “patience” literally means “to stay behind, to await, to endure.” Once again, a doing thing, not a feeling thing.

God is gently but firmly telling His people to “stand your ground” (CEB) and “do not give up when trouble comes” (NLV). We’re talking heavy stuff here: “tribulation”(ASV), “distress” (AMP), and “suffering” (NET).

Maybe that’s why He mentioned joy and hope first. To bolster our faith. To prepare us for hard times—yes, even at Christmas. Maybe especially at Christmas, when everyone is determined to wear a smile, if only to cover their pain.

Sadly, I’m there. My older brother John passed away on Tuesday. Even as I write these words, I don’t quite believe them.

More than 17 years and 1700 miles separated us, but in my heart he was always the handsome Air Force pilot, who visited home now and again to regale his little sister with hilarious stories before he took off on another adventure. Oh, Johnny. You had the best laugh.

If you are missing a loved one this Christmas season, I hope this truth will comfort you: God knows, God cares, and God is listening.

...faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

…faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

Joy, sorrow, and then the perfect landing spot: prayer. People who “steadfastly maintain the habit” (PHILLIPS) know that prayer is the heart of our relationship with God.

I’ve startled a few people, launching into a spoken prayer with my eyes open and my hands on the wheel. Especially if they miss my first words—“Heavenly Father”—they look at me askance and whisper, “Are you talking to me?”

Not this time, my friend. If we’re urged to be “instant in prayer” (DRA) and “never stop” (CEV), I figure it’s best to just “keep on talking with God” (WE). So, I do, pretty much anytime, anywhere. We know He’s listening. Why not reach out? Why not right now?

Heavenly Father, how remarkable that You hear our words, spoken and unspoken, and You care about what we care about. Nothing is too small for you, Lord. No pain or heartache goes unnoticed. Even so, You call us to look beyond ourselves and see the broken world You plan to mend and the empty souls You intend to fill. When we catch a glimpse of your glory, Lord, our joy overflows and our hope knows no end.

The song “In the First Light” by the a capella group, GLAD, proclaims the story of God come to earth. Beautiful. And worth a listen.

"In the First Light" - GLAD

Three books you might consider for gift giving: A Wreath of Snow, The Women of Christmas, and my new Parable Treasury for children.

Your grateful sister, Liz
@LizCurtisHiggs
Your sister, Liz Curtis Higgs BibleGateway Blogger Grid I am honored to write for P31 Ministries Love being part of (in)courage!

 

174 Responses to Be Ye Glad

  1. Laurie Diggins December 11, 2015 at 7:57 am #

    Dear Liz,
    You and your family are in my prayers as you miss your brother Johnny following his graduation to heaven. Thanks for addressing, with honesty, the fact that looks can be deceiving as we hide pain behind a seemingly cheerful smile. May the hope and joy of Jesus fill our hearts and minds with true peace. A blessed Christmas to you!

    • Cathy December 11, 2015 at 9:41 am #

      Thank you for the BEAUTIFUL devotion this morning. Even in pain, disappointment and sadness I know I can have joy in the Lord! I’m sorry for your loss and you and your family are in my prayers.

    • Dottie December 11, 2015 at 10:00 am #

      Good morning Liz,
      I’m so sorry for your loss of your brother. There simply are no words that can be expressed. But God in his goodness gave you comfort in a message to your heart. Thank you for sharing it with us.
      May comfort and joy be with you.

    • Mary December 11, 2015 at 10:08 am #

      Dear Liz, I am sooo sorry for your loss. Sending healing and comfort.

    • Kimmee December 11, 2015 at 10:15 am #

      Dearest sis….
      I have read your posts on joy lately and have been deeply touched by them. Having a fifteen year old son who has a rare, cruddy heart condition can certainly cause me to lose site of joy on many occasions. He was given nine months to live almost four years ago so finding hope is a bit easier for me than finding joy. That’s why I’ve coined the phrase “Circle your wagons around joy.” Because sometimes you just need a bunch of wagons filled with joy surrounding you!!!
      May that image fill you with my hugs this morning.

      Much love from this farm girl to you Liz❤️

    • Meg December 11, 2015 at 10:22 am #

      Dear Liz,
      I am so sorry for your loss. I am sure your heart is in a million pieces but rejoicing that he is with the Lord. God has revealed to me this week that our struggle and pain are worth it if we just see it through. Our blessing is on the other side of our sorrow. I lift you up in prayer. Thank you for such a wonderful devotional and sharing your life with us.

      Meg.

    • Tracey December 11, 2015 at 10:51 am #

      Prayers for you Liz, so sorry for your loss! You will celebrate one day again in heaven! Thank you for your words, always such an encouragement and blessing to others.

      • Tracey December 11, 2015 at 10:57 am #

        Thank you Liz for sharing! How interesting that glad and grace come from the sane riot word! A lightbulb moment..that I should be joyful always, in giving grace to others, in difficulties and pain, trouble with health or realationships..I truly am inspired and cganged through God’s work in you!My ladies study group is working through Queen of Sheba, love it, as well as tge wonderful Vad gurls of the Bible. We ded that last year! Continue on Liz! Merry Christmas!

    • Loretta December 11, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

      Good Morning Liz.
      Thank you, thank you so much for sharing these Beautiful thoughts with us your readers; they are heartfelt and so moving, very personal and so relatable. I’m sorry to hear of the passing of your precious brother The Sweet Presence of The Lord is with you, your in our hearts and prayers. I was especially encouraged by your “Be Ye Glad” and in “Our Hope in Christ last Forever” statement; and yes, it is true that Our Hope in Christ last Forever; Your words are refreshing and uplifting, and continue to direct readers only to Christ, wow! what a blessing. As I reflect, I am so grateful for that moment in my life, that at the age of 20 yrs old I accepted Christ into my heart and my life; that decision became the most important decision of my life; little did I know, that these 38 years Christ Hope in me would carry me thru the Beautiful days, difficult hard and sometimes sad days, and especially the days of betrayal when I could only rely on Christ, it was then His Hope in me endured and continues to endure and graciously gives me strength and joy; His Hope carry’s me thru even to this present day; He is and forever will be “Christ in us the Hope of Glory” and His Hope last forever, I love Him dearly.

    • LaVerne Busey December 11, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

      Liz,

      This was a wonderful Bible study to read today! The Joy of Christmas brought such joy to my heart. I too have been going through grief as this is the first Christmas without my mama, since she went to be with Jesus, last January. Your Bible study has helped me reach for the joy.

      Thank you and God bless you,

      LaVerne

    • Sue roberson December 11, 2015 at 7:47 pm #

      My sympathy in the loss of your brother.

      We can pray anytime, God is always there to hear.

    • Diane Senk December 12, 2015 at 7:24 am #

      I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for always making me think, and often making me laugh! Your words lift me up. Merry Christmas!

    • Cecilia December 12, 2015 at 9:46 am #

      These words hit home for me:

      Heavenly Father, how remarkable that You hear our words, spoken and unspoken, and You care about what we care about. Nothing is too small for you, Lord. That He cares about what I care about, it isn’t too small or insignificant, or irrelevant. If I care about it the Lord does too. He is “validating” me.
      Thank you
      Cecilia

    • Cathy Baillie December 13, 2015 at 10:19 am #

      Dear Liz,
      I am praying for you and your family. May God hold you in the palm of His hand during this time and wrap you in the comfort of His peace.

    • Rosemarie Dalton December 13, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

      My stepdaughter sent this message to me and I find it refreshing, and truthful. Everyone has lost a loved one…there are those of us who rejoice in the belief that they have joined our heavenly father. There are also those who can’t get past the mourning period because they lack faith in “the reason for the season”. My greatest losses to date are my step-daughter, my husband, and a dear friend. I miss them but have no doubts they are as close as a fond, loving memory. I have a joyful heart even though I have another daughter battling cancer. How can that be you might ask? Because I am a believer in God, his mercy, and his love….Each day of my life contains many blessings of which I am most grateful…I spread the LOVE of Jesus through my prayer shawl ministry by praying for all who need his healing hands upon them…Be it physically, or emotionally. He’s as close as a thought or prayer…Happy Birthday Jesus…
      We love you…

  2. susan rossi December 11, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    So sorry to hear about your brother’s death. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Isn’t it great that God gives us the strength to have joy through all things?! Thanks so much for your encouragement. Merry Christmas Liz, and all others who read this.

  3. Margaret Lynn December 11, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    Praying for you, Liz, as you grieve for your brother. I’m so sorry for your loss. This lesson was a timely reminder for me to rest in Him in times of affliction. And to know that I can turn my heart toward joy in Him as an act or worship and discipline even during times when my feelings don’t propel me there.

  4. Paula Timpson December 11, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    yes to be joy is to believe
    to keep hopeful despite what happens
    to be patient with this world
    all for gods glory
    amen
    i found a little angel joy and put it on our tree
    an angel came to me and i called her joy

  5. Sue Gorman December 11, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    I am glad you have a website and share your testimony with the world!
    God’s peace be with you at the difficult time.
    Thank you for being His hands and feet on earth.

  6. Robin December 11, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    Liz,

    So sorry to hear about your brother’s death. You and your family are in my prayers.

  7. Madonna December 11, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    Liz, thank you for these words. So timely. And so sorry for your loss. Another friends of mine last her brother a couple of months ago. Heartbreaking, yet joyful for him.
    Thank you for the reminder to take each phrase of Rom 12:12 on its own and yet together. It is a promise beautifully fulfilled daily in our lives. I will use it to pay with my children this weekend. Two are foster children and often it is challenging to show them how blessings come from hard times and joy can be found in the middle. Bless you sister!

  8. Miranda December 11, 2015 at 9:19 am #

    I’m sorry to hear of your loss. Loss is always hard but it seems harder when the holidays are near. But you Liz are stronger than the loss because of He who is in you!
    This week God has been showing me that I don’t have to go it alone. I struggle with anxiety and depression and somedays are dark. On those days it’s been hard to see the forest when all I can see are the shadows. God has been telling me those days are okay because he is the Son that is shining through those branches.
    May the Son shine through on your dark days following the loss of your brother.

  9. Nancy December 11, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    Thank you for all your encouraging words, not just through this Christmas season but every day. May God bless you through this difficult time of losing your brother.

  10. Michelle E. J. Knowles December 11, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    May God comfort you & your loved ones right now in your time of loss.

    Thank-you for this post, & for others that you’ve shared with us. This post in particular hit me today. I’m not going through any particular struggle or hard time. In fact, it’s the first time in ages that I’m NOT going through a hard time, & it’s truly a blessed relief. I thank God for my struggles & hard times, though, for they’ve only helped to strengthen me & to remind me to rely on God as my strength & my joy.

    I love how you said that, if asked, you’d tell people you were “joying” today. I’m going to adopt that. I also love the part when you said that you would break out into prayer right in public & people would wonder if you were talking to them or not. I’m in prayer a lot, but not verbally if others are around. I’m thinking about it, though, after reading this post.

    Thanks again, & you’re in my prayers. Love & blessings to you!! <3

  11. Tricia December 11, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    Liz, so sorry for the loss on earth of your brother. Praying for you this season of HOPE!!
    Trying to be joyful in tribulation is not an easy venture as I’ve found out over the past 3 years that my daughter has stopped talking to me. She has 4 beautiful children that we miss so terribly and have had to work so very hard to see and be in their lives. I realize that I have grown in my TRUST in the Lord over this time as I WAIT not so patiently for Him to bring us back together and heal our family. In the meantime, we serve an AWESOME GOD and I am so very thankful for HIS GRACE, MERCY AND HOPE!!
    God bless you in this time of renewal

    • Michelle E. J. Knowles December 11, 2015 at 9:24 am #

      Oh, Tricia!! My heart breaks for you! I don’t have children & can’t relate to the heartbreak that you’re going through, but I have a few friends who’ve gone through the same thing. I’ll keep you in my prayers. I know about hardships from my own life, & none of them are easy. May God bring about a reconciliation in your life, & may it come soon. Love & blessings to you!! <3

  12. Kris December 11, 2015 at 9:23 am #

    So sorry for your loss. We lost my brother in law on Christmas day a few years ago and it is still a pain to us even as we know it is a joy for him. This year has been challenging in so many ways but it has been good to be in His Word…thank you for your posts and I really felt blessed to do the Women of Christmas study.

  13. Kimberly Hutchinson December 11, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    I love the revelation that when I am caught up in the glory of my God I am filled with joy. It makes it possible to enjoy the season, to be bathed in peace,and to hope that others will too experience the great love of the Father.

  14. Lorraine December 11, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    First I pray for comfort to you and family for the loss of your brother. It is especially hard when so near the holidays. Secondly, I want to tell you that this came at just the right time. For 7 months I had a herniated disc and each dr. I went to kept just referring me to a different doctor. The pain was horrific and walking, sleeping, etc. were nearly impossible. I finally had surgery 4 weeks ago. During this time, God had me help a Christian lady who has a mild pain that some days isn’t there. She is very fearful of getting MRI, – actually had a panic attack, etc. She is now starting to focus more on God and trusting He knows and is there. I thank God He used me to help her . I am struggling through my PT but I am so thankful that the worse pain is gone and mostly thankful reading my friends’ emails telling me how she is repenting of unbelief and is learning to trust God in all situations. Thank you, for this devotional.

  15. Jeannie Carpenter December 11, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Dear Liz,
    First I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve never met you, but the words you use that tells my heart encouragement in today times in so many ways is awesome. I have been blue some days and I’ll pick up your daily devotional books and read a few pages and my blues start to lift. This morning was a low morning and as I opened my emails at my very stressful job your email was there and a smile with warm joy fills my heart. Your a gift to my life from God and your words have helped SO much in my life. Thank you Merry Christmas and again so sorry for your loss.

  16. Barbara Groenink December 11, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Liz,
    Thank you for sharing about your brother. Know that you are in our prayers.
    At this time of Christmas so many of us are remembering days gone by. Thinking of the people that we miss at this time of year. I love how God put Joy first. Joying is what I to am doing today that these people that I miss are in heaven rejoice with their Savior today. Joying in the work that God has given me here on earth. Joying that someday I will be with them again.

  17. Laurie B. December 11, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Through it al, the good, bad, happy and sad, I’M JOYING!!!❤️

  18. abby December 11, 2015 at 9:28 am #

    Love ur words for today.
    Liz: may God continue to pour out
    his love and comfort to you and the family.

  19. Linda Stott December 11, 2015 at 9:29 am #

    I am sorry for you loss. God’s grace and understanding is awesome. The peace He gives is indescribable. My prayers are with you and your family this Christmas Season.

  20. Barb December 11, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    So sorry for the loss of your brother. God has revealed to me that I need to enjoy the preparation of the season and not get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Take time to spend with God everyday and just enjoy being in his presence.

  21. Denise December 11, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    Oh, Liz – so sorry for your loss.

    I really needed this encouragement to pray – all the time. Thanks for being such a blessing to us!

  22. Deb December 11, 2015 at 9:38 am #

    Oh Liz…my heart aches for you as you grieve the passing of your brother. As you walk through this valley, may you sense God’s arms wrapped around you, drawing you close to His heart, comforting you, drying your tears. Death seems to be something that has marked my life and it’s been in/during these grief I’ve come to know God in such an intimate way as He loves me through each pain. Praying for your family!

  23. dale December 11, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    Love your lesson this week… you used one of my favorite songs to sing with the grandkids … and gave it a wonderful Jesus edge…may the Lord comfort you and your family in the promotion your brother has received, May you have a Blessed Christmas!
    thanks for all you do and all you reach…

    dale

  24. Jan Peach December 11, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    Liz…you seem to be able to bring laughter to our hearts and tears to our eyes at the same time. Our son, Jeffrey, had a perforated colon on Nov. 9th. The Monday after your visit to Owensboro. We didn’t know he had diverticulitis until that day. The doctor said we didn’t have time to go anywhere else. So, we were at our little hometown hospital in Hartford, KY. All I could do was pray and believe that God was going to take care of him and he did. He is a miracle. He and his wife are now at our house till he recovers completely. I have so much to be joyful about, more than I can say in a few words. I am sorry for your loss. I know how it feels to lose a brother, too. I will be praying for you!!!!

  25. Kathy Easterday December 11, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    Liz, it is amazing how our Heavenly Father can walk with us through the many losses we suffer in life. Just like He is with you and your family right now with the loss of your wonderful brother.
    I was very close to my mother, I cared for for many year years before the Lord took her to Heaven. I dreaded the day that would happen because I didn’t think I could handle it. But to the grace of God I was fine. It was how things happened that gave me peace. Our God surely knows what He is doing. We just have to trust in Him. Thank you for your kind words once again.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and God bless you. And you and your family be comforted during your time of grief.
    Your sister in Christ,
    Kathy

  26. Vicki Johnson December 11, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    Prayers that the God of all comfort would envelope you with His presence as you mourn the loss of your brother. I understand that pain because I lost my older brother, only 57 years old, just over a year ago to pancreatic cancer.

    From the first moment of reading your title, “Be Ye Glad'” I was humming the song from Glad, “In the First Light.” Last night at our Bible study we read the prophetic passage in Isaiah 9:2 which says, “The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them.” The hope we have is Light shining in our darkness. Because of God’s faithfulness we do have patience in affliction, peace in turmoil, and joy in hope.

    Thank you for your joy-filled teaching! I read your smile in every word.

  27. Doreen December 11, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    So sorry for the loss of your brother. Thank you for your encouraging words. Love you!

  28. Jaime December 11, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    Liz, I am so sorry for your loss. My family and I are praying for you and yours.

  29. Linda December 11, 2015 at 9:57 am #

    Thanks for the wonderful reminder that joy, patience and prayer are doing words. In this season when we are so busy doing the things on our list, I’ll make room for doing the most important things.

  30. Gwen December 11, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    Oh no, Liz, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. Thankful for your happy memories of him! Blessings to you for sharing in spite of your “affliction!”

  31. Sandra Platt December 11, 2015 at 10:05 am #

    This morning your devotional was so very beautiful! I am in much pain today. But praise God, the victory has already been won!

    And there is a big difference between being happy and living in JOY! Amen.

  32. Dana Qualls December 11, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother! My prayers will include you this season.

    This was a perfect post for me at this time. My husband of 41 years passed out on Friday night and hit his head hard on the way to the ground. He has a concussion and unknown causes for the event. This has caused deep fear and anxiety to bloom in us and I can barely make it through a day without tears. Thank you so much for encouraging me today so I can encourage my sweet husband. This is a perfect verse for me to hang onto with all I have.

    God bless you, Liz!

  33. Sunshine December 11, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    “It’s a being there.” I love those words, Liz. Not only expectant in the joy and the hope, but the being in the moment… at the moment, whatever, whatever hard or monotonous or joyful, but truly being there with others in their pain and joy. I pray for this heartfelt focus on God and each moment he blesses me with! So very sorry about the loss of your brother. May the dear Lord lavish you with his tenderness and peace.

  34. Janice December 11, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    Lizzie, I just love you. You bring His Word straight to my heart in a beautiful way. And I am set free. Today, the command to be patient in affliction opened my eyes to how I am to respond to affliction – and it also brought encouragement and hope. Thank you for choosing that scripture. I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved brother. My prayer is that you sense His presence in the strongest way while you grieve.

  35. Lei December 11, 2015 at 10:21 am #

    Liz, I am sorry for the loss of your brother especially at this time of year. My Mom passed away on Christmas Day several years ago, the memory is still vivid. As to what I have learned in your post today, I have had a heaviness this season. Not only for lost loved one’s who have passed, but for some of my children & grand children who are living, but lost in this world. Your words about family, friends and festivities are REDUCED to memories has affected me greatly. Only our hope in Christ lasts forever. So, I have re-directed my thoughts and verbs (Joyful). Thank you for your Joy filled life.

  36. Bernalle December 11, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Thank you, Liz, for all of your encouraging words. Cheerfully Expectant will be my take-away. I can get bogged down by the evil that surrounds us, but I will choose to keep my focus on Jesus & God our Father & His Holy Spirit. God bless you real good as you remember the joys of knowing your brother in this life & looking forward to eternity with him.

  37. Toni December 11, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    I am so sorry for your deep loss. Not to make light of anybody’s loss, my affliction has been the loss of our dog Klo-ee in October. We lost her to cancer and it has been an incredible loss in my heart and in our home.

  38. Judy December 11, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    So sorry for your loss. I lost 2 cousins last week. Thanks for you encouragement.

  39. Paula Gershoony December 11, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    My heart goes out to you Liz for the loss of your brother . Thank you for all you give ! I know it’s done in love . All my love to you , Paula , Placerville , California

  40. Beth December 11, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    My son lived with terminal brain cancer for 6 years. He lived out joy and peace throughout his illness and treatment until he died last year. He often told people if he lived he won, and if he died he won – either way he had Jesus! He was a tremendous example to all who knew him. Though I miss him terribly, I live joyfully. God brought us through many trials – He knows, He cares and He will never leave us on either side of heaven.

  41. Angie Beyler December 11, 2015 at 10:40 am #

    Joy, Sorrow and Prayer! What a perfect combination only God could put together to provide the balm for this hurting world. I’m sorry for your loss of a dear loved one. The loss will be felt but I pray the prayers for your family will be felt to a greater degree and a balm to your hurting heart. Blessings during this season of joy and great hope in Christ!

  42. Carolyn White December 11, 2015 at 10:44 am #

    What? You mean joy doesn’t just happen? Some people assume that there will be no trials when you choose to follow Christ. I love that He provides a way, even through suffering and strife. Always reaching out a hand to us. If we just grab a hold.

  43. Peggy December 11, 2015 at 10:45 am #

    So sorry for your loss!
    This week God has allowed me to comfort my dear DIL as she deals with her loss. Such a joy when she asks me to pray with her.
    I have been feeling so out of touch as I get older n lose the dexterity I’ve always had. But this season my DGS and l are enjoying a verse a day along with a project. Such JOY God can give thru a child!
    Jesus love me this I know!!

  44. Susan Waldrop December 11, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    I just love your heart! Jesus comes out so clearly. Thank you for sharing the truth that we can live by in a fun and enjoyable way! God has given you such talent. I hope you have a blessed Christmas! God has revealed to me and my husband through our marriage that His grace is never ending. God’s love heals anything and that ALL things are possible when we follow God without expecting.

  45. Priscilla December 11, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    God has shown me that he is still the Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father. He will always be at my side as I write the words to be published for sharing the Good News.

  46. Julie Sunne December 11, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Oh, Lizzie, I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother! Sending prayers of comfort and peace for you and your family.

    “It’s not a feeling, not a mere emotion. It’s a being thing. A doing thing. An act of obedience. A verb: “joying” (WYC).” Love it! “Joying” right along with you this Christmas season, dear friend, even as we grieve loss and difficult circumstances. Such is the powerful of our Savior of Love!

  47. Linda R December 11, 2015 at 10:58 am #

    I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear brother. I lost a brother in 2001, so I share your pain. I felt like your post was written for me. Our 43 year old daughter suffered a mental breakdown a few months ago. Our older daughter and my husband and I have been through an agonizing journey with Sarah as she struggles to get better. I have prayed and prayed and have seen God answer many prayers, some not always the way I’d have wished, but for the good of us all because His answer is always BEST and He knows what is BEST. I don’t know how my husband and I would have made it without our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!! Sarah has been in the hospital for many weeks and now is being moved to a treatment center. We are hopeful and will cling to the promises of our Savior. I praise Him every day!

  48. Jolene December 11, 2015 at 10:59 am #

    I am struggling in my desire to be in constant contact/prayer with God throughout the day, but not doing this. Thanks for your reminder of how important this discipline is. And I love the encouragement for those who are facing the holiday without a loved one.

  49. Bettina Dowell December 11, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    Dearest Liz,
    Prayers and hugs to you on the loss of your brother. This is especially challenging at the Christmas season. Thank you for your encouraging words of God’s truth.
    Love,
    Bettina

  50. Anna December 11, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    So sorry for your loss. I will be praying for comfort for your family and your brothers family at this time.

    Thank you so much for your words this morning. I love that you described these instructions as doing things and not feeling things. I don’t have to feel patient to be patient, or feel happy happy to be joyful. Good reminder.

  51. Darlaine Gibson December 11, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    With how things are going in the world, our hope is on Jesus Christ. Especially during this time, we are so busy that sometimes we don’t like the hope that we can only have through him, show through us. As a child of God I have hope that carries me through my darkest time.
    Darlaine

  52. Retha December 11, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    Dearest Liz, So deeply sorry for your loss. May our Gracious Father cover you with His Wings and give you Peace, Comfort and yes, even Joy in this time of loss. My prayers are with you.

  53. Jennifer December 11, 2015 at 11:17 am #

    Hi Liz! I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. I am praying the Lord brings your family comfort and peace.

    I couldn’t wait to see if I’d win so I bought A Wreath of Snow and read it last weekend, lol. And I read The Women of Christmas this time last year. I’m currently reading The Girl’s Still Got It and Rise and Shine.

    I absolutely love the Proverbs 31 ministry and my book shelf is full of titles from all the girls, BUT, shhhhhhhh, you are one of the few authors that can take me cover to cover!

    I told my husband, reading your books is like sitting down with a friend and listening to them tell you the most intriguing story ever!

    I thank the Lord for your gift and wish you Joy, Patience and Faithfulness in Prayer, in this season and always.♡

  54. Kathy December 11, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    I’m thinking of your brother spending his first Christmas in heaven. I’m sure you will miss him here on earth but there is comfort knowing you’ll see him again.
    I needed to hear your words this morning; it’s been a complicated, troubled week and your words were like a soothing balm.

  55. Tami December 11, 2015 at 11:22 am #

    I am a visual person. Always your graphics are beautiful, but these — this time– are amazing! They would make wonderful tree ornaments, wall hangings or magnets for the fridge. I can even see the on my bathroom mirror as a reminder all year round.

  56. Elizabeth Wring December 11, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    “Be joyful in hope,… Romans 12:12 God calls us to “be happy” (CEB). It’s not a feeling, not a mere emotion. It’s a being thing. A doing thing. An act of obedience. A verb: “joying” (WYC).”
    That really spoke to me. To “do” joy, not just feel joy.
    To wake my sister and I up for school in the mornings, my mom would sometimes sing (and very loudly) “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart! Where? Down in my heart!”
    To do joy in every part of our lives is sometimes hard and requires more work some days than others but I am glad Joy is given from the Lord and is not a stipulation of “be joyful or else.”
    Thank you for sharing your Joy with the world in the midst of a sorrowful time.

  57. Priscilla King December 11, 2015 at 11:35 am #

    Sorry to hear about your brother. ((empathy hug))

  58. Melissa December 11, 2015 at 11:56 am #

    Liz, I am so sorry for your loss. I pray for comfort and peace for your family. God keeps giving me messages about not stressing during times of sickness and health issues. I need to really listen to what He is telling me. I need to stop worrying about the “What if’s?” Thank you for your ministry.

  59. theresa rypstra December 11, 2015 at 12:01 pm #

    Dear Liz, Sorry for the loss of your brother. Your encouraging words comfort.
    Today is my 33rd wedding anniversary and yesterday my husband got laid off from his job. Christmas this year is already different. Every Christmas we remember my dad who passed away on Christmas day in 1969. It left our family in despair and turmoil, yet because we had such great need, it is one of the very things that brought me to my Savior’s arms. We indeed can Rest in Him, Hope in Him, and Believe in His promises! He is Faithful. May the Lord bless your Christmas with JOYING!
    In Him, Theresa

  60. Marquita December 11, 2015 at 12:12 pm #

    Thanks be to God that His joy is our strength!

  61. Pami B Ballington December 11, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Thank you for heeding God’s nudging & sharing your heart. I needed to hear this today.
    Praying you & your family are filled with God’s peace and His comfort as you face this first Christmas without your dear brother.

  62. Linda Komondy December 11, 2015 at 12:34 pm #

    Hi Liz – My heart goes out to you in the loss of your brother. I lost my Mom in late July and I still can’t believe it some days. The reminder to be glad is timely; I need to be reminded a lot lately. I miss my Mom so much. But I can be glad, because I know she is rejoicing in heaven. I am (not always so patiently) looking to the Lord to help me feel His joy and gladness in spite of the circumstances.

    God bless you, and Merry Christmas!

  63. Tammy Henderson December 11, 2015 at 12:40 pm #

    I’m sorry for the loss of your brother. I’m thankful for your devotional. I’ve been patient in affliction, but joyful I have not been. My prayer life seems one sided a lot of the time, but I trust that He hears and I open devotional so like this and know He’s speaking to my heart. Thank you.

  64. Diana December 11, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    Thanks for your timely word this morning…

    I am JOYING!!! regardless!

    Thank you for your great dedication to this blog even at this time, as you walk through the valley of death. Sorry for your loss, it hurts, it’s hard but you KNOW he is flying higher than ever!

    Love to you!

  65. brooke December 11, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    This… just this…He provides the grace, the gift, and the reason for our joy: ”Base your happiness on your hope in Christ” I needed that!!

    His peace and comfort be with you today and everyday as you journey through the loss of your brother. Thank you for sharing even in grief…

  66. Joan Lynch December 11, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    Dear Liz, so sorry for your loss. Today you reminded me that God gives me joy. I can’t force or manufacture it. With many trials pressing on my family and extended family right now, that was what I was trying to do. Thank you and praise God for His glorious gifts of Jesus and grace!

  67. Velma December 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Your study this week is so encouraging at this time. A young member of our congregation was killed, such pain this family has endured.
    It is so comforting to know that our “God cares, he knows, he listens”. When our world is shaken with pain, death, sickness, discouragement, He is there , right there in our midst. Praise Him, He is our refuge ,He is with us. Who is like this Great Savior!!!!!
    May the Lord comfort you and your family during this time of morning as well.

  68. Diane Kasikantiris December 11, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Your message, as always, was very inspirational.
    I had someone recently tell me “You don’t seem happy”. That was upsetting and I have since been praying for happiness that I believe was lost along the way of loss….as you have recently experienced.

    I am so sorry. You are in my prayers.

  69. jeanette December 11, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    My dear sweet Liz, I have just read your words above and find myself even more connected as sisters in Christ. Father I pray for Liz that your JOY would overflow through her as she prepares for the days ahead may you wipe her tears with your Holy Spirits gentleness, bless her with Your presence those small gifts that You give leading her to your heart the moments when we SEE You present. The moments when your comforts bring us relief from the pain of loss but give us that JOY In YOU ….Bless her family this Christmas with gifts of family friendship Love and Hospitality overflowing with memories that bring the peace of blessings in all we have received in those who have gone into your presence. Hugs Liz….May God fill the emptyness of a seat here with the hope of seeing your loved one again at the table of the LORD a wedding supper like none other 🙂 HUGS

  70. Benny Evans December 11, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    This confirms what I believe the Holy Spirit has revealed to me this year and specifically this week. December 16 is the heavenly birthday of our son Ben who died in his sleep at age 27 in 2007. The enemy has had a dark cloud hovering over me since then. But the cloud has been lifted. I feel true joy and a desire to celebrate, praise and worship as never before during this Christmas season. He is ALIVE! He is coming, again! He has saved me! Even in the midst of the death of our precious son, He has been with us; walking with us through this suffering. How can joy and suffering happen at the same time? Only with God, His love, grace and mercy!

    Thank you, Liz for reminding me (and the rest of your blog followers) of this amazing and comforting truth!

  71. Ann Blomgren December 11, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    So reassuring to know that patience is hanging in there, not giving up. a positive rather than negative attitude!
    Praying for you in the loss of your brother.

  72. Lora Leftwich December 11, 2015 at 2:01 pm #

    Lizzie, I am sorry for your loss and the heartache that accompanies. May sweet memories, peace and the hope of eternity carry you through this time.

  73. Cheri December 11, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    Dear friend, I’m new to your site and am so thankful that God put you in my path. First off. I’m praying for you as you walk out these days of grief. Even when we know where they are it’s hard not having them in our everyday lives. A note. A call. Man. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could call after moving to heaven?! Reunion day is going to be so so sweet. Secondly, you asked what we learned from the study. Your teaching couldn’t have been more “point on” for me. I’ve been in a dark ditch lately as I struggle with hard physical pain and pain of heart. My body is damaged and God has called me to walk the path of suffering. Most days I lean into His grace and am grateful for this severe mercy. Then there are other days that leave me breathless. Waking up and facing the day and saying “I’ve gotten my quarters worth on this ride and I’m ready to get off now.” But today, your words have placed me back in the light. In the midst of this joyous season I’m going to take up “joying” and let my heart hope in the One who is working in the pain. Thank you for ministering even though your loss is so fresh.

  74. Vickie Haller December 11, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    Precious Liz,
    I can relate to the pain of losing your brother. I lost my husband to cancer. On the day the Lord called Tom home, my daughter looked in his devotional & this is the scripture that was on the top of the page: Isaiah 44 : 22
    I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.
    That has been such a comfort to us.
    I pray the Lord comforts you too.
    When things seem hard, I rejoice & praise God for so great a Salvation !!! We are one day closer to spend eternity with our Lord.
    Christmas blessings to you & your family.
    Love in Christ,
    Vickie Haller
    P S I hope you got the email letting you know I received the book: Parable Treasury for my great granddaughter Emma Grace. Thank you.

  75. Jan Heyer December 11, 2015 at 2:34 pm #

    Liz, my deepest prayers & sympathy to you on the passing of your brother Johnny. Thank you so much for the devotion on Joying. Thank you for the reminder that I can pray to God anytime/ anywhere. He is always listening. Your friend in Christ.

  76. Cheryl lashmit December 11, 2015 at 2:42 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    I am so very sorry to hear about your brother. Please know I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers as you go through this difficult time.
    Thank you despite your heartache and loss that you still reach out to encourage others. I don’t know that I could do that under the same circumstances.
    I wonder what Christmas is like in heaven? So many of my loved ones there….waiting for a family reunion!
    HUGS…
    Cheryl

  77. Debbie December 11, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    Liz,
    I was just introduced to your writting this week (The Women of Christmas) and I love it! The devotion on Joying was also wonderful. My deepest condolences on the loss of your brother. Wishing you a Wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

  78. Jan Morton December 11, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

    We buried the 93 year old matriarch of our family today. It was a glorious homegoing and everything in Romans 12:12 was part of the funeral! How glorious. What a legacy. I love you Lizzie.

    And Romans 12:12 is my blog header.

    Thank you!
    Jan

    • Jan Morton December 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

      Your dear brother John died the same day as our family matriarch. May God bless and keep you and your family. This was perfect sweet Liz. Thank you.

    • Jan Morton December 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

      Your dear brother John died the same day as our family matriarch. May God bless and keep you and your family. This was perfect sweet Liz. Thank you.

  79. Jane loux December 11, 2015 at 3:10 pm #

    I got to hear you speak at a Woman’s Retreat several years ago and was so encouraged by your message. I have read and done groups with your Bad Girls series. Its a blessing to know how much Jesus loves women. My face hurt from laughing when you spoke at the retreat.

    I would love to win your books for my library. God bless you. Thanks.

  80. Jane December 11, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    Thanks for the opportunity to win your books for my library collection.

    Several years ago I heard you speak at a Woman’s Retreat. My face hurt from laughing so much. I’ve also read and done groups in your Bad Girls series. So grateful for your ministries to women, and how God has changed you and used you to minister to women.

    God bless you.

  81. Carlee Wellons December 11, 2015 at 3:22 pm #

    Don’t put me in the drawing. I already have the books. I just wanted you to know how I look forward to reading your study and how much I loved the music today. I will be praying for the God of all comfort to be near to you.

  82. Holly Dame December 11, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    I am so sorry you lost your brother. I’m missing my dear dad, as he went to heaven 4 years ago. May God comfort you and your family. I’m praying for you! Your post today reminded me again how I need to be joying in my Savior everyday. I also must pass that joy along and be ready to share it with others!

    Thank you. Sending you hugs!
    Holly D.

  83. Sherry December 11, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    JOY is a special word… a word that holds so much meaning! Last December, for our family Christmas picture we each held a letter spelling JOY. It had been a tough year for us. We rejoiced as God carried us through a tough year! We knew that God would continue loving us and carrying us through the new challenges ahead. The Joy of the Lord is our strength!

    God knows, God cares, God is listening! I love this phrase and will definitely keep repeating to myself and will be sharing it with others!!

    Liz, I’m so sorry for your loss! Brothers are so special. Praying for you and your family! May you feel God’s loving arms around you as He comforts you during this time!

  84. Carol Weeks December 11, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Liz. I’m afraid I’ve been brooding lately. My 94-year-old mother has quite suddenly developed a serious health issue. She has been pretty healthy up to now. I just keep thinking that this may be our last Christmas with her. I know 94 years is a long life and it’s been a good one. I think about those who never made it that far and feel selfish for not wanting to let go quite yet. But I will smile to hide my pain. Thanks for the reminder that God know, God cares, God is listening.

  85. Bridgette Angelo December 11, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    So blessed to hear that I am one of the winners of your books. I haven’t received them yet, but plan on giving two for Christmas presents and keeping the Women of Christmas for me. Even if the Christmas season is almost over I plan to study it! The Wreath of Snow I plan to give to my son’s girlfriend, Natalie, who is not a believer. Pray that it opens her heart to the things of the Lord! Blessings!

  86. Pamela Lee December 11, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    Thank you for being a faithful servant of Jesus and a voice to his word.
    So sorry for the loss of your brother, I know God is your comfort during this
    sorrowful time.
    My mother is suffering from severe back pain and will have surgery in February.
    I think she will benefit from your notes regarding Rom. 12: 12 about being
    patient in affliction. I’ll be forwarding this to her today.
    God bless and thank you again.

  87. Beth Taylor December 11, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

    I’m right there with you Liz. Just not quite feeling the joy though my soul tells me it’s not about feeling it, it’s about doing it. Thank you for opening your life and heart to all of us. It makes us realize we are not alone.

  88. Kathy S December 11, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    Finally, the how of Romans 12:12
    Joyful – it’s not a feeling, it’s an act of obedience
    Patient – do not give up, stand your ground, wait
    Faithful – maintain the habit of prayer – converse with our God, we are in relationship with Him.

    An amazing word!

  89. Rita December 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

    Great words of encouragement Liz. So sorry for your loss. I forwarded this post on to my daughter. My teenage granddaughter received some disappointing news this afternoon. In fact, she has had several disappointments lately. I believe your words will help my daughter as she guides & comforts her daughter. You always help us stay focused on the Lord & His best for us. Thank you.

  90. Amber December 11, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    Dear Liz, I’m so sorry for your loss of your brother. May the Lord bring much comfort to you and your family. I enjoy reading your encouraging posts very much! I was reminded of how much God cares and He is listening to my prayers. He is faithful!

  91. Doris December 11, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

    First, I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. I have prayed for you and your family. Secondly, I didn’t realize that Joy was a doing, being thing, a verb I think you said. Living in joyful expectation of what the Lord is doing and going to do. I also hadn’t realized the patient in affliction is a doing thing also. I pray everywhere and at all times but I really needed to re-examine the joy and patience parts of this verse. So I will start right now in the everyday and in the hard to be joying and being patient with His help. Thanks, Liz!

    • Doris December 11, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

      PS I loved the prayer also and as I read and prayed with you the prayer, it struck me that as you mentioned that nothing is too small for Him that also nothing is too big for Him also. Awesome God, nothing too small or too big for our Mighty caring God.

  92. Joanne December 11, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    Joy comes from the Lord and NEVER leaves us. Happiness is circumstancial and waxes and wanes.

  93. Mary M. December 11, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers in this time of sorrow. I’m very sorry for your loss. My older brother passed away a year ago. Praising God for His grace and comforting presence in the difficult times. Merry Christmas!

  94. Martha T. December 11, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

    Thank you for the reminder that joy is more than a feeling.
    I am sorry to read about the death of your brother.One of my two brothers died two years ago.

  95. Michele December 11, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    Liz, I’m so sorry to hear about your brother. I lost my sister many years ago at the holidays. It will take time but at some point down the road it will get easier. He carried me for a long time during that horrible tribulation. But we have to keep looking to Him, trusting and believing.

  96. Mary Beth December 11, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

    I am not as eloquent as some of our other sisters in Christ, but I wanted to express my condolences for the loss of your brother. May God comfort you and your family as only He can. Thank you for your devotions. I want to write like you. You have such a sweet way with words that capture my heart and obviously many others. God is using you in a mighty way. Be strong and courageous. MB

  97. Gina December 11, 2015 at 11:37 pm #

    The greatest joy in this life is knowing that God is not keeping a record of our rights and wrongs and labeling us, naughty or nice. Thank God that he’s not Santa! Be joyful because, this isn’t it….we will one day see our loved ones again. Christmas in heaven must be awesome! REJOICE! One day we’ll see Jesus, face to face, and all the troubles of our heart will be gone ! My deep-felt condolences for the loss of your brother John- Peace and joy this holiday season beloved. G

  98. Susan G December 12, 2015 at 1:35 am #

    Liz,

    Praying for you and your family at the loss of your dear brother. Life can be so hard…so thankful He is always near to us.

    I learned that in Greek the word for “glad” and the word for “grace” come from the same root. What a beautiful thought!

    I also loved this truth you wrote, “Embracing our hope, our future, our “confidence in Christ” means we can weather the happy times and the hard times.”
    Bless you Liz!

  99. Shirley December 12, 2015 at 6:55 am #

    I am trusting that your brother knew the Lord personally. That in itself gives joy to the moment. Loss of a loved one is hard and of course not to be taken lightly, but the peace that God gives to us when we know they are in His arms cannot be understood by some people. Thank you for your posts. God bless you as He already has!! These really add to my Christmas spirit.

  100. Nancy Sonnier December 12, 2015 at 7:43 am #

    God is so good to us in so very many ways. I pray for you and your family during this difficult time. You are such a blessing to me Liz. Thank you for writing from your heart and being obedient to the Lord. God has been telling me this week that it’s time I lay all my burdens down and leave them for Him to carry. I struggle with the area of trying to “fix” my grown childrens problems, and I know it’s not for me to handle. God is so sweet and His Holy spirit is gentle and loving. Thank you Liz, and may God bless you and your family. Merry Christmas!

  101. Diana Roe December 12, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    Thank you, Liz, for your transparency. May the God of HOPE fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you trust in him, so that you may OVERFLOW WITH HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

  102. Gabriela December 12, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Every year, it seems harder for me to get into the “Christmas Spirit”, to spread and feel the joy of the season. You are right, I put on a mask to hide the pain, and I muddle through, trusting in the Hope and Promise of the Savior. The loss and distance of loved ones during this time of year, the busy- ness of the season, the demands put on us by others, all weigh us down. It is only our faith and the constant and abiding love of our Father and Christ who see us through.
    Heartfelt condolences to you and your family at the loss of your brother, Johnny. May you especially know His comfort during this time.

  103. Janet Francis December 12, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    I have learned that we can be joyful even in the middle of our pain. I have been sad because my very best friend and cousin has a son with brain cancer. It came out of nowhere . He grew up with my children and my heart aches for them all but he just keeps smiling and cracking jokes. What a blessing he will be to so many people thru all this. That speaks of his joy.

  104. Betty Evans December 12, 2015 at 9:00 am #

    Dear Liz: My heart goes out to you and your family on the loss of your brother, John. Losing a sibling is like losing part of yourself, but we all know we will face these losses one day and the love of Christ and lots of prayer is the only thing that helps us through not only these losses, but through the everyday stresses that life hands us. But, God has blessed you with an amazing gift for helping others through these hardships with your words of knowledge and love. May God continue to bless you !

  105. Rebecca sandoval December 12, 2015 at 9:04 am #

    This verse is great! And you added such insight, thank you. My family is currently going through the fire right now. The last 6 moths have been the hardest of my life. But God is faithful and I love Him. My hope is in Christ. And it is only that truth that is getting me through these days. I have joy in my salvation, I am holding on to God(actually He is holding on to me) through these tough days, and I also pray all the time, anyplace, anywhere. Thank you so much for this encouragement.

  106. Naomi Rhode December 12, 2015 at 10:23 am #

    Dear, dear Liz…..after a bad dream, and a difficult night of pain,,,,this was the devotional for me this morning, dear one!! Thank you for your faithfulness, midst your pain!! May I be also!! Naomi

  107. Cheryl December 12, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    First of all, Liz, I’m sorry for your loss of your brother. Your sharing that and your words: “It’s wonderful to visit with family and friends, to share a festive meal, to open presents, to laugh until we leak. But in the end, such joys are reduced to memories. Only our hope in Christ lasts forever”. Brought back memories of Christmas times spent with my grandmother and great aunt 30 years ago. When my husband and I were first married and moved to CT we didn’t know a soul there. But my father’s mother lived in RI so we spent several Christmases and other holidays with her and my great aunt, who lived across the street from her! We got to know these ladies and loved their quaint New England charm and personal idiosyncrasies. Many laughs and many memories. I didn’t realize until now how much I still miss my grandmother and those times together. Praise the Lord our hope in Christ lasts forever. Otherwise the losses and memories would be too much to bear.

  108. [email protected] December 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm #

    Oh Liz, I have been struggling so very much with being glad and joyful. I feel utterly alone yet my husband and I are both in our home.
    I try to wake him everyday to BE apart of our life but he sleeps all the time. He has had some very major medical issues but I am an early riser as he used to be. I spend hours a day all alone and then I struggle with resentment for having to do everything as if I am single. I am tired and I am lonely yet I know where my help comes from, it comes from my Lord and Savior!
    Thank you for your writing today about BEing and DOing…I feel ashamed when I don’t feel Joy but I have learned I need to DO it! To BE it!
    I am sorry for your loss and pray the Lord continues to bring silly, happy memories to your mind in the quiet of the night when grief comes calling.

  109. Cindy Cornett December 12, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    I am so thankful that you are joying in the midst of your grief! We are so blessed to have a Comforter and and Savior to carry us thru all of our days. I pray that you will have an especially blessed Christmas! Prayers for you and your family on the loss of your brother, Johnny.

  110. LB December 12, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    thank you Liz, your words lead me back to a loving God. I’ve missed him. Blessings to you as you grieve your brother.

  111. Stephanie December 12, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    I love how you break down verses, and expound on them! Joying! what a stupendous word….and we have nothing without hope…I grieve with you in the loss of your brother. Christmas is a hard time of year for me, as my father died the week of Christmas. So it’s not “the most wonderful time of the year”, in the way that our society wants everyone to be happy… but I have joy in the hope of eternity with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

  112. Sally Jurkowski December 12, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

    Yes, isn’t so much easier to expect to feel joyful at the times were things are easy, heart warming and beautiful. When we are in those valley times, like in the midst of a serious illness, our own, or a loved ones, it is not always an expectation. At the times of great heartache, I have been made aware of what I had and why it feels like such a loss. I ultimately realize that I have had a lot to be grateful for.

    I am sorry for your loss. I haven’t yet lost a sibling and I can only imagine how that feels.

  113. Tom Green December 12, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

    Thank you for taking your time to write such insightful thoughts. It was truly helpful and inspiring. I need to be in prayer more often. My friend Carol Fisher sent us your devotional and I am so glad she did. God Bless you!

  114. Lindsay Miller December 12, 2015 at 7:56 pm #

    Christmas Blessings Liz,
    I’m so sorry about the loss of your brother, but glad to hear that you two had a special brother sister relationship that you can treasure until you meet again!
    Thank you so much for opening the eyes of my heart to the real meaning of the commands in Romans 12:12. I love you word “joying” to be joyful in hope, and endure for being patient in affliction. I also appreciate that you too pray spontaneously in the car or wherever the Holy Spirit nudges you!
    I’m making copies of your Christmas posts to take with me to share with my daughter over the holidays. Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    Lindsay

  115. Debbie December 12, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

    Praying for you in this time of loss. Thank you for your devotional. Many of my friends/family are in the valley of sorrow these past two weeks and it’s been depressing me. Thank you for the reminder to choose JOY.
    Was reminded this week that God raises up and puts down leaders. Not merely national leaders but leaders in many areas of our lives. Sometimes we stress about “that leader needs to be removed” but God has placed them there for a purpose. It is His will. And it is our place to learn submission or dignity in trial or humility or deference or obedience or that it’s time to move on. God is so good.

  116. Debbie December 12, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

    Praying for you in this time of loss. Thank you for your devotional. Many of my friends/family are in the valley of sorrow these past two weeks and it’s been depressing me. Thank you for the reminder to choose JOY.
    Was reminded this week that God raises up and puts down leaders. Not merely national leaders but leaders in many areas of our lives. Sometimes we stress about “that leader needs to be removed” but God has placed them there for a purpose. It is His will. And it is our place to learn submission or dignity in trial or humility or deference or obedience or that it’s time to move on. God is so good.

  117. Rebecca Della December 12, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    The Lord cares deeply when His loved ones die.
    Psalm 116:15
    He loves us all.
    May you and your family have mercy, peace, and love in abundance.

    Hope, Gods great hope sustains me everyday
    Married twice.
    Divorced twice.
    Saved once
    And forever .
    Thank you, Jesus

  118. Veronica December 12, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

    Liz, My deepest condolences on the loss of your brother John. Prayers for you and your family during this difficult time.

  119. Karen December 12, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

    My dear Liz,

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother. May the fond memories of Johnny give you comfort and peace as the Lord walks with you in your season of remembering and grieving. May you lean on the Lord in this season.

    I’ve seen in the last week or so that in the midst of great affliction, the Lord showcases the good. For example, from the San Bernardino tragedy we see the men and women who God empowered to do great and heroic acts of courage.

    May you and your family rest in God’s comfort and peace.

  120. Teri December 13, 2015 at 5:14 am #

    Oh Liz, you spoke to my heart. I work with a needy population and really you can’t keep doing that unless you have hope, and I do. I repeatedly have to call on Jesus to make me keep on being hopeful and patient and perserverant. The biggest truth for me is He is all those things for me, so I can just let Him do the next right thing. It is so blessed to walk with him.
    May the Holy Spirit comfort you this Christmas and bring you fond memories of your brother to savor and depth in relationships of those around you.

  121. Kathy December 13, 2015 at 5:50 am #

    I love the phrase, “I’m joying.” I need to be reminded that joy is a choice. Rejoicing is focusing on God and Who He is, not on my circumstances. It comes from refuting the lies of the enemy with the Truth of God’s Word and taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. As believers, we know the end of the story and it is the most glorious happy-ever-after possible! Our hope in Christ can make us joyful even through our grief journey. Love and prayers to you, Liz, and your family.

  122. Pollie December 13, 2015 at 6:10 am #

    I am usually an “instant in prayer” kind of gal. My stop drop and pray lifestyle has made for many a funny moment and not a few awkward ones as well. Yesterday I had a thought that maybe this welcome habit has dropped off a bit. But I dismissed it. Reading this opened my eyes: my prayer conversation with My Father is too silent lately. Time to examine why get back to it. Thanks for this timely reminder!

  123. Linda H December 13, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    Prayers and hugs for your loss of your brother! Thanks for the reminder that God fills our every need. I love the prayer comments. Prayer is our privilege and such a vital part of our lives. It brings hope and reminds me that God cares.

  124. Irma argueta December 13, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    The joy of the Lord is in me because I’m a child of the king. Even through difficult times I remain Joyful because I know He is in control. I’m so sorry for your lost

  125. Irma argueta December 13, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    The joy of the Lord is in me because I’m a child of the king. Even through difficult times I remain Joyful because I know He is in control. I’m so sorry for your lost

  126. Dottie from Kansas December 13, 2015 at 9:01 am #

    I am thankful everyday that God has blessed me with a Joy that overflows! I am His!

  127. Nancy Stigliano December 13, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    “Be joyful in hope…” I felt drawn to your blog this morning, Liz, as I have been from time to time in the last few months. A God thing? Oh yes. Hope and joy are two words that have been brought before me in the last 10 or so years and something I seem to struggle with on a daily basis. At this time of year, especially, it’s easy to fall in to a “woe is me” kind of place. I miss my oldest son who I haven’t seen in going-on two years(timing and distance issues) I thought I’d be in a different place in my life relationship-wise and all the holiday hype with couples everywhere…well, it gets wearing. Job-wise? I’m not getting any younger and is this really what I want to do? I laugh that I’m never going to retire and it’s not all that funny, you know? And then I read your blog. And you’re full of such joy, and full of such hope and your own brother just died? Drew me up short. Made me think. That my life isn’t the pity party I’m making it out to be. That there is joy renewed every morning, that there is hope in the Lord, that God has a plan in all of my mess and in.His.time. it will come to pass, whatever the “it” is He has in mind. Thank you, Liz, and thank God for your gift of words and encouragement and wisdom. Your heart spoke to mine. May God’s peace and comfort be with you in abundance at this time of great sadness and, at the same time, great joy. God bless you.

  128. Eden December 13, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    Hi I’m Eden! This blog on Romans 12:12 was really spiritual. I liked the way you kicked Santa out and put Jesus in because that’s what Christmas is really about. Thank you for those encouraging words. I maybe only ten and 1/2 but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand this good stuff.??

  129. Tabitha December 13, 2015 at 1:03 pm #

    Wonderfully written and so true. Jesus is the reason for our hmm it. So sorry for your loss this close to the holidays.

  130. Gail December 13, 2015 at 1:44 pm #

    thank you for letting God speak to me through your words. My dad passed away the day after Thanksgiving – working on the “joying” action but it is hard.

  131. Barbara Bundy December 13, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    Thank you for this devotion on being glad. I liked what you said that “God calls us to “be happy” (CEB). It’s not a feeling, not a mere emotion. It’s a being thing. A doing thing. An act of obedience. A verb: “joying” (WYC). Sometimes is it hard to “be joying” when your heart is breaking over the loss of someone special. My husband went home to be with the Lord last year but the loss is still felt. I am so sorry to hear about your brother. I will pray that you and your family will keep on looking to the God of all comfort, our Heavenly Father who is always ready to comfort us. God bless you!

  132. Debby Zigenis-Lowery December 13, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    Dear Liz,
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. It is hard to let a loved one go, especially this time of year. May all of you feel God’s loving arms around you. I wish you “comfort and joy!”

  133. Milagros Milliner December 13, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    God is so awesome!! Even in the middle of our pain and sorrow, He uses us to encourage one another, to lift each other up. I send you my deepest condolences, Liz. God gives us grace and the peace we need in spite of our suffering. Blessings to us all.

  134. simlin December 13, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    Thank you.

  135. Lynnette December 13, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

    Dear Liz, may the peace that passes all understanding be with you and your family in the loss of your brother, Johnny. May you be comforted in the hope and promise that you will see each other again in Heaven. Your words touched my heart, especially the following: God calls us to “be happy”. My mother, who passed away 19 years ago today told me several months before she passed away from cancer that all she wanted for me was to be happy. My sister and I get together throughout the year to have lunch together. One lunch date we make sure we keep is on December 13. My happiness is based on hope in Christ. I weather the hard times with the good times. May you be happy with your special memories of your brother, John. May they bring you comfort and joy. Be comforted from his hilarious stories he shared and especially his laugh. May we comfort each other as we share along our life’s journey. God bless you, Liz. Lifting you and your family up in prayer. You are such a blessing to your readers.

  136. Judy Houle December 13, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    Liz,

    I just discovered you, thanks to Ann Voskamp! I feel as though I just met my long lost sister! I am so sorry for your loss, but I know that your brother is in the palm of his Heavenly Father. God weeps with you, my sister in Christ. He knows how you feel and His comfort and peace will surround you. I am praying for you and your family as you walk this hard journey. You have blessed me in the short time that I’ve had to get to know you through your writing and your web cast with Ann. Thank you for how you minister to so many women, including me.

  137. Patricia December 13, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    Dear Liz, please accept my deepest sympathy in the loss of your brother, John. May God comfort you and enfold you in His care. It is especially hard to lose a sibling. So sorry for your loss. I’m the eldest of 6 and our sister, Kathleen, who was 3 years younger than I, passed away in 2011. We rejoiced that she was with the Lord but we all mourned in our own way and once in a while a dull ache nabs at my heart when a particular song will play or I’ll pass one of her favorite restaurants or areas she used to frequent with me. We’ll be seeing her again. We know it and we rejoice in it.

    Psalms 30:5b – Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

    Liz, go ahead a weep if need be; Jesus knew that he would bring Lazarus back to life but He still wept when He heard that Lazarus had died. God comfort and strengthen, dear lady.

  138. Kathy December 14, 2015 at 12:05 am #

    Sorry to hear of your brothers passing. May God wrap His Loving arms around you and your family.
    Thank you for reminding me of His listening and knowing our hearts.

  139. Leana December 14, 2015 at 2:28 am #

    Dear Liz,

    My heart goes out to you as you deal with such a terrible loss; although I can’t imagine what that feels like since my little brother is still here… I can offer the only comfort that I know how – to look back on your previous emails, they have helped me soooo much with the passing of and upcoming first annniversary of my father’s passing to Heaven.
    My love and prayers to you and yours as you all work through this time.
    God Bless!!

  140. Debbie December 14, 2015 at 7:07 am #

    Thank you , Liz, for your scripture . My husband recently had k eye replacement and I gave him that very verse you shared , be patient in affliction . Just what he needed !
    Merry Christmas and thanks again. For all your devotions ! Love , Debbie

  141. Nicole December 14, 2015 at 7:10 am #

    I really liked your emphasis on “joying” and that God gives us the grace to be joyful. I lost my mom this year and this will be the first Christmas without her. She was such a woman of prayer and faith. She embodied this whole verse. I am working on “joying” more, being patient and humble more and also praying constantly, always. My mom used to launch into prayer all the time. My sister and I are having to step up and learn that skill more for ourselves since she set such a great example. Thanks Liz. I hope you can “joy” more than you expected this season, in spite of your loss.

  142. Pamela December 14, 2015 at 8:35 am #

    I pray for comfort for you through the Christmas season and the days ahead. Can you even imagine the First heavenly Christmas you’re brother is celebrating this year! I am finding during this season of my life to fix my eyes upon the Lord. He is my joy. No matter what season I’m in. Sometimes when we deal with the hurts of this world from strangers even from family we have to realize they are in the human skin you’re in. Then we look to the Lord. None of us are perfect otherwise Jesus could have stayed upon his throne and never come to earth to suffer for the remission of our sins. At those times we have to choose forgiveness and look to the Lord to bring all those feelings to pass. Then we draw our peace and joy from him. The joy of the Lord is our Strength. To face whatever we must through him. Wishing you and your family a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

  143. Ammie December 14, 2015 at 8:41 am #

    First, I would like to extend sincere condolences for your loss. I understand how hard it is to miss loved ones at Christmas…my joy comes in knowing I will see them again one day! Being “patient in affliction” is so much easier said than done as this earthly shell rebels against not getting what we want…freedom from suffering, right here and right now. It is hard for our human minds to comprehend that the release from suffering may not come on this side of heaven. Yet God’s plans are for our good, so we must trust in Him…praying comfort for your family and praying for my own heart to lean more on Him…

  144. Kathy December 14, 2015 at 10:20 am #

    Hi Liz! So sorry to hear about your brother. Praying for you!

    This week God gave me courage to face some fears that have been gripping me this past year. When I realized faith will squelch out fear, I was able to overcome my anxiety. I want faith in my heart. Not fear.

  145. Donna Lee December 14, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    Liz, thank you so much for this encouragement. It is in our sadness, loss, or grief that we best understand His coming to be with us, our Immanuel. He is near to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Though now, if necessary, we are grieved by various trials, soon, very soon, we will receive that inheritance that our Lord secured for us. In this, we can rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory!

  146. Cynthia Joy December 14, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    I never thought about Joy being the opposite of trials. That explains why my middle name is JOY. 😀

  147. Mary Castrovilla December 15, 2015 at 2:32 am #

    Dear Liz, (and all those who are experiencing loss)

    I send this- from a link for ‘blue Christmas/longest night” -monday dec. 21

    ‘The night can be so very long.  The night can be so very dark and cold.
    Some say that everything happens for a reason.  God is in control, and has a plan.  But what kind of God could plan such things?  Is this the God that I am supposed to celebrate?  Is this the God that I am supposed to worship?  How can I sing “Joy to the World,” when there is none in my own heart?
    Christmas does not mean everything is okay.  Christmas did not end the sadness, the pain or the despair.  For those that are hurting at Christmas, I hope you know that you are not alone.  I do not offer you simple platitudes.  I do not offer you easy answers.  All I can offer you is my love.
    I don’t think that everything happens for a reason.  I think there are terrible things that happen every day that God did not plan. If it this were not so, then why would Jesus ask us to pray for God’s will to be done? I also think that God gives us the power and the grace to overcome even the worst that can happen.  God gives us the chance to heal and be healed; to feed and be fed; to love and be loved.
    The longest night can be so very long.  Christmas does not end the night, but it gives us hope for the dawn.
    When we leave this place, it will be into the longest night of the year.  Take this time, and claim it, but do not linger here.  Know that tomorrow the night will be shorter.  Know that soon, the light of God will break through.  Know that on Christmas, God broke through the chaos.  Know that on Christmas, God came to life so that we may have life abundant and life eternal.
    We gather here today to acknowledge that our pain is real.  We acknowledge that death has its place in the world, but it is not in a place of triumph.  Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

    http://fatpastor.me/2012/12/05/longest-night-for-those-that-mourn-at-christmas/

  148. Cheryl December 15, 2015 at 6:30 am #

    Thank you. I share sorrow too. This was an encouraging post. With young adults in my world, there are many reasons to celebrate. God is the One who hears the joys and sorrows and knows it all and is the giver of gladness even in the sorrows. Thank you. May He comfort your soul as you grieve your brother. Cheryl

  149. Stacy December 15, 2015 at 7:59 am #

    It has been a very difficult year for my family as well…so very sorry for your loss..we also know God brings us through if we let him. Our prayers are with you. Thank you for your encouragement and faith filled devotions. You have such a God given gift!!

  150. Carrie December 15, 2015 at 8:13 am #

    Liz, I am so sorry for your family’s loss. I know your Christmas will be different with a family member gone. Thank you for the encouragement today. My family is going through relationship turmoil tjis year and some family members are choosing not to reconcile thus my Christmas celebrating will be different also without them there.But…my Joy is found in Christ. Not people. I am learning that each day. Merry Christmas! !!

  151. Pam Strickland December 15, 2015 at 8:20 am #

    I loved this! Joy has always been my word – but I never realized it was a verb! Now I’m “joying”! You always bring joy – even during the tough times…maybe especially during those times when I need it. I am sorry for you loss and am praying for you and your family.

  152. Chandra Kerr December 15, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    Oh bless your heart! I am sitting here at my house crying over how hard it is to take care of everything, and I go to read your encouraging words. I am so sorry for your loss! What a blow to have at this time of year. It puts me to shame that I am crying over how hard it is to homeschool and take care of a house and a toddler, along with 3 other children. I am so thankful that you posted what you did today. I REALLY needed to read this! Prayers for you and your family as you grieve this loss!

  153. jillwithaj December 15, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

    “It’s not a feeling, not a mere emotion. It’s a being thing. A doing thing. ”
    This is what I learned.

  154. Alana Morgan December 15, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    Hi Liz….

    Such words of wisdom being shared by you even as I feel I should be sharing something with you as you say ‘farewell for now’ to your brother….may God’s arms of comfort give you peace.

    I forwarded this post to my good friend (of 38 years) who’s husband of more than 50 years went to be with God this past January.

    Thank you for sharing your heart and knowledge with us again and again!

    Merry Christmas and all God’s Blessings to you and yours.

  155. Susan December 19, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    Liz, So sorry to learn of the loss of your brother. I too had a one and only brother, by the name of John. He was 5 years older and a retired Marine Major, age 73. He passed away quite unexpected June 2015 during heart surgery. He loved the Lord and we enjoyed talking about our faith. John was newly married, less than 2 years and they were having a truly blessed life together. My only sister and I miss our brother-John so much, especially at Christmas. Pray for my sister Pat, his wife Mary, and me. God bless you, Susan (see you in Scotland!)

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