Follow by Email

Saturday, December 21, 2013

[Day 24] What Child Is This

What Child Is This

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the son of Mary.

I love this song. All year long. Mother and Child. Shepherds and angels. Me and my King.

So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Come, peasant, king, to own him.
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The babe, the Son of Mary.

Bring your family, tell your friends: Joy, joy for Christ is born!

How will you celebrate?

[Day 23] O Come, All Ye Faithful

O Come, All Ye Faithful

Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him

It is a well known fact that more people attend church services at Christmas than at any other time of the year. Folks who haven't stepped foot inside a church all year long make the time and effort to go and celebrate the coming of the King of Angels. The fast-paced faith-less become the adoring faith-full. I don't say that to imply that they have no faith, only that church attendance and wholehearted devotion has been simmering on a low heat back burner for 11 months. Thanksgiving rolls around and our renewed practice of gratitude moves us back to the high heat front, bringing on a rolling boil of faithfulness and love toward our fellow man and Holy Savior.

What if this time we keep that boil going all year long? What if that love and faithfulness boils over, spilling out to spread around? And what if we are continually replenished by Living Water so that we never run dry? What if...

Philippians 2:9-11 says-

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
What will it take for your faith and devotion to Christ to burn "hot" this year?

[Day 22] Silent Night

Silent Night

Silent night, Holy night
Shepherds quake, at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.

How silent do you really think it was the night Jesus was born?* Caesar Augustus had ordered a census for the entire Roman Empire. I'm thinking that Joseph and Mary weren't the only ones who were visiting Bethlehem that night. After all, there was no room for them at the inn, right? No Vacancy. A little town like that was probably bursting at seams with out of town guests. No, it's not likely it was silent.

But it was no ordinary night.

Shepherds trembled in fear, out in the hills keeping watch over their sheep, when the angel of the Lord appeared to them. And then a "multitude of heavenly hosts" appeared and broke out in song, announcing the greatest news to have ever been told. Christ the Savior is born!

No, a silent night it was not.

*I love when someone really inspires me to think or consider something in a different way than I had previously looked at it. This was my resulting line of thinking after today's sermon.

Jeremiah 23:5-6 says-

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord , when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

What areas of your life are you waiting and anticipating God’s presence?

[Day 21] Breath Of Heaven

Breath Of Heaven

Breath of Heaven, Hold me together
Be forever near me, Breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, Light my darkness
Pour over me, your holiness, For you’re holy
Breath of Heaven

A plea...
A prayer...
A promise.
In our darkest hour, we cry out to the One who never leaves us. He hears and answers the call of His people, His children, His loved ones. He brings LIGHT where there was only darkness. He brings LIFE where there was only death. He is HOLY, and MIGHTY, and STRONG we are most definitely...not.
His name is Jesus.

Despite the colorful decorations and cheerful greetings, Christmas time, the celebration of His birth, is not a joyful time for all. For some, it is the reminder of loneliness. For others, a mark of failure. And still some, it's just another day.

Jesus has overcome ALL of that.

Psalm 27:1 says-

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

What trials are you facing right now that are robbing YOU of the joy of Christmas? What can you do to reclaim joy and hope in your life?

Friday, December 20, 2013

[Day 20] It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
With the kids jingle belling and everyone telling you,
“Be of good cheer!”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s the hap-happiest season of all.
There’ll be much mistletoe-ing
and hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Seems like half the people I know either just had a baby or will be soon. Of course, that's not entirely true, but it sure does seem like it! These little blessings are such a treasure, coming into this world from the safety of their mother's womb. Totally helpless. Utterly dependent. Precious. Each little miracle welcomed with celebrations and gifts, laughter and tears, joy and hope.

I imagine that Jesus' birth was anticipated in much the same way, but only a select few actually knew of the circumstances of His birth. His birth meant the arrival of our Savior and King. Our Mighty God in the flesh. That's what we celebrate at this most wonderful time of the year. With family and friends, yes, our hearts will be glowing when loved ones are near!

Isaiah 9:6 says-

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

[Day 19] God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

I will gladly take the rest that is offered, even if I'm not a gentleman ;) I. Am. Tired. There, I said it. I'm exhausted, through and through. Sickness plus stress will wear a girl out! On top of that, I've been working my tail off to try to help offset those added expenses. God has generously blessed those efforts and for that I am thankful. Comfort and joy...ah, yes. THAT. I purpose to wholeheartedly invite more comfort and joy in our home, especially these next few days. Jesus, we welcome you!

Matthew 11:28-29 says-

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

[Day 18] Go Tell It On The Mountain

Go Tell It On The Mountain

The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Saviour’s birth

When I was born, my parents sent out a birth announcement that says something like "Announcing the (my maiden name) Classic", complete with golf appropriate statistics. Why golf? Well, that was my dad's thing. An avid golfer, it was a creative way to share news of my arrival with loved ones who had been anticipating my arrival.

When Jesus was born, His Father also sent out a unique birth announcement, a bright star in the night sky, complete with the heavenly chorus of angels. Why a star and angels? It was Jesus' Father's thing. After all, he created the heavens. What better way to share the Good News with the people He loves that His Son, Jesus,  had arrived? Good news of great joy!

Luke 2:10 says-

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."

Are you shouting out the Good News? Are you sharing it at all? If not, what's keeping you?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

[Day 17] O Little Town Of Bethlehem

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie…
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth, The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years, Are met in thee tonight

Why did God choose the little town of Bethlehem as the birthplace of His Only Son? A small unsuspecting town instead of a grand metropolis. So much to come from so little.

This seems to be just the way God works. He chooses the least likely candidate for a job. He chooses the humble to be bold, the weak to be strong, the quiet little town to host the grand entrance of a King.

1 Corinthians 1:27-28 says-

"...But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are..."

God does not choose what man would consider "well suited" or "well prepared". No, he chooses the ones willing to be divinely equipped. Have you witnessed this topsy turvy method? Has God used seemingly insignificant people and events in your life or the lives of others to do great things? Will you allow Him to equip YOU to be used to?

[Day 16] O Holy Night

O Holy Night

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!

The night when Christ was born was a most perfect night, but He was delivered into this world under difficult circumstances. His mother was in labor, yet there was no room for them at the inn. Did she worry that they wouldn't find shelter in time? Did she trust the Lord as her body prepared to bring forth the Newborn King, that this was part of His plan? His earthly father, Joseph, did find shelter for them, but it was with the animals. It was not much, but it was something. And before long, He was here, taking His first breath in the flesh.

I've done some worrying of my own lately. "Difficult circumstances", what an understatement. I've pleaded with God to shelter me from this storm, to deliver me. I felt like I had been dog paddling for days. Exhausted, hopeless, helpless. In choosing to trust God, I had to let go of my own expectations, my own will, and walk in faith.

Today, deliverance came. A miraculous answer to prayer. Praise God! I want to shout it from the roof tops!

Luke 2:32 says-

"...a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."

How are you being a light to others?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

[Day 15] We Three Kings Of Orient Are

We Three Kings Of Orient Are

O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

When my kids were little, there were two words we made a point of teaching them. Patience and obedience. Only you can't really hand Webster's dictionary to a 3 or 4  year old, so we had to explain these things in a way they could understand.

Patience is waiting without whining

Obedience is doing what you're instructed to do and having a good attitude about doing it. (As they got older, we took this one a step further and explained that immediate obedience means obeying all the way and without delay.)

Both of these words have deeper meaning as they (and we) get older. We all can use a little practice "waiting without whining". I have to wonder how many times our Heavenly Father has wanted to remind me of the same thing! And obedience? Having a right heart makes all the difference. I have to trusty that God knows what is best for me. I don't have to know or understand WHY, but my feet need to be quick to go His way.

I think the "3 kings" referred to in today's Christmas carol displayed both patience and obedience quite well. They had been anxiously anticipating the Messiah, waiting for His arrival, when the Star led the way. They did what they were instructed to do and went quickly to follow the Star to their newborn King.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says-

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

In what ways do you need to practice patience and obedience?

[Day 14] The Little Drummer Boy

The Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum 
A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum 
Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum 
To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum, 
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum, 
When we come. 

Our finest for the King. Is that really what we bring? God has given us so much, what do we give him?

My family has been feeling God's vice grip strength lately. Things are too tight to be comfortable. I am overwhelmed by all of it. And yet there's no escape. God has me right  where he wants me.

So what do I have to offer? What do I have that's fit for a King? My heart. That's about it. My heart in the words I say. My heart in the things I do. My heart in the love I share. This is how I honor Him...

Romans 12:1 says-

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Are you giving your best to God? If not, how could you give your best to him today?

Monday, December 9, 2013

[Day 13] The First Noel

The First Noel

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of naught
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Noël, from the Latin word natalis, means “birth.” Therefore, the title of the hymn, fully translated, is “The First Birth.”
That First Birth, the one that delivered Our Savior into this world? It was so He could deliver us. Have you ever given much thought to what that really means?

I couldn't help but think of this today when word came that a loved one had taken his own life. I don't know all the details, I only know the heartache. I can only imagine the why, but I will never understand it.

There is no SIN too great,
No FAILURE too big,
No WEAKNESS too strong
that Christ cannot deliver you from. None. Nada. Zilch. Got that?

Matthew 1:21 says-

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

If YOU know this to be true, are you living like you believe it? Do you know others that need to hear that message? Will you tell them?

Don't wait.

[Day 12] The Christmas Song

The Christmas Song

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

That song could have been singing about our cozy little life. The tree, lights, and decorations are up and twinkling. The Christmas songs we listen to year after year are playing for hours every day. There are yummy aromas drifting from the oven. Life is good.

And then the snow began to fall last week, completing our family's picture perfect Christmas. It didn't melt right away like it usually does. Simply beautiful! And God is great.

After 7 days of not being able to leave our home due to icy roads, I was ready to venture out. Only one of our vehicles has 4WD and my husband needed out to get to and from work. And then I got the phone call from my husband that that same vehicle was having trouble. What? We'd been through this so many times already this year. We don't have the time or money for this...*sigh* Life interrupted.

Even though we didn't expect this obstacle, God knew it was going to happen. He allowed it to pass through His Approving Hands. Nothing surprises Him or catches Him off guard. God is Sovereign.

Thankfully, the repair was an easy fix. Even better? It ended up being free. God could have spared us the inconvenience, but instead He showed us His Mercy and Provision for every little detail in our lives. Like He does time and again. God is in control. Always.

Isaiah 57:15 says-

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

How have you seen God in control in the midst of life’s interruptions?

[Day 11] Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Mild He lays His glory by;
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.

Tonight my husband made a comment to our oldest son, "When you smile like that, you look like a handsome young man." It was pretty funny since that's what he is anyway! (I prefer the smile to the scowl, of course.) I love talking with him about his future and what he thinks he might like to do. He's almost 14 now, but it seems like yesterday that my husband and I were holding our first tiny baby boy and dreaming of all the things he might be when he grows up. *Sigh* Where does the time go?

When I stop to consider that Jesus was once Mary's first tiny baby boy, I can't help but think she must have dreamed of His future too. She knew He was the Son of God, that He was sent with one purpose, how could she know what looked like? He was sent here to die, so we wouldn't have to. He was sent here to give us hope and new life!

1 Peter 1:3 says

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...

You know the true reason for Jesus' birth, but how are you showing your gratitude for the new life He gives you? How are you sharing it with those who don't know?

[Day 10] I'll Be Home For Christmas

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light gleams
I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

Where is "home" for you? For me, I think of where the rest of my family of origin resides, hundreds of miles from here. Of course, I moved so many times growing up that there is no particular house that I call home, but I'd sure love to be home for Christmas! To see everyone, give hugs and kisses, laughter, love. It's just not the same over the phone.

Of course, there's also "home" with my children and my wonderful husband. A place where we eat around the dinner table, cuddle on the couch, give hugs and kisses, laughter, love... Of course we've moved several times too, so it's not a house thing.

I learned at a very young age that these homes we live in, these houses, they're temporary. I also learned that a new home means more than just a new address- it means new friends, new favorite places, new experiences. But sometimes it's hard to find your place in all that. Yeah, I learned that too...

Philippians 3:20 says-

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ...

Christ is my everything. He is my constant, my unchanging Savior who provides for my every need. My real home is in heaven with Him. Nothing else will ever truly satisfy or make me feel complete. Those moments here in this world- cuddling in the couch, hugs and kisses, laughter, love -they only give us tiny glimpses of Home.

Instead of what the world has to offer, how will you allow Jesus to satisfy you and to fulfill your every need this Christmastime?

[Day 9] Do You Hear What I Hear

Do You Hear What I Hear

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing thru the sky, shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear?

Our greatly anticipated Savior was born with little fanfare. Our King quietly arrived in the darkness of night. God sent his only Son into the world FOR ALL THE WORLD, yet how would they know He had arrived?

I can't even begin to imagine the "communication network" in place when Jesus was born. To say that news spread by word of mouth is an understatement. There was no newspaper or broadcast, no telephone, no Google or Facebook, no texting or email. Jesus' birth announcement was not mailed out with a cute little photo of the bouncing baby boy. No, word was spread by those who knew sharing with those who didn't. Face to face, from person to person, multiplying and moving outward like ripples across a still pond.

Mark 16:15-16 says-

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned..."

We have been called to proclaim the gospel, spread the good news, to those we come into contact with.

How are you spreading the Word?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

[Day 8] Away In A Manger

Away In A Manger

Away in a manger, no crib for His bed;
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head

Last night our temperature dropped to 3°. Cold, no matter where you're from. Yet I had a roof over my head, warm clothes and blankets. Plenty of water and food to sustain us for days to come. I had a toasty fire going and the sweet knowledge that my children were tucked snugly into their soft, comfy beds.

Luke 2:6-7 says-

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Jesus, King of Kings, Prince of Peace, was born with little more than the comforts offered to animals. No room at the inn for weary travelers, let alone a young laboring mother-to-be.

Every day of my life I have had more than the "accommodations" my King was born into. I have much to be thankful for.

Simple. Humble. Not much more than a roof over their heads...Baby Jesus, born in a manger.

Why do you think God chose this setting for His Son, Our Savior, to be born rather than one fit for a King?

[Day 7] It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

When the new heaven and earth shall own the Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.

We live in a broken world. And it's been broken a long, long time...
Broken promises
Broken laws
Broken relationships
Broken bodies
Broken homes
Broken...and waiting to be saved, put back together, healed, restored, renewed.
Brokenness since Adam and Eve walked in the Garden, seeking more than the Everything they had, the Everything they needed.

How long, Lord?

Revelation 21:3-4 says-

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

There is hope in the promise of a future. We will dwell with God. WE will dwell with God. WITH GOD. Did you get that? And He with us. We will be His people, He will be our God.
Yes...
No more tears, no death, no pain. No more brokenness.
This is the Kingdom we look forward to. Our Prince of Peace will reign forever. And all the angels shall sing.

What is one thing could you change to give those around you a glimpse of God’s Kingdom of peace now? An offer of the hope we have in Jesus.

Friday, December 6, 2013

[Day 6] O Come, O Come Emmanuel

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
It snowed today. More snow than I've seen in one day since I moved here 7 years ago. I have missed the quiet peacefulness of that icy cloak of freshly fallen glittery white snow. I can feel God's presence in the stillness, just like I do when I hear the ocean's waves crashing on the sandy beach. His Strength. His Peace. His Absolute Power over all creation. So close...
Matthew 1:23 says-
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel” (which means, God with us).
I desperately needed to feel God's presence today. I know in my heart that He is always with us, but with things in our life slowly spinning out of control, to have Our Heavenly Father lovingly wrap us in this beautiful blanket is to know a joy-filled peace like no other. Thank you, Lord...Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel...
Since God is “Emmanuel,” how is God with YOU this Christmas season?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

[Day 5] Mary Did You Know

Mary Did You Know
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.
Jesus, Son of God, was born to us via a young girl with a willing, servant's heart. Mary said yes to whatever God had in store, no questions asked. She had no way of knowing the wonderful things He would do...the miracles He would perform...the lives He would save. She had no way of knowing the heartache she would experience either. Mary surrendered her life...her reputation...her dreams...for God's future.
Luke 1:38 says-
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
How willing am I to do what He asks of ME?
How willing am I to go where he sends ME?
How willing am I to trust him in ALL things?
Lord, search my heart. Break me of my selfish ways. Create in me a humble, willing spirit that can only come from You. To you alone, I surrender all...
He has amazing plans for my life. And for yours...
What keeps you from fully surrendering to God?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

[Day 4] I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Most of the people I've come into contact with lately would not tell you (or me) that Christmastime is a peaceful time for them. I've seen mothers rushing their children from here to there and back again- play rehearsals, choir practice, and parties. I've seen fathers feeling the pressure of providing for the extra expenses that come with gift giving, traveling, and party planning. I've seen children tired from the busyness and lack of sleep and schedule.
Yes, there are some folks that haven't been lost to the holiday hustle and bustle, but they are few and far between.
I am striving to stay grounded right now, but troubled by a situation brewing in our lives. One most definitely out of our control. We keep bringing it back to the Lord, not knowing what He would have us  do, but finding ourselves impatient for His answer.
Psalm 29:11 says-
May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!
Lord, there is I nothing I want more than your peace. I am so thankful that, like today's Christmas carol,  you are not dead, that you do not sleep, that you hear my prayers, that you have all things in your control, that you have plans for me, plans for good. Help me to keep my eyes on you, especially when there are so many distractions surrounding me. Instead, surround me with your peace. May Your Will be done today and always...
In what ways do you find peace and comfort in God?

Monday, December 2, 2013

[Day 3] Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Let your heart be light.
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight.
When I really listened to the words of today's Christmas carol, the one word that really struck me was "little". Have yourself a merry LITTLE Christmas... Yes, and little it shall be! A non-existent budget makes for easy gift giving. I can either make it, bake it, or fake it ;) But these things take so much time and effort...Who has time to be baking and crafting all day? Busy, busy, busy. Sounds like a certain Martha we all know (Luke 10). I need to be here, do this, go there...adjoining my wheels all day...And I just desire to spend this Christmas time celebrating my Jesus, honoring Him, sharing Him...
Luke 10:41-42 says-
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,  but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Lord Jesus, teach me to be like Mary! 
The more I thought about it, the clearer it became to me. That's the perfect gift! One that I gave up my time for, moved my hands over, prayed over the recipient...
I'm starting to see my merry little Christmas taking shape and I like what I see. What troubles do you need to let go of to have one too?

Sunday, December 1, 2013

[Day 2] Angels We Have Heard On High

Angels We Have Heard On High
Angels we have on heard high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains
Gloria in Excelsis Deo
Driving home tonight, after a long day at the park with family and friends, I was blown away by the beautiful sunset. Not just a blend of colors, but the clouds looked like wind-scattered sand, the sky painted blue, pink, orange... A deep breath of contentment filled my lungs. God is good...
Luke 2:14 says-
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Yes, it was His Perfect Peace I was feeling. Just for that moment, I was in awe as I considered what an artist our God is. In all of creation we see his fingerprints. Whether a colorful sunset, a newborn child, tall trees, beautiful flowers, a wild animal...truly AWEsome.
I cannot imagine what it was like that night Jesus was born. Angels rejoicing, singing glory and honor to the Newborn King. Awestruck...
When was the last time you were truly in awe of God?

Saturday, November 30, 2013

[Day 1] Joy to the World

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King.
Still basking in the Thanksgiving afterglow, I am so very much aware of the good gifts God gives us every day, if only we would open our eyes and look around. Family around the dinner table, friends with warm greetings and hugs, strangers who respond to a simple smile. The hesitant kind...."what? Who me?"  Yes...
Nehemiah 8:10 says-
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
God answered our prayers this week to send family to spend Thanksgiving with us. My mom and my brother drove
12 hours to join us. We were overjoyed to see them, spend time with them, make memories. And thanks to friends that sent portions to us who had none, we ate and drank too. What normally would have left me exhausted- hours on end in the kitchen, cleaning, cooking, cleaning again- I found strength in the Lord readily available. He is so good! Rejoice! Rejoice! I gladly receive my King! :)
What is it that keeps us from remembering or noticing these things a few weeks from now, in the cold gloominess of February? I don't know, but I will work to prevent it this next year.
What will you rejoice about during this Christmas season?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Timely Provision

My boys and I were downtown today, heading into the library. Enjoying the nice fall weather and in no particular hurry, I didn't quickly move on (like I might have another day) when stopped and greeted by a homeless man.
"Hello, how are you?"
Doing well, how are you?
"Good. Good...Where do I know you from?"
(Smiling) Oh, you've seen me around town before.
"Do you think you can help me with something?"
Possibly. What can I do for you?
"Food. I need food. Just a bite to eat."
(Feeling my empty pockets, I shook my head. And I didn't have my dreaded purse with me either.) I can't. I have nothing.
"That's okay. God will provide. Have a nice day."
Yes. Yes, He will.

And I believe that with every bit of my heart. For days I had been stressing over how I would stretch my own budget to feed extra mouths this week. Thanksgiving week, no less. Those "extra mouths" that I had prayed for and God had answered.  It's all yours anyway, God. I will trust in you...

See, this morning I received a phone call and a whole ham. I didn't ask for it. I didn't even pray for it. God knew what was needed and provided as only He can.
So, yes. I wanted to help the man who had humbled himself to ask for help. I couldn't, but I know the One who can. And I know that He will.

How has God provided for you this week?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Different

I just wanted to water my struggling lawn and garden. As dry a it is here, I was content to move the single hose and sprinkler, however long it took. Everything gets a good soaking and I get to check the progress along the way. Plenty of time for peaceful prayer...

My husband, God bless him, had a better idea.

Yesterday, he came home from work with 2 new hoses and 2 rainbird-type sprinklers. "Just connect them all together (end to end) and water it all at once."  Okay, but...

No "buts" about it. Today, I did as he instructed, got them all connected and strung throughout my yard. I hooked up the 100+ feet of hoses, set the sprinklers, and adjusted the spray zone. I turned the water on and walked back to see how it was working. I could have cried...water was spraying in every direction, so I couldn't walk through without getting soaked...there went my peaceful prayers as I resorted to desperate ones for patience. There was very little water pressure since the hoses were so long and there were 2 sprinklers spraying every which way. I gave up, switched back to one sprinkler, and went inside.

I find that there are 2 kinds of people:
•Those that are always looking for the fastest and easiest way in life.
• Those that pay attention to every detail and don't mind taking the time to do it, slow and steady.

There are pros and cons to both, you see. And yet it's rare to consistently find all of those qualities wrapped up in one individual.

Fast & Easy
+ wastes no time
+ makes quick decisions
+ always looking for short cuts
- misses important details
- doesn't always see the "big picture"
- always looking for short cuts

Slow & Steady
+ plans ahead, organized
+ considers things from many angles
+ rarely takes chances with the "new"
- needlessly worries over potential problems
- unable to make quick decisions
-rarely takes chances with the "new"

I know my husband was just trying to make my life easier. I know he doesn't realize how much I enjoyed the redundancy of this mindless task, perhaps he even saw it as tedious or a waste of time.

We are each created so differently...yet so perfectly for each other.

It's time we had a little talk...so I can say thank you for his thoughtful gesture and explain how I treasure the simple tending of my yard, my quiet time of worshipping the Lord.

I am thankful that God has blessed us with such a rich variety of personalities, each beneficial in their own special way. I pray that God continues to show me the blessings he has blooming right before my eyes.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Illusion

illusion[ ih-loo-zhuhn ] noun
1. something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.2. the state or condition of being deceived; misapprehension.3. an instance of being deceived.

I woke bright and early this morning, got dressed and ready to go pick blueberries with my son. As I poured my required (and much anticipated) cup of coffee, I paused for a moment. "Things are not always what they appear to be." Well, that was an interesting thought... Where did that come from? It felt like a gentle whisper.

We left, picked our berries, and headed home to prepare for a busy day. Cleaning the house, attend a baby shower, deliver our county fair exhibits, and tending to my still-hurting husband. "Things are not always what they appear to be." Really? Okay...that's nice...?

And then I saw it.

A dust bunny.
Yes, a real life, honest to goodness, dust bunny. And it was hopping across my living room floor!

"Things are not always what they appear to be."

Dust bunnies! How can that be? Well, yes...I hadn't swept or mopped yet, so there was surely bound to be a dust bunny here or there in this dusty, dirty country house...but HOPPING? How can that be?

My blueberry-pickin' partner walked in the room as I stood there pondering, and witnessed this spectacle for himself. "Did that just move??" Yep. Hoppin' dust bunny. You saw it with your own 2 eyes!

As it hopped again, we noticed the cluster of dust pull apart just enough to reveal our visitor's true identity. A frog in dust bunny's clothing!

I scooped it into my hands and took him outside. His natural moist body had dust particles clinging to his skin and it wouldn't come off. I sent my son for a bowl of water, gave our master illusionist a quick bath and his disguise fell away. Away he hopped.

"Things are not always what they appear to be."

Even though my brain told me no, my eyes saw what they saw and, for a moment (or 3), I believed! I was astonished at how easily I was deceived...misled by this false impression of reality.

And I would do it again...not even an hour later when we received a call that reeked of bad news...and more to come. I will trust God that it is not what it appears to be, since that seems to be what he's been trying to tell me all day.

Lord, forgive my foolishness. Please help me to not be deceived, but to seek the truth, despite what I see with my own 2 eyes. Protect me from believing the lies that come my way. Help me to see through your eyes- clear, perfect, and true. Help me to keep my eyes on you. Lord, may your will be done in our lives today and always. Amen.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Needed

This gift...
This wonderful gift of a man God has given me. A clear reflection of Christ in my life...my protector, my provider. My Beloved.

Every day, he rises and works hard to provide for our family. A servant's heart has he.

And he needs me...

Out of this trial, this injury to his strong body, God has given me an opportunity to serve my husband like never before. To truly be his helpmeet...

I am not accustomed to waking at 3:30 am, but my man needs me. He wakes in pain, unable to bend his knee. He needs me...just to get dressed. He needs me...to kneel before him, to put on his socks and shoes. A man on crutches cannot carry his coffee mug or breakfast to the table. He needs me...

I know that asking for help doesn't come easy for him. Me too...
I try to anticipate his needs, so he doesn't have to ask, yet I let him do what he is able to do. It is humbling for both of us.

To the depths of my soul, I know that this is what I was created for.

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for giving me this man...and this opportunity to serve my husband like never before. What a blessing.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hurt

Yesterday, my sweet husband got hurt. In the 16 years we've been together, I think this is the first injury he has ever had. My poor guy...
How?
Good question :)
Was he climbing a ladder? Fixing a fence? Moving furniture?
No...
He was playing Frisbee with our son and friends at the park. A beautiful Sunday afternoon ended with a *pop!* and a trip to urgent care.

I had stayed home from church and the park because our younger son was feeling sick. So, I wasn't there. I wasn't there to see my beloved laying on the field hurting. I wasn't there to see friends carry him off that field. I wasn't there to see our friend drive his van into the field to transport him. I wasn't there...but I thank God the others were. Thank you.

I was home with my boy when I got a text telling me "I'm praying for Charlie". What? She must mean Nathan. Afterall, he's the reason we stayed home today. Jokingly, I replied, "what's wrong with him?" Ha ha. Then I found out she wasn't at the park either. She and her husband were asked to pray for my Charlie. And I didn't know...Thank you, Lord, that others were praying for my Love even before I knew he was hurt. Thank you...

I will never understand why no one called to tell me my husband had been hurt. Strange, if you ask me.
And it hurts me too...

Instead, I will pray blessings on those that surrounded our family to help and to pray. I will choose to be thankful and glad, instead of angry and bitter. I will praise God that my husband has only a minor injury to accompany his physical pain. I will...

Heal me, O Lord , and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.
~ Jeremiah 17:14

Starting over

"There is only one rain cloud in the sky... and it's raining on me. Somehow I'm not surprised."
Lately, I've been feeling like Winnie the Pooh's buddy, Eeyore, with a little black rain cloud following me around. What a sad, depressing, self-indulgent thought... I know what my problem is too. I stopped counting my blessings. Not completely, of course, but not intentionally...not daily. And God has been so good to me. How can I not take the time to thank Him...to acknowledge the blessings He rains down on me?
 
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens...
 
This is that time for me again.
A Blessed Season, indeed.