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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Break

As you can see, my posts have been very hit and miss lately. I apologize, but I admit that I'm swamped. This is a very special time of year, but it's also VERY busy. My days and nights have been filled with Christmas parties, Christmas parades, shopping for Christmas presents, wrapping Christmas presents, decorating the house, sending out Christmas cards, and of course, practicing for our church cantata. With all of that on top of my already full schedule, there just hasn't been much time (or sanity) left for anything else.

That being said, I'm writing this post to inform you that I'll be taking an official break from the blog until after Christmas. Hopefully, things will slow down then, and I'll be able to focus a little more on my writing and ministry. Until then, I pray that God will bless each of you with a wonderful Christmas!

No matter how busy we get this time of year, let's remember the following: God gave His Son, Jesus gave His life, what have we given? I pray we each have a truthful answer. God bless you all, and Lord willing, I'll talk to you more after Christmas!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Gentle Reminder

Today, I would like to share with you an e-mail that I received. It's precious, and I hope that you'll enjoy it.

Jesus is Better than Santa
Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes but once a year
JESUS is an ever present help.
Santa fills your stockings with goodies
JESUS supplies all your needs.
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited
JESUS stands at your door and knocks..
and then enters your heart.
You have to stand in line to see Santa
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is
"Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did.
Not only does He know our name,
He knows our address too.
He knows our history and future and
He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly
JESUS has a heart full of love.
All Santa can offer is HO HO HO
JESUS offers health, help and hope.
Santa says "You better not cry"
JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you".
Santa's little helpers make toys
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts,
repairs broken homes and builds mansions.
Santa may make you chuckle but
JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
While Santa puts gifts under your tree
JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.
It's obvious there is really no comparison.
We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about.
We need to put Christ back in Christmas.
Jesus is still the reason for the season.

May the Lord Bless and Watch over you
and your loved ones this Christmas
And may He Prosper and Bless the work
of your hands in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Joy of Giving

Yesterday, during my piano lessons, a couple of my students (who are brother and sister) reminded me of the joy of giving to others. I could tell when they arrived that they were excited about something, and it didn't take them long to tell me what had brought them such happiness. "We volunteered to help the Salvation Army make Christmas packages for needy families," they told me.

As they explained to me the process of choosing a needy family from the long list available at the Salvation Army, their eyes glowed with excitement. They went on to tell me how they basically get to shop for each member of the family and come up with a certain combination of outfits, toys, books, etc. The more they spoke, the louder their voices became. By the end of their tale, they were literally bouncing off their chairs, barely able to contain their excitement. And all I could think is 'Wow!'

We live in a day and age of greed and selfishness. I've seen people get that excited about shopping for themselves, but never for someone else. These children were literally thrilled to spend their time giving to someone else. How many of us can say the same?

I think the world would be a much better place if we could all find that joy of giving. After all, isn't that what this season is about? God gave His Son. Jesus gave His life. What have we given? It's something worth thinking about!

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
II Corinthians 9:7

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Never a Dull Moment

Yesterday, I visited Old Faithful. No, I'm not talking about the punctual geyser in Yellowstone National Park. I'm actually referring to my laundry basket. It seems to erupt just as faithfully. I don't get it. There are only two of us (well, two of us that wear clothing, although I'm beginning to suspect that the dogs play "dress up" every time Jason and I leave the house). How can the laundry basket always be full to the point of overflowing?

Unfortunately, the kitchen sink is the same way. No matter how many dishes I wash, there are always more to take their place. What? Do these things breed like rabbits?

As I tend to the "Old Faithfuls" in my life, I realize that our spiritual walk is very similar. Each time we think we've conquered a sin, it erupts in our lives again. Each time we think we've grown in Christ, we find ourselves acting like a spiritual toddler, throwing temper tantrums and whining to get our way. Just like my dishes and my laundry basket, no matter how many times I "conquer" the problem, new ones seem to always be on the ready to act as a replacement.

The truth is that unless my husband and I decide to stop wearing clothes (not a pretty picture), the laundry will never be finished. And, unless we decide to stop eating, there will always be dishes to wash. Even so, unless we stop walking our spiritual walk (which shouldn't be an option), there will always be new giants to face.

Does it mean that we haven't made progress? No, even though it may seem like it. But, what it really means is that we haven't quit. We're still running the race. We haven't given up on account of the obstacles. I know that sometimes our effort seems to be in vain, but one day, when we stand before the Lord and hear Him say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," we'll discover that it was worth it all. So, go out today and conquer some geysers in your life!

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
II Corinthians 9:8

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On Eagles' Wings

Today I would like to share with you a passage from a book I'm currently reading. The book is The Tender Commandments by Ron Mehl. This example really touched my heart, and I pray it will touch yours as well. It's a bit longer than my usual posts, but I promise it's worth it.

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Exodus 19:4

What does that mean, anyway? If you were a regular reader of "Ranger Rick" magazine, you would know very well what that means. A mama eagle will make a nest at least eight feet by eight feet. . .

She will fill it up with leaves, animal fur, and down from her own breast, making a warm and cozy nest for her chicks. . . But when the time is right, she will start making things a bit uncomfortable for those unsuspecting little eaglets. It all begins when she takes them to a "home" that will be more important to them than any nest or aerie in the world. . . the sky! She will pick them up, take them in flight to a great and dizzying height, and drop them.

This is all shockingly new for the little eaglet. He's never flown a day in his life. For him, life has been a comfy, snuggled-down, fuzzball existence. A soft downy nest, little pals to play with, regular meals, and Mama's protective wings at night. But now Mama kicks him overboard and there is nothing between him and certain death but the wild blue yonder. . .

As the little fella plummets tot the earth, contemplating his comfortable but surprisingly brief life, mama eagle watches. And what does she do? She swoops down just before her eaglet hits the ground, flies underneath, and picks him up. And of course, the poor little bird has gone into cardiac arrest. But there's a happy ending here for the baby eagle, right? Mom is climbing back into the heavens. Oh boy, the nasty trauma is over. Back to the beloved nest. . .and isn't it just about lunchtime?

But what does she do when she regains her original altitude? She drops him again! And again! And each time she swoops down to save him and bears him up. . . on eagle's wings.

And that's exactly what the Lord is saying: "Moses, please tell them--make sure that you remind them-before you give them these commands, how must I have loved them in the past. Remind them how I've watched over their lives every day and concerned Myself about their future."

We can look back on the same thing in our own lives, can't we? Everything we have and everything we enjoy are because of Him and are blessings from His hand. We, too, were headed south one day. There was nothing between us and an eternal abyss but empty space and a long, long way to fall. As Paul put it, we were "having no hope, and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).

But what happened? In Christ, the Lord swooped down and picked us up and gave us everything that we have. And now He sustains us and keeps us every day of our lives.

If we lose sight of that, we can't see anything at all.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Book Recommendation

It's getting very close to Christmas, and I'm sure many of you have already begun your shopping. No doubt, though, we all have someone on our list for whom we have no idea what to buy. Am I right? If so, may I suggest the newest addition to my favorite books? The title is Welcome to the Funny Farm: The All-True Misadventures of a Woman on the Edge.

This book, written by Karen Scalf Linamen, is hilarious. She has a very unique sense of humor that will have you laughing so hard you'll cry. The book contains 50 chapters, each of which are very short, and divided in four sections which correspond with the seasons. Each chapter contains a comical story along with some great spiritual wisdom.

So, if you're looking for a good gift or if you just need some laughs to get you through this stressful season, I highly recommend this book and any of her other books. They're all great!

Happy shopping!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Know He Heard My Prayer

Have you ever wondered if God was really listening when you poured out your heart to Him? You know that He must have heard, yet your circumstances have not improved. That's exactly what David speaks about in Psalm 66. He talks of our God who is so great that He controls everything. He goes on to explain how God provides good things for His children, but also how God tries His children. Despite what many think, the Christian life is NOT a bed of roses. There are trials and tribulations. There are disappointments and troubles. But, God knows that. He controls our lives and everything in them, including the hard times.

I'm reminded of the story of Joseph. It seemed like every time he caught a break, he would be thrown down lower than he was before. But, we know from reading the end of the story that God had a plan for Joseph, and the trials he faced were just God's way of getting Joseph to where He wanted him to be.

God works the same way in our lives. Sometimes we don't understand. Many times we complain that life is unfair. But, what we must always remember is that God is in control of our lives, both the good and the bad. Let Him work with you through your trials so He can get you where He wants you to be--in His perfect will.

But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
Psalm 66:19-20