Friday, November 30, 2007
Value and worth. Those words come up a lot lately. They are often associated with what we do, what we wear, how we look. What one person may think is valuable or lovely or beautiful, another may not. A few are so confused about their own value that they may even want to give up. Maybe their past haunts them. Or their future terrifies them. The truth is, I often must remind myself of the good news that my value is not based on what I think. Or on what anyone else thinks. My value was established many years ago. When God chose to send His Son. His one and only Son. Because I am worth it. And you are worth it. Not because we are good, or righteous, or beautiful but because He is!
So this Christmas season I will thank Him once again for assuring me of my value. Our value. As seen through the eyes of our "Owner"!
Romans 5:6-8 says "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
This ever faithful God, the one who parted the seas, who helped a small boy slay a giant, who defeated armies? Our Savior who walked on water, who raised the dead, who forgave sins?
Our Lord,the designer of the ultimate relationship, also designed us to be in fellowship with others! I am so thankful for His way. I am so thankful for His design. And I am so thankful for the fellowship with others who are totally in LOVE with Him! That is you sweet friend! My wonderful husband, family, neighbor, fellow First Place member, or you precious new blog friend. Thank you for allowing the strength of the Holy Spirit to spill out all over me! I praise Him for YOU!
Lord, thank you that you made a way for me to follow You! Thank you for allowing me the great gift of getting to follow you alongside others whose walk inspires and challenges me. Lord, thank you for your great outpouring of love! Thank you for the overflowing strength! Let me continue to be surprised and awed by YOU.
Colossians 1: 3-6
3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints— 5the faith and love that spring from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel 6that has come to you. All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I don't know how you spent your time but we spent a busy fun-filled few days in our home. We had one yummy Thursday of eating turkey, one frazzled Friday of after-Thanksgiving shopping, and one chilly Saturday ready for our annual tromp to purchase the Christmas tree. It is a tradition that my children have come to expect. And we are all too happy to oblige!
As much as we love cutting down our own tree, time is short this year so we decided to forgo that tradition. Off to the lot around the corner with the freshest trees in town. It took us all of about 15 minutes to find the tree perfectly grown(and cut) for us! We loaded it in the trunk and made the two mile trip back to our home. The frasier fir we chose was positioned in its new stand and we added the twinkling white lights. Sunday, after church, the five of us gathered around the lit tree and began doing what many of you do. We turned on the Christmas music, made hot chocolate, and began unloading the boxes of old ornaments. I love to hear my children recall memories of their favorite bauble. I love to hold some of the handmade trimmings, garnished with love by a godmother gone to be with the Lord, or by my once small child now entering teen years or adulthood. The last items added are always the shiny red bead garlands and the plaid bows, both now over 15 years old. Standing back, it appears just the way we have come to expect our tree to look. Sweet, sweet memories.
You can imagine my surprise when I stepped into the sunroom at 6:30am today, ready to add water to the stand, and found the tree...fallen. Flat. As in flat on the floor. It is not what I expected this morning. Not what I expected at all.
I just could not get that word out of my head all day.
An angel speaking to Mary. A virgin with child.
The child "will be called the Son of God".
Wrapped in cloths. Placed in a manger.
A most unexpected arrival for the awaited Savior.
The God of the universe placed into the arms of a young Mary his Son, who in turn placed Him into a manger. The world placed Him on a cross heavy with all our sin and in turn He placed us back in the presence of God. Unexpected.
Lord, Most High, thank you for sending your Son. Thank you for making a way for us to be forever in your presence. Keep me in eager expectation of YOU! Expecting the unexpected! Thank you!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
So, I must tell you that I have spent the busy day reminding myself of this simple idea. Be thankful! Dirty feet that just finished an afternoon game of football just trampled all over your shiny floor. Be thankful! Two lovable doggies just scrurried back in the house, bringing with them all their dust-covered fur. Be thankful! Heaps of dirty clothes mysteriously appearing after the last load began. Be thankful! Beautiful yellow, red, and brown leaves covering the yard approximately 15 minutes after you finished mowing. Be thankful! And the last item from the grocery store that has been forgotten the last few trips! Be thankful!
I am thankful for the dirty feet for they were those of a delightful 13 year old son who fills our house with boisterous joy! I am thankful for the dust bearers, our doggies, devoted fans, who are eager to greet us every morning with jumps of joy and love- lapping kisses! The laundry courtesy of two beautiful daughters arriving home from college! Those leaves, well they are the very same ones that shaded our house throughout the sweltering heat of summer. And finally those items from the grocery store, well they will help feed the mouths of some of the people I love most in this world-my family!
Colossians 3:17 "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Happy Thanksgiving! Praise HIM!
Monday, November 19, 2007
But do you know how every cruise begins? If you have been on one, you already know what I was soon to discover. The first hour that you are on the boat the near-deafening blaring of the ship's horn booms over the loudspeaker and the PA system announces that every passenger must proceed to your assigned area for a mandatory drill. No getting out of it. Each room is checked by the stewards as passengers are hurried to the largest dining hall. We hurried too. If you know me, you know I was paying attention! Ready to quiz my hubby and children afterwards.The captain and other staff have you practice putting on a life jacket. They explain how the life boats work and how cold the water is(in Alaska that equals VERY COLD). They finish by pointing out all the emergency escape routes. I'm happy to say that our biggest emergency on the entire trip was discovering our camera battery was not fully charged for another full day of picture snapping!
This memory of the drill does remind me of something God says in His word. He promises in 1st Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
Sometimes God makes the "way out" very obvious for us to see as my captain did on the ship. Sometimes we must search for the "way out" that He provides. Either way, we know that we can take comfort that He is "faithful". Not some of the time. Not most of the time. He is "faithful" all of the time. Always.
As we approach this holiday, and a grand feast at the dining room table, we need to remember that. We can push away from the table with our pants still buttoned. We can pass up a second or third helping of our favorite food. We can take an extra jog around the block. We don't have to be over-full. We can just be thankful!
Thank you Lord that you already see the temptations that await me this week. Thank you that they are not uncommon. Thank you for reminding me that they are not too much to bear. And thank you that when they are, when my power and might are too weak, that You by YOUR SPIRIT, will provide that emergency escape route so I can stand up under it!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Overwhelmed with sorrow, our Lord was overwhelmed with sorrow. I sometimes forget how human our God became for us. How he experienced so many human emotions. Including the one described here. Overwhelmed with sorrow.
My husband's co-worker, our friend, lost her son this afternoon in a tragic motor accident. We are all overwhelmed with sorrow with her and her family. So we will do what Jesus did. We fall to the ground and we pray.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
After consuming our meal quickly, which you do when you have a five year old boy, we packed up and headed out the door. Busily relaying to one another what we each loved about our meal, I hear this small voice. The voice of my youngest, who at the time was a kindergartner just learning to read. My daughters had both declared their A+ rating of this place when Chad chimed in. He furled his brow in all seriousness and said "There is one thing I don't like about that place." "What?", we all answered in unison, surprised because we liked it so much. He answered, "they like people to smoke". "They like people to smoke?" we questioned in disbelief. "I didn't see anyone smoking in there" I said; "why do you say that?". He tugged at my hand and pointed slowly to the sign on the front door....THIS IS A SMOKE FREE RESTAURANT. I giggled. You gotta love a new reader! What was plain as day to the rest of us more seasoned readers, was totally missed by this new one. In his own mind, the restaurant wanted you to smoke so badly that they would let you do it for free.
I often remember those words spoken by my young reader. It makes me wonder what I miss seeing that is plain as day to my Heavenly Father?
Clara Scott penned these words in her famous hymn:
Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Lord, thank you for all that you have already shown me! Keep my eyes open and seeking you. I so look forward to the day that I see you "face to face"!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I have this nagging thought that I can not let go of tonight. I must begin training like an elite athlete for this journey the Lord has me on. I think much like those casual(if there is such a person who runs ANY marathon) runners, I have often run my own race as one who just wants to "finish the event in halfway decent condition." This week's Bible study has been a great awakening for me.
How many times have I read 1st Corinthians and yet never realized that God wants me to run like I want to WIN this race!
1st Corinthians 9:24 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize."
WIN? Middle of the heap is always where I've been quite content thank you. You know, not first place, not last, but somewhere in between was more than fine with me. But that is not apparently what my Lord wants for me. He wants me to win this race. Not someone else's race mind you, but the race He has set out for me.
Hebrews 12: 1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
Because I enjoy running, actually it is more like a slow jog, I really love the analogy that God uses in His Word on how we are to prepare. He tells us not to run "aimlessly".
1st Corinthians 9: 26"Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air."
So what is aimless? I am a terrible map reader. If you put me in charge of the map and told me where to go, it would take a VERY long time to get there. But there is this new device, the GPS and I'm telling you, for those of us that are map-challenged, it is a real life changer. It tells you where to turn, how far you are from your destination, and even includes markings of where the next restrooms are(now that's an answer to prayer). But you know what you have to do first? You have to tell the system exactly where you are going.
In the same way, we must know where we are headed. For both the physical race to health and the long term race to standing before my Lord,I must know that I will approach those finish lines a winner! And you dear friend, you too will have your own "crowning"moment. He did that for us! And at the end, I can just hear Him saying "I knew you could do it child! I told you so! "
I hear Him cheering me on now!
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
While my family and I climbed into our new ski apparel, I imagined poking my eye out with the ski pole, or going off the side of the mountain, or losing toes to frost-bite(another article I read). The ski instructors reassured all of us and even pointed out the hay stacks at the bottom of the slope "just in case" you can't stop. That seemed to assuage my fears long enough to get me out to the bunny slope. Snow-plow down, go back up, snow-plow down, go back up. You get the picture, definitely not Winter Olympic material. But my mom, she was brave. She promptly took off for the first hill. She made her way to the top and began zipping along right down the slope. I looked over and said to myself "I don't think she is going to stop! Good thing there is that hay down there!" She used the man-made wall to complete her run. And then she got up...bloody nose and all. That seemingly soft wall of hay was actually a solid block , no actually a solid wall of ice! It stopped her alright. But good humored mom that she was, she just wiped her nose and giggled her way to the lodge. At least it gave me a good excuse to get my, now sure to be semi-frozen, toes out of the boots and in front of the blazing fire. Mom was ok and I liked it much better inside.
Ever hit a brick wall? (or a frozen block of hay?) I seem to be running into that wall lately. If truth be told, it seems to be a wall I may have erected myself. Beginning my walk to good health was a breeze and I too was "zipping along" at full speed. Then after a good run, I hit the brick wall. I seem to have lost the same three pounds several times now.It isn't that I have given up, I just seem to have lost more steam than pounds. So how do you stay motivated to continue a life-time plan for living well?
Here are some of the things the Lord has shown me as I have been searching the Word on how to stay motivated:
-Quit relying on my own strength.
1 Chronicles 16:11 "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always."
-Stop making this all about me.
Acts 20:24 "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."
Psalm 57:7:My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.
I looked up steadfast and here is what it says:
1.fixed in direction; steadily directed: a steadfast gaze.
2.firm in purpose, resolution, faith, attachment, etc., as a person: a steadfast friend.
3.unwavering, as resolution, faith, adherence, etc
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 06 Nov. 2007.
What power in the word steadfast! Fixed, firm, and unwavering! Sounds a lot like a Savior I know.
Lord, keep my eyes fixed on you, "the author and perfecter of my faith"(Hebrews 12:2). It is through your strength that I can break and even avoid brick walls. Remind me when I focus too much on my own body, that it is not my own, but was "bought at a price"(1 Cor.6:19-20). And Lord, help me follow your example, remaining steadfast! Thank you Lord!
Tell me how you stay motivated!
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Colossians 1:3-5 "We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints__the faith and love that springs from the hope that is stored up for you in heaven and that you have already heard about in the word of truth, the gospel "
I am thankful for my God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am thankful for the priviledge for praying for you.
I am thankful for your faith in Christ Jesus, it is a great joy to watch that faith and to learn from it.
I am thankful for the love you have for all of those you come in contact with.
I am thankful for the faith and love that springs from the hope that is stored up in heaven.
I am thankful for the word of TRUTH, the gospel.
I am thankful, truly thankful for YOU fellow sojourner of faith!
For more Thankful Thursday posts, visit Crystal at http://candlebabe299.blogspot.com/2007/10/thankful-thursday-blessings.html