Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Grateful List

Photo Credit:  Brian Lofgren

31.  Our Savior - Immanuel - God with us!!
32.  Rose colored sun through sparkling frosted trees
33.  Family time together - Precious memories
34.  My parents - what a heritage of Christian love and service
35.  Dad still with us for the holidays
36.  Anna playing piano
37.  Extended family - my siblings and my grown children gathered
38.  My beautiful, precious grandbabies - kisses on downy heads
39.  Grown children making good choices
40.  Beautiful voices caroling together - celebrating Christ
41.  A warm house and warm hugs
42.  Plenty of good food
43.  Healthy children laughing and playing
44.  Christmas cards and pictures connecting us with friends and family
45.  Big girls to babysit on date night
46.  Beautiful frost on the trees
47.  Hearing Dad preach once again and almost all his grandchildren there to hear it
48.  Wonderful books to read aloud
49.  Mom and Dad reading aloud to us
50.  Warm sledding weather

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Word Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us

With the Christmas season here, I've been pondering the coming of Christ.  One devotional I read pointed out that He didn't come to earth the day He was born, but rather the day He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  God, who breathed the universe into existence, now conceived within the womb of one of His creation.  

The season's here,
It's time for us to wonder;
The birth of Christ,
The Son of God to ponder.

The God who breathed--
The Universe created;
With just a word--
Is now made flesh, ill-fated.

The Word made flesh,
The Mighty God received;
Into a womb,
The Son of God conceived.

That Son of God,
  Deserving only splendor;
Humbled Himself
Giving up His grandeur.

His grandeur gone,
A lowly place was given;
What a stark change
From ruling all of heaven.

From ruling heav'n
To dwelling in a dark womb;
His life was set
To end within a tomb.

From death life springs,
 Christ raised to life from the tomb,
 Planted in Mary's womb. 
                           Patti lofgren

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gratitude is Happiness Doubled by Wonder!

“I would maintain that thanks
are the highest form of thought,
and that gratitude is happiness
doubled by wonder.”
- G. K. Chesterton

Additions to my gratitude list follow....

11.  Beautiful Snowflakes under a low-power microscope 

12.  Grandbabies, cuddly and sweet

13.  Children grown and children still growing

14.  Freedom to home school , books and ideas and energy to teach

15.  Big girls who walk and pray with me each morning - carrying the spiritual burdens together and
          fighting the good fight side by side.

16.  First letters strung together into words - another little one reading

17.  sledding hill and snowmen

18.  A nativity play put on by little ones 

19.  money for this week's bills and groceries

20.  A son who has been away, returned home

21.  Answers to prayers for family and friends

22.  Hugs and more hugs from the youngest

23.  Putting puzzles together--together

24.  A feast of books to read and a fascinated audience

25.  Dark winter evenings to spend together

26.  Candlelight dinner and soft music for Shabbat dinner

27.  Warm flannel and denim dresses and a long, warm winter coat

28.  The Word of God - new every morning

29.  Forgiveness and healing

30.  A church to belong in, to love in, to serve in

I started this list discouraged, meaning to find 10 things to be thankful for--the list easily doubled to 20--God is good and there is much to be thankful for!   

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Participating in the Miracle

I recently read I Dared to Call Him Father, by Bilquis Sheikh with Richard H. Schneider.  It was so good that I then read it aloud to the family.  I highly recommend it.  I have been pondering a quote from the book,
" My heart singing, I tried to explain to Khalid (her grown muslim son) that the Lord wants our companionship.  When we pray, He wants to work with us.  It was the Moses' Rod Principle.  If I had just put the problem in the Lord's hands without stepping out in faith myself, I might never have gotten the clearance.  I had to step out by doing everything I could.  I had to ask to see the man in charge.  Just as God required Moses to strike the rock with a rod, He asks us, too, to participate in the working of miracles." 

God had taught Bilquis to trust Him and obey Him whether she understood what He was asking or not, so it wasn't a matter of her making God do what she wanted, but rather a participating with what she believed God was doing in the situation.  Faith meant she went ahead linking her actions with her belief.  And God rewarded her faith with a miracle.

I've been thinking about this in terms of our children -- do we treat them with faith in what God is doing in their lives?  Do we speak into their lives according to what we have seen in the Word that God wants to do in their lives?  Do we hold onto what God wants to make of them regardless of what we see before us, viewing them through the eyes of faith?  Do we give them hope that they can be spiritually victorious and that we believe God is doing and will do wondrous things in their lives?  Sometimes a wayward one doesn't have faith for their own overcoming, perhaps doesn't even want to overcome, but what we think of them -- how we see them affects in the long run how they view themselves.  This is especially powerful in the family/home setting.  It IS God's will that they are saved and that they walk with Him.  He asks us to pray, sometimes to fast and pray, and to obey Him step by step (one time striking the rock, one time speaking to it) in our dealings with them.  We must stay very close to the LORD to hear His voice and follow His directing, participating in the miracle He wants to perform.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1000 Gifts to Give Thanks For

Ann Voskamp has challenged her readers to come up with 1000 things they are grateful for.  This is the beginning of my list....

1.  God the Father -- Someone is in charge! capable, all wise, Good and trustworthy, and He asks us to call Him Father!

2.  God the Son -- Jesus, creator and sustainer of all.  The miracle worker who has made provision for our redemption from the clutches and kingdom of sin and Satan.  Jesus, our High Priest making a way into the Holy of Holies and a possibility for holy living

3.  God the Spirit -- Comfort, insight, wisdom, guidance, the protection of conviction.

4.  Nature -- The created world is one of beauty and wonder!  Inspiring and full of spiritual metaphor.  A grand finger pointing to our creator with all its awesome detail and intricacy.

5.  The Bible -- What a book!!  Alive and complete, all we need for life and godliness - comforts, convicts, enlightens and enlivens.  It teaches us History and how to understand it -- the roots of mankind and God's dealings with him as well as our future what God has planned for the world and man.  It teaches us how to live in the present and gives promises that we can live by faith transforming our lives.  It is God's voice, used personally by the Holy Spirit to touch our lives and carry us through the hard times.  Full of admonition, example, and promise.  It is the very best of literature - beautiful in all details.

6.  A Christian upbringing -- I am so very thankful for the life, and example of my parents - how easy it made it to believe when there was so much truth imparted into my life as a child.

7.  My Dad -- A truly godly man - a living inspiration - a man of insight, love, life, endless enthusiasm, wisdom, patience, self discipline, and generousity.  Dad always had our best in mind and generously spent himself to invest in our lives.  He passed on his love of the Lord, nature, hard work, projects and people.  He has not only loved me, but also my husband and children.

8.  My Mom -- my greatest fan - my Mom loves me, believes in me, and inspires me.  She has made my Dad her life serving beautifully behind the scenes, making his dreams come true. Her patience in ill-health, and uncomplaining spirit as well as her thoughtfulness for others are an inspiration.  Her love of books and ideas passed on to us and even her granddaughters head to the book section of the used store first. 

9.  My sisters -- forever friends - committed and loving through thick and thin, we've shared the trail through time and trials.  Though we are quite different, we have respect and love and want the best for each other.

10.  My husband -- 30+ years together, commitment through the joys and trials.  I'm thankful for his ability to stretch a dollar and spend it on things that will last.  Even on a limited single income he has managed to get us out of debt and keep us there by trusting the LORD and spending carefully and wisely.  He is careful and detailed balancing my view of the whole.  He has insights into people and spiritual things often overlooked by others.  He is a handyman that seems to be able to keep old things running long past their usual life of service which is very handy when you have 10+ people using the things all day every day.  A trustworthy man of integrity who has learned not to give his word unless he thinks he can keep it. Humble when he sees his error he is willing to apologize and change. 

Only 10 but a good start.  I'll write more another day or perhaps elaborate on these....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Prayer, a Place of Rest

"...There is only one kind of person who can really pray, and that is the childlike saint, the simple, stupid, supernatural child of God; I do mean 'stupid.' Immediately you try to explain why God answers prayer on the ground of reason, it is nonsense; God answers prayer on the ground of Redemption and on no other ground.  Let us never forget that our prayers are heard, not because we are in earnest, not because we suffer, but because Jesus suffered.  It is because our Lord Jesus Christ went through the depths of agony to the last ebb in the Garden of Gethsemane, because He went through Calvary, that we have 'boldness to enter into the holy place.'"   If Ye Shall Ask... excerpt from ch. 2 by Oswald Chambers

What a place of rest!  Knowing that He has made the way for our prayers to be answered.  Romans 8:32 promises:  "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" All things!!...  Today I ask for the souls of my children and I know that it is His will for them to be saved and so, because of His redemptive work, and in spite of my own inadequacy, I look with hope for the answers to my prayers."

Painting by Greg Olson

I couldn't find the name of the artist of the painting of Jesus in Gethsemane.  I found it on Google images used on other blogs.  I chose it because it seemed to show Jesus agony and yet, even there in the Garden of Gethsemane, His face was lifted to His heavenly Father and He was yielded.  I would like to give credit if anyone knows the name of the artist.