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Friday, November 30, 2012

What is Christmas to You?

The last day of November...of course, Black Friday has already thrown many people in the christmas mode. Trees are up and decorated, lawns have their decorations and lights out. My sister has started her holiday baking. Shopping has begun and goes until December 24th, the last day for those who are last minute shoppers. The excitement runs in our blood.

Then there are the churches—banquets, concerts, programs, cookies to prisoners, parties, etc.
All of this is fun, really fun.

But....where does Jesus fit in all of this? Does He fit in? How much prayer goes into these things before we do them? I'm not saying it is bad what we do, but I am questioning if we really do it for God's glory, or is it mostly for our enjoyment?

Many Christians are very concerned when our government wants to take Christ our of Christmas, but I'm afraid many churches have done that for a long time. When Jesus was born, shepherds came to worship Him. Later on the wise men came and worshipped Him. Wise men didn't give their gifts to someone else to make an impression, but they gave what they had to Jesus. How can we do that? Give to someone who can't give a gift in return.

One of my most memorable Christmases is when my sister and I decided to make a food box for a pastor and his family, who we had found it hardly has food for their table. It was so fun to fill the box. But it was really fun to see their excitement when they received the box of food. But they were also totally surprised that someone had remembered them at Christmastime.

My challenge to each of us is to worship Him this Christmas season. Pray before you buy that gift. And maybe we should pray before we max out a credit card buying a gift that someone doesn't need or even want.

Yes, go ahead and say it, Barb is a Christmas grinch...I know it. But it is fine, I'm a happy grinch. What makes me happy is family...not gifts...that way you don't worry if you bought the right gift...no gift, no worry...just family having a good time together. Love. Peace. Joy. That's Christmas.

What is Christmas for you?

God bless you


Monday, November 26, 2012

God is So Big

Psalm 3:4-5 "I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me."

This brings great peace to me. David was on the run. He had enemies coming after him. Yet, he knew His God. He knew that God would hear his cry. The verse right after that says even though there are ten thousand enemies coming after him, he will not fear.

This is a picture of total peace that passes understanding. How many times have I worried and fretted over some minor circumstance? I need not be afraid. God hears our cries. He knows our every need. He knows who we are and where we are. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

In Matthew 1 we read that Jesus was called Immanuel, God with us. The same God that delivered David will deliver us. He will lead us in a way that is good for us. Not always the way we choose, but the way He chooses for us.

And in all this, we can lay down and sleep. We can rest. He knows our every cry and need.
This evening before the children went to bed, they were singing "Our God is SO BIG" and we need to believe that with our whole heart. He holds the world in His hand. He is a big God. He is the best there is.

Let's pray for those who are away from the Lord, not knowing which way they go. Satan has their eyes blinded, and yet God is only a hand away waiting for them to call His name.

Our God is so Big... He is Immanuel!
God bless you.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Clouds Obey

Still reveling in the Greatness of God, and so thankful for the God He is!!

Job 36:24-37:24 As I read this I was in awe of a God that is so powerful and awesome, yet cares for me. Verse 11b -12 "...He scatters His bright clouds and they swirl about, being turned by HIs guidance, that they may do whatever He commands them on the face of the whole earth."

That is a powerful verse, showing the power of God. I don't normally look at clouds and think, "God you are telling those clouds where to go and what to do."  Almost sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? He forms the clouds and their floating around in the air, are all obedience to His bidding. The clouds, wind, rain, ice are all under His commands.

Am I as quick to obey His bidding as the clouds are? Do I think for a moment that they ask, "Let me see, God...what you are telling me to do makes little sense. So let me just think about it. Actually, God, I see I'm just a little puff of a cloud, not much value actually when I compare myself to the other big and beautiful clouds. So perhaps, my job isn't as important as theirs."

If the clouds obey His commands, how much more should I. He did create me with an eternal soul. There is a purpose for each of His commands. He is Omnipotent! He is worthy of my praise. He is worthy of my obedience. He has a purpose for me...and you.

Of all the Thanksgiving blessings, Jesus is the Ultimate Blessing sent by an Ever Loving Father. We are loved, forgiven and blessed beyond any thing we can imagine.

God bless you

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Feast

Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful blessed day.

Many families will have a "table spread" tomorrow. Loaded with an array of food, and the aroma brings an appetite like no other. Families who are connected and love to be together. There are families who gather just because it is tradition, with little love connected to the meal.

My family does celebrate Thanksgiving in a big way. This is the holiday of the year! It is eating, games, football for the guys outside (snow or shine), music, worship, laughter. It is always in Indiana...so those of us in FL don't usually go.

But this rejoicing will not be compared to the wedding feast prepared for us in Heaven. Can you imagine? What will the food be like? Pumpkin Pie with a crust of gold? If Heaven is beyond our imagination, then the feast will be too. Food like we never knew existed! There will be no flaws...turkey too done or not done enough, gravy lumpy, pie burned, coffee too weak. I'm just imagining and comparing. I know, there is no comparison.

A partial Thankful List for me:
Family
God's Grace
Forgiveness
Peace that passes all understanding
Friends
Trials

Leaving on a humorous note—last night as little Nate was praying, he ended with "Thank you God that Promise and Zion are not here. That way I can everything myself." (that little "self" is already so strong).

God bless you

Monday, November 19, 2012

Does God Need Me?

The Quiet. The Silence. It echoes, well almost. Agape's little ones have left for Indiana for a week to spend Thanksgiving with Grandparents and mommy. This is their first excursion in 2 years without Agape.  They were excited that they were going on a long trip. Smile.

Is this what God feels when we step away or get busy with things not involving Him? Does He feel the emptiness that is there when we leave? He remembers us. He knows where we are every moment. We cannot hide from Him, no matter how hard we try. That is how much He loves us...so much that He doesn't want to be without us!

God is all-sufficient. He doesn't "need" us, but He desires us. Don't you just love it when someone just wants to be with you just because? Not for a need, but just because they love being with you. That is how God is.  I mean, really, He holds the world in His hand. Does He need me? No, but He wants me.

This will be a busy week for many of us with Thanksgiving activities. Let's remember that God desires to be a part of our celebration. If you will be with unsaved family members, remember you are God's Ambassador to them. You may not even be able to say much, but they will read you as you live out your Christian Life before them.

Let's approach this Thanksgiving season with a true heart of thankfulness.

God bless you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Indescribable!

"Creation will always fail at attempting to describe the Creator. In many ways God is indescribable, incomprehensible, and unimaginable. He is so far above us and He yet chooses to operate through us. That my friends, is grace."  Jon Payne

Even creation cannot even begin to show us the majesty of God. He is indescribable. When I think of the grandeur of the mountains, the vastness of the ocean, the beauty in the depths of the ocean, the beauty of the night sky...all this does not describe the God we serve. It only reminds us how Great He is, and we cannot comprehend it.

Yet in all this, He considers you and me worthy of His Son's death on the cross!! That Jesus considered us worthy of His suffering....and too many times we walk away in our own ways, not considering Him worthy of our praise.

God takes pleasure in His children. He celebrates us...He rejoices in us! Does He want obedience? Absolutely! He knows our obedience will bring joy to our hearts.

So if today, you struggle, think of creation and know that your God is greater than creation. He is worthy of your praise. He can be trusted. He is faithful. He does not sway as the leaves of the trees. He is solid as a Rock! He is our Rock!!

God bless you



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Procrastinations

I had great expectations to watch the solar eclipse today. Guess what? You guessed it...I forgot.  Isn't that the way it is, good intentions. Then at the end of the day, we realize we didn't accomplish what we planned to do. Many reasons for that..."I just don't feel like doing _________ right now." "I'll just wait until tomorrow." And other excuses are on the list.

There are many things we can procrastinate doing. But there is one thing we can never procrastinate...the day God calls our name. The day when my life is complete on earth. I'm not saying this to be morbid. This should challenge us to do all we can for God while we have time. Today is all we are promised. Not tomorrow.

God doesn't procrastinate...He's always on time. He is faithful today and every day. He never withholds  His love....His angels don't procrastinate. They are messengers on time and at command. We are so blessed to serve a God that never forgets (except our sins when He forgives them). He never has senior moments. He is I am, not I was or I will be. He is always in the present.

We are honored to host a missionary lady and her daughter from Costa Rica for a few days. We enjoy sharing experiences and stories. Amazing how similar stories are from one country to another. God is so good in helping His children to network with each other.

God bless you


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Now elections are completed and the work begins. How can we help?

I was reading Ezra 9:6 & 8 this morning, and was "stopped" in my tracks.

"O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the Heavens. And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage."

The nation of Israel had been taken into captivity and now returning to Jerusalem. There was intermarriage between the pagan nations and Israel. This was the sin that brought Ezra to his knees. He was humiliated before God. I think we tend to classify sin. Some sin is passable, it just doesn't seem so bad. Other sins are worthy of rising up in a demonstration against it. Of course, the sin that isn't so bad is the one I am involved in. So easy to make excuses.

Many churches conveniently overlook sin so that no one is offended. How can we expect national leaders do any better! We can't. Abortion, same sex marriage, and rejection to Israel are sin, but so is hatred (God calls hating our brother murder). Is this different than abortion? How many people have left a church because they can't forgive another brother? I guess what I'm saying is that I expect the ungodly to have non-biblical standards, but we should be appalled when we as Christians make excuses for our sins.

I love the phrase "to give us a peg in His holy place" so that we may be enlightened. Give us revival in our bondage. For you see, seldom is there revival where Godly principles reign. We need revival in this country, and it won't come through the president. It will come through prayer and fasting. Falling on our knees before the Lord, in humility, crying out to Him who can bring revival.

Lift your eyes for our redemption is near!

God bless you




Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sisters Are a Blessing

Sisters are a special blessing from God. I think Mary and Martha had many sister moments. Different personalities, yet very close to Jesus. Jesus loved this family. Jesus stopped in their home often for a rest.

I had a wonderful restful weekend with my sister and husband. Mary and I had a great time with coffee, talking and talking some more. We didn't need entertainment or going out and about to do things (we did a little of that), but mostly just being together. It was what we needed. We had times of laughter, times of serious talk, moments of reflection, and those times of remembering Arlene. Put this all together with cups of coffee, it really can't get much better than this. Smile.

Tomorrow is a special day. Patrick returns home after being gone 7 weeks. He was "stranded" in Mayette and extra week because of the hurricane. The road from Mayette to the river is not passable by vehicle. He went to the river by motorcycle. Took a raft across the river (before the storm, vehicles could cross the river). Then someone with a vehicle was waiting for him on the other side, and brought him to the city.

God bless you