Sunday, December 26, 2010

Join me, Fast!

When the shepherds heard the good news from the encounter of the angel, the Bible tells us they "hurried" to see what the Lord had spoken to them.  They went FAST! 

Christmas has come and we've all celebrated this good news...the same good news that the shepherds heard.  We need to go FAST to tell others all that the Lord has spoken to us.

What does God have you to do in this New Year?  How does He have you to go FAST to tell the good news?  For me, that is an unanswered question as I ache within my soul for the things He has for me.  I yearn to spread His Word and have a deep burning desire to know HIM so inimately.  The passion brings me to weep even as I type today. 

Many pastors are speaking this morning on the concept of the New Year and fasting as a way to give the first fruits to Christ through sacrificing and praying.  And I open my Bible to Ezra 8:21, "I proclaimed a fast by the Ahava River, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask Him for a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions...23 So we fasted and pleaded with our God about this, and He granted our request."

As a wife, mother, and daughter of the King, there is nothing that sums up my passions more husband, my children, and my Savior.  So, as we begin the New Year, will you join me, FAST.  We are to hurry to tell the good news...lets FAST to know how He would have us to spread His message.  Let's join together to fast and plead with our God for a safe journey for us, our children, and all our possessions, praying He will protect us from the enemy as we embark on His will for the ministry He has for us.

From now until Jan 1st, I will begin a fast from facebook and blogging.  Beginning Jan 1st, I will begin a 21 day Daniel Fast, doing without meat, dairy, and sweets.  On Fridays, I will give up all food.  Fridays this blogspot will be dedicated to FEED ME FRIDAY.  It will be a place to share recipes for the Daniel Fast and to feed one another spiritually.  I hope you will join me to seek His will for us in the New Year. 

I pray the rest of 2010 will be one filled with His blessings for you and your families. 

I'll see you in January!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rockin around the Christmas tree.

I am a little on a soapbox this year.  I just heard a pastor on TV say, "Maybe you need to get away from the crowd that dances and parties around the Christmas Tree and get back to the cross."  It seems to be in every sermon I hear.   UGH!!!  It really bugs me! OKAY,  I get that Christmas for the wordly has become very commercialized and it isn't all about who can buy the biggest and most expensive toys and have the most lit up, beautifully decorated house.  And I definitely know and believe that without the CROSS, Christmas would mean nothing.  But, Stop trying to make me feel guilty because I love to celebrate Christmas. I don't think God would want it any other way.  I believe Christ is worth celebrating and with all the trimmings.  I believe He wants us to be filled with the joy He brought that very first Christmas.  I believe when we are dancing and partying with His love in our hearts, it pleases Him. If we don't, who will?  Give to the poor instead of exchanging unnecessary gifts with families rich in luxuries.  Serve one another...Yes! But don't feel guilty about celebrating the joy that Christ has given you!  Dance around the Christmas tree and rejoice in Him! 

2 Samuel 6:16-22
As the Ark of the Lord was entering the city of David, Saul's daughter, Michal, looked down from the window and saw King David  leaping and dancing before the Lord, and she despised him in her heart...When David returned home to bless his household, Saul's daughter Michal came out to meet him.  "How the king of Israel honored himself today!" she said...David replied to Michal, "I was dancing before the Lord who chose me...I will celebrate before the Lord, and I will humble myself...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Where are you Christmas?

"Where are you Christmas?  Why can't I find you?  Why did you have to go away?
Where is the laughter that I once knew?  Why can't I hear the music play?"

As my precious little boy angelically sits at the window with his binoculars, "looking for his bubbas to come home,"
Waiting for Christmas day when they return...
This song comes to mind. 

Where are you Christmas?

For 400 years God had been silent,
For 4000 years Israel had been waiting.
And in a baby, He came.
And in that very moment the world was changed, forever.

Now I sit at my window, watching, waiting...
For Christmas, when my babies will come home.
I wait, but I am comforted.
When I seek Him, He is there.
He is the joy in my laughter,
The song in my heart.
He is Christmas.  
Do you long for your soul to sing this Christmas?
Do you find yourself seeking a joy in your heart?
Are you asking, "Where are you Christmas?"

Call out His name. He is waiting for His babies to come home.

As a baby He came, but as a lamb He died. 
And in that very moment the world was changed, forever.

Jeremiah 29:13, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart."


Monday, December 20, 2010

Bah Humbug!

Bah Humbug!  Who says Christmas has to be about all the traveling to visit a bunch of family? Putting up a bunch of Christmas lights?  Giving a bunch of gifts?  Wrapping a bunch of presents?  AND THE ANNOYING CHRISTMAS CAROLs???  The hustle and is all a bunch of hassle!

Oh really? 
Don't like traveling?
Well, Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem, The city of David, because they were of the family of David... 

Luke 2
vs 4 And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house of the family of David.
(Mind you she was nine months pregnant and on a donkey, at best.  Don't complain about your roomie SUV with Dvd player and heat) 

And Christmas lights? 
How about the star that shone brightly for the world to see that led the Wise Men to the Christ child?

Matt 2
vs 9b  And there it was--the star they had seen in the east!  It led them until it came and stopped above the place where the child was.  10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed beyond measure.

(I'll bet God didn't even complain if it started blinking!)

Giving a bunch of gifts? 

"The giving of gifts is not something man invented. God started the giving spree when he gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son." ~ Robert Flatt

John 3:16  God so loved the world that HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON...

And the wise men gave gifts to their King.

Matt 2
vs 11 Entering the house, they saw the child with Mary His mother, and falling to their knees, they worshipped Him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented Him with gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

(Complaining about spending a bit of money?  God and the wise men gave their TREASURE...And who knows, one of those wisemen may have even had a white beard and been wearing a red suit?)

Wrapping presents?

Luke 2
vs 12 This will be the sign for you:  you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

(Makes our designer paper with ribbons and bows not seem so bad, huh?)

Annoying Christmas Carols? 

Luke 2
vs 13 Suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace toward men."

(Yes, the radio stations play them non-stop, but guess what we are going to be doing in Heaven...over and over and over and over and over and over...)

A bunch of Hustle and Bustle?

Bethlehem was so swamped with people that Mary had to put a newborn baby in a feeding trough because there...
"was no room in the inn." Luke 2:7 

 And talk about a hustle...

Luke 2
vs 15  the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 They HURRIED off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feed trough. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told...

(Does your hurrying have more to do with your procrastination or your REPORTING THE MESSAGE?)

Sure, we don't NEED all of that stuff to have Christmas...but neither did God...Yet He added the amazement to the celebration.  Some didn't accept Him because His birth was too meager.  Wasn't fancy enough... Call me crazy, but I think God threw a God-sized party that day...traveling, lights, crowds, gifts, singing...from the poorest shepherds to the richest kings, all were invited who were willing to receive. 

So, the next time you want to complain about all the hassle at Christmas...remember that Christ gave up His deity for a bunch of no good sinners...and that was the real hassle...but He loved us enough to do the least we can do is CELEBRATE His birth and be joyful about it. So Rejoice in Christ!  And don't feel guilty about it!   

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Turn down the noise

I must admit, I have never been one for loud music.  My husband teases me about always having a not what you think, get your mind out of the gutter!  He says everytime I get in the car I claim I have a headache so we can't have the music loud.  He's probably right...  I just don't like alot of loud noise.  It prohibits family interaction and conversation and I like to be able to talk to him on car rides. Even if we sit in silence with not much to say, I still like to be ABLE to talk to him if I want to without having to scream over the loud music.  Can anybody relate?

My 3 year old has picked up my appreciation for quiet discussion.  He very maturely said to me as we were driving to town a few days ago, "Excuse me, please, Mama, would you turn down your music so I can talk to you?"  So, I did.  He said nothing.  He just wanted it turned down in case he eventually WANTED to talk to me.  I chuckled at myself in him. 

Life is loud.  The noise is everywhere.  On our radios, our tvs, our computers.  In the grocery store, at work, in the midst of friends.  And the noise I hate the most...the voices that echo inside my own head, distracting me, drowning out the voice of My Father.  I wonder if He is saying, "Hey, could you turn down all the noise, I just want to talk to you." 

He just wants to talk with us.  I can't wrap my mind around that sometimes.  The Creator of the Universe just wants to talk to me?  Yes, He just wants to talk with us. To speak truth to us amidst all of the lies we are told amongst the noise.  To sit in silence with us as He fills us with His presence.  To just have the opportunity for us to hear Him whisper our name when He is ready to call us into the plan He has for us.

Are you willing to turn down the noise so you can hear Him talk to you? 

"Be silent that you may hear the whisper of God."   ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Saying Goodbye at Christmas

Christmas is one of my favorite times of year, like most I know.  Nothing gets me more pumped than decking the halls with the Christmas music playing and unwrapping the Christmas ornaments one by one, listening to each tell their own familiar story, as we hang them on the tree. I love the smell of plastic greenery and cookies baking in the oven.  And believe it or not,  I love Christmas shopping!  I know, weird huh?  I just love the idea of surprising those I love with things I think they'll love and keeping the magic of mystery alive.  Christmas Eve is my favorite, from the canned ham dressed with cloves and pineapple  to the last singing of Silent Night as the sanctuary fills with candlelit unison, with the best part of hearing my boys sweetly reciting Luke 2 before tucking them into bed.  I just love every ounce of  the celebration!

But, every year I cry at Christmas.  My tears flow from the depths of my soul as I have to say "Goodbye" to my twins as they are off to spend needed time with their dad.  Some years they leave the week before Christmas and come home Christmas day.  Other years they leave Christmas day and spend the week after, but either way, a piece of my heart goes with them and stays until they return.  I can't imagine the pain military families go through as they are away from one another at the holidays so often, or those who have experienced losing loved ones that do not return to their spot at the Christmas table the next year.  It is just gutwrenching.

I kissed them farewell today with our usual "Hold to the Head" and Genesis 31:49 and "Mama loves you more than all the fish in the sea" ceremonial ritual. 

And I sit weeping in my Father's lap proclaiming to Him in between sobs that "There can't be any more difficult thing than saying goodbye to my sons, especially at Christmas"

...And He tenderly kisses me on the forehead, brushing back my hair as He looks me in tear-swollen eyes and reminds me that He knows that pain.

"Once upon a time, My child, I had to say Goodbye to My Son at Christmas, too. I kissed Him Goodbye and sent Him into a world of darkness." "But, as I lay Him down in that lowly manger, I knew it was for Him to be the Light that would shine forevermore.  And you My dear, can be sure that your little ones are shining the same light as they are apart from you." 

And I find Comfort once again in the Arms of My Father, knowing that because He said Goodbye to His Son, now, just as He sits, reunited with Jesus at His throne, I will never say a permanant "Goodbye" to mine. 

Oh, God My Father, Jesus My Savior, May You keep watch between us as we are away one from another. (Gen 31:49)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Corner Checkers---Red vs. Black

Last night, one of my twins challenged me to a game of Corner Checkers.  I had never played before, so this was an easy score for him, or so he thought!  The game starts with all of your checkers lined up in one corner of the game.  The object is to get to the opponents corner to be "Kinged" and to eliminate all of your opponent's checkers in the process.  I was red and he was black.  As I began playing, I thought to myself, "How unfair, to start out a game already backed into a corner!"  Now, in Corner Checkers, you can move or jump from side to side.  That is a pretty fun manuever, mostly because it is a freedom you don't have in regular checkers, but I quickly realized that when I jumped the opponent sideways, he quickly returned the jump and if I moved sideways I seemed to get further from the King's Corner... 

The only thing that really got me closer to the King was moving forward...

I love that once you get "Kinged" you can then go back and jump the opponent's men going any direction you want...just eat 'em up like Pac Man.  There is power in the King to eliminate the enemy.  So, I continued with my strategy being to get to the King's Corner as fast as I could with as many of my checkers as I could. 

After a grueling battle between my King and the opponent, the Victory belonged to my King,  and I had one shocked eight year old...he thought he had me like cake in his hands!  He humbly shook my hand and with a sheepish grin admitted, "That was pretty good, Mom!"   I was proud...not to have won the game as much as I was to have such a great kid!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

MAD cleaning spree

My house gets really really clean under two conditions...     #1. company is coming (Flight of the Bumblebee...Oh, you know her, too?)     and #2. I am really mad with "someone".

Tonight was one of those nights.  I have pondered and decided that this must be why they call it a MAD cleaning spree.  Adrenalin pumping, blood pressure boiling, energy must be released...So instead of killing "someone" or saying MORE that I will regret later, I just clean.  It is a total win-win situation.  I get time to myself, cause no one gets in my way when they know I am cleaning (for fear that they will be assigned a task) and they definitely don't get in my way when they know I am mad. (Not to mention it is now 1:30am and they have all given up and gone to bed)  I get the housework caught up. I channel the energy into something productive.  I go to bed tired and not angry, cause I am too tired to be angry anymore.   And I don't go to jail for murder.

See?  Win-Win situation!

So, I got nothing especially spiritual or inspiring to say in this message, just wanted to share where the term "Mad Cleaning Spree" truly must have come from.

 (Even my Grammar stinks in this post...mustn't end a sentence in a preposition) : p

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Me and My Daddy built it

After a long day's work, my husband found himself crashed out on our bed snuggled up to a wife that was very super-glad to spend a few moments with him before the chaos in the kitchen, aka suppertime, erupted.  As I lay down next to him and reached over with a smooch, our very jealous, 100% little 3 yr old boy came charging in with shouts and screams, "NO ANYMORE KISSES!"  As he pounced atop the bed, and wormed his little weasel-self in between my husband and me, I laughingly replied, "I will kiss him anytime I want, he's my daddy!"  In playful arguement, Drew then counteracts, "No, he's my daddy!"  Then begins to back up his arguement with an attempt at substantial evidence. 

A few days ago, Nathan was adding a bathroom in our garage.  Drew with his toolbelt and hardhat grabbed his basket of hammers and wrenches and filed suit next to his daddy to "help".  Together they worked for hours finishing up the bathroom with much pride. 

So, his "reason" that Nathan was his daddy:  But, Mama, I helped Daddy build that bathroom, so he is my daddy!

Now, I don't think our state would hardly consider that as claims for paternity, but it was a good enough reason to a 3 yr old that he should have rights to the kisses!

Who do you call Daddy?  What evidence do you have that you are His?  Are you ready with tools in hand to be used by Him to build His Kingdom?  Are you willing to spend hours just being with Him?  Do you charge at and pounce on anything that gets in the way of you being closer to Him? 

Lord,  Thank you that we can be called Children of God.  Teach us to know what that means and to live the ownership of that claim. And thank you that, though You don't need us, You allow us to help build Your Kingdom.  Help us to daily declare our rights as Yours in the battle against that which wants to separate us from You.  And thank you that one day, I can run to You and rest in Your kisses, declaring, You are MY Daddy!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jumping for Joy

The first few minutes of the day when my boys wake are usually spent snuggling back in my bed with tons of pillows and blankets and warm socks discussing the night's dreams or the day's aspirations.  I love scooping my favorite 18mos old out of his crib and watching his cries turn into smiles as he sees me. He wraps his tiny arms around me so tightly, just bubbling with excitement.  As we approach my bed, where all three of his big brothers lay waiting to spoil him with cuddles, he nearly jumps out of my arms at their sight in laughing eagerness to be showered with a joyous welcome.  Oh, it does a mother's heart such good to feel their joy in just being in the presence of one another.

In Luke 1, we are introduced to the story of Jesus' miraculous conception and Mary's visit with Elizabeth in preparation of both of their pregnancies.  As Mary entered into Elizabeth's presence, she was so excited to see her cousin, but she wasn't the only one that jumped for joy. 

At the sound of Mary's greeting, Elizabeth's child leaped within her and she was filled with the Holy Spirit.  She gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, "You are highly favored by God and above all other women, and your child is destined for God's mightiest praise. What an honor this is that the mother of my Lord should visit me!" (Luke 1:41-43)

WOW!  If an unborn child knows that he is to "LEAP" in the presence of His Lord, shouldn't we know even more to jump for joy in His presence?  And if you notice, at his leaping, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and then, also praised being in the presence of her Lord. 

It was a chain reaction!  A contagious Spirit!  An infectious joy! 

In Sarah Young's, Jesus Calling, she poetically writes from the perspective of our Father, "What I search for in My children is an awakened soul that thrills to the Joy of My Presence!"

What joy it is for a parent to see their child rejoice in the embracing of their mere presence.  Lord, help me to never take Your welcoming me into Your arms for granted. You are the JOY that LEAPS within me.  Use this joy in me to ignite a contagious excitement in others that they, too, embrace the gift of being in Your Presence.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Radiant Reflection Part 2

I walked by a stream of water today.  The sun shone brightly through the trees and the light reflected off of the stream's looking glass.  I could see an obscure picture of the trees on the surface of the water as the orange and red shadows of fall left its mark of the Artist's palette. As I crept closer to the water, I began to see myself on its surface.  An acorn fell from the hands of a playful squirrel above and left ripples distorting my reflection in the water.  I chuckled at the stranger peering back at me, face wrinkling with the moving water.  I knelt down closer to this unknown image, and as the water grew still, I realized it was me. The closer I got to the water, the more and more I looked like my true self. 

When I was far away from the water, the reflection was distorted and the more I focused on the reflection of what surrounded me, but the closer I grew to it, the more clear a picture I received of myself. 

Did you know we were created in the image of God?  As I am far away from Him, my reflection of Him is also distorted and I tend to focus more on the image of what surrounds me; the circumstances and the image of others.  The closer I move toward my Maker, the closer I become to reflecting His image, the true image of what He created me to be.

Quite often though it is revealed in this reflection the upclose blemishes that must be looked closely upon and healed in order to reflect a pure image of His beauty.

I used to hate those magnifying mirrors that made my nose look more like the surface of the moon than an appendage of my face.  I detested the reality that despite my attempts to cover them up, the blemishes were still there, lurking underneath the make-up.  I have since learned that covering up those blemishes does nothing but make them worse...they must be cleaned to be healed.

Isn't that the same with our spiritual reflections.  The closer we are to Him, the more He reveals those blemishes that we are trying to cover  up...revealing them to us to remind us that He must clean them to give us a pure reflection of His image. 

“since we have these promises dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
 2 Corinthians 7:1

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