Monday, December 31, 2012

The Last Day of the Year

Today we say goodbye to 2012, and at midnight many will still be awake to welcome in the New Year of 2013!  This past year held many changes for our family, areas that have taken me on a path that I didn't ever imagine we would go, yet I'm thankful God has opened the doors He has. He has brought healing, and closure in unexpected ways. He has uncovered hidden secrets, and enabled me to step forward toward love and relationship.
He continues to bring healing to our family. And, to show me areas of tremendous blessings. Each day He has stretched me beyond my comfort zone, He has whispered to me to speak for Him, to be a lover for Him,  and to allow Him to control the center of my soul. I know, that 2013, will stretch me even more, in areas of trust, faith, and love.
This morning I read in Psalms 139 again, and these verses stood out:

Is there any place I can go to avoid Your Spirit?
To be out of Your Sight?
If I climb to the sky, You are there!
If I flew on morning's wings, 
to the far western horizon
you'd find me in a minute-
You're already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, "Oh! He even sees me in the dark!
at night I'm immersed in the light!"
It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you;
night and day; darkness and light, they're all the same to you.

2012 offered me some pretty dark days; it was not my favorite year. But, through the dark days, I learned so much about the presence of God. Because His Spirit dwells deep within me, there is no darkness! I may feel like it's pretty dark, but it's not. His light is there, and He will always show me the way. He is The Door and His Voice is always speaking to me, calling me in the direction He wants me to go, through every trial, all obstacles, every corner. And, as I make my way, in His Light, blessings are flowing, territory is growing, love is expanding, I am learning, Light is shining. It may not always feel like it, but God says it is true. He sees me, I am immersed in the light!
Say That Again, Jesus, You are everywhere, I cannot avoid You. Light surrounds You, and You are rooted in me. Take me into 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Agape Love

Sometimes I do not always grasp the infinite love of God, His promise to me that He will never stop loving me. Of course this is true because God is love and it is His very nature to love; it has  nothing to do with whether or not I am being lovable! As I've been thinking about this, and praying about this, asking Him to continue to root Himself deeper into my being, I see that the same will be true for me as well. My very nature will be to only love, even when those around me are not so lovable. This is Agape love, it is thinking of it as a verb, and being willing to give to others what they need.
Am I willing to step beyond my comfort to serve another?  Does my character have the capacity to do the loving thing?  Have I fallen in love with God's children?
This morning I read in 1 Corinthians 13 and it describes what love looks like:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut.
 Doesn't have a swelled head.
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel, 
Takes pleasure in the Truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back, 
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies.

As Gods chosen Child, if I were to apply this to my life everyday, and treat His family this way, how would my life be different? Would anything change? Would the direction of my life be different?  Less selfish? More patient? More trusting in God? I will continue to ask myself these questions and pray for truth about His love in my life.
Say That Again to me Jesus, Your love is always there, because it is not based on the object, but because it is Your nature. Make it my nature too!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Sledding Crashes

I'm still thinking about our sledding adventure. We had a lot of fun, but we also had a lot of crashes. There were a few trips down the hill that were downright scary!

God tells me to fear not 365 times in His Word! Wow, Say That Again, Dear Father, because even when I'm sledding down a hill I can feel fear. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Very Merry Christmas Eve Day

We celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve day. We had a great time. Our two younger children could hardly contain themselves as they eagerly waited for their older siblings to arrive.
We went sledding

 We gathered around the tree and opened presents.

 We put Lego together.
 We made gingerbread houses.
 We cut out sugar cookies and decorated them, then we ate them.

 We made button art on canvases.

It was a full, fun, and delightful day. We ended it by blowing up our gingerbread houses in the snow, and waving goodbye to our grown-up sons and their lovely wives and children.  We were again reminded how God has expended the territory of our hearts. 
Say That Again, Lord God, You have expanded our territory, and I thank You.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Non-Stick Mix

We made a chocolate cake today and put it in a car pan. I used a special non-stick mix suggested by a friend of mine to keep it from sticking to the pan, and, sure enough, it worked! The chocolate cake slipped right out of the pan!
The mix was equal parts of oil, shortening, and flour all whipped up together. So, while I was whipping the oil, shortening and flour together my mind wandered to the Trinity. You know, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Three of them all together, blended up in such a way that it's the perfect mix when they are wrapped around me.
Just like my mix, three separate yet one, God is the same. And as I rubbed the mix in my car pan, it occurred to me that as long as I continue to keep the mix of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in every aspect of my life I will not get stuck. I will continue to journey through life on the path He has carved out for me, His light shining the entire way. His presence deep within me.
Okay, I'm going to be thinking about non stick mix and chocolate cake this Christmas break, and the gift from my Father on Christmas. He sent His Son Jesus to redeem me, and then Jesus gave His Spirit as a deposit within me.
 Say That Again, Dear God, Three in One, all in me. Thank you.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Crumb Cake

We are celebrating our first  grandchild's birthday today, she is two. I made her a cake, and put it in a fancy pan. The cake is a family favorite, the recipe passed down from my aunt. I was careful to grease the pan, getting all the creases and then flour. I was hopeful that the cake would not stick, but would just slide out of the pan and look beautiful. It baked nicely, smelled wonderful, and when it came out of the oven, I immediately began to wonder if I would be able to successfully transfer the cake from pan to plate. It looked challenging. I let it cool. I gave it some thought. I took a picture. I asked a few opinions. The cake sat, and cooled. Then, I flipped the pan over the plate, and, the cake broke into pieces! Hmm, it looks like we will be having Crumb Cake for our grandchild's birthday, with ice cream!
The whole cake thing reminded me of the journey of life, sometimes I can be working so hard to get myself all put together, nicely baked just right. Everything looks perfect until there's a shake up and God points out  the fact that I'm the one that did all the work. He turns things upside down and starts to rearrange things a bit, adding His grace, offering His strength. My weakness, like crumbs in a cake, become very evident, and I see more and more that the only way to really journey through life is to be weak and to lean on His strength and live by His grace. It's okay to eat Crumb Cake everyday, if it means I'm eating with Jesus!
Say That Again, Jesus, it is through You and Your strength, that all things are possible, and only through You. I am weak, but You are strong.

My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into it's own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen, I quit focusing on the handicap, and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Loyal

Who am I to be loyal to? This is a question I've had the last couple of weeks. Naturally, I'm going to be loyal to my God, husband,  family, and a loyal friend. I decided to look up the word loyal just to see what Webster had to say about the whole thing:

-faithful to one's sovereign , government or state: a loyal subject.

-faithful to one's oath, commitments, or obligations: to be loyal to a vow.

-faithful to any leader, party, or cause, or any person or thing conceived as deserving fidelity: a loyal friend.
-characterized by or showing faithfulness to commitments, vows, allegiance,obligations, etc loyal conduct.

God is Sovereign, and to Him I will be a loyal subject. I have made a commitment to Him to follow Him all the days of my life.I will be loyal to the cause of furthering His Kingdom, and loyal to the unity of His family. I will continue to move forward and live in the light of His love, showing faithfulness to my God and the commitments I have made. I will continue to ask Him to lead me and show me how to live a loyal life.
Jesus walked everyday with His friends, He loved them, He talked to them. He was deeply involved in their lives. He was a loyal friend to them, and He still is. He shared with them from the very depths of His heart, holding nothing back, because He loved. His loyal love to them was His actions, His time, His words, His healing power, His tenderness. And then He told them to be like Him! He tells me to be like Him.
If I think about being loyal to Him, and I ask Him to enable me to be a loyal person the way that He is, then it means I am in relationship.  I am loyal because I love you, just like Jesus loves me!
Jesus, I think I need You to continue to Say That Again to me, because I don't always believe it for myself! And, I want to be like you, loyal to others as we walk together.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Mercy Of the Lord

The loss our country experienced last week has been on my mind every day, especially with my own children in school. Yesterday, as my son and daughter made their way out of the school doors I sent a prayer up to God, thanking Him for keeping them safe and protected one more day. As they left the house yesterday morning, I prayed again to Jesus, surrendering my children into His hands, and also asking that He safe guard them from the dangers that lurk around them. Keep them from evil!
This morning I opened my Bible to Isaiah 11 and read verses 6-11:

A wolf will romp with the lamb
the leopard sleep with the kid
Calf and lion will eat from the same trough
and a little child will tend them.
Cow and bear will graze the same pasture,
their calves an cubs grow up together, and the lion eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens,
the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent.
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, 
a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.

This is the New Earth that I have to look forward to, the one where my children will be completely safe. They can go out in the morning, and I will know without a doubt that I will see them later. There will be no death! There will not be evil to harm them.
There is nothing that can be said about the horrific tragedy done in this school, except Lord, have mercy. Have mercy on the man with the gun. Have mercy on his family, on each child, on their families, and on our country. Lord, Say That Again, have mercy!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Decorations

We cut our tree yesterday. My husband and son brought it in the house and twinkled it up with lights. We listened to some music, and we looked at all the ornaments that we've had in our family for 30 years now. Sweet little pictures of when our adult boys were little, or handcrafted ornaments made by small hands. We have one ornament that all my children have loved throughout the years, the horn. Every year, they get  it  out of the box and loudly blow the horn. Every year, my husband and I wonder why we continue to put the horn back in the box! Our oldest son use to get the horn and wake us up with it on Christmas morning, at 4 am! Now, it's just tradition. What would Christmas be like without it?
Every year, we make gingerbread houses and blow them up in a gazillion pieces....
Every year, we gather together to play games, eat, enjoy the company of family.
Every year, inside my heart, I celebrate another year the birth of Jesus and the gift of new life. Look what He has done? Because of Him I can have all of this. My family and friends. A place to live, food to eat, forgiveness, His Robe of Righteousness wrapped securely around me.
Every year, I know a little more that Christmas is about CHRIST, and less about me. His birth in me shines and there is celebration, and like my Christmas tree, He decorates my life.  He adds light, twinkle. He adds ornament, character, depth, beauty, hope, love, and His power. It's Him. He does it.
Thank You Jesus for this Christmas. Say That Again to me, You decorate my life!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Faith

I have a framed verse in our family room; it hangs by the couch so I see it every morning. It is Hebrews 11: 1

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

It's been a good reminder for me, for there is much right now that I am hoping for. We still are struggling in our business and I continue to come before God, hopeful that something will get better. As I watch my husband work hard, but our finances continue to decline, my faith that God has something much better in store moves me forward.  With this season upon us and my children full of anticipation, I know that we cannot give to them what they hope for, but I am praying God will enable them to know His joy and feel His love this Christmas. And, I will have increased faith in Who He is.
We are blessed this season with family and friends and the gift of life and time with many of them. We are blessed to have the gift of His salvation, the hope of heaven. We have the faith of Jesus in our hearts, the love of family to resonate deep within us, and the love of friends that are connected to us through the family of God. All of this, deeply rooted within me, gives me faith that there is much more to hope for .  Faith that my children will have a joyful, and delightful Christmas this year!
Jesus, You truly are the reason we celebrate the faith of this season, spread Your hope throughout my family and bring Your peace. Say That Again, faith is the substance of things hoped for!

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Stuck Words

There was a man talking on the radio a couple days ago about the childhood saying: sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.  He was commenting on how untrue that is! He grew up being called names and being told that he would never amount to anything worthwhile, to him, a broken leg would've been easier to deal with.
I've thought about his statement, because words have made a huge impact in my life. When I hear something or read something, it is challenging for me to get the words out of my brain. So, something negative can be destructive, and has been destructive in my life. Some of the words I heard from childhood became so ingrained in my brain that I didn't even recognize them as being there, it was just a natural part of me, yet destructive. But, stuck negative words are lies, and as I have learned to recognize them and replace them with truth, God's truth, the stuck words in my brain are becoming His Words!
When I get overly stressed I find myself replaying some of the negative words, the automatic player just pops on and away we go together. It is then that I need to pray, or call and pray with someone. I need someone to remind me of the immense mercy of my God, and His amazing truth.
His Word is within me, so I am guided by His truth. In Psalms 12:6 I read:

God's Word's are pure words, Pure silver words refined seven times in the fires of His word-kiln, Pure on earth as well as in heaven.

Say That Again, Jesus, stick Your pure Words in my head forever!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Falling Snow

It's snowing at our house, and a friend pointed out to me how beautiful it is. And, she's right, it is beautiful. I had to drive my children into school this morning at 6:30 am, the snow was new and fresh on the drive. It was dark outside. I worked at focusing on the beauty of the snow, rather on the things about the snow that I don't like. Everywhere we look from our house, we see lovely trees with snow and the beauty of God's earth. His gift to us. I am thankful.
This year for Christmas, our family hopes to go sledding, so we need snow. We have a hill beside our house and one in front of our house that is perfect for some downhill adventures. Me? My adventure may be watching.
As I'm watching, or maybe sledding, I will come up with all the beautiful things about snow:

The first sight in the morning
The snow crowned peaks
The first snow man
The taste of snow ice cream
The first pair of snow boots
The walk in the snow with someone I love
The quiet, peaceful evening as the snow falls
The heavy laden tree limbs
The lights on trees covered in snow
The sleigh ride in the snow
The laughter of children playing in the snow

I'll continue to work on my list this winter. This morning I read in Psalms 65:9

Oh, visit the earth, 
ask her to join the dance!
Deck her out in spring showers,
fill the God-River with living water.
Paint the wheat fields golden.
Creation was made for this!
Drench the plowed fields, 
soak the dirt clods
with rainfall as harrow and rake
bring her to blossom and fruit.
Snow-crowned peaks with splendor, 
scatter rose petals down your paths, 
All though the wild meadows, rose petals. 
Set the hills to dancing, 
Dress the canyon walls with live sheep,
a drape of flax across the valleys.
Let them shout, and shout, and shout! 
Oh, oh ,let them sing!

Jesus! Open my eyes to the beauty of Your earth and the snow that falls upon it! Say That Again, You have brought goodness and splendor to my path!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Problem Free Life

Many, many times I have thought that a problem free life would be delightful! A nice beach chair, on a nice hot sandy beach somewhere tropical, with a very good book. Yup, that's me.  Well, for a couple seconds, maybe, until the kids throw sand all over me, and the legs on my chair break, then next thing I know an extra large wave comes crashing through my gorgeous beach and I'm drenched, my book has drifted off to some other island....
Thankfully, I have a life boat, Jesus is always there to pull me up out of the problem and set me in the right direction again. He is the only predictable part of my life, He is always there.
In Sarah Young this morning she wrote about this:

In your private thoughts, you are still trying to order your world so that it is predictable and feels safe. Not only is this an impossible goal, but it is also counterproductive to spiritual growth. When your private world feels unsteady and you grip my hand for support, you are living in conscious dependence on me.
Instead of yearning for a problem-free life, rejoice that trouble can highlight your awareness of My Presence.

When the wave comes crashing in on my serene beach scene, it can be challenging to rejoice!  After all, I'm feeling like a drenched rat. But, I don't have to swim to the top, Jesus will scoop His hand down to the sandy, turmoil, and grab me. I may feel like I'm being crashed, banged, and broken, but really I'm in His Hand! He says to me:

Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God.
I'll give you strength. I'll help you.
I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.
Isaiah 41:10

Oh, Sweet Jesus, Say That Again! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Serendipity

There's a few things I like to collect--shells, rocks, boots, and signs.  My family and friends are usually very helpful when it comes to collecting my favorite things, and I always find that fun and exciting.
This year for my birthday I received more signs to add to my already fun collection. Now, when  I need an attitude adjustment I've got a sign to direct me:

If I forget about my blessings, my good life, or my friends I have reminders of that too:

The days that I need to see words that keep me in touch with His strength and His love, or brings me in touch with a little  humor are appreciated as well:

I have many more signs with fun sayings. All of them mean something to me.  I like words. I like the word Serendipity.  It means an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. Even though I believe God orchestrates all things, I also believe He brings gifts to all days, and those gifts are like desirable discoveries found by accident, a sign of His love. They are people that come into my life to hug away my bad attitude, or a friend that calls for coffee, a note in the mail to remind me that I am loved, a verse in God's Word to strengthen me, time with my family playing, and less work sweeping the floor!
Jesus, thank you that You continue to Say That Again to me, You will bring serendipity into my life!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Details

The verse I read this morning:

Let every detail in your lives-words, action, whatever--be done in the Name of the Master,  Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.  Colossians 3:17

If every detail of my life-every single word, action, thought, look, and motive, etc, were done in the  name of Jesus, and along the way I were thanking my Father, how would my life be different?
Jesus, show me today more of Your truth and Your glory.
Say That Again, what do You, Jesus,  want different?

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Hope

I have episodes of random hopelessness. It strikes suddenly, and I am not always prepared. This morning I read in Sarah Young again, and then later today it was read to me. I needed to hear it twice. It was about the battle that can strike our minds, without warning. The massive warfare. I have learned that when I am in the thick of a battle there is great value in repeating the name of Jesus, over and over again. His name, when used for good, has great power to bless and protect. In the devotional today she said this:

"But all those who have drawn near Me through trustingly uttering My Name will be filled with inexpressible and glorious joy. This is your great hope, as you wait My return."

I love that! My great hope! I love it, because, sometimes I feel dread, and that is not so great. I had a discussion about hope today and I was working at wrapping my brain around a little hope, because I was in the middle of an onslaught. It wasn't going so well. The thing I love so much about God is, as I headed out to my car and turned on my music the song that came on was "Hope" by Remedy Drive.

What a beautiful sight for the worn and weary eye
The glimmering light in the corner of a broken sky
Hope sweet hope like a star burning bright
When the sun goes down and the fears begin to fly

Hope's not giving up
Hope's not giving up
In a cold dark night she's giving 
Not giving up

Hold on tight this city's about to break
In the middle of the night lying there wide awake
Hope sweet hope how much more can she take
Being our strength when our hearts are out of faith

Hope is with me in my time of trouble 
When it all comes crashing down she will stay 
By my side digging through the rubble
She's not giving up-not giving up-not giving up

So, here I am. I had a day where my hope went flinging about, but God rescued me with a devotional, a fellow sister in Christ, and a song.  He gave me the devotional about hope first thing in the morning, before I even started to feel that way, but He knew I would struggle. He brought all the right people into my life, all the right songs, with the perfect timing. He is magnificent. He is the God that loves. He is the God of Hope.
Say that Again to me, Father, You are Hope.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Festive Celebration

My family and friends gathered around me in such a fabulous way that 50 was a wonderful celebration!  I felt very loved and cared for, the time and effort they put into throwing a great party was very meaningful to me.
We had diamonds strewn about, confetti everywhere, crowns sparkling, colorful balloons, beautiful letters of affections and love, lovely cards, and thoughtful gifts. The food was good, and the cake was chocolate :) Perfect! We played twister, and hit a pinata'
Many of the people that I love and care about deeply came to celebrate with me; it was delightful to have them.  I didn't want to be alone on my birthday, and I was not. There was laughter, and there was love, and I was blessed.
In Psalms 118:24 it says this:

This is the very day God acted-let's celebrate and be festive!

God acted on the very day I was born, and that is why my family, friends, and I celebrated and were festive yesterday! It was great. My goal? It is to celebrate and be festive everyday, because I know that God acts every single day in my life. He is here with diamonds strewn about in my life every day, love always present speaking through the people in my life, He has already placed a crown of jewels on my head and declared that I am His daughter, He has placed color in my life everywhere, and rich taste, and beautiful gifts. Everywhere I look, there is something to celebrate and be festive about!
Say That Again, my Jesus, You celebrate everyday over me, You dance at the festivities! Thank you for teaching me Your truth!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Birthday Wish

Today is my 50th birthday!  This morning when I opened the Sarah Young devotional to read the December 1 page I was met with this: "Before you were born, I knew you. Ponder the awesome mystery of a Love that encompasses you from birth to beyond the grave." I really like the word picture of being encompassed at birth with the Love of God, and from that moment on He has never let me go!
In Psalms 22:10 it says this:

When I left the womb you cradled me; since the moment of birth you've been my God.

And, Psalms 139:16

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you,  the days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.

From the very moment I was conceived, to the cold winter night I was born, He knew all about it. To every day I grew, I wondered, I feared, I hid, I watched, I played, I ran, I smiled, and I learned, He knew all about it, and He loved me.  He saw every birthday come and go, every secret wish.  He has never stopped being my God!
Today, I am going to my son's basketball game. My wish is that he will know how much I love him. Today, I am spending the day with all the people that I love, and I am going to hug each one of them, this is my wish, that they all know how much they mean to me. My husband, for all his devotion, his tender love, his faithfulness. My sons, my daughters, and my friends. My birthday wish is to express my deep gratitude and love to all of them.
Jesus, You have given all of these blessings to me, You have heard my secret wishes and turned them into blessings. Surely You have been there from the moment of conception! Say That Again, Lord God, You have wished me a Happy Birthday!