Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 Reflections...

There is one more day left in the year 2011. It's been quite a year! As I sit here remembering I hear the words to a song running through my mind. It really does sum up this year for my family and I. The words are from Laura Story's song "Faithful God".

Here are some of the words that ring true for 2011 in my life:

"For You are the love that never leaves
The friend that won't deceive
You're the one sure thing.

Faithful God, every promise kept
Every need You've met, Faithful God
All I am and all I'll ever be
Is all because You love faithfully
Faithful God."


He has been our one sure thing in the midst of a very uncertain year. He has kept all of His promises and met every need. He has faithfully loved us by keeping us in His perfect peace and never letting us forget for a second that we belong to Him. If I were to list the ways He has loved us so faithfully in 2011 I would be here until the end of 2012! I am not surprised as I look back because He has always proven Himself faithful in prior years, but I still sit here in awe of how personal He is about doing it. What I hope to carry into 2012 with me is His tender care, that the God of the Universe who speaks things into being cares about the things that concern little me. He doesn't just care He shows it in ways that He knows I can receive it and hold on to it. I am so grateful.


As I say goodbye soon to 2011, I want to welcome 2012 in with gratitude. I want to begin my days with thanks and end them with thanks. I want to faithfully recount God's faithfulness to my kids and whoever else will listen. Then with all that thankfulness I hope He will use me to help others see more easily His faithfulness in their lives. I look forward like everyone else to a New Year and a fresh start but I want to carry with me the important parts of 2011, the lessons learned at His feet. Will you join me in embracing the new without letting go of the eternal treasures from the old? Let's begin 2012 with thankful hearts for the trials of 2011 and the lessons we learned through them at His feet!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Unwrap It...

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined... For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:2, 6

Christ is the gift. He is the gift that keeps on giving. Once this gift is received the person receiving it never wants to let go of it or exchange it for anything else. Once this gift is opened all other gifts pale in comparison. Where would I be without Him? I would still be walking in the darkness and dwelling in the land of the shadow of death.

I received Him ages ago when I was four but it takes years to truly begin to understand the gift that He is. It took years before I understood what it meant to have Him as my Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. I have always known that He is Wonderful!

Here is the wonder...
When I need wisdom He is my Counselor. When I need strength in the midst of an up hill battle, I don't fight it on my own because He is my Mighty God. When I need comfort from life's hurts He is my Everlasting Father and all I need to do to curl up in His lap and have a good cry is to go to Him in prayer. When life is uncertain and everything is going wrong He is the my Prince of Peace, the calm in the storm. All I have to do is run to Him and leave it at His feet and receive the calm of His loving presence. I marvel that all of this gift was wrapped up in the form of a tiny baby so long ago.

A few more days and it will be Christmas. Yet Christmas has already come. What will you do with this marvelous gift of Christ? Will you receive it and leave it still wrapped up? Or will you take the time to unwrap it and discover all the layers to this incredible gift in the days, weeks, months, and years to come?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Adoration...

"O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!" These are the words that haunt me today. Year after year I have heard them sung at church and on the radio and have never given them a second thought. Today they chase me from one task to another.

They are there when I do the laundry. I heard them when I washed the dishes. As I cooked dinner they played over and over again in my mind. They have a pleading or beckoning sound to them. So I sit here thinking about what God is getting at with these words and the question that keeps coming to mind is this: When was the last time I really spent time adoring Him?

Christmas is such a busy time of year. Most of us spend our time juggling all the regular obligations along with purchasing gifts, going to parties, spending time with family, and holiday cooking. We miss Christmas if we don't stop and adore Him. We miss Christmas if we don't stop long enough to consider the greatest gift ever given, Christ. We miss Christmas if we forget the incredible love of our God who sent Christ to save us... Us who don't deserve such and extravagant gift!

I looked up the word adore. Adore means to regard with utmost esteem, love, respect, and honor. Adoration is fervent and devoted love. Let's take a moment to adore Him together. Let's use Psalm 103 to remind us of just a few reasons why we so fervently love this God who sent His Son as a babe laying in a manger, to save us from our sins!

"Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle." (verses 2-5)

" The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness.
He has not dealt with us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His loving kindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him." (verses 8 &10-13)

Don't let this simply be one small pause of adoration in the midst of a flurry of holiday activity. Make it a habit to dwell on who God is and what He has done for you. As your adoration for Him grows let it be contagious. Spread it to others that they may want to know this God who you so fervently love and adore. This is your gift to them!






Friday, December 2, 2011

God The Ultimate Washing Machine...

This week I have been doing a lot of research and a lot of praying. My washing machine broke and it costs too much to fix it. We would be better off buying a new machine than repairing the 11 year old one we have. I do a lot of laundry, so a broken machine sent a wave of panic through my being! It's been a long time since I have had to buy a new appliance and I had no idea what was available or what would be a quality purchase that fit our budget. So the "Give me wisdom" prayers began right along side of hours of research.

I quickly found out that technology has advanced quite a bit in the 11 years since my last washing machine purchase. I began to feel overwhelmed at the thought of not being able to find a washing machine without buttons like a cell phone has. I am a simple girl, I like knobs on my machine and I don't want to have to read a book in order to figure out how to wash my clothes! I had to learn about how many RPMs an energy efficient machine needed to have in order to spin the clothes enough to get rid of excess water. Then I had to learn what makes it energy efficient! As if that wasn't enough I found out that today's washing machines have sensors in the bottom that weigh your clothes so they only fill up with the necessary amount of water. That is part of the energy efficiency! Really? Do I really need to have my dirty clothing weighed? There are even machines that will not wash your clothes if you over load them. They will simply turn off! Do I really want my washing machine to tell me how many clothes I am allowed to wash at one time? It might as well talk for that matter. Maybe they could program it to say "Wow! You must not have a shred of clean clothing in the house if you're going to fill me up with this big of a load!"

I decided it was time to go to Lowes and find a washing machine. The laundry was piling up and I had a headache from all of the research in front of the computer screen. I told my husband I was going to pick whatever one that fit our budget and had knobs. He said that was fine. So off I went! Upon entering the store I prayed once more for wisdom. As I walked around looking at the washing machines I couldn't help but notice that half of them look like mini spaceships! In fact there was a front loading washing machine that I could probably fit in. Maybe in the next 11 years they will be the rocket ships of the future!

Intimidated by their many buttons, computerized screens, and size, I moved to the only section where I saw knobs. Then I saw the salesman approaching. It takes a special salesman to deal with me, so I prayed that God would help me to be kind and patient. Too much pressure to sell me a particular machine and no matter how badly I need to buy something I will leave. That's how I have always been. The salesman asked if he could help and I asked him some questions about the machine with the knobs. He had no idea that I really wanted the knobs when he said "It has the same computer board behind it as the others do. We just put the knobs on it for the old people. They like knobs!" So I replied, " I like knobs too" and he got quiet. In order to redeem myself I started asking him about how fast the drum spins and he looked up the RPMs for me. This lead us to a different set of washers now because the ones with the knobs don't last as long as the front loaders. Long story made a bit shorter, I ended up buying a front loading washing machine with buttons instead of knobs and it was on a really great sale! This provided me with the ability to buy a warranty in case those fancy buttons malfunction!

As I reflect on this experience I can't help but marvel at how complicated we make simple things like washing our clothes. We simply need clean clothes but now we have to decide what temperature the water is, load size, how fast the spin, and what amount of time to wash them using fancy buttons! It made me think about another kind of cleansing that we make complicated. How often do we go to God for forgiveness and complicate it by making promises to do better next time? We ask for forgiveness, promise to do better, and then walk around feeling guilty for days even thought God has forgiven us completely. God is not like a computerized washing machine. You have no idea after the research I have done this week, how thankful I am for that! There is no computerized malfunction with God, His drum doesn't stop spinning, He never forgets to rinse, He won't refuse to clean us because we have too big of a load, and He doesn't break down and leave us with no way to be clean! When we ask for forgiveness He forgives us and cleanses us completely. We don't have to keep feeling guilty or wonder if He still loves us. It's done. He is the ultimate washing machine with no malfunctions! We ask for forgiveness and come out so clean we look like brand new. I don't know about you but I am so thankful that it's that simple and my God is that wonderful and reliable!