Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post-Christmas Thoughts: Part Whatever

As I finish up Isaiah, I was struck by how much it has fed my encouragement. Being more of one to poke fun and criticize, I am glad that it has helped me to focus on how I can encourage others with the promises of God. This morning I was especially struck by the need to encourage my single family and friends. In the process of waiting for a spouse, I know it can feel hopeless. I was struck by these two verses that bring hope.

First, a message of hope from chapter 60:9:
For the coastlands shall hope for me, the ships of Tarshish first, to bring your children from afar, their silver and gold with them, for the name of the Lord your God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because he has made you beautiful.

Just remember that God has made you beautiful and can bring you a spouse from afar.
Lastly, to remind you that God is actively working on your behalf, from chapter 62:12
And they shall be called The Holy People,The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City Not Forsaken.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

We have...

...video! Thanks to my family's creative gift of a Flip video camera, I can catch things on video myself! We'll see how this goes because as you can tell from this first video, I'm not exactly competent. But it seems that it takes forever to load, so I'm not sure this will work.
video

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tandy


My favorite word is "Tan-ny" or "Tandy"-- my first word both this morning and the morning before were "One tandy, mommy? Jus' one tandy?"

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Thought: Success

11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

Travis and I have had many discussions lately about success. One of the reasons has been our celebration of Travis' sucess this year in his job. He has kept a job in the same company for a year now AND done well, getting recognized and promoted for his efforts. This was not the case for the first couple years of our marriage-- he held a series of jobs that were poor fits and with less well run companies. His has been a long path to get on the road to success. It is paved with none less than his blood, sweat and tears. And Travis and I agree that there is still a road ahead of us. As you celebrate this Christmas season, we remember that God is always successful with his purposes and plans.

---don't you love Isaiah and how many promises are found in it??

.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Thoughts: Part 6-- Making Room

Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes."

When I moved to Arizona four years ago, this was a crucial promise for me. The Lord spoke through this verse as I struggled with the difficulties of moving, getting married, adjusting to a new church and family, and, ultimately, the growth process. It was a stripping process. It was painful at times. But ultimately it was about making room. Instead of accepting the status quo and the comfort of what I already knew, God was enlarging my heart and my life.

At times when we feel crowded by life's responsibilities, it can be easy to hold back in our lives. We are afraid, we are uncomfortable and we would rather have our security. God is not about fear. He is not uncomfortable with His purposes. And he promises that "The Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer" vs 5.

As you look at this Christmas season, how are you making room in your life for Christ? As you look at the new year filled with anticipation-- or are you filled with fear? God wants us to prepare our hearts for his plan-- which usually involves stretching growth. Make room for Him!

I know God is preparing my heart for the stretching (literally) of adding another child. And instead of getting caught up in the "How am I going to's??!", I want to prepare my heart to make room first for Christ, who is a good Maker! I would love to continue to remember that God has always been faithful--

my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. 54: 10

He brought me through that inital season and he will be faithful again, no matter how crowded I feel by my life's responsibilities and difficulties.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Thoughts: Part 5

Isaiah 52:1 Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city


For some reason this verse helped me this morning as I was battling back tears about my father's depression. It reminds me that God will indeed clothe us with his righteousness despite our wayward weakness. It reminds me simply to put on Christ in this Christmas season. There is hope in the city of God for his chosen ones. And that day there will be no more sorrows--for indeed he has "borne our sorrows" yet given us the promise and hope of everlasting and joyful life with Him.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thoughts postponed

Down and out with a cold... and we dropped our other laptop on Friday (that makes two in two weeks)... so we are praying that God would continue to speak to you through His word during this holiday season. We'll be up and running on Monday hopefully.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thought Four- A Prayer

This morning I was struck by the possible loneliness some might feel during the holidays. Whether it be from physical distance or separation or depression, it is possible that we can feel like the Israelites. They were longing for their coming Savior, but the wait was filled with hundreds of years of physical suffering, emotional separation and sinful wandering. God has words for each us in the Christmas season--and He speaks comfort for all who feel alone:

For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord;joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.

In winter there is a deadness about the world-- yet, just as there seems to be nothing beautiful, there are still roots in the ground resting for a coming spring. LOur hope is delayed but our Savior has come once and will come again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Thoughts, Part Three

This morning's theme is "The Profit of Godly Labor"--sounds good, right? As I read in Isaiah 48 and 49 I was provoked by 49 vs four's question:
"But I said, I have lavoured in vain. I have spent my strength for nothing and
vanity!"

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. Anytime I stay up late I am exhausted by a normal day's activities. Kate woke up sick, so there was the added burden of caring for her abnormal fussiness. At the end of yesterday, and other days just like it, I am tempted to feel like, "What's the point??" Thoughts run through my head like my floors are still dirty, my kitchen is dirtier, and I really wanted to have enough energy for my husband!

In this Christmas season, I want to remember the strength of God's redeeming purposes for those days and moments by applying this answer found in chapter 48 vs. 17:
"Thus says the Lord, Your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel. I am the Lord your God who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go"

The ESV study bible says "The servant confesses his sense of failure due to Israel's poor response yet the servant does not turn from God in cynical unbelief. He accepts emotional suffering and frustrating toil with confidence that God will reward him."

In this season, I want to encourage my own soul with the promise that the Lord teaches us to profit from every effort and labor that we undertake in His name.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Thought Two

Isaiah 46: 9 "for I am God, and there is no other, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done."

This morning I am reminded by this verse of waiting. I think we all have experienced waiting for events or things to begin or end. This year I am freshly aware of how God has beginnings and ends for all things according to His good will. I always just wanted the process to be over and to get the result. Those years I was "house-less" and "child-less" and "spouse-less" are over. I have a wonderful husband, a funny daughter and one child on the way, and a beautiful home. The lessons the Lord taught me in those seasons were truths to LIVE. He taught me that patience isn't about just waiting until you get what you want or think you deserve-- it is about accepting what He gives, when He gives it. The delay was always Him waiting to provide something better, richer or fuller. As we celebrate Christmas, let us wait on Christ. Let us wait for His goodness, His richness and His fullness, not just the gifts He gives His children.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Thoughts- Part 1

I am reading through Isaiah in preparation for Christmas and wanted to encourage everyone with twelve days...errr, ten...daily meditations. Today I was encouraged by these words:
Isaiah 45:24 “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me,are righteousness
and strength"

As we all prepare our homes, our tables, and our families for the holidays, we must also prepare our hearts with the strength of his promises. Let us remember that it is only in the Lord that we find all our righteousness--that we deserving nothing and yet we have received everything--as well as all of our strength--which is especially important as we make the final push in the next ten days.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow



We were so fortunate to have snow while here in Maryland--Kate's first and my first in almost four years! We have enjoyed our time here in Maryland, seeing friends and family, cooking, fixing a few things around the house, and getting everyone into the Christmas spirit.