Friday, December 28, 2007

She had to start pouring...

The Sunday before Christmas Johnny preached (in my humble and critical opinion) one of the best -- most likely, THE best -- Christmas sermon of all time. Of course, he preached from Luke 2. I laughed when he said it was the passage quoted by Linus in the Charlie Brown Christmas Show. Under one point in the sermon he went to 2 Kings 4. This is such a great story -- it's about the prophet Elisha's encounter with a woman whose husband died and left her in debt. She had no way to repay her debt. All she had was one jar of oil. Elisha told her to go to all her neighbors and borrow as many jars as she could. In fact, he told her to get a lot. (2 Kings 4:3 -- "do not get a few.") Then, Elisha told her to take them home and start pouring the oil into the jars. So, she started pouring out the oil and it continued to pour out until every jar was full. As many jars as she gathered was filled up. Then the oil stopped and she was able to sell the oil to pay off the debts. God performed a miracle on her behalf but, for her part, she had to start pouring to receive the blessing.

New Years day is quickly approaching. With it, traditionally, we make New Years' resolutions. Valerie Bertinelli isn't making any related to losing weight, thanks to Jenny Craig, but perhaps you are. Isn't that a common resolution -- eat healthy, exercise, lose weight? 2008 is going to be a year of changes for our family. Josh and I will graduate and I will go to work after 18 years of being at home. The most important thing, however, is that I want to receive God's blessing on my life. What will that look like for me in 2008? In order to find out, I've got to start pouring. To some degree, the blessing will be measured by my expectation... just like the number of jars that were filled were as many as were collected, I've got to be expectant and obedient.

In Luke 2:15 & 16, the shepherds had heard the message that the Savior (delivere, rescuer) had been born in Bethlehem. They had to take the knowledge they had and move from where they were to where God was. "So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger." (Lk. 2:16, NASB)

Moving toward God. Following in obedience. Sharing the Good News of Christ. Being expectant. Pouring out.

Serving the King,


Saturday, December 22, 2007

A totally fun and relaxing day

We took the Wildwood (travel trailer) out to Joe Pool lake for a couple of nights along with our regular camping buddies. The last few weeks have been so stressful and packed with activity that I really just wanted to do nothing. So, that's pretty much what I did -- nothing. The entertainment for the night was the guys (not the teenage guys, but the grown-up guys) "experimenting" with the fire. We had a hollow log that they sat straight up and stuffed different things inside. Oh, I could go on about that...

In our culture we are all about doing. We gotta do this, we gotta take care of that... This time of year we shop and shop, wrap and wrap, go and go... it's a frenzy. Sometimes we just need to stop. Last night was cold, but not too cold. It had been cloudy earlier in the day but around 10:00 pm the sky cleared up. The moon was not quite full, but it was really bright. It lit up the ground around the campsite. The fire crackeled and it was really hot -- it had been burning just about all day. We sat and enjoyed the stillness, the quiet...except for the sound of two boys in the trailer trying to get the dog to howl. Perfect...

It was fun time. All that was missing was my daughter who decided to go to her cousin's house instead of with us. And, Johnny and I rocked at bochie ball so that was icing on the cake!!

Rested and refreshed,


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The True Meaning...

Two weeks from tomorrow I am leaving on a trip to SE Asia. I am super excited! One of the things we will be doing is participating in a project similar to Samaritan's Purse. We will be distributing boxes (about shoebox size) filled with small presents to children who are in orphanages or other poverty situations. I am filled with emotion as I anticipate the trip in light of how much my own family has been blessed this past year. My kids and husband (and me, too, for that matter) had trouble making a list of things we wanted -- we have so much. We had a mission emphasis in our church this past Sunday morning. Several people got up and spoke about specific mission projects our church has been involved with over this past year. The places we've gone, the things we have contributed to, and the lives we have touched as a congregation. I am overwhelmed and honored to be a part and fully aware that there is much more that we can and should do.

The true meaning of Christmas is the salvation story. "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son..." He was born by divine circumstance into a humble situation. Our nativities represent that humble beginning that we celebrate. It's more than just the birth. It's the beginning of the story of how God intentionally reached out to the whole of humanity to offer life. Yet, there are those who have never even heard the name of Jesus. Not just a plane ride away...right down the street, perhaps. Our job is to carry on the mission. More than a celebration of one day, December 25th, Christmas should be a celebration of a way of life. Giving, not just wrapped presents to the ones we love, but of ourselves, our time, our talents, our resources, and our energy.

One week from today is Christmas day. So even though I still have shopping to do, gifts to wrap, menus to plan, groceries to buy, I am desperately trying to stay focused on the purpose.

Jesus is, after all, the reason for the season.

Serving Him,


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Glory, Hallelujah!

...and I mean that completely and totally seriously. The highest praise goes to the Lord Jesus Christ for getting me through the last few weeks...the last 2 in particular. Amen and Amen.

Now, finally, I can concentrate on the CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS!! Ho!Ho!Ho!

Ok, I am a bit giddy but also delirious from lack of sleep. Just one more semester...

Yesterday, I was in class and two of my classmates are graduating this Friday, so my professor was asking what each was doing following graduation. One of the women started at the seminary in 1990 so I commented that I started before her. Then, my professor said she started in 1988 to which I, in amazement, said I started before her as well. So, this young woman sitting next to me (as she did all semester...little did I know she would turn on me) said, "Yeah, but they're both finished!" I was appalled! :) ---ok, I really am laughing. It was a good one and she got me.

I really have nothing left to say. My brain is mush.



Saturday, December 8, 2007

The end is in sight

The end of the semester, that is. I've been to the last day of class, turned in my 84-page notebook for my NT class, and I have all the study guides for the final exams. Yep, by 6:00 pm this Wednesday it will all be over. Then, I will be able to focus completely and totally on the Christmas holiday and my family. There have been some veiled comments by my kids lately about how busy I've been. I hate that. My deal with myself is that I only want to work on school when they are at school so I can spend time with them when they are at home. I have been so working on school work for hours this past week. I couldn't even get mad at Josh when he was up til 2:00 am finishing up an English essay because I had set a bad example and WAS DOING THE EXACT SAME THING!!!

What lessons am I learning from all this? Endurance? Perseverance? Don't procrastinate? Yes, yes, and yes. I've told friends several times that this is self-inflicted torture so I really should not complain.

So, here I am, again...sitting in my office with books spread out all over our new desk. My OT textbook is open and my notes are right in front of me. I don't want to miss the opportunity to learn...not just so I can make a good grade on my test (though I hope I do!) but so I might know more about the Word of God so that I may know God more. Check out Exodus 34 -- Moses was speaking and he said, "Let me know Your ways that I may know You." (v. 13, in part) Although I've pulled this one sentence out of its context, the point is this -- by knowing more about God, His character, His actions toward His people in the past, I can know Him more. Not just a factual knowledge like one would study history, but a experiential knowledge. That's what I want. So, even though the end is in sight, instead of wishing the end here I want to make the most of it.

Serving the King (and studying like crazy),