Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."

Romans 12:10-11

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Lord, my portion

This I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him."
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
~Lamentations 3:21-26~

Some good friends of ours are going through a rough time with their 10 month old son, who recently went through a surgery and is having some complications.  The father wrote in his blog,

"The feeling of powerlessness is foreign soil, but it’s a fertile place for growth. These days and nights in the hospital feel deeply unsettling, but being unsettled is not always a bad thing. Furrows come before seed. Remembering this allows us to see these grooves in our plans (holy disruptions, if you will) not as an excuse for bitterness but as an occasion for gratitude."

When I feel down in the depths of misunderstanding and doubt, I will remember to say to myself that the "Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him."  Waiting is so hard, but as I look back on my life I am beginning to see that in the waiting God is working, and that he does answer our prayers, just not always the way we want them to be answered, or in our time.

There is much in the word about waiting.  If we had it all right now, we wouldn't be able to handle it, so it is good to wait on the Lord, to wait on things to come to pass that we want to see happen.  May the Lord strengthen me during this time of waiting on him.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Sin of the World, Placed on a Baby

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised and we did not esteem Him.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53: 3 & 6

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Who's in your genealogy?

Tamar, a widow who bribed her father in law to sleep with her...Rahab, a prostitute...Bathsheba, the object of David's misguided affections...what do all of these women have in common?  They were all in the line of Jesus.  God is so amazing to use weak, imperfect people as his vessels for greatness.

I have family members who came to the United States on the Mayflower.  I bet those pilgrims never imagined that one day they would have a great, great, great, great...granddaughter who was part of a mission traveling to Mexico to bring the gospel and message of Jesus to people there.

I've been thinking this morning about who might come after me in my family and the impact they will have on this earth for Christ.  All I have to do is have babies, and by doing so, I am affecting the world for Christ.  That's an exciting purpose to have, even if I never accomplish anything else on this earth.

I may never completely comprehend the impact that those who came before me who were faithful followers of Christ have on my life.  My mother and father, my grandparents, my great grandparents, my great great grandparents.  They weren't perfect people.  God used them to bring more people into the world who would make a difference for Him.  Their heritage of faith is an important part of who I am today.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Christmas was...

...setting up the Christmas tree with my mom...hanging my "My First Christmas" ornament from 1982.
...trying hard not to touch the gifts Mom had already wrapped for us that were under the tree.
...opening up gifts at Grandma Russell's on Christmas Eve and Grandma Bachman's on Christmas Day.
...going to church on Christmas Eve and then opening gifts afterwards until late into the night with my Mom, Dad, brother, and sister.
...wishing that Santa were real even if I knew he wasn't.
...nights spent giggling with my sister.
...staring at the Christmas tree and enjoying the warm feeling it produced in my soul.
...waiting snuggled in the car, trying not to let the cold get me while Dad loaded up the gifts from Grandma's house.
...lots of eating.

Christmas is...

...lots of eating.
...time spent in the word reflecting on the Christmas story.
...reviewing the story of the birth of Jesus with Adah.
...singing "Silent Night" and "Away in a Manger" to Adah to go to sleep.
...getting gifts ready for the people that I most treasure.
...working to keep myself at peace in the midst of the hustle and bustle.
...still having the joy of gathering with both of my Grandmothers.
...realizing that life is precious and that we only get so many turns around the sun...and that each breath is a gift.
...home group Christmas party.
...trying to savor each and every moment that I have to spend with family.
...being thankful that Jesus came for me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fear in Following

...an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Joseph) in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."...When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.  ~Matthew 1:20-21 and 24

Isn't it hard when you know you're called to something bigger and better than yourself?  Sometimes I wish that an angel would come to me and tell me exactly what it is that I'm supposed to be doing!  However, after looking at these verses, I think it might be a little more scary to have a heavenly being come and tell me what to do!  That's a big day...and a big calling.  The angel told Joseph not to be afraid because "what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit."  If it were only that easy...ok...so it was conceived of the Holy Spirit...fear is gone!

There is so much difficulty surrounding a calling.  I'm sure it wasn't easy for Mary and Joseph to consider the fact that they were going to have GOD for a Son.  Wouldn't you be so afraid that you would mess it up?  It's hard enough raising a little one without knowing that they're God's Son that's been entrusted to you.  I know that Mary and Joseph had to have a lot of fear in following the call that the Lord had placed in front of them.  There were so many unknowns for them.

Linn and I know that we have been called to follow God's purposes in this world with our whole beings.  But what does that mean in day to day life?  A fear and doubt sundae, smothered in a hot fudge of faith and grace.  We will continue to rest in the knowledge that the dreams that God has conceived in us are of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Google Maps: Nazareth to Bethlehem

For nothing is impossible with God. 
~The angel Gabriel; Luke 1:37

What a journey it must have been for Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem! Too bad they couldn't google the directions, hop on the freeway, and be there in less than two hours.  I can't imagine the hardship they must have gone through.  Not only the physical hardship, but what about the mental and spiritual anguish of having to make a journey like this.  I can only imagine Mary's thoughts at the prospect of having to travel 90 miles while being pregnant...

"What????  How am I supposed to travel to Bethlehem? Do you know how far away that is?  What if the baby comes while we're on the road?  My mother was supposed to be there to help deliver the baby!  I have had such a hard time with this...no one understands the pain that I'm going through.  No one understands how I even became pregnant when I'm not even married.  They all hate me.  Now I have to travel to some town I've never been to?  Where will we stay?  Where will we put the baby?  Where will Joseph work?  Will we even survive?  I just don't know how this is going to work.  God!  What is going on?  Wait...the angel said that nothing is impossible with God, but it's so hard to believe that right now.  I can't see it.  Lord, help me."

So many times when God asks us to do something, at first we can say, "Alright God, whatever you say.  I trust you."  Then we actually have to live it out, and it becomes something entirely different.  So many doubts, frustrations, anger, and annoyances plague our thoughts.  

It has to be a moment by moment decision to remain in the presence of God and choose to believe that nothing is impossible with God, and to say as Mary replied to the angel, "May it be to me as you have said."