Monday, November 30, 2009

A simple Christmas...

I'm feeling a tug towards a simple Christmas...I want there to be plenty of room in our Christmas for contemplating THE Gift; the Presence, not the presents.

God, wrapped in infant flesh, came and dwelt among us. How do we celebrate that?

I want to focus on His Word this season - the beautiful prophecies, the fulfillment of promises, the enduring comfort, encouragement and challenges entrusted to us.

I plan to focus on family and home...not a whirlwind of shopping, events and general craziness. I want to make time to drink gingerbread spice tea, sing Christmas songs and make cookies for my neighbor kids. I will enjoy admiring my tree - especially the hand-traced angels, paper gingerbread men and popsicle stick reindeer of years gone by.

I will be deliberate in giving the gift of encouragement, affirmation and affection to those around me - in my home, my neighborhood, my church - and the grocery store.

"O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness
you have done marvelous things,
things planned long ago."
Isaiah 25:1

Christmas blessings, from our family to yours!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Precious beyond telling...

I'm sticking with a "thankful" theme in Scripture memory for November - because I am all about the Thanksgiving this month!

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
2 Cor. 9:15

I've been familiar with this verse, but never really studied it in context. Chapter 9 is a timely study for me - it's focused on giving generously, cheerfully - it even references seed, sowing and harvest! This season has found us so blessed -- and this chapter stresses that God has made us "rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." (v. 11)

I love that it all comes back to HIM. We love, because He first loved us. We give, because He has given to us. Our giving is not about us, but about reflecting His faithfulness - His indescribable gift!

The Amplified Bible beautifully expands the language of the verse:

"Now thanks be to God for His Gift, precious beyond telling, His indescribable, inexpressible, free Gift!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


The Compassion bloggers are on the road again! They're in El Salvador this week and I encourage you to take a minute to follow them as they share their experiences with a wonderful organization and the children who are being reached, touched, loved - all in Jesus' Name. I "followed" a group of bloggers who traveled to India earlier this year and it completely wrecked me - and inspired me to sponsor a child - sweet little Sruthi! Check them out - if you DARE!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

He longs to be gracious to you...

It's November! Where has the year gone? And the holidays are upon us? Whew!

Okay, I'm taking deep breaths now and resolving to savor what remains of 2009. And, in accordance with a resolution made at the beginning of the year, I'm continuing this
Scripture memory journey with a verse I just LOVE:

"Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
he rises to show you compassion.
For the LORD is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!"
Isaiah 30:18

He longs to be gracious to you - how does that make you feel? Other translations use the words like waiting, earnestly waits, expecting, looking, longing. What a beautiful picture of God's love for us. He is longing to show us His graciousness, His mercy.

Why do we doubt this? Why do we find it easier to believe that God is waiting to pounce, to punish, to judge? That somehow when He looks at us, He's disappointed, rolling his eyes, shaking His head and making tsk-tsk noises with His tongue? The Bible says He LONGS to be gracious to us - RISES to show us compassion!

So let us wait -- look, expectantly, longingly -- for Him -- His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship. (Amplified Bible)