Monday, December 31, 2007

Calves Jump with Abandon

Talk about vivid pictures.... Malachi 4.
1"For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. 3And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.
Ever seen a grass fire? Ever seen how well it consumes dry grass until there is nothing left? It burns everything dry just right up. Dad used to burn the grass on the side of the lane way, making room for the new grass to come up. So when I read these words I have that picture in my mind... all this old grass just blocking the sun and rain from the ground underneath, burn it away and so soon afterwards you have new life growing right through all that blackness and stubble.

Or seen calves or even cows when they are let out on grass after being cooped up in the barn all winter? I still remember my dad calling us all out to watch, having to make sure in their excitement that none of them ran through the fences. Kicking up their heels, bawling in their joy and excitement of being OUTSIDE!!!! They are free!!!!

I can just see it now. God releasing his people from their imprisonment... his people leaping out and destroying the enemies of God. Trampling them under feet because we are just so happy to be free again!

But God reminds his people

4 "Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

We too, living in New Testament times, do well to remember that law of Moses. It shows us how very much we need God. And that is always a good thing to keep foremost in our brains.

And he promises to help his people:
5 "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. 6And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction."
God has given us his word. It helps us to know God, to prepare for the day when we will be released to jump with the abandon of calves just released from the barn. Ah...that day is coming really is! :)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Control Issues??

Okay, this is what I am pondering.

I have a son who is at times VERY adamant about what he will and will not do/allow. For instance, lately he doesn't like singing. My singing, radio playing with songs on it, Jim singing, the family singing etc. It's been about three weeks now of "Mommy can't sing!" Accompanied by plaintive crying and shaking his hands in the air. Talking he asks. Mommy talking?

So...I may start to sing, but I often end up not singing. OR I may start with some jolly Christmas music being sung, but switch to instrumental music.

He is not a boy very tolerant of can take time to get him to try new things (aka underwear or new pajamas or _______) He had a fit on Tuesday at mom's when I made him wear PINK MIckey Mouse Pullups! How dare mommy!!!!!!! And at first I said, okay buddy you don't need to put them on now. but eventually I got him calmed down enough to try and with some distraction from Oma we got them on. But the next day he was very adamant NO MICKEY MOUSE PULLUPS!

My giving way to him is often commented on as "I'm letting him run the house" and "I'd better watch it or he'll end up running me". (or thinking he's in charge etc). I find those statements bothersome and they make me wonder if I am parenting him well. They make me think.

I have to admit. I dislike conflict hugely. I will go out of my way to avoid it. I just don't like it. So giving way to my boy in someways fits well with this. And times when I KNOW I'm giving way simply because I'm not up to the fight about it.

BUT at the same time I hesitate to say that's why I say you know what.... we don't have to do whatever is causing you distress.

For instance... my hubbie does not like country and western music. He will occasionally tolerate it, but he doesn't like it. So I indulge in my Country and Western music desires when he is not home. I "give way" to my hubby in this. There are things I don't like...for example scary movies. Jim won't watch them when I'm home and awake. He "gives way" to me in this. Doesn't mean we don't occasionally say...NO just for a minute listen to this...isn't this song GOOD? or Hold on hun just this part is scary, you can open your eyes now.

I is my giving way to my boy any different then what Jim and I do for each other? There are times when I"m not ready for change, so Jim gives me time, and vice versa...and there are times when we push each other a bit. So how should it be different with Justin. Should I I want this simply because I (as the parent) want it and if you (as the child) don't like it too bad?

Mixed in with all this is CJ Maheney teachings. Here's where you can to find his teachings. In most particular his ones on the idol factory. Finding the idols in our lives.... from our very own selfishness...which tends to cause most of the conflicts between us, to other idols...that being anything which is more important to us than God. I helping Justin to be selfish when I say okay, you don't like, we don't do it. OR am I being selfish if I insist on something, or don't insist on something because it's easier one way or the other?

If my desire is to raise up a boy of good character who loves God (not that I can control his love of God, but I can hopefully help him see God more clearly so that he in turn will want to love God deeply), how do I do that?

How does one figure out the lines in all of this?

Manasseh is turned back to God

Yesterday when I read 2 Chronicles 32 I was amazed at the faith of Hezekiah and how he remained faithful to God. Today when I read 2 Chronicles 33 it was with some dismay (even though I already knew the story) about how bad his son Manasseh was.
1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. 2And he did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to the abominations of the nations whom the LORD drove out before the people of Israel. 3For he rebuilt the high places that his father Hezekiah had broken down, and he erected altars to the Baals, and made Asherahs, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4And he built altars in the house of the LORD

Of course I am amazed that someone aged 12 years was able to reign, and that may have contributed to the sinfulness displayed. But other children ruled (Josiah at age 8) for instance and they didn't commit such evilness. Manasseh even killed his own boys!
6 And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.

BUT!!! All this changed. :)
read on.....
10The LORD spoke to Manasseh and to his people, but they paid no attention. 11 Therefore the LORD brought upon them the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria, who captured Manasseh with hooks and bound him with chains of bronze and brought him to Babylon. 12And when he was in distress, he entreated the favor of the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. 13He prayed to him, and God was moved by his entreaty and heard his plea and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God.
Do you see it? God disciplined Manasseh and Manasseh's heart was open enough to humble himself before God. And God listened. And so Manasseh learned that the Lord was GOD! How cool is that?!?!?!
And it was real! See here:
15And he took away the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the LORD, and all the altars that he had built on the mountain of the house of the LORD and in Jerusalem, and he threw them outside of the city. 16He also restored the altar of the LORD and offered on it sacrifices of peace offerings and of thanksgiving, and he commanded Judah to serve the LORD, the God of Israel.
Here I would have given up on Manasseh and said...there's no hope for that one. See how evil he is, nothing can redeem him!
How God shows me wrong in my arrogance. How God reminds me that there is hope for all people, despite the evil they do, to be turned in repentance to him.

All I can pray at the end of this story is for God to forgive my arrogance and self-satisfaction. Just like Manasseh I need to be humbled. Just like Manasseh I need to learn that I need God in my life. That the LORD is indeed God. That I should not doubt his ability to do anything (even turning the wicked back to him)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

changed my pic

Jim wanted me to update my picture, so I went for one that I could find with me in it. it's a bit old, but it works. Taken last year at the Western Fair (I think). Most of what's changed is Justin is older and bigger, and am I a bit. (but I"m working on the bigger part....better for my back if i do) :)

Christmas Tree?

You Are a Cranberry and Popcorn Strung Tree

Christmas is all about showcasing your creative talents.
From cookies to nicely wrapped presents, your unique creations impress everyone.

This is just so wrong. :)
I like the cranberry/popcorn thingey, but the creative talents????? Well... I don't think that's me at all.

Christmas Meme

Caught this meme from Stacy at Writing and Living. Seemed fun so I lifted it. :)

1. Hot Chocolate or apple cider?

Hot Chocolate.

2. Turkey or Ham?

anything really, I like meat. Though a pork tenderloin is nice too. :)

3. Do you get a fake or real-you-cut-it-yourself Christmas tree?

Always, always a real cut it yourself tree. It's fun! Oh...we do have a little fake one upstairs though.

4. Decorations on the outside of your house?

Yes...Jim did a lovely job this year. Different than what we have ever done before. People commented on how nice they were. :)

5. Snowball fights or sleddin'?


7. Do you enjoy going downtown shopping?

Window shopping yes, with Jim and Justin. Shopping, shopping? NO.

8. Favorite Christmas song?

really couldn't say. easier to say which aren't but that's not the question

10. How do you feel about Christmas movies?

Ah.... like frosty the snowman or the little drummer boy? I KNOW i know like those :)
or real MOVIES? haven't watched that many. A good movie is a good movie regardless the theme.

11. When is it too early to start listening to Christmas music?

Never. Well unless you are married to my hubby who thinks anytime than December is just somehow wrong. :)

12. Stockings before or after presents?

Stockings? we don't do stockings. :)

13. Carolers, do you or do you not watch and listen to them?

Have participated, have never been caroled too. Would be fun. I tend not to listen in stores because I don't like shopping and it takes up too much time.

14. Go to someone else's house or they come to you?

Both. :)

15. Do you read the Christmas Story? If so when?

Yes. Supper time here. Just before gift exchange with my extended family.

16. What do you do after presents and dinner?


17. What is your favorite holiday smell?

Peppernut cookies baking. :)

18. Ice skating or walking around the mall?

Ice skating if it's in a rink. I'm not that good and really don't want to fall with my bad back.

19. Do you open a present or presents on Christmas Eve, or wait until Christmas day?

Christmas Eve with my personal family. Any day with extended.

20. Favorite Christmas memory?

Not sure.... perhaps the Christmas that I got the CKC book of Dogs. Still remember that as clear as a bell. Felt like I was really heard that year. :) Still have the book too!

21. Favorite Part about winter?

I love winter. Winter is fun. Especially now with a toddler! :)

22. Ever been kissed under mistletoe?

Actually, no. One needs mistletoe?

Jesus' High Priestly Prayer

Over this Christmas/Advent season I have tried to not focus on Jesus the baby, but on Jesus the Saviour, who came to die for us. This morning I went back to my regular readings provided by Bibleplan and they directed me to John 17, where Jesus prays for his people.

Wow....what a prayer to read through after the rush of the Christmas season is over.

Jesus, God's son....prayed this high priestly prayer for us to God.
1When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Jesus knows himself that soon he will die. That soon he will be used to give eternal life to all who believe in him (as Jesus puts all whom you have given to him). And what is eternal life? To know the only true God and Jesus Christ who was sent.

6 "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Jesus asks God to keep his people safe when he is no longer with them. He emphasizes how much they belong to him and therefore belong to God. How they need to be kept safe and helped to continue to grow in their knowledge of who He is (sanctified).

20"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."

But Jesus also makes it clear, it is not only for these immediate disciples that he prays for, but he prays for all who come after who will believe in Him and in God himself. He wants them so much to be one with each other and one with him, just as he is one with God. Through that oneness the world might know that God sent Christ into the world, and loves them just as he loves his son.

Hmmmm....I have to admit.... I see that line about how our oneness with God and with each other is to be the reason why people turn to God and see the truth of who Christ is....and I think how often we fail. We aren't one. We are so divisive in what we do and how we do. Not that unity should be gained at all costs, but unity is something that the church should very much strive for.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Made Me Laugh :)

Okay, was over at Home but Not Alone today. She's a new to me blogger, though I suspect she's been around a while. She makes good comments on posts so I thought I would check her out.

Anyways, she linked in one of her posts to this. I laughed! :) Chances are, if you go there, you might just laugh too. :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to all

Jim's mom got me this....see I have a village set up. I just love my village, setting it up at Christmas, and just enjoying it. yes, I'm strange. :) This year I saw this piece that had a train running through it. I mentioned it to Jim and said..NOT to buy it for Christmas as it was just too expensive for a gift, but that it was just too cool. I showed it to him, he agreed that it was really cool, and that yes, it was a bit pricey. :)

Either I, or Jim, mentioned it to Eva.
She bought it for me.


Took a while to get the train running but it's really neat. :)
We'll need to teach the boy to keep his fingers off of it.
I NEED a bigger table to put everything on. Okay, okay.... I desire (not really need) to have a bigger table to put my village on. Would make it easier to set everything up nicely.

Jim also got me some new village pieces. A lampstand, boy the light is bright, really nice. and the HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE!!!!!!!! Rather cool that! :) I have a horse in my village! :) Plus this really cool clock tower.

Ah...but I am loved. :) And my village is growing. :)

The boy child received a new thomas the train takealong centre. How cool is that! He'll be ever so happy playing hours with that. plus a new James, and a new neville and spencer too. Guess who he insisted on taking to bed with him? tool belt, laptop computer cooling thingey, drill bits, sander thing, and something else. tool belt, saw blade, and sundries.

Life was so much fun. We spent good time with each other despite having a busy and sometimes stressful day. Good to celebrate Christmas as a family.

To remember our Lord coming, dying and through mercy, by fully glorifying God, saving us from ourselves....from the sin which so badly infects us all. THAT! is Christmas. :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Disability no Excuse

This is just pretty.

God's weakness, his real strength

Took me a while this morning to find an advent devotion that I wanted to spend some time on this morning. Found one here at I have NO idea what these folks are all about, but I liked the fact that they didn't focus on the ordinary day before Christmas advent readings. Psalm 46 was the focus of their devotion.

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah.
According to Alamoth. A Song.

1God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!"
11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Mike writes:

Psalm 46 is a hymn to God’s strength. “We will not fear,” reads v. 2, “though the earth give way, and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” At times, this language about God’s strength turns violent: “He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire,” reads v. 10.
We don’t often associate Christmas Eve with God’s strength. It is a cozy holiday; in the eyes of the world, it is a time to celebrate the universal beauty of mother and child. In the eyes of the church, it is a time to celebrate God’s humility, not divine strength.
I read those words and I had to stop and think. You know...he's right. People think of Christmas, and they think of a baby in a manger. How cute. How totally non-threatening. It seems very far removed from Christ the Lord, Christ the Saviour, Christ the one who would live a life of teaching, miracles, death and resurrection. So far removed. So not like anything we really have to deal with. Most folks even have the wisemen coming to see a baby Jesus, not a toddler Jesus. It's all about the baby...and not really about God.

Mike continues:

Yet what if we were to recognize that Christmas Eve was in fact the greatest show of God’s strength the world has ever known? It was not earthquake, wind, and fire; it was not the raising up of one nation and the dashing of another; it was not the divine voice atop the mountain, frightening the people of Israel. Instead, ...... God was strong enough to come as a helpless Baby, ....... Of all the works of the Lord, none was more awesome than this.

What if we learned to define strength in this way? ....... But what if we started to believe that the strong don’t always look strong? What if we believe that the true strength of God lay not in His ability to overwhelm us, but to give Himself completely away for us?

........ It is the strong who are comfortable giving themselves away, knowing that in God they will always have enough.

The divine strength of God, the strong arm of Israel, lays in a manger tonight .......Can we find it in our hearts to give ourselves away like our strong God?

God tells us in his word that the weak are strong if they depend upon him (think that's in Philippians but not entirely sure). God showed his weakness to us in a baby, and those who know his word, know that in that baby holds his greatest strength. A Saviour, born to save us from our sins. A Saviour who can free us from all the wrongness that lies within us. That's what that safe, non-threatening baby represents you know...that power of God to save us from our sin. That power of God that demands an answer from us. Will we heed that call?

The Day of Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve day.... oh my....that always seems so silly to write. It's the day before Christmas. Tonight is Christmas Eve.

As I write, Jim is downstairs in the kitchen preparing our family meal. He volunteered to make dinner for tonight. He's doing a whole whack of new dishes. Should be interesting to see how it all turns out.

His mom will be coming down after work. We'll have a nice dinner and then open presents around our Christmas tree and just have some fun together as a family. Justin will do "Mary's fire" for the last time this season. Mary's fire is when we do our nativity scene. Every night before bed he gets to put up another piece and we light candles. Since the second time we did this he calls it doing Mary's fire.

Tomorrow we have church in the morning and then we'll go up to my parents to celebrate Christmas there. We'll have a nice dinner, I'm making a meal that I've never made before that Jim suggested to me. There will also be a gift exchange....that will seem a bit odd to me as Christmas Day and gift giving has always been VERY separate events to me. But getting together with family will be really nice. :)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Whoooohoo! Not too bad....

It's all Jen's fault.....
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: North Central

"North Central" is what professional linguists call the Minnesota accent. If you saw "Fargo" you probably didn't think the characters sounded very out of the ordinary. Outsiders probably mistake you for a Canadian a lot.

The Midland
The West
The Inland North
The Northeast
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
And I'm not even American! Mind you, Canadians are pretty adept at fitting in wherever though. :) And outsiders can think of me as Canadian any time they want too! :)

Friday, December 21, 2007

It Just Amazes Me

Today's reading comes from Wilshire Baptist Church, Dec. 21 reading. The scripture is Luke 1:39-45.
39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."
I have to admit, this still seems astonishing to me every time I read it. That the baby in Elizabeth's womb leapt for joy when Mary came into the room. It's just amazes me. Like babies don't know that much about what is happening in the world outside of their mother's bellies. I can see them being sensitive to increased light and loud noise, but to someone coming into the room....someone who is also inside their momma's belly? How many babies would know this? It just amazes me and shows God at work.

John, who is to be the forerunner to Christ, knows Christ before he is even born and is happy about it. Neat isn't it? :)

What part of the Christmas story amazes you?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Servants to Christ

Today's devotional from "at home with the word" is based on Romans 1:1-7.
1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

7To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Did you know that Paul was a servant of Christ?
I did. :) What can I say, I grew up in a Christian home, attended church most of my life, and went to a Christian Bible College where I earned a degree in Bible and Social Work and Education. Good years for the most part.

So what does it mean to be a servant? According to Merriam-Webster a servant is:
one that serves others servant>; especially : one that performs duties about the person or home of a master or personal employer
A servant does duties for another person. That's what comes down to. A servant does stuff that someone else wants done.

So to be a servant of Christ means that we do the things that Christ wants us to.

For Paul that meant preaching the good news, for going where and when he was sent. He endured hardship of all sorts. For a couple of my friends that means being on the mission field, for another - playing in the church band and leading it, for another it means getting out of her quiet shell and being willing to put on plays on the streets of downtown Kitchener. Not always so easy to do.

For me, right now in my life, it means being challenged on a personal level, while I learn to HAPPILY keep home for a hubby and raise a child to love God. It means not being afraid to stand true for my faith in God even in a workplace filled with immoral people. Of trying to show folks that true believers really aren't scary or something to be derided.

Of course one is usually a servant for a good reason. In the working world for pay and benefits, in the everyday life world for the joy/desire/whatever of just helping out your fellow man, and in the Christian world part of it is just because of the promises of God.

God promised the world a Saviour. This is a promise that he made a long time ago. He would send his son, who would indeed be God in the flesh, as well as a full human. This Son of God would be raised from the dead. It is through him that we receive God's Grace. This son is
Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the hope of all the nations, he is the one to whom we are obedient to by faith! This is our hope. This is our salvation. And this is why we are servants to him.

Let us not forget this in our Christmas celebrations.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Heart-stopping, yet teachable

Granted, perhaps heart-stopping is pushing it a little. :) But it's my blog and if I want to push labels a bit I can...I'm not lying if I admit to it am I? :)

But after two days of searching for this ever so cute Christmas book and not being able to find it, I had visions of having the shell-out hard-earned cash for a book loaned (and then promptly lost) from the local library.

THEN my boyo, ever helpful child that he is, decided to crawl behind the couch. HELP, HELP is the call to get him out again. As I bent over the couch to get him out...what do I see?!?!?!?! This book! Ah, my heart and mind instantly ease.

I'm reminded that I am to trust God, even in these little things.

We read, we have fun looking at the well-done illustrations and reading the simple lines.
It's a good Christmas book. Little ones will enjoy it. Big ones too! :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

God's Glory, Save his People

Today's devotional from "at home with the word" is based on Psalm 80.

This song is a call to God, the shepherd of his people. It is a call to God to save his people.

1Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth.
2Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh,
stir up your might
and come to save us!

3 Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!

The Psalmist asks: how long will you be angry O Lord God? How long will you be angry? You have disciplined your people, we have cried, we have been laughed at, and we have become merely an object of contention among our neighbours. Restore us o Lord is the cry.

4O LORD God of hosts,
how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
5You have fed them with the bread of tears
and given them tears to drink in full measure.
6 You make us an object of contention for our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh among themselves.

7 Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Look at what you have done for us already Lord. You brought us out of Egypt, you filled the land with us. You made us great! And now oh Lord....why must you let us be ravaged? Why are we fodder for those who surround us? Turn and see us oh Lord God, cries the Psalmist. See us, see what you made, see what our enemies have done to us. See us O God is the cry.

8You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
9You cleared the ground for it;
it took deep root and filled the land.
12Why then have you broken down its walls,
so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it,
and all that move in the field feed on it.

14Turn again, O God of hosts!
Look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
15the stock that your right hand planted,
and for the son whom you made strong for yourself.
16They have burned it with fire; they have cut it down;
may they perish at the rebuke of your face!
17But let your hand be on the man of your right hand,
the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!
18Then we shall not turn back from you;
give us life, and we will call upon your name!

19 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts!
Let your face shine, that we may be saved!

Therepeated call to The Lord in this Psalm is "restore us, O lord God of hosts, let your face shine, that we might be saved". This is a call for God's glory to be seen, and as his glory is seen, his people are saved.

I read this Psalm and part of me feels a bit distanced from it. I often don't FEEL the need for God to save me. I am often so independent minded that I think.... I can do this. I can save myself. But it's that kind of thinking, that I'm independent of God, that kind of thinking that got the Israelites into trouble in the first place. We don't need to depend on God....we want a king to lead us just like everyone else. I don't need God...I can worship this idol. I don't need God...I can do good deeds and be nice and ......

See where this is going?

I do need God. I do need to call out to him regularly, this shows my reliance upon him. This shows how much I do need him in my life. I need him to save him...because I CANNOT do it on my own. No one can.

God is the only way.

This Christmas season I need to, YOU need to, see this. That God is indeed the only way to be saved. Without him there is no salvation. Without him we are fodder for our enemies....who are indeed the very enemies of God himself. Let us not be fodder!

Friday, December 14, 2007

John the Messenger

Once again I will work from the pamphlet, "at home in the word" , advent readings following the lectionary from the Reformed Church in America. Today's Reading is taken from Matthew 11:2-11. Once again I have gone with a somewhat longer selection than advised.
1When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities.

2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" 4And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."

7As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. 9What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10This is he of whom it is written,

"'Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.'

11Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force. 13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John, 14and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

16"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,
17"'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.'

18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds."
I have to admit, I read this passage over and my very first thought was....what does this have to do with Christmas? Nothing makes me think of the promises of God, or the birth of Christ, or his eventual return or _______. So why was this picked as an advent reading?

And then I re-read these verses:

2 Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3and said to him, "Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?" 4And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."

John was the forerunner to Christ. He was imprisoned because of the things he was telling folks and the powers that be didn't like that. He wanted reassurance that Christ had indeed come, and Jesus gave it to him. The Saviour of the world had come, and he was busy doing his Father's business.

And then Jesus went on to explain how John was a messenger from God. He was the one sent to prepare people for the coming of Christ. People should pay attention to him, for he is doing the job he was supposed to. As Jesus says "He who has ears to hear, let him hear".

So what am I listening to this Christmas season?
Am I listening for the words of Christ?
Am I trying to tell people what this season is really all about?

Christ came folks! He came, he died, he rose again, he will come back! :) Praise the Lord for this. It's real and true. Even as a baby people knew he was important. God sent a great messenger to proclaim his way. He performed miracles, he lives in hearts of believers, he is indeed God. Let's proclaim it this season! :)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Promise Kept

Today's devotion is inspired by Wilshire Baptist Church, there December 13 entry. The Scripture reading is Acts 13, I'm supposed to concentrate on 23-33, but have decided to look at a slightly larger context.
"Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 19And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, 'I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.' 23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25And as John was finishing his course, he said, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'

26"Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30But God raised him from the dead, 31and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,

"'You are my Son,
today I have begotten you.'

34And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,

"'I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.'

35Therefore he says also in another psalm,

"'You will not let your Holy One see corruption.'

36For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:
41 "'Look, you scoffers,
be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.'"

Israel, God's people. Paul reminds the people, explaining to them how God cared for his people. Choosing their leadership and making them great. And this led to David leading them. And from David came Jesus, with John the baptist being his immediate fore-runner.

Paul tells his listeners that Jesus is salvation, and that he and the disciples understand this message of salvation and are therefore telling them. Jesus, even though the church leadership didn't understand him, is salvation. Jesus is God's son. Jesus is the one that God is well-pleased with. Jesus is the one that God raised from the dead, whose flesh is incorruptible. Jesus is the promise kept by God. Jesse's son, David's line, Saviour of the world.

Paul shows his listeners the truth of who Jesus is, using the holy scriptures to prove it. I have to admit, I like seeing those examples in Scripture...using scripture to show what we know is true. Isn't that just the way it should be? Rather than using life examples to prove scripture.

He then tells his listeners, beware, lest you be numbered among the scoffers. Look to Christ, be amazed by him. If you scoff at this truth you will perish.

I read that last verse and I sorrow for those who just don't want to believe. Those who've been shown the truth but just can't believe, or won't believe. They will perish. It renews my determination to show forth my faith a bit more to those around me who just don't believe.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Who Do You Trust In?

Once again I will work from the pamphlet, "at home in the word" , advent readings following the lectionary from the Reformed Church in America. Our reading is taken from Psalm 146. I am supposed to concentrate on verses 5-7.

1 Praise the LORD!Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.

5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.

It's advent right? It's a time to think about God and the salvation he has wrought in our lives. Not that we are to do that just at this time of the year, but we can focus on that a bit more around the Christmas season, keeps everything in perspective so that one doesn't get caught up in gift giving and all that.

These seven verses help to point a person in the right direction.
Don't trust in "princes".
Don't trust in a person, when all is said and done they will die and they will return to earth.
So for those who follow Mohammed, Moroni, White, Miller, Osteen, Arnott, etc. Remember this, these are only people. They have interpreted God in ways that deviate from scripture, do you really want to follow man? They will die, and in fact some of these folks have already, so should their teachings? Why follow after a dead man even if he did write a book?

True help comes from God. He is the one who "made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry." He won't die and return to the dust of the earth. His word is true and lives forever. Yes, listen to the men of God, but don't put your trust in them. Put your trust in the God that guides them, God, Jehovah, Our Lord and Saviour. And while you are at it, praise his name! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How to blow a deer away with a helicopter

I have to admit, I thought this was rather cool.

The Wonders of how God created in man the ability to care for his creation eh? Who woulda thunk that a helicopter to help a deer? :)

The Way of Holiness

Today in my hand I hold a little pamphlet put out by my denomination, the Reformed Church in America. It is called "at home in the word" and is a series of lectionary readings for Advent. I thought that I would follow it for a bit as I prefer to consider my own readings of scripture rather than to be reading some of the nonsense one finds on-line sometimes. :) At least we'll see how it goes. :)

Anyways, today's reading comes from Isaiah 35:8-10.
8 And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
9No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Okay, this was a bit confusing until I went back to the first of the chapter. This reading was a continuation of the day before. In the previous verses, the people of God are being reminded of the fact that will make things better again for them.
4Say to those who have an anxious heart,
"Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you."
And these verses continue that theme. God will make things right again for those who walk in the Way of Holiness. The Way of Holiness is for those who are redeemed, who walk in they way (even if they are foolish), and who are ransomed of God. It is the place where the redeemed (those who believe in God wholly) can be found.
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Hmm....Just look at what I can look forward to!
Just look at the promises...even the foolish.... if they believe in God, won't stray from the path. it's there, it's set just for us.
A place where we are protected and kept from harm.
A place of singing and rejoicing.
A place that leads me to Zion where I shall obtain gladness and joy and no more sorrow or sighing and so forth.....
Ah...what a place, what a thing to look forward too! :)

Neat isn't it?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Be Patient

Today's Advent Devotion is inspired by Upper Room Daily Reflections, December 10. Though I did not get much out of their reading, I thought the scripture was appropriate today. :)

In James 5:7-11 we read:
7Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. 8You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door. 10As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
When we celebrate Christmas, we celebrate the fact that God sent his son to earth. This son who became our hope, our joy, our example. Christ died for our sin, he suffered on the crucifixion tree, he rose up for the dead! ALIVE, our Jesus, the Christ is alive! He went up to heaven where he sits. He is promised to return to us.

This passage reminds me that Christ will return. I should be patient about waiting for him. Just as I patiently wait for my garden to grow in the summer. Just as I patiently wait for my mice babies to get big enough to sell. Just as I patiently wait for my boy child to mature just a bit more. This patience I need as I await the Lord's return. This patience that remains the same regardless of what is going on around me. It is a constant thing, it is steadfast, it doesn't complain that it is taking too long, it just waits. That's the patience that I need, that is the patience that I must cultivate.

So let me then be patient in this thing also! :)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sources for Children's Toy Online

Someone, can't remember who, listed off some places where one might go to find quality children's toys. I have to admit, I am somewhat too lazy, but mostly today too tired, to figure out which blogger it was who pointed me in the direction of these.

Rosie Hippo, now I have to admit, some of this stuff I like. Just not sure if I can afford it for my boyo. Like this dump truck, have to admit, I like the look of it. Looks like it would stand up well. But $100? I can't afford that...I'll take the metal tonka trunk for $30...even if the paint wears off I can always repaint it! And I really like the mini rolling fleet...and all it compatriots. Looks like good quality stuff and maybe I'll find some second hand somewhere...wouldn't that be nice?

Then there's magic cabin. These dado cubes just intrigue me. Don't know if they'd intrigue the boy child...but I loved lego as a child, and these just interest me. And for a boy child who loves trucks and machines....these construction trucks would be right up his alley.

Hearth Song looks like a nice place to shop as well. Since Justin currently is fascinated by stars...he's just learned about them, this toy captured my attention. Tippy the train I'm sure would fascinate my boy child in no time flat!

I liked this sock game at chinaberry. But that's a game I'm sure I could manufacture I like the idea but wouldn't purchase it as I'd want to try my own hand at it. I also liked the classic tree block set, but then I think...hmm... my brother John could probably make this for me at a fraction of the cost as he has a wood turner thing that I can't think of the proper name for. Good place for me to stimulate my creative skills.

Now this heavy Hauler at that stimulated my hmmm....can I afford that bug. :) Just loved the wooden vehicle AND it came with blocks that won't slide out! how cool is that for a wee boy child?!??! :) Their wooden train stimulated the same reflex. Good thing teh boy has a present purchased already isn't it? He'd be the spoiledest boy this side of London! :)

Anyways, just thought I'd ponder toys for a bit while the boy child is napping. He's not eating yet from being so ill yesterday, I'm feeling really rather ick myself...just overly, overly tired at this point....but things are looking up! :) gotta get going though...have bunnies and mice to put to bed. Talk another time.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Inspiration from John the Baptist

Today's devotion is written by me from my mom's house. Jim and I had a meeting last night, and stayed overnight at their place. They took care of Justin while we were at the meeting.

Anyways, the scripture passage I've chosen is Matthew 3:1-12. I was inspired by the Goshen College reading for December 7.

I have to admit, I didn't pay alot of attention to what they wrote as it didn't seem relevant to me. I just thought I'd go to scripture.

John the Baptist: fore-runner to Christ. He came to "prepare the way of the Lord". This was his task. He went about it single-mindedly. He was even willing to take on the established religious leadership of the day...the Pharisees and Sadducees. Nothing stopped his message of repentance.

<>His boldness I admit, inspires me. He was a man who was not dressed in the day's fashion. He was not a social animal .... he lived in the desert, ate locusts and wild honey and dressed in camel's hair and leather. Not a man of the modern world....but people came. People listened to him. People's lives were changed by his message of repentance. He pointed folks to God even though he knew his message and the baptism that he offered wasn't enough. He still did the job that he was called to.

7But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. 9And do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. 10Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

11 "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."

I need that boldness. I need to have that type of fire lit in my life. As I look forward to Christ's return, I need to preach the message of repentance and salvation to those around me, and not be scared of the consequences....Oh Lord..... light in me that fire to do your will, to do the task that you have set before me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More Baking Done

I've done some more cooking, here's my first batch.

Puffed Wheat Squares - I made two batchs as this is popular here
1/3 c butter
1/2 c corn syrup
2/3 c. brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
8 cups puffed wheat... NOTE: also works with cheerios, puffed rice and other plain cereals.

Measure out cereal in large bowl. Combine first five ingredients in sauce pan. Heat until boiling. Pour over the cereal. Mix together thoroughly. Press into a greased 11" casserole. Chill for two hours and then cut into pieces.

NOTE: the boy child thinks this one is fun! Alfie dig it? Mmm....Alfie eat 'em all up? :) Alfie being an excavator from Thomas the train series. :) He had his own little bowl of them.

Lemon Coconut Squares
1/3 c. butter
1/2 c. white sugar
pinch salt
1/c c. flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 c white sugar
1/4 c. all
-purpose flour
pinch salt
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 tsp grated lemon rind (I use watkins lemon rind)
1 tbsp melted butter
1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp icing sugar

Base: Cream butter with sugar. Stir in salt; blend in coconut, then flour. Press into 8 inch square pan. Bake in 350F oven for 15 minutes or until firm and light biscuit colour. Set aside.

Topping: Whisk eggs until blended. Whisk in sugar, then flour and salt. Stir in lemon juice, rind, butter and b. soda. Pour over base. Return to oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are LIGHTLY browned and topping looks set (it will firm when cooled). Sift icing sugar over top. Let cool completely. Cut into small squares. Makes about 20 squares.

Mother's Cookies
4 c flour
1 lb. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar

Cream butter
add sugars
mix in flour
Roll into balls (3/4-1 inch round), press and bake. 350 oven for about 11 minutes.
Let cool on tray for one minute before transferring to cooling rack.

I like this recipe. It's BIG! That means I can divide it up and do different stuff with it and get lots of variety. My variety this year: Set on top:
green and red cherries (glazed ones - Justin stuck them on top and pushed them in), Mixed into recipe: chocolate chips, mixed fruit (like the glazed cherries but different), coconut and then I did some just plain.

NOTE: doing ball cookies in front of a boy playing with trains is just asking for said boy to take some of those balls (before I pressed them) and give them train rides, or to cause train accidents, or any host of things (aka make gates for those trains to crash through...). Fun fun for a boy child. Guess which cookies HE gets to eat? :)

I have yet to make my peppernuts...but I'm making those next week so that hopefully some will make it to the open house....Jim eats them like candy...NOT that I don't either! Hoping also to make Santa's whiskers cookies too. But for now my baking is complete.

Are you Prepared?

Today's Advent devotion is brought to us by Wilshire Baptist Church. Our scripture reading is from Luke 12:35-48.
35 "Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 36and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. 40You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

41Peter said, "Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?" 42And the Lord said, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 45But if that servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed in coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. 48 But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.

Lee Russell says this:
This text puts us on notice that we are to be ready to meet God at any given moment. But in this season of Advent, let us look at it another way. Luke says the servant who is vigilant and taking care of his assigned tasks will be ready for the master whenever he comes and will be rewarded for his effort. He also says a burglar could not enter our homes if we knew he were coming.
I read this passage and what I ask myself is:
Who are you waiting for?
Who are you prepared for?
Whose servant am I? Do I live for myself, or do I live like I have an authority bigger than myself? Who is master?
Do I show myself ready for my master's imminent return?
Christ could return at any I ready for that?

I have to admit....I am prepared to wait a while for Christ to return. I want so much to see my boy child grow up, to see him experience life and living it for the Lord. I want this so much that sometimes I'd really rather that Christ delay his return just a bit longer. That feels rather selfish of me. BUT I am ready, I am waiting, I think my house is in order for the most part. I try to live like I have a higher authority to answer to ....and not just my hubbie. But that I live for Christ, for GOD. But I can do more, I can be waiting expectantly.

Think on this.....

Thank you for Baxter for sending me these:

and there's this one too.... music is not quite my style, but the basic theme is good.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Children of Light

Today's Advent devotional is brought to us from Goshen College. I used the one dated November 29 as the one from today I has used the scripture yesterday :) . Scripture comes from Romans 13:11-14.
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Amy writes

At first it might seem odd to consider this passage in the light of Advent. The general call to "live honorably" (and it’s more explicit explanations) seem out of place as we anticipate Christ’s arrival. It reads almost as a rebuke, a form of communication usually absent from the jolly red and white of this commercial holiday.

But when I look to the passages which precede it, I begin to discover a message worthy of this season of expectation. This passage falls on the heels of a reiteration of the Golden Rule. Paul writes, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Romans 13:9-10: "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law." This often overlooked "love" passage follows the more famous one which speaks of respecting one's government.

I begin to understand today's passage only when I see it in reference to the passages it follows. Paul tells us we fulfill the law through love. We respect the government’s authority, but ultimately recognize loving our neighbor fulfills the law. To love our neighbor is to make all other law unnecessary. To love our neighbor is to follow God even when our world tells us otherwise. This is God's dream, this is the message for which Paul calls us awake: Love your neighbor. This is the message and fulfillment we anticipate and commemorate each Advent as we await the one who has taught us to love (as well as lovingly rebuke). This is the message which will turn the world.

Love, part of the hope that we have in Christ. Through Christ, we are taught what true love is. We are taught how to love our neighbours, how to react to the government (by being subject to it), and generally just how we are to live. We are remember that we live differently now. We no longer need to walk in darkness. We are children of the light! Let us walk properly then! Let us live like Christ wants us too ... people of light, people of daytime, people who have hope in our salvation.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Our Hope for the Future

Today's Advent reading from from Bluffton University. FOr the scripture reading they have chosen Isaiah 11:1-10.

1There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
3And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
7The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
9 They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

10In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.

Laura Frey says :
During this advent season, take the time to look around at the world and realize that there is a glorious hope awaiting us, even when all signs point to hopelessness. The One who can solve all our problems is God, and our faith is essential to keep hope alive. God is our Redeemer, and on the day of Jesus’ return he will, “stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.”
Jesus Christ, born of Mary, claimed son of Joseph, both who were descended from David's line. Jesus...God's own son! He shall come. He is our hope. He is the one who will judge things as they aught to be: "He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear". He will know the right of it. He will do this through righteousness and with equity. Faithfulness and righteousness as his belt. Things will turn out as they aught to be....the predator and prey being safe with each other. There will be no hurt or decay. Jesus is our hope for the future. Have faith in him.