Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day of the Year

Now is a time of reflection. A time of looking back and a time to look forward.
This has been a very hard year. Not the hardest time of my life for sure. But this has been the hardest since we moved to GA 3 1/2 years ago. My husband was unemployed at the beginning of the year but God graciously provided a good job. We had a stressful time at the church we were attending which resulted in us leaving in June. Other factors caused separation and loss. There have been health issues. On a good note, we had a great family vacation in the Smoky Mountains to celebrate my husband's birthday.

Through it all God has shown Himself faithful and loving. No matter what happens, God is always with us and will never leave us. Though men may fail, God will never fail. We are ending this year better than we began it and for that we are grateful.

We are looking forward to a new year with hope and excitement. Lord willing, we will be traveling to Michigan to see family, some that we haven't seen in many years. In February, we are planning to attend the Bodkin conference. We are praying to be encouraged and maybe meet some new families with which we can be friends. Here is the link if you want information:

Then in March, we are planning to visit Bob's mom in Florida. Bob and Julia are blessed to be registered to attend the Father and Daughter Retreat hosted by Vision Forum.

I am hoping this will be the best year yet.
Glory to God,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Why do we do what we do?

Today is Christmas Eve. People all over are celebrating Christmas and all the traditions that go with it.

But why do we do what we do? Rom 14:5,6 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

Our family has chosen to not celebrate Christmas. We don't even do a little bit. Okay, it's out in the open now. But why? We have been fully persuaded in our minds that it is not for our family. Our reasons are many. A few are:
  • Jesus commands us to remember his death, not his birth.
  • It wasn't celebrated by the early church. It wasn't celebrated until after 300 AD. The pilgrims didn't even do it.
  • All of the traditions have pagan roots. We are not comfortable with that.
  • Jesus wasn't born in December.
  • We celebrate his birth, life, death and resurrection every day.
  • "Christ-mas"-A mass is a celebration of the dead, and Jesus isn't dead. He sits at the right hand of God.

Now before we are branded as heretics, please hear me out. I believe that everyone is free to have their own convictions in this matter. So if you believe it is fine to celebrate Christmas, that is between you and God and I am not condemning that. If we choose to not celebrate Christmas, that is also fine, it is between us and God and should not be condemned for it. See the verse above. We both then are living "as to the Lord". All I ask is that we are not looked down on because we don't participate in this tradition. We are not less of a Christian because we don't celebrate. We love the Lord with all our hearts and are seeking to follow Him in all our ways.

If you would like some more information on the history of Christmas and its traditions, here are some links.

Not Your Average Christmas : AKA Why We Don't Participate

Christmas Pagan Origins

Grafted in the magic of Christmas

Take Christmas back to its pagan roots

So, let us agree to disagree on this matter of Christmas if necessary.

Instead of the usual greeting of this season, I pray "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." Eph 3:16-19

Glory to God!


Monday, December 22, 2008

The Choice

Everyday I wake up I am presented with a choice. Circumstances and situations may press about me but they do not have to influence my inner state. By that I mean my level of peace and joy. It seems so easy to let the things around me determine my mindset. Will I be joyful and peaceful? Or will I let the cares and worries and troubles around me steal that precious gift from God?

"Choose this day whom you will serve." Joshua 24:15. I have a choice. No one can make it but me. It is not someone else's fault if I am crabby or unsettled. Even if my own body is in pain or just not feeling well is not a reason to go under and become negative. My spirit does not feel pain.

Did I say this would be easy? No, not necessarily. But it is a choice. So I choose this day to walk in peace moment by moment. If I stumble and fall, I will repent and get back up to continue in that peace and joy.

Actually, I am not doing this in my own strength. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Phil. 4:13. For when I am weak, He is strong to work through me.

But I believe that God leaves the choice up to us. He will not make us follow Him. So I must choose.

Then after I choose, I must act. Put on "the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Isaiah 61:3. Start speaking it out. Praise God for his promises. Thank Him for his faithfulness and blessings. Put on music that you can sing along with to praise God.

Pray. Talk to my Heavenly Father. Give over to Him all the things that are tumbling around in my head. What about this bill? What about the future? What about____? As I give these things over to God, I am trusting Him to take care of them. I believe we must walk by faith. Sure, I have to do what I can do but most of those thoughts are things beyond my control. What a relief to turn them over to God.

Use my sword. (Eph. 6:17) Jesus combated the evil one with "it is written", the Word of God. When the fears/worries/thoughts come swirling around like a fog, stand up and say, "No! It is written...." and then quote the Bible verse that applies to that concern. This requires preparation. The Holy Spirit will bring to mind the truths that I have tucked away in my heart. So I must be in the Word to know the heart and character of God and what He does for me. At times, I have even written out a "Lies vs. the Truth" list. That is very helpful to combat the wrong thoughts with the appropriate scripture that refutes it.

So today will be a peaceful day. Today will be a joyful day. Even if I fall and scrape my nose, I will get back up and choose once more to follow Him.
Psa 37:23, 24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

Psa 118:24 This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

May your day be filled with peace and joy.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Finally Happened!

It's finally happened. I said I would never do it. But here I am, doing it. Yes, I am finally blogging. Wow!

Just the other day, I was reading Penny Raine's blog and she had a great post about the purpose of blogging. Her point was that if you don't have a real purpose for blogging then don't do it. "Whew!", I said to myself, "that doesn't apply to me because I don't have a blog." Well, here I am in the middle of my first post and I know my purpose. My purpose is multi-faceted. My daughter has been blogging for awhile now and she has met some wonderful young women who have a heart for God and are such an encouragement. I am in need of friendship so I am looking for that here.

I also see this as a place of mutual encouragement. I am finding some wonderful women who are encouraging and challenging me through their blogs. I hope to find more. And perhaps my journey might encourage someone else.

Hopefully this will be a place for my testimony and praise to God. He is worthy of our praise.
Psa 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

So, Gloria in excelsis Deo! Glory to God in the highest!