Brothers and Sisters.

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Wow.

This article from Abigail Hope of the Source of Joy blog convicted me so much.  Have I ever taken my responsibility as a big sister seriously?  Not seriously enough, that’s for sure.  Wow.  When I think of all the time I could have spent with my siblings, all the opportunities I could have taken…and then I think of all the wrong things I’ve done and said to them.  It’s enough to break my heart.  What kind of influence am I having on the trusting, innocent little souls around me?

If you have a younger brother or sister, you need to read this.  Scratch that; read this no matter your family situation.  Every person encounters young children at home or church or wherever so we all need to learn this lesson.

Here is Part 1 and Part 2 of “Purple Crayons or Millstones”.

Do you love me, Lord?

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“Dear Lord,” I prayed, “Do you love me?”

“My child,” He said, “I painted the skies for you.  I made all the flowers in the world for you.  I rock you to sleep and protect you from harm.  I planned out your life lovingly even before I laid the foundations of the world.  I love you dearly, my child.”

“Yes, but Lord, how much do you love me?”

“I love you enough to forgive your countless sins, to be patient with your million failings, to lead you with love and tenderness.  I love you enough to bless you even when you ignore me.  I love you enough to give you gifts even when you credit yourself for them.  I love you enough to give my own Son for you…to watch Him die for your trespasses.  That is how much I love you.”

“But Lord…when do you love me?”

“I love you always, my child.  Before I hung the stars and long past their demise.  Throughout the ages.  Before you were born, long after you die.  I love you eternally.”

“Lord, where do you love me?”

“I love you when you cry, when you scream, when you complain, when you hate.  I love you when you loathe me.  I love you when you laugh, sing, hug, and love me back.  I love you in the valley of the shadow of death.  I love you on the highest mountaintops.  I love you everywhere.”

“Oh but Lord…does your love grow?”

“No.  It is constant throughout your many emotions and ups and downs, highs and lows.  My love is constant, steadfast, unchanging.  Your failings do not shrink my love.  Your accomplishments do not cause it to grow.  It cannot grow…I love you perfectly, completely, wholly.”

“Oh Lord!  One last question.  Why Lord?  Why do you love me?”

“Why do I love you?  Through no merit of yours, my child.  Why do I love you?  Because I wanted to.  Because I decided to.  Not because I needed to.  I love you because I love you.  I love you because I chose to love you.”

May you realize how much He loves you.

Oh, to see all interruptions in this light!

  

music.jpeg“I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one’s work.  Then one can feel that perhaps one’s true work -one’s work for God- consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one’s day.  It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day -the part one can best offer to God.  After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be give sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it.”
  
    ~Annie Keary, 1825-1879

  

Pray for our troops…

 

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I recently read the following piece and it reminded me to keep our service men and women in my prayers.  Whatever your stance on the war, please remember to pray for our soldiers.  Personally, I am convinced that they are helping to protect the whole world from a dark threat.

Do you know one of these?

The Infantryman
by an unknown author

The average age of the Infantryman is 19 years.

He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country.

He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father’s; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He’s a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has
a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.

He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and 155mm Howitzers.

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark.

He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.

He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.

He is self-sufficient. He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.

He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.

He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you’re thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food.
He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life – or take it, because that is his job.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humour in it all. He has seen more suffering and death then he
should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to ‘square-away’ those
around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their
right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom.

Beardless or not, he is not a boy.

He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.

Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

As we enjoy the holidays, remember to keep our armed forces in your prayers.  I am sure they are thinking of us…their families and homes, Christmas trees and snowy skies, good meals and time with those they love. 

Keeping Christmas

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 Awww!  This article makes me smile.  But it also makes me think.  Lanier Ivester reminds us all that Christmas is about more than a mad rush and a mountain of gifts.  It should be a season where we, like Mary, take time to “ponder these things in our hearts” (Luke 2:19).

I think this is so true.  I have often felt disappointed when December 25th was over; it’s such a dreadful anticlimax.  After days and weeks of planning and excitement and preparation; poof!  Suddenly it’s all over.  It shouldn’t have to be that way.  I think the Germans had the right idea with their 12 days of Christmas.  There is so much emotion and meaning attached to this season; more than can be stuffed into a single day.

At any rate, Lanier’s words encouraged me to be still and remember the meaning for the season.  To talk with my family about ways we can draw out the richness of Christmas over the next few days.  To just take time in this mad world.  To take time for my family and those I love, and to take time for Jesus Christ.  The baby in the manger…the Savior on the cross…the King of my heart…the returning Conqueror.

Merry Christmas, friends.  It’s not over.

Merry Christmas!

babyjesusnanaellen.gif“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:17, ESV

Rejoice!  For today, a king has been born.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6, ESV

God bless you and yours this Christmas Day!

“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’…And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and prasing God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”  Luke 2:10-12, 16-20, ESV

Art courtesy Nana Ellen.

Surrender

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All my life You have been watching.
Every breath I breathe you give.
Each short day and every hour
Yet in fear I walk and live.
  
You who know my deepest longings
You who see my inner strife
Hands that fashioned every sparrow
Will I trust them with my life?
  
Every storm I feel fast coming
Each long hour I tremble here
Oh this battle fierce within me!
Can you quell my darkest fear?
  
Distant Diety of Heaven
You whose love I long to know
Too long have I wandered lonely
In Your arms I long to go.
  
Every hair I have You’ve counted
Every star above You name
Here I sit in guilt and anguish
And You long to take my blame?
  
Greatest One of all the nations
Only God and loving Man,
Why would such a one as You
Bend from heaven to take my hand?
  
Watch me, Father, as I argue
Still my inner wars so bleak
Let me fall in sweet surrender
Come to Your throne still and meek.
  
(c) 2007