Thursday, December 14, 2017

My 5th Christmas


Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

She had been in that hospital forever, my little sister, Colette. Polio was a nasty disease, we almost lost her to it. They were going to let her come home, overnight, for Christmas. I couldn’t wait to see my best friend and playmate once again. In my 4 ½ year old mind she’d be the same……. we’d play in our fort of overturned chairs on the dining room floor…. It would be just like it used to be at our house.

I could remember her cries before she even got in the front door. This was my sister, who didn’t cry when she had a broken arm and the doctor picked her up, by her arms. My tough sister was crying. “What’s the matter, Colette?”

“My legs hurt…..” The snuffling slowed a bit when she saw the lights bubbling on the Christmas tree with all the brightly wrapped gifts underneath.

Later that day the doorbell rang and Santa was outside. He came into the living room and pulled a little police car from his bag for me. It was a wind up one with a siren that really worked. Colette got a car too. Dad didn’t care if we were his girls, we “got to” play with cars along with our dolls.

Later, after I figured out that Santa couldn’t come down the chimney without getting burned ,my parents had “fessed up” about that jolly, old elf. Dad also confessed that he had left the cars outside on the porch for Santa to put in his pack before ringing the doorbell.

Colette and I tried to play but her legs must have really been hurting her. She hardly ever cried. There were better and less tearful Christmases in our lives. The ones where we woke up when it was still dark wondering if it was time to go open gifts yet, only to be told, “Girls, it is 4:30 AM, go back to sleep!”

I knew the routine. No, we couldn’t open gifts on Christmas Eve because Santa didn’t come until that night. This led to the continual early morning drama with wiggly kids and exasperated parents each year but that was half the fun, right?

We read a big story book about the birth of Christ. After all, it was His birthday that we were celebrating, wasn’t it?

I remember the one year Mom hid one of my gifts so well that she didn’t find it until after Christmas, then only when I reminded her that she had said she had gotten me something else and had put it in a place where I’d never find it.

I was sure glad the following Christmas when Colette was home again to stay.


Monday, December 11, 2017

FIRST SONG

First Song



My dust-covered legs ached. We had walked miles and miles with the throngs of others. Yet there was definitely more dust than people. Dust in our noses and mouths choking us as we traveled on. 

She was in pain. Her right hand clutched to keep her upright. With her left hand, gripping her pregnant self, as if that might help the labor.
He rubbed her shoulders, patting her back as he raised his calloused hand to knock. 

“Ah, we need a room, the babe….”

“Sorry, this is my best season and we have been out of rooms for awhile now… census you know…..”

And we joined the dust-covered legs yet again moving to another door. He tried again “Sir, I beg of you a place, the babe is almost here and my wife can hardly sit anymore”

“No, we have no rooms”

“But sir, she can’t have the baby sitting on a donkey. Please, isn’t there some place?”

“Well, even the sheep have their shed; you can go out back with her.”

And we walked a little farther on in time to see several wooly-bahs (I think he called them “sheep”). It was only minutes before the baby arrived and was tight-wrapped. I gave him my manger-crib for a bed. 

As I ate the hay which fell down on the ground, I watched those tiny toes wiggle and knew I would never have another dinner this sweet. Then the wooly-bahs and I heard the most incredible song. We were directed by God’s hand to join in. I sang bass; the wooly-bahs sang tenor and the angels….. Oh, my. Could you even call it singing? They were singing three dimensional notes that had a life of their own.

“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill towards men” (NKJV) The praise, the tangible joy, the anthem never before sung and never to be repeated. We took part in lauding this infant creator of the universe and King! I with my ey-haw, ey-haw and the bah, bah, bahs joining in. What a wonderful honor and night to remember!

Surely they would come to worship Him, those he had been created to liberate and set free. Several of them came, awe struck humans with crooked sticks, who took care of many wooly-bahs. Our unique chorus swelled. But where were the rest? Didn’t they know? Did they have eyes of stone and hearts that couldn’t see?

Years later I related this night and our part in it to my donkey grandson. He wanted to see this God-man, this Savior of humankind and worship Him. It was not a surprise to him at all when they came and led him away from his mom to be ridden by the Master. This time maybe the humans would see and know!

Many, many came shouting; “Hosana! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!” (NKJV)

My donkey grandson was the one He chose saying “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

We knew. The Mankind Liberator would be known now and we were part of this incredible history again.

Some did know. They came to the Liberator-God to be set free from their sin. But many of that multitude just days later had eyes of stone and hearts which couldn’t see and cried “away with Him, crucify Him”. (NKJV)

He died with most not understanding, He didn’t come to take on Rome but to liberate humans from sin. It was terrible for three days with much mourning and crying out for those humans who loved Him. 

Resurrection! Then, we all saw Him again. He walked and talked with many, and some actually had seeing eyes and hearts! But not so many called out.

Couldn’t they know He was God sent to earth to be one of the humans? He came to pay their sin penalty and liberate them if they would but ask? We just did not understand. 

So I would ask you today, do you have eyes of stone and a heart that cannot see or will you ask and receive the most incredible Christmas gift ever to be given? You don’t even have to wait for Christmas, you know! He is listening. He is waiting. He wants only to hear your request for forgiveness to give you your new song to sing.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017



Don’t You Just Love “Change”?
"Child, openness is the first step to change. See my ways; desiring to walk in them and a yieldedness of heart are your half the battle, strengthening you to persevere is my half. You shall overcome if your will/willingness is open handed and raised up to Me.
Praise Me in revelation of your “failures”, from looking/seeing comes releasing up and from there begins real release/repentance. If that fails to work, then and only then might the push become harder. Let go. Turn loose to Me! There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. That is part of your authority over the enemy. Use it."
I think we all resist “change”. Our routine is messed up, the equipment is different and we have to think through the process before using it, it can slow us down….
Even something little like new syringes at the doctor’s office where I worked, at first I really didn’t like them. You had to recap them differently, they were marked a new way, even the plastic wrap was “different”. Soon I realized how much better they were than the old ones we had been using but it was a process.” Don’t rock the boat, don’t upset the status quo.” However, if we never changed or were open to “new things” we’d stagnate and not grow a bit, would we?
Romans 8:1-17 NLT
Life in the Spirit
1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 
5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. 
9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) 10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. 11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you. 
12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. 13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” 16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

DIGGING DEEPER
Pray asking our Lord to show you an area where you are resisting His change. Make a dated entry in your book and write down what He is laying on your heart. Begin praying for Him to help you want to make that change. Take notes during the time you pray (now, days, weeks….) and record this journey
My Commitment:

Prayer: Dearest Jesus, thank you for your chastisement that wraps around me with your HOPE. You are so full and good and deep. Thank you for my “failures” that might not seem so to you but places where I can learn and grow… scraped knees and all. Oh, Jesus, I can’t begin to know how to put into words “thank you that you came….” As a human, a burping baby, so that you might totally identify with us yet be The Sinless Sacrifice. Oh, Lord, I cannot even begin to grasp what that cost You, on our behalf. Please help me to want Your changes! In Jesus name, AMEN.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The SELF Issue – Self Esteem or a Different View of Why You are Precious and Valuable



Much is said now days about self esteem. How people are crushed and ruined with poor self esteem, how they can spend years in therapy because of incidents in their past which robbed them of “self esteem”. I am not minimizing the concerns here but simply looking at them from a bit of a different perspective I think.
The Bible has much to say about “self”.
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (NIV)

OK this says to deny himself or maybe that could be written our SELF. That sounds like maybe shining the spot light on someone or something other than ME. Oh, my. I wonder what else is said about this topic.

Titus 1:7-9 

7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict …….(NKJV)


A Bishop is to be an example, someone who is not self-willed. That might mean someone who thinks of the good of others. And it also says self-controlled. Wonder what else the Word says about SELF?

2 Timothy 3:2-4 

2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (NKJV)
This one is talking about men during the final days, it looks like it is painting an apt picture unfortunately and it says they will be lovers of themselves, along with a rafter of other negative descriptions, rather than lovers of God.
This is getting pretty descriptive but there is still some more to pin point this description of SELF.

Galatians 5:19-21 

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery,[a]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders,[b] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (NKJV)
“Selfish” seems to be raising its ugly head again in these verses too. along with many “attributes” that most of us would not like to have.
I am going to turn this around and look at some of the good parts of “self” soon= but let’s take a look at some of the “promises” regarding selfish self.
In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress; Every hand of misery will come against him. (NIV)

A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident.(NIV)

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.(NIV)

Romans 2:7-9 

7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek….(NKJV)
I think those are not things we’d want to claim for our own, are they?
Where is the hope? Where is the help?

Galatians 5:22-24 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.(NKJV)

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.(NKJV)

The best hope is knowing that God created you to be uniquely you. He had something special in mind and thought you up, your personality and all those unique things which make you, you BEFORE you were ever conceived. He might not have chosen the circumstances around your conception if there was sin involved BUT that made you no less precious and unique to Him. You are one of a kind. God’s purpose for you is special and only for you. You do have a purpose. You were not an accident.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. (NKJV)


For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. (NKJV)


"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.(NKJV)

Looks like the Bible is saying that it is all about denying your SELF rather than exulting yourself. Letting go and placing your SELF into the most capable hands of Him who created you in the first place, he who made you unique, special and created you in His image.
Something to think about while you do the following:

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

And with the following promise how can we go wrong?


To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified… (NKJV)

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

DAWNING



I behold Your sphere
Of iridescent liquid fire
Rising on the ocean's mirror finished horizon
Reaching out it's rays
To encompass
All my newborn morning
With it's shimmering, highlighting clasp
Including and even caressing me

I lift up my praise
To You
As I recall days before
When I didn't perceive Your Son
Until He made molten
My sin hardened, petrified core
And through His Holy Spirit
Quickened born again life
To shine forth
From the new heart of me.