Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Minute Friday..Open

It's 5 minute Friday again! Five minutes to write on one topic, no editing, just my thoughts on one word!

Today's word is Open.

Ready, set, go....

Open is the word for the days. I am thinking of open doors. What doors will the Lord open for me and my family in 2012?

 My son will be graduating in May and leaving for college in August. Right now it seems as though he has two open doors before him. One leads to Texas, the other to Ohio. Which one will he take? Lord guide him as he prays about this decision.

My daughter Abby, is praying for one day a door to open to a country that is hostile to US citizens. Lord, you know her heart is very mission minded, I pray you would continue to work in her life and lead her to the open door that will help her follow her heart for you.

As Ashley and Larry embark on their new life together starting on March 3rd, I pray for open doors for them. That you would show them what your will for their lives is. Seminary? Kids? Guide them Lord, make obvious to them the open doors.

Lord, in my own life as my husband and I face so many changes this year, I pray for open doors as well. What ministry do you have in store for me once this nest is empty. Show me Lord what your plan is for me! Not only show me open doors, but open the eyes of my heart!

stop...





Saturday, December 24, 2011

20 years ago...

 20 years ago today our lives were blessed with the presence of a baby girl. What a precious gift she is. Her name is Abigail which means source of joy and this is truly what she is.

Some people think having a birthday on Christmas Eve is a bad thing, but not Abby! She has always loved having her birthday so close to Christmas. In fact for many years, she and Jesus shared a birthday cake!




Abby is not a cowgirl, but she did spend a year in Texas!
These pictures are a tribute to your year in Texas Abby!


20 Facts about our Abby

1) She was walking at 8 months!
2) She didn't walk for long, by two, she ran everywhere! (even places she shouldn't have!)
3) One very big problem she has as a toddler was she would lie about everything. A lot of prayer and good old fashioned discipline and she is now the most honest person I know.
4) She became a Christian at a very young age. Her sister Ashley led her to the Lord.
5) Abby was not born with an internal compass. Let's just say directions are not her thing!
6) When she was younger she was really into gymnastics, in fact she would do cartwheels down the grocery store aisle without even realizing she did it.
7) Abby's favorite color is purple.
8) Abby hates geese!
9) She also dislikes magicians, thanks to a traumatic experience when she was younger.
10) Abby played volleyball and basketball in jr. high and high school. 
11) Abby has a heart for missions, especially the country of North Korea.
12) Abby has a huge heart for Jesus!
13) Abby is a great poet and song writer.
14) She spent one year at His Hill Bible School and grew even closer to the Lord.
15) Abby has worked as a camp counselor for a few summers and is so good with the kids.
16) She loves to play both guitar and piano.
17) She is currently attending Oak Hills Christian College with a major in Intercultural Studies.
18) She and her dad bond over being middle kids.
19) Abby almost always has a smile on her face.
20) God has always given her perfect roommates, from her sister to her roomies in Texas to her roomie at Oak Hills. 


Happy Birthday Abby!!! I love you very much!! I am so excited to continue watching God work in your life. I know He has amazing things in store for you.


This poem was written by Abby and shows her heart:

Simply Jesus
by A.N.H
The cross
So simple
His death
So true
It demonstrates the depth
Of His love for me and you

Without Him we’d be nothing
We’d be separate from God
But with Him we have everything
And that brings me to my knees


It’s Jesus, simply Jesus
He’s more than I could ever dream
Cuz it’s Jesus, simply Jesus
He is all I need


The question
So common
The answer:
One Way
His death gave us life
His greatness displayed

God living in the flesh
Humble enough to die
But Mighty enough to conquer death
And that makes me bow in awe

Cuz it’s Jesus, simply Jesus
He’s more than I could ever dream
Cuz it’s Jesus, simply Jesus
He is all I need

It’s You Jesus! It’s You!
You are more than I could ever dream!
It’s you, Jesus, simply You
You are all I need!!
You’re more than I could need!

Friday, December 16, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Connected

 It's Five Minute Friday!!!! Today's Word is Connected




 
Don't you hate it when you are having a great conversation with someone on your cell phone and then you lose the person on the other end. What's worse is when it takes you a few minutes to realize it, you've been talking but no one is listening. You are no longer connected. It's such a weird feeling to know that nobody is listening anymore.

Prayer is a much better communication tool than cell phones. When we dial up God, His end of the connection is always open. Sometimes we can do things to cause the communication to drop. We can forget to listen, forget to confess our sins, or forget to talk to Him at all.

I have found that when I do my part to stay connected with God, my life tends to run much smoother. Stress isn't as high, I feel more joy in my day; but when I go without talking and listening to God things are much different. I'm more cranky, less joyful, small things irritate me. (just ask my hubby!)

So, I'm glad my 5 minutes are up...I have some connecting with God to do!!! How about you???

The LORD is near to all who call on him,
   to all who call on him in truth.
Psalm 145:18




Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Room???

No room...sorry.
 Can't help you sir...sorry.
   Can't you see there's a census going on...of course there's no room...sorry.
     No room in here sir...but I guess you can take the stable...it's a little smelly though...sorry!

I imagine  these were some of the responses Joseph and Mary had when the arrived in Bethlehem. No room for them in the Inn. I wonder had these innkeepers known who they were turning away, would they have answered differently? Would they have suddenly discovered an empty room?

I've got family coming...I can't help at church on Christmas...sorry.
 I don't have money to give...I have my "Santa" presents to buy...sorry.
   There's no room for those "Jesus" ornaments...I've got a snowflake theme this year...sorry.


Are we like the innkeepers? Do we come up with excuses as to why there's no room for Jesus in our own Christmas celebrations? Are we so bogged down with the stresses of buying gifts for everyone, decorating our house just so, baking for days, and attending every party we are invited to that we forget the reason we do it all? Where is Jesus in your Christmas?

Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:7 This is one of my favorite verses on passing on our faith and teaching our children. I feel it is very applicable this time of year! To  put the verse another way. Teach your children about Christmas. Talk to them as you bake Christmas cookies, as you walk the neighborhood caroling, when you get up on Christmas morning. Remind your kids that there is one and only one reason for the season, it is about a man (not the one in the red suit), it is about JESUS!

 The innkeepers may have turned Mary and Joseph away, they didn't know Jesus was coming. We don't have that excuse, we know Christmas is about Him, so let's find room in our December for Jesus!






Linking up today with A Holy Experience...
please visit and find many posts on how to prepare for Christmas!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Color



It Friday and so time for me to participate with Gypsy Mama in 5 Minute Friday. 5 minutes...one word...no editing.


Today's word is Color:




My very first thought when I read today's word was a song my girls used to sing when they were little...

Red is the color of my favorite rose.
Green is the the color of the grass that grows.
Yellow is the color of the sun that shines.
Way up high in the blue blue sky...
Jesus you sure know how to color.
Jesus you sure know how to color.
Jesus you sure know how to color.
Color my life with love.

I can still picture my girls up on stage at camp singing this song for the Jr. Highers.
Precious memories.

The words to this song may be simple, but oh so true. Jesus, colors my life with so many things. Without him my life would be gray and boring, with him things are just more exciting and vibrant!! Allow Jesus to color your life!



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One life can make a difference...

Have you ever wondered if one life can really make  a difference? Well one life can and does all the time! We were reminded of this recently. My husband heard from a person who was impacted by our family several years ago. He told my husband that we had taken him to a football game when he was a kid, he remembers playing with our son, and having fun at the game. He said it was one of his best days ever. We were amazed at this story for one simple reason...we barely remembered the day. How amazing that a normal day for us was an extraordinary day for someone else. I find myself wondering what we did that was so special. I may never know the exact answer to that question, but God used it to remind me that even when I'm not aware of it, my life can make a difference. I need to live my life everyday in a way that is pleasing and honoring to God. If I pray for God to help me do just that everyday and listen to what he wants, I will make a difference.

Another similar incident happened almost 20 years ago. Back in those days, my husband was a youth pastor, so we spent a great deal of time with teenagers; sometimes we were less than patient with them. One such time of impatience for me occurred on a trip to Valley Fair with our youth. The night before our big day at the park we were staying at a church and I was so tired. I happened to be laying on the floor next to a few girls who decided it would be fun to stay up all night. The next morning I none to happy with them and I decided to be their shadow that day. Anytime they looked tired, I forced them to walk to another ride, I didn't give them chance to rest all day. I was trying to teach them a lesson and I must say I did it with a pretty sour attitude! Several years later when God called us to another ministry I received a note from one of those girls. She thanked me for that day and told me how much it had meant to her. I was stunned. You really never know what or how your actions will touch people. God can even use a negative attitude for his glory!!

I've been thinking about the people in my life who have made a big difference in my life. I remember Lori, my youth leader in high school. Just watching her live her life impacted me. There wasn't one aha moment, but I was watching her. There was Maggie, the lady who stopped by to visit me right after Brian and I were married and living in seminary housing. She was such a sweet heart and she shared with me about life in the "fish bowl". Then there was Karen, she impacted me just by being a mother to her kids. I saw how they respected her and how she loved them. Watching her mothering style greatly impacted my own mothering style. She never told me what to do, she showed me! There are many more names I could list. People who may not have even realized the impact they had on me, each one of those lives was part of the puzzle to help me strengthen my faith and grow into who I am today.

How about you? Who in your life is watching? How can you make a difference? Remember it doesn't take much!



...nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:15-16

Beholding Glory

Friday, December 2, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Tired




 Today is 5 Minute Friday.

 1 topic....5 minutes...no editing...

Today's topic....Tired





 Yesterday I decided it was time to get out the Christmas decorations and do some house cleaning. I love cranking Christmas music and getting all my nativities arranged just so. I even got my husband involved, he totally rearranged our bedroom! By 7:00 o'clock last night I was complaining about being tired, I wasn't just a little tired I was exhausted...you know can barely keep your eyes opened tired. All from my preparations for Christmas. What an exhausting holiday.

This morning I got to thinking about me being tired yesterday from just moving some boxes and placing some Nativities. My preparations for Christmas are nothing compared to the preparations for the first Christmas. Mary and Joseph had to travel a long way to be part of the first Nativity. They didn't complain and so why should I? If our preparations for Christmas make us so tired, then I dare say we aren't doing it right. I do not want my focus this year to be on the to do list, or what's expected of me, my focus needs to be on that first Christmas and the enormity of it. I need to place my eyes on the reason for the season. Maybe, just maybe, if I do it right, then I won't be tired, but energized and excited by the season!!!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Impossible???

 

For nothing is impossible with God. 
This was what the angel Gabriel told Mary right after he told some pretty "impossible" news. I'm sure Mary would need to cling to this truth many times in her life. As she watched her belly swell with baby Jesus growing inside her, as she waited to see just how Joseph was going to respond, as she visited her cousin Elizabeth who was with child later in life, and as she watched her son be crucified. Those words had to provide her with comfort as she took part in a story that was filled with impossibilities! God saw something in Mary, that is why he chose her for this task. He knew she could handle it. He knew she would experience shame, ridicule and heartbreak in her life, but He knew she would lean on Him and that she would believe that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD.

We too need to believe these words intended for Mary all those years ago. They are still true today. They are true in our own lives. God may not have called us to the same task he called Mary, but he has called us. He has seen in us something special and equipped us each with a task, possibly an "impossible" task, we need to take to heart the truth in Luke 1:27. This Christmas season, keep this truth close at hand. Remember it, apply it, believe it, trust it.

For nothing is impossible with God.






Beholding Glory