2008 Year End Thoughts

As I face the new coming year I'm thinking about what I want to leave behind and I'm listening to the Spirit's quiet voice as I hold up my Lamp for my feet and my Light for my path to guide as I step into the darkness before me.

I want to leave behind my schemes and expectations and abandon myself to a step by step walk of faith starting NOW and pressing on into the new year.

Here's some Light His Lamp is shedding on my path as I walk through today into 2009:

I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord," says the Lord God, "when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. Not for your sake do I do this," says the Lord God, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!" 'Thus says the Lord God: "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. So they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.' Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it." -Ezekiel 36:22-36

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. -Joshua 1:8

Personally, in the rest of this day to come, and the one after that, throughout as much of 2009 as the Lord would give me, I want to stop making law out of everything, and start walking by the new covenant of life by the Spirit- confirmed, corrected, chastized and fed by the Word as I chew on it constantly and continue pressing forward by faith. Not because I see what He's doing next, or because I've figured anything out, just because He's good, He's forgiven me ALL my sins, and He's committed to completing the work He started in me even though I fail.

I want to be committed to rebuilding His reputation, His name in my life, as He works in me (cause it's He who does it not me... He just lets me hold His hand as we go), and increase in being merciful, agape-ful, gracious and truthful with others.

I want to be more of a giver this year.

I want to pray more and scheme less.

I want to listen more and talk less.

I want to adore Jesus with my life whether I'm doing laundry, or passing out my noon meds, or talking to a neighbor, or playing legos with my kids, or listening to my husband talk about parts for his bike.

When it comes to blogging, I pray the Lord would continue to give me the oppurtunities to pass on the encouragement, comfort, chastizement and admonition He's given me in a transparent and Christ-magnifying way. And I hope I get to know more of you sweet commenters better too! Oh how I wish you lived near by and we could get together for coffee once a week! :)

I pray that whoever you are, and wherever you find yourself today, at the end of 2008, you will call upon the name of the Lord Jesus and be saved in EVERY WAY. And that day by day by day by day you will surrender yourself to His hand as He conforms you little by little, from glory to greater glory, into the image of the Son. May you just worship Him with your life, not giving the sacrifice of "do's or don'ts" but of thanksgiving!

That's a prayer for me too!

Amy Charmichael wrote the prayer of my heart for my kids in a beautiful poem if you want to read it you can find it here.

Redeeming the time into 2009 :)

Learning in silence- A lesson from my haste

For whatever reason, it seems Christmastime (especially last year and this year) is a time when the Spirit really admonishes me- in every sense of the word.

I've been looking back, not in a longing way, not in a holding on to the past way, but as though I were an athlete looking at a previous game to learn from my mistakes that I might train myself to not perform them again.

I believe this is a godly sorrow that God is working in me. It's not fun! It's not condemning either though. It's learning to despise my ways and love the Lords. And it's clinging even more to His mercy and grace.

When I was a teenager I played basketball at my school. I wasn't very much of a hustler. I was timid and scared of fouling anyone and therefore didn't make much of an impact on the game for my team, other than rebounding. But in one game, the ball landed in my hands while my team was on offense. I was standing right under our hoop, but I was so excited about my destiny with the ball, convincing myself quickly that I could do this, that I made a terribly embarrassing error. I started dribbling down the court... THE WRONG WAY!!!! I heard all the screams and cheers and thought everyone was cheering for me, and then I made the shot. At that point, as I stood alone with a smile on my face under the opposing team's basket I began looking around for my teammates to give them high fives. I suddenly realized what I had done when I saw my team hanging their shaking heads, my coach yelling my last name, and the opposing team cheering. I was mortified!!!! Utterly! I loathed myself and wanted to give up basketball forever. (That is a totally true story and one of the most embarrassing moments of my life by the way.)

This is sort of how I've felt this past week as the Spirit has "played the video" for me of previous "games" in my life where I've made grievous errors in judgement. I'm so glad God is more merciful than my 7th grade basketball coach. But I'm sad, because my sinful ways in life have caused a lot more damage than 2 points in the opposing teams basket.

I wanted to share with you (whoever you are out there in blogland) a sorrow I have from my past choices that has lead to a true turn around (repentance) in my life. I pray you will learn from my experience and not make the same error in your own "game".

  • I sorrow that I did not learn in silence.

"Women should listen and learn quietly and submissively." 1
Timothy 2:11 NLT
The tendency, when I first hear that verse is to feel defensive and try to explain it away. But after having chosen to not learn in silence, being quick to start "teaching" others what I was so convinced I understood, I realize how shameful my choice was and how wise and right God's word is.

When I first reunited with my husband I was so excited! For many reasons. One being I was convinced I was going to start some version of a Billy Graham crusade where women would see how much Christ loved and valued them and suddenly WANT to love their husbands in Christ-like, humble love. I had the basketball and I started running with it! Problem is, I was running the wrong way! I ended up sharing online, and with a neighbor friend, and even with a small group at church, what I was convinced was a sure "two-pointer" for our team, but it turned out to be a score for the opposing team.

It wasn't that what I wanted was wrong. I wanted to score for "my team" (women in the body of Christ). I wanted to encourage other women with the same encouragement I'd received from the Lord. I wanted them to know what God was teaching me, but my running to the wrong hoop lied in the fact that I was still learning. And because I was still the "younger woman", learning how to apply this revelation of Christ's love for me in my own life, when I went around "teaching" others I delivered a mixed up message... I didn't rightly divide the word of truth.

The result was even more humiliating and more damaging than scoring for the wrong team. I've had to go back and confess that I was wrong to the women I've talked with, and even one of their husband's (with the wife present). I've grieved much over them because in my haste I misrepresented God's word to them. I've given the enemy fuel for the accusing and have been stuck in a mire of pity and discouragement, and much more, all as a result of not learning in silence.

The call to the sidelines in the months which followed that first year or two of running to the wrong hoop (not learning in silence) was even harder than it was for me in 7th grade. God humbled me and I didn't want to "play" anymore! But this past year He's been teaching me the importance of having
a godly sorrow that leads to turning around, not a worldly sorrow that leads to giving up (death). God doesn't want me to stay sorrowful and stop running the race set before me (Hebrews 12:1). He wants me to receive with meekness what He teaches me in His word and let be implanted in me for true growth.

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. - James 1:21

So this week as I was reflecting on this bad play from my past I thought, "Your Word is so good Lord! There's nothing at all to be despised about 1 Timothy 2:11. It's a rule of Your game of faith that will save many women from running to the wrong basket."

Oh, how I wish I had of been more like Mary in the days, weeks and years following the miraculous intervention of God in my life. I wish I had just treasured up all the things God was doing and speaking to me, pondering them in my heart... learning in silence.

There's a time to learn in silence and there's a time to teach good things. But I would be wise to be sure I've learned before I teach.

So how do I know if I've learned something so that I might go teach it to another woman as God would have me?

Here are some questions I'm asking myself now:
  • Am I still learning?
  • Do I still have questions?
  • Has this topic gone from "taking it in" to "fleshing it out" in my life or am I still just taking it in?
  • Is what I think I've learned clearly in the Word?
  • Do other godly women and accurate teachers of God's Word I know confirm the things I've learned in their teaching of the Word?

It's SOOOOO important to stick close to the Word!

When God says "learn in silence" He's not saying, "Don't talk to anyone." He's saying take time to learn, and while you're learning, keep quiet about it. He also says, "Older women be teachers of good things," and then He even goes on to list those good things very clearly.

God does want us to "teach" other women in our lives, for we are "older" than someone in the Lord, and we are "younger" than someone too. But if we stray from the simple power of God's word and add in a lot of our own thoughts (which I have done), sin is not absent.

In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his
lips is wise.
- Proverbs 10:19
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of
the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.
- Psalm 19:7-11
As I look back on my own mistakes I wish I had of made a few "passes" instead of running down the court with the ball. In other words, I wish I had of gotten together with another Biblical "older" woman in my life and discussed the things I was learning and then just prayerfully waited for who I should share it with.

Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of
counselors there is safety.
-Proverbs 11:14
None of us in our "learning" ever fully arrive at attaining what we've learned. Even Paul said,

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press
on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me
." -Phil.3:12
And we know that the Lord wants us to teach others what He teaches us:

Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. -Matthew 10:27

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
-Matthew 28:20

...the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not
slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things-- that they
admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. -
Titus 2:3-5

Yet there is clearly a time for quietly learning and waiting, receiving the implanted Word meekly, and letting it mature into seen fruitfulness in our own lives before we set out to teach it to others.

I am convinced, after my own sin in this, that there is a need to stop and truly spend time waiting on the Lord when He's doing or has done something in our lives that we're eager to share. I'm so quick to want to share with others what I'm learning, but there's something to be said for just treasuring up what I'm learning, so that a day may come when I can effectively teach it to others.

Here I am, blogging about learning in silence. May seem to be a bit of a contradiction. And truly, the fact that I've set out to share my life and God's Word on this blog should cause me to pause and check myself to be sure what I'm sharing is accurately God's word. There's a healthy tension God would have me press forward in. God does not want me to give up teaching good things- teaching the things He's taught me, teaching His word accurately- but He wants me to restrain my teaching with silence while I'm learning. In this way I might go forward not like a wild horse, but like a trained and reigned in one.

To help me submit to those reigns gladly, yet move forward in the direction my Master would guide me, I've decided to embed these scriptures to the top of each of the posts I go to create. I want to be sure what I share here is clearly and accurately spoken by the Spirit in the scriptures and submitted to in my own life:

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become
teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness.
James 3:1 (NLT)

Women should listen and learn quietly and submissively.
1 Timothy 2:11 (NLT)

But as for you, promote the kind of living that reflects right teaching... live in a way that is appropriate for someone serving the Lord. They must not go around speaking evil of others and must not be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to take care of their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.
Titus 2:1, 3-5 (NLT)

Oh Father, You've been so patient with me. I've despised Your discipline and pouted for a long time. I haven't received Your chastisements as a loving Father dealing with His wayward daughter. Thank You for being patient to let me see that it is good that You deal with me so. Please set a guard over my lips, and fingers (for typing), that I might be restrained with silence while I'm learning something You want to teach me. And let me press forward in sharing Your word accurately. I know it begins in my own heart. This is my prayer:

Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. -Psalm 19:12-14

* Related: A Great Devotion from Elizabeth Elliot on Observation in Silence

Redeeming the time

I know I said goodbye for 2008 but...

I HAD to share this!

Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. -Proverbs 24:15-16

Feeling at the bottom of my seventh fall before 6am today, I turned to a steady source of truth and found this teaching that brought me trembling to my feet again. If you have time, please go here and click on the Recent Service, Sunday December 21st message in the sidebar. I'd rather you do that, than go on reading my ramble here. But if you're still reading...

Maybe as 2008 is coming to a close, and your walk of faith with Christ has grown a year older, you find yourself even more accused than you were a year ago and see yourself as an even more wretched person than you were last year. Maybe not, but I do. It seems as this year has come to an end I'm overwhelmed by how many times I've fallen and how much damage has been caused to the reputation of the Lord in the eyes of those I love because of my sinful choices. It seems the wicked one (Satan) lays in wait against me daily... just waiting for me to fall, cause I will, so that He can spoil my resting place, the resting place of God's mercy and grace.

This morning I saw a jaded attitude in me. I saw it coming out in the look on my face and the tone of my voice and I fell to my knees in the laundry room and prayed that the Lord would help me to know how to go forward because I was so overwhelmed at the destruction my life has caused. I faintly heard His Spirit stir my heart to let go; to not lean one bit on my performance in life, but wholly lean on Jesus' redemption.

I've caused a lot of damage. I thought it was just consequential for me, not realizing that I was not only causing pain, offense and bitterness in others, but I was tearing down the reputation of our awesome God in their eyes. I hate it that I've done this!!! The very thing I've prayed, the very thing I've wanted- for the people in my life to know the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer and to worship Him- I'VE prevented by choices I've made. And oh how the enemy of my soul reminds me daily, especially as this year comes to a close, of the damage I've done. It hurts so much I nearly grow cold. But the Lord calls me to defy the enemy and rise up, standing solely on the mercy and grace shown in Christ at the cross.

He calls me to let all the weight I am still resting on my performance in life fall on Jesus. He calls me not only to rise up trusting that Christ's righteousness is enough for me, but that it is also enough for those I love, and pray for, as I regret so deeply that I've left ruins in their path to knowing Christ through my witness.

I'm pressing forward into 2009 as though I'm walking across the Grand Canyon on an invisible bridge. I can't lean any of my weight on my ability to get across, I can't lean any of my weight on my ability to get others across, I have to rest completely in the invisible promise of salvation for every step, because He who began a good work in me is able to complete it.

And I think even beyond walking on that invisible bridge of faith, God calls me to clear away the stumbling stones and clutter that I'VE CAUSED. I don't know how. I have no idea how to undo the damage I've done. I'll have to walk on Jesus' ability to make me a reconciler, restorer and rebuilder for that calling too.

Go through, go through the gates;prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples. - Isaiah

Oh my Invisible Hope! Please strengthen my heart to trust You! Give me courage to defy the accusations of the enemy by growing in Your grace even more! Hallow Your Name in me so that in the eyes of those who've watched my life may find a witness of You they can trust too!

Redeeming the time

Wrapping up 2008 with a little ditty

(Image found here)

I'm signing off for 2008. I'll leave with a little tale I wrote as I thought on the wonders of God's gift of His Son a few Christmases ago.

King Ezer and The Dragon
A Christmas
By Sheila Dougal

There once was a King named Ezer.
He was the strongest king ever.
He lived on the highest mountain,
Which had a magical fountain.
Whatever he’d think, King Ezer did have
When he would drink from his fountain called Glad.
One day, as he sat on his throne
He heard a most horrible moan.
“Help!” moaned his subjects below
Who lived in the Desert of Woe.
He thought to himself, “I will help them,”
So he drank from his Glad fountain.
With that magical drink
He left his throne in a blink.
When that blink was over,
He looked to see what smelled of clover.
When he looked up he saw
A curious cow chewing straw.
He reached out with his hand so small,
To see who had come to that stable in awe.
You see, the richest King Ezer
Became the poorest baby ever.
To help those miserable Woeians,
He left all at his
Glad fountain.
He knew all that he had
When he drank from the fountain of Glad,
Would never go away
Though he lay in a manger of hay.
Boy, were those Woeians happier than ever
When they heard, come, had King Ezer.
But that’s not the end of this Christmas story
So don’t run off in such a hurry.
The most important thing ever
Is what happened next to King Ezer.
He grew as a boy in that barren land
And became a poor carpenter man.
When he could see all that happened in Woe
He knew how low he had to go.
For all those people in the Desert of Woe had fallen for traps
That looked like snacks,
And in deep holes
That went far below,
Crying, “Help! Help! It was he,
That nasty, mean Dragon did trip me.”
So this poor carpenter man,
Knowing he was King Ezer over all the land,
Went to the Dragon and said,
“Let these Woeians be,
Instead you can have me.”
That old, nasty Dragon did laugh, snorting fire,
For he thought to himself, “I’ll make myself higher!”
Down laid the poor carpenter man
For that old, nasty Dragon to snatch up in his hand.
And off he did fly all through the town,
Snorting and throwing the carpenter around.
“This man is a fool! He said he’d agree
To give his life to set you all free.
But now that I have him you’re all going to suffer,
Cause I’m going to devour this man for my supper!”

Then all of the Woeians wept painfully,
For all they hoped from King Ezer, seemed, never would be.
For three days in a pit, with that old, nasty Dragon
Lay Ezer seemingly forgotten.
But on the day, the best ever in Woe,
King Ezer came back with a nail-shaped key in tow.
When the Woeians saw he did have this,
They shouted, “Hurray! Today we’re the gladdest!”
And out of their traps and their holes he did offer
With the key that had once kept them all poppers.
This brings us, now, to the end of the tale,
Well, not really,
More like a new beginning.
After these people had been set free,
He gave them the nail which was their key.
He said with a smile,
“Don’t be sad that I’m going away to my fountain of Glad.
For when I get there I’m going to be,
Building you mansions on my high mountain of Glee.
When I return to take you there with Me,
I want to find you serving plenty.
For what I’ve done with this key
I give to you to repeat endlessly.
So go through the land,
As far as you can,
And offer those people in traps you do see
To once and for all finally be free!
Now this is a tale,
Since it rhymes we all know it,
But really it’s true
The Bible does show it.
For we all have gotten in holes and traps
And God sent His Son to free us at last!

Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be
free indeed.”-
John 8:36

King Ezer and the Dragon in the Bible

1) King Ezer: God is our King: “For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2. Our King is Ezer: Ezer is the Hebrew word for help, or helper. “But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.” Psalm 40:7

2) The Glad fountain: “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” Psalm 36:9 “There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.” Psalm 46:4

3) The Mountain of Glee: “It is magnificent in elevation – the whole earth rejoices to see it! Mount Zion, the holy mountain, is the city of the great King!” Psalm 48:2
You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” Psalm 16:11

4) The King Becomes a baby: “You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!" Luke 1:31-33

5) The People of Woe: “The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!” Lam. 5:16

6) The Old Nasty Dragon: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Rev. 12:9

7) The Traps and Holes: “He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.” Psalm 40:2 “My eyes are always looking to the LORD for help, for he alone can rescue me from the traps of my enemies.” Psalm 25:15

8) The King dies for the Woeians: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

9) The King is alive after 3 days and leaves the Woeians with a job: “For I, the Son of Man, must suffer many terrible things," he said. "I will be rejected by the leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. I will be killed, but three days later I will be raised from the dead." Luke 9:22 “"Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: 'There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me.' You are witnesses of all these things.” Luke 24:46-48

10) The King has gone to build us a home with Him:
Don't be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” John 14:1-3

Merry Christmas!

I thought croup was just for kids!

Apparently not. Suddenly croup caused things to get real tight in my throat last night, drained me of all energy, slapped me with a nice headache and terrible barking-seal-painful cough!

Before that, I stepped away from the screen to devote some time on my knees. Nothing in particular, just needing to keep the main thing the main thing!

Thanks for your prayerful comments and prayers! Here's a verse I've been delighting in even amidst the croup.

Thus says the Lord: Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

- Isaiah 66:1-2

Redeeming the time

Elisabeth Elliot on Mary

I'm just passing along treasures from others these past few posts. I'm away from posting a lot because the need for fervent prayer is greater these days. This morning this meditation from Mrs. Elliot really spoke to me. What mom wouldn't it speak to?

Anything you say Lord, let it be unto me as You've said!

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: Keep A Quiet Heart
Scripture Reference: Colossians 3:3

The Mother of the Lord

We see her first, that little Mary (may I say little? I think she was a teenager), as a
simple village girl in a poor home in an out-of-the-way place. She is bending over her work when suddenly the light changes. She raises her eyes. A dazzling stranger stands before her with a puzzling greeting. He calls her "most favored one" and tells her the Lord is with her. She is stunned. I don't believe her thought is of herself (Who am I? or Am I ever lucky!). Mary is troubled. She discerns at once that this has to do with things infinitely larger than herself, far beyond her understanding. What can it mean?

The angel does not weigh in immediately with the stupendous message he has been sent to deliver. He first comforts her. "Don't be afraid, Mary." Mary. She is not a stranger to him. He is assuring her that he has the right person. He explains what she has been chosen for--to be the mother of the Son of the Most High, a king whose reign will be forever. She has one question now--not about the Most High, not about an eternal king--those are things too high for her--but motherhood is another matter. She understands motherhood, has been looking forward to it with great happiness. Her question is about that: "How can this be? I am still a virgin." He does not really explain. He simply states a mystery: "The power of the Most High will
overshadow you." He goes on to tell her of another miraculous pregnancy, that of her old cousin Elisabeth, well past child-bearing age. "God's promises can never fail," he says. They won't fail for you, Mary. Rest assured.

How will the girl respond? She is at once totally at the disposal of her Lord (she sees
that the visitor is from Him). Whatever the mystery, whatever the divine reasons for choosing her, whatever the inconveniences, even disasters (broken engagement? stoning to death--the punishment of a fornicator?) which she may be required to face, her answer is unequivocal and instant: "Here I am. I am the Lord's servant; let it be as you have told me." Anything, Lord.

We see her next with Elisabeth, who, by the manner of Mary's greeting and by her own baby's sudden movement in her womb, knows immediately that God has chosen Mary to be the mother of the Lord. They don't sit down over coffee and chatter about the gynecology or the practical logistics or what people are going to say. Mary
sings her song of gladness, of thoroughgoing acceptance of the gift, of trust in
the Mighty One.

We see her sweating in the cold of the stable, putting her own life on the line, as every mother must do, in order to give life to somebody else. We see her with the tough shepherds, breathlessly telling their story of the glory of the Lord and the singing of the angel choir. Everyone else is astonished (a word which comes from "thunderstruck"), but Mary does not join the excited babble. She is quiet, treasuring all these things, pondering them deep in her heart. We see her with the mysterious travelers from the East bringing their lavish gifts. She says nothing as they kneel before the baby she holds in her arms. We see her on the donkey again, on the roundabout journey to Egypt because her husband has been given a secret message in a dream. She does not balk, she does not argue.

We see her in the temple handing over her baby to old Simeon, to whom the Holy Spirit has revealed the child's amazing destiny: a revelation to the heathen, glory to Israel. But to Mary he gives the far deeper message of suffering, for there is no glory that is not bought by suffering: her son will suffer--he will be a sign which men reject; she, his mother, will suffer, will be pierced to the heart. No question or answer from
her is recorded. Again we know only her silence.

We see nothing of her for twelve years--days and nights, weeks and months, years and years of caring for the infant, the toddler, the little boy, the adolescent. There is no mention of any of that. Mary has no witness, no limelight, no special recognition of any kind. She is not Mother of the Year. Hers is a life lived in the ordinary necessity of their poverty and their humanity, no one paying attention to her attention to Him. Whatever the level of her comprehension as to the nature of this boy, she knows He was given to her. She remembers how. She treasures all this. She ponders things in the silence of her heart. Did she share any of them with Joseph? Could she? Could he receive them? We know next to nothing of the dynamics between them. She was content to be silent before God.

The apostle Paul tells us we are "hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3, NIV}.
There is mystery there, but when I think of the life of Mary, I see some facets of that mystery that I missed when I read the apostle. Hers was a hidden life, a faithful one, a holy one--holy in the context of a humble home in a small village where there was not very much diversion. She knew that the ordinary duties were ordained for her as much as the extraordinary way in which they became her assignment. She struck no poses. She was the mother of a baby, willing to be known simply as his mother for the rest of her life. He was an extraordinary baby, the Eternal Word, but His needs were very ordinary, very daily, to his mother. Did she imagine that she deserved to be the chosen mother? Did she see herself as fully qualified? Surely not. Surely not more than any other woman who finds herself endowed with the awesome gift of a child. It is the most humbling experience of a woman's life, the most revealing of her own
helplessness. Yet we know this mother, Mary, the humble virgin from Nazareth, as
"Most Highly Exalted."

I am thanking God that unto us a Child was born. I am thanking Him also that there was a pure-hearted woman prepared to receive that Child with all that motherhood would mean of daily trust, daily dependence, daily obedience. I thank Him for her silence. That spirit is not in me at all, not naturally. I want to learn what she had learned so early: the deep guarding in her heart of each event, mulling over its meaning from God, waiting in silence for His word to her.

I want to learn, too, that it is not an extraordinary spirituality that makes one refuse to do ordinary work, but a wish to prove that one is not ordinary--which is a dead giveaway of spiritual
conceit. I want to respond in unhesitating obedience as she did: Anything You say, Lord

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Redeeming the time

A good word I heard today

I heard this today while listening to Courson on Searchlight:

"God's commandments are God's enablements."

Redeeming the time

Everything rides on hope now

I'm singing this song everywhere!

Everything rides on hope now Lord! Everything I've done destroys my dreams of what or how my life should be. I have no hope apart from You. My life is not my own...

Redeeming the time

Tour of Homes: A Video Slice of Life in Our Home

By the way, I didn't make a mention of my sweet husband in that video and I don't want to leave him out. He's off workin' hard for his family while I'm making a video for this blog tour of homes. Just think of me and our sons as an extension of him... he, me, we, wish you a Merry Christmas! :)

Oh! And be sure to check back here tomorrow to see who won the She Meditates On the Word gift pack. I can't wait to see who won!!! And head over to the Internet Cafe for more tours of homes and tomorrow be sure to check there too to see who all the winners of the various gifts are from the Holiday Expo giveaway.
Merry Christmas!

Day 1 Advent Meditations

"Don't be impatient for the LORD to act! Travel steadily along his path." Psalm 37:34a NLT

There was a long wait between the Promise of Genesis 3:15 and His arrival in John 1:14. Nevertheless waiting on the LORD and traveling steadily along His path paid off... He came, just as He promised.

The wait seems long now too. The stretch of His arms spans 2000 plus years, but waiting on the LORD is worth it. I learn that from looking back at the anticipation and waiting for His first coming. Though evil seems to prevail all around me, I must not fret. I must not get impatient. I must travel steadily along His path.

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness,
but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance
." 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
"Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how
the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."
James 5:7-8 NKJV

Day 1 of this Advent I'm remembering Salvation came and He is coming again!

Redeeming the time

I'm laboring in love and inspired by this Labor of Love

I'm getting ready for the Holiday Expo, working on the gift I want to give to maybe YOU! :) And I'm also laboring in love with my kiddos today, decking our halls and putting out the nativity scene, along with starting a Jesse tree to prepare for celebrating the advent of our God and Savior.

So, I may not be blogging much for the next couple days. Hope you and your family are preparing your hearts and worshipfully celebrating the birth of Salvation today!

Here's some inspiration:

Redeeming the time

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