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Showing posts from December, 2011

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I got a new curio cabinet for Christmas to replace the one I lost in the fire. Because of the carpet being replaced at the time of the blaze, the contents of my old cabinet had been emptied and wrapped and placed in a box. When we examined the damage, my curio had landed face down, shattered and destroyed, so it was a true miracle and blessing to know that everything that had once been neatly displayed inside was saved from utter destruction. It was 8 months yesterday since the fire happened, and today I proudly displayed the prized possessions I'd collected over the years in my new cabinet. 
I unwrapped each piece and had to diligently clean ash and soot off of nearly every item. There are still permanent marks on some of the pieces - forever reminders of the fire that changed everything. After being packed away for almost a year, the smell of smoke still lingered. The hand-carved olive wood nativity I purchased while visiting Israel permeates the undeniable and unforgettable smel…

Joy and Peace

At this time of year, I see cards and ornaments adorned with the words "peace" and "joy."

"Joy to the world..." we sing.

"Peace on earth..." we hope for.

Both joy and peace acting as emotions can seem difficult to achieve. When circumstances seem to produce only disappointment and heartache, how can joy and peace abound?

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

When we trust in Sovereign God, HE alone will fill us with joy and peace - despite our circumstance, no matter the things we face - we are able to overflow with hope. And HOPE gives us the belief that we can still anticipate, expect and desire more - something else - a change, regardless of our current situation.

If we lose hope, we lose the faith that keeps us expectant and, well, hopeful. While we wait, we can still be filled with joy and peace.

Joy - not circumst…

May it be

"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Luke 2:38

Mary's response to the angel is a reminder to me that our response to God could alter our role in His plan.

I've always heard the call to action to "see what God is doing and join with Him." Meaning, God's plan and purpose will be accomplished no matter what - and whether or not I'm a part depends on my response.

We see Isaiah ready and willing when the call came asking who would go and his response was, "Here am I, send me." (Isaiah 6:8)

In Luke 2 Mary had been chosen. She was specifically picked for this mission. And yet when the angel came to her, he didn't say she was ALREADY with child - he said she WOULD BE with child. If she had responded differently than "May it be..." I suppose there would be a different story to tell. But then again, I guess her response is exactly why she was the girl for the job. She had already f…

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Everyone has Christmas memories. A special ornament that reminds you of a childhood craft project. A batch of baked goods that takes you back to familiar smells and tastes of your family kitchen. If you're like me, there's a number of them stored in your memory bank. And for me, today it was a song.

It was this time 12 years ago (gulp - I will not admit my age) when I was riding across the countryside of England with collegemates on a Christmas mission trip. Learning the proper etiquette of high tea and grabbing onto the lingo of saying "Cheers" instead of hello was not why we had come. Our ministry was in prisons. To inmates. Criminals. It was a ministry called "Within the Walls" and we sang Christmas carols and performed drama presentations to present the love of Christ - no better time than Christmastime.

One of the songs we sang was Phillips Craig & Dean "O Come O Come Emmanuel" and I heard it today and it took me back. England is cold and…

What are you waiting for?

I'm reposting a Note from 12/16/09 but something still applicable a year later.

I'm usually the one with the most Christmas spirit to share. I did put up my Christmas tree in mid-November. But lately, I've been wrapped up in the whirlwind of everything else that seems to be demanding my attention. I decided to start reading the Christmas story in an effort to remember it's not about gifts or parties or cards - or even feelings...and to truly CELEBRATE the season and all that it means.

Luke 2. It's all there - clear and simple. The Christmas story. As I started to read a bit further, I discovered an unusual part of the story that you don't normally hear sermons on. Verses 25-33.

There was a man called Simeon - "He was waiting..." (vs. 25) "The Holy Spirit was upon him..." (vs. 25) "It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit..." (vs. 26) "Moved by the Spirit..." (vs. 27)

He was waiting for the Messiah. But it wasn't…

Good Intentions

It's December 21. Four days til Christmas. I'm full of good intentions and all the things I've wanted to do:
- Bake bread & Christmas goodies for the neighbors
- Handmade ornaments for a few who had monumental happenings this year
- Personalized gifts for loved ones
- Homemade ornaments for Elijah's for buddies and teachers
- Photo gifts for family members
- Christmas cards for friends
- More decor for the house
- More ornaments for the tree
....

I've got just four days to make it all happen. And I must be honest with myself - it's just not going to all get done.

I'm full of good intentions...but sometimes I lack follow through. It's usually the result of taking on more than I can handle, juggling too much at one time, and inevitably dropping the ball somewhere along the way.

Is it a character flaw? I'd like to think not. I'd rather call it the result of being overwhelmed, overworked and overcommitted. Whatever the case, I still have to ta…

Weak

I sat tonight and read through letter after letter, all recommendations written by my staff. A tribute they'd worked so diligently to compile as I prepare to wrap up my tenure as Career Center Director and transition to a new phase of my life and career. Accolades of my leadership, compliments of my encouragement, testimonies of inspiration. In their effort to share how I had impacted their lives over the last 4.5 years, I was overwhelmed by the impact they've all had on me and the realization that followed.

By this stage in my life I know a lot about who I am. No, I don't have it all figured out. I just mean  I can look at you and tell you what I'm good at and what my limitations are. I can easily identify my strengths and weaknesses in relation to a situation (and not just the canned interview answer). I have a lot of vision and creativity but I'm keenly aware that the best ideas are worth nothing if there is no action plan.

As I read through their words of enco…

Perfect

Have you ever looked at someone's situation and wondered how they could make it through? You'd like to believe you'd offer as much grace and dignity if you were faced with the same circumstance, but the truth is you just don't know how you'd respond.

I will never forget a funeral for a nearly 30 year old man who died just months after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. With 3 small children and the fourth yet to be born, this young widow stood to her feet among a packed sanctuary of people there to honor and remember her husband. With children by her side and hands raised in the air, she stood and praised the Lord as the music swelled to "Give us peace". We weren't crying - we were all sobbing. Four children left without a father, one who would never even meet his dad. A young stay-at-home mom grieved for the loss of her best friend and life partner. A talented musician and godly example, certainly a life taken too soon. It just didn't make sens…

Change is coming...

The wind is howling as I type. It was 60 degrees today despite the rain but the temperature has drastically dropped. It's cold and blustery. As in knock you down, blow you over. The winds of change signaling the onset of winter.
A few days ago I tweeted a blog by Clayton King that caused some heads to roll. I'm not trying to send any mixed signals or subliminal messages. It's true; there are things in life that will drain the life out of you and the only response should be to cut them off, cut them out, eliminate what robs you of your job and creativity. Anything that could pose as an attack or threat to your relationship with Christ may ultimately be something that needs to be cut out.
Then I read the short devotional below, words from God to anyone facing change: SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND by Marsha Burns
"You have been in a time of old things coming to an end.And, even though you cannot see ahead to know what is coming, you can trust Me to continue to shut the doors …