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Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy 19th Birthday Jonathan





Today we celebrated our special guy's 19th birthday.

Every year this boy teaches or reminds me of something new as we celebrate him.  The Lord will speak loud and clear and remind us of His grace and beauty... through this boy, this gift, this child, now a young man.

He has taught us about simplicity
- about fullness
- about contentment
- about joy, the unabandoned kind
- about the gift of wonder,
      seeing things beyond the natural
- about hope, unending hope
- about being a reflection of God's glory.

This year as we celebrated, It struck me how he will sit with us and enjoy eating this particular meal with us, with his family, because it is his birthday, and he wants to be celebrated and he wants to celebrate with us.

Now, let me remind you that this boy usually gets his plate and goes outside to eat by himself, because sometimes sitting at a table with a bunch of people is just a bit overwhelming for him.

Yet today, on his birthday he enjoyed every moment of it. We talked and laughed and asked
him questions, to which he would just smile and nod. He opened his present, we took pictures, his face lit up when we sang happy birthday, he blew out his candles, he wore his crazy glasses and blew his silly birthday horn... because it's his birthday and he wants to be celebrated.

As I was reflecting on this, I was thinking about God's desire to celebrate us.
   This God, who is powerful and mighty, takes great delight  us.  
      This God who spoke all of creation into being, rejoices over us with singing.

and this boy, now a young man, has grasped this truth to the core of his being.  He lives it out year after year, not doubting, not wavering but simply embracing this celebration fully... this celebration of him.

You can read more about this amazing young man at these posts.
Jonathan's 16th Birthday
Hope
Our World with Autism

today we celebrate you, Jonathan, we celebrate with you fully. You are a reflection of your Heavenly Father's Glory - You are loved.

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.


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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stones of Remembrance - Part 2


Our Pastor has been doing a series on Grace in Genesis. This past week he mentioned stones of remembrance, when Jacob build an alter to mark the place were God had revealed himself to him.

There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother. Genesis35:7

Matthew Henry said in his commentary "The comfort the saints have in holy ordinances, is not so much from Beth-el, the house of God, as from El-beth-el, the God of the house. The ordinances are empty things, if we do not meet with God in them."

I was reminded of a post I made back in 2013 - that year God had brought us to a place of buying our first home after 27 years of marriage. It was an answer to many years of prayer and trusting in his timing.


TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2013

  Stones of Remembrance

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In our front yard is this awesome, wonderful tree…

    that the Lord has been using to speak words of hope…

               words of promises fulfilled...
                         words of love…

   that simple say “I am listening…  I remember”

He hears and remembers every prayer…   every word spoken...    every word sent up to Him.

and…

around this tree…  this tree of life…      are 12 bricks…     

12 bricks that have become memorial stones of remembrance…

Joshua 4:20-22
And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan. He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their fathers, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground."


12 stones that are a visual reminder of God’s love…
                of His provision…
                      of Him opening the way for us to cross…
                                  onto solid ground…
                                             into  His promises for us.

Stones of remembrance~

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As a visual reminder…DSCN5188
we each took one brick…  
              one stone
   
and wrote our name on it.
because...
     He calls us all by name. 


We took our stone of remembrance…  
DSCN5183and gave Him praise…   thanks…  

DSCN5184for all He has done for us this year.

we flipped that heavy brick over, weighted down with blessings - and wrote one  “hard thanks”…   

one area in our life that we struggle with giving thanks for…

Why?

           because giving thanks in all things is what He asks us to do…

                    and when we can give thanks in the hard things… 

we open His flood gates of heaven…
                                turning the hard things into praises… seeing the blessing…

                                                 a sacrifice of praise.

DSCN5304He becomes the cornerstone…    the center of all things…   
DSCN5305   in our life…  

     easy Thanks...
no brainer Thanks...    
   and those messy,

     hard Thanks…  

       
He becomes the beginning and the end...  
              Our starting and finishing place…
                                              Our Chief Cornerstone

reminding us that…

God is building a home.

He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using us, fitting us brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together.

We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.  Ephesians 2: 20-22

Joshua 4:6-7
We can also "set up stones of remembrance” symbolizing times in our lives when God gave healing, perseverance, protection or encouragement—times when we were especially aware of God’s faithfulness.

Possibilities:
  • Make a quilt with squares symbolizing "faith events."
  • Create a display of items on a shelf as reminders.
  • Draw, paint, or craft a collage.
  • Decorate actual stones in your garden.
  • Write your faith stories, tie them with a ribbon, and put them in a special box or bottle. (Then read them on special occasions.)
building stones…    of remembrance~


There have been other times we have created stones of remembrance - simple stones that come in the form of a letter to a son leaving for college or a note of encouragement to a special friend or even a scrapbook remembering the events from the past year. I have been pondering how these words, these letters are beautiful ways to remember someone, or a special event. And I have been thinking about that Matthew Henry quote… "The comfort the saints have in holy ordinances, is not so much from Beth-el, the house of God, as from El-beth-el, the God of the house. The ordinances are empty things, if we do not meet with God in them."


The remembering or the act of remembering is an empty thing - something that does not give life - if  GOD is not in the midst of it.   I have also been pondering how we were created to be living stones - a living remembrance of Jesus. Our life is a story daily unfolding of His great love, of His great provision, of His presence. Our very lives are a letter anyone can read, just by looking at us. Christ himself wrote it, not with ink but with God's living spirit. 2Cor 2:3  

Living as a remembrance of GOD's amazing love and grace,


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Friday, December 25, 2015

Advent Unfolding - Day 27

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  Week 4 – Relation

      Day 27 – Messiah



“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”





What about you? Who do you say He is?

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Advent Unfoldoing - Day 26

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  Week 4 – Relation

      Day 26 – Love

 It was because of love that the Everlasting Father came to Earth to dwell with his creation. 

                                        To live as one with his handiwork. 

He did not come as the anticipated,  the expected King – but as a newborn baby.

Through the very ones he made – he chose to redeem his family line,

Through  a family lineage marked with cheaters and robbers and harlots and murders.

                     He chose to come -  to dwell  - to live with us,

  all because of love.

The Everlasting Father provided a way for restoration – for wholeness – for reconciliation…

With strife all around us  in this broken, hurting, missed up, confused world – 

                          a world  - speaking accusations

                 - seeking justices  –settling  for the last word.

                       a world   - yearning for a word of hope - 

hope comes…  all because of love -

love is always the politically correct reply – love is always the best word – love is always  best…

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Because the word became flesh – on Christmas morning…

                                         ultimate, extravagant love was born -  and love is  always the last word.

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The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Advent Unfolding - Day 25











Week 4 – Relation
 Day 25 – Kingdom



Long  before Jesus was born, when the nation of Israel was gathered on Mt. Sinai, the people accepted this Covenant from God their King.

"Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (Exodus 19:6)

His palace was a  tabernacle in the wilderness, and his presence was with them in the cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When he moved, they moved and when he stopped, they stopped. They followed their  King, as he instructed them through Moses.

But the people grew discontent. 

"We want a king over us," they cried. "Then we will be like all other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles" (1 Samuel 8:19-20).  
God’s people had rejected Him as their king, but be gave them what they desired and appointed a king over them. Saul was the first king but he proved unfit, so he anointed David from the tribe of Judah, born in Bethlehem - all part of his plan to establish  a kingdom - not a human kingdom but the Kingdom of God.

"Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever," and one of your sons will always sit upon it (2 Samuel 7:16).

Jesus was that Son of David who had come to re-establish the reign of God once more and restore this kingdom - a kingdom not of human glory like David's or Solomon's, but one with spiritual glory like the Kingdom in the wilderness, where the King himself dwelt in the midst of his people.The Kingdom of God

So when Jesus came preaching, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near" he was speaking of himself. The kingdom was near – the kingdom was here because he was in their midst.

"The kingdom of God is in the midst of you." (Luke 17:21)

This kingdom is available for every heart that acknowledges his kingship -  for every life that desires to follow him.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Advent Unfolding - Day 24

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Week 4 – Relation
 Day 24 – Family


These past 4 months we have had our whole family together – under one roof. Having Brittaney home from Brazil has been wonderful. We had the opportunity to go on a little family vacation for 3 days. We had so much fun hanging out together - Site seeing, thrift shopping, playing games, exploring, SONY DSCSasquatch hunting, turkey chasing, eating meals together,  finding ways to entertain each withut internet or T.V.  and taking pictures together.  We laughed so much those 3 days and just enjoyed each other.  One of my favorite pictures we took from our trip was this one – because it reminds me how unique, expressive fun and crazy this family of mine is.


Family is so important – it is one of God’s masterpieces. He choose to bring His redemption through family – through the generations He planned the perfect time, the perfect place and the perfect family to bring His son.  It was not a random act, or last ditch attempt. I have often told my children that God put them in this family at just the right moment, in just the right birth order for a very specific purpose - that where they fall in this family is a training ground and preparation for life – not only for them but for each member of this family.  


I was thinking about Jesus and his family. How God chose Jesus to be born to Joseph and Mary, to  come from their family line .   A family line laced with murdereSONY DSCrs, prostitutes,adulterers, liars,cheaters, thieves and hypocrites. But also a family line graced with faithfulness, courage, determination, perseverance, devotion, and sacrificial love. A family line not unlike any of ours. He chose to draw them into His redemption story – He chooses to draw us, our families, into this story - to become a part of His Family. 


How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Ephesians 1:4-6
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