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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
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.


  Stones of Remembrance


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.


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~

As a visual reminder…DSCN5188
we each took one brick…  
              one stone
and wrote our name on it.
     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…


           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.

  • 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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