Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Journey to Advent--Day One


Isaiah 43:1-7

There are so many thing which can capture us in fear:
  • financial burdens
  • loneliness
  • health concerns
  • natural disasters

Fear abounds, but need not control. We as a people of faith and hope are commanded to not fear.

The thing about these verses is that the do not tell us to not fear because these things will not happen to us. Not at all. Instead it says, "when it happens" and "as you pass through it" to not fear. Why? Because He who has delivered entire nations will also deliver and protect us in our troubles.

On this first reading of Advent, join me in recognizing where fear has a grip. Surrender those things to the One who can manage them. Let us enter this Christmas season free from fear and filled with joy.

Father take away fear's grip on my life. Replace it with trust in you and fill my December with your joy. Amen.

An Advent Journey

You are invited to join me on an journey through Advent. Every year, one of my highlights of the year is to write a devotion to be included in the church's advent guide. This year, we are no longer at that church and I found myself missing the process. So, I have begun writing my own guide to Advent. Please join me, beginning tomorrow, to reflect on some of the passages that lead us to Christmas. May we journey together to prepare our hearts for His Coming.


photo purchased from istock.com

In Other Words--Choosing His Will


“There are two kinds of people:
those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says,
“All right, then, have it your way”.”

~C.S. Lewis~

We fell in love with the town of Portsmouth the moment we visited. I remember telling German that the first job that was available there, no matter what it was, he was to take it. I was only half-joking.

Then came the moment that a job was offered to German in Portsmouth. It was even a good job. Yet I clearly heard God in my spirit say "You can have what you think you want or you can trust me." As much as I love the South coast, I said to German that I did not think this was the move for us. He was relieved, because that was what he was feeling as well. We turned down the opportunity.

And we waited for the next opportunity. Which fell through.

And we waited for the next opportunity that brought us to where we are now.

I know for certain that where we are now is the place best suited to use our gifts. I do not for a moment believe that we would have been abandoned if we had accepted the other place. We would have been involved in a church, we would have loved God and He would still have loved us. I do believe that the fit would not have been as perfect. God would have said "have it your way" and stayed with us, but we would not have found the immediate peace that we have had here. Why? Because he truly does know the plans he has for us to prosper us.

When you say "Your will be done" you find the peace you desire. Praying that you find it today.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
~Jeremiah 29:11~

Father, thank you for directing our paths. Thank you that you do not abandon us when we choose our own path but wait patiently to draw us back. Help me to always be willing to say "have your way." Amen.

Our hostess this week is Esthermay at The Heart of a Pastor's Wife. Come and join us.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

In Other Words--He Keeps the Light On


"Remember this. When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold. When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness. This is also the case when people withdraw from God.”


I was watching a television program this week about the unsung heroes of the World War--the mothers who sent their boys away many to never see them again. It told of one young man who disappeared over the South Pacific. Of his mother the comment was made that she left a light on every night until her death, always believing that he would some day return. That light represented safety and security and welcome. Even though her son had gone into the darkness of war she was signaling where safety could be found.

When we get caught up in the chaos and darkness of the world, there is one thing for certain, our safety base does not change. The light and the warmth and the protection of the Father's arms remains the same, no matter how far away we roam. The light is still on, the Father is still watching and open arms are still there. We can find refuge, quiet, and light. We just have to go back.

So he got up and went to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
~Luke 15:20

Have you moved out into the darkness and the cold? Are you feeling distant? Return to the Father, he keeps the lights on.

Father thank you for welcoming me back when I wander away. Thank you for the safety of your arms. Forgive our wandering spirits and draw us to you. For Jesus' sake, amen.
Our hostess today is Kathryn at Expectant Hearts. Please visit and be blessed.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget...


Thank you for your sacrifice.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

In Other Words--Just a Few Words


Dull days, grumpy kids who have not been able to get out in the garden, and the continuing healing from emotionally difficult year (or two) was conspiring against me. I wasn't really sure where/how/if I was accomplishing anything.

"I really love your new site design," came by email reminding me that the someone is reading. Although the change was mainly made to reflect my growing contentment, it made someone else smile. And that made me more content.

I spent the day talking to the wall instead of to the child I am supposed to be homeschooling. No one seems to listen when I speak.

"I actually read your site today," comes the words from someone that matters most. "It was good." Someone, somewhere hears.

I hold this dream of writing my book someday. When the children are older and less hands-on needy. When, when, when...

"I know some people who publish. Maybe they can give you some guidance as to where to take this." Someone who doesn't laugh at my dreams, but guides toward real advice.

Just a few words is all that were written or said. But they were manna to this weary soul.

What wonders a bit of encouragement can do! It’s one of the most awesome treasures God has given us – the ability to inspire, motivate, and reassure others.

~Barbara Johnson~

Father God, thank you for the encouragement you have sent through people's words in these weeks. Thank you for reminding me to hold those treasures close. Help me, in turn, to be an encourager to those who need to hear a word from you. Amen.

Deborah at Chocolate and Coffee is our hostess today. I pray you will be encouraged by the words of the participant writers. Please join the conversation!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

In Other Words--Pray for the Harvest

Welcome! I'm so glad you joined us for In Other Words Tuesday! I pray you find something of comfort and blessing here. Please link to your own comments on the verse using the Linky Tool at the end of the post. And please visit the other amazing ladies who are participating.


Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”

Matthew 9:36-38 (The Message)

Autumn is my favourite time of the year. Growing up on the farm, autumn meant harvest and harvest meant long hours with, sometimes, extra workers. I loved harvest time.

Our lives are called to the harvest. But sometimes I miss the significance of that we are both workers in the harvest and recruiters for the work. I was recently reminded of the command to pray for workers in this passage as I was reading David Platt's Radical. We are to be entreating God to send plenty of workers, but that does not exclude us from doing the work ourselves. We are to be doing both.

I can remember my Dad watching the crop and watching the weather and waiting for the best moment to start harvesting.  (Those things don't change. For the last couple of weeks our phone conversations were totally about how close the crop was and we haven't spoken in several days--a good indicator that the crop is ready and that they are reaping it.) Although he farmed a lot of acreage, it was done by himself, my grandfather and a couple of full-time workers. Most years, they could manage it. But there was the very occassional year when the timing of the crop ripening and the predicted weather did not converge with a broad enough window to get the crop harvested in time. It was those years that additional help was needed. It was in those years a traveling crew would be hired to work alongside the regular crew. I truly only remember an extra crew once or twice in my childhood. What I remember was the excitement of all the machines going at once, the lights going late into the night and the air filled with a sense of urgency.

The air filled with a sense of urgency. That is the scent of harvest.

In a farming community that comes not only when the weather is limiting, but also when health or circumstances is limiting. I remember neighbours encountering illness or tragedy just as harvest approached. I can imagine the prayers those God-fearing farmers breathed silently as they coped with what was happening. And I have many memories of seeing my community become the answers to someone's prayers for workers. Farmers leaving their own crops for a day to all join together and bring in a harvest for one who was unable. The harvest was great, and God provided the workers. The scent of urgency combined with the aroma of community.

In our spiritual lives we are to be out there sowing seeds of faith, discipling and watering those seeds and harvesting the results. Oftentimes we are able to harvest the crop we are tending on our own. But there is a vast field and we as individuals are not able to do it all. That is the point of praying for harvesters. It is not to sit and watch someone else do it. It is to ask for enough people to work alongside and bring in the harvest.  In order for us to feel the requirement to both tend to the harvest and to pray for co-workers, we need to get a sense of the urgency. We need to catch the scent of harvest--the urgency that the time is now. Although I first read Ann Voskamp's post Harverst Storm four years ago, I have it in my writing inspiration file and return to it again and again. She captures the urgency of harvest. Go and read it, you will be blessed and challenged. Once we smell the urgency of harvest then we can capture the need for workers. Then we can pray for them to come and as they come be blessed by the aroma of community. May you find your inspiration in the scents of the time of year.

Father God make me a faithful worker in your harvest. Help me not to lose the scent of urgency and may I seek the community of fellow workers in the task. Send me and send others into your fields I pray. Amen.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Marriage Monday--Financial Contentment in Marriage

German and I are a good balance of one another in terms of finances in our marriage. Neither of us are huge indiscriminant spenders--both having encountered getting into financial trouble before our marriage and having worked hard together to get out of it. So, I came to this month's four topics a little perplexed as to what to write. I've settled on speaking of
Our Christmas Spending Plan
which is simply Spend more Time than Money.

We both feel that Christmas gets way too commercialized and we decided early on that we did not want to focus on spending. Instead the girls each get three small gifts to open (a la the magi) and one of those gifts is always clothes. They also get a small gift of pj's to open on Christmas eve and a Father Christmas gift. For extended family and friends we send a family gift of either gift certificates to go out and spend time as a family or a family game they can enjoy together. My niece and nephew each get a gift.

We always say that we don't exchange gifts with each other--but somehow something small always finds its way under the tree. I can usually count on the latest celebrity cookbook, he can count on a new set of cufflinks. Small things we love but do not cost us much.

We always splurge on Pantomine tickets as a family. We have found that time laughing together to be some of our best memories.

The focus of the holiday however is time spent together. Time spent playing games or riding bikes or going for walks. Time spent going to the carol service and Christmas morning services at church. Time in the car looking for Christmas lights. Just time being. We have found that we do not have to break the bank in order to bank a ton of memories. And that keeps us content.

Join us at Chrysalis' home to follow the links to other great advice and stories about Financial Contentment in marriage.