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Monthly Archives: December 2008

Merry Christmas!

christmas-tree-inside-the-house

It’s December 24th and weeks and weeks have been spent preparing for the big day…Christmas! We plan and we make lists and we decorate and we send cards and we bake and have parties and in all of that planning and spending we can easily lose the meaning of Christmas. We can easily get swept up in all of the fesitivities and celebrations and forget what it is all about. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. The day that the Savior was born. Immanuel, God With Us…the Son of God came down from Heaven’s Glory…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. 

As we celebrate with family and friends and give and receive gifts, let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas…the greatest Gift of All…Christ the Lord. Let us take the time to remember Him and re-read the story of His miraculous birth over 2000 years ago! 

The Birth of Jesus  Luke 2:1-40
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Jesus Presented in the Temple
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

I pray that as we celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ we accept and appreciate the greatest Gift ever given!

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Posted by on December 25, 2008 in Devotions, Inspiration, Uncategorized

 

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Have Faith:”For Nothing Is Impossible With God”

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The Christmas story is known by people throughout the world. To some it is merely folklore, fairytale and nothing more. It is estimated that 75% of adults in Canada and the U.S. are Christians so I would guess that to at least that population, the Christmas story is not a fairy tale at all, but a fundamental part of their religious beliefs.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. ”    — Isaiah 9:6

These words are speaking of the Messiah. I think of Mary, a young Jewish girl, who surely knew of the prophecy of the One who would come and fulfil scripture. Biblical scholars have estimated that based on the customs of the time, Mary may have been only 12 or 13 years old!  I cannot imagine what it would be like for her, an angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her she would conceive the Son of God…but we don’t have to imagine her reaction, it is in the scriptures. After hearing the words from the angel, says: “I am the Lord’s servant, May it be to me as you have said.” What a humble response to this life-changing news! The news that she was to give birth to the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace!!

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the powere of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. –Luke 1:26-38

I wonder how Mary felt? She was engaged to be married, she was pure, how would she explain this? What would become of her? Many of these thoughts may have rushed through her mind when she learned that she was part of God’s plan, and yet she humbly replied, “I am the Lord’s servant, May it be to me as you have said.” She accepted it, she didn’t have all of the answers as to how this would come to pass, she simply trusted that if God was going to use her to accomplish His will, she was ready to be His servant. What a lesson that is! We don’t have to have all of the answers, we have to have faith!

These thoughts about Mary make me think of the song… Mary Did You Know? The words of this song are descriptive of the enormity of what it meant to give birth to the Son of God.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?

This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?

And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again.

The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the Lamb.

Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?

This sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2008 in Devotions, Inspiration, Uncategorized

 

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Silver Anniversary

gifts1This week my husband and I will celebrate our 25th Anniversary. On November 29th we had a “party” with family to mark the occasion. In so many ways it does not feel like 25 years since the day that we both said “I do,” but according to our calendars it is really 25 years.

In all of these years we have had three children who are now 24, 19, and 15. We have experienced the loss of family members together and welcomed new ones as well. By the time we were married almost 7 years, he had lost both of his parents. We both no longer have any living grandparents. My mom passed away 10 years ago and unfortunately, we don’t really have much of a relationship with my dad. There have definately been struggles over the years, not only with relationships and losses but financial strains and a complete career change as well. We have experienced many joys together as well, welcoming new family members through marriage and the births of neices and nephews. My guess is that based on the above description, it probably sounds like a lot of families and a lot of marriages. 

On that day 25 years ago, did we know that we would still be standing side by side facing happiness and hardships together? No. All we knew was that we loved each other and that we were willing to face each day together, whatever it may bring. It is one day at a time, one challenge at a time as well; knowing that whatever a day may bring, we can count on each other and on the Lord to see us through. If we didn’t have a relationship with God and the support of our families, we may not still be standing here side by side. 

I know I am kind of taking the following verses out of context but I believe these verses are helpful in all aspects of life and especially marriage.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” — Colossians 3:12-17

If we have compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, love and a shared love of God, we stand a chance at success…on our own and according to our human nature, we would probably fail but I thank the Lord that He has been with us on this journey, guiding us to what is best for us even when we cannot see it, and I thank the Lord that I know that He will be with us as we face the future together as well. 

On Saturday we had a wonderful day celebrating with our loved ones, some of those who were present at our wedding 25 years ago. We watched a video/slideshow of images of loved ones throughout the years, many who have since passed away, so there were fond memories, a few tears, laughter and a lot of happiness. It was great to have the chance to share those memories with both of our families.

I cannot even imagine what lies ahead of us but with the support of our family and the Lord’s help, we can face anything together. 

The Art Of A Good Marriage

Wilferd Arlan Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end
with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.         

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

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