Sunday, November 28, 2010

Advent: Hope

I think it is so appropriate that the first candle we light for advent celebrates Hope. I was listening to a song yesterday, and I was reminded that from Malachi to Matthew, God is silent. Not just the people aren't listening close to what God is saying to them, but rather He is absolutely SILENT.

Think about that for a second, have you ever set in absolute silence? Is it just me, or can absolute silence be deafening at times? It is almost overwhelming for us. Maybe because we live in a society where it is so rare, or maybe that is just the way God created it. Think about times when something has happened and left you speechless, or left someone with you speechless. You are just hoping that they will say something, anything, but instead they sit in silence and the whole mood of the conversation is altered.

Now put that into perspective of what is happening in scripture from Malachi to Matthew. 400 years make up this space between these to books. 400 years of absolute SILENCE. 400 years! A few minutes of silence is enough to make me uncomfortable, but 400 years! Think about that. Entire generations lived and died not hearing God speak.

Finally after all those years, God speaks to His people again, but this time, through angels and the cry of an infant. And in that cry as that precious baby was born, the sound of hope was heard once again.

As we look forward to the Christmas season, I pray that we take the time to truly look at all this season means. I pray that we look beyond the gifts, and traditions. I pray that we see that HOPE entered the world at Christmas through the person of Jesus Christ.

Lessons from Tangled

Last night, Zeke and I went to the movies with some friends. We saw the movie Tangled (in 3D, cause you really wanted to know that). I was really excited because I was wanting to go see this movie, but knew it was one I would probably just have to wait for on DVD. So, we got invited to go with some friends and really enjoyed it! It was such a cute movie, but beyond being a cute movie, I saw an amazing Biblical illustration in part of this movie.

So here is the spoiler alert because to tell you about this illustration, I am going to have to tell you some info about the movie and give some things away! Sorry!

For those that don't know, the movie is about the story of Rapunzel. As the story goes when Rapunzel was a baby she was kidnapped from the castle because of the power her hair had to heal. She was raised by an evil lady who kept her trapped in a tower her whole life. However, every year on her birthday, Rapunzel would look out the window of the tower and see these beautiful lights in the sky. This was done as a memorial to the princess that was kidnapped. So one scene in the movie shows them on this day letting these lanterns go and they float up into the sky and off into the distance.

What was amazing to me about this scene was that it starts out with the one lantern the king and queen light, the rest of the kingdom is dark. But slowly, the people in the kingdom begin to light their lanterns and let them go, and suddenly the kingdom is glowing with light. The thought hit me as I was watching this..."This is how it is supposed to be with us!" As believers, we light our lantern and let it shine so that those around us can see Christ in us. As others come to know Christ, they light their lanterns, and so on. Then all of the sudden, this kingdom that was once dark, is now glowing with the light of Christ! And that glowing light from the lanterns intrigued and attracted those outside the kingdom, just like the love of Christ in us intrigues and attracts those who don't know Him.

So, as we go throughout our lives meeting people who are searching for something more, may we remember that we need to live in a way that reveals to them the light of Christ in our lives.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful Post #8

Ok, so I have not been very good at all about keeping up with these "Thankful Posts." Sorry about that. But I have been thinking each day about something to post! So many days I would find myself with multiple things to post that I am thankful much so that I could not have shared them all.

I was reminded this week that thankfulness is a characteristic of a true follower of Christ. Believers know that they have been given so much, and the result of that is an overflowing thankfulness. i love the wording of that...overflowing. the thought behind overflowing is that an object is filled to the point that it can no longer contain what it is being filled with. For example, if I poured myself a glass of tea, but even when the tea reached the top of the glass, I still kept pouring. the tea is going to start spilling over the sides of the glass.

As believers, all that God gave us in salvation is enough for this to be true of our lives. We should be overflowing with thankfulness, not just one day a year, but everyday!

So I know that tomorrow we will all be focused on thankfulness, but I hope that it continues in our hearts throughout the year as we think back on all that God has done for us!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thankful Post #7

Today, I am thankful for believers who have gone before me and left a legacy worthy of following. I was writing a not to one of the senior adult ladies in our church today, and as I thought through all that Zeke and I have learned from her and her husband in the short time we have been here, thankfulness for this family filled my heart.

It makes me think of something I read or heard a while ago. The thought is that as we walk through life, following after Christ, we make our steps deep enough that those who come behind us are able to walk in them. As I set that goal for my own life, I am thankful for those who have done that before me. Through their actions, they show me that following after Jesus is worth whatever the cost.

Thank you Lord for those who are wiser in the faith and leave a legacy obedience as an example to those of us who come behind them. help this to be true of my life for those who come behind me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thankful Post #6

Today, I am thankful for home. God has absolutely blessed Zeke and I with being able to have the home that we have. He opened the doors and has provided for us every step of the way with this home. There are definitely days that it can be overwhelming to have a house and not an apartment, like the days I am behind on cleaning and people are coming over, but the other day the thought hit me that I should be thankful that I have a home to clean because some people don't have that. So I guess the whole goal for doing this 24 Days of thankfulness is starting to pay off. :) So on those days that I get frustrated with all that it takes to keep our home functioning, I hope that I will remember this. That I will start to think through the fact that God has blessed me when he gave me this house, that ultimately it is His house anyway, and He has entrusted it to me to use for His glory!

Thankful Post #5

Wow, it is pretty hard to blog everyday! But I am getting a little better!

Sunday, what I was thankful for was the ability to worship as a church family, without fear. Many times we forget how big of a deal that is! I have never experienced anything different than being able to do this, and I am thankful for that, but I never want to forget that it is a privilege and I should continually be thankful for that!

Monday, yesterday, was a long day! I was called in to sub for a 5th grade, and it was good, just long. After subbing, I went to the after school program that I have been working at for the last few months, and then came home. I was so tired! It was all I could do to stay awake until 9 - and honestly I think I fell asleep a time or two before then! As I sit here on the other side of that, I am so thankful for rest. God gives us rest, but too many times we don't use it like we should. He set the practice of rest for us during creation. He didn't need to rest, the Bible tells us the He never grows weary or faint. He set the practice for us. I am thankful that He gave us rest. Thankful that He understands what we need, and provides it. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Thankful Post #4

So I got a little behind on this over the weekend, and this will be a few posts in one! :)

Thursday, was my fourth day working at Magnolia's here in Carthage, and it was the day that the Vera Bradley order with all the new Winter Colors came in! For those of you that know about and share my love of Vera Bradley products, you can understand how much fun it was getting to look at all the new prints and styles. As I was doing this, I thought about how awesome it is that our God is creative and colorful. That He didn't just make everything black and white and boring. All of these patterns that I enjoyed that day, reflect His creativity throughout nature, and they are a reminder that we serve a God who isn't stale and boring, but creative and exciting!

Friday, my parents came up and got to experience Smith County Football, and a 5th Quarter with us. Our friend Melvin also came up that afternoon, and spoke at 5th Quarter. On this day I was reminded of how thankful I am for friends who love Jesus and want others to know the love of Jesus. When I get overwhelmed with things, as I had let myself that day, I need to be reminded that He is the most important thing in my life, and He calls me to tell others about Him. It is an encouragement for believers to be around other believers. They are like-minded and know the purpose God has called them to. Friday God placed this on my heart and I realized how thankful I am for these believers that He has put in my life and used to encourage me and challenge me in my walk with Christ.

Saturday was my mom's birthday! Zeke went on His first hunt with Bro. Tim, and he came back all in one piece, but also without seeing any deer. My dad and I worked on some things around the house - I guess I did more watching than helping, but oh well. He took the pressure reducer off of our water pipes so now I can wash dishes and clothes at the same time - I can't even explain the big deal that is! :) Then we switched the the doorknob on the front door with the one on the side door so we no longer have to fight the door knob to get out the front door! :) That night we went to Outback for my mom's birthday dinner. We definitely enjoy it when they can come up here and spend some time with us. We are thankful that they take time out of their schedule to be involved in what God is doing in our lives.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Post #3

So this is actually yesterday's post, I just wasn't able to get it up yesterday.

Today I have been thankful for music. That may sound a little strange, but God has used music in my life at times where words just don't fit. There are some truths from His word that cut to our very core when they are put to music.

We were working on some Christmas songs in choir last night and we are doing "O Bless the Lord." This song is absolutely so powerful! I love it! There is so much truth packed into this song! There is a line at the beginning of the song that says "Oh darkest night, Your reign is done, now melt before the rising son" then it goes into the chorus that starts with "Hallelujah, Praise on Praise." So amazing!

As we were practicing this last night it just reminded me of how blessed we are and how worthy our God is to deserve all our praise! I am thankful for music given to us by a God worthy of all our praise! Sometimes I just have to stop and listen as others praise God around me and I think how sweet and treasured that sound must be as we truly realize that He isn't part of our life, He is our life and we take time to thank Him and express out love and gratitude to Him.

Praise God!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thankful Post #2

Today has been a very productive day! :) I started working at Magnolia's here in Carthage last Friday. I worked today and we got a lot done! :) We got to start setting up the Christmas room - I guess that is what you would call it. :) But it was really fun for me because I am a huge Christmas fan! I am the one who is ready to start playing Christmas music as soon as school starts back! I just enjoy it.

So, as I sat down to think about what I was going to write about for my 24 Days of Thankfulness, I realized I can't decide what I want to write about! There are too many things to choose from! :)

Today I am so thankful for my husband. He has been gone to East Tennessee all day, and even though I have been busy today, I hate days when he is out of town! God has used Zeke to challenge and encourage me in/through so many circumstances. He is always able to see things from the side I can't/don't/won't see them from and he challenges me to look at it from his angle. More than anything, I am thankful that He loves God and daily seeks to know Him more. I am thankful that he continues to seek after God to lead and direct us in everything. I am absolutely blessed to have such an amazing husband!

Monday, November 1, 2010

24 Days of Thankfulness

So, I was thinking about the fact that today is the first day of November and before we realize it, Thanksgiving will be here! As I thought about that I thought it might be neat to take the 24 days leading up to Thanksgiving to blog about some people/things I am thankful for. Also, the more I think about it, they say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so hopefully this time will help me form a habit of realizing I have something to be thankful for each day!

So, to start this little journey off, I am absolutely so thankful for my relationship with Jesus. It still amazes me that He loves me! The Creator of the Universe, who holds the world in His hands, as big as He is still desires a relationship with me. I am thankful that He loves me enough to not let me stay where I am, but continually challenges me to mature. I am thankful that when I call to Him, He hears me, and He answers! I am thankful that as I surrender to Him and follow in obedience after Him, I can rest in the fact that there is a purpose and a plan for all that happens in my life! I am thankful that He can be trusted in all things, that He is faithful, that he is my provider, that He never grows weary or faints. As believers, we are a blessed people!

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." 1 Peter 2:9