Sunday, December 30, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
"Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holiday" are the standard greeting at this time of the year. What will make you happy or merry this Christmas?...chocolate?...presents?...everything you wanted under the tree?...warm, fussy feelings as you gather around the table with your family?...food?...eating all your favourite traditional Christmas dishes?...decorations?...getting the best, most beautiful tree?...and on and on.
What about the homeless people?...all the less fortunate people, starving, or living in war-torn countries? What about people that are in the hospital with a life threatening disease and can't get out for Christmas?...or those for whom Christmas brings back painful memories of a family member who is no longer with them? Can people make themselves happy in such circumstances?
Paul says in his letter to the Philippians, "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice." He says here that to rejoice is a command.
Joy at all times?
We must recognize that there is all the difference in the world between rejoicing and feeling happy. Happiness is in ourselves, rejoicing is in the Lord. How important is it then to draw the distinction between rejoicing and feeling happy. In 2 Cor.4 Paul puts it all very clearly and plainly in that series of extraordinary contrasts which he makes. "We are troubled on every side (I don't think he felt very happy at the moment) yet not distressed. We are perplexed (He wasn't feeling happy at ALL at this point!) but not in despair, persecuted but not forsaken, cast down, but not destroyed" and so on. In other words the Apostle does not suggest a kind of happy person in a carnal sense, but he was still rejoicing. That is the difference between the two conditions.
Joel2:21, 22 "Be glad now and rejoice because the Lord has done great things....Rejoice in the Lord your God!"
Micah 7:18 "Where is another God like you, who pardons the sins...of the people?...Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!"
Now that is enough reason to rejoice!
Habakuk 3:16-19 "I trembled inside when I heard all this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror...yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains."
We cannot see all that God is doing, and we cannot see all that he will do. But we can be assured that he is God and will do what is right. Knowing this can give us confidence and hope in a confusing world.
So let's wish each other joy and peace, hope and love during this time of celebration and throughout the NEW YEAR!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The promise in Isaiah 26:3 has often been a comfort to me. "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you!" But so often I feel anxious and don't experience that perfect peace. But I must say that I have had more peace than I would have ever thought possible. Verse 4 says, "Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord is the eternal Rock." Proverbs 20:9 says "Who can say ever say, I have cleansed my heart; I am pure and free from sin?" As soon as we confess our sin and repent, sinful thoughts and actions begin to creep back. We need ongoing cleansing, moment by moment. Thank you, God that you provide forgiveness by your mercy.
Isaiah 43:1-3 "the Lord who created you says:'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name: you are mine. When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames of fire will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Renee got out of the hospital yesterday around 8:00 after 40 days, that's 5 weeks and 5 days. Might not seem very long to those of you that don't know what it's like. The hospital pharmacy was closed already by then, so I was to get all her prescriptions this morning. When I get there, I find out the resident had forgotten to send the prescriptions. Needless to say I did not feel very loving at that moment. So after everything got sorted out, I was told that they would be ready at 4:30. At 4:30 when I came back I found out they had made a mistake and ordered the wrong GCS-F. I wish I had thought about telling them in pharmacy that I could just go to the 9th floor and get the needles and syringes and not have to wait for prefilled ones. I was so tired. I've had some very short nights lately. It took them a whole hour to change the order. So I just sat there and tried to have a little nap.
Renee really enjoyed her sleep at the apartment. She had to spend one night on the 7th floor yet just to make her even happier to get out. On the 7th floor the level of care is quite different than on the 9th, which is pediatrics. They don't know what to do with an IV pump that has been silenced. You are just supposed to leave it beeping, to make sure you won't get too much sleep! Good thing it was just one night!
I'm guessing that everybody will be too busy with Christmas stuff and not have time to read blogs, but in case there is any body out there reading this, please pray that Ray, Alayna and Kara will have a good cruise along with Carlin and Marcia. This was such a wonderful answer to prayer. You can't believe how happy Ray and I were that they could go. They are a retired pastor couple, exactly what Ray needs now, to help him deal, not only with the anxiety of the situation with Renee, as if that isn't enough, but also the situation at his business. Please pray also for Justin who is at home by himself for 10 days. Renee has to go to the day hospital every few days to get an IV med for the fungal infection in her lungs. This is a very expensive drug, but the insurance will cover it, if it is administered in the hospital.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Psalm 18:1, 2, 28, 29 - 33
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer:
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
With your help I can advance against a troop,
with my God I can scale a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect:
the Word of the Lord is flawless.
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him
For who is God besides the Lord?
And who is a Rock besides our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.
my God turns my darkness into light.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
"Your Words are what sustain me. They bring me great joy and are my hearts delight."
"People need more than bread for their life. They must feed on every word of God."
"So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong." Hebrews 12: 12, 13
From the notes in my Bible. "God is not only a disciplining parent, but also a demanding coach who pushes us to our limits and requires our lives to be disciplined. Although we may not feel strong enough to push on to victory, we will be able to accomplish it as we follow Christ and draw on his strength. Then we can use our growing strength to help those around us who are weak and struggling."
"God has entrusted us with this day, have we trusted him with our life? Trusting him covers those times when we are not sure about the outcome. When our attention shifts to our own life we find ourselves unable to see how God is working. But we have the advantage of having God's Word as our guide for today's challenges. We are commanded to trust him." - from the notes on Nebuchadnezzar.
"Trusting God can turn a crisis into a treasure." - Daily Bread December 1/07
"But blessed are those who make the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit."
These verses and thoughts are my prayer and desire for myself, my family and for any body who might be reading this.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Click on the title above for a nice rendition / slide show to go with the music
I come to you for I know you satisfy.
I am empty,
but I know Your love does not run dry.
And so I wait for You,
so I wait for You.
I'm falling on my knees
Offering all of me.
You're all this heart is living for.
I run to You for Your arms are open wide
I am weary,
but I know Your touch restores my life.
And so I wait for You
so I wait for You.