2nd Week of Advent: the Really Good News -- GOD with US!

2nd Week of Advent:  the Really Good News -- GOD with US!

"The Good News isn't just that Jesus died for our sins.  The Good News is EMMANUEL...GOD WITH US!"  So declared Deb at the end of our Bible Study.

As John and I drove home that evening, we reflected on her statement.  We recalled a conversation we had had years before when we were discussing what the heart of the gospel ("Good News") is.   The Good News isn't just that our sins are forgiven so we can go to heaven someday (and now we just do the best we can in the meantime).

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It's all Poop! At Christmas? At Anytime!

It's all Poop! At Christmas? At Anytime!

Our young grandSONS have gravitated toward potty humor at times. Not exactly the most pleasant addition to conversations and often difficult to curtail. But what can I say? This too shall pass, right? Well not yet ... 

Our darling grandson Carter has taken it to a whole new level.

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Advent Devotions: Hail, the Incarnate Deity!

Advent Devotions:  Hail, the Incarnate Deity!

We would give up everything we've ever written to have penned this one verse, a stanza that comes as close as is humanly possible to capturing the splendor of who Jesus is. 
Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, p. 173-174

What is that one verse? that one stanza?  Authors Sweet & Viola are referring to the last stanza of the well-known carol, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.

In my opinion, however, it isn't just the last stanza that is all glorious with the splendor of Christ...it's the entire song. In fact, even the stanzas that were removed* from the older version are splendid indeed.  But I'm getting ahead of the story.

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Advent Devotions: The Mega-JOY of Emmanuel

Advent Devotions:  The Mega-JOY of Emmanuel

Joy is the flag that flies over the soul when the King is in residence!Chuck Swindoll

Several years ago, I was leading a small group of ladies through Paul's letter to the Galatians.  In chapter 5, we came to a familiar passage:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,and self control. Galatians 5:22-23

Julie was in that small group that year, and Julie was from Great Britain.  I asked her about Chuck's metaphor.  She assured me that it was true.  When royalty is in residence at the palace, the flag flies. It's the signal to the "subjects" that their monarch is present.

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First Week of Advent: O Come, O Come, Immanuel

First Week of Advent: O Come, O Come, Immanuel

When I was a child, I always loved Advent.  There was a melancholia, a longing...but mixed at the same time with anticipation and hope. How did I get all that as a child?  I'm sure I didn't, except to say that maybe all the sights and sounds and smells...all the scriptures and songs and prayers and stories of the "liturgical celebration" weren't entirely lost on me, nor on many of you.  The reality of our God-Man Jesus has grown in me over the years as I've walked and talked with my Savior.

But whether you have had that sort of background as a child or not, why not journey with us these next weeks.  Take it all in as if for the first time...all the sights, sounds, and smells...all the scriptures and songs and prayers and stories.

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Getting Ready for Advent ... I Need it!

Getting Ready for Advent ... I Need it!

Hi friends, 

Are you going into this holiday craziness season already shot? worn out? blank?

Really? Me too!

Some of you have walked through "the valley of the shadow..." of something. Big stuff or small. But even the small, piles up to make a big burden.

Would you like to pause with me these next weeks and reflect? Reflect on the God who became one of us ... not just to save, sanctify, and bring us into His glory (as crucial as that is), but also to experience humanness with His beloved creatures.

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Sandpaper & Polish: Reflecting on a 46 year Marriage

Sandpaper & Polish: Reflecting on a 46 year Marriage

I wasn't going to even write an anniversary blog this year ... I'm tired, blank, with nothing new to say. I merely posted our picture on facebook, thanking God for the godly man He gave me, calling it an "anniversary." Then it came -- a realization as I was praying this morning, this day that commemorates that life-changing commitment 46 years ago. 

 

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"Well done, You're My Girl" ... the Speaking Voice

"Well done, You're My Girl" ... the Speaking Voice

“…God is not silent, has never been silent.  It is the nature of God to speak.  The second Person of the Holy Trinity is called “the Word.”  The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s continuous speech.  It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into our familiar human words.” (Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p 82)

God is a Speaking God...not just in the past, but right now, right here. Yes, in His Scriptures, but also and very personally to you and me by His Spirit in our spirit. 

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Only one prayer? Give thanks!

Only one prayer? Give thanks!

Early one fall, I had a few moments in between errands, so I decided to follow the "garage sale" signs into a neighborhood off the main road I was traveling on. It was at the end of the day...and the house I stopped at looked a bit bare and disheveled.  But I got out of my car anyway.  And by the time I got back in my car, I was so glad I had stopped.

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Treasured Truth in an Ancient Hymn

Treasured Truth in an Ancient Hymn

Oh the glory of little known ancient hymns! What an amazing plunge into the depths of Biblical truth, sound theology, and deep personal experience! 

This is just one reason I have loved joining periodically with brothers and sisters at Believers' Assembly in their Sunday Lord's Supper meeting. Occasionally, we would sing a hymn, totally unknown to me, from a little used song book.

And such a hymn is exactly what I found today in my list of blog drafts, written after one of those meetings, but abandoned for at least a year or so. What a treasure! Why did I neglect to finish it?  Maybe for this very moment in time?

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Every Place and No Place at All

Every Place and No Place at All

... the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.

Last week I injured my leg ... injured it to the extent that I have to stay off of it for two weeks. Two weeks! This has cramped my style! I had to cancel a looked-forward-to trip, stop my walking-for-exercise routine, depend on my serving husband and others, and on and on. And it keeps me from my new "prayer chair." ... But you know what? I'm not that sad about not being able to commune with my Heavenly Father in that new chair. Why?

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My Prayer Chair

My Prayer Chair

I have a new chair. I call it my prayer chair.

For years I had a comfortable chair in a little corner where I prayed and meditated and read the Word...deep down in the inner sanctum of the house where nobody goes. But I never thought of it as my prayer chair. It was a family heirloom chair, kinda placed there because it was the best spot for it. And of course, I did enjoy it.

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The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

The Dance of FAITH: Moving with His Life-giving Flow

A few years ago, my husband and I were at some friends’ house.  This couple liked to gather miscellaneous people who knew them but not each other. True to form, they asked a great icebreaker question.  The particular question that evening was, 

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would that be? Your secret ambition?

 

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The Rest of Faith: the Real Thing!

The Rest of Faith: the Real Thing!

Faith is a popular commodity these days.

There are "faith-based initiatives." We can name & claim something if we have enough faith. There is the faith that intellectually assents to what is assumed is truth. "The faith" can be a body of doctrines that a person holds to. Faith can be the means by which we can earn something with God. And on and on. 

But what is a true, living faith, according to God's definition?

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The Rest of FAITH: Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

The Rest of FAITH:  Living the “Yet Not I, but CHRIST” Life

About twelve years ago, our son-in-law was stationed in Tucson, Arizona [home of our Alma Mater, the U of A, "Go Wildcats!"  But I digress...].  When the school year for my ESOL class had ended in June, I flew to Tucson for an extended visit.

Beth and Nate were both working during the daytime, so I had some lovely, restful, sun-filled (and "Son-filled") time alone by the pool.  At that time, I was reading some of Brennan Manning's books.

One day I was reading The Signature of Jesus: The Call to a Life Marked by Holy Passion & Relentless Faith as I soaked up the Arizona sun by the pool.  I was somewhat annoyed to see that a man lying on a lounge nearby was straining to see what I was reading.  

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Morning Prayer & Meditation: I AM...ability beyond your ability!

Morning Prayer & Meditation: I AM...ability beyond your ability!

Lord,

You are my King. I am your beloved servant. I live to serve Your purpose in my generation for your honor and pleasure (Acts 13:36). Live through me. Love through me.  Serve through me...Today!

With love beyond my love. With skill beyond my skill. With forgiveness beyond my forgiveness. With endurance beyond my endurance...

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Yesterday, Today, or Tomorrow. Which is it?

Yesterday, Today, or Tomorrow. Which is it?

All we have is today. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow may not be ours. It’s today or it’s nothing.

And God is in our today. He is I Am. He was I Am when yesterday was today. He will be I Amwhen tomorrow becomes today. He was there when those hard and/or beautiful things happened in the past. He will be there for whatever lies ahead. Actually, He is already there, because He is I Am. And He is in the Eternal Present Tense.

Recently, someone assured me when I was agonizing about my daughter moving with her husband and 4 little ones because of a military transfer, that God is already there.

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Longing & Learning to Hear God

Longing & Learning to Hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

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