Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Birthday Number Six

Kate's birthday fell on a Sunday this year, a Christmas Pageant and Fellowship Meal Sunday, and a fresh snowfall Sunday.  A busy Sunday all around.  A wonderful Sunday and another reason to celebrate the gift of our children. Each one loved on their own, but all three together loved by one another.  And together they are, everyday, all day. That's a lot of togetherness, so it produces a lot of practice at saying sorry with words and hugs.  And hugs just for birthdays and new dresses and fancy shoes.  Little sisters who don't always need words, but always need hugs. Happy 6th Birthday, Kate Noel, you're our little girl.


These last few days have been frantic for me, trying to materialize the ideas, plans and hopes that are in my mind and on my list.  It is not a comfortable place to be.  The feeling that I have not kept this Advent season the way I anticipated looms over me tonight. I guess I wanted to be more like Simeon who was waiting with a devotedness that was divinely given, not like Martha who although diligent, found herself complaining because of her frantic solo preparations.
I'm a reader, a pen-and-notebook scribbler, who delights in finding just that phrase or thought that feeds my soul and sends me to a different place, even if just for a moment.  The stacks of books next to my bed, the baking supplies stocked in my pantry, the household tasks needing my attention, have brought a little despair, not joy as I face that ever-present reminder that I am finite, I have limits, I cannot do it all, read it all, write it all, bake it all, make it all.
Advent and Christmas do not rest on my shoulders, Isaiah prophesied that burden was for Another.  I do not have to make Christmas special, it already is special.  The Son of God came to dwell with us, to die for us, to live for us.  Our perfect substitute in every area of life.  Jesus said that He came to give abundant life and for those who are His sheep, that's what we already have, there's no need to chase after it, create it, or schedule it in. We already have it now.  James tells us to "humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."  How much fruit produced in my life is indicative of how well I am tending the garden that has been planted in me.

Psalm 1:3  "He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

I'm not one for morbid introspection, my faults are always before me; but a constant re-alignment is needed because sin is so deadly, so invasive, so unwelcoming. I know that I worship the God of the Universe who has called me out of the "dominion of darkness" and brought me "into the kingdom of the Son He loves" as Colossians 1 reads. That is overwhelming. But the right kind of overwhelming, the kind that surges and propels you forward with new energy and joy to continue the race.

"For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people." ~Simeon, Luke 1:30-31

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

To love Him with your mind

"The Lord Jesus is calling you to love Him with your mind. Now you know if the Lord Jesus asked you to love Him by praying or evangelizing or leading a holy life or conduct that is obedient before Him, that makes perfectly good sense to you. You don't always do it, but you know you're wrong when you don't. But it bothers me that Christians don't often see how disobedient they are in the way that think.
They are intellectually lazy, they are intellectually disloyal to the Lord without even knowing it in many cases.
Jesus said we should pay attention to our minds, to love Him and glorify Him in all that we do." ~Greg Bahnsen, transcript from lecture, The Myth of Neutrality found here.

"Now if carnal living is a lifestyle that does not submit to God's Word, then how should we define carnal reasoning?"
"The same way, I suppose?"
"Right. It is not enough to submit to what we do externally to God; we must also submit the way we think. Your friends are trying to defend God's standards for living by abandoning His standards for thinking. It cannot be successful."
"But it is also easy to drink too much, not watch your tongue, lust after women, and so forth. And these are things which the church recognizes as sin, and warns the people against. But carnal reasoning is also easy, and almost no one warns the people."
"Why not?"
"Sheep are hungry because shepherds don't feed them. Shepherds don't feed them because shepherds don't have food. Martin leaned forward in his seat. "The shepherds don't have food because they don't study their Bibles." ~ Douglas Wilson, Easy Chairs, Hard Words: Conversations on the Liberty of God

I listened to Greg Bahnsen's lecture while wrapping gifts last week and I was reminded of the similar ideas presented in Doug Wilson's book so I typed them both up to remember them and share them here.
For a partial list of authors that my husband and I read from, see this post from earlier this year.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

snowfall at dawn

Last week we had our first real snowfall with close to a foot of snow falling overnight, hanging heavily on the branches and bushes.  It looked so beautiful, I headed out in my usual attire of pajamas and boots to capture some of the scenery before the sun came up in full strength.  It was quiet and still. Just perfect.