It’s Christmas! Time for the Impossible

cpic

So it’s Christmas again! Merry Christmas everyone! As I sat here Christmas Eve morning, I opened my favorite book, Absolute Surrender, by Andrew Murray, to randomly read a chapter this morning. The chapter I fell upon was “Impossible with man, possible with God.” That is the message of the virgin birth, the baby who is God, the focus of Christmas (at least in our home, and maybe in yours too). Jesus is the reason for the season, and the message is twofold: 1) For God so loved the world that He gave… and the second, just like the angel told Mary when bringing her the good news 2) For with God, nothing is impossible.

I am praying for family members and friends to give their lives to Jesus this Christmas. Because nothing is impossible with God. We are having close to 40 people coming over to show them love on Christmas Day – because nothing is impossible with God. My friend is praying for God to heal my shoulder, because nothing is impossible with God. I am praying for God to restore a friend’s marriage, for another friend’s paperwork, for another friend’s father who needs a kidney: and I bring all these requests to my Heavenly Father. Because nothing is impossible with God! He proved this over 2000 years ago when a virgin gave birth to Immanuel, God with us, Jesus, Savior of the world!

“Look at the birth of Jesus. That was a miracle of divine power, and it was said to Mary: ‘With God nothing shall be impossible.’ It was the omnipotence of God. Look at Christ’s resurrection. We are taught that it was according to the exceeding greatness of His mighty power that God raised Him from the dead….I want to call upon you now to come and worship an Almighty God. Have you learned to do it? Have you learned to deal so closely with an Almighty God that you know omnipotence is working in you?” (Andrew Murray, Absolute Surrender)

I challenge you today and tomorrow to dwell on God’s amazing, incredible, all powerful ability to do anything and everything, far above what we can think or imagine. When you think about this, can you say you have submitted to Him, recognized the impossibility with you to make sense of life, and depend on the only One who can make all things possible? He is waiting for you to surrender your soul, your life, your will, your heart to Him, so that He can do an impossible work in you as well. He loves you, and He is ready to show you the amazing difference that can make in your life. Start at the manger. Go to the cross. And walk with God.

 

Surrender

Well, hi! It’s been a while! I’ve been busy with family, travel, and trying to get back into the swing of ‘normal’ life.

So to get back to blogging, I think I’ll start with this, a seemingly random post, but a story I’m walking lately, and have been for a while. Then I’ll bring you all up to speed on my travels and happenings, music news upcoming and what-not, as I get back to writing, with the intermittent good read for reflecting ūüôā

41jWZmE8kmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The book I’m reading right now, Surrender¬†by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, says where my thoughts are and where I want to be the best. So the rest of the words of this are hers, not mine:

Continue reading

The Christmas Tree and Memories

The Christmas Tree.DSC01646

I really don’t know why it’s such a special part of our Christmas celebrating. Maybe because it’s the largest visible item to mark the season? I’m not sure if that’s the reason, but I can say a part of the significance of it comes from all the good memories that surround the Christmas Tree. They come back to me as I sit and look at the lovely decorations collected over the years, my now-5 year old popcorn string (yes, it does keep! I don’t have to string it every year, and my son even stopped snacking on it at least 3 years ago, haha!) So here is my walk down memory lane, if you care to snoop, after we decorated the tree last night:

December 4, around midnight….I’m sitting here watching my sleeping children whom I allowed to drift off as they looked at our job well done on the Christmas tree this year. I’ll carry them to bed later. But now, I’m thinking about our Christmases past, at least the memories that the Tree reminds me of. I laugh about the one year we went and cut trees together with my husband’s family – my mom in law ended up picking the most¬†sparce Charlie Brown Tree you’d ever seen. It was funny. But looked comically great once¬†sprinkled with tinsel and covered in her various decorations. I also remember before that the year my husband was in Afghanistan for Christmas: the kids and I went with his family to cut a tree – with our boxer, Betsy, too. I fell asleep on the way home on my brother-in-law’s shoulder – a bit¬†embarrassed about that when we got home and I’d left a little drool on his shirt.

I remember another year that my husband was home and we’d (well, I had, I guess) picked a ridiculously huge tree – it took up 1/4 of our living room. And my husband even had to cut the branches down in the back so it would sit near the wall enough. And when it came time to take that one down, he opted to saw it up¬†inside the house to make removal easier. Then I also remember the tiny tree we put up in Florida at the vacation home that special Christmas with my mom and dad – and on Christmas day, we all went over to the assisted living for my last year to celebrate the season with my grandparents. Mom and I made lasagna to bake there at the home for a special dinner with them. Grandma talked about that day even up until she passed away in July this past year. She’d still say the same thing whenever it came to her mind: “you remember, Melissa, when you and your mom cooked that wonderful lasagna dinner for Christmas for us in Florida? Those people would pass through the hallway there and smell that good food and just get so jealous of us.” And then she’d smile and laugh. It’s still not come to my heart the full realization that I won’t see them again on this earth. But these memories certainly help.

I remember another year, I think it was last year or the year before, when we had just finished decorating the tree, and it made me think about Jesus’¬†proclamation that He is the light of the world. The¬†beauty of the tree all glowing and inviting reminded me that Jesus called people to come to His light. So when the decorating was over, we sat together and read that account from the Bible.

I hope this Christmas tradition will continue to draw my children and myself closer together, and closer to the Lord. As I watch them sleeping (I feel I could watch them all night) I also feel the weight and responsibility to raise children who understand the meaning of Christmas and the love of Jesus. And my prayer is that God can use many of these¬†tangible traditions they love to bring life to God’s truths.

So – if you took the time to read this and it reminded you of great Christmas Tree memories, share them with me please!

A Little Reflection

So I’ve been needing to start on my vacation tidbits, but honestly, I was allowing the political tone of the world to get me down. So this morning with my coffee, I read this post by my fellow blogger, Don, and was listening to this song I wrote at the same time. Here are both for you. I pray that if you’re down, it reminds you to look up.

The Life Project

IL714 008-LR

It’s Sunday again; what better day for a little reflection?

Has God been filling your life with blessings?  Has he given you peace in a tough situation?

Well, you see what I mean by reflection…

We spend so much time and energy running ourselves ragged these days, and so much of our lives just rushes by in a sort of blur; we need a moment, so it’s time to seize the moment.  Let’s give thanks to God for all He is doing in our lives, let’s thank Him for all of the ways He’s blessed us.  Let’s recall the great things He has done, like sending His Son to die for our sins.  Let’s take a minute to give Him the praise that is His due for all He is doing in His Body, the Church.  Let’s praise Him for all of those who have come to know Him recently…

View original post 106 more words

Mark Chapter 3 Complete!

Wow, it’s taken me quite a bit longer than I thought it would to share my Personal study through Mark. But I have finally worked through chapter 3. So if you didn’t notice at the top of my home page, there is a link: My Personal Study Thru the Book of Mark. If you go to the home page, you can easily see the sub-pages that will take you to Mark 3 (here’s a photo of what you’ll see):

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 8.40.29 AMThere are six of my personal studies through this chapter. I would love to have your feedback, thoughts, and questions. I hope most of all that this encourages you to study God’s Word for yourself.

Part 2 of….

A Boy and a Shoebox.

Sunday morning, I got up with a cup of coffee to wrap the shoeboxes in paper. The boy and girl were still sleeping. My mom and I visited about the events yesterday. It brought so much more meaning packing those boxes with the two children. They had such a viewpoint on this act of giving – almost sacred, in a way. It wasn’t just a flippant donation to them, and it made the rest of us catch the excitement this year that might have faded for us as we got older.

We headed to church with Opa while Nonna and Great-grandma stayed home. The kids rode with their precious packages in their laps. We wanted to have time to drop off the boxes before church, but it wasn’t working out that way, much to the boy’s disappointment. But a short explanation helped him to see that we would do the giving right after church. I’m glad we did, because instead of rushing through the process, we took the proper time to digest this act in its entirety.¬†IMG_0160

It started with a fun pre-printed letter provided by Calvary Albuquerque. This church is one of the largest drop off points in Albuquerque. We took the letters over to the coffee shop, bought some hot cocoa and coffee, and the boy and girl set to work filling in the information – their favorite color, name, age, how many siblings they had, and their address in case the recipient of the box decided to write them. They were so focused on the shoebox letter that the hot cocoas remained untouched until they had completed the letters. This mission of giving had truly become the central thing in both of their eyes, and they were ready to see it through with all their little hearts. The girl had some beautiful things to say in her letter. Where the fill-in-the-blank spot said ‘I love Jesus because’ she wrote: ‘Because he paid for all my sins, and He loves me so much. He loves each one of us. And Jesus loves you too, and can save you if you just ask.’

IMG_0161

We said some goodbyes to friends at the church on our way en-route to the drop off table. The boy with the shoebox was full of smiles, holding his priceless cargo packed with love. He told a couple people about what we had just accomplished and what was going to happen. And at one point in time, I don’t remember exactly when, he said to me, “Mamma! it feels so cool to give this box to somebody, even if I don’t know them! ‘Cause God knows them!”

IMG_0165

 

And then, the big moment came: time to hand over the heart-felt presents to be taken to their destination. We walked into a calm foyer since the next church service had started and the people coming in and out would wait another 45 minutes. The boy and the girl with the shoeboxes walked up confidently and set their boxes on the table. A few more to-do’s had to be done: the donation money to help with the postage for each box,

IMG_0166

And almost last, a prayer for the children who would receive these shoeboxes.      IMG_0172

Both the boy and the girl had sweet, sincere requests to God in their prayer: both prayers were centered not on hoping the kids would write them back, or any other selfish motives. They only asked that each of those children would come to have a relationship with Jesus. It was such a powerful ending to all of this, it touched my heart and brought tears to¬†my eyes. We’d come to the end of a very special event. And it was time to bring it to a close.¬†IMG_0173

And that is the end of the story. Almost….

¬† ¬† ¬† As we walked to the car, I said to my dad, “You know, dad, we’ve done this so many times, but this time was different. That boy and girl with those two shoeboxes didn’t just take part in an act of giving. They made this mean so much more. They really took it to another level in the way they were so intent and eternity-minded with every step. It makes me stop and think: how many times do we just go through the ritualistic motions of doing a good thing? What would it look like in our lives if we took every act of giving, every token of Jesus’ love, so whole-heartedly as they just did?”

I’d like to try to remember that. And when I share a song, a meal, a donation, whatever it may be, I want to do it with all my passion and strength and heart. Because it makes a difference. Oh, God can still use all the half-hearted giving that takes place with me at times. But it’s so much more rewarding to be like the boy and girl with the shoeboxes.

2100 Day Shoes

It’s not a brand name. It’s the approximate number of days I wore my favorite pair of shoes from the last 6 years. And now, they are about to retire. Of course, after 6 years of almost daily wear, the time is past due to stop sliding my feet into my favorite sneakers. But this retirement is a lot harder than I thought it would be! One of the reasons it’s been so hard to let go of these shoes is that the company went out of business (I have a theory – they made their shoes too well and so didn’t sell them often enough. And a friend of mine concurs, as she had a pair of Simple shoes too). But the reasons they need to go are not helping me replace my most loved and useful daily footwear.

I’m so glad this wearing out and going away doesn’t apply to people. But wait….

Even though we don’t ‘throw out’ people we love (or we shouldn’t, at least), every person also has an expiration date. Each individual will see their body wear out, and get ready to ‘retire’ – the difference is our sole…I mean, soul, :)… does not. And even though this body design will now be ‘out of business’ the Bible says we have a heavenly body waiting for us, a much better design and make than the one here. It’s designer is not a shoe company, it’s the Creator.¬†

But there are two choices where you will ‘purchase’ this new fit. If you try to buy it yourself, you won’t end up in a good place. Actually, Jesus says it’s eternal torment. But if you let the Savior buy it for you, then the guarantee is better than lifetime, it’s forever. Not 2100 days. But on and on.

Remembering all this helps me not stress too much about my next pair of shoes. I’ll find another set, and I’ll be okay with the fact they probably won’t last as long. But this ‘shoe’ my soul is walking in currently won’t last forever either. I’ve got a much better deal waiting for me – I just need a temporary fit for now. The best one is coming soon.

Finishing Victor Hugo’s masterpiece

I’ve just finished Le Miserable. It’s not just a book I finished. It was a journey, with Jean Valjean. With Cosette. With Marius. I’m not embarrassed to admit that the last few pages tears were streaming down my face. Why, you might ask? It’s just a story, and not even a true one.

I’ll tell you why. Because in the end, these two young people are faced with a grave neglect they had both made. For Cosette, the neglect was simple and less profound. She had forgotten the one who saved her. Oh, she still loved him (Jean Valjean). But she no longer spent time with him. He still represented in some distant memory the father who had protected and cared for her, had taken her out of a desperate situation and given her a new life. But her devotion to him had faded into the distant memory as well. I cried for Cosette because even though she rushed to his side in the very end, she missed out on the sweet fellowship that could have been when he was close.

For Marius, the situation is complicated. He distrusted this man, because he was ignorant of the salvation that had taken place on his behalf personally from the man, Jean Valjean. He misjudged Cosette’s father figure, refusing to ever touch the wealth that was his to have since Marius had married the young lady. He coldly turned away any friendship with the man who had given all to make that marriage possible. And in doing so, he added to the sin of neglect done by the daughter in discouraging their relationship from continuing. But all this, when it came to light and the truth was known to Marius, hit him in desperation to right his many wrongs. I cried for Marius because it was too late to know the man who had done all this for him, whom he dismissed in ignorance.

But there’s a parallel reason I cried: because these two mistakes are made by people every day with the One who has saved them, offered to remove them from the path they are on, and who turn away the riches He has to offer out of ignorance of who He is. These same two kinds of people – those who know who that Savior is, but have lost touch with Him, and those who live in their ignorance that they have even been saved if they would choose to know it – are all over. Are you one? Your savior’s name isn’t Jean Valjean. It’s Jesus. And He’s not a fictitious man: He is God.

More Spurgeon Inspiration

As I continue to read Charles Spurgeon‘s sermons on “The Life and Works of our Lord Jesus Christ” God continues to give me poems, like the first one I shared (“God gave God“) based on the powerful ways he states biblical truths. Here is the paragraph from the book that inspired this poem:

“Blessed be God, we can be thus saved. Our entrance to heaven can be as justly secured as our banishment to hell was rightly deserved. How justice and peace have kissed each other is now made known. That secret is told us in the Word of God. Is it not written on the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?”

“I know that I speak to many who long to be saved; but will you give up your sin? For Christ has come to save Him people¬†from their sins. If you do not wish to be saved from sinning [turn], then you will never be saved from damning [burn].”

And so, with that quote, here is Turn or Burn, a poem I wrote on June 5th 2014:

Turn or Burn