Christmas is over. Now what?

I don’t think I read any blogs over the Christmas season. But with good reason. I had my parents here with us for 2 weeks, and we had a wonderful time with them. Lots of laughs, food, fun, Christmas markets, etc. But Christmas is over. I sat for the first time in weeks to read a few blogs. Two of the blogs I follow that I read this morning I think are wonderful for a ‘re-set’ or ‘re-focus’ after the time off for Christmas. So I recommend you check out:

http://devotedlife.net/2015/12/28/trusting-an-engineer-dec-28/ as he reminds us of the place that God should take in our intellect and faith.

and http://gracemusing.com/2015/12/27/17-lessons-i-learned-from-christian-books-in-2015/  to apply what that means to our lives, and practically live more mature, God-led lives.

And from me? I’m just thanking God for His un-ending goodness, as Psalm 143 spoke to me about on December 19th (here’s my thoughts from that day):

Psalm 143: “Hear my prayer, O Lord, Give ear to my supplication! In Your faithfulness, answer me, And in Your righteousness. Do not enter into judgement with Your servant, For in Your sight, no one living is righteous. For the enemy has persecuted my soul. He has crushed my life to the ground; He has made me dwell in darkness Like those who have long been dead. Therefore, my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed.”

Lord, before my parents got here, I had been feeling a bit of distress – a bit of darkness. I know You speak to me, but sometimes I feel nothing from You – and I know it’s the enemy blinding me. Please keep me close to You in a way I feel You – so I don’t become overwhelmed, no matter what is going on.

(v5) I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your works; I muse on the works of Your hands.”

The days of old – I have my notebook here where I’ve been writing my married life story. It has it’s points in it, coming up, and not yet written, that are saddening to think on. But there are so many other moments, days, journal entries, miraculous events, that remind me of how God is in my life: my Lord, Creator, and Savior loves me and cares for me.

Then I look up and out the window at God’s majestic works of His hands. The silhouetted trees with the carefully detailed grey hills behind – as it slowly climbs out of shadow to a purple/grey hue, fog beginning to lift, and the outline of trees layered behind trees beginning to be visible. And as the sun is slowly climbing, the place where the blackened tree line on top of the hill is now accented by the warmest golden lines that blend into an ever-changing band above of pink, beige, faded purple, and then the light cloud-line that leads to a crisp morning blue. Some of the colors I can’t even describe – or they last just a few moments before the Great Painter has set in motion the next part of the scene of a single day’s sunrise. And this is just one minute masterpiece in an abundance of beauty that the Master is orchestrating in a single moment.

Yes, I meditate on all Your works. I muse on the work of Your hands.

I don’t know what kind of year you had. I don’t know what is in your future, or mine. But I know Who holds the future, and I know He wants to be a part of your life. If after reading the blogs I read, and my own thoughts, you feel drawn to know Him, start your new year with new life: talk to Jesus – it’s simple. Ask Him to come and be the Leader of your life and make you new.

 

The Possibilities are Endless!

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I love fun socks – and mismatched socks, and having SO many possibilities. I mean, I could wear a polka dot green one on the left foot and a striped orange one on the other. Or I could do two stripes, different colors. Or I could switch it up and do polka dot on the right and stripes on the left. Or two different polka dots. OR….I could be really odd, and wear the same exact sock… On both feet *gasp*

All right, there are  not really endless possibilities to my socks. But you know what? With God, the possibilities are endless, really. I love watching Him match up His plans, take care of the details, and make me a part of it all. I love seeing ‘impossible’ circumstances, unforgivable events, all of a sudden have God-made possibilities. And when we act on those, He works. And that’s a bit more exciting than fun socks. You know what’s more exciting than that? Being a part of the possibilities that God makes…in my fun socks. Now nothing tops that.

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.

Les Miserables

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/135/135-h/135-h.htm

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As I am nearing the end of the book (and it has taken me more than the summer to do so, reading kind of slowly, but enjoying every part) I have to share another tidbit with you. I’m hoping to whet your appetite to engage in this powerful tale. Who is Jean Valjean? I’ll say it in Victor Hugo’s own words:

At that moment Jean Valjean entered the redoubt [barrier], nobody noticed him, all eyes being fixed upon the five chosen ones [to leave the certain death] and upon the four uniforms. Jan Valjean himself, saw and understood, and silently, he stripped off his coat [of the National Guard], and threw it upon the pile with the others.

The commotion was indescribable.

Who is this man?” Asked Bosseut.

“He is,” answered Combeferre, “a man who saves others.”

Significant insignificancies

IMG_2794photo taken by my friend at stuttgart zoo

I’m reading Les Miserables. It’s taken me all summer; but as I near the end, there is a paragraph in the book, in IV of Book Tenth, “June 5th, 1832” that may seem completely insignificant. And yet it holds the significance of the writing of the entire novel:

“….One observer, a dreamer, the author of this book, who had gone to get a near view of the volcano, found himself caught in the arcade between the two fires. He had nothing but the projection of the pilasters which separate the shops to protect him from the balls; he was nearly half an hour in this delicate situation.”

Why could Victor Hugo write such an epic novel with such insight to the Parisian culture of the time? Because he was there. He felt, saw, heard, smelled, and took part in the events – and so is able to write about them so descriptively and powerfully. This story is one of those that will remain a classic throughout time in a way that is celebrated again and again – either through a play, new film, or required school reading.

 

I think of someone else who ‘was there’ at important events. A man whose name was John wrote about being in the middle of it all:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled….” Continue reading

Be Teachable

Webster’s definition:

: able and willing to learn : capable of being taught

: allowing something to be taught or learned easily

What it doesn’t mean: giving up what you know is right, compromising your morals.

I have my own definition for this I’m trying to live out: willing to change, willing to see from someone else’s perspective, and willing to let go of your pre-conceived ideas.