Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday and Thank you!

For nine years now, December has definitely become the busiest month of the entire year for me; yet it is the most wonderful and the most fun for me and my entire family. We enjoy the regular Christmas festivities along with my son’s birthday celebration just 9 days before Christmas. I know others also have December birthdays and have similar stories of the hustle and bustle and juggling of busy schedules; but I can only speak of my own juggling journey.
Today it is one week before Christmas, and as my son writes out his thank you cards to all those who wished him well this birthday, our hearts turn to another One celebrating a birthday in just a few short days.
My boys and I chatted on the way to school this morning about how different this is…we remember His birthday and we are saying, “Thank you!” For it is Christ’s birth that has changed our lives!
We read this morning in 1Sam 16:14 and our hearts were heavy; hearing of a man who made some bad choices and the Bible says, “The Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul.” My boys know very well that God is with us wherever we go (Joshua 1:9) and they were heart sick to hear of how the Spirit had left this man and were prompted to ask why did God allow that to happen? Would God leave us now if we made bad choices like Saul did?
I cannot even begin to explain or claim to have the knowledge of God’s ways…but I do know that this story brought us to remember Jesus and say thank you! Before Jesus was born, people like Saul did not have the opportunity to live with God like we do now! The Spirit was upon others before Jesus was born when God had a particular task to complete for His great purposes—but ALL of us who accept Christ now are given this gift of the Holy Spirit. We have a Counselor that is with us forever because of Jesus (John 14:16) and nothing—not our choices or the choices that others make that effect our lives—can separate us from Christ (Romans 8:38-39). Hallelujah and THANK YOU JESUS!
As we pray and tell God and Jesus thank you…may our hearts be open and our minds quiet to hear Him also say, “Thank you!” In the business of this season as we are serving and doing our part to make joyous things happen for those we love; we may realize that our efforts go unnoticed by those around us. It’s in those times that God wants us to hear His voice—those times that we remember God notices everything and He wants to say, “Thank you.”

Thursday, December 10, 2009


A cluster of grapes?

As a family, we read last night in Number 13 about the HUGE cluster of grapes cut from the Promised Land. The grapes were so enormous that one man could not carry them alone; but 2 men carried them back to show the others the fruit growing in the Promised Land. As my boys hung the ornament of grapes on the tree I prayed that we would understand that these were not just any grapes! It’s so easy for us to read through so quickly and see that they picked fruit from the land…but this was not just any old fruit. These grapes were not just ordinary grapes…may we not overlook how unique they were.
A few years ago I may have read right over that but my heart and mind could not forget the LARGE GRAPES! So odd…why grapes? What do grapes represent? I sensed the Spirit moving in me to pause and remember. What HUGE GRAPES has God blessed us with these past years? What blessings have we overlooked and not taken time to rejoice and celebrate how HUGE they were?
Reading on in Numbers, Caleb stood out in ver 13:30; he had faith to BELIEVE that the Israelites could with God, conquer the land and enter the land God promised. On the other hand, there were 10 other men who were shaking in their boots (like so many of us do whether we admit it or not). The other 10 were scared and feared how HUGE the other men were and they disagreed with Caleb and thus were discouraging the idea and wallowing in their unbelief.
Oh that we would BELIEVE! It’s a popular one-word phrase this time of year…BELIEVE. I don’t want to be judged for my celebrating or not celebrating of ‘ol St. Nick…but I love the symbolism tied around this jolly red-suited man. Ho Ho Ho reminds me that there is the One to BELIEVE! I BELIEVE in God and all that He is and does for us! I pray that my boys will see God not only in the moments of this season; but every single day.
What about your heart? Do you see God in the moments of your day? Are you looking for those grapes? Do you speak like Caleb did or like the other 10 men who spoke about their fears of entering what God has promised?
I cannot help but think about those grapes and what happens to them when they are squeezed and beaten to a pulp. It becomes the juice we drink to remember Jesus and all that He did for us! Will we remember or will we go on with this season leaving God out? The first step in moving forward is to simply…BELIEVE! Merry Christmas!