Saturday, December 22, 2012

A humilated king: #5 (A different story and Merry Christmas)

First, let me say, "Merry Christmas!" This will be my last post until the new year. I hope each of you have a wonderful time with family.

My first ever "Cookie Nativity"

A Humiliated King

Bethlehem was busy and crowded, but only a few people knew our King and Savior was born. The barn stunk, it was cold, scratchy, itchy, raw, but it was a place to lay down and give birth. And Immanuel (God with us) was born and God was physically with us like never before. But, nothing about this "king" fit anyone's understanding of how a king should come into the world. His birthplace, his heritage, well, nothing was right. According to whom?

In my honest opinion, if Jesus had come into the world the way the world expected, then where would faith come in? Without faith, we would just follow whatever seems good and comes easy.

The fact that Jesus is so contrary is what makes me believe in him even more. His humble beginnings shows us a humble God. And Jesus did not come the way he fully deserved.  Oh, how much Jesus really sacrificed. He came with nothing and left with nothing, but our sins.

Christians are the only people who serve a God whose Son endured complete humiliation, mockery and cruelness...
ALL to say, "I love you, I forgive you, and I will sacrifice my life just to be with you." 

Merry CHRISTmas!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Floss expires, hope doesn't, and Christmas

Standing above my bathroom sink, I attempt ridding my face of the last bit of make-up. Ya know, the mascara that isn't waterproof, but still taunts you with its never-ending streaks of black? I'm not exaggerating, really.
     I begin my not so routine of brushing the yucky of today off my teeth. In the middle of brushing, I just happen to glance over at the floss and read, expires (see below). Wait a minute. Seriously?

I get how milk, meat, veggies, even medicine loses its effectiveness after awhile, but floss?
Someone please explain how floss expires? It's just flat rope that dislodges food and plaque.
What could go bad? Okay, some floss are mint or cinnamon flavored? Do those spices spoil therefore creating an oxymoron here?
I think of Wile Coyote and the Road Runner and a frayed rope, unraveling to one tiny string. I laugh as I picture Wile Coyote using it to get to his desired prey when the Road Runner happens to have a pair of scissors and cuts the rope sending the Coyote to his "cartoon" demise.

And I think of the unraveling of the world due to sin and how Satan pulls out his handy scissors to snip hope from others. How different Christmas will be for the families facing such grief in Connecticut. I recoil when I think of sending my child to public school and online schooling is suddenly more attractive.

How the belief meter dwindled quickly for some when they asked,"How can you believe in a God that allowed those innocent children to die? Such a senseless act."  I understand their question, but it hurts to not have an answer. I feel a coldness and it isn't the winter air and my heart aches with compassion. And my prayers sometimes seem feeble, but I still pray because...

Floss may expire, but hope doesn't. God doesn't even if we don't understand what he allows. He gave us all a freedom to choose and we mock that freedom when it causes us pain.
Please don't unfriend (or hate) me for saying that...I've been there. I've mocked it too.
And this is where I will leave this heavy topic alone now.

One tradition we have created since our sons were born almost 5 years ago, is to get a new ornament for them, or make one. I usually buy a very inexpensive one for hubby and I, but I just love the idea of having ornaments for my sons and giving it to them on their wedding day. Here are some pictures:

White Glue snowman. Easy and fun.

Your turn.Share a your Christmas traditions with me.

Sharing my heart today with the Soli sisterhood @

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Face to face with God: A different Christmas Story #4

I have two more parts to my Christmas story series before I take a break for the rest of this year and for the Christmas season. Today is an aspect of Mary and Joseph that I haven't thought about, but came to me as I was reading and thinking about Mary's response...her pondering the night Jesus was born. 

Joseph and Mary saw so many miracles and promises come forth from the time she was told by the angel that she would become pregnant and carry God's only son, Jesus. Mary was told her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant and she was, Mary really was pregnant while still a virgin, she witnessed shepherds spreading the word of Jesus' birth and then later when Jesus was older, the Magi came and gave gifts, bowed and worshiped him. So many awesome occurrences, but the most amazing... 

Mary and Joseph were the only persons to actually see God in person, face to face and live! 

Yes, Moses literally heard the Lord, was in the presence of the Lord, but he could not see the Lord in all his glory for he would die. (See Exodus 19-23).

A baby like no other, the Messiah all had been waiting on for so many years. A miracle with a special star just for him.  A privilege.
 And Mary's beautiful response?
"She treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." -NIV Luke 2:19

It is as if she never wanted to forget this precious moment. I wouldn't have wanted to either.
I wonder if Joseph and her truly grasped seeing God in the flesh? Or if there was shock and awe and it hit them later? Hence the pondering in her response. 

Honestly, I sometimes wish I could see God face to face or experience his cloud (Moses) near me and speaking as I listen. I wonder how I would really behave? I can only speculate how I think I would be.
Yet, my hope is that I would respond just as Mary and be curious ("How will this be."), but say, "I am [your] servant, may your word to me be fulfilled." -Luke 1:34,38 NIV

Lord, I am your servant, may your word to me be fulfilled. Thy will be done.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Okay, I don't have anything profound or fabulous to say today, but today is 12-12-12. I would have to be 130 in order to experience this again (think 2101) I don't think I want to live that long just for that though. I have a better chance of seeing Haley's Comet.

For some reason, I am feeling a bit sentimental. Maybe because it brings my humanity into a different light. Perhaps, it is because I realize how short life is and how much I have taken this interesting phenomenon for granted. After today, I don't get a second chance to relive this day or this year.
I am feeling regret...ugh, I despise that feeling because it always leads to guilt.

So, today, I am going to try to just soak it up. I am abstaining from the computer for the rest of the day, enjoying my children, and the sunset that is rising and thank the Lord for a wonderful, glorious and unique day.

...someone suggested eating lunch at 12:12 pm to commemorate the day. Sounds good.

Monday, December 10, 2012

God was in the details...A Different Christmas Story #3

I love details. Isn't that what can make a piece of writing come alive? A story more entertaining?

Today is all about details. Very important ones. I am continuing my is coming out of intentionally studying the events, the people, and the details surrounding the birth of Jesus. Just food for thought as the cliche goes...

animals,babies,baby Jesus,Christ,Christmas,Christmas star,cows,donkeys,halos,holidays,Jesus,Jesus Christ,mangers,Nativity,persons,religions,sheep,special occasions,stables,stars

A detailed-oriented future?
Matthew 1:22-23; 2:3-6,13-23 

Tradition, religion can come on thick. The law too. Faithful ones Pharisee or not followed the law wholeheartedly. The oral stories from generation to generation were not folklore to these folks. So if something was passed down you believed, you hoped and you waited.
 (Mind you, this is my opinion of an ancient people, the Israelites based on my limited understanding from studying scripture).

So even years and years later, the Israelites longed for the Messiah, the Savior spoken of in the prophecies. Down to the specifics kind of prophecy. No hokey-pokey pretend fortune tellers or palm readers kind of prophecy. happened. Perfectly predicted and perfectly occurring JUST as God, the God of details said it would. Matthew notes each time (I counted 5) a prophecy is filled. Detail. Micah 5:2,4. Hosea 11:1, Isaiah 6,7, 9:6-7 (personal favorite, 11, 42, 53, and Jeremiah 31:15 all speak of very precise description of how, when, where, who, and what about Jesus. It is so amazing. 

I had to read and reread and it just goes deep. 

When we moved from Fort Collins to Grand Junction, God was in the details. He planned it so perfectly that we sold our home in a miraculous, unheard of under two months. We also bought a home at the same time! We even found a home in less than 10 minutes of hubby's new teaching job.  Somehow we came out not owing anything. Clean breaks...because I was forced to quit my job and stay home as God had called me to almost a year ago before the move.

The details? Almost a year and a half later...hubby loves his job. The town is growing on us. We are connected to a church. We still like our neighborhood and home, I like staying home, I feel closer to my children, I coordinate a small group which requires being in front of people and speaking (not my strongest skill) and yet, I have gotten to where I don't feel nervous. I am better at it which is important since my dream is to teach and speak to groups of women.

Before Jesus ever came to be...God wrote history because he knew we would need it. We serve a God who cares to show us that He has it all covered, down to every detail.

Linking up today with:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jesus Had Two Dads? : A Different Christmas Story #2

Today, I am continuing a short series this month on the events surrounding Jesus' birth. My hope is that we all see how "living" and amazing God's word is as we learn new truths about our wonderful Savior.  
 Who's your Daddy?
Luke 2:1-4; Matthew 1:18-25; 2:13-23
 animals,Biblical scenes,Christianity,Christmas,donkeys,families,Joseph,Mary,men,Nativity,New Testament,religion,special occasions,women
There is always an emphasis on Mary, Jesus' mother this time of year, but every Christmas I ponder why so little is mentioned about Joseph, Jesus' earthly father. After all, he was a great-grandson (times many) to Abraham and King David...a direct lineage that carried all the way to Jesus.

Joseph was from Bethlehem, Jesus' birthplace and did you know that David was born in Bethlehem too? So why does he seem to practically disappear after Jesus begins his ministry? Jesus' brothers and mother are mentioned later on, but I searched for more on Joseph, even a mention of his death and never found it.

Yet, Joseph needs to be given more us I mean. He was an amazing man, husband, and father. How?  
Well think about this...
 Joseph, a young man at the time was to marry a virgin(Mary). A virgin who suddenly showed up pregnant! Babies out of wedlock meant public disgrace and family shunning.  Joseph could have been revengeful and ugly, but he chose to quietly divorce Mary. Did you catch that? He chose to not be cruel or show his anger or hurt outwardly. He was willing to drop pride for the sake of Mary's feelings.  
He also was said to be faithful to the law and so it could be assumed that he was a good citizen/man as well. Later, Joseph also adheres to Caesar Augustus's decision to hold a census of the entire Roman world and then he upheld the purification rites required by the law of Moses and presented Jesus to the Lord.
     Then, in a dream, one of God's angels explained Mary's pregnancy and tells Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary as his wife. He is then told as Mary was that the child's name is to be Jesus because he will save people from their sins. Joseph was a great believer too. He was obedient to God's plans. And each time an angel told him what to do, he listened!

Joseph not only took Mary as his wife and tried to provide a comfortable place to birth a baby (there was no room in the Inn), but he accepted a son that was not his. He raised him in the law and it can be assumed that Joseph contributed somewhat to Jesus growing in wisdom, stature and in finding favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Sure, Jesus was without sin and is God, but he didn't grow into a human heathen or brat. His parents must of instilled human morals and values. 

I am still unclear on why Joseph is not mentioned later in scripture. Perhaps, he did pass away. Perhaps, his role in Jesus' life later on was not essential to Jesus' purpose/ministry. Only the Lord himself really knows and it will be one of those questions I ask in Heaven.
God thought of everything and Jesus essentially had two dads.  An earthly one that fulfilled prophecy and our Heavenly Father whom sent us the best Christmas gift: Immanuel, Jesus...the one whom saved (us) the world from itself.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Not a "Holy" blood line: A Different Christmas Story #1

Ever wish you didn't have to read that one story The Gruffalo over and over to your child? Your child loves it though so you do...unless you are like me and you try to persuade them with a shorter, easier to read or funnier story (think Green Hat, Blue Hat, If you give a Mouse a Cookie, or Goodnight Gorilla).
                   Yet, honestly, there is one story I never tire of reading each year. A story that continues to unravel layers and rich details. The Christmas story that tells of Jesus' birth. I've heard it again and again and there is always something new revealed to my head and heart. There is something so pure, truthful and even comforting to me to say these verses out loud every year, "...You (Mary) will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign...forever; his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:31-33 NIV

-Biblical scenes,Christianity,Christmas,Baby Jesus,Joseph,mangers,Mary,Nativities,religion,special occasions,Star of Bethlehem
This month, I am writing a short series (to be read like a devotional) to share what God has shown me with you. My hope is that the Lord will use this month to speak to our hearts as he changes our perspectives on the Christmas story. Hope you can join me. 

NOT a Holy Blood Line

(Matthew 1:1-17)

     When I think of kings I think of royalty, riches, honorable and noble qualities. Perhaps, my perspective of them as deserving or born into greatness comes from the fact that one is expected to worship or at least show loyalty and reverence to the king lest they get their head chopped off.
    History has shown how imperfect kings and their ancestry has been, but at the time I am sure that was not for the general public's knowledge. So why does it surprise me that Jesus' earthly blood line was so tainted?
     Maybe, like the Israelites, my version of a king comes from a misunderstood belief that a king would come from a dignified family, raised in a respectable manner and from a noble birth place.
     But, Jesus didn't. His earthly heritage was chalk full of sinners! 
Many of Jesus' great grandfathers were kings that did evil in the eyes of the Lord: Rehoboam, Abijah, Jehoram, Ahaz, Mannasseh, and Amon. Three of the four women named in the genealogy in Matthew were quite imperfect. Tamar pretended to be a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law, Rahab worked as a prostitute before her life was spared because she helped and listened to Joshua's spies before Jericho was conquered and Bathsheba committed adultery with King David.

Jesus really did come from humans full of folly, but he still came to forgive and save them and us! His imperfect genealogy shows how humbly he came into the world..."Who being in very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness..." Philippians 2:6-7

There is just something so freeing to know that if God would use a band of misfits to be Jesus' relatives then, he will certainly use us for his plans too.


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