Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Week

Jesus explained to His disciples how to truly be great and first in Matthew 20:26-28. The two people who are first on my “great list” are my parents. In my childhood, they went out of their way to serve me. Now as an adult, I’m still overwhelmed by their self-less acts of service towards me and my family. This past Christmas week was no exception! When they come to visit, it’s like a mini vacation for us.

Here are just a few of the ways my parents served us.

1) My mom cared for the kids when they got up so Kempton & I could sleep in!
2) My dad played with the kids nearly ALL day which gave us many breaks!

3) My mom enjoys cooking so she cooked the WHOLE Christmas dinner!
4) They stayed with the kids so Kempton & I could go to the Christmas Eve Service together!
5) They know how to care for ALL of Christian's needs without needing explanations!
6) They were in on Kempton's surprise get-away night for me. They cared for the kids again that night and morning!
7) They helped in hanging our new window treatments, installing safety latches on cabinets, and putting up shelves in Carysse’s room.
8) As if this wasn’t enough, they came bearing gifts!

Mom and Dad, you are truly great examples of Phil 2:4! Once again you “outdo us in showing honor” (Rom. 12:10). You are very much appreciated & loved!


Other Pics from the Week

The start of many grandma kisses!
Wake up Christian; it's Christmas morning!
Striking a pose!

This ones for you Christian!
Weeeee; this is fun!

Sister; check out my new toy!
Yummm; my 1st Christmas cookie!

This book's about Baby Jesus who is the true Reason for the Season.

We're about to leave for our evening get-away! My romantic husband is always full of surprises!

While the girls are out shopping, the guys are out sledding!
Dad graciously shoveling snow!

Mom & Kempton working on the window treatment!

Kempton making His Special Breakfast Burritos!

Thanks Grandpa for putting on my coat!
All ready in my Sunday best!
Daddy, you do my hair so pretty!
Two men and a tape measure on the next episode of Extreme Makeover!

Thank you Lord for yet another week of your Goodness towards us!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I’m Back to Reveal the Secret Giver!

The Lord blessed me with a wonderful Christmas week! I can’t wait to tell you all about it. But first, I want to reveal the giver of the Advent Basket.

This person has been a true blessing to me ever since I met her a year ago. Here are 10 Evidences of Grace that I’ve seen in her –

1. She whole-hearted serves God’s people. (Rom. 12:11)
2. She gives kind and encouraging words. (Prov. 16:24)
3. She encourages others to use their Spiritual gifts. (1 Cor. 12:4-11)
4. She doesn’t flaunt her title or expertise. (Prov. 27:2)
5. She refreshes others in her presence. (1 Cor. 16:18)
6. She is quick to listen and slow to speak. (James 1:19)
7. She is full of wisdom. (Prov. 31:26)
8. She upholds the importance of praying for the saints. (Eph 6:18)
9. She is definitely a Godly role model. (Titus 2:3-5)
10. She is a great friend and I’m honored to call her my friend…

She is none other than Mary Delk (click & scroll down)!

Thank you Mary for blessing my Advent Season to be extra special!

My Basketful of Blessings!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Signing Off!

With Christmas around the corner and family coming into town, I'm signing off for the rest of the year. Lord willing, I'll be back at the start of 2009!!!

May each of you have a Christ-centered Christmas &
blessed New Year!
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel" (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Matthew 1:21-25

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quiet Time - Misconception #5

Misconception #5 – I’m too happy!
Many times a person may think that when everything is going really well they don’t have to put that much of an effort towards a quiet time. That is actually saying that they only desperately need God when things aren’t good. Basically that person is seeking God’s hand of blessing more than His heart of beauty. As believers, we should ultimately desire to seek after God, dwell in His presence all our days, gaze upon His beauty, and meditate on Him (Psalm 27:4). I like what John MacArthur’s Study Bible mentions about David in this passage, “The primary issue in David’s life was to live in God’s presence and by His purpose” (p.765). David then said, “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock” (v.5). In God’s presence, David received God’s promises which sustained Him in times of trouble. May we be people, “after God’s own heart, who will do all God’s will” (Acts 13:22) whether we’re in despair or happy.

As I conclude this series, I hope that you will “Bless the Lord at all times; let His praise continually be in your mouth” (Psalm 34:1) whether you’re having a quiet time or going about your daily duties. Never forget that “Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Psalm 34:10).

Quiet Time - Misconception #4

Misconception #4 – I'm too despaired!
Sometimes are hearts are too heavy and burdened to do our daily tasks, let alone have a quiet time. When my son was in the hospital suffering from numerous infections, the doctors did not know if he was going to live through the week. As his infections increased, I fell more in despair. It felt like it took effort to even breathe so I was sure not thinking about having a quiet time. But I knew that Christ was my only sustainer so I desperately needed Him. I remember leaving the hospital and going home not even having the strength to read my Bible or pray. So, I sat in front of our CD player and blasted the song, “Praise Him Through The Night” by Fred Hammond. I repeated it over & over til I was sobbing and felt as if God was holding me and saying, “Daughter, I see, I know, I care.” I’ll never forget that moment. So, I just want to encourage you to GO HARD after Christ in your dark times and do whatever it takes even if it’s blasting praise songs! Even when you can’t pray in your weakness, the Holy Spirit is interceding for you (Romans 8:26). Go to Christ and allow Him to give rest for your weary soul (Matthew 11:28).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quiet Time - Misconception #3

Misconception #3 – It gets too boring!
Your quiet time can be as versatile as you allow it. Some days the Lord may have you just pray the Word. Other days singing songs may take up the bulk of your quiet time. Sometimes you may read a whole chapter and other times you may be led to meditate on one verse that’s ministering to you at that moment. Each day can look very different. Be still and allow the Holy Spirit to lead you for that day whether it’s to continue on with your reading plan or go elsewhere.

For example, I have been striving to read a chapter a day of 1 Corinthians for the last few weeks. However, this morning was different. After I prayed for the Lord to put off sinful qualities in my life (eg. self-reliance, distrust, anxiety), I was led to pray that He would help me to put on the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace…). Instead of following with my planned reading, the hymn, “All to Jesus I Surrender” immediately came to mind. So I opened my hymnal and sang all 4 verses. Then I was led to read Col. 3. It was so nourishing for my soul.

Of course, I don't always have the time to do all of this. But God seems to use any little effort for my good. So, don’t box your quiet time in! God may be leading you on a new path, a fresh word for that day. May the Lord open our eyes that we may behold wondrous things out of His Word (Ps 119:18) in whatever ways He chooses.

Quiet Time - Misconception #2

Misconception #2 - You have to follow a set reading plan!
You don't have to follow a reading plan like reading the Bible in one year. It may take you longer so you can soak in and think about what you’re reading. As far as we know, there is not a reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the person who read the Bible the most times on earth. But we do know that we will be judged according to all our good & bad deeds (2 Cor. 5:10) and how faithful we were with what God entrusted to us on earth (Matt. 25:14-30). How well are you using your God-given time to invest in your spiritual well-being?

(Scroll down to the previous post to read the intro to this series.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quiet Time

Thanks for taking my poll about your quiet time with the Lord! In light of the poll, I think it would be a good time to talk about quiet times especially during the busiest time of the year.

Quiet times are a necessity in the life of a believer. We must have alone time with our Lord. God uses our time with Him to: 1. Sanctify us (John 17:17), 2. Satisfy us (Psalm 90:14), and 3. Strengthen us (Psalm 119:28). I believe that prayer, reading the Bible, singing praises/hymns, and meditating on scripture are staples in a believer’s life as flour, eggs, and sugar are staples in our kitchen.

That is why Col. 3:1-17 is one of my favorite passages. Having a quiet time reminds us that we have been raised with Christ therefore we should seek the things above and set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (v. 1-2). We should delight in spending time with Christ because we have died to sin and our life is hidden with Him in God (v. 3). God strengthens us to put off sin in our life (v.5-9) and empowers us to put on Christ-like characteristics (v. 12-15). This will enable you to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (v.16).

These are just a few reasons for quiet times. There are many, many, many other spiritual benefits of having a quiet time. One blog could not come close to listing all of them. However, for the next few posts, I want to discuss 5 misconceptions about quiet times. Here’s the first one.

Misconception #1 – It takes too much time!
There is not a set amount of time. What matters is the quality not the quantity. However, if we're spending 10-15 minutes with God and then rushing to get to our to do lists. But spending 30 minutes to 1 hr or more in front of the TV/computer or doing a hobby, we need to do some reassessment of our priorities.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Sunny TX to Snowy MN

Out of curiosity, I clicked on the Weather channel site to check out the Houston forecast and they had "light snow" tonight. I probably have enough snow in front of my house to cover most of Houston! Not to worry Houston friends, it'll all be gone tomorrow with your high of 59 sunny day! Ahhhh!

Now, let's take a look at the forecast for Minneapolis. Snow tonight, snow tomorrow with a high of 22 and low of 5. Brrrr!

I definitely wouldn't say I like snow. However, a couple of weeks ago, I was in a meeting and someone asked, who doesn't like snow. Several of us raised our hands. Then she said, from now on whenever you see snow meditate on this, "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18). Wow, what awesome truth! When I want to complain about the snow, I remind myself of Christ's sacrifice for me and thank Him for a visual that reminds me of His ultimate act of love. Us Minnesotans get about 6 months to ponder on this truth :-).

The God who is sovereign over the snow deserves our praise (Psalm 148:7-8).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Take my poll about quiet time with the Lord!

Here's an opportunity for ALL my blog readers to contribute (Yes, even you faithful readers who NEVER comment :-). Take the poll to the right. It ends on next Tues, Dec 16.

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Seven Days of Advent

On the first day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a snowman mug for my tea.

On the second day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the third day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the fourth day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a Christmas kitchen towel, a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the fifth day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a reindeer candle holder, Christmas kitchen towel, a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the sixth day of Advent my secret friend gave to me Bath & Body Works lotion, reindeer candle holder, Christmas kitchen towel, a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

On the seventh day of Advent my secret friend gave to me a candy dish, Bath & Body Works lotion, reindeer candle holder, Christmas kitchen towel, a writing pad, package of gourmet cocoa with a mini whisk and a snowman mug for my tea.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Are You Talking About?

A couple of weeks ago, a dear spiritual role-model of mine blessed me with the book, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas. It's a collection of 22 short readings for Advent. Kempton and I read the first reading the other night which was written by George Whitefield. We underlined most of the chapter because there were so many good spiritual nuggets. The quote that gripped us the most is about what our conversations should be like when we talk with other believers. Whitefield said,

"If you are in company, let your time be spent in that conversation which profiteth: let it not be about your dressing, your plays, your profits, or your worldly concerns, but let it be the wonders of redeeming love. O tell, tell to each other what great things the Lord has done for your souls; declare unto one another how you were delivered from the hands of your common enemy, Satan, and how the Lord has brought your feet from the clay and has set them upon the rock of ages, the Lord Jesus Christ; there, my brethren, is no slipping" (p.13).

Tell of all God's Wondrous Works! (Psalm 105:1-2)