He's been with us since last Wednesday. We celebrated the birth of Christ on Friday, Christmas Eve Day, with Paul's parents, sister and her family, and our son. Eight around our table this year. I believe this is the first Christmas dinner I have made since moving in this house in 2006. I enjoyed fixing favorites for everyone, and of course others brought goodies in also. We all played a game of Scratch after dinner, before leaving the table, and then it was off to lounge in reclining furniture and just yak. Christmas Day the three of us just had leftovers all day...and still ate too much. Overeating on the holidays is a sin I have not conquered, nor surrendered as of yet, but this year I am coming closer to that goal. When you eat too much at my age, you just don't feel good! Thankfully, the scales only went up one pound in three days, and now it's time to back off for the new year's resolution of eating more sanely and simply. I am down 15 pounds from last year, so if I keep losing a pound a month for the rest of my life, I should be about the perfect size when I meet Jesus face to face.
This past week was spent in doing my shopping and preparation for the meals while our son was here. We did spend one evening with friends on the grounds. I've been feeding about 4-5 cats this past week, during this long cold snap. I think the cats overate at Christmas also, for they haven't been around much today. The dumpsters are overflowing, so I am sure they have some choice gourmet food out there.
Let's look at what God has been saying to me this past week in my daily readings:
A God-given vision will keep you going when nothing else will. (Lord, I need a new vision!)
Words from James:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. (Carol, pay attention!)
If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (I desire to be a peacemaker.)
Summit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (I hear you, Father!)
Negative expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies
Focus on God's promises instead of your problems.
Just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. (no problem there!) Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. (I always considered myself to be a plain Jane, but Paul gave me some pictures of myself from earlier years, and I said to him, "I was pretty! No one ever told me I was pretty!" He replied that I was pretty, but that my beauty came from within me. That was sweet of him to say that...I just wish I had heard it earlier!)
Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good, he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. (See how often keeping control of our tongue brings peace!)
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self controlled so that you can pray. (One can only hope that the end of all things is near. Let it be, dear Father!)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.
...a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God...
Since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him.
What Priscilla might have written in Hebrews: (I have a good argument for the author of Hebrews to be Priscilla).
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.
Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.... and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (There's my answer to whether I need to attend church or not.)
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Peace and holiness and obedience seem to be strong directions being given to me this past week!)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?" (God has come through for us so many times, I am ashamed when I desire new furniture or new clothes or a new vehicle. Help me in the contentment department, Lord, for you have truly blessed us beyond all measure! You are teaching us that "little is much when God is in it!"
I must remember that my sins of omission, commission, and disposition were all paid for at Calvary. I must serve others and share Jesus with others, as I live in obedience to God and as a citizen of His kingdom.
John's Epistles...from his heart to ours:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.
No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
True believers can be distinguished from unbelievers by their mutual love, godly lives, and obedience to God's commands. Am I seen as a true believer...do I measure up? Lord, help me overcome all short comings...keep working on me, for I want to represent you well!