Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Daily Scripture

I'm getting ready to leave on a trip, and I know I will not be blogging until after I am back.  Therefore, I thought I would post my scripture for this week thus far, especially since one portion is quite long.  For those who stop by...may Jesus be in the midst of your Christmas festivities, for He is so worthy!


  • O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit or stand.  When far away you know my every thought.  You chart the path ahead of me, and tell me where to stop and rest.  Every moment, you know where I am.  You know what I am going to say before I even say it.  You both precede me and follow me and place your hand of blessing on my head.
  • This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe!  I can never be lost to your Spirit.  I can never get away from my God!  If I go up to the heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there.  If I ride the morning winds to the farthest oceans, even there you hand will guide me, your strength will support me.  If I try to hide in the darkness, the night becomes light around me.  For even darkness cannot hide from God; to you the night shines as bright as day.  Darkness and light are both the same to you.
  • You made all the delicate inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother's womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  It is amazing to think about.  Your workmanship is marvelous---and how well I know it.  You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion.  You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breath.  Every day was recorded in your book!
  • How precious it is, Lord, to realize you were thinking about me constantly!  I can't even count how many times a day your thoughts turn towards me.  And when I waken in the morning, you are still thinking of me!  (139:1-18)
  • Search me, O God, and know my heart, test my thoughts.  Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  (139:23)
  • The Lord will work out his plans for my life---for your loving kindness, Lord, continues forever.  Don't abandon me---for you made me.  (138:8)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

My post title tonight is the sermon title from this morning.  Once again we attended Lansing First CON as we were meeting family for dinner to celebrate Paul's Mom's birthday.  Basically the sermon asked us if we just approached Christmas in the same old manner, having heard the Christmas Story so many times, and gone through the celebrations year after year so that it has become not that meaningful to us.  

There are still people out there who are hurting, even crying, and they need the Hope that only Jesus can bring.  Can we hear their pain, their cries?  Are we offering them the Hope we have, the gift of the Savior?  Jesus didn't come so that we could have a party every year...He came to seek the lost, heal the hurting, and provide a way that leads to eternal life, and gives hope for this life.  If we have accepted Him, it is our responsibility to turn around and offer Him to others.  Do you hear what I hear?

Spent quite a few hours at the ILNC office this week.  We are using a new program for our annual invoices, so there was some learning involved, some trial and error.  I also began archiving files, getting ready for 2012.  We had a residents' pot luck at the Learning Center one night, after which we wrapped gifts for a homeless men's shelter in Kalamazoo.  

It's been a cold, rainy, snowy week.  Hubby and I treated ourselves to a pizza night in Vicksburg at our favorite pizza place.  Just the smell of the restaurant is warming and tantalizing, and it was so nice to walk in and relax after a long frustrating day. 

Yesterday was my semi-annual cabinet treatment.  I have to get in the mood to treat the oak cabinets and shine them up....and yesterday happened to be the day.  The mood hits me about twice a year.  I gave a good cleaning to the appliances and counters as well.  

I don't do Christmas cards any more, but I have been sending out some Christmas emails to friends I don't keep in contact with on a regular basis.  It's the time of the year that I think about the various people God has given me the privilege to cross paths with.  I like to keep in touch, especially if they move, and get updated on their lives now and then.  

We had another spell with Tuxedo this week...another time of him having seizures or stroke symptoms and his body being limp.  But once again after about three hours he seemed his normal self again. I sure hope we can be with him when his final hour comes.  With a vacation just ahead, I dread leaving him behind.

I'm in the midst of planning my shopping list for our time share week meals and cookie making.  I made up the menu and activity schedule this weekend...always open for flexibility.  I just needed to know what I need to take from home, and what I need to buy when I get to the other end.  Everyone is going to pitch in and help in the cooking and baking process...something we will do to have fun together, along with a nightly sharing time (directed by a different family member each night), and games and activities each day to keep us entertained and interacting with each other.  It's going to be so much fun!!

Well...I need to get back to my list and my Christmas emails.  Let me share my weekly devotional highlights.  Keep in mind I am now in the minor prophets and Revelations.  Won't be quite as much scripture to share from these books.  Two weeks and I will be done with the One Year Bible, read through in 2011.

The Word for You Today
1.  "The Blessings of the Compassionate Heart"

  • "You can give without loving, but you can't love without giving."

1.  The Sins of the Seven Churches  (ch 2 - 3)

  • Ephesus - they lost their passion for God
  • Smyrna - they were afraid of persecution
  • Pergamos - they were tolerant of sexual sin & idol worship
  • Thyatira - they allowed immorality in the church through their leaders and teachers
  • Sardis - the church is dead and their deeds do not please God
  • Philadelphia:  I know you well; you aren't strong, but you have tried to obey and have not denied my name.  Therefore I have opened a door to you that no one can shut. (3:8)
  • Because you have patiently obeyed me despite the persecution, therefore I will protect you from the time of Great Tribulation and the temptation, which will come upon the world to test everyone alive.  Look, I am coming soon!  Hold tightly to the little strength you have---so that no one will take away your crown.
  • As for the one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; he will be secure, and will go out no more; and I will write my God's name on him, and he will be a citizen in the city of my God--the New Jerusalem, coming down from heaven from my God; and he will have my New Name inscribed upon him.  (3:10-12)
  • Laodicea - they were lukewarm, comfortable with status quo, indifferent
  • Look!  I have been standing at the door and I am constantly knocking.  If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me. (3:20)
  • O Lord, you are worthy to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for you have created all things.  They were created and called into being by your act of will.  (4:11)
  • Even though the fig trees are all destroyed, and there is neither blossom left nor fruit, and though the olive crops all fail, and the fields lie barren; even if the flocks die in the field and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be happy in the God of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength, and he will give me the speed of a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.  (3:17-19)
  • Pride ends in a fall, while humility brings honor.  (29:23)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Worship the Christ of Christmas

I'm just in from our Sunday evening service at the local Nazarene church.  We sang some of the old traditional Christmas hymns tonight...such a Spirit of peace was amongst felt like we were truly worshiping the Christ of Christmas, and not just going through a program.  

Friday night we went on the church bus to Grand Rapids to  attend the Gaither Christmas Concert at the Van Andel Arena.  It started at 7 p.m. and didn't get over until 11 p.m.  What a concert!  All of the artists were good, and God's presence was there.  I took a box of chocolates to pass around the bus.  I told them I don't do Christmas Cards, but I do this was my treat.  We had fun.

We installed Sky Angel on our TV this week.  We used to have it through our satellite until they quit broadcasting that way.  Now we can get it through wireless internet, as long as we have their box.  We made the investment as I missed having the good music and family programming that Sky Angel offers.  Now I can have my Hallmark movies once again, and I've spent the week with them.  They are so heart warming, always a happy ending, and good family values promoted.  Plus I can get gospel music any time I want it.  It's a good source of entertainment when I am tired of reading.  I just have to discipline myself and not let it consume my life...planning my schedule around the programs.  

I took our littlest kitten, Snickers, into the Humane Society this week to have it fixed, and found out it was too little...didn't weigh two pounds yet.  But someone at their office wanted to adopt the kitten, so it now has a warm home for the winter.  Today I noticed two of its siblings on the neighbor's porch.  Only a matter of time and they will be on our porch where the food is.  There is always another cat/kitten to watch over.  We had gotten quite attached to Snickers, but we are happy he is safe and loved.

I spent yesterday getting all the gifts wrapped for our Christmas time with the family.  I'm ready to go...and can hardly wait.  The highlight of my year is to be with my family.  I never take it for granted.  It's been a year since we have seen our oldest son and his wife.  

It's been cold this week.  Had a snow and ice storm on Friday.  So nice to hunker down at home during such weather.  But I am glad to have Sky Angel to keep me entertained!

Well, now to my devotional highlights from this past week:

The Word for You Today
1.  "Stop Waiting for Perfect Conditions"

  • things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out
  • those who "think right" succeed
  • failure is just part of the learning process - you learn what not to do
  • keep trying, keep learning, keep moving forward
2.  "The Grace to Handle It"
  • only in having the perspective of Christ can we replace our resentment with rejoicing
3.  "Seeing the Hand of God in It"
  • we can't avoid problems, but we can change how we look at them
  • ask god to show you His hand at work in your problems

  • I don't want your sacrifices -- I want your love; I don't want your offerings -- I want you to know me.  (6:6)
I John
  • Loving God means doing what he tells us to do, and really, that isn't hard at all; for every child of God can obey him, defeating sin and evil pleasure by trusting Christ to help him.  (5:3-4)
  • Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.  (21)
2 John
  • And now I want to urgently remind you, dear friends, of the old rule God gave us right from the beginning, that Christians should love one another.  If we love God, we will do whatever he tells us to.  And he has told us from the very first to love each other. (1:5-6)
  • the last times there would come those scoffers whose whole purpose in life is to enjoy themselves in every evil way imaginable. They stir up arguments; they love the evil things of the world; they do not have the Holy Spirit living in them.
  • But you, dear friends, must build up your lives even more strongly upon the foundation of our holy faith, learning to pray in the power and strength of the Holy Spirit.
  • Stay always within the boundaries where God's love can reach and bless you.  Wait patiently for the eternal life that our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy is going to give you.  Try to help those who argue against you.
  • Be merciful to those who doubt.  Save some by snatching them as from the very flames of hell itself.  And as for others, help them to find the Lord by being kind to them; but be careful that you yourselves aren't pulled along into their sins.  Hate every trace of their sin while being merciful to them as sinner.  (18-23)
  • God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.  (127:2)
  • Where there is ignorance of God, crime runs wild; but what a wonderful thing it is for a nation to know and keep his laws.  (29:18)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Walk in Christ Did

This past week started off with a scary incident.  Our 13+ year old Pekingese, Tuxedo (dog on left in picture above), woke us up on Monday by dragging himself across our wood floor in our bedroom...he couldn't walk or even stand up.  We started rubbing him down, and his body didn't respond in its normal way, and he wasn't making any of his normal sounds.  However, he didn't seem to be laboring in his breathing.  We called the vet, and then decided just to observe him for a while.  We figured he had a stroke or was having a seizure, as his eyes and head were a little jerky.  We were afraid we were witnessing the end of his life.

Within a couple of hours I took him outside, and he was able to stand and walk around a bit.  As the day went on he returned to his normal self.  That was an answer to prayer!  We know he is probably drawing close to the end of his time, but we are grateful for every day we have with him.  He's been such a good dog.  Seems like he's been with us for a long time.  He was our "empty nest syndrome" answer.  Sons moved out, and puppy moved in.  He has brought us so much joy.  What a faithful companion!!

Tuesday night we took another couple with us and drove into Kalamazoo for a "Christmas in Kalamazoo" concert with male chorus, brass, and bell ringers.  It was an excellent concert, and it was right across from Bronson park which was all lit up with Christmas trees and lights and decorations...beautiful.  To make the night even more "Christmasy", we were in the midst of a heavy snowfall, and our drive in was like taking a sleigh ride while it was snowing.  Very nice way to usher in the season!

We've been nurturing a young kitten that was deserted on our porch by its Mommy.  With some milk, some canned cat food, and a set up of pens and chairs with blankets, it seems to be doing well.  It tried to interact with the older cats, who shunned the kitten at first, but now they seem to be accepting him, and let him sleep with them.  He's a smart little kitten, knowing how to take his time and work his way in to be accepted.  We are calling him SnickerDoodle.

Paul was out of town all day Thursday in meetings, and then had to go back to our state District office in Grand Ledge again on Friday afternoon.  I went with him, and he set me up on his computer in an office there so I could work on a data input project while he was in his three hour meeting.  Afterwards we "double-dated" with his boss and his wife.  What a nice evening with them.  We went to a restaurant in Lansing.  

Saturday I did something I've wanted to do ever since we moved here.  I went with a couple of friends into downtown Kalamazoo to shop.  They've made their downtown into an outdoor mall with unique chain stores.  We ate lunch on the mall also.  It was an enjoyable day, but there weren't that many stores I would care to go back to.  Most of them were too expensive.  We hit the dollar store and resale shop in the way home...more our budget!!

This morning for morning worship we visited Westwood Church of God in northwest Kalamazoo.  It was a very friendly church.  We had lunch at Cracker Barrel, did some shopping, picked up a friend at the airport who needed a ride home, and then napped until time to head out to Chapman Memorial Church of the Nazarene for their Christmas musical, "Mary, Did You Know?"  Lovely musical...some of my favorite songs.  Another evening of welcoming the spirit of Christmas.  This coming week we have a Gaither concert to attend...that should be very good!!

For anyone who has been reading my blog this year, you have been reading the One Year Bible along with me.  Each day in my daily readings I have a passage from the Old Testament, a passage from the New Testament, some verses from Psalms and a verse or two from Proverbs.  I highlight those verses that speak to me directly, and then I write them in this blog on a weekly (almost) basis.  I am down to the last month, and just about to start into the minor prophets and Revelation.  By the end of this month we (you and I) will have read through the entire Bible in 2011.  I already have a new devotional book for 2012 that will take me into scripture in a whole new way...a look at 365 Greek Word studies to sharpen my understanding of God's Word.  I'm looking forward to continuing to study God's Word on a daily basis, but in a different light.  

So, on to my verses from this past week:

2 Peter

  • ...a man is a slave to whatever controls him.  (2:20)
  • But don't forget this, dear friends, that a day or a thousand years from now is like tomorrow to the Lord.  He isn't really being slow about his promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way.  But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent.  (3:8-9)
  • But we are looking forward to God's promise of new heavens and a new earth afterwards, where there will be only goodness.
  • Dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen and for him to come, try hard to live without sinning; and be at peace with everyone so that he will be pleased with you when he returns.  (3:13-14)

I John
  • But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin.  (1:7)
  • How can we be sure that we belong to him?  By looking within ourselves; are we really trying to do what he wants us to?
  • Someone may say, "I am a Christian, I am on my way to heaven, I belong to Christ."  But if he doesn't do what Christ tells him to, he is a liar.  But those who do what Christ tells them to will learn to love God more and more.  That is the way to know whether or not you are a Christian.  Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did.  (2:3-6)
  • we obey this commandment, to love one another, the darkness in our lives disappears and the new light of life in Christ shines in.  (2:8)
  • Yes, dear friends, we are already God's children, right now, and we can't even imagine what it is going to be like later on.  But we do know this, that when he comes we will be like him, as a result of seeing him as he really is.  And everyone who really believes this will try to stay pure because Christ is pure.(3:2-3)
  • Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.  Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God's side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord.  (3:18-19)
  • And this is what God says we must do:  Believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.  Those who do what God says---they are living with God and he with them.  We know this is true because the Holy Spirit he has given us tell us so.  (3:23-24)
  • Dear Friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better.  But if a person isn't loving and kind, it shows that he doesn't know God---for God is love."  (4:7-8)
  • Dear Friends, since God loved us as much as that (by sending his only Son into this wicked world to bring us to eternal life through his death), we surely ought to love each other too.  For though we have never yet seen God, when we love each other God lives in us and his love within us grows even stronger.  And he has put his own Holy Spirit into our hearts as a proof to us that we are living with him and he with us.(4:11-13)
  • God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.  And as we live with Christ, our love grows more perfect and complete; so we will not be ashamed and embarrassed at the day of judgment, but can face him with confidence and joy, because he loves us and we love him too. (4:16-18)
  • Jehovah himself is caring for you!  He is your defender.  He protects you day and night.  He keeps you from all evil, and preserves your life.  He keeps his eye upon you as you come and go, and always guards you.  (121:5-8)
The Word for You Today
1.  Before you can move ahead:
  • some of our past ways must discontinue
  • we must give up our doubts (low self esteem, fears, anxieties, critics)