Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Power of His Light

One small speck of light can alight a room, but The Light of the World is able to do far more than we can imagine.  Praise God!

May this devotion by Diane Head encourage you:

His Light by Diane Head,  from NIV Women’s Devotional, page 988

There are some days in a mother’s life when the sun just doesn’t seem to rise.  We may have been disappointed by someone.  Or maybe we’re not feeling good about ourselves or about our relationships with others.  Maybe we’re just lonely.  Whatever the reason, a cloud settles…

Usually this cloud of gloom brings with it a refusal to be cheered up.  In fact, if anyone tries to cheer or uplift us we grudgingly summon a ghostly smile and slide back into our pit of despair.

This mood can almost be enjoyable.  After all, our very lives are dedicated to the welfare of our husbands and children.  Isn’t it fun to let them know it--along with how wronged we’ve been--regardless of whether or not it’s their fault?  Poor us.

Does this sound familiar?  I confess I am to some degree an authority on this subject.  Alas, it comes from firsthand experience.

We are all affected by different circumstances.  For some of us, something as simple as a cloudy day may touch off the blues.  Fatigue often precedes them.  Sometimes our depression is caused by someone who has spoken critically of us or a family member.  The list is endless.  The funny thing is that even when most of the reasons are legitimate, the resulting dejection isn’t.

It would be depressing enough if we were the only ones affected by our dark days.  But like it or not, we are the hubs of the emotional stability in our families.  If our outlook is sunny, it is reflected in every member of our household.  If, however, clouds of self-pity, gloom, and despair hover over us, they also rain down on all who come near.

The trouble with darkness is that is seems to be stronger…denser…and deeper than light.  We are almost fooled into believing that it is just as it seems.

But just as one small candle can dispel the darkness in an arena, so can the entrance of light into our souls dispel the bleak and dreary darkness lurking there.  And how much greater that light--the light of the Lord--than one little candle….

“Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light.” Micah 7:8

Daine says, "The trouble with darkness is that it seems to be stronger, denser, and deeper than light."  We are adopted daughters of the King of Kings!  So we can overcome darkness because we have the One who is able!  Let us continually go boldly to Him in everything and not allow the darkness to overcome us.

"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen"  Ephesians 3:20-21

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Creation proclaims the Creator

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19:1-4a

As we expected, we had our second “snow day” today; there are dangerous roads and strong winds with the temps near zero.  I am in the middle of making cookies.  The house has a sweet aroma.

As I rolled out the dough, I thought of what we have missed today at our worship in church.  Today was the Adult Christmas Cantata.  I have waited in great anticipation to hear the choir sing.  One reason is because we have a dear friend singing in the choir for the first time, so we have heard first hand of the excitement to come.

One other joy connected with the cantata is our friend’s little canary.  When we have been in their home, we have heard this little bird sing and sing---sing all by himself, sing as the vacuum runs or sing when the mixer was making mashed potatoes.  This little bird sang at the top of his lungs in beautiful melodies.

It seems that this little bird sang before, but after the CD of the cantata was listened to over and over again for practicing, the little bird became more melodious than ever.  I rejoice to hear this little bird proclaim the work of His hands!

Birds have touched my heart before.  I love that the Creator made them---and so many kinds of them.  I love how He says in His word that He knows about each one and so then, how much more does He care about us?!

Even with the strong winds today and the terror of the Sharp Shinned Hawk who likes to “eat” at our feeder also-----the birds have been busy eating at the feeder to keep their energy up against the cold temps.  It has been a joy to watch them all day.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19:14

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow Day

It was a ‘snow day’ today.  You have got to love it when you don’t have to go anywhere and all of a sudden you have extra free time!

I took the opportunity to mix up many batches of cookies.  I pulled out our old Christmas “Sing Along with Mitch Miller” recordings and played them all morning while mixing up our traditional recipes.

Christmas time is full of happy memories for me.  Today was no different.

When my Beloved and I married, my dear mother offered for me to pick out a handful of my favorite Christmas records from their collection.  Thus, our Mitch Miller records.

The 1970’s classic Betty Crocker Cookbook I use is the one my mother gave us after we became engaged.  She redeemed all of her Green Stamps so I could received the cherished cookbook, an ironing board, an iron, and a set of mixing bowls. I still have the first two.

Side note: Probably everything mentioned was made in America----those were the days!

The cookbook has many pages stained and well used by our precious daughter.  She loved to cook and wasn’t afraid of trying new recipes.

I mixed up our daughter’s world famous ginger snaps (Betty Crocker’s), our son’s favorite cookie of all, Chocolate Crinkles, which is my Grandmother’s recipe.  Another favorite from Grandma Glidden is her Chocolate Frosted cookies.  Just last year my sister photo copied for me the original frosting recipe as well of the cookie recipe both in my mother’s handwriting---it is a treasure for me to now have these special recipes in her distinctive handwriting.

I can’t help but miss my dear mother at Christmas time.  She was a beautiful wife and mother role for me.  She openly loved and respected my father, disciplined when we needed it, loved each of us dearly, and enjoyed just doing things with us.  She studied us and knew us.  She could make anything fun.  After I grew up, she was such a good friend, too.

“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head and ornaments about your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9

I'm secretly hoping for another snow day tomorrow!  If so, I will pick out different Christmas records as I bake all these cookies.  May you find joy in the little things which make our lives rich and full.  Praising the LORD with you--Jill

Monday, December 6, 2010

Genuine Thankfulness

We all easily forget to be genuinely thankful.  It is easy to say, “If it isn’t one thing it is another.” because life is difficult and things do not go the way we want.

We must remember that this life is not about us, but about glorifying our great God.

The next thing that happens that we do not want---let’s remember what is important.  Find something to be thankful for in the situation.  And if there is nothing you can think of to be genuinely thankful for, then be thankful that our heavenly Father is sovereign and we can rest in Him.

Praising God with you!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.   The Lord is near.  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

Saturday, December 4, 2010

You are just a vapor

“You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” James 4:14b

I spoke with an older gentleman in his 80’s today.  He is very dear to me.  He shared a bit about his one son and openly lamented for the first time that he had wasted 60 years not coming alongside his son and encouraging him from the beginning.

My heart completely broke for him---and his precious son.  I encouraged this father to call his son and come alongside him now.  It is never too late while you have breath!  I know this may mean far more to his son than the father thinks it will, and, oh, how it will bless the father!

“Yet you do not know what your life will be tomorrow.” James 4:14a

Gentle sisters…who can you come alongside of today?  Who would be so blessed by your touch?  Before our chances are gone, let us reach out and love others!  We who have the Holy Spirit indwelling us can do wonderful and marvelous things because we have the LORD‘s strength.

May you go out with joy as His handmaidens this week with His grace, mercy and love.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Strength is Exulted in the LORD

“My heart exults in the LORD; my horn [strength] is exulted in the LORD, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Your salvation.

There is no one holy like the LORD, indeed, there is no one besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.

Boast no more so very proudly, do not let arrogance come out of your mouth; for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and with Him actions are weighed.

The bows of the mighty are shattered, but the feeble gird on strength.

Those who were full hire themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry cease to hunger. Even the barren gives birth to seven, but she who has many children languishes.

The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.

The LORD makes poor and rich; He brings low, He also exalts.

He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles, and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and He set the world on them.

He keeps the feet of His godly ones, but the wicked ones are silenced in darkness; for not by might shall a man prevail.

Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; against them He will thunder in the heavens, the LORD will judge the ends of the earth; and He will give strength to His king, and will exalt the horn [strength] of His anointed.” 1 Samuel 2

Hannah struggled greatly. She wanted to have her own children. Her desire to have children was also tied to the culture and to the constant cruelty of her husband’s other wife.

The LORD moved in a mighty way when He waited for the right time to allow Hannah to conceive.  1 Samuel 1-3

Her response to the gift of this long awaited child is one we, as fellow maidservants of the LORD, need to think on. I can’t imagine giving my treasured child to another. I admire Hannah’s faith and I struggle with my own desire to know that I would be able to emulate her actions.

In my life the LORD meets me in my own agony.  I  know He hears me and I understand waiting for Him.  When I am at my lowest, He doesn't have to prove to me that He hasn't forgotten me.  I know, in time, He will lift my head and I rejoice in that hope knowing what joy it is to rest in Him.  My strength is exulted in the LORD!

A recent time this autumn I was thinking about the difficulties we face and we discussed them together.  The subject matter was our agony, but then it turned to "why doesn't this happen or that happen to help us get through this great sadness?"  As we spoke, I did not want an answer from God because I knew that, in time, He would meet us and lift our heads in His way which is always the best no matter how we feel.  How blessed we were that within a half hour two different things happened where the Almighty specifically answered our "why doesn't He do this?" lament.  How kind and compassionate the LORD was to reach down right then and calm our hearts.  Very much like Hannah's, I began praising Him with my own song of Thanksgiving! 

The scripture above is Hannah’s faith-filled song of Thanksgiving as she leaves her long awaited, treasured son with Eli as she had promised the LORD.  I hope these words from this precious mother stay with you and bless you as you ponder truly giving your life to Him in praise.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Fear Subdued

“I heard and my inward parts trembled, at the sound my lips quivered.  Decay enters my bones, and in my place I tremble.  Because I must wait quietly for the day of distress, for the people to arise who will invade us.”

Sometimes fear encompasses me.  The fears can be personal troubles or the fear of the world sliding super fast into life as we do not know it.

I am so thankful that I am His child!  That I know Him and that I have seen His hand in my life and in other’s lives!  I know He is the One and Only and that I can trust Him!  I can praise His holy name even when chaos reigns!  I know I can give Him my fears and I can do next things because I live in His strength!

Praise Him with me:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.  The LORD God is my strength, and He has made my feet like the hind’s feet, and makes me walk on my high places.”

Habakkuk 3:16-19