Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blessed Beyond Measure

As Christmas rapidly approaches and we seek to focus on "the real meaning" of Christmas we continue to be filled with awe and praise for the most incredible gift ever given in Jesus Christ! We find ourselves overwhelmed with the many areas of life that this baby who was born in the manger affects.  Isn't it something that it's not just salvation that comes through Jesus Christ which of course is "could we say the icing on the cake", but there is much more wrapped up in this tiny bundle.  It's eternal life and reign with Christ when He returns.  It's His subduing our lives and as we yield them more and more to His will, what overwhelming peace He gives in return!  And then how about that adoption through Jesus Christ. Of course there is the love of Christ as well. Our Pastor remarked last Sunday that "there is no one that loves us more, no one that cares for us more, no one that wants our good more than Christ, and no one that can do in our lives what Jesus Christ can do. Amazing!!!  And I could go on and on but I was also reminded that there is the example that Christ leaves for us in Philippians 2:5-11, Christ's voluntary, willing, emptying His divine nature to take on human flesh.  And the most convicting is that we are to have this same mind and attitude of Christ.  I loved the way that our Pastor said it, "What Jesus Christ did cost Him EVERYTHING and we are to mirror that"!  What amazing gifts in a tiny bundle!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Life Update

Sorry that it has been awhile since I posted anything but thought I would at least give you an update on what's going on it our lives.
First, we're packing.  We didn't get much out of storage when we came home but what little we did is almost packed up ready to go back into storage.  We already have our summer clothes (which is all that we take) in suitcases ready to go.  We have done a first run of what we "want" to take other than clothes (books are a high priority since it's hard to find good Christian books there) and a second run trying to get our luggage numbers and size down. And we have been trying to spend as much time as possible with family and friends.  Life is busy but we have an incredible God given peace!
This Friday is our Grandson Wyatt's third birthday and we are looking forward to being able to celebrate that with family.  God has been so gracious to allow us to be here for some pretty major family events and we are so thankful.  We were able to see our son graduate from RTS and then even to see him ordained.  And to be here for many of our daughters transitions as well. We never thought we would  be here for two Holiday seasons so we feel blessed beyond measure!
After our Christmas celebration, on December 29, 30, and 31st, we will pack the kitchen and move out of our apartment.  Most of the furniture is on loan, so we need to return it and put our bedroom suite and boxes in storage.
Then we will move into Lindsey's home for a few days and leave on January 9th returning to the Philippines.  We depart at 12:05 p.m. Friday afternoon and arrive in Manila at 5:40 a.m. on Sunday morning.  Will you please pray for safe travel as we are flying on Philippines Airlines this time and we have never flown with them before.
Also, will you please pray for a SMALL, FURNISHED house that feels like "home"?  That combination is challenging to find in the Philippines but we know that God can do it because He did it last time and He is faithful!  And will you please pray for the location of our home as well.  We aren't "tied" to the area where we lived last time and want to find a neighborhood where we can minister to the people, so would appreciate your prayers in that area also.
One last request, would you please pray for our family as we return?  Lindsey is doing well but it will be an adjustment, and of course she isn't too thrilled about it.  And then last week, little Wyatt walked into our apartment and said, "Granna, you have to go back to the Philippines again?"  Obviously Chad and Kelly have started that preparation process.  And for smooth transition back into the country on our part. Well, maybe that was more than one.
So, the blogs will soon begin giving you an insight into life in the Philippines.  We thank you abundantly for your prayers and support, for making it possible for us to be your hands and feet to take the gospel to the Filipinos.  Thank you for ministering along side of us in spirit and through prayer.  And our hearts are full of PRAISE to God for the opportunity and privilege to minister in the Philippine's on His behalf. 
And we want to wish you a Blessed, Merry Christmas as you celebrate the most incredible gift ever given.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Please Thank our Soldiers

A dear friend of mine sent this to me yesterday and I wanted to share it with you.

Something nice that Xerox is doing... If you go to this web site, www.LetsSayThanks.com you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and send it to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq.  You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services.

They make it really quick and easy.  The thing that takes the longest is picking out the card and message that you want.  Please do check it out!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh If Only I Could Find Words Like These

So often I find myself wishing for words to express what's in my heart.  I'm just not gifted with words, mine struggle to be able to adequately express what's in my heart.
While our son Chad was in seminary he told me one day that he had found a book that he thought I would enjoy and he bought it for me.  I love it and of course it's extra special because he gave it for me.  I's The Valley of Vision, a book of prayers written by the Puritans.  This morning as I was reading and praising the Lord through one of the prayers, this Puritan's words so expressed my heart this holiday season so I thought I would share a portion with you.

"What didst thou see in me?
that I a poor, diseased, despised sinner
should be clothed in thy bright glory?
that a creeping worm
should be advanced to this high state?
that one lately groaning, weeping, dying,
should be as full of joy as my heart can hold?
that a being of dust and darkness 
should be taken like Mordecai from captivity,
and set next to the king?
and should be lifted like Daniel from a den
and be made ruler of princes and provinces?
Who can fathom immeasurable love?

Christmas Priorties

This holiday season more and more I find my heart full of praise for "God first loving me".  As I struggle with hearing the suffering of friends (friends who have cancer, friends whose children are is difficult situations), I realize that God really is all I need.  And yet, why did He choose to love me a wretched sinner with a terribly dirty heart, and one that fights a constant battle of SELF rule.  I only know that I am not worthy of His love but am ever so thankful for it this holiday season.

As my best friend (she's more like my sister) and I were talking  we were both commenting on how this Christmas is much different for both of us.  Her husband is leaving right after Christmas going to Afghanistan for one year.  This will be his second tour of duty protecting our country, his first term of service was a year in Iraq.  
We were both discussing how Christmas decorations just aren't important and gifts are not a high priority either.  Our focus this Christmas is quality time with family and friends amidst the pressure of getting things in order.   And this Christmas we are especially looking forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ who came willingly to this earth to suffer and die to pay the penalty of our sins.  It's this same Christ who gives us peace during transition and abundant grace for each day, no matter what comes our way!  What an amazing Savior who is indeed worthy of all of our lives, our honor, glory and praise!