Sunday, December 30, 2012

Crowned with God's Love

The Lord says lovingly to the church, 
"Oh My radiant bride, My beloved, 
I allure you to a deserted place 
to speak tenderly to you. 
Do you not know you are covenanted to Me? 
Call Me 'Husband'. 
With the eagerness of a bride 
head over heels in love, 
seek to KNOW Me 
and be intimately acquainted with Me. 
We belong together 
in steadfast love forever and ever. 
I have covered you with My robe;
it is your bridal gown.
I crown you with My love." 
(See Hosea 2, 2Cor.11:2, Ps103:4.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Joyous Noel

When I was just a little girl about five years old, I loved the Christmas carols “Oh Come all Ye Faithful”, “The First Noel” and “We Three Kings of Orient Are.” I sang them over and over again and they became a part of me, imprinted on my memory. Now at Christmas time, it is still one of my favorite things to do to sing Christmas carols. Christmas doesn't feel like Christmas without singing those old time Christmas stories put to music.

During our “Prayer Watch” on Friday night the seven of us women were wondering what Noel really meant and so we looked it up. It is a word for the Christmas season of joy and runs from December 24 to January 6th. So we decided to keep on celebrating this year and hold onto the joys of Christmas time and to me that means to keep singing! The Wise Men arrived after Jesus was born, so “We Three Kings” is a perfect song to sing for a joyous Noel.

Every year I like to think of something homemade to give for special gifts for friends and family. This year I made up booklets of Christmas carols with my top ten favorites. How handy to give them out just in time to do some singing! Usually people oblige me a few songs. Personally, I’d like to sing for a couple of hours! Hahaha!

This fall I took a watercolor painting class and I learned a technique with salt to make “salt stars.” The teacher gave me the class and supplies in exchange for working for her for about ten hours helping her sell her paintings and notecards at Scandinavian festivals. She provided paint brushes, a paint palette full of the basic colors of watercolor paint arranged in a color wheel, and she gave me odds and ends of watercolor paper of various quality and the last few pages in several tablets. Each color reacts with the salt a little differently, but I really like the way the midnight blue was soaked up by the grains of salt to make amazing “salt stars.”

Reading my Bible one morning I decided to read about the star the wise men followed. This one verse popped out to me. “When the wise men saw the star, they were thrilled with ecstatic joy.” (See Matthew 2:10 Amplified.) I decided to paint beautiful blue skies full of salt stars, but to mask off a bit of sky using masking tape cut into the shape of the special star the wise men followed. I think that was the hardest part—cutting out those stars on the sticky tape! At the bottom of each painting I wrote out the verse. What a great gift and Christmas card in one!
I started out with small three by five inch paintings, and as I gained in confidence I cut a bigger piece of watercolor paper to do four by six inch paintings. Then I got brave and did a few five by sevens. The technique is done with sprinkling salt. You paint the area with water, then add a few strokes of paint and wait until it is almost dry and quickly sprinkle on the salt very lightly—almost a grain at a time. There is this magical chemical reaction before your very eyes as the salt absorbs the pigment/color of the paint and makes a crystalline pattern—like snow or a starry night! You wait until the watercolor paper is completely dry, then wipe off the salt. It is amazing how each one comes out differently.

SO fun! I used every bit of watercolor paper I had, and almost all my midnight blue paint, because I didn’t want to stop. I got so absorbed in my project I stayed up until two in the morning painting!
The theme for Kingdom Bloggers this week is a favorite Christmas memory—my painting is one of them. Hahaha! I guess it shows I love my life, I’m enjoying the present, and living in the “now”. Have A JOYOUS NOEL everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Memories

Dressed up for Christmas Caroling in the nursing homes.

I have lots of fun and happy Christmas memories. Cliff and I got engaged on Christmas Eve 33 years ago! Our first home was on a Christmas tree farm in Northern California. We cut our own little tree and set it up in our living room, but we didn’t have any ornaments so I tried red ribbon into little bows all over it. The first ornament I bought was a tiny three inch teddy bear with a red bow around his neck. He’s been on our Christmas tree every year since!
In January Cliff and I decided to dispose of our first Christmas tree by burning it in the fireplace. We got the fire going and started shoving the tree into the fireplace. At some point it dawned on us this was not a good idea and we pulled the tree out before we had more of a blaze than we bargained on! Hahaha! Talk about learning the hard way!

It seems like events stick in the memory banks when something goes wrong. About Christmas 1992 we gave our kids one of those little log cabin play houses that is really made out of brown plastic. Cliff and I thought it would be easy to put together on Christmas Eve after the kids had gone to bed, so we could surprise them on Christmas morning. We spread all the pieces out on the back patio and got a big mallet and started to try to bop the pieces into place. I don’t know if it was because of the freezing temperature or if we didn’t have the right tools or what, but those plastic logs did not want to go together no matter how much we pounded on them. At midnight we suddenly heard knocking on our front door. It was the police! Our hammering was disturbing the “Silent Night” for our neighbors!  We shoved the pieces back in the box and surprised the kids with a great gift, a build-it-yourself play house.

Some of our other fun activities at this time of year include, making snow men with my kids, taking Christmas pictures of our family, baking and decorating Christmas cookies, cutting snowflakes, reading stories aloud, my daughter playing the piano, watching a Christmas play with my son Stephen in the lead role, hearing my husband read the Christmas story out of the Bible, driving around town looking at beautiful Christmas lights, and serving homemade Texas fudge (and not telling the secret ingredient is refried beans instead of butter).

One of my favorite things to do at Christmas time is get all dressed up in bright colors and a funny hat and go caroling in the nursing homes. Today I will wear a shiny white skirt that is long and very twirly, a red top and a red and green elf hat with bells on it. Today my friend Charli and I will go a-caroling and enjoy some beautiful smiles light up the faces of our friends living in nursing homes.

'Tis the season to be jolly, so have a merry day!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Grafted into Israel

People of God, by faith we are grafted into Israel and 
WE are His beloved people sharing the nourishing sap 
of the olive tree! 
(See Romans 11:17.)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lead the People

"Go! Lead the people 
to the place of which I have told you," 
says the Lord. 

"Behold, My angel shall go before you." 
(See Exodus 32:34.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jesus Sits in the Chair By Me

A man’s daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed. The minister assumed that the old man had been informed of his impending visit. “I guess you were expecting me,” he said. 

“No, who are you?” said the father. “I’m the new minister at your church,” he replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.”

“Oh yeah, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?” Puzzled, the minister shut the door. “I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter,” said the man. “But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the preacher talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer,” the old man continued, “until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, ‘Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest. Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and, in faith, see Jesus in the chair. It’s not spooky because He promised, “I’ll be with you always.” Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.’” “So, I tried it and I’ve liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I’m careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she’d either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm.” 

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him and returned to the church building. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon. “Did he die in peace?” he asked. 

“Yes, when I left the house about two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?” 

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, “I wish we all could go that way.”

Host for Heaven

Israel camped around the presence of God. 
Let's focus on the LORD 
and love Him with all we've got.

“There are two types of ‘hosts’ 
involved with heaven: 
There are the heavenly hosts 
and there are those who become 
the hosts for heaven in their hearts.” 

In Your presence is fullness of joy, God!

Pearl of Perfection

"God made us perfect through Christ; therefore, we only need to be the best of who we are. Our best is just being our self, which is always perfect to God." ~Phillip Beard 

"You are so beautiful to Me My love and there is no flaw in you." (See Song of Solomon 4:7.) 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sunday School Take-over

I was raised in a Catholic family that went to mass on Easter and Christmas, so Sunday school was not part of my life. I became a Christian when I was 16 through the youth group called Young Life. Though I have attended church all these years, I never experienced Sunday school very much. However, around 1989 I my husband Cliff and I visited a little church that had a Sunday school class with a book study going on about living life full of the Holy Spirit. The chapter mentioned speaking in tongues. The teacher asked if anyone in the class spoke in tongues. Cliff and I raised our hands. The teacher asked Cliff to tell the class about it. Cliff spoke for the whole hour with a full discourse with Scriptures from the book of Acts on being baptized in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues and he shared his Jesus People days story and what happened to him. At one point Cliff asked me to share how I received the gift of tongues, so I gave my testimony as a part of the class too. (Note: For my testimony on receiving the gift of tongues, here is the link:  ) We didn’t plan on a Sunday School Take-over—it just happened. Hahaha! 
My husband and I both enjoyed remembering that day over twenty years ago. That is our favorite Sunday school class memory, but a runner up would be another week in the same class when the pastor’s wife shared about speaking in tongues while she was in Israel and someone recognized the language she was speaking and wrote down the interpretation for her. She still had the ragged scrap of paper and read it to us. It was a beautiful prayer and it was also speaking of our glorious love relationship with the Lord Jesus.
To me the best part of any class, book, or lecture is the stories people tell about what happened to them. I have found that testimonies, or stories of real lives, are extremely powerful, moving, and life giving. They are also memorable!

Jenna's Dance of Life

Jenna’s Dance of Life

I turn to You, Daddy, at the break of dawn.
We talk things over as the day goes on.
Your love is sweet, my God, my King,
I love You more than anything.
I read Your Word till You speak to my heart.
You give me grace and a brand new start.
I give You my burdens, so I live carefree.
You show me favor; I dance with glee.
You stay right with me, I stay right with You.
I give You thanks the whole day through.
I keep the music going and praising Your name.
Ever since I met You, I’ve not been the same.
I dream about the future and to You I pray.
Now I have hope and I live life Your way.
I leap for joy and dance and twirl.
I’m glad I am Your little girl.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Always Christmas

God created us to be full of His JOY and 
to enjoy being His beloved sons and daughters
living an abundant life in His presence.
When we abide in Him, we shine for Him!
The Westminster Catechism states: 
"Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever." 
Jesus said He has given us His glory (See Jn. 17:22.) 
and that we are the light of the world (See Mat. 5:14.). 
Just as we celebrate Thanksgiving every day, 
"In everything give thanks." (See 1Thes. 5:18.)
Let's celebrate Christmas EVERY day
and shine like stars in this dark world!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reign as Kings

Through Jesus we receive 
the free gift of God's righteousness and reign 
as kings in the realm of life! 
(See Romans 5:17.)

Beautiful Love

Jesus says, 
"You ravish My heart 
with one look from your eyes. 
How beautiful is your love, My bride!" 
(See Song of Songs 4:9,10.)


To me dancing is a little bit of heaven on earth--especially twirling!