Thursday, January 5

Family pictures!

I wanted to share some family portraits we had taken right after Thanksgiving.

Such handsome men, are they not?   They are growing up so fast.

I've noticed that with each child we have added to our family, the sensation of time slipping away has deepened, and I have struggled in vain to hold the days back, to slow down time.

My baby will be 3 in a few short months (already!), thank you Lord for the gift of precious awareness, this living in the moment, the enjoyment of each breath my babies take, each discovery of new surprises.

I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, January 3

Am I different?

What does the church look like today?  There are endless debates on how much, and in what manner, we should look differently than the world.  Clothes, books, education, war, and hair are among the thousands of areas in which the members of the body of Christ do not agree.  

Just how different should we be?  

Last month our pastor talked of the kingdom of God, and what the early church "looked" like.  He read a letter, written not by a Christian, but by an outsider, one who observed Christians.  The letter was written to Diognites (written in Greek in the middle of the second century).  Notice his observations:

They are poor and yet they make many rich.
They are completely destitute and yet they enjoy complete abundance.
Christians cannot be distinguished from the rest of the human race by country or language or customs they do not live in cities of their own.  They do not use a peculiar form of speech they do not  follow an eccentric manner of life. Christians are residents.
And although they live in greek and barbarian cities alike as each ones lot has been cast they follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other matters, so the eat and dress similar to other people
they live amidst other people
at the same time they give prove of the remarkable and their extraordinary commonwealth.
They live in their own countries but only as resident aliens.
They have a share in everything as citizen and yet they endure everything as foreigners.
Every foreign land is their fatherland and yet every fatherland is their foreign land.
Christians marry like everyone else and they beget children but they don’t discard their unwanted infants.
They share their food with each other but not their marriage bed.
The busy themselves on earth but their citizenship is in heaven.
They love all people but by all are persecuted.
They are unknown but still they are condemned.
They are put to death and yet they are brought to life (the were not afraid to die)
They are dishonored but in their very dishonor glorified.
They are defamed and they are vindicated.
They are reviled and yet they bless
They love their enemies.
When they are affronted they still pay due respect.
So Christians are similar to ordinary Romans and yet they are distinctive from ordinary Romans.

What the soul is in the body that Christians are in the world.

Our pastor then challenged us to contemplate:  What would an "outsider" say of us today?  


They drive cars but ....
They own houses yet....
They live in the most powerful nation of the earth but....
Some have money but...
They dress comfortably but...
They watch movies but...
They use technology....


Monday, January 2

Bring on the new year!

This past year was a year of many changes for us: changes in jobs, living situations, felt like just about everything but family, thankfully.  We started the year with a very specific life plan and have ended the year looking deeply into the unknown.

My hubby and I just finished going through the devotional Moments with You, by Dennis and Barbara Rainey (excellent devotional book for couples, by the way!), and the last devotional of the year was thought provoking and quite suitable for our family.  You might say it is our family's theme this coming year.  The devotional talked of trusting God, in day and night, and quoted the first four lines of a poem, as seen below.

The lines are from the poem "The Gate of the Year", written in 1908 by Minnie Louise Haskins:

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. 
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”

So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. 
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
So heart bestill:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.

Happy New Year!