Friday, December 28, 2012

A New Year, A New Song

Our wee one, Little Bit, has a hard time taking a nap at any place other than home. And, we were visiting family for Christmas. By the time naptime rolled around, she was not happy, to say the least.

A walk in the stroller out-of-doors was in due order and pronto!

Sunshine Girl followed along, and as I pushed the stroller, we took turns searching for dandelions to blow.

It wasn't long before Little Bit was a happy camper.



But then, Sunshine Girl had a sorrowful look on her face.  And, then I saw why. 

A little bird lie still and lifeless on the side of the road. Sunshine Girl bent down low to get a good look at it.

"Can I touch it, Mommy?"

"Better not, honey, it's dead; it's little heart isn't beating anymore.  Best leave the little bird alone."

Someone had cared enough to leave some flowers on the road right next to it.

"Poor little thing," I mused.

Being the lover of nature that I am, I think my children have followed suit. I found out later, that Bright Girl had left the flowers.

Finding the fallen bird left a little ache in my heart, reminding me of many little aches I have felt this year.

Like Billy still being jobless (it's almost been a year now),

and my side of the family are all sick (I couldn't see them for Christmas).

What do I do with all these little aches and pains of life in this broken world?

What will 2013 have in store for me?

{{Is anybody out there?}} 

{{Does anybody care?}}

Well, yes.

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

He is there. He does care. Even for the little fallen birds.

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:29-31, NASB)

{{Hallelujah!  What a Savior!}}

Just knowing that Christ cares has really lifted me up and given me peace in my heart and hope for the future.

Thankfully, I don't have to sit around worrying about what 2013 will be like or what little ache will come next. I know my Savior will take care of me.

"He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD" (Psalm 40:3)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Symphony of Peace




How can there be a melody in life's sorrows?
By listening to the harmony of His love and goodness.
How can there be rest in the fret of tomorrow?
By knowing that even minor notes will bless.


It was the night of my twelve-year-old’s piano recital, and she still couldn't get through her piece without her fingers slipping.

"It's no use, Mom. I just can't get it right." Her face fell. 

Having a houseful of children, it's hard to focus on just one, but I knew this was a moment I couldn't let pass by. 

Amidst the happy cacophony of my two middle children, chasing around the Christmas tree, and baby pulling on my pant legs to be picked up, I felt a flood of compassion for my tween-aged girl.

"Even if you mess up horribly and don't get a single note right, I'll still love you."

You could see her shoulders relax; she tried one more time.

There were still a few missed notes here and there, but she wasn't fazed. She had tried her best and was ready to go.

Another day, another moment. My ten-aged daughter wants me to read to her but I've got a fussy baby needing a rocking and a nap.

I've already said to her twice maybe three times, "another time, dear one, Mommy's busy right now."

And, here she is again, asking for me, for my lap, for my love.

The moment is about to pass me by. I sense an urging to slow down.

Settling the baby in my lap and her big sister at my side, we explore the wonderful far off places we can visit in books.

Picture a house. Only this house is not only made of brick, stone, or wood, but of flesh and blood, sweat and tears. This is our house. Our house doesn't just need beds made and floors swept clean. It needs kind words, hugs and kisses, blessings, and prayers.

We, as mommies, get this inordinate affection for perfection of our home, when the home of our heart is anything but. Our restlessness is indicative of the state of our hearts.

Our bodies are the house and dwelling place of the Spirit of the living God, and when we open the windows of our eyes and look to God, the Father of lights, we too will be filled with His love and goodness.

If we would but make time each day to climb into our Father's lap and let Him read His Word to us, then our house and our heart will be a haven of peace for our children. 

By the mercy and grace of God manifested in our lives, we mothers can be the lap incarnate for our little ones to climb upon and rest.

And, then they would know the peace of Christ that surpasses understanding, and our faith would be actions not just spoken words.


And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)




Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Monkey Trap



My six-month-old plunged her hand into the bite-sized snack canister, grabbing some little ringed-shaped, apple-flavored, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. After attempting to pull out a handful, much to her surprise, it was stuck! 

Like a monkey trap, when she tried to hold onto those delicious goodies, her hand became inevitably, most assuredly, stuck.

"Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!" she calls to me.

But, wait. When I gently tug on her hand, I can’t pull it free. She has to let go of her own accord. It takes some time and coaxing, but she finally releases her grasp. And, then her hand was free.

Doesn’t that sounds a lot like me—like all of us?

We find something we want, but we can't have it (for me lately, perfection in some way, shape, or form), but we don't want to let it go. And, if we don't let go, we're stuck. Unable to enjoy life as the gift it truly is.

So, we hold onto that idea or idol with all our might, all our being. Until, the Lord brings us to our senses and we cry out, "Abba!  Father!  Who will save me from this body of sin and death?!" (Romans 7:24)

Our Father in heaven, our Deliverer comes, but we have to let go of our idols and cling to Him alone.

He will not force us, but He's there, coaching us, speaking tenderly to us, wooing us to Himself. If we would but let go, we would be free and wrapped in the loving arms of the Almighty.

So, what's it gonna be? Will you let go, or will you cling to that which will be the death of you?

Life is waiting, if you would but let go and let God. One finger at a time. Ten digits loosed and the weight of something that will suck the life out of you will be gone.

You don't really need it, but you do need Him. He will fill the void with His Spirit and the fruit that comes from abiding in Him:

To be truly alive and free and held close by the One who came to set us free.

Believe me it's worth it.

Just let it go.


"My dear brothers, take note of this, let every man be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (James 1:19)."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Christmas Tree Story





Our family has quite a story about our first pre-lit artificial Christmas tree, involving a mangy kitty, a can of Lysol, and lots of forgiveness.  

Several years ago, we took in a cat from a relative, and he was quite a mess.  

His hair had been shaved, his bottom burned because he sat on a hot stove, and he was full of fleas. I made an appointment to get all his shots and to have him neutered. But, the vet couldn't see him for a week.

Knowing that cats mark their territory if they aren't fixed, I made him a nice cozy spot in our garage, until his appointment.

After he went to the vet, we started him on flea treatment, he grew out a beautiful, healthy fur coat.

It was after Thanksgiving that we decided to put up the Christmas tree—the Christmas tree, only a year ago, my husband had braved the mad dash to get the rock bottom Black Friday price at Macy's.  

Right away, we noticed the bag that held the tree had something brownish and sticky on it. One good whiff and we knew that our kitty had done a little territorial "marking" on the bag, before we had him fixed—and, it must have happened months ago.

The puddle had been sitting on the bag all that time. I hoped that the bag kept the tree from olfactory ruin, but upon opening it and getting an eye watering sniff, we both knew the stench had definitely gotten through.

My husband rushed to the store and purchased a few cans of air freshener. Spraying it with all his might, he desperately tried to de-stink the tree, but to no avail.

The garbage truck came the next day and took away our beautiful, musty pre-lit Christmas tree.

We were disappointed to be sure but, we forgave our kitty. He couldn't help marking our Christmas tree. It was in his nature. He had to be changed before he could do any differently.

We humans are the same.

We want to be humane, caring, giving, and loving, but can't seem to pull it off. Instead, we are angry brutes and deal with people's hearts like a bull in a china shop, piercing through and wounding all in our wake.

It really stinks.

Sin that is.

There is an internal change that we must all undergo to be saved from our sins.

Unlike Lysol (which didn't work), the taint and effects of sin, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we walk in humble obedience, is truly lifted from our hearts and our nature is changed for the better.

Our sins are such an awful stench to God that Jesus Christ received the full due punishment for them all on the cross. By His grace we are saved, by His stripes we are healed. If we hold onto the truth in obedience without wavering, our lives will be transformed.

It is my hope that by the grace of God, the people of God, one person at a time, will reflect the beauty of the Lord and the curse and stink of sin will be done away with.  

Then we will be able to breathe deeply the sweet fragrance of the love of Christ that will emanate from our lives to this lost and broken world.

“…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:14, NASB

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent Prayers


This year I wanted to do something different for Advent.

I was going to skip the traditional calendar with opening flaps and surprise inside and do something different and hopefully more meaningful. 


I usually have a hard time coming up with family oriented activities on my own, but thankfully this one came to mind. 


Later, a friend posted the same sort of thing on her status so I knew it was meant to be.


It burdens me that there are countries that are restricted and even hostile to those who are Christians and don't really know who Jesus is and why we celebrate his birth.


For each day before Christmas, we as a family will pray for one country and write the name of the country on strips of green and blue paper--the colors of our lovely planet earth.





Stapling the strips together, we will create a paper chain to wrap around our Christmas tree and remind us to pray for the people of those countries. 






"Colombia really needs prayer," one friend wrote on my facebook page. She knew friends who were missionaries in Colombia that were killed for sharing the gospel.


If you would like to join our family in prayer for the nations this advent you can follow my blog and copy the following pages:




Advent Prayers for Restricted Nations



“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3) “Carry Each Other’s Burdens” (Galatians 6:2)



{{Week 1: The Americas and East Asia}}


December 1:
Pray for Colombia today

·         For President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon that he will become a Christian,
·         For the 93 people groups in Colombia, 4 unreached by the gospel,
·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression from FARC guerillas,
·         For healing and grace for the families of those attacked and murdered by FARC guerillas,
·         For FARC guerillas to hear the gospel, turn, and believe in Christ,
·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.

December 2:


Pray for Cuba today,



·         For the 14 people groups in Cuba, two unreached by the gospel,


·         For President General Raul Castro Ruz that he will become a Christian,


·         For Cubans who are atheist or in the occult that they will become Christians,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For access to Cuba for missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.

December 3: 



Pray for Mexico (Chiapas) today,


·         For Governor Juan José Sabines Guerrero that He will become a Christian,


·         For protection of Christians from interference, harassment, oppression, and violence by those who follow Catholicism blended with pagan rituals,


·         For the Catholics who mix with pagan rituals that they will become Christians,


·         For Christians to be able to worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.


·         For access to Chiapas for missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.



December 4:



Pray for North Korea today,


·         For Kim Jong Un to become a Christian,


·         For North Koreans that worship their leader as a god that they will become Christians,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For access to North Korea for missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.

December 5:


Pray for China today,



·         For 516 people groups in China, 428 unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Hu Jintao that he will become a Christian,


·         For atheist, Buddhist, or Confucius Chinese that they will become Christians,


·         For house churches, that they will be able to worship freely, distribute Bibles and Christian literature, and have the courage to share the gospel,


·         For perseverance for Christians who are in prison in China (more than in any other country),


·         For North Koreans Christians to find refuge in China,


·         For Christians to be able to worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.

December 6:


Pray for Mindanao, in the Philippines (the second largest island in the country) today,



·         For Muslim Mindanaons that they will trust in Christ and be saved,


·         For the Christians to be protected and persevere from persecution by the Muslims trying to control the six provinces on the island called the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and several Muslim terrorist organizations active in the area.


·         For Christians murdered by the terrorists that their families will experience healing and grace through Christ,


·         For terrorists that they will become Christians,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression and violence,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.


December 7:


Pray for Indonesia today,



·         For the 203 out of 784 people groups unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that he will become a Christian,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from Islamic Extremists,


·         That Islamic Extremists will become Christians,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution

{{Week 2: South Asia}}


December 8:


Pray for Vietnam today,



·         For the 63 out of 116 people groups in Vietnam are unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Trong Tan Sang that he will become a Christian,


·         For protection of Christians from deportation, interference, harassment , oppression, and violence,


·         For Communist and Buddhists that they will become Christians,


·         For Christians to be able to worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.

December 9:


Pray for Laos today,



·         For the 133 out of 147 people groups are unreached by the gospel,


·         For the Theravada Buddhists, the animistic spirit worship of the mountain tribes, and Communists that they will become Christians,


·         For President Lt. Gen. Choummali Saignason wilol become a Christian,


·         For protection of Christians from deportation, interference, harassment , oppression, and violence,


·         For Christians to be able to worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.

December 10:


Pray for Burma (Myanmar) today,



·         For the authorities who have used forced labor, genocides, rapes, tortures and detentions, against Christians that they will hear the gospel, turn, and believe in Christ,


·         For the 142 people groups, 51 unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Thein Sein that he will become a Christian,


·         For protection of Christians from deportation, interference, harassment , oppression, and violence,


·         For Christians to be able to worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.

December 11:


Pray for Nepal today,



·         For the 353 out of 380 people groups in Nepal unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav that he will become a Christian,


·         For militant Hindus and local Buddhist leaders who persecute believers that they will hear the gospel, turn and put their trust in Christ,


·         For protection of Christians from deportation, interference, harassment , oppression, and violence,


·         For Christians to be able to worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.

December 12:


Pray for India today,



·         For the 2,533 people groups, 2,229 unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Pratibha Devisingh Patil


·         For the 30 Hindu nationalist organizations that subscribe to an extremist ideology called Hindutva, which advocates the expulsion of non-Hindus from India.


·         For protection and perseverance for believers when persecution comes in the form of beatings, murders, imprisonments, church demolitions, destruction of property and Bible burnings.

December 13:


Pray for Sri Lanka today,



·         For the 76 people groups in Sri Lanka, 63 unreached by the gospel.


·         For militant Buddhist nationalist groups who persecute Christians through violence that they will hear the gospel, turn, and put their trust in Christ,


·         For President Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa that he will become a Christian,


·         For protection of Christians from deportation, interference, harassment , oppression, and violence,


·         For Christians to be able to worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.

December 14:


Pray for Maldives (a string of 1,191 islands in the Indian Ocean) today,



·         For the 10 people groups, five unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed that he will become a Christian,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from Muslim extremists,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For access to Maldives for missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.



{{Week 3: Africa}}


December 15:


Pray for Somalia today,


·         For the 22 people groups in Somalia, 16 unreached by the gospel,


·         For Transitional Federal President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed that he will become a Christian,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression from Islamic extremists,


·         For healing and grace for the families of those attacked and murdered by Islamic extremists,


·         For the Somalis who persecute Christian including family members, clan members, Islamic extremists and local administrators to hear the gospel, turn, and believe in Christ,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution.


·         For distribution of the Somali Bible which at this time is possible only in refugee camps and outside the country.


December 16:


Pray for Ethiopia today,


·         For the 19 of 116 people groups in Ethiopia that are unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Girma Woldegiorgis that he will become a Christian,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from Muslim extremists,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.


December 17:


Pray for Eritrea today,


·         For the 19 people groups, nine unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Isaias Afworki that he will become a Christian


·         For the 2,000 Christians in prison in Eritrea, and nearly every evangelical has been arrested at least once. Prisoners experience torture and extremely poor living conditions; several have died in custody.


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from Muslim extremists,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.




December 18:


Pray for Egypt today,


·         For the 23 of the 59 people groups are unreached by the gospel,


·         For Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri that he will become a Christian,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression from Islamic extremists,


·         For healing and grace for the families of those attacked and murdered by Islamic extremists,


·         For Islamic extremists that they will become Christians,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from Muslim extremists,


December 19:


Pray for Mali today,


·         For the 37 out of 62 people groups in Mali are unreached by the gospel,


·         For Interim President Dioncounda Traore that he will become a Christian,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from family members, clan members, Islamic extremists and local administrators,


·         For Muslims and animists in Mali that they will become Christians,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.


December 20:


Pray for Nigeria today,


·         For the 67 of the 523 people groups unreached by the gospel,


·         For President Goodluck Jonathan


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from Muslim extremists,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.


December 21:


Pray for Libya today,


·         For the 40 people groups, 28 unreached by the gospel,


·         For the Transitional National Council that they will be tolerant of Christians and the next leader of Libya will become a Christian,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For missionaries to have access to Libya to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.


Week 4: Middle East


December 22:


Pray for Yemen today,


·         For the Yemeni converts from Islam who face the death penalty if discovered,


·         For President Ali Abdallah Salih that he will become a Christian,


·         For national Christians whose pictures were posted online earlier this year; soon afterward the people in the pictures were arrested,


·         For Yemenis to be open to the gospel message.


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For missionaries to have access to Yemen to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.


December 23:


Pray for Saudi Arabia today,


·         For 26 of the 52 people groups in Saudi Arabia unreached by the gospel,


·         For King/Prime Minister Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud that he would become a Christian,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from Muslim extremists,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.


December 24:


Pray for Gaza and the West Bank today,


·         For 8 of the 20 people groups in Gaza and the West Bank are unreached by the gospel,


·         For President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas that he would become a Christian,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from Muslim extremists,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.



December 25:


Pray for Iran today,


·         For President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-Khamenei that they will become Christians,


·         For the Iranian pastor, Youcef Nadarkhani, who is facing the death penalty,


·         For the 103 people groups In Iran, 92 groups unreached by the gospel,


·         For protection and perseverance when Christians experience interference, harassment and oppression, and violence from Muslim extremists,


·         For Christians to be able worship freely and have courage to share the gospel without fear of persecution,


·         For missionaries to bring the gospel, Bibles, and Christian literature.

Have a very blessed Christmas dear friends!