Saturday, December 31, 2011

Predictions for 2012

I originally received this from a friend in 2009 for 2010 but I think you will agree the predictions will still be accurate for 2012.  Have a blessed 2012!

Top 10 Predictions for 2012

1.. The Bible will still have all the answers.

2. Prayer will still be the most powerful thing on Earth..

3. The Holy Spirit will still move.

4. God will still honor the praises of His people.

5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.

6. There will still be singing of praise to God.

7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.

8. There will still be room at the Cross.

9. Jesus will still love you.

10..Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.

Isn't it great to remember Who is really in control, and that; "the Word of the Lord endures forever."

( 1 Peter 1:25 )

Monday, December 26, 2011

Today's Tidbit of Helpful Information: 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray For Your Kids

This slip of paper I had have for quite a while, I used to help our associate pastor at our old church with PowerPoint presentations and such.  He wrote his notes for this particular month on the back of a copy of Bob Hostetler's "31 Biblical Virtues to Pray For Your Kids".  I saved it and have prayed through it several times over the years.  Perhaps with the new year coming up, we can purpose to cover our children in intentional prayer for the virtues of godly warriors.

Rather than type it all out for you again, I am going to send you to someone who has already done the work. :o)

I am in commando declutter mode around here. I have been clipping and saving little bits of helpful information throughout my married life....and that's it. Just saving them. Sometimes they are in my nightstand drawer, a folder, the junk drawer, the cookbook, etc. I know a great idea is to store them in a household binder but I am not even remotely interested in adding ANYTHING else to this house right now. So in an effort to rid my house of these little bits and bobs of paper, I'm going to post them here, like a cork own Pinterest, if you will.

Christmas Begins Now

"When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
     to find the lost,
     to heal those broken in spirit,
     to feed the hungry,
     to release the oppressed,
     to rebuild the nations,
     to bring peace among all peoples,
     to make a little music with the heart…

And to radiate the Light of Christ,
every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say.
Then the work of Christmas begins.

The message of the Feast of Epiphany announces to all people, everywhere:

Rise up in splendor…your light has come,
The Glory of the Lord shines upon you!

Let the work of Christmas begin, and let it begin with you."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Not Christmas Yet!

"The celebration of Advent is one of those places where the Church and the world  in which she abides are clearly at odds.  This becomes very apparent when you watch the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade and hear that the Christmas Season begins with the arrival of Santa Clause in New York City and then go to Church the following Sunday to witness a family lighting the first of four candles to commemorate the beginning of the Advent Season a time where we prepare for the Feast of the Incarnation of the Lord, Christmas.

We hear relentlessly how our economy is dependent on merchant’s ability to see enough goods during the “Holiday Shopping Season”.  Every where we go, the world is getting frantic, loud, and even at times chaotic, all in the name of Christmas.

Advent’s message comes from a very different place.  It comes from Isaiah calling the Jewish people back to a humble faithfulness.  It comes form John standing in the River Jordan reminding us that this world is passing and that we need to renew ourselves in its waters to become whole.  It comes from Mary, the young mother-to-be, quietly waiting to introduce Jesus to the world in a very real way.  Advent is a time that is fundamentally quiet, reflective, joyful, and hopeful.  It has very little to do with the commotion of shopping, the stress that comes with trying to make ends meet while generating new debts, and the  guilt that can be associated with not being able to buy enough for your kids or family.

Stop.  Be still and let God be God.  Prepare the way of the Lord.  Remember that Jesus came in the quiet of the night in a stable and was not born at Macy’s."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Between the Already and the Not-Yet

"In Advent, we remember that we are living in the interval between the already - that Christ has come - and the not-yet - that He will come again. This is the period in history where He is calling His Church to Evangelization. We begin with ourselves, reflecting on our own life in Christ. We also think of the future hope that belongs to all who are in Christ and those yet who will come to Him." 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Advent is not just for Catholics

"Some Protestants oppose observing Advent because it sounds “too Catholic.” I see where they get it, what with candles, colors, rituals, metaphor and all. But this misses the point, and it denies worshippers the opportunity to experience rich, fervent spiritual evidence of God’s active, redemptive presence in the world.

Ironically, some of the Christians who complain the loudest about the commercialization of Christmas and the secularization of the season miss out on an excellent opportunity to counter those forces when they decline to observe Advent.

That points to the reason we need Advent so desperately this year. It’s counter-cultural. Sure, pushing against commercialism and secularism is part of it. But those concepts, while obvious, are sidelights compared to the primary issue.

Advent tells us to wait. It reminds us we’re not in control; God is. Advent provides a structure for remembering that the world waited in lonely cosmic exile until the Messiah, Jesus, arrived to redeem us from our sins and the morass of our own making. And Advent suggests what was true 2,000 years ago remains true today. We do not set the agenda for our lives; God does.

We live in a society that hates to wait. That’s because we inherently believe we -- individually, each of us -- are most important. We want to microwave our lives so what we desire happens immediately. We want gratification now. This is a symptom of deep-set selfishness as old as Adam and Eve and as current as Washington gridlock, the latest financial scandal and the newest petulant media or sports superstar.
The one issue Americans seem to agree on is that our society is in decline. The skids have been greased by selfishness. The demand to get what I want and to get it now is but a symptom of epidemic egotism that refuses to consider the common good. So we need to be reminded we are not the center of the universe; God is. Waiting is a good discipline for learning that lesson.

Take a deep breath. Light an Advent candle.

And wait."

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Could be Any Day

The Church does not superstitiously observe days, merely as days, but as memorials of important facts.  Christmas might be kept as well upon one day of the year as another; but there should be a stated day for commemorating the birth of our Saviour, because there is danger that what may be done on any day, will be neglected.  ~Samuel Johnson

Thursday, December 15, 2011


“Let's approach Christmas with an expectant hush, rather than a last-minute rush.” Anonymous

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

We Are Waiting

Sometimes it seems as though we spend our lives waiting. Daydreaming about an upcoming vacation, worrying over a medical test, preparing for the birth of grandchild-our days are filled with anticipation and anxiety over what the future holds. As Christians, we too spend our lives waiting. But we are waiting for something much bigger than a trip, bigger even than retirement or a wedding: We are waiting for the return of Jesus in glory. Advent heightens this sense of waiting, because it marks not only our anticipation of Jesus' final coming, but also our remembrance of his arrival into our world more than 2,000 years ago.” Anonymous

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Spirit of Expectancy

Christmas has lost its meaning for us because we have lost the spirit of expectancy. We cannot prepare for an observance. We must prepare for an experience.” Handel Brown

Monday, December 12, 2011

Wise Men

This Advent we look to the Wise Men to teach us where to focus our attention. We set our sights on things above, where God is. We draw closer to Jesus... When our Advent journey ends, and we reach the place where Jesus resides in Bethlehem, may we, like the Wise Men, fall on our knees and adore him as our true and only King.” Mark Zimmermann in Our Advent Journey

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jesus - Our Keyholder

"Life in a prison cell may well be compared to Advent: one waits, hopes, and does this, that, or the other - things that are really of no consequence - the door is shut, and can only be opened from the outside.” Letter from Dietrich Bonhoeffer at Tegel prison, 1943

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christ is for Everyone

"Christ was born in the first century, yet he belongs to all centuries. He was born a Jew, yet He belongs to all races. He was born in Bethlehem, yet He belongs to all countries." George W. Truett

Friday, December 9, 2011

Affirmations of Christmas

I believe that Christmas is more than a time for parties and ornaments; it is a time for remembering Christ and the incarnation of God’s love in human flesh.

I believe there are gifts more important than the ones under the Christmas tree, the things we teach our children, the way we share ourselves with friends, and the industry with which we set about reshaping the world in our time.

I believe that the finest carols are often sung by the poorest voices; from hearts made warm by the wonder of the season.

I believe in the angel’s message that we should not be afraid—that the Child of Bethlehem is able to overcome all anxieties and insecurities.

I believe in prayer and quietness as a way of appropriating Christmas—that if I wait in silence I will experience the presence of the one born in the manger, for he lives today as surely as he lived then.

I believe in going away from Christmas as the wise men went: "another way." I want to be different when these days are past—more centered, more thoughtful, more caring.

And I believe God will help me. Amen

Thursday, December 8, 2011

1 Corinthians Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband. Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

At Christmas

"A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year;
He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season is here;
Then he’s thinking more of others than he’s thought the months before,
And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for.
He is less a selfish creature than at any other time;
When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.

When it’s Christmas man is bigger and is better in his part;
He is keener for the service that is prompted by the heart.
All the petty thoughts and narrow seem to vanish for awhile
And the true reward he’s seeking is the glory of a smile.
Then for others he is toiling and somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas he is almost what God wanted him to be.

If I had to paint a picture of a man I think I’d wait
Till he’d fought his selfish battles and had put aside his hate.
I’d not catch him at his labors when his thoughts are all of pelf,
On the long days and the dreary when he’s striving for himself.
I’d not take him when he’s sneering, when he’s scornful or depressed,
But I’d look for him at Christmas when he’s shining at his best.

Man is ever in a struggle and he’s oft misunderstood;
There are days the worst that’s in him is the master of the good,
But at Christmas kindness rules him and he puts himself aside
And his petty hates are vanquished and his heart is opened wide.
Oh, I don’t know how to say it, but somehow it seems to me
That at Christmas man is almost what God sent him here to be."

~Edgar Guest

from Collected Verse of Edgar Guest
NY:Buccaneer Books, 1976, pg. 239

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Christmas Is Not

"It’s sharing your gifts, not purchasing gifts;
It’s not wrapping presents, its being present
and wrapping your arms around the ones you love;
It’s not getting Christmas cards out on time,
It’s sending any card, anytime, at the right time;
It’s not having the biggest and best Christmas light display,
It’s displaying the Christ light that comes from your heart;
It’s not Santa coming down the chimney,
It’s Jesus coming down from heaven,
and giving us the gift of eternal life."

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let Me Not Keep Christmas

"Let me not wrap, stack, box, bag, tie, tag, bundle, seal, keep Christmas.
     Christmas kept is liable to mold.
     Let me give Christmas away, unwrapped, by exuberant armfuls. Let me share, dance, live Christmas unpretentiously, merrily, responsibly with overflowing hands, tireless steps and sparkling eyes.
     Christmas given away will stay fresh—even until it comes again."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In the Least Expected and Obvious Place....

  "There is no evidence of any kind regarding the date of Jesus’ birth. His nativity began to be celebrated on Dec. 25 in Rome during the early part of the fourth century (AD 336) as a Christian counterpart to the pagan festival, popular among the worshipers of Mithras, called Sol Invictis, the Unconquerable Sun. At the very moment when the days are the shortest and darkness seems to have conquered light, the sun passes its nadir. Days grow longer, and although the cold will only increase for quite a long time, the ultimate conquest of winter is sure. This astronomical process is a parable of the career of the Incarnate One. At the moment when history is blackest, and in the least expected and obvious place, the Son of God is born…"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Nothing Ordinary About It

  "A noted poet was once asked in an interview if he could explain one of his poems ‘in ordinary terms.’ He replied with some feeling, ‘If I could say what I meant in ordinary terms I would not have had to write the poem.’
     From the time of Christ’s birth the people of God have ‘had to write a poem’ to Christmas, composing a single multi-stranded paean of praise spanning the centuries, because ultimately the meaning of Christmas resists being fully spelled out ‘in ordinary terms.’"

Friday, December 2, 2011

Take Time to Be Aware

"Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.
   "An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’
   "The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fire of Advent

"Advent, like its cousin Lent, is a season for prayer and reformation of our hearts. Since it comes at winter time, fire is a fitting sign to help us celebrate Advent…If Christ is to come more fully into our lives this Christmas, if God is to become really incarnate for us, then fire will have to be present in our prayer. Our worship and devotion will have to stoke the kind of fire in our souls that can truly change our hearts. Ours is a great responsibility not to waste this Advent time."