Thursday, 25 December 2008

Open Your Gift from God (Rick Warren)

You’re not reading this by accident. No, God knew before you were born that you would be here in this moment. He planned to get your attention for just a few seconds so he could say this to you: “I’ve seen every hurt in your life, and I’ve never stopped loving you. You matter to me. I love you more than you will ever know. I made you to love you, and I’ve been waiting for you to love me back.”

God is saying, “I want the rest of your life to be the best of your life. I’m with you, and I’m for you. I want to save you from your past. I want to save you for the purpose I made you for. And I want to save you by my grace. If you’ll let me do that, I will give you peace with me, peace of me, and peace with other people. But you’ve got to open the door and receive the Christmas gift.”

If you gave me a Christmas gift and I never opened it, you would be disappointed. And it would be a worthless gift because I don’t receive the benefit of a gift I never opened.

Jesus Christ is God’s Christmas gift to you. Yet some of us have gone Christmas after Christmas and never opened the best gift of all – God’s gift of salvation. Why even celebrate Christmas if you’re not going to open the biggest gift? It doesn’t make sense to leave unwrapped the gift of your past forgiven, a purpose for living, and a home in heaven.

Jesus Christ says to you, “I can replace the frustration in your heart with peace. I can replace the guilt, resentment, shame, and grudges with forgiveness. I can replace the worry and anxiety with confidence and faith. I can replace depression or despair with hope. I can replace emptiness with meaning and purpose. I can replace confusion with clarity. But I’m not going to break down the door of your heart. You’ve got to invite me in.”

God says: “It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from, if you want me and you are ready to do as I say, the door is open.”

It doesn’t matter what your religious background is – Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Buddhist, Baptist, Hindu, or no religion. This is not about religion. God didn’t send Jesus to give you religion. He sent him so you could have a personal relationship with God. It’s all about relationship.

Prayer:

Dear God, I’m scared, but I want to get to know you. I don’t understand it all, but I thank you that you love me. I thank you that you’re with me even when I didn’t recognize it. I thank you that you are for me; that you didn’t send Jesus to condemn me but to save me.

I admit I never even realized I needed a Savior, but today I want to receive the Christmas gift of your Son. I ask you to save me from my past, my regrets, my mistakes, my sins, my habits, my hurts, and my hang-ups. Save me from myself.

I ask you to save me for your purpose. I want to know why you put me on this planet. And I want to fulfill what you made me to do. I want to learn to love you and trust you and have a relationship with you.

I need peace with you, God, and I need you to put your peace in my heart. I need you to take away the stress and fill me with your love. Help me be a peacemaker, to help others find peace with you and each other. In your name I pray, amen
.


(© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Overjoyed... Grateful...


...relieved that Christmas is so much more than turkey, cards, presents, carols, tinsel, snow, sleigh-bells and santa!!


It's more than what we can ever know, hope for or imagine.


"Christmas is much more than the sum of all our memories and expectations. It goes far beyond a family celebration or a retail event. It is about the entrance of the almighty, eternal God into human history on an astonishing rescue mission. It is about a gift a million times greater than the most opulent present. It is about a peace far beyond any human ceasefire.
It is about Jesus. It is about love on a scale we can barely imagine." (From introduction to the Christmas week, Closer to God, © Scripture Union)

Have a very joyful, peaceful, hopeful CHRISTMAS ... !!

PS - you can catch us celebrating here :o)

Friday, 19 December 2008

the ovengloves in 'action'



...speaks for itself. Surely.
(see previous post - about half way down)

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Bathing by candlelight - and other bites of loveliness

The lightbulbs in our bathroom have both 'blown', and so I am quite enjoying bathing the children by candlelight for the time being... it feels rather romantic and relaxing! It makes the room a lot warmer too!


Here is Fireman Tom, 'label-ted' in tow (I should explain - this teddy has only one thing going for it: the silky label on its bottom! Were it not for the label, Tom would simply not want to know).


Ben and Tom pretending to make me 'dinner'. The whole game took on a new dimension when they started experimenting with the oven gloves...


This picture is of the 'finale' of Tom's nativity play. There is something so incredibly moving about Joseph and Mary in wheelchairs... I think maybe it speaks to me of God's perfection meeting with our imperfection at Christmas time.


Mark had run out of hankies. I gave him hankies. (he counted them, there were 25)


An early morning shot of mummy and Ben. He looks particularly exquisite... Me? Bit sleepy!


This last one was a self portrait. I had given Sam my camera in one of my more generous moments... I think this one came out just perfect!! He really IS that goofy in real life. Ah, Sam! We love you!!

Friday, 12 December 2008

just a quick little note to say I have started a new blog...
i felt the Lord ask me to do this, as recently i have been struggling to have a devotional time every day
i hope to simply copy the verse(s) which 'jump out' at me as i read
and then maybe (maybe not) write a few thoughts on why that particular verse speaks to me, what i feel God may be saying through it
through this exercise, i hope to be forced to really ponder what i'm reading, not just skim over a passage and consider my quiet time done and dusted for another day!
already i have been meditating on Scripture more readily, more naturally, more excitedly
and feel enriched and invigorated by God's Word
i do not plan to be legalistic about this, and so may not necessarily post something every day, although that is certainly my aim...
for i am under grace, not under law.
please come and take a look, and contribute your thoughts as you feel led.

blessings to each and every one of you
thank you to those of you who read my blog, i am more grateful for your friendship and your love than you will ever know

Just couldn't resist posting this...


(Mr Wibbz, in a slightly less sane moment... Dancing to "Girls" by Sugababes. Oh help.)

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Prayer in action

This is the true story of a pastor who was too busy for a homeless lady who’d asked him to help her, so he fobbed her off with a promise to pray for her instead.
She wrote this poem and gave it to a local Shelter officer:

I was hungry,
And you formed a humanities group to discuss my hunger.
I was imprisoned,
And you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release.
I was naked,
And in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance.
I was sick,
And you knelt and thanked God for your health.
I was homeless,
And you preached a sermon on the spiritual shelter of the love of God.
I was lonely,
And you left me alone to pray for me.
You seem so holy, so close to God
But I am still very hungry – and lonely – and cold.

Ouch!
This hurts...
Maybe mostly because I, also, am guilty...
I am oh so very good at promsing to pray for somone - and yet how many times have I forgotten to do even that!
I feel so convicted.

"Faith without actions is dead" (James 2:26)
"Dear children let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1John 3:18)

Monday, 8 December 2008

Passing the Purple Hat to You (it was meant to be about 2 months ago... sorry!!)


IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - by Erma Bombeck
(written after she found out she was dying from cancer).

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's', more 'I'm sorry's.'
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute. Look at it and really see it . . live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!
Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what
Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.


Oh Lord help me to live this day without wasting a minute, without wishing any moment away, and with the grace only You can give...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Tom likes it in bed...


...although I don't much care for him being poorly... and much as I love cuddling up with him in my big bed, I quite prefer it when he's his energetic, active, bubbly other self. Oh how I long for the warmer days of spring and summer, when the threat of infection is so much reduced, and I can breathe a sigh of relief for a while! I am tired of winter already, and I am liking it in bed, too...

Friday, 5 December 2008

it's my turn...

i have finally succumbed to the bug that's been doing the rounds in our home, and have spent the last 24 hours in bed, swallowing razor blades.
i don't get really ill all that often - thank goodness!! but right now, i feel really ill. properly ill, with a temperature, achy body, raw throat and waves of nausea coming and going...: the works, basically.
however i will say one thing: i'm so grateful it's the week-end and mr wibbz can be there to help. oh, and another thing: mr wibbz is a superb nurse. i'm finding myself pretty moved by the way he's looking after me, and being understanding and strong. considering he's only just had 2 days off work himself with the same, nasty virus, and has only just returned back to work, i take my hat off to him!
thank you Mark...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Craving a simple Christmas

Each year I am appalled and pained at how our society masks the truth of Christmas, and misses the point by about a thousand miles.
"...the garishness of the season seems to provoke me more than ever. a few days ago i wandered the store aisles, turned shiny balls over in my hand, brushed against velvet with cold fingers, cringed at the plastic music. i left hollow and starving for something more..."
Tonia, a lovely blogging friend of mine, has written about her hunger for a return to the raw meaning of Christmas: a simple Christmas, which in its simplicity and bareness, shows Christ unadorned, in all His glory.

Please visit Tonia's blog and read the whole post. It would also be of great benefit to anyone who is sick of the way Christmas has turned into a spending binge, to watch the following video. And go to this website for more on the Advent Conspiracy... Awesome stuff.



Come, Lord Jesus...