Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Heart's Desire

Thank You, Lord, for giving me a glimpse into my heart's desire. For so long, I merely existed, and You pulled me out of that. And, very slowly and carefully You put me back together. And, when You did, there was this One Thing within me, the One Thing that I was afraid to wish for, afraid to hope for. You knew what it was. And, again, very slowly and carefully You allowed me to see it, to hope for it, to believe for it and even to speak it out loud. And now, I own it, too, along with heart's desire.

Ghana...Lawra...Children orphaned because their parents died from AIDS..."my kids." Thank You, Jesus!

Is there still something deep within my heart? Yes. Will I ever speak it? I doubt it. But, God knows and that's good enough for me!

The Seventh Day of Christmas

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Seven Swans A-swimming

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:

1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving,

6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Sixth Day of Christmas

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Six Geese A-laying

The six days of creation that confesses

God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Fifth Day of Christmas

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Five Gold Rings

The first Five Books of the Old Testament,

known as the Torah or the Pentateuch:

1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy,

which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace

in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Fourth Day of Christmas

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four Calling Birds

The Four Gospels:

1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John,

which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself

in Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the Third Day of Christmas...

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Three French Hens

The Three Theological Virtues:

1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Second Day of Christmas

Two Turtle Doves

The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The First Day of Christmas

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

God is Doing a Good Work in...Me?

This morning I realized that God really is doing a good thing in me. For years I didn't like the Christmas Season because of the emphasis on family. It was everywhere (and probably still is.) Going shopping for family, family dinners, decorating as a family, going to church as a family where the Advent wreath was lit by...a family! Now, I'm not against families, but even after years it still hurt that I was divorced and that I was never blessed with children. Living at least 2 hours from family didn't help either. I ached to be part of a family at Christmas. (I want to stress that I loved the Reason for the Season!)

Then, two years ago, I made my first trip to Ghana. I prayed that God would work a miracle within me that Christmas season. I had taken a Bible with me, but it wasn't a study Bible. And, I didn't have a computer with me. I preached 10 times while there. At least 5 times were during the Advent/Christmas season. God and I had several long talks that year. I knew He was with me. Christmas in a Ghanaian village is very different than here in the US.

Last year, I had knee replacement surgery in December, so I didn't make it out for all the Christmas festivities. I was basically home bound most of the month. I was able to make it to church Christmas Eve, but that's all.

Now, it is Christmas 2009. And, I have realized that the family thing doesn't bother me! I volunteered to light candles & read at the Christmas Eve service tonight at 10:00. I thought I was volunteering to light the altar candles & read the Scripture. The reality is that I will be lighting the Advent Wreath and Christ candles and read those readings...and, on what I beleive to be my last Christmas here for several years. Praise God! He is so good to me!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Family Christmas

I'm getting ready to travel to visit my family for Christmas. It's just my two brothers and my sister now. And, I live at least 2 hours from them. That isn't bad though. It gives me a chance to visit every so often. But, this year will be different.

This year will be my last Christmas to spend with my family for several years. At least, that's what I'm believing. I am planning to move to Ghana in 2010, specifically in the spring. I'll be there for four years working with AIDS orphans in one of the poorest areas of the country. So, Christmas with family will be bittersweet. I'm so happy to be able to share this time with my siblings and look forward to next year when I'll be celebrating in a very different way. Yet, I'll miss my family.

But, there is one thing that makes me Christ, we are never far apart from each other!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

12 days of Christmas

Contrary to popular belief, the 12 days of Christmas do not end with Christmas, but begin with it!

The Twelve Days of Christmas is probably the most misunderstood part of the church year among Christians who are not part of liturgical church traditions. Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve days before Christmas, but in most of the Western Church are the twelve days from Christmas until the beginning of Epiphany (January 6th; the 12 days count from December 25th until January 5th). In some traditions, the first day of Christmas begins on the evening of December 25th with the following day considered the First Day of Christmas (December 26th). In these traditions, the twelve days begin December 26 and include Epiphany on January 6.

Watch for the meanings of each day, beginning on Christmas Day!

Monday, December 14, 2009


I sit down alone,

Only God is here;

In His presence I open,

I read His books;

And what I thus learn,

I teach.

-John Wesley

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Prayer and fasting

Today is the day that The Mission Society has put aside for prayer and fasting. It is the desire of the president of The Mission Society to spend a day of focusing on the Lord and seeking is face. Seeking God's will and vision for The Mission Society as a whole and for the various departments will be a part of the day, as well as praying for specific needs of the mission fields worldwide.

Fasting is a Christian discipline that I have not practiced much in my life. I know I should. And, whenever I set my wants aside and seek the face of the Lord, I know that I have been blessed. When you combine prayer and fasting, great things begin to happen. But, what, specifically, is prayer and fasting? Prayer and fasting is defined as voluntarily going without food in order to focus on prayer and fellowship with God. Prayer and fasting often go hand in hand, but this is not always the case. You can pray without fasting, and fast without prayer. It is when these two activities are combined and dedicated to God's glory that they reach their full effectiveness. Having a dedicated time of prayer and fasting is not a way of manipulating God into doing what you desire. Rather, it is simply forcing yourself to focus and rely on God for the strength, provision, and wisdom you need.

Today, I will spend time in prayer as I fast. I will seek God's strength, provision and wisdom that I need as I prepare to move to Ghana. Even though I look forward to the move and wish it were soon, it is not easy. I need and want all He has for me, especially in this time of my life.