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Monday, February 27, 2012

Banality

If you are not deeply disturbed by 'moral' and 'social' issues like exploitation of orphans through human trafficking and the mass murder of innocent people through abortion, please consider this idea, the 'banality of evil':
This banality stems from "thoughtlessness- the tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without critically thinking about the results of their action or inaction."
-Hannah Arendt,  German-Jewess political theorist, writing about the atrocities commited against humanity by the Nazis

When will we wake up and see what we've done- either by action or inaction- and understand our own role and responsibility, and implicit guilt, in the unspeakable crimes against humanity that happen against the children in our communities and around the world? How will our children's children feel about our response to these issues? Proud? The way we feel about folks who helped slaves find freedom through the underground railroad? Or will they shake their heads and wonder how we could stand idly by? You know, the way we feel about citizens in Germany who watched silently as their neighbors were taken by force from their homes and shipped to concentration camps?

‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’ Edmund Burke

What are you doing? Just think about that.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Look to the hills



Scripture memorization is a very useful tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit. Today, I was trying to read my Bible- it was not really sinking in. So, I switched to prayer. And God brought to mind a verse I recently memorized:
Psalm 121
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

It brought to mind a scene from LOTR- and the words of Gandalf that he spoke to Aragorn prior to this scene:
"Look to my coming on the first light of the fifth day, at dawn look to the east."

You can see when Aragorn remembers this promise, when the light of dawn shines through the window. You can see the difference this remembrance makes. Memorize the promises of God, and when you feel like Uruk-hai are pounding down your last defenses- look to the hills. Lift up your eyes. Here comes your help. Your help comes from God, the maker of heaven and earth. That's even BETTER than Gandalf showing up with the Rohirrim.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

This is why...

I have asked for prayer that things will move at God's speed, miraculous speed.
Here is a translation from Latvian (via Google Translate, I don't actually speak Latvian) of my and Anastasija's typed conversation this morning:

Anastasija: when you arrive in Latvia
Jocelyn: I hope to come in the summer
Jocelyn: we just got our passports
Anastasija: I look forward to you (handshake)
Jocelyn Rebisz: and we got our fingerprints done, so that Latvia will know we are good people
Jocelyn Rebisz: When we come, we come for 2 weeks
Jocelyn Rebisz: we will come in the summer, we hope
Jocelyn Rebisz: we will bring the new baby with us you will see
Anastasija: I am very sad for you: (
Jocelyn: I'm sorry it takes so long
Jocelyn Rebisz: it makes me sad to wait so long. I want to come get you as soon as possible
Jocelyn: I pray that God will protect your heart from the very sad as you wait for us
Anastasija: I want to cry, (
Jocelyn Rebisz: every evening, when I pray for Brilyn and Cade, and Jessup, I pray for you also
Jocelyn Rebisz: yes, I cry too. it is difficult to wait for you to return to our home
Anastasija: thank you dear mamuliƆ bye
Jocelyn Rebisz: we love you

So, pray.

XO

Home Study

Please pray that we find the home study person God has in mind for our family.
We have one good lead- we are just waiting to hear back from that person.
(Thanks for the tip, Kristen and Andy)

We talked to Anastasija this morning on Skype. She asked us a lot of questions about when we are coming to get her. She was definitely disappointed that it will probably be summer before we get there. So, please pray that things will go according to God's plan and His timing, and that our hearts (mine, Brilyn's, and Anastasija's) will have peace and be comforted as we wait.

XO
Joce

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Running errands

Thanks for your prayers for things to go speedy-quick!

This morning we were able to do our finger printing for our FBI background checks and get our passport applications submitted successfully.  Both of those processes have a lot of room for error (kind of like going to the DMV- there's always one more thing you need to have brought with you, like, your dog's mother's maiden name and her birth certificate) so to get them both done without any glitches was AWESOME! And, the people who helped us today were friendly. And helpful. And accomodating to our 3 small people.

Please keep praying for Godspeed in our paperwork process. And please be praying specifically that we find an AWESOME home study person.

Thanks folks!

XO
Joce

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hope

We got to talk to Anastasija this weekend. On Saturday morning I called her foster mom:
Me: "Sveiki! Tas ir Jocelyn...Anastasija America mommy."
Her foster mom: "Anastasija? Ya? Skype? Ya? Skype, skype." -click-

A few minutes later, we got a skype call from Anastasija. She looks well- I think she is growing. She asked us to please come for her soon- so please pray for speedy processes. Joe and I have a lot of paperwork and documents to fill out and obtain. So, pray for speed, Godspeed!

And here is part of my scripture reading for today:

Hebrews 11

The Heavenly Hope


13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises (Christ), but
having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed
that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such
things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. 15 And truly if they had
called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had
opportunity to return. 16 But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly
country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has
prepared a city for them.

I love the verse "for those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland." I want my life to declare plainly that this world is not my home. I am just a stanger, a pilgrim. I do not store up treasures here- but in that land that is further up, further in.

XO

Friday, February 10, 2012

Prayer points:

1. Home study. We would love to have a Christian home study person who will be a source of encouragement and wisdom.

2. Communication with Anastasija. We will be calling there tomorrow (Saturday) morning. This could be hard- we don't speak Latvian and her foster mom doesn't speak English.

3. Patience and perseverence.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

What a privilege

Hebrews 11:19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.



Sometimes I think we take our ability to approach and pray to the Almighty Creator of the Universe too lightly. It was bought at a great price. And it is no joke that our hearts and bodies have been washed with pure water and that we are invited to draw near without fear of being incincerated.

That perspective tends to keep my prayers less whiny and trivial and more God- and eternity-focused.



 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. Amen.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Prayer request

I would like to ask you to pray for Anastasija.
We have not heard from her in over a week. I have attempted to set up a few Skype dates, but she and her foster parents have not responded and have not logged into Skype.

Please pray that she would be encouraged, and that she is well.
Please pray that whatever is keeping her from logging into Skype would be resolved and that we would be able to talk ASAP.
Please pray for her however the Holy Spirit leads you.

Thanks for your prayers.

XO
Joce

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Be Faithful

Hebrews 3:12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”


Failure of the Wilderness Wanderers


16 For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.


The Promise of Rest


Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them,[a] not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said:
“So I swore in My wrath,
‘They shall not enter My rest,’”
although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; [c] 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.”
6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts.”
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
The Word Discovers Our Condition


11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.


Our Compassionate High Priest


14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


So, I heard this inspiring sermon this week about obeying God and trusting Him in the wilderness, and His mighty provision based on the story of the wilderness wanderers from Number 9- The Cloud and the Fire.
It was about their perfect obedience to follow the cloud and fire of God.

BUT THEN. Today I read in Hebrews about the Failure of the Wilderness Wanderers. That they hardened their hearts. And stopped obeying God. Of all things, they refused to enter the promised land. After all that.

So, now, in the course of a few days, I have been encouraged and WARNED. For the word they heard did not profit them because it was not mixed with faith. Lord! Let my hearing be mixed with faith that I might OBEY. Today, let me hear your voice, and do not let me harden my heart.

Now, I am glad for the next two sections in Hebrews as well- "The Word Discovers Our Condition" and "Our Compassionate High Priest." First, let the word of God discern our thoughts and the intents of our heart.
Then let us confess to our High Priest all our failures, "coming boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

With the word of God and Jesus as my High Priest, I have hope that I can Be Faithful.

You may be wondering why I would bother to blog about my personal devotions. Well, it's because of Hebrews 3:13 "But exhort one another daily, while it is called "Today," lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

So, consider yourself exhorted! :) Do not harden your heart. Do not ignore God's leading- that is called rebellion and leads to death. Instead, let your hearing of God's word be mixed with faith and GO! DO! Be God's light in this dark world.

Love.

About Me

About Me
I love Jesus, my hubby, my 6 kiddos, my farm, good books and good food.