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Monday, September 30, 2013

Giveaway- Seeking Christmas by Renee Robinson

Congratulations Wendy!
Look for your book to arrive in the mail! And may God bless you as you give Christmas away this year!
 
 
Is the message of Christmas lost in the commercialization and hectic pace? Can we celebrate with intentional purpose? Using devotions and activities, Seeking Christmas gives your family an experience to pass down for generations to come.
All during the month of September, you can enter to win this book by commenting here on the blog, linking to my blog, liking my blog links on facebook, sharing my blog links on facebook, or commenting on my blog links on facebook.

Any post with the label "Where Are You Christmas" is fair game for entries. Five entries possible per post. Have fun.

 Be the Voice.

Proverbs 31
8Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Forgotten Christmas

As you know, I love hosting kiddos for Christmas.

I also love giving forever gifts for Christmas.

I am just so convicted about the way we spend our money on trinkets for Christmas.
Seriously, buy a newer game thingy?
 

Or buy a well that provides clean drinking water AND a missionary that tells of the Living Water?



I have been thinking about writing this post for a few weeks, but was not sure what to say, how to say it. And then I was prompted by the Bible, of all things. :)

My verses for today are Luke 20:46-47
46 “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, 47 who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”

The scribes devour widows' houses..
My heart is just so moved, and sad. Our gluttony devours the poor. Our overspending, overeating, and overindulging is responsible for the physical and spiritual deaths of so many people. I pray for a wave of repentance, I pray for forgiveness. When I reach heaven and face the accuser- what will I see? Face after face of people for whom I could have provided a drink of clean water and a drink of the Living Water if I had lived a little more simply, but DID NOT?
O Lord, let not my gluttony cause the death of the poor. Let me live poorer and give richer: feeding poor and hungry bodies and souls.



Going into this weekend humbled.

Forgotten Christmas.org

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Don't miss this

Now. The time is now.

Click here and read Ann Voskamp about how YOUR time is now.

People. Children.



They are waiting for you to figure it out.
They are dying while you figure it out.
I am praying that you figure it out.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Are you listening?

I would like to take this moment to advocate for orphans. And I would like to prayerfully ask that you please click the following link to New Horizons.  

The world is full of children walking in darkness with no hope; but this is an opportunity to show them love and hope. New Horizons offers an opportunity for families to welcome Christ at Christmas and do foreign mission work without leaving the country.

Please pray for the children listed, children who are wondering if this hosting thing could be true, that God loves them and His people might care enough to bring them into their home for Christmas.

Please pray that God would show you how to help- praying, donating, advocating, hosting. If you feel a tug and have any questions, please contact me!

Hosting Anastasija changed our whole family- we learned more about following Jesus and we grew in our faith more than at any other time in our lives. Our family is not the same. My kids are different, they are others-focused. Joe and I are different- our hearts are softer, our faith is deeper, our eyes are open.

You may think, "I already know Jesus really well and keep His commandments." Let me just say that I thought that too. My thoughts echoed those of the rich young ruler: "And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”" (Luke 18:21) Our attitude often reflects that of the rich young ruler. We are pretty good. We have done lots of good things and live squeaky clean lives. And Christ's response to our attitude is the same as it was to that young man; “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Obeying His call to let go of our comforts and care for the poor is as difficult for us as it was for the rich young ruler and tragically, it is highly uncommon.

There is a reason Christ asked the rich young ruler to do the hardest thing. It is because with obedience comes blessing. Obeying His call to care for orphans in a tangible and out-of-our-comfort-zone way, and trusting Him to strengthen and protect and provide changed us in a way we couldn't have imagined. And now I understand that the Holy Spirit is like gas for your car: It really makes a difference in how far and how fast you can go. I also learned that God only gives you as much as you need. Our day-to-day trials and struggles need about a half gallon. But when you step out in faith to do something that is way beyond your own strength and resources, God fills you up! And man- You can feel the difference!
 God is more than we think. He "is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us." (Eph. 3:20) The work of His Holy Spirit is just as awe-inspiring as you imagine it to be when you read the book of Acts. God answers prayer just like Jesus says He does when He tells us to ask, seek, and knock! "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." (Luke 11:9)

Obeying God in faith for something larger than yourself has great rewards. Open your heart and your bank account and your home to the fatherless this year at Christmas, and see how it feels to welcome the Christ child in out of the cold. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42) I always like to think that if Mary and Joseph had gone past my house, I would have gone out and welcomed them in and given them food and a good place to sleep and called a midwife, you know? Well, here are children with no family, with no love, and no Christ. They are standing at your door and seeking the warmth of your heart and hands and your hugs and your Christmas cookies and cocoa and Christmas Eve service. What will God have you do for them?
 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)


New Horizons for Children Christmas Hosting Program


According to the power that works in us,  to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
(Ephesians 3:20-21)

XO

Every blog comment and every link, and every facebook like, every comment, and every share (total of 5 entries per person) enters you to win this book! Be the voice!

"Is the message of Christmas lost in the commercialization and hectic pace? Can we celebrate with intentional purpose? Using devotions and activities, Seeking Christmas gives your family an experience to pass down for generations to come."


Friday, September 13, 2013

Where are you Christmas?

Where are you Christmas? Why can't I find you? Why have you gone away?

I think most of us can hear Faith Hill's voice carrying those phrases, right?

The wonder of Christmas dissipates as we age. We can't quite conjure up the wonderment of our childhood. We enjoy watching our kiddos in their excitement, but even that leaves us feeling a little empty, with part our soul longing for something more.

The presents, the tree, the dinners and parties and cookies- they lose their magic and sometimes even begin to drain us. We try to focus on Christ, but as soon as we close our Christmas devotional, our joy fades and hustle and bustle kick in. It leaves us tired and empty. The mess after the gift-opening frenzy fills us with grief. We always hope for some magic, but all we see are glazed eyes and spoiled children.

And I LOVE Christmas. I LIVE for Christmastime. Christmas music is the all-time-best music. Hope and magic and twinkly things. But after all that, the day after Christmas is gray. The things we wanted and wrote on our lists didn't bring us the joy we thought they would. List-making brings to mind another song,

Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies
 
Well, I'm all grown-up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream
So here's my lifelong wish
My grown-up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need
 
As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree.(wrapped beneath the tree)
Well heaven surely knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul
 
What is this illusion called the innocence of youth?
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth
There'd be-
 
No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

Maybe that's where we can start the process of figuring this out, this lost magic of Christmas. Maybe we need to seriously grow our Christmas Lists UP.

**********************

Let me offer you some hope for your Holyday Spirit.
Once upon a time a lady posted a link on facebook. New Horizons for Children- an organization that brings Eastern European orphans to America to spend Christmas with a real family. Magical, isn't it? Have you ever dreamed of bringing joy to an orphan? Of lifting a truly needy soul up from sadness and despair on Christmas, inviting them into your home to enjoy your blessings of a lovely tree, and cookies, and music floating on the air? Or is that just me? Tiny Tim, Anne of Green Gables, Little Orphan Annie? Just bring 'em on home to your house and do Christmas right? 
Well, I clicked that link and scrolled through some pictures of kids with no family. and suddenly, my heart stopped and there she was- Anastasija, my girl. I didn't know the Big Plan at that time, but I knew she was supposed to be in my home for Christmas. Many miracles took place, she came, and Christmas was REAL.

Really really really real. Like I cannot put it into words, but Christ came at Christmas in 2011. He came to my heart, my house, my church, and my community. People all around were blessed by the Spirit of Christmas, because their hearts were moved. You might have been one of those people. Do you remember?
**********************************
And then! God let us know she wasn't a one time deal, she was our forever girl. But that's not the story I'm telling today.

So, again:
AND THEN! In 2012, I simply posted about New Horizons on facebook and two more people I know and love were moved to host. Teenage boys, no less.
Edgars.

And Reno.
I speak their names with awe. Because God is working out His plan for them, too. To soften people's hearts, hearts that had been hard. And plans to prosper these boys and give them a future and a hope. Edgars is already adopted, not BY his host family, but THROUGH his host family. Because they hosted, another family heard the call and Edgars is THEIRS. He has a family for Christmas for the rest of his life. Talk about a Christmas gift. And Reno? God is working out that adoption right now.

And for these families, Christmas is real and will never be empty again. Because the Spirit of Christmas has come to their hearts.

God worked another miracle that year and Anastasija was HOME for Christmas.
The above picture was taken at about noon on Christmas Day. We opened our presents late last year. Our family didn't want to keep Christmas for ourselves, we wanted to give it to others. So we went to the VA hospital and sang Christmas carols to some lonely vets. And we were blessed. We were blessed. The gift we tried to give away came right back. How? The Spirit of Christmas was upon us again. Our focus was not on the gifts under the tree, it was on others. Even on Christmas morning, my kids were thinking of others. And that is an act of God, obviously. It looks like a lovely new tradition was born in our family, besides.

And this year? We're listening. God has a good plan for how we are going to give THIS Christmas away. (If you click one song link, please click this one, it changed my life!)


 I am so excited! I'm like a kid at Christmas! And that is the point.

It takes us right back to the beginning of this post.
Where are you Christmas? Give it away, and you will find it.
What is this illusion called the innocence of youth? Only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth.

Take a leap. Give your Christmas away this year, locally or globally, big or small, and watch how God gives it right back. The real thing. The Christmas you've been hungering for.

There's more to come about this Christmas thing. Stay tuned.

Peace.








About Me

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