Scripture Verse of the Day

Friday, December 31, 2010

Come Oooonnn 2011!!!

Not that 2010 was such a horrible year. It really wasn't too bad for me and mine. However, I know soooooo many people who have experienced yet another heartache, another financial struggle and loss, another sense of hopelessness and despair, another illness, and yet another death. This year has been devastatingly cruel to some people, it seems. :( For those suffering so greatly this year, I am truly sorry. I pray that 2011 marks a turn-around and breakthrough and true recovery for their lives.

I am thankful for 2010. Not that everything went hunky-dory or anything like that, but I have grown in some ways that could not have happened otherwise. Previous years have been trying for me, and 2010 has given me a step in a better direction. I have developed some better habits in 2010 that I believe will carry me into 2011 and beyond.

New Year's Resolutions.....

Hmmm, I'm not really one to make New Year's Resolutions. I've been out of that habit for years b/c it seems like I break most of them them no later than the complete month of January. It should be called New January Resolutions, y'know? ;)

Having said that, I DO have some goals that I want to accomplish for 2011. In Habakkuk 2:2-3, this minor prophet was encouraged to write down his goals/vision and, while it will take some time for it to come to pass, it WILL come to pass. Pastor John Hagee used this message for his sermon: Write it down and make it happen! It is a practice that I have developed over the last couple of years, and I must say that it has been helpful to me. :)

Some goals I'd like to meet in 2011.....

I will read the Bible from cover to cover. While I've read the Bible almost every day, and have indeed read almost all it, I've never consecutively read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. There are so many nuggets of wisdom that I've missed over the years b/c I've yet to truly read those words. The only reason I've gone past those words before is b/c I was focusing on whatever study I was engaged in at the time. I've found that when I'm "casually" reading (lacking better word here~~reading w/o it relating to a specific lesson) the Bible, some words just jump out at me and it fits a situation I've discovered within the past week or so.

I see a much smaller version of myself. I've allowed last year's excessive heat get the best of me. My food choices have been not-so-great lately, and I've been sick b/c of it. I've got goals in mind and print for this year, and I'm already putting plans into practice. I had almost reached my goals a couple of years ago, and I've virtually undone all my work just last year. This is one of those areas in which you just gotta do it. Creflo Dollar says when you're "gonna do" something, you're really not ready for the change yet. When you are truly ready to make changes, you start changes right away. I admit I've spent a lifetime with "gonna do" and rarely stick to my goals to completion. I've started changing that last month and will continue into and through this new year.

I see myself with a new and better job. This is not to say that the job I have is bad or that I don't like it, but it's changing in ways I'm convicted I can't continue. The Lord has nudged me at my back here in 2010 that I need to do something else, but I've hem hawed about it to the point that situations have changed, and I'd better change with it to remain in the growing direction I need to be! Here's to a new and better job in January 2011 and beyond!!

I see more quality time and opportunities spent with my family in 2011. I shamefully admit that I've let the digital distractions of this day and age overwhelm me these last couple of years. My boys are not growing younger. They need me, even now more than ever. Not necessarily in the sense that I've got to be there to make things work or make them do anything, but I want to be more available for them as they grow. My J8 is a game player, and I want to bring out his best characteristics he possesses when he does play games. My T13 is not a game player, but there are other avenues to explore with him. He's turning into a young man before my eyes, and our times together have become more detached than I'd like. I'm very proud of him, but I admit I've not been very good at expressing that lately. He needs to know. I am also trying to get Hubby to remember his relationship with his dad and re-awaken his desire to make his relationship with his boys better.

I've not made plans for celebration or tradition for bringing in the New Year. Hubby bought a beautiful bottle of wine for a cozy toasting in the New Year. Crowds of unruly people are not our thing. I do have a prayer that all of my family and friends remain safe and healthy through yet another year.

LOL, I still do not know the words to Auld Lang Syne, but I think it's a neat song steeped in traditions from long ago, especially from my ancient heritage. I do love reading about traditions from around the globe, from the greeting to why they do the things they do. It's much like Christmas to me, fascinating! :)

Whatever you do to celebrate the New Year, I pray that you have a most blessed one! I wish you a most prosperous 3John2 New Year!

Monday, December 13, 2010

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me

Today is December 13th. There are 12 more days 'til Christmas. This is a time when my boys and I get a kick out of singing this song. I'm not sure what the real meaning of this song truly is (if there are literally 12 days to celebrate Christmas like there are 8 days to celebrate Hanukkah, for example). I think I remember something about January 5th is considered the 12th day of Christmas but still don't know details because I've not looked it up just yet, but with my boys I treat this kind of like telling time...a quarter "of" 6 means it's 15 minutes before 6 o'clock~~like a "countdown" to Christmas. Either way, it's a fun time in MY family.

I received in an email one time some early Christian coded meanings of the Twelve Days of Christmas, and whether it's true or not, I'm not too concerned, I think it's pretty neat and can easily see the application. :) Evidently, I'm not the only one. An article about this was written by Dennis Bratcher. I'll summarize below. I hope you'll read his article, tho. I found it was a good read. :)

A Partridge in a Pear Tree symbolized Jesus.

Two Turtle Doves symbolized the Old and New Testaments.

Three French Hens symbolized the Three virtues: Faith, hope and love.

Four Calling Birds symbolized the Four Gospels

Five Gold Rings symbolized the first Five Books of the Bible/The Books of Moses/The Pentateuch.

Six Geese A-laying symbolized the Six Days of Creation (God rested on the seventh).

Seven Swans A-Swimming symbolized The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Eight Maids A-milking symbolized The Beattitudes.

Nine Ladies Dancing symbolized The Fruit of the Spirit.

Ten Lords A-leaping symbolized The Ten Commandments.

Eleven Pipers Piping symbolized the Eleven FAITHFUL Disciples/Apostles of Jesus.

Twelve Drummers Drumming symbolized the twelve doctrinal points of the Apostles' Creed.

I hope you find this as fascinating as I did. It's definitely a great tool to share with young Christians today. :)
In the meantime, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

O Christmas, O Christmas. How Do I Love Thee? Let me Count the Ways!

No, I am NOT Elizabeth Barrett Browning nor William Shakepeare. I don't have the gift of poetry...not that I've tried to develop, anyway.

My only qualification to write this particular post is that I DO LOVE CHRISTMAS. This is my most favorite holiday and time of year of all.

There's no exact telling when Jesus, The Christ, was born; but this is the day that early Christians chose to celebrate His birth. No matter the original reason for choosing this date, I believe that God has truly made this day to be a magical time for humanity. Joseph of the Old Testament told his brothers, upon forgiving them, that what they meant for evil for him, God made into a blessing for His people. I believe it's time to put aside the bickering about why early Christians chose this particular day (including the encroachment of Pagan celebrations in order to win converts to Christianity), at least for one day. No matter what mankind does in God's Name, His Power cannot be diminished or contained when it is, or becomes, His Will and Purpose.

My perception of Christmas has changed over the years and, I must say, it's for the better. It's easy to lose sight of what Christmas is all about when we become overwhelmed with the commercialism and materialism of this holiday. When all is said and done, what DOES Christmas mean?

My pastor preached a wonderful sermon this past Sunday about John's Gospel and it's perception of Jesus' birth. The other Gospels come from various human perspective, but John's comes more from how God sees the picture. What God saw was a world of darkness. A world enveloped in sin and its consequences of that sin. God shined the Light upon this world through His Word, the Creator, the Man. Some knew Him, others did not. Some received Him, others did not. Of those who did receive Him, tho, they became sons of God, even those who believed upon His very Name. As children of God, Christians are able to become and continue to be that salt and light of the world through Him. He lived so that when He died and rose again, we may live eternally from the consequence, guilt, and condemnation of is free to anyone who asks Him into their heart, in faith believing, that He is their Lord and Saviour. God's love is complete in Jesus.

This is a very abbreviated summary such that I've not done it any justice, but that sermon spoke to me. Working in a materialistic and commercialistic atmosphere for so many years has jaded my spirit in times past. Other retailers know precisely what I mean here. I am happy to be reminded how to return to my roots and better enjoy my moments of Christmas no matter what anyone else is doing.

The Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke proclaim wonderful news as prophesied by Isaiah. The King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Counselor, Govenor, etc. The magnificence of God was embodied into that of a human being. What a glorious celebration! No wonder the hosts of heavens were said to have sung as they welcomed His birth! :)

M-A-N-Y traditions have come along in the annual celebration of Jesus' birth. Many of those traditions have roots in pagan worship or observations. However, just like there's a version of a flood story in many religious cultures, there's a special view of some of these traditions that make them Christian.

This is my favorite time of year as we get together with family and some friends. We've had some great years celebrating. We've had some not-so-great years celebrating Christmas. But by golly, we CELEBRATED Christmas!
LOL, I remember one Christmas when I was in my teens, we always got together with our neighbor/family friends. We always did an "all-day" thing when we got together for holidays. This particulary year we were ALL miserably sick. I mean A-L-L of us. We figured that we might as well all enjoy our creeping crud together, I guess. We all had various stages of colds and flu~~most of us couldn't stop sneezing and coughing. So we sit at the table, huddled in our blankets, robes and coats, trying to play some kind of game (I forgot what game we were playing~~bingo, Monopoly or Yatzee~~doubt we tried to play cards that day, but who knows), and Mom had several timers go off at various intervals as we passed the medicine around. Looking back, that was pretty insane, and I seriously doubt we'd ever do that again. However, also looking back, even tho none of us felt human, it was kinda neat that we were all sharing the misery together while trying to make light of it together. We don't get together much anymore. We've all kind of drifted apart into parts of town unfamiliar to the rest of us, but we do call each other up from time to time. :)

My favorite thing to do for Christmas is sing. I LOVE Christmas music!! I love the traditional hymns, the kooky hits, the hip and jazzy contemporaries, and the classic Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole types. My favorite Christmas carol to hear is Carol of the Bells. I honestly believe that I could never tire of that song. If someone gave me a CD recording of all the different versions of Carol of the Bells, I would be totally tickled pink, I love it THAT much! : D A few of my favorite songs to sing are Silent Night, Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night, many other hymns; Deck the Halls, Let It Snow, Do They Know It's Christmas Time, that crazy song that mixes greetings of Hanukkah and Christmas (think Adam Sandler did it??), and others. I have a Celtic Christmas CD that my late mother in law had that is incredibly beautiful to listen to, in my most humble opinion, of course! ;)

Is there such thing as too much baking during the Christmas holidays?? I haven't reached that point yet. :} Part of it is due to baking goodies is something I'm pretty good at (so I've been told, lol), and the other part is that the weather is FINALLY conducive to baking!! : D I avoid baking or cooking as much as possible when it's hot outside (which is almost 11 months out fo the year, lol), but when the winds blow that blue northern into my territory (it happens occasionally!), it's time to light up the oven! : D

I love to decorate for Christmas, but I am not seeking to be on the cover of Better Homes and ain't that type of home! I've got Christmasy things going thoughout the house, and like most homes, the Christmas themes grow each year. My favorite decoration for my home, tho, is Love. God loved us so much He sent His only begotten Son to reconcile us back to Him, in a tiny baby who grew into His role as Saviour of the world. I've got a few nativities at home. Wouldn't mine more. I can probably find a place for them. :) The peace of the Christmas day is phenomenal to me. It doesn't really matter why this day was chosen, but I believe we can all enjoy this moment of peace and good tiding to man. Pray for peace, let peace begin with me.

There is much more I can write, but for now, this'll hafta do. It's at least a small glimpse into my Estelleworld. There is much I can write about different elements of Christmas that I enjoy. Perhaps I'll attempt to write them next Christmas. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I wish every one of you a most wonderfully blessed and Merry Christmas! I pray that all of you experience a 3 John 2 New Year!