Archives for November 2011

Love is PATIENT

[1 Corinthians 13:1-4]

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient…”

TRUTH TO BELIEVE:
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of power,
the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD—
 and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.”  Isaiah 11:1

Genesis chapters 1 and 2 set up a beautiful love story.  A great King loved His people enough to give freedom and boundaries.  In Genesis 3 we watch as the people of the kingdom are sentenced to be separated from their King forever.  But of course, the story isn’t over.  Like any great story a Rescuer is on the way.  The King has sent for His Son.

The people wait and they wait.  For 39 books of the Old Testament and 42 long generations the people wait.  Some from the kingdom gave up hope, and some grew impatient.

And then at the beginning of the gospels we finally see the Branch that bears fruit.  The Messiah has taken up residency with the people. This mighty Branch is the Great Rescuer.  In Him prophecies are fulfilled and all is being restored.

Mother and Child

Situations that seem helpless and hopeless- jobs, finances, broken families, sickness, loved ones who lose their way- all of these begin to find new life and new growth at the hand of the King.

Today, turn your wishful thinking into patience.  Dig your roots deep in the truth that your King’s timing is perfect.  Your patience even in the midst of suffering demonstrates the depth of your roots.  Obstacles become doorways for grace and challenges surface as chances to patiently declare, “Yes.  I trust You.  I trust your timing.  I will patiently wait for you.”

HOPE TO CLAIM:
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. 
Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3, NIV

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8, NIV

CHALLENGE TO EMBRACE:
I’m certain today will provide you with opportunities to grow in patience… life seems to be generous in this arena!
-When you are tempted to come up short in anger or despair in what appear to be unanswered prayers, meditate on this verse from Philippians.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4-7, NIV

-Try turning this into an activity for the entire month.  Print out a calendar or draw one out in your journal.  Write out Philippians 4:5-7 at the top.  Spend some time filling each day with something that could tempt you to worry or be impatient: specific names of family members, stressful activities, or long-standing prayers.  As each day comes focus on lifting up the things that cause you to be impatient.  You could even turn this into an opportunity to pray in color.  Ask specifically that you would feel God’s nearness and trust His timing.

Paul doesn’t say that love is wanting to be patient or hoping to be patient.  He reminds us that love IS patient.

Following,
Ginger

ADVENT RESOURCE: The Bethlehem Star.  Spend some time on the website.  I watched this DVD for the first time in 2006 and I have rented it from the library every year since. This study fascinated me and reminded me that you can press the Scriptures hard and find scientific evidence for the things that it says.

Love Has Come

I have high expectations for the Christmas season.  Sure the decorations and presents and general merry-making contribute to my expectations, but that’s not what I’m alluding to.  I have a huge fear that I will get to the candlelight service on December 24th and realize that I haven’t prepared my heart.  While I shouldn’t allow fear to creep in, I do believe those worries are grounded in a pathetic track record.

I know my heart.  No matter how much I say this season of Advent isn’t about parties and presents, I still seem to get swept away by things that don’t really matter.  No part of me wants to live in a wash of worry and anxiety.  I don’t want to finish this season exhausted and dejected.

So I’ve resolved to give Him my full attention.

Shining.

Last Christmas our church walked through the prophecy of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 – exploring what it means for Jesus to be Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

What I’ve come to realize is that this verse isn’t just a list of titles for me to memorize or print on an ornament.  This verse contains truth about my Savior and God… truth that should radically shape my day-to-day life.

Either Jesus is more powerful than my worries, fears, or frustrations… or He isn’t. The way I live my day proves what I believe about his power.

I talked through this aloud with my husband on the way to finish up some shopping. I was frustrated… frustrated that I spend time in the Word, read my Advent book, pray for friends… and still end up so royally screwing this up year after year.

My husband was quick to remind me that God desires my heart more than anything else and that I can’t tackle each day with the hope of perfection… only the hope of dependence.

Advent is the celebration of when love came down to earth.  So, I’m focusing on His love this year by meditating on the qualities of love found in 1 Corinthians 13. One description of love per day.

That’s how I’m choosing to prepare my heart, so that’s also what I’ll be talking about right here each day leading up to the big event.  I’ll also be sharing some of my favorite Advent materials AND there might just be a Christmas give-away!

For now, take some time to read through Isaiah 9:6 and 1 Corinthians 13.  Love has come and changed everything…

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

Preparing,
Ginger

Prepare our Hearts

Let every heart, prepare Him room...

Advent: a period of time set aside to prepare, anticipate and embrace the celebration of Christ’s arrival in Bethlehem.

I hope you will join me for the next four weeks as we take time to prepare our hearts and give Him room!  I know Advent isn’t something practiced in every home or church, but I’m looking forward to spending this time with you.  Every day during these weeks we will explore a truth to believe, a hope to claim, and a challenge to embrace.  My desire is that our hearts and lives would repeat the sounding joy for this entire season and coming year!

Let us remember the 42 generations who awaited the birth of the Messiah. Let us recall the young teenage girl who gave up her expectations for God’s amazing reality. Let us meditate on the image of an the infant breathing his first gulp of air and wailing – and then the man who cried out and gave up his last breath on Calvary. This God made flesh has come.

“Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the LORD for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9

Following in anticipation,
Ginger

Savor

Savor this...

I know the world is shifting to shopping lists and twinkling lights… but I just wanted to take one more day, hour, or even minute just to breathe in and breathe out.

Be still.

Journal.

Draw.

Pray.

Take a quiet walk.

Remember.

Read.

Dwell.

And give thanks for what the Lord has done.

“Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”  Psalm 106:1
See you on Monday at the start of a new season, my friends!
With Thanks,
Ginger

Oh Give Thanks!

Oh Give Thanks

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
 Serve the LORD with gladness!
    Come into his presence with singing!

 Know that the LORD, he is God!
   It is he who made us, and we are his;
   we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
   and his courts with praise!
   Give thanks to him; bless his name!

 For the LORD is good;
   his steadfast love endures forever,
   and his faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 100, ESV

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful For: God’s Timing

Five years ago this month I pulled into the city of Phoenix with my parents. My dad was driving the rental truck and my mom and I (in my silver Elantra) had spent the majority of New Mexico and Arizona listening to a book on CD about the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. It’s crazy what the brain chooses to remember…

As I look back I can’t help but be thankful for the odd and winding road that brought me where I am today: sitting at a kitchen table in Arizona, writing and speaking for a living, and looking forward to giving thanks with my husband and his family tomorrow.

Home.

How did this happen?
Today I’m thankful for:
-A breakup that caused me to finally hear You say, “It’s time to move on.”
Carey, whose own brave steps encouraged me to follow her lead!
-Parents who not only encouraged my dreams, but literally helped me to move them across the country.
-A job that allowed creative freedom and challenged me to develop all sorts of skills.
-Uncomfortable first steps that led to great relationships in unexpected places.
-Days of loneliness that taught me there was only One place to turn.
-Strict studies at BSF that brought wonderful friendships.
-Rejection that taught me to question whether I believed that God really loved me and if His love was enough.
-Broken cell phones, dead car batteries, fender benders, and broken appliances that reminded me that stuff doesn’t matter.
-Challenging work experiences that forced me to confront situations rather than run from them.
-Texas connections in the middle of Arizona.
-A no letter regarding an internship in Uganda.
-Two months in a really uncomfortable housing situation.
-Things that I wanted and asked for that never came to fruition.
-Trials that drove co-workers and friends even closer together.
-Visitors who flew in just to remind me they cared.
-Countless bouquets, plants, letters, packages, and phone calls so that home never felt too far away.
-Failure.
-Experiences I wouldn’t have chosen.
-Painfully difficult conversations.
-Countless “firsts” (auditioning for local theatre, on-line dating, moving everything into storage, writing a musical, running a 10k, eating Indian, Thai, and Ethiopian food, travels…)
-E-harmony.
-That nothing happened in my timing.
-Blog friendships.
-The lesson to get out of the car even when I felt like driving home.
-Opportunities to try new things.
-The huge addition to my family.
-Lots and lots of tears.
-Lots and lots of love.
-The gracious provision of a Heavenly Father who writes the best life stories.
I’m thankful for all of the things I might not have chosen.
“So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.” James 1:16-18, The Message
With Thanksgiving,
Ginger

Thankful For: Memories

Island Turkey

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Best Thanksgiving Memories:

  • Getting to drink soda. (It was easy to get me to say thanks.)
  • Going to a movie every year… nice tradition.
  • Spending it freezing in Jamaica.
  • Almost rolling over when the car was stuck in the snow in New Mexico (no yelling by my parents in this moment.)
  • Sledding in the sand dunes of White Sands, New Mexico.
  • Filet Mignon instead of Turkey one year.
  • Snorkeling in Mexico and eating on the beach.
  • Turkey Sandwiches in Ohio with D’s family.
  • Really fun times with cousins.
  • Standing in a giant circle dressed up, holding hands, and praying together.
  • Precious times with loved ones.
  • Going around the table and saying what we were thankful for.
  • Having so many reasons to give thanks.

The only common denominator about Thanksgiving in our house regarding “plans” tended to be getting dressed up to eat. I’m pretty sure the time changes, the relatives change, and what we do during the day changes as well. Some years we’ve gone to see a movie, one year we were on a cruise, football is generally on, and we sit at the table long enough for Grandma Ann to force feed a fifth course of food into my dad.  The constant in three decads of Thanksgiving is the One from who all the blessings flow!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

What’s one of your favorite Thanksgiving memories?

Following,
Ginger

Thankful For: Traditional Eats

Pie!

When I was little (read: up until college) I would fill my Thanksgiving plate with dark meat, ketchup, crescent rolls, and maybe carrot sticks for good measure. I didn’t really care for the food of Thanksgiving.  But I’m learning more and more to appreciate the food and traditions we associate with this day of Thanks.

I always watch those crescent roll commercials with the New England family in their sweaters as they joyously pass the rolls and watch as “Father Dear” carves the turkey. I’ve never once seen a whole turkey at our table. We’re buffet people. The dishes of food do not end up on the table until Grandma Ann is lamenting once again that no one has eaten anything – crescent rolls aside. I asked one year if we could have the turkey on the table. The response, “Why?” The turkey did not make it to the table except in slices on our plates.

Our Thanksgiving traditional menus… 
Grandma Ann and Grandpa Joe’s:
• Turkey
• Stuffing
• White Rice
• Sweet Potato Casserole
• Baby Pearl Onions
• Crescent Rolls
• Cranberry and Orange Relish
• Asparagus
• Pumpkin Pie
• Pecan Pie
• Vanilla Ice Cream

Grandma Doris and Grandpa Glenn’s:
• Turkey
• Stuffing
• German Noodles
• Green Bean Casserole
• Sweet Potato Casserole
• Crescent Rolls
• Canned Cranberry Lump Thing
• Beats?
• Chocolate Pie
• Lemon Meringue Pie
• Pecan Pie
• Pumpkin Pie
• A bazillion deserts that sit in Tupperware on the washer and dryer

And of course, neither table was complete without that great American condiment, ketchup.

This year, who knows what new traditions I will get to enjoy!  D and I are staying in town to enjoy a feast with friends and family.  Fingers crossed as we attempt to smoke a turkey!

Thank you God for this food.

Which fabulous foods are unique traditions to your family?

Can’t wait to hear from you…

Following,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Defining Thankfulness

What is Thankfulness?

This Friday I leave you with a short clip from the Creative minds at Igniter Media. May it remind us to consider thankfulness in every area of our lives!

Blessings

I Thank Thee

O Thou whose bounty fills my cup,
With every blessing meet!
I give Thee thanks for every drop—
The bitter and the sweet.

I praise Thee for the desert road,
And for the riverside;
For all Thy goodness hath bestowed,
And all Thy grace denied.

I thank Thee for both smile and frown,
And for the gain and loss;
I praise Thee for the future crown
And for the present cross.

I thank Thee for both wings of love
Which stirred my worldly nest;
And for the stormy clouds which drove
Me, trembling, to Thy breast.

I bless Thee for the glad increase,
And for the waning joy;
And for this strange, this settled peace
Which nothing can destroy.
-Jane Crewdson (1860)

Have a wonderful weekend!

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Giving Thank$

Harvest Time

The title isn’t a misprint.

Today’s Thursday Tip is all about further training in the art of giving thanks.  Check out the video post:

Here’s to turning thankfulness from a state of being into a state of doing!

Following,
Ginger