Saturday, December 25, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 25

Today I am thankful for:

The Birth of Christ.

We have celebrated this occastion for many many years.
To many people, it is just a day to meet with family,
 open gifts, eat a feast and get a day off work.
But it is so much more. The King of kings, Lord of lords,
Prince of Peace chose to be one of us.
Chose to live in the confines of humanity.
Chose to pay the price. All for love.
And because of this, I can boldly
“Draw near with confidence to the
throne of grace so that we may
receive mercy and find grace
to help in time of need.”
(Hebrews 4:16)

Friday, December 24, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 24

Today I am thankful for:

A Fireplace.

Sitting by the fireplace,
my eyes seem drawn to the brightness.
The dancing flames somehow hold my gaze.
It is relaxing and refreshing,
draws me away from the every-day and
incites reflection in my heart.
This reminds me of Hebrews 12:2
which encourages “..fixing our eyes on Jesus…”
Sitting at the feet of the Savior,
I am drawn to the Brightness.
His beauty holds my gaze, refreshes my soul,
and carries me away from the every-day.
But I can never enjoy the blessings of
either the fireplace or the Savior
unless I first take the time to sit and gaze.

Lord, don’t let me keep going
without taking time today
to sit at Your feet and bask in Your beauty.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 23

Today I am thankful for:

Christmas Music.

O Come All Ye Faithful…
O Little Town of Bethlehem…
Mary Did You Know…
What Child Is This…
Do You Hear What I Hear…
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing…
It Came Upon A Midnight Clear…
Joy To The World…
What are your favorities?

25 Days of Praise: Day 22

Today I am thankful for:

Hunger and Thirst.

Without hunger and thirst,
would I know my soul needs nourishment?
Would it be possible for me to be
filled with many things in this life and yet
miss the blessings of being fed,
truly filled and satisfied spiritually?
Hunger and thirst, they are welcome.
They cause me to look to be filled.

Isaiah 55:1-2
 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.

Psalm 107:9
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

Luke 1:53
 He has filled the hungry with good things

Matthew 5:6
Blessed are those who
hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

25 Days of Praise: Day 21

Today I am thankful for:

A Strong Tower.

Psalm 61:2-3
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 20

Today I am thankful for:

My identity in Christ.

No matter what I feel I am,
what the world tells me I am or am supposed to be,
I am who He says I am.
I am forgiven. I am His. I am chosen.
I am loved. I am redeemed.
I am strengthened.
I am fed with streams of living water.

25 Days of Praise: Day 19

Church Christmas Programs.

I love the excitement of preparation and practice.
I love seeing the Sunday school kids in costume,
reciting their lines and singing.
 I love watching the parents and grandparents
beam with pride and joy.
But I especially love the reason we gather for the festivities:
the birth of our Savior.
That’s what Christmas Programs, whether extravagant
or simple, are all about anyway.
And that is what brings tears to my eyes each year as the lights dim
and a miniature Mary and Joseph step out on stage.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 18

Today I am thankful for:

Music that takes my thoughts from
the daily grind to the feet of the Father. 

Music can change my mood, refocus my outlook
and center my soul. 
The song by Casting Crowns “If We’ve Ever Need You”  
reminds me that I cannot do life my own way
and expect a good outcome. My faith will shipwreck.
I will all too quickly embrace idols.
And my children will pay the price for how I have lived.
Lord, I need you now…

Friday, December 17, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 17

Today I am thankful for:

Warm, cozy sweaters on freezy winter days.
Being chilled, just short of frozen is miserable.
Add one soft sweater and a hot cup of coffee.
Its amazing how it can change my outlook on the day.
What do you do to warm up on arctic-temperature days?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day16

Today I am thankful for:

Being able to see family at Christmastime.

Just like Mary & Joseph made a long journey, my husband,
our kids and I will be going on a long journey as well.
Ok, so the similarities stop there.
We will not be loading a donkey with our luggage.
We will be climbing into a comfy
Expedition with cushy seats and
plenty of room for all seven of us.
And I’m pretty sure our accommodations at Mom’s house
will more closely resemble the Hyatt than a stable.
There is just something about spending time with loved ones
at Christmas, sitting by the fire place
and eating way too much.
I am thankful for our roadtrip. All 925 miles of it.
I am thankful for a husband who planned it
all just to surprise me.
I am thankful I get to take my kids,
including my new daughter in law with me.
And I am thankful I don’t have to travel on a donkey but
instead have a nice, warm vehicle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 15

Today I am thankful for:

That my needs are met…. And much more…
God’s provisions can be readily seen this time of year in our home.
Under our tree sit packages of various shapes and sizes,
wrapped in colorful paper patiently waiting for Christmas Day.
We have come to expect this is just the way it is.
But that is not so for everyone.

One child I was talking with recently
was excited about the gifts wrapped under their tree.
“We have 5 presents under our tree!
One for my mom, one for my cousin and 3 for me!”
excitement rang in her voice.
My first thought “Only 5?” quickly brought my heart back to
reality. I know a teenager who received nothing for
Christmas last year. Nothing.
That is a reality most of us do not have to face.

There is often a disconnect between what I expect and what
I need. I assume life will always, and always has to provide
the things I am used to having. But, all I really need is food,
water and shelter. And for those things I am thankful.
So, when God chooses to provide more,
 I need to recognize it as that. More.
More than I need. And choose thankfulness.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 14

Today I am thankful for:

No, not World Peace.
I'm not competing for the Miss America title.
This is a deeper peace. The kind that
quiets my soul and carries me through life's trials.
This Peace came at Christmas.

Isaiah 4:6
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given
...and he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace."

This peace is not the usual run-of-the-mill kind.
It's different, powerful even divine in nature.

John 14:27a
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives."

This peace passes all comprehension;
calms my heart when logic says I should be
stressed and despairing.

Philippians 4:7
"And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

This is a peace I am called to pursue and live.

Psalm 36:14
" peace and pursue it."

And I am thankful for it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 13

Today I am thankful for:

A laptop, even if it is having problems right now. 
And an extra computer to use
while mine is in for surgery.
And a husband who has the brain power
to fix my laptop. 
Yes, I could live without life's extras.  Life's luxuries. 
And I realize that the fact that my home has not one,
not two, but four computers means that I live with more
wealth than the vast majority of the world. 
I also realize the opportunities that I have
because of all this.  So instead of grumbling about not
having my laptopfor a few days and
being confined to one spot with a desktop computer,
I am choosing thankfulness. 
What are you choosing to be thankful for today?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 12

Today I am thankful for:

In-laws who live a godly example for me to follow. The term “in-law” just doesn’t seem a right fit for them with our culture’s take on such relationships. But, since I prefer to change that view, I will use the term to prove that in-laws can be an asset to a person’s life.

I am thankful for a father in law who sets an example of a heart dedicated to learning and living out the scriptures. For a mother in law who emanates the gift of encouragement and has truly opened her heart and become a mom to her daughter in law.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 11

Today I am thankful for:

My husband.
I know, I already mentioned him on day 2,
but I am doubly grateful for him.
Specifically, for how he puts up with his wife
(I won’t mention her name)
who insists on doing all the Christmas shopping
 in one L-O-N-G day.
We are talking not stopping until its done which can
be translated not arriving home until around 2 in the a.m.
A perfect gentleman all day: dropping off and picking
up at the door, patiently waiting during
deliberation on which gift would be
best for each person on the list, and best of all letting
his lovely wife and daughter sit in the warmed-up vehicle
while he braved the C-O-L-D weather to load the treasures.
Yes, this man deserves a second day of thanks!
But I do know, the thanks also goes to God, for it is
He who placed this man in my life, for better and for worse,
which always corresponds to my attitude at any
given moment. Today, I choose thankfulness.

Friday, December 10, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 10

Today I am thankful for:

“A” Day.
(a.k.a. Ascension Day)
Get your bags packed and your shades on, Girls!
It’s going to be quick and bright.
I can hardly imagine what that moment will be like.
The thrill of the surprise. The Son in all His glory
arriving for me and you!
And like Cinderella carried away in
a gleaming chariot minus the midnight curfew,
we will be gone from this life.

Read I Thessalonians 4:16-17.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Today I am thankful for:

There will be a day with no more tears,
pain, fears, and burdens.
God will wipe away
every tear from His people. (Revelation 21)
I am reminded of this each time I hear
this song by Jeremy Camp:

There Will Be A Day – Jeremy Camp

I try to hold on to this world with everything I have
But I feel the weight of what it brings, and the hurt that tries to grab
The many trials that seem to never end, His word declares this truth
That we will enter in this rest with wonders anew.

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we'll hold on to you always

I know the journey seems so long
You feel you're walking on your own
But there has never been a step
Where you've walked out all alone

Troubled soul don't lose your heart
Cause joy and peace he brings
And the beauty that's in store
Outweighs the hurt of life's sting

But I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
That there will be a place with no more suffering

There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we'll hold on to you always

I can't wait until that day where the very one
I've lived for always will wipe away the sorrow that I've faced
To touch the scars that rescued me from a life of shame and misery
O, this is why, this is why I sing

There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face

There will be a day with no more tears
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face

There will be a day he will wipe away the tears
He will wipe away the tears
He will wipe away the tears
There will be a day

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 8

Today I am thankful for:

My son and daughter-in-law who
helped me put up the Christmas tree this year.
May God bless their marriage and home!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 7

Today I am thankful for:

Forgiveness of my sin.

“Iniquities prevail against me…” Psalm 65:3

“There is no soundness in my flesh
because of Your indignation;
there is no health in my bones
because of my sin.” Psalm 38:3

“For my iniquities are gone over my head;
as a heavy burden they weigh
too much for me.” Psalm 38:43

“If You, Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?” Psalm 130:3

“I have wiped out your transgressions
Like a thick cloud and your sins like a heavy mist.
Return to Me for I have redeemed you.” Isaiah 44:22

“…though your sins are as scarlet,
they will be as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
they will be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous
to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9

Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 6

Today I am thankful for:

People who remind me not to be
a“Comfortable Christian”.
While I definitely am thankful for the
comforts in my life…my bed, fuzzy bathrobe,
couch, heated floor, heated car seats, cappuccino,
dishwasher, shoes…. I desperately want more
from this life than sitting in comfort avoiding
uncomfortable situations. It is in these situations
that I am stretched and grow and can truly
be who I was made to be.

Check out this video:

Sunday, December 5, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 5

Today I am thankful for:

The freedom to worship God and
the ability to be part of a body of Christ
without fearing for my family’s safety.
When I don’t feel like getting up on a Sunday morning,
I only need to be reminded it’s a privilege, not a chore,
to be able to go to church. Christians in other countries
risk their lives to worship God with others.

Check out the Voice of Martyrs website, this really helps me with perspective!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 4

Today I am thankful for:

"A new and living way" by which I can draw near the
throne of the Holy One, the Creator of the Universe.
~ Hebrews 10:20 ~

Friday, December 3, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 3

Today I am thankful for:

Warm delicious soup on a cold wintry day…

Try this recipe on a chilly day:

Spinach Tortellini Soup

4 cups beef broth
1 cup frozen spinach
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup cooked chicken, cubed
6 oz. cheese filled Tortelinni (dry)
1-2 garlic cloves, diced and sauted in butter
Garlic salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into pan and simmer until tortellini is tender. Enjoy!
(I used my crock pot on high for about 3 hours.)


Thursday, December 2, 2010

25 Days of Praise: Day 2

Today, I am thankful for:
My husband who never complains when
I leave him “out in the cold” for supper
and he has to get his own.
... and tonight is one of those nights!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

25 Days of Praise

Somewhere in the midst of the mad dash between Thanksgiving and Christmas, a stirring happens in my soul. With turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie on my plate I name long list of things of which I am thankful for.

That list has barely left my lips when Black Friday begins the rush to splurge, buy, consume and want more, more, more. All in so called celebration of the coming of the Messiah. It’s the American way. And it just doesn’t seem to fit together. “I’m thankful for…”.and “I want….”

I’m not saying its wrong to want, obviously that’s not true. But it seems the thankfulness only lasts for a day or so when the flurry of wanting moves in and overshadows any thoughts of gratitude. Yes, deep inside I am still thankful for the basic necessities of life, but when the sale fliers arrive in my newspaper, my eyes get bigger than my checkbook. My wants turn into needs and I am suddenly not so grateful for what I have, but I would surely be grateful if I had this or that new gadget. Or that warm sweater. Or new dishes. Or a new tv. This list can go on and on and on and on and on and….. well, you get the picture.

Many blogs I have read lately spent November reciting what they are thankful for. It’s great, I definitely need to be reminded to be thankful. Today I am continuing that for 25 more days. Each day I will post something I am thankful for. My heart needs to be reminded to appreciate what I do have instead of wishing for more each day during this month-long pursuit of more.

So, join me in this adventure. 25 days of praise.  Praising God for His provisions.  I challenge you to comment each day something you are thankful for. I would love to hear your ending to the sentence: “I am thankful for …”

Day 1:
Today I am thankful for parents
who taught me about loving
and serving God, an absolutely
priceless value to my life.