Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Holiday in the Park

One of the cool things about living in Fort Worth is that Six Flags is just minutes down I-30! This summer I got a season pass and have gone 3 times since then. Six Flags celebrates Halloween and Christmas by setting up the park with decor of the season. Daniel and I went to "Holiday in the Park" this past weekend.Six Flags was all lit up with pretty lights and the booths were selling hot chocolate and apple cider. Christmas music was playing throughout the park. It was really a great night!

Christmas Overseas

Here we are, this time last year, when I was living in Ruston with mom and dad, celebrating my first Christmas with my family in 2 years. Why is that? Because I had been living overseas for those 2 years. Today I read a friend's blog and thought I should write a bit myself about missions and the Christmas season.

While we enjoy time with family and friends and have been led into the Christmas season with 24-7 Christmas songs on the radio, Christmas trees, snowmen, santas, nativity scenes in front of people's houses, the smell of apple cider and hot chocolate, many of my friends welcome the season simply with one another. In some places there are no decorations or church plays, no lights on the houses. In some places, there are a few, but definitely nothing like here in the States. Just plain and simple - the remembrance of the Christ-child's birth. Our team lit the advent candles each week leading up to Christmas and we sang Christmas carols together when we met for house church. It seemed easier to focus on Christ when all of the other distractions weren't around.

So, this Christmas season I want to say, "THANKS!" to my friends who are still away from family this season. Fight the good fight! Finish the race! I know that although you are not celebrating with your moms and dads and relatives, God has given you another family - your co-laborers - with whom He has given you such a strong bond. May you be filled with love and joy this season as you continue to share the reason for our celebration this season: GOD, WHO LOVED US SO MUCH, THAT HE CHOSE TO COME TO EARTH - TO BE BORN OF A VIRGIN, TO LIVE A SINLESS LIFE, TO DIE AND RISE AGAIN - SO THAT WE MIGHT HAVE LIFE!

Press on, my friends. And have a Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Abundant Compassion of God

Today I read in Nehemiah. My quiet times this semester have mostly consisted of scripture reading in the first 17 books of the Old Testament. Why? Because I had the awesome privilege of being assigned to read Genesis thru Esther this semester in my Old Testament I class.

Back to Nehemiah. I came across a BEAUTIFUL passage in chapter nine. The Israelites spent at least 12 hours that 24th day of seventh month reading from the book of the law of the LORD for a 1/4 of the day (6 hours) and another 1/4 of the day (6 hours) in confession and worship of the LORD. Wow - can you imagine? How beautiful that time must have been. When I read that, I thought, "LORD, I'd love to do that, but could I? 12 hours - just reading, just confessing, just worshiping. Could I do that?" I'm challenged.

Verses 5-6 record exultations of the LORD - He is everlasting to everlasting. His name is glorious. He created the heavens...

Verses 7-31 record the history of God's activity in Israel's life. I've found this to be the case in much of the OT - there are regular recordings of remembrance of God's active hand in the lives of Israel. I have often thought, "God must want us to revisit His activity in our lives over and over. To be thankful for His constant presence in our lives. To recognize that presence. He must want us to revisit our experiences of Him, in the way the Israelites revisited their experiences of Him."

I will highlight a few verses in this latter text:

9:26a But they were disobedient and rebelled against You...
9:27a So You handed them over to their enemies who oppressed them.
9:27b In their time of distress, they cried out to You,
9:27b And You heard from heaven. In Your abundant compassion You gave them deliverers, who rescued them from the power of their enemies.

9:28a But as soon as they had relief, they again did what was evil in Your sight.
9:28b So You abandoned them to the power of their enemies, who dominated them.
9:28c When they cried out to You again,
9:28c You heard from heaven and rescued them many times in Your compassion.

9:29 You warned them to turn back to Your law, but they acted arrogantly and would not obey Your commandments. They sinned against Your ordinances...
9:30a You were patient with them for many years, and Your Spirit warned them through Your prophets, but they would not listen.
9:30b Therefore, You handed them over to the surrounding peoples.
9:31 However, in Your abundant compassion, You did not destroy them or abandon them, for You are a gracious and compassionate God.

The cycle was one of Israel's disobedience which led to God's giving the Israelites over to their enemies, their crying out to God for help, and His compassion to give them deliverers in the hands of their enemies to rescue them. However, soon, Israel fell again to their own desires. Yet we see in verse 33:

9:33b You have acted faithfully, while we have acted wickedly.

I was convicted as I read this passage and saw the repeated cycle. I know that cycle has been a pattern in my life. Choosing what I want rather than what He wants, being miserable in my sin, crying out to Him, finding Him faithful in my unfaithfulness, and on down the road, choosing sin, yet again.

BREAK THE CYCLE, OH GOD!!! Refine me into Your image.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Daniel! Well, he's not really new to this site, you've seen his picture several times now. Tonight I thought I'd tell you a bit about this person who seems to be showing up often on my site.
He's handsome - as you can see, and he loves the Lord passionately. He loves languages and cultures. He speaks Turkish and spent a couple of years in Turkey teaching ESL. He is lots of fun to be with!!! He loves to write and wants to write a book one day. He loves to laugh. He's silly. He's a prayer warrior. He is gentle and kind. He opens doors for me. He has a big family - he's one of six! He makes me smile - OFTEN. He has a heart for the nations, specifically M*sl*ms. He is super sweet to me. His roots are deep in his faith. His love for God and passionate pursuit of Him is evident in his daily life. He's so much fun to be with!!!

Somehow, in God's amazing grace and love, He has orchestrated a beautiful relationship between the two of us and I count my many blessings daily because of Daniel. When I tell the story of "us", to me it's a story of God's redeeming love and grace. Why He would bless me with a man like Daniel, I'm not sure unless He truly is the God Who loves us despite our sins, the God Who doesn't remember our sins, but Whose mercies are new every morning, the God Who loves to pour blessings over His children. And I know that our God is certainly all of these things. So I won't ask questions...I think I'll just take this amazing gift and thank Him for it! Isn't He good?!!!!

Celebrating one year

My little cousin turned 1 today! Isn't she cute???

Will you take this woman...?

This weekend I was honored to be a part of Kristin Kilpatrick Stuart's wedding. Krisitn and I have been friends since I moved to Ruston. Her junior high and freshman year/my high school days, making "drive-bys", and youth functions at Temple are our biggest and fondest memories. The weekend was packed with lots of fun - lingerie shower, pedicures at the bridesmaids' luncheon, rehearsal dinner at Squire Creek, and the big wedding day! I have lots of memories with Kristin and it was fun to be part of this big time in her life. Ruston events are always elaborate - this event one of those!!