Archive | November, 2010

Ornaments

29 Nov

 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:16-17

 

After the busyness of the past several days of precious family time, I find myself, in the quietness of my thoughts and the sacredness of the holidays, wondering where Thanksgiving is suppose to end and Christmas is suppose to start.  Can we honestly celebrate one without the other?   How fitting that both special days are so close on the calendar!!

Our daughter and her little family spent much of this past week with us in our home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  With a 20 month-old toddler around, we laughed a lot, were entertained by the simplest gestures and words, and watched a few episodes of Dora the Explorer.  Turkey Day itself was shared with a total of 23 around the dinner table at ‘Park Place’ … the home of  Tim’s oldest sister.  This is becoming quite a holiday tradition as the individual Van Hook kids have married and had kids, and their kids are now getting married and having kids…and we can all gather at Aunt Debbie’s house to visit.   What a blessing this year as four baby boys were born into the family since last Thanksgiving!

Once family all went home, I rearranged the living room furniture in order to make room for our Christmas tree.  My thoughts and prayers were going out to several friends who are struggling with life.  My mom’s best friend suffered a heart attack during the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning.  The medical staff at the hospital in Greenwood was able to save Nellie’s life with an immediate surgery and procedure … A big thank you goes out to those who work on special days when most of us have time off!  Another friend in Albuquerque lost everything in an apartment fire last week.  A dear friend in Cincinnati is leaning hard on Jesus since her husband’s cancer has returned.  Another precious friend is going through the holidays for the first time without her father, who passed away in August.  It seems that everywhere we look, life is full.  It is full of joy and it is full of sorrow.  Even through the sorrow, we can still have joy as we have SO much to be grateful for! 

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great mercies we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:21-26

 

With the tradition of Karen Carpenter, 4 Him, and Amy Grant filling our home with songs of the season, my heart was still celebrating Thanksgiving as I opened boxes packed full of 30 years of life.  Inside were memories all wrapped up in garland, lights, holiday tins, a musical moose, stuffed Christmas veggies, gingerbread houses made of clay, and ornaments.  Ornaments that tell stories about people, places, events, and times.

As I hung each ornament on the tree, my heart was overwhelmed by God’s love and His mercies, for they ARE new every morning and every year.  Testimonies to His faithfulness hang all over my Christmas tree!  Homemade treasures made out construction paper and paper doilies, complete with school photos, represent sweet blessings all grown up now.  Friendships old and new, special places like Kauai and Venice, and many ‘1st’ ornaments, for the various locations we have called home.  An attitude of prayer filled my living room as I gently placed each memento on the branches, thanking God for the people who came to mind, and seeking Him on their behalf … wherever they are, whatever they are doing this Christmas season, and for their part in my life  ~ sometime between 1980 and 2010.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,
so that you may know him better.
Ephesians 1:16-17

 

I look forward to this special prayer service next year.  My own personal Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration.  I know that my home would never be displayed in a trendy home décor magazine, but that’s ok.  The simple decorations and the tree, complete with icicles and unique ornaments never to be found in a boutique shop, adorn a most sacred chapel of worship. 

Won’t you join me in continuing to give thanks for His blessings as we enter into this Christmas season to celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Savior?

Until next time,
Debbie

You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
You are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
His love endures forever.
Psalm 118:28-29

 

 

 

 

My Identity List

19 Nov

 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2

 

As I was thumbing through my Bible the other day to find the scripture that went along with my devotional reading, I began to take notice of all the different items that I have tucked inside the pages throughout.  There are torn portions of various church bulletins that I have jotted down notes on, pages from Our Daily Bread that are memorials to a special day, specific bookmarks that represent an event, and a cough drop wrapper that even years later still serves as a reminder to pray.  Among the many other treasures are three scratch papers overflowing with what I call my Identity List. 

Several years ago in a desperate cry for help, God began to flood my rough and rugged pathway with a steady stream of Light.  This Light allowed me to take one step at a time, secure of His presence in my life.  In my world of extreme uncertainty and heartache, I found Strength, Protection, Hope, Peace, … I found Jesus. 

I started to make notes of scriptures that became my Identity List …

Jesus is my Strength and my Shield
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
Psalm 28:7

 

Jesus is my Trust
Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust.
Psalm 40:4

 

Jesus is my Refuge and my Strength … and Help
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

 

Jesus is my Strength and my Song … and my Salvation
The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
Exodus 15:2

 

Jesus is my Lamp
You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
2 Samuel 22:29

 

Jesus is my Maker and my Husband
For your Maker is your husband–the LORD Almighty is his name.
Isaiah 54:5

 

Jesus is my Glue
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
 Colossians 1:17

 

Jesus is my Confidence
For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared.
Proverbs 3:26

 

Jesus is my Light
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 
I John 1:5

 

Jesus is my Anchor
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hebrews 6:19

 

 

This is just a small sampling of close to 75 scribbled hand written notes and scriptures that claim my identity with Jesus.  When circumstances of life toss me around and I feel alone, helpless, and weak, I often open up my Bible to find these scraps of paper for a reminder of my Real Identity. 

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26

 

Won’t you join me in taking Jesus off the note paper and truly allowing Him to be our Identity?

Until next time,
Debbie

 

 

 

Hold My Hand

10 Nov

 You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

 

Recently I decided to sit down with a book that’s new to my shelf called “Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On”  by Stormie Omartian.  Family Christian had it on their $5 rack a few months ago, and I quickly snatched up this book at a bargain price!  As usual, she had me from the get go and I began to absorb like a sponge the truths and the extremely helpful words I was reading.

“Life is a walk.  Each day we take steps. 
Our tomorrow is determined by the steps we take today.”

 

This made me think of our little grandson, Cole.  He has been walking now for several months, but as he began to toddle around, he not only needed to hold on to someone’s hand, he wanted to.  Inside of him, there was a fear of getting hurt, and he knew that as long as he had his momma’s hand, she wouldn’t let him fall.  As those chubby legs began to gain strength to support and steady his active body, he became less and less needy of the help and attention from the hovering adults…or so he thought.  His will and inner drive to become independent gave him courage and a boldness with every step to be able to go it alone.  But then those same adults, who were then hesitantly standing back to watch, began to clap and cheer … causing the little guy to smile, get all excited, and topple over on his nose.  This whole process repeated itself over and over many times until it became less and less of a big deal to the big people, allowing the little person to stumble, bump, and make progress until he began chasing the dog through the house, giggling the whole way!

Although he’s been walking now for quite some time … and yes, even running through the house chasing the dog, there are times that Cole still needs to hold someone’s hand.  Most of the time, he doesn’t think so, but for his own safety and the sanity of his mother, he needs to.  We were in the Indianapolis airport a  few weeks ago and had stopped at Starbucks for a quick caffeine fix for the momma.  With so much to see in every direction, Cole was not too happy with the concept of needing to hold anyone’s hand.  He is learning, however, that there are still times that when the verbal boundaries are not heeded, then his little hand will quickly be grasped again by the hovering adult.  He still needs direction and a steady guide…and will yet for several years to come.  You and I both know that there is an order of progression that takes place … of letting go of the hand.  God planned it that way.  As his young life gains momentum and picks up speed of its own, eventually the hands will release… and instead, the ones belonging to the adults will forever remain in a posture of prayer.

Stormie continues on in chapter 1 talking about our walk with God being very different than that of a child with his parents.  He wants us to reach up and take His hand, but He doesn’t want us to ever let go.  In fact, His desire is that we become more and more dependent upon Him for every step we take.  The only way we will ever make it through the valleys, around the dangerous curves, and over the looming mountains that seem to block our way is to hold tight to His guiding hand. 

November 4 in Holiness and High Country says it this way …

“As long as life lasts, He gives the blessings of sunshine and rain
even to those who reject Him. 
Our Lord asks us to be like God in the liberality of our love. 
Can I love a man who curses me?  Can I sincerely pray for God to give His blessing to one
who has wronged me?  Can I forgive – and keep on forgiving, and loving? 

It is a difficult spiritual achievement that Jesus sets before us. 
But it is a blessed possibility that He opens up to us. 
Christian perfection is high country, but living at this level comes more from
God’s grace than from my achievement.  If it seems an impossibly lofty height,
He reaches out a hand and says, “Let Me lead you to it.”

 

More times than not, I find that life is difficult and doesn’t happen like I anticipated or dreamed it would.  I need Jesus to take me into the unknown areas where I have no idea of what is ahead.  I need Him to guide me and hold me steady!

You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;  if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:5-10

 

Some pathways are dark, the steps are uneven, and fear will often grip the heart and sometimes even paralyze any movement from taking place.  It is then that I need Jesus to take hold of my hand and to reassure me of His guidance, His love, and His help. 

 

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13

  

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

 

The journey we are all on has its ups and downs.  My little grandson Cole is quickly learning that as he continues to grow and steady himself over the rocky pathways of life.  My prayer for this little guy is that even before he will let go of his mom and dad’s hands, he will follow the example and also reach up to the hand of Jesus, depending on Him to guide and lead Him throughout the rest of his life and into eternity.  Won’t you also join me in taking hold of the hand of Jesus?

Till next time,
Debbie

Uncle Kyle

4 Nov

Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your
strength and with all your mind ; and,
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Luke 10:25-27 

 

 

My father was one of 17 children born in the Owen Wells family from Virginia.  Daddy passed away in 1994, and this past Sunday morning, his oldest brother met him at the feet of Jesus.  Uncle Kyle would’ve been 91 years old next month. 

Memories are sweet, pictures are priceless, and his relationships were real.  He was a wealthy man, rich in love of family, love of friends, love of Jesus, and his love for music was the centerpiece of every family event.  He would sit and pick a banjo, mandolin, or strum a guitar, all the while singing a favorite hymn or a Bluegrass melody as his sisters would add the harmony.   

Heaven’s music is sweeter, the attendance of the Wells family reunion around the throne has increased, and our hearts are filled with awe as we mourn OUR loss but rejoice in his gain. 

While I’m back in Indiana for a few days to join my family in celebrating Uncle Kyle’s homecoming, won’t you join me in allowing God to search our hearts as we once again realize the brevity and sacredness of life … and to be reminded that we too will pass someday.   Eternity lasts forever … where will you spend yours?

Till next time,
Debbie

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus.
 “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered: ” `Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and,
`Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
Luke 10:25-27