Monday, December 21, 2009

Peace on Earth!

Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.
Luke 2:14

Peace on earth seems to be an elusive thing. There are wars fought around the world. Terrorism. Conflict with our neighbors and co-workers. This world is a far cry from peace.

Yet at the birth of Christ, before he had done anything, God declared "Peace on earth." The entrance of the God-Man Jesus Christ into our sinful, war-ridden world altered our existence forever. Believe it or not, there is now peace on earth.

As with so many of God's statements, there is part of this that is for us here and now, and there is part of this that is yet to come. We will see a day when we will "beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks," but that peace is coming somewhere in the future.

Today I am pondering the part of this "peace on earth" that we currently have. After the surprising entrance onto the scene of Immanuel, God with us, we now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:1) God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. (2 Cor 5:19)

Where we were once enemies with God, separated from his grace and love, we are now brought back into relationship with him. And he has called us to declare a message of peace, of reconciliation -- with himself, with each other, with the whole of creation.

Although we may not see this fulfilled in its entirety in our lifetime, still we have this promise: "Peace on earth, good will to men."

This is a reprint of my post from the Christmas season last year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We are ready to celebrate this week leading up to Christmas. We have no family coming, and we are not traveling, so things are pretty quiet for us this year.

We are planning a special breakfast for Christmas morning: Stuffed Scrambled Eggs (my hubby is not fond of omelets, but loves scrabbled eggs with mushrooms, onions, and cheese), Scottish Sausage, Hash Browns and Muffins (English Muffins, as we call them in the states. I guess they don't feel it necessary to put the "English" in the title).

And I am going to try some new recipes: Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins, Cinnamon Carrot Bread, Sugar Cookies.

Now to our menu for this week...

Menu for this week:

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday! And Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm thirsty...

During the colder, winter months I find that I do not drink much water. I drink hot tea, coffee and cocoa, but very little water. I just do not have the same thirst in the winter, the same need to cool down. But am I truly not thirsty, or have I just hidden it with other things?

Now I am dehydrated and desperately need water, a lot of water. And it is going to take time for my body to recover...

There are times of thirst in my spiritual life, in the desert when I know I am thirsty and desperate for constant water, for constant refreshing by the living water. At those times I hunger and thirst, seek and knock, draw near...

But there are times when I don't recognize my thirst... just like in the cold of winter. Times like those I am in right now.

This last week has been a revelation for me. I am thirsty. I am dehydrated. I desperately need the living water ... to cleanse, to refresh, to fill, to overflow. I did not realize how much effort was being required of me, and how much it was using my "reserves." But now I am dry... And it is going to take time...

Yet, the very fact that I know this reflects on the faithfulness of God. He gently calls, gently draws, gently showers, gently leads me again to still waters.

Is God calling you to deeper waters?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Shine Like Stars!

Words That Heal - Chapter 3: "Woe is Me!"

"Do everything without complaining or arguing,
so that you may become blameless and pure,
children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation,
in which you shine like stars in the universe
as you hold out the word of life..."
(Philippians 2:14-16)

Complaining almost seems to be the language of this world. Think about the conversations around you everyday ... people complaining about their job, about the slow person in front of them, about the guy who cut them off in the car, about the cold weather, and the list goes on.

It is an easy way to start up a conversation with a perfect stranger, to find a connection to those around you. It is almost necessary to "fit in." But we are called to stand out ... like bright starts ... and there is no better way than saturating our speech with contentment and thanksgiving.

In this chapter, Carole points out that our complaining stems from a lack of contentment and true thanksgiving. Too often our prayers are "Thank you, Lord, for ... but I really need ..." We compare ourselves with others, and want what they have instead of focusing on all that we have been given.

I feel like this could have been taken a step further ... that our grumbling and complaining is also an expression of our own lack of faith, our unbelief. Do we think God hasn't or isn't going to provide all we need? Do we think He won't care for us? Do we think the gift of his own Son not sufficient for our peace? Have we simply forgotten that we have been given so much?

In the Old Testament, we follow the Israelites through their desert journey, wandering in circles, going from high points faith and miraculous provision to low points of grumbling and unbelief.

When God first delivered them from Egypt, they put their faith in God as he led them through the sea. But this was soon followed by their grumbling about the food. God then provides manna every day for them. But they soon grumble about the lack of water.

Their complaining and unbelief soon led to their ultimate act of disobedience and unbelief ... they grumbled about the "giants" and refused to enter the promised land. It took 40 years in the desert for them to finally learn their lesson. Do we want to repeat that mistake?

Toward the end of this chapter, Carole provides a wonderful exercise to help us develop an attitude of contentment and thanksgiving:
Look up three things in Scripture and find three things in your life for which you are thankful. Each morning add one more to these lists, from both Scripture and your blessings. Use these in your prayers of thanksgiving, and ask God to give you the strength (and daily reminder) to be content.
Of all the topics covered in this book, this is the one lesson I feel God has "put his finger on." I have not been thankful for all that he has given me, and I need to learn to be content ... in every situation (Phil 4:11-12). I want to shine like a star, not blend into the decaying darkness all around me.

"Lord, forgive me for my complaining words, for my attitude of discontent, for my lack of gratefulness, for my unbelief. Thank you that you continue your work in my life; that even when I am faithless, you remain faithful. Teach me to rejoice in you. Provide me the strength to be content, whatever the circumstances, and to be thankful for all that you have given me. Remind me each day, and reveal more deeply, that you are truly all I want and all I need."

I am currently reading Words That Hurt, Words That Heal by Carole Mayhall.
Check out the other posts in this series.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I was quite excited this week to find dried pinto and black beans in a grocery store. It really makes a difference in my attitude toward cooking when I can't find the things I enjoy using. I also found canned artichoke hearts, which are a favorite in my family. I may have to walk the extra few miles once or twice a month to visit this terrific grocery store.

Now to our menu for this week...

Menu for this week:

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Last week our menu fell apart, much to my frustration. When we got our groceries, they did not have the roast that was advertised. Three of my meals last week were dependent on that roast. And I never made it back to the store to pick up a replacement. So, most of our meals for this week are repeated from last week and hopefully the roast will be available.

Menu for this week:
  • Monday -- Teriyaki Chicken and Rice

  • Tuesday -- French Dip - I am trying a new recipe in the crock pot.

  • Wednesday -- Chicken Fajitas

  • Thursday -- Beef and Broccoli

  • Friday -- Homemade Pizza

  • Saturday -- Roast Beef

  • Sunday -- Chicken Tortilla Soup

Check out more menu plan's at Organizing Junkie.

Happy Monday!