Tuesday, December 21, 2010

God's Forever Plan

(Painting above by Brian Jekel)

This morning I was reading Luke 2:21-52...the focus was on the faithfulness of Simeon and Anna to wait for the Christ to appear. But the verses that grabbed my attention are part of the blessing given by Simeon:

"For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation
which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people, Israel."
verses 30-32

I am fairly certain the few folks who do read this blog...are Gentiles.  God's forever plan - hallelujah - was to send light to the Gentiles....US!  We were never an afterthought, or something God thought up later on when He saw what a mess we were. 
This may not excite you, but it never fails to thrill my soul!

Thank You, Lord for your forever plan to redeem ALL mankind...every nation, tongue, tribe.

Happy, Holy Christmas to you all!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jesus Saves

Last year we began presenting a living Bethlehem village, following Mary and Joseph on their journey to the manger.  Our first village was Once Upon a Holy Night...it was an unbelievable experience for our church.  This year we were led to attempt to present Jesus Saves, a song written by Travis Cottrell.

Here are a few highlights...

The village begins to take shape (doesn't look very impressive, does it)...

Jake begins the story and tour...David (soldier on the right) is about to read the decree saying "all the world
must be taxed..."

Our guests "shopping" (everything is free!)...

Joseph pays his taxes...

Turned away at the Inn...

Shepherds at the manger..."humblest hearts adore Him"...

Wise men..."the wisest bow before Him"...

"It is done will shout the cross, Christ has paid redemption's cost..."

"...the empty tomb declaring - Jesus Saves!"
(Angel of the Lord rolling stone away - hard to see the flashing light and fog rolling)

"God is making all things new..."

"all the saints will shout together"..."the redeemed will sing forever!"....

Sky "alive with praise"...

Hebrews says that God inhabits the praise of His people.  All I can say is...when you
exalt the Savior - God is pleased!  We sang Jesus Saves 19 times and it never grew

Our ladies sewed and designed costumes for months...free gifts were made, wrapped, bagged
and prepared and all the items given -  from hot chocolate and cookies, to shop gifts - were
donated by our people.   One couple arranges for our live animals; and then they
transport them back and forth to the village every night.

The men built the village and a storm came through and blew it away.  They went out
the very next day and built it again.  They designed and figured out every technical aspect,
including fireworks this year - which were timed precisely to coordinate with the song.

For months we prayed for moderate temperatures, dry weather, good health - and for
those who would come. While we prayed that others' lives would be touched and changed
after this experience -  we discovered that we are the ones who are most changed every year. 
We receive the greatest blessing.

Living Bethlehem 2010 - Jesus Saves is past. LB 2009 was great and we doubted 2010
could be better...but it was!  Now we are praying and anticipating what God has for us
for Living Bethlehem 2011!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What makes a good blog?

Here it is...someone who consistently blogs.  Simple, huh.  No one wants to read the same old post over and over again.  If one goes to a blog and it hasn't changed in say...weeks or months...one ceases to go there!
So, what do you do when you have nothing to say...or no pictures to illustrate?  I have no answer.
I'm going to try to do better.  It will be my new year's resolution.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blooming Reminder

My Daddy went home to be with Jesus on February 2 of this year...it seems like years and years ago most of the time.  But I have this...

This African violet was in an arrangement sent to Daddy's funeral.  This is the third time it has bloomed
since February 2nd.  Every time it blooms, I am reminded...
  • My Daddy lives....in heaven
  • Life goes on
  • There is beauty around me all the time
  • My heavenly Father loves me enough to give me this sweet reminder
  • I will see my Daddy again one day!
I am not a "green thumb" person...I am usually more of a black thumb-er.  Yet, this plant continues
to live and thrive...my personal blooming reminder.