Friday, December 25, 2009

Joseph's Lullaby

Since becoming a parent, this has become one of my favorite Christmas songs.
I hope you've had a wonderful day celebrating the fact that God is With Us.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Voice in the Wilderness

There are many charities in the world caring for people. But often when I am asked for money I wonder what my money will be used for. Will it go directly to the people in need, or be spent on salaries or marketing? This is one charity that has captured my heart and I can trust to use my resources wisely...A Voice in the Wilderness.

A few years ago, on an Emmaus Walk, my husband met a guy who does mission work with his wife in Haiti. They started a non-profit organization to help the children in Haiti, gathering support from churches and by word of mouth. The newsletters I have read are eye-opening and heartbreaking. The couple goes to Haiti once or twice a year and are very hands-on in their ministry, seeing the need with their own eyes. The following is a brief summary of the work they support there.

Feeding Program: The program provides children with one bowl of rice & beans every weekday. And some of these children take that one portion of food home to share with the rest of their family. The lucky family in Haiti eats one meal of rice & beans per day. Others eat "mud cakes" to stay alive.

Education: After feeding the children, there are a few teachers who educate the children...teaching them about Jesus, and how to read and write. The teachers get a meager salary, and choose to work even on their "days off" because of their devotion to the children.

Medical supplies: A few times a year they ship a container of medical supplies. Many things that we take for granted such as soap, vitamins, Tylenol, pills to kill the intestinal parasites they get from drinking the water, and much more. People will stand in line all day to get these items. (In my mind there would be nothing worse than watching my child suffer and being able to do nothing about it. Kids there die all the time from starvation and illnesses we consider to be minor. In fact, many don't even name their children until their 1st birthday because the mortality rate is so high.)

The thing that amazes me the most is that the Christians in Haiti have a stronger faith than many of us. They are forced to depend on God for their needs. And they are THANKFUL for what they receive. They live with a real HOPE of what is to come. When I think about the things I whine and complain about it makes me ashamed. Every time I read about the conditions other people live in it reminds me how blessed we all are and how much we take for granted.

If you want to learn more about this ministry, receive their newsletter, or make a contribution you may write Liz and Dewaine Seese at:A Voice in the Wilderness, 99 Cypress Edge Drive, Blairsville, Georgia 30512

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A New Addition

I have a new addition to my morning that recharges me physically, emotionally, and even spiritually! My wonderful husband bought me this treadmill for my birthday/Christmas/any other holiday he could think of during the next year :) I have been wanting one for a few this was a good gift. Now the question was if I would find the motivation to USE it for something more than a clothing rack (which I hear is a common use of treadmills these days).

My friend gave me the golden key when she introduced me to podcasts. For those of you, like me, who are wondering what a podcast even IS, it is a radio broadcast that can be downloaded from the internet (I use iTunes) for FREE! What a concept! I can listen to teachings from amazing Christian pastors and authors, normally between 15-30 min each, right from my iPod. And since my goal is to work out for 30 min this makes the time go by really fast. I get to workout my body, fill my mind with wisdom, worship, and get an overall boost of confidence every morning. For the first time I am beginning an exercise routine that I believe I can stick to and am truly excited about. I hope to see improvement in my physical health, and more importantly in my spiritual health. Feel free to keep me accountable :)

1 Timothy 4:8 "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

2 Timothy 1:7 "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline".

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Glimmer of Hope

We did our Christmas decorating yesterday and soaked in the boys excitement. The joyful anticipation they express inspires me. One of their favorite traditions is our advent calendar, taking turns to place an item on the nativity scene each morning. Jacob got to go first today, placing the star on the scene...a glimmer of hope.

I've been doing the daily advent readings we got at church this past Sunday. The verse for today is Romans 8:18-27. It talks about how creation is groaning and eagerly awaiting what is to come, similar to a pregnant woman experiencing labor pains. What an interesting analogy. Pregnancy, like life, is not always pleasant. There are hardships such as being uncomfortable, leg cramps, swelling, weight gain, nerve pain, nausea, vomiting, being poked with needles and forced to drink liquids for testing, not to mention childbirth itself. But what helps us endure those things is the hope of that little life growing inside...the hope of what is to come. And once that baby has come into the world eventually the negative memories fade. That must be true since many of us choose to go through the whole process again! The end result is more wonderful than anything we could have imagined. Life is meant to be lived in that same state of mind. We can endure our trials because we have hope for what the future will bring...a future so great we can not even comprehend it.

I find that with pregnancy it is easier to have hope because we know when the birth will come. We know when things will be set right again. But in life we don't. We don't know when our problems will be resolved, when Christ will return, or when we will be taken to heaven (I pray that you know that is your destination). So we are left to trust in the fact that God knows and will strengthen and refine us so we will be prepared for that time, which eventually will come.

Why are downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise Him,
my Savior and my God.
-Psalms 42:11

May this Christmas season fill you with hope and the joyful anticipation of what is to come.