Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thankful Thursday - Looking Back

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

As Iris mentioned in her Thankful Thursday post, looking back can be painful. This has been a year of joys and trials for me. In January I was blessed with the knowledge that we were having another grandson. Later in the year I was frightened to learn my uncle's melanoma had returned. In May he underwent brain surgery and it was successfully removed. In June we got a pool and swam all summer long. September brought news of my father having heart problems and he had pacemaker surgery on my birthday. In October we welcomed our grandson, all 5 lbs. and 3 oz. of him, into this world one month early. In November we gathered for a Thanksgiving that was wonderful. Jimmy's cancer returned and he underwent a second brain surgery in December and the cancer was removed again. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day our whole family was together. Not a soul was absent and all were healthy. Hours before the end of 2008, my uncle texted me and said the results of his most recent PET scan were all clear.

Looking back has left me thankful. God was with me every step of the way, sometimes carrying me, sometimes prodding me along, sometimes pulling me while I stubbornly refused to move, heels dug in, and sometimes simply walking with His precious hand in mine.

This Thankful Thursday, I rejoice that God has hopeful plans for me, and a future I cannot even begin to imagine! He is so faithful.

The Hebrew word for welfare in Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) is shalowm, which means:

1) completeness, soundness, welfare, peace
a) completeness (in number)
b) safety, soundness (in body)
c) welfare, health, prosperity
d) peace, quiet, tranquillity, contentment
e) peace, friendship
1) of human relationships
2) with God especially in covenant relationship
f) peace (from war)
g) peace (as adjective)

I love that God desires and has plans for us indivdually for these things as mentioned above. My heart echoes David's declaration below.

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" ~ Psalm 139:17 (NIV)

I love the promise that a new year brings. As in Jeremiah 33:3, we can call on the Lord for all our needs. This is one year I will be growing even closer to the Lord in prayer. I have always been a strong advocate of prayer, but this year I want to go deeper, seeking God more closely and spending time more closely with Him in prayer.

I love the promise that if we call to God He will answer us. The Hebrew word for call is qara', which means:

1) to call, call out, recite, read, cry out, proclaim
a) (Qal)
1) to call, cry, utter a loud sound
2) to call unto, cry (for help), call (with name of God)
3) to proclaim
4) to read aloud, read (to oneself), read
5) to summon, invite, call for, call and commission, appoint, call and endow
6) to call, name, give name to, call by
b) (Niphal)
1) to call oneself
2) to be called, be proclaimed, be read aloud, be summoned, be named
c) (Pual) to be called, be named, be called out, be chosen

I want to call out to God and to be called upon by Him. I want to proclaim praises to Him and cry out the desires of my heart to Him in such a way that honors Him.

The Hebrew word for answer is `anah, which means:

1) to answer, respond, testify, speak, shout
a) (Qal)
1) to answer, respond to
2) to testify, respond as a witness
b) (Niphal)
1) to make answer
2) to be answered, receive answer
2) (Qal) to sing, utter tunefully
3) (Qal) to dwell

I look forward to hearing God's actie response to the prayers I share with Him. I am anticipating His dwelling with me as He answers my prayers according to His perfect will.

I love how He says in the verse above that He will tell us great and hidden things that we do not know.

The Hebrew word for tell is nagad, which means:

1) to be conspicuous, tell, make known
a) (Hiphil) to tell, declare
1) to tell, announce, report
2) to declare, make known, expound
3) to inform of
4) to publish, declare, proclaim
5) to avow, acknowledge, confess
a) messenger (participle)
b) (Hophal) to be told, be announced, be reported

I look so forward to hearing from Him and hearing His Holy Spirit guiding me in His truths.

The Hebrew word for great is gadowl, which means:

1) great
a) large (in magnitude and extent)
b) in number
c) in intensity
d) loud (in sound)
e) older (in age)
f) in importance
1) important things
2) great, distinguished (of men)
3) God Himself (of God)

Oh, the important things He has for us to know! The intensity of this knowing of things of importance and Him revealing Himself to me is mind-boggling but definitely something I'm clinging to.

I believe I can honor Him more by keeping my heart's ears open for what He has to say to me this year.

In the past I have thought of these things as hidden. The Hebrew word for hidden is batsar, which means:

1) to gather, restrain, fence, fortify, make inaccessible, enclose
a) (Qal)
1) to cut off
2) fortified, cut off, made inaccessible (pass participle)
3) secrets, mysteries, inaccessible things (subst)
b) (Niphal) to be withheld
c) (Piel) to fortify

To know that He has been ready to reveal these things to me all along is what makes my desire to go deeper in prayer with Him.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." ~ Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

Have I sought Him with all my heart in the past? I believe that a part of me has held back. I have wanted to know Him more intimately, but I admit that there are so many things I don't understand. I thought if I didn't ask I wouldn't be disappointed not to know. I believed that there were some things that were to remain a mystery. I still believe that we are not to know everything, but as I have read His Word so closely this year, I know that He is a God who loves me and wants to be known by me. Surely I will not know the fullness of Him until I am with Him in Heaven, but while I'm here on earth I do not want to miss a thing! I'm ready to seek Him with all my heart and hear what He has to tell me now.

Looking forward, I am thankful for the opportunities He has placed before me, making Himself available to be such a personal God and Father. He has given you the same opportunities! Let's grow in prayer together, shall we?

Thankful Thursday is hosted by Iris at Grace Alone... Please be sure to visit her, link up and post your own thankful post.

The Path - WFW

I'm not one to dwell on the past. I tend to look forward to the future. Oh, I do enjoy trips down memory lane, reflecting on times the Lord has been faithful and loving, revealing Himself as my Shepherd or the Great Physician. One thing I will always hold dear regarding this year (aside from the births of a grandson and nephew and many other wonderful family memories) is how God has filled me with the joy and peace of eternal life.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." ~ Romans 15:13 (NIV)

There was a time when I was terrified of the end times. I believe we are living in them and there was a time that I didn't understand Bible prophecy as well then as I do now. I'm not saying I understand it all. Behold, some things are still a mystery to me! It's heavy stuff. I remember as a young child hearing our pastor preach on Armageddon. That was one battle I wanted no part of! I also wasn't exactly excited about dying, whether Jesus made us all disappear at the Rapture or dying a painful death, even if it involved going straight to Heaven. After careful reading of God's Word and learning more from some good Bible scholars I now can laugh at my fears. I rejoice that as I have grown in Christ, I look so forward to being an active participant in anything God has planned for me, end times or whatever the future holds.

Yes, this year the Lord has shown me, like the Psalmist, the path of life, filled me with joy in His presence, and the assurance of eternal pleasures yet to come. He has drawn me closer to Him this year than I've ever been drawn before. I grew up knowing Christ and have been saved since I was in my teens, but this was a year of a great growth spurt for me, and I rejoice that the Holy Spirit has comforted and assured me with the truths of God's Word as I seek to walk more closely with Him on the path He has set before me.

The Hebrew word for path in the Psalm in the picture above is 'orach, which means:

1) way, path
a) path, road
b) the path, way, passing of life (fig.)
c) way of living (fig.)
d) traveller, wayfarer (meton)

I have definitely learned that walking down the path God has shown me is far better than walking down paths unknown. From past concerns over how Bible prophecy would play out to seeing His handprints over every part of my life, I try to search His Word and pray daily that I stay on the path He has set before me.

This year I was moved to a new way of living, one that is more sensitive to the things I read and watch on television, more sensitive to the things I allow myself to listen to and what words I allow my tongue, untamed at times, to speak.

I love the fullness of joy that I live in now. The Hebrew word for fullness in the Psalm in the picture above is soba`, which means:

1) satiety, abundance, fulness
a) satiety
b) abundance

The Hebrew word for joy in this verse is simchah, which means:

1) joy, mirth, gladness
a) mirth, gladness, joy, gaiety, pleasure
b) joy (of God)
c) glad result, happy issue

This has been a happy year for me, not only in the things I have learned in the Word and from reading your blogs, but also in feeling the abundant pleasure of babies being born and seeing God's plan working out in His own way for my uncle, my Dad and others I love.

I can't wait to see the handiwork of our precious Lord as He brings an abundance of glad results to my heart as I see God work out His good and perfect will throughout the coming year.

"Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah" ~ Psalm 62:8 (NIV)

Knowing that there are eternal pleasures awaiting me has caused me to grow in confidence and assurance in God.

The Hebrew word for pleasures in the Psalm in the picture above is na`iym, which means:

1) pleasant, delightful, sweet, lovely, agreeable
a) delightful
b) lovely, beautiful (physical)
2) singing, sweetly sounding, musical

I am no longer frightened or worried at the state of the world we live in or of what things may come. I tend to look more toward the delightful and lovely future God has planned for me, both now and in the hereafter. Though things may seem bleak on earth at times, I trust in God's will completely. My faith is strong that whatever happens, He is in control.

The Hebrew word for eternal in the Psalm in the picture above is netsach, which means:

1) eminence, perpetuity, strength, victory, enduring, everlastingness
a) eminence
b) enduring of life
c) endurance in time, perpetual, continual, unto the end
d) everlastingness, ever

I no longer think of the end times as the end times. They are only the beginning.

"But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. " ~ 2 Peter 3:13 (NIV)

Like the new year ahead, the path of life God has prepared for us holds great promise. I look to it with joy and hope.

The Hebrew word for life in the Psalm in the picture above is chay, which means:
1) living, alive
a) green (of vegetation)
b) flowing, fresh (of water)
c) lively, active (of man)
d) reviving (of the springtime)
n m
2) relatives
3) life (abstract emphatic)
a) life
b) sustenance, maintenance
n f
4) living thing, animal
a) animal
b) life
c) appetite
d) revival, renewal
5) community

There is such promise in all the meanings for life listed above. God wants us to live all these things out loud in our daily walk with Him along the path He has prepared for us.

Let's purpose together to stay on His path.

P - Pray daily to stay on the path God has prepared before you. "I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer." ~ Psalm 17:6 (NIV)

A - Abide close to Christ, who will never lead you astray. "When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice." ~ John 10:4-5 (NIV)

T - Take others onto the path with you. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." ~ Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
H - Hide God's Word in your heart daily so that you do not stray from His path. "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." ~ Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

The purpose of WFW is to share the Word of God through photo's and a verse. Amydeanne, over at The 160 Acre Woods, is our hostess. Be sure to link up and share your own, and drop her a thank you for hosting this wonderful meme each week. It always blesses my heart to read all the posts and see the photos and verses. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.

Wednesday's in the Word
DeeDee at I have No Greater Joy is hosting Wednesday's in the Word on her blog. We'll be reading the Bible each day using the following plan, and posting on Wednesday's about what we've read or at least that we've read...
Please join us - head on over to DeeDee's and do the Mr. Linky thing. It's a great way to spend time in the Word with other sisters - the whole accountability thing helps alot - or will with me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008 Pictures

That's a link to my photobucket account where I clicked on slideshow. I hope it works. I tried to put the pics on my blog but they were too big. Time to move on when you're getting aggravated at the computer, isn't it? I think I'll go read to distress!!!

My favorite picture this year is the one with Momma sitting beside Maw Maw.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Reflections
Christmas Eve dawned bright and early at the Pierce homestead. Our youngest grandson, Liam, woke at 5:45 for his first bottle of the day. I had the foresight to already have one made, thank goodness, because his little cry and the poked out bottom lip screamed that he was hungrier than a child in a famine-stricken third world country. I put him back down after his bottle and sat down for a few minutes, praying and thanking God for sending His Son into the world for our salvation. Rather than thinking of the Christmas story as told in Luke 2, I thought about John 3:16. How precious was that quiet time with Him.
I dressed, loaded up the truck and packed all Liam's things. What did I forget? Nothing, I am proud to report! I waited and waited on the little guy to wake up again for another feeding but he was sleeping so peacefully. As I got him up to put him in the carseat, thinking I would just feed him when we got down to Mize, he was hungry again. Did I mention that I am a planner? I just knew I would be off by 8:30, but nope. Fish takes 45 minutes to eat a 4.5 oz. bottle! And then there was the mess in the diaper thing. I left at 9:10, late but not dissuaded. I have a whole new respect for mother's who do this 24/7, and totally understand now how someone with an almost 3 month old can say, "We'll be there at 6:00!" only to arrive at 7:30.
We stopped by the donut shop for breakfast to eat on the way down and still he slept. I went in Chevron for some tylenol sinus and still he slept. Full belly, clean diaper, he sleeps. Marathon sleeps!
We arrived at Mize and I unloaded the car and still he slept. We were the first to arrive and it was so quiet and peaceful there. I sat down in the recliner after I put things in the crockpot and refrigerator and presents under the tree. Only to jump back up at the bloodcurdling screech of "Hunger! Feed me now!" So glad I had the bottle made - again. My little man didn't have to wait long for the formula I cannot pronounce to fill his belly.
He slept some more and I got some reading time in. The headache I awoke with went away, and my husband called. Kristyn, Liam's mother, who I was looking so forward to taking over the feeding and diaper changing duties, was in the hospital with a kidney stone. A kidney stone? Who gets a kidney stone for Christmas? After making sure she was okay, I asked, "What about the presents?" We drew names and there were kids expecting presents! Steve said she hadn't wrapped a thing. Ahem. I kept Nolan Saturday night so she could wrap presents. I kept Liam Tuesday night so she could wrap presents. What did she do? Probably what I do after I send the grandkids home, praise the Lord for silence and bask in the glow of no responsiblities.
Okay. I read some more and prayed that this kidney stone was actually the cause of the "attacks" my bonus daughter had been getting that would send her to the hospital in excruciating pain and that she would never have another one of these attacks. I read some more, did another bottle, diaper change and clothes change and got the biggest smile from my grandson. I swear the whole room lit up!
I rocked him back to sleep and then the arrivals started. My mom's sister, Melanie, got there first, with her fiance' Chuck and my grandmother, who wanted to know if we were kin. She has Alzheimer's. She must have asked 83,9999 times if Liam was my son, and on the 84,000 time I lied. "Yes." That was the answer she wanted to hear. She didn't ask again. God forgave me for that, I'm sure.
Not sure who came in next, but here's the cast.
Grandmother - aka Maw-Maw, who asked a gazillion times if we were kin and wanted to know if she was a kid. My grandmother thinks she's in school and acted kind of schoolgirlish Christmas Eve. It was precious! She was delighted to find out that I was Barbara's daughter and was "so proud you came to see me today!"
Melanie - my mom's sister. She is my favorite aunt. I am 38 years old and allowed to have favorites. The others are not "un-favorite", she's just my personal favorite.
Chuck - Melanie's finance. He brough flowers for the table. Wow. That was sweet! They were gorgeous and he has a knack for arranging them.
Momma - the sweetest Mother in the world. She does everything for everyone and is my grandmother's oldest daughter. My grandmother wanted her to sit beside her and she passed Ethan off to Jenn and did so. How sweet is that?
Jenn - the greatest sister in the world. Jennifer is so sweet and has a smile that goes on for days. She is 12.5 years younger than me and we have a bond like superglue.
Nathan - Jenn's husband. He doesn't say much. He was bitten by a shy-bug or something, but that's okay - we all do enough talking for him.
Ethan - Jennifer and Nathan's 4 month old son. My first biological nephew. God is good!!!
Lee - My first-born cousin on Momma's side. Melanie is his mother. He's 32 and is hilarious. He does impersonations from movies very well.
Paige - Lee's pregnant wife. She was dog-sick her first trimester but is feeling bucketloads better now. Her nephew just died the week before. He was 19 and had open heart surgery complications. It was heartbreaking for her, because he was her first biological nephew.
Gracie - Paige's 4 year old daughter who has a pixie haircut and is adorable. She was so excited about Santa! She loves her baby brother Jackson and her Daddy, Lee. Her real father died before he and Paige could be married and she never knew him. All she knows is Lee and loves him.
Jackson - Lee and Paige's 14 month old son. He has a head full of curls and walks everywhere. Give him a blanket and his thumb goes right in his mouth. It's precious.
Brett - Lee's brother, Melanie's son. He towers over everyone, he's so tall. He loves LSU and he and his fiance just built a house in New Orleans. Metairie, actually?
Casey - Brett's fiance. Before I could hug her I had to see the rock Brett placed on her finger. He gave her an engagement ring for Christmas! Welcome to the family, Casey! We love you so much and you're such a delight. She loves all the kids and spends time with them in a way that lets you know she's going to be good mommy material.
Brooke - Lee and Brett's sister, Melanie's daughter. She has overcome so much in her short life. She's 21 and has had a hole repaired in her heart, brain surgery for moya moya, has rhematoid arthritis and had hand surgery a few months back for trigger finger. She has to get the other hands done soon. She is a planner, like me. The first thing she said before she greeted anyone was, "Where are we going to put all the chairs when we open presents? Let's slide this recliner here..." A girl after my own heart.
Jimmy - my uncle who had brain surgery. He is Momma and Melanie's brother. My grandmother thought for a while he was her boyfriend. How embarassing! She thought he "quit her" when he stopped coming around during his recovery period. Bless their hearts! Jimmy held all the babies and was seen sweeping the floor. I'd say for a man who had brain surgery on the 15th that he' doing very well. He is having the gamma knife procedure done in January. He has faith that moves mountains and is my personal earth-hero. Jimmy is like Moses, he's the most humble man on the face of the earth, I think. I want to be like him when I grow up.
Susan - Jimmy's wife. She shops for my grandmother every year and is a great cook. She's an excellent mother to her sons and has the same same faith Jimmy does.
James & John - 8 year old twins of Jimmy and Susan. Still fully believe in Santa and were mondo excited about the night and the presents and still talk about their trip to Disneyworld over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Kristyn & Corey - bonus daughter and son-in-law. You could have knocked me over with a feather when they came in. She of the kidney stone, yes! They loaded her up on pain meds and I have never seen her so drunk in my life. She wasn't embarassingly drunk. Just slept alot and couldn't form a complete sentence for a few hours. We didn't trust her to hold the baby, so when he, um, filled his diaper, I refused to change it for the fourth time and handed him to Corey.
Steve - my beloved. I was so glad to see him come in with my other grandson Nolan, who he had picked up from his other grandmother's, Kristyn's mom. He is 16 months old and when he saw me he clapped his hand and gave me a big open-mouthed sloppy kiss. I love baby drool. What can I say?
The food was all laid out on the table and we munched when we got the desire. We did finger foods and desserts and it was awesome. We flitted from place to place, chatting with each family member, reflecting on what we had gone through this year and thanking God for the gift of having us all together in one place. We praised God for sending His Son into the world and the kids played until forever. It was a very special time. My grandmother broke my heart with her questions. Alzheimer's is such a thief, but I rejoiced that she only had questions and didn't seem agitated and antsy.
My two favorite gifts - time spent with family and the assurance my family has in Christ. Awesome Christmas!
Christmas Day we went to Steve's parents. The whole family was together there, too. It was great seeing everyone and spending time with them. His parents were in great moods and I never heard them grumble or complain. Of course, that's only because we left before Kristyn and Corey - we heard later that after we left Nolan dumped a glass of coke all over himself and the floor. Yi Yi Yi!
I took some time off from work but will go back tomorrow. I enjoyed this Christmas greatly and pray that everyone who was there this year will be the next. Life is so fleeting and I'm reminded of that in the wake of cancer and Alzheimer's and accidents. May God protect our family and bring us back next year, all together and healthy. Plus one. Paige is due in late April with a little boy named Noah James. Noah will be an angel, just like Jackson and Gracie!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!
Praying you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. We are heading down to my grandmother's to spend Christmas Eve with family. Tomorrow we'll be at Steve's folks. All the while I will be thanking God for sending His Son into the world for His holy redemption plan.
May God bless you and keep you in perfect peace during this special holy time.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Welcome to Word-Filled Wednesday, a day early.

We know the story. The order was given for a census, and Joseph took Mary, not yet his wife, though she was pledged to become so, to Bethlehem to register. The 60 mile trip from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem, the city of David, must have been tiresome for them. I'm sure there were many stops along the way, and that Joseph had a lot of explaining to do. "Yes, she's pregnant, but I'm still going to marry her. Why? Because I love her and I know she's carrying the Messiah." I've never carried a pregnancy to term, but I have seen those who have. Whether they are walking or riding, or just sitting still, they are so uncomfortable. "Oh, yes. I'm fine. Don't worry about me, please." I wonder how many times Mary, great with child, reassured her traveling companions.

"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." ~ Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)
They arrived, finally, only to find there was no room in an inn for them to stay.
The Greek word for room is topos, which means:
1) place, any portion or space marked off, as it were from surrounding space
a) an inhabited place, as a city, village, district
b) a place (passage) in a book
2) metaph.
a) the condition or station held by one in any company or assembly
b) opportunity, power, occasion for acting

There were no reservations at The Ritz. Did they stay with family? Did an innkeeper offer them lodging in a barn? Perhaps there was no opportunity or power, occasion to act for anyone, innkeeper or otherwise, to offer them space. Perhaps they simply lodged where they could. Wherever they stayed, we know it wasn't a fancy hotel or even a quaint Bed and Breakfast.


After they arrived, the Savior was born, wrapped in cloths His mother had probably packed for the anticipated birth of the Son.

The Greek word for wrapped in cloths is sparganoō, which means:

1) to wrap in swaddling clothes
a) of an infant just born

How carefully it's planned what outfit they will wear home from the hospital these days. I wonder during her visit with Elizabeth if they began lovingly sewing clothes for their babies, still in the womb, or how many late nights Mary stayed up, lovingly stitching sized 0-3 months tiny outfits and blankets, to swaddle her Son, her Savior, as any proud mother would do. There would be no spare rags for this Baby Boy.

Was it before or after they registered together as a family that our precious Savior was born? How long was Mary's recovery period? Was her birth difficult or easy? What prompted her labor? The long ride or walk there or did the time just simply come?

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." ~ Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)

Can you imagine the rush to see Him? The long awaited Savior was born into the world. The baby was lying in a manger. I have seen people stampede toward the nursery to get that first glimpse of the precious little one just born. They want to see who he looks like, want to count fingers and toes. They want to see her hair, or lack thereof. This I know. I have led those stampedes when grandchildren and nephews were born!

"When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." ~ Luke 2:15 (NIV)

The shepherds had waited more than a short nine months to see this baby. They lived merely minutes from the location of where they could see the Savior anticipated for centuries!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

What would the Son charged with the government on His shoulders look like? Who were His parents? Would He have a glow about Him?
"So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them." ~ Luke 2:16-18 (NIV)

The Greek word for hurry is speudō, which means:

1) to haste, make haste
2) to desire earnestly

When my grandsons were born, I snapped pictures through the nursery window the moment I had the opportunity and sent their pictures and weights, heights, birth time, every detail, out into cell phone land. I was excited. Imagine the excitement of the shepherds!

The Savior at long last had arrived. (Oh, to be there! To be a shepherd the night the angels appeared!) And as quickly as they arrived, they knew. They saw the Word in the flesh! Their only method of announcing the birth of the Holy Child was to spread the word.

The Greek word for the phrase spread the word is diagnōrizō, which means:

1) to publish abroad, make known thoroughly
2) to discriminate

They shared with everyone they could every detail they knew, what they had heard and seen for themselves!

Things Pondered

"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." ~ Luke 2:19 (NIV)

Mary had other things on her mind. She must have memorized every detail of her Son, the Savior, the Messiah. Many arrived to see the long-awaited Messiah, but Mary probably sat back in a chair or leaned against a bale of hay, pondering the wonder of it all. The Greek word for treasured is syntēreō, which means:

1) to preserve (a thing from perishing or being lost)
2) to keep within one's self, keep in mind (a thing, lest it be forgotten)

There were no digital cameras or video cameras back then. The mother who had been blessed to carry the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, had to have been given long pause to take it all in, perhaps remembering what seemed like a dream when the angel of the Lord told her she would carry the Son of the Most High God, reassuring her nothing was impossible with Him.

I'm sure she treasured the sweet sweet smell of the Savior Child as she held Him to her breast, and then the arrival of all who came and went after seeing the Babe lying in a manger, as well as the gentle care she must have received from those attending her birth - all thoughts we won't know unless she chooses to share them with us in Heaven.


"And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" ~ Philippians 2:8 (NIV)

Have you ever had the privilege to be at the bedside of someone who is slipping away into death? My husband's best friend died in 2003 and Steve and I held his hand as he died. Stripped of the things which sustained his life, a tough choice to be made by his family and Steve (whom they considered family), Todd was about as humble when he died as I ever knew anyone to be. It was a privilege to be there with him when he left his body and went home to be with the Lord. Death is about the most humbling thing there is to me.

And our precious Savior, placed in a lowly manger, whose birth was announced to shepherds guarding their flocks one night, humbled Himself to die for all mankind.

The Greek word for humble is tapeinoō, which means:

1) to make low, bring low
a) to level, reduce to a plain
b) metaph. to bring into a humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances
1) to assign a lower rank or place to
2) to abase
3) to be ranked below others who are honoured or rewarded
4) to humble or abase myself by humble living
c) to lower, depress
1) of one's soul bring down one's pride
2) to have a modest opinion of one's self
3) to behave in an unassuming manner
4) devoid of all haughtiness

As Mary watched the humble Word made flesh die, she couldn't hold His hand and have one of her other sons sit at the foot of the Cross, singing Amazing Grace as she told Him of the treasured memories of His humble birth, a short thirty-three years before.


"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" ~ John 11:25-26 (NIV)

When Todd died, we left the room while the heart/lung transplant team removed the equipment we had seen for more than six months. We returned to the room and Todd was still there in body, but not spirit. We knew without a doubt he was with Jesus.

"We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord." ~ 2 Corinthians 5:8 (NIV)

When Jesus talked to Martha about her own brother's death, He encouraged her with the hope of His own resurrection.

The Greek word for resurection is anastasis, which means:

1) a raising up, rising (e.g. from a seat)
2) a rising from the dead
a) that of Christ
b) that of all men at the end of this present age
c) the resurrection of certain ones history who were restored to life (Heb. 11:35)

The Gift

As Mary treasured the birth, the death and the resurrection of the Savior, may we treasure it, too.

The gift of Jesus was not simply given to Mary or to shepherds long ago. He was given to us for a purpose. Life with Him.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)

L - Love - "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." ~ 1 John 4:9 (NIV)

I - Intervention - "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins." ~ 1 John 4:10 (NIV)

F - Forgiveness - "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you." ~ Acts 13:38 (NIV)

E - Eternal Life - "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." ~ John 6:40 (NIV)

The purpose of WFW is to share the Word of God through photo's and a verse. Amydeanne, over at The 160 Acre Woods, is our hostess. Be sure to link up and share your own, and drop her a thank you for hosting this wonderful meme each week. It always blesses my heart to read all the posts and see the photos and verses. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Do you have a daily Bible reading plan for the start of the new year? I don't right now but I'm looking for one. I just completed my third read through of the Bible in one year. Can you believe it? (I hope I don't sound as though I'm boasting; however, I do feel like I have accomplished something good. I started out wanting to read the Bible through one time. I am an avid reader, and I decided that as much time as I devote to reading books, I would also devote to reading God's Word.) Next year I am taking a less agressive approach and am going to soak up His Word in smaller doses. I did the Bible in 90 Day plan three times - it took me a little longer than 90 days some times.

I discovered something new during this time- the importance of reading the Word of God daily. More than just reading His Word, we are to hide it in our hearts, just as the Psalmist did.

The Hebrew word for hide is tsaphan, which means:

1) to hide, treasure, treasure or store up
a) (Qal)
1) to hide, treasure, treasure up
2) to lie hidden, lurk
b) (Niphal) to be hidden, be stored up
c) (Hiphil) to hide, hide from discovery

I love the definition to treasure and store up. When we really consider what we have read, examining it and placing it deep within our hearts, we are guarding His Word as holy and true.

Placing the Word of God in our hearts is essential to giving us fuel for the day.

The Hebrew word for heart is leb, which means:

1) inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding
a) inner part, midst
1) midst (of things)
2) heart (of man)
3) soul, heart (of man)
4) mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
5) inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
6) conscience
7) heart (of moral character)
8) as seat of appetites
9) as seat of emotions and passions
10) as seat of courage

Understanding God's Word comes from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reveals to us not only the knowledge of the Scripture we've read, but also helps us to gain wisdom and understanding.

We develop strong courage, emotions and passion for the truths He imparts to us and treasure and store up the precious words we've read. We ponder them and think on them, carrying them close to us in our deepest conscience so that we might not sin against God.

God loves us so much and has laid out His laws and mercy and grace to us in the Bible. Through the men inspired by God, we have a firm foundation to keep us from sinning.

The Hebrew word for sin in the Scripture above is chata', which means:

1) to sin, miss, miss the way, go wrong, incur guilt, forfeit, purify from uncleanness
a) (Qal)
1) to miss
2) to sin, miss the goal or path of right and duty
3) to incur guilt, incur penalty by sin, forfeit
b) (Piel)
1) to bear loss
2) to make a sin-offering
3) to purify from sin
4) to purify from uncleanness
c) (Hiphil)
1) to miss the mark
2) to induce to sin, cause to sin
3) to bring into guilt or condemnation or punishment
d) (Hithpael)
1) to miss oneself, lose oneself, wander from the way
2) to purify oneself from uncleanness

I want to live my life in a way that is holy and pleasing to God. I might stumble and fall occasionally, okay, more than occasionally, but if I stay in God's Word, the truths that are hidden in my heart will keep me from going wrong, missing opportunities to do good, losing out on less than God's best, and wandering off the path He has set before me.

"I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths." ~ Proverbs 4:11 (NIV)

Will you make a committment with me, if you aren't already doing it, to read some of God's Word each day?

As we read His Word, let's purpose to treasure it.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." ~ Luke 12:34 (NIV)

We are sure to grow into more mature believers when we do, and as we hide His Word in our hearts, we will surely lead a life worthy of the calling He has for us. We will recognize sin more quickly and if we do happen to stray off the path, I believe that as we recall what we've read, we will return to the path He has set before us.

If we plan on reading God's Word, making time for Him and making it a priority for our days, we will honor Him and keep His Word hidden in our hearts.

Reading God's Word daily may seem like a daunting task, but by planning, we can make it less than impossible to do. Here are a few things to consider in making it easier on us.

* Find an easy to use translation such as the NIV, NLT or the Amplified Bible.

* Make notes as you read, or highlight/underline precious Scripture you want to easily find later.

* If you don't have time to sit and read, carry your Bible with you or find a podcast to download on your mp3 player.

* Buy an audio version of the Bible and listen to it on CD as you're running errands.

* Don't marathon-read if you're a first-timer at doing this. It's hard to read 15 chapters in one day.

* Find a quiet place to do your reading and occupy children or those you are responsible for when reading your Bible.

* Read the Bible online using a site like

* If something grabs your attention and you want to know more, use a site like and use the concordance to find the meanings of words.

* Share what you've read on your blog, facebook, twitter, etc. Invite other people to join you where you are.

* If you're an organizer like me, having a plan helps tremendously. I plan on finding a daily plan to go by. Some days I may double up, some days I may read only portions if it's something I really want to ponder.

Let's have a plan!

P - Pray about what God lays on your heart in developing a plan for daily Scripture reading.

L - Listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting as you read the Bible each day.

A - Ask for help or accountability if you need it.

N - Never give up. Expect slip-ups or things to happen that may postpone your reading, but keep persevering!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Welcome to Friday Funnies, hosted by Kim at Homesteaders Heart. Head on over there and be prepared to laugh! Be sure and post your own Friday Funny, too.

1. Be especially patient with your humans during this time. They may appear to be more stressed-out than usual and they will appreciate long comforting dog leans.

2. They may come home with large bags of things they call gifts. Do not assume that all the gifts are yours.
3. Be tolerant if your humans put decorations on you. They seem to get some special kind of pleasure out of seeing how you look with fake antlers.
4. They may bring a large tree into the house and set it up in a prominent place and cover it with lights and decorations. Bizarre as this may seem to you, it is an important ritual for your humans, so there are some things you need to know:

- Don't pee on the tree
- Don't drink water in the container that holds the tree
- Mind your tail when you are near the tree
- If there are packages under the tree, even ones that smell interesting or that have your name on them, don't rip them open
- Don't chew on the cord that runs from the funny-looking hole in the wall to the tree

5. Your humans may occasionally invite lots of strangers to come visit during this season. These parties can be lots of fun, but they also call for some discretion on your part:

- Not all strangers appreciate kisses and leans
- Don't eat off the buffet table
- Beg for goodies subtly
- Be pleasant, even if unknowing strangers sit on your sofa
- Don't drink out of glasses that are left within your reach
6. Likewise, your humans may take you visiting. Here your manners will also be important:

- Observe all the rules in #4 for trees that may be in other people's houses. (4a is particularly important)
- Respect the territory of other animals that may live in the house
- Tolerate children
- Turn on your charm big time

7. A big man with a white beard and a very loud laugh may emerge from your fireplace in the middle of the night. DON'T BITE HIM!!
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise." ~ Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV, Emphasis, mine)
Welcome to Thankful Thursday, hosted by Iris at Grace Alone...
The theme this week is random; however, healing and praise and trust in God have been on my heart all week, as you can imagine.
The Hebrew word for heal in the verse above is rapha', and means:
1) to heal, make healthful
a) (Qal) to heal
1) of God
2) healer, physician (of men)
3) of hurts of nations involving restored favour (fig)
4) of individual distresses (fig)
b) (Niphal) to be healed
1) literal (of persons)
2) of water, pottery
3) of national hurts (fig)
4) of personal distress (fig)
c) (Piel) to heal
1) literal
2) of national defects or hurts (fig)
d) (Hithpael) in order to get healed (infinitive)
My prayer for healing has not been for myself but for my uncle. God is so faithful and hears our prayers. He has acted with mercy and heard my prayer and the prayers of those offered up on Jimmy's behalf.

Now it is time to praise Him! Jimmy will tell you in a heartbeat that this is not about him at all, but about the One he serves. God has been glorified through Jimmy's successful surgery and recovery. Jimmy had brain surgery on Monday and went home from the hospital Wednesday morning! It is only by God's grace and mercy that he was able to do that. Yes, the doctor's helped, and we are so thankful for a wonderful neurosurgeon and staff at the hospital. But even our angel-surgeon would tell you that he has lifted Jimmy up in prayer.

So join me in praising God today, won't you?

The Hebrew word for praise in the verse above is tĕhillah, which means:

1) praise, song or hymn of praise
a) praise, adoration, thanksgiving (paid to God)
b) act of general or public praise
c) praise-song (as title)
d) praise (demanded by qualities or deeds or attributes of God)
e) renown, fame, glory
1) of Damascus, God
2) object of praise, possessor of renown (fig)

It's from the root word halal, which means:

1) to shine
a) (Qal) to shine (fig. of God's favour)
b) (Hiphil) to flash forth light
2) to praise, boast, be boastful
a) (Qal)
1) to be boastful
2) boastful ones, boasters (participle)
b) (Piel)
1) to praise
2) to boast, make a boast
c) (Pual)
1) to be praised, be made praiseworthy, be commended, be worthy of praise
d) (Hithpael) to boast, glory, make one's boast
e) (Poel) to make a fool of, make into a fool
f) (Hithpoel) to act madly, act like a madman

Oh, my total praise is in God and for God right now. And it's not just about what He has done for Jimmy or the lives He has touched this week. I know we've all been praying for so many who are sick or hurting and have seen God's handprints all over their lives, restoring them and healing them in only the way that He can. He has provided us with answers beyond our wildest hopes and dreams. What's driving me to worship Him now is the Who of who God is.
"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being." Revelation 4:11 (NIV)

When we maintain an attitude of praise about Who God is, it's easier to me to accept His will and whatever He does. There is so much I don't understand, but I know He is in control and He has something far better for us than we can imagine.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." ~ Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)

Aren't you glad we don't have to figure it all out? God has it under control.
What are you thankful for this week? Visit Iris at Grace Alone... and link up and let us know!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Uncle Update

Jimmy was released from the hospital this morning. All praises to God for this. He's doing very well and got a great report. Thanks so muchfor your prayers. Scroll down for Word-Filled Wednesday...


Do you remember the first time you really tried to wrap your heart around the fact that Christ loved you so much that He was born to die for you?

Like the people who heard the shepherds report of the night the holy proclamation of our Savior's birth was announced, I, too, was amazed!

The Greek word for amazed in the Scripture above is thaumazō, which means:

1) to wonder, wonder at, marvel
2) to be wondered at, to be had in admiration

I continue to wonder, marvel, and admire the love that God has for me. I never cease to be amazed at His precious gift of grace.

Christ was born in a lowly manger because there was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph. He went from the manger to the cross and from the cross to the grave. From the grave He triumphed over death in a resurrection scene that rivals any blockbuster hit at a movie theater, all because He loves us.

Let's think back to that time when we first accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. If we've lost our amazement at the grace He gave us let's rekindle it. Picture yourself as waiting for a Savior, having heard about Him all your life, and suddenly, one starry night, the shepherds come, proclaiming the Shepherds birth!

"We love because he first loved us." ~ 1 John 4:19 (NIV)

Let's remember the Love that was born in that lowly manger, the Love that was born to die so that we can spend eternity with Him, and prepare our hearts to be amazed again.

A - Adore God through praising His many names. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~ Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

M - Make daily Bible reading a habit to keep the Light burning in your heart. "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." ~ Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

A - Admonish others to know the One you know they need. "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ." ~ Colossians 1:28 (NIV)

Z - Zealously praise Him for His love for you. "For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD." ~ Psalm 117:2 (NIV)

E - Encourage yourself to be like the church at Thyatira, to persevere. "I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first." ~ Revelation 2:19 (NIV)

D - Delight yourself in the works of God. "Great are the works of the LORD; they are pondered by all who delight in them." ~ Psalm 111:2 (NIV)

The purpose of WFW is to share the Word of God through photo's and a verse. Amydeanne, over at The 160 Acre Woods, is our hostess. Be sure to link up and share your own, and drop her a thank you for hosting this wonderful meme each week. It always blesses my heart to read all the posts and see the photos and verses. This is a wonderful way to minister to others and to be ministered to by reading others posts. Please visit by clicking on the button below.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Uncle Update

For a better update on how the surgery went, see post below. Here's the latest update. I'll update one more time when he goes home unless things change.

I talked to Momma tonight and she said Jimmy is still in ICU, mainly because there are no rooms available on the floor. This is a blessing in my opinion because he is running a low-grade fever. No one seems really concerned about it, they say it's normal after surgery to do that. We're glad he's still in ICU where they can monitor him closely. Hopefully he will be moved to a room tomorrow and go home tomorrow evening or Thursday. His disposition is better now that he's had something to eat. Momma said he was ill as a hornet (not like Jimmy at all) but seemed better since they gave him something more than broth to eat. Food makes everything better, LOL! I'll run up after work and see him if he hasn't already gone home. I know everyone has been up there, so we decided to skip tonight and finish shopping for Christmas presents. I had 3 more to get and it was bugging me! Now, on to wrapping.......

Thanks for your prayers for me as I wrap presents Jimmy! He's really encouraged by them and so am I. We know that prayer is powerful and God is so merciful to hear our prayers. And if you think of it, please pray for James & John, their 8 year old sons. They love their dad and they do know he's sick and that he had surgery. I don't know that the C word has been used around them yet, but they live in a small town and are active in church, so it probably has. They're bound to be a little confused and concerned.