Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas offers abundance..... ETERNAL LIFE

I had a blog typed and was inserting pictures recently and the Lord told me to not post it. I sometimes find myself blogging for nobody but me, as a release, vent, or whatever else you might want to call it. Sometimes, though, I think, maybe I can reach out, touch and help, just one more person through this outlet of mine, and other times, I think, this is my way of journaling (per spell check, "journaling" is not a word!?!?) my emotions, feelings, and where I am on my journey this side of Heaven. 

I have recently found myself battling the Christmas season with a scrooge outlook and am pretty certain, after talking with a lot of people, that I am not alone in this. The 'hustle and bustle' of the season that we have all come to expect and just accept is an emotion and a result of Satan trying his hardest to take the focus off of Christmas for what it truly is and turn it to the world. Isn't that what he is so good at doing?!?! John 10:10a says "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.." Christmas is not about Satan coming to steal, kill, and destroy, but about our Savior coming to take his place on Earth and save those who believe in him. As I am blogging about this, I can't help but go on and get ahead of myself and tell you the GOOD NEWS, that in John 10:10b Jesus finished that statement by remembering Christmas day! He finishes by saying "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." 

In this world, there are multitudes of moments that we don't understand, actions and attitudes that we can't fathom, and days when we get swept into the current of the world and forget, and Jesus recognizes that when it happens! He knows that we get distracted, that we take our eyes off the prize, that we sometimes put down our cross to carry something else, and in those moments, he offers love, grace, and forgiveness. 

For those who don't know Jesus, Christmas is an opportunity to share the Love that you have found through Him and to offer salvation to the friend or family member that is wandering in the darkness. But what about those of us who dearly love Jesus and try to live our lives according to His will? What about those of us who get lost in the shuffle, or even feel inadequate that there aren't enough 'things' to go around to all of those we want to buy gifts for, because, there just isn't enough in the bank to cover it all? This is where I have recognized a meaning of Christmas that I haven't recognized before... This is where I remember why He came! Yes, I have always known that Jesus' coming was the reason for the Season and all of those other sayings, and I have always know that He came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly - but don't we sometimes just steamroll over that point? Matthew Henry has an incredible insight into this that makes you realize that "life and... have it more abundantly" is much more than just mere 'stuff' on Earth. Matthew Henry says this:

"Life is inclusive of all good, and stands in opposition to the death threatened; that we might have life, as a criminal has when he is pardoned, as a sick man when he is cured, a dead man when he is raised; that we might be justified, sanctified, and at last glorified. 2. That they might have it more abundantly,... more abundant than that which was lost and forfeited by sin, more abundant than that which was promised by the law of Moses, length of days in Canaan, more abundant than could have been expected or than we are able to ask or think. But it may be construed without a note of comparison, that they might have abundance, or might have it abundantly. Christ came to give life and perisson ti--something more, something better, life with advantage; that in Christ we might not only live, but live comfortably, live plentifully, live and rejoice. Life in abundance is eternal life, life without death or fear of death, life and much more."

Jesus' birth on the day that we celebrate Christmas is a promise of ETERNAL LIFE. When we have Christ, we have an advantage over Satan that one day we will ultimately and ETERNALLY live comfortably, plentifully, without death or fear of death! It is a promise of abundance with Him, one day, feasting at His heavenly banquet! Celebrating the final coming of Christ and worshiping Him for all eternity! 

In the hustle and bustle, and in the down days of recovery after Christmas, remember: Christ came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly! Nothing this side of Heaven will ever compare to it, but we must always remember! So in all of this, and during this moment, wish someone a Merry Christmas to share the love of Jesus, write someone a letter or even, in this modern day, text someone an uplifting word, and recognize the meaning of the baby lying in a manger - that baby was the Savior coming to Earth to give us eternal life in Him!

Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

take a moment to do something completely selfless

swinging with daddy!
look, run, and LEAP
So i'm not really sure what to blog about today but i have lots of fun pictures i'd like to share so a blog seems necessary! The holiday season is approaching and we are getting ready for our first Christmas in Pennsylvania. We are so blessed by technology and the opportunity to still "see" our families during the holidays. It is amazing at how Skype makes 1,000 miles seem much closer.
beautiful boy of mine

fun family picture - just chilling
Things here have been interesting lately. I cut my hand a few weeks back and ended up with stitches and am still having some issues with it. We will see what ends up with that. Chip is doing great. His allergies are amazingly great here in PA. We were certainly unsure what his allergies would be like here in PA and so far, so good. Spring will be another story, but we are experiencing our first 'real' winter where things actually die and pollination stops. In Alabama, it is always warm, things are always blooming, and mold is always in the air, so this is a welcome break for him and us! He is loving the cool weather but he's not so fond of playing outside in it. We bundle him up and send him out anyway - knock the stinky boy off and
wear out some energy!

mesmerize by the trains at the
local train show
Tony is doing incredible. Faith Church is an amazing place to worship, and incredible family to be a part of, and an incredible community to serve with and within! We are loving it and gearing up for the Christmas season. This weekend will be the kids' program and Chip is SO excited because he gets to be a Shepherd! Then we will have 3 Christmas Eve services hosting approx 1500 people. We are most excited, though, that we will be serving Christmas Lunch at the same place we served Thanksgiving Lunch at. We walked away from the Thanksgiving serving more blessed than we could have ever imagined, along with meeting people that knew some friends of ours from Dothan. After that, we will probably go do dinner with some friends here who have invited us over and we will spend the day there. Not sure when we will open gifts, but as we are trying to keep in the front of our minds, this day is not about us at all. Christmas is about being the hands and feet of Jesus to a world and city that need His love! Merry Christmas to all, take a moment to do something completely selfless, and God bless you this Christmas season! I will leave you with some fun Christmas tree decorating pictures! Enjoy the face and innocence of a 4-year old putting up his Star of Christmas - the best part - Jesus' light!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

5 months - WOW

Wow. So we have been Pennsylvanians for 5 months now and we have experienced for the first time - SNOW!!! I have always been amazed and mesmerized by the weather phenomena of snow but have now been able to truly experience and enjoy it! I am just truly amazed by the fact that our God is so easily capable of the utter perfection that is required to create snow! The atmosphere, humidity, precipitation, etc. can all be put so perfectly into place by God to provide us with a beautiful white blanket of pure fun! Yes, when it melts is yucky, and yes when it re-freezes it can be dangerous, but like any of God's creations and blessings, if we don't appreciate it and respect it and look beyond the utter miracle that it is, we will miss what He has given us in it! OH WHAT FUN, we had and we were able to get some great pictures of our first family snow! God bless you all, and enjoy the pictures! Feel free to live vicariously through us in these! :) -Becca