Friday, December 30, 2011

My Prayer for You in the Coming Year

...having no hope and without God in the world. 
you who formerly were far off 
have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  (Eph. 2:12c, 13)

...I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him...
(Eph. 1:17) 



and OUR

And this is eternal life, 
that they may know Thee, 
the only true God,
and Jesus Christ
whom Thou hast sent.  (John 17:3)

In the coming year, may your time with the Word, in His Word, be consistent, rich, rewarding.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Piper Nugget

 "The beast was allowed to make war on the saints and conquer them."  
Revelation 13:7  
Where is God in our defeats?  
Reigning by allowing.

I thought this was good.  It kept me pondering for quite awhile.  God is sovereign, over all.  He works all things after the counsel of His will. (Eph. 1:11) Whether or not we are in the generation that sees these things take place, how valuable it is to know the plan and character of God. Be in the Word often, friends. Study God's character. Know Him. Jesus is our peace.  Knowledge of Him settles the troubled mind and heart between now and when He returns.

"Do not let your heart be troubled.  
Believe in God, believe also in Me."
John 14:1 

Monday, December 26, 2011


I had said in this post that the angels were created sometime during creation week.  I don't like being biblically inaccurate!  I was reminded today that angels sang at creation.  Here is the biblical record from Job 38:1-7:

"Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
“Who is this that darkens counsel 
By words without knowledge? 
“Now gird up your loins like a man, 
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! 
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? 
Tell Me, if you have understanding, 
Who set its measurements? Since you know. 
Or who stretched the line on it? 
“On what were its bases sunk? 
Or who laid its cornerstone, 
When the morning stars sang together 
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Angels therefore must have been created before Jesus created the physical universe...

(And Kristen, I do love your mom's theory that the star was actually an angel...I thought that was really cool...)

I Agree...

We had a great Christmas at the Hall house.  Having Christmas fall on a Sunday is the best.  Annie thinks we should have church on Christmas, every year.  I agree.  It is a wonderful way to start out the day - getting the focus on the Person who's birth we are celebrating.  I love the singing, hearing all those voices lifted in worship, celebration, and praise.  During the service, the power went out.  We get very windy here in the Northwest, and lose our power often.  I was wondering if we were going to have to warm the ham in the bar-b-q, but only Annie's power was out.  We were fine, so when we got home from church I was able to get my cheesy potatoes in the oven and then the ham went in after that.  (I made my rolls the day before...)  We opened gifts around three.  I told you how Daniel likes big trucks (along with spiders, by the way, the spider was back the next morning, much to Daniel's delight.)  This picture doesn't show it, but when he opened the package that had this "little" shovel in it along with several other "little" earth movers, he danced around, clapping and cheering, it was so cute.

 We have a tradition when we are opening presents.  We go around the room, starting with the oldest.  They open one present while we all watch.  (Tim has me beat by six years, so no, it wasn't me.)  Then, we move on to the next oldest - yes, that would be me.  This is a lot of fun.  We get to watch the person's expressions and join in their joy, and the gift opening takes longer than five minutes.  The mess is less too.  We have a box in the middle of the floor and after the gift-opener is finished, they wad up the wrapping and try to make a basket in the box.  We were all finished, when my husband goes out of the room and then comes back in with this big box.  He blew me away with what was inside...

Yes, it was this Kitchen Aid mixer!  I love making homemade bread.  My bread machine recently gave up the ghost, and I had mentioned how I would love a Kitchen Aid mixer.  They come with a dough hook.  I started making my bread all by hand, after my bread machine died.  You have to knead the dough for eight minutes.  Now, with my new Kitchen Aid, it will do all that work for me!  My husband is wonderful!  

The power was still out at Annie's at bed time last night, so they stayed over night with us.  This turned out to be a lot of fun too.  This morning, I broke the new mixer in by making pancakes.   I have a great recipe using whole wheat pastry flour, so they are semi-healthy...

After breakfast, Annie and crew packed up.  Hugs and kisses were given and received, and off they went with their gifts and some left-over ham and Christmas cookies (which, next year, Lord-willing, I will make on my new Kitchen Aid mixer...)  Just before Annie left, she said, "Mom, we should spend the night every Christmas..."  

"I agree!", was my reply.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, too! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Jesus Made the Spiders

On the twelfth, Daniel turned two and a half, and he's all boy.  He loves garbage trucks and fire engines.  He loves excavators and steam trains.  He even knows the difference between a steam engine and a diesel electric locomotive.  He loves to wrestle, and he loves jumping into a pillow on my lap while I'm sitting on the couch.  He also loves bugs and spiders.

Three or four mornings a week I have Daniel while Annie serves coffee at Starbucks to sleepy-eyed Gig Harborites on their way to work.  I drive over to the Dannells and enjoy some quiet time with the Lord, waiting for him to wake up.  Once he is awake I take him into the back bathroom where his potty chair awaits him.  For the past couple of weeks, there has been a spider living in the corner above the bathroom door.  Daniel has been checking every morning to see if the spider is still there.  (I think it is dead, because it never moved.)  This morning, it was gone.  His eyes got real wide.  I asked him where he thought the spider went.  He said, "Grandma's."  (Oh, I  hope not.)  I got him dressed and into his car seat for the ten minute ride back to "Grandma's."  In those ten minutes, I sing to him - we look for big trucks, and we talk about all kinds of things.  We talk about school buses.  He loves school buses and we see a lot of school buses picking up children for school.  We talk about the moon.  It is still dark sometimes and I tell him that Jesus made the moon.  I point out the beautiful evergreen trees that Jesus made.  We talk about the misty fog that Jesus made, and the pink clouds that Jesus made, and the noisy crows that greet us - we talk about all the birds that Jesus made.  I tell him that Jesus loves him and the Bible tells us that and the Bible is all about Jesus.  As I was pulling him out of his car seat this morning, I decided to just say the word "Jesus," to see what his response would be.  He said, "Jesus made the spiders."  He still had that spider on his mind...

Jesus is the Creator.  He spoke and effortlessly, there was light.  He spoke again and effortlessly, there were the heavens.  He spoke again, and the waters gathered to their places, the oceans and the seas.  He spoke again and effortlessly, the dry land appeared.  The earth sprouted plants and flowers and fruit trees, all different kinds of vegetation.  Jesus spoke again and effortlessly, the sun and the moon and the twinkling stars appeared.  Then the sea creatures appeared, and the birds, and all the animals and creeping things, including spiders.  Then God spoke and said, "Let Us make man in Our image," and Jesus made man from the dust of the earth - finishing off His beautiful creation, effortlessly, in six days.

But soon man fell by not listening to the counsel of the Creator, and Jesus' good creation was plunged into sin.  Mankind needed a Savior.

Somewhere during creation week, Jesus spoke, and the angels were created.  And He created the angel that two thousand years ago spoke these words to a group of frightened shepherds,

"Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

The One Who created the heavens and the earth and all the good things in them had just joined the human race as an infant.  The One Who thought up oxygen would now breathe it in through a pair of tiny lungs after spending nine months being wonderfully knit in the womb of one of His creations.


The Creator, came to be our Savior.  The Creator came, to redeem lost and sinful mankind.  And He would thirty-some years later, go to a cross on behalf of a sinful world, made from the wood He'd created, and pay for the penalty for sin.

Truly, amazing.

"Yes, Daniel, Jesus made the spiders.  He made you and He made me.  Jesus is God, He loves you, and He is amazing."

Wishing all my friends a blessed Christmas, and take every opportunity you get to pour Jesus into the little ones in your life.  We can't save them.  That is up to the Creator.  But we can point them to the Savior - it's our calling, and a lot of fun...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Looking in His Face...

Every Sunday my pastor has something written in the bulletin, introducing his message.  I especially liked this last Sunday's and wanted to share it with you...

     When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai after being with God, he covered his face so that when the glory of the Lord that came at his encounters with God on the mountain began to fade, the children of Israel would not notice.  (2 Cor. 3:7)  When instructions for the tabernacle were given so that Israel could worship God in the wilderness, a veil was erected to separate the most holy place from man.  God's holiness demanded that He remain separate from sinful man.
     For the first ten years of my ministry, every time I officiated at a wedding the bride wore a veil.  She would come down the aisle with her face covered.  Then, after the pronouncement of the marriage is given, her husband would lift the veil.  Seeing the sparkle in her eye, he would be the first to see her face in such a condition.  It was a very romantic part of the ceremony that has almost been totally lost.  
     The day that Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom.  (Luke 23:45)  Man's sin was paid for and the barrier that had separated God from man since Eden was removed.  This visible reality exposes a spiritual truth.  Those whose sin has been paid for by the faith-applied blood of Christ have intimate access to God that is known by no other.
     Throughout the Old Testament, there are occasions when God appears to men in a preincarnate physical form called a theophany.  God no longer has to appear to men in theophanies, because He has exposed His face to all who wish to look upon Him in saving faith.  When our redemptive hope is placed on Christ as we turn from sin and look to Him for cleansing, our spiritual eyes are opened and we are able to see Him face to face.
     As we look forward to Christmas, we look into the manger in Bethlehem and there we see the face of God.  Looking into His face, we shall see what we ought to look like.  

When we look into the face of Jesus, in His Word, we are looking into the fullness of God and from His glory is where we draw our confidence - to be bold to share Jesus with others.  Jesus came, to save us from our sins and to give us abundant life.  That is the message He wants us to get out.  He will be with us, until He returns, at the end of the age.  Living like we believe that, we will boldly proclaim the good news, and lives will be changed into the image of Christ, for the glory of God.

Monday, December 19, 2011

God With Us - Our Satan and Death Conqueror

"Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, 
He Himself likewise also partook of the same,
that through death He might render powerless
him who had the power of death,
that is, the devil.
and might free those who through fear of death
were subject to slavery
all their lives.

Hebrews 2:14-15

Jesus as eternal God only, couldn't die.  In His divine nature alone, His life is indestructible.  If He couldn't die then He couldn't rise from the dead and it was His death and resurrection that conquered Satan and shattered sin and death.

The word "share" is from the Greek word koinonia.  It means to have fellowship, communion, or partnership.  It involves having something in common with others.  All human beings have flesh and blood.  In this we are all alike.  It is our common nature.  "Partook" is from a different Greek word - metecho.  This word has to do with taking hold of something that is not naturally one's own kind.  Jesus was not by nature flesh and blood.  He purposefully took hold of something which did not naturally belong to Him.

In celebrating the birth of Christ, we celebrate the Savior who added to Himself our nature of flesh and blood so that He could die and coming out on the other side in resurrection, He conquered Satan and shattered sin and death and the fear of death.  When we repent of our sin and receive Jesus, death no longer holds any power over us.  It is no longer terrifying.  It simply releases us into the presence of our precious Savior.

Jesus - Immanuel - God with us, putting on human flesh - to be our Satan, Sin, and Death Conqueror.  Our Eternal Life, so we could be with Him, forever.

Cookie Decorating at Grandma's

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Verse

 "For He was foreknown 
before the foundation of the world, 
but has appeared in these last times 
for the sake of you." 

1 Peter 1:20

That Jesus was foreknown before the foundation of the world means that the Father planned, before creation, to send the Son to save His chosen ones.  ("...who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father..." 1 Peter 1:1c, 2a)  

A couple of truths pulled from this verse: 

The Father did not react at the Fall with a last minute fix.

"He...has appeared...for the sake of you..."  

We are loved...

I've never really thought of this as a Christmas verse, but it jumped out at me as one this morning...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Love His Smile

This picture of Tim was taken just over fourteen years ago.  It is one of my favorites - because it shows off his great smile - and I love his smile.  (No jokes about the glasses...)

Today is his birthday.

This is the man who's love for me has been steady, sure, unwavering, rock-solid, sacrificial, like Jesus love, for the last thirty-two years.  As secure as I am in the love of Jesus, I have been secure in his love.

Thank you, Lord, for Your love, and the love of this man.  I am so blessed, and undeserving.

It really is a great smile, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

With You Forever

"I will ask the Father, 
and He will give you another Helper, 
that He may be with you forever."
John 14:16

Just wanted to point you to another eternal security verse...

Jesus asked.
The Father gives.
No take aways.

Romans 11:29 -

"For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."

"Irrevocable" -  UNALTERABLE

Contagious Joy

I think you're going to love this.  I wasn't able to get through it without tearing up, for a couple of reasons - 1) Jesus is exalted in a mall, with beautiful, clear voices, where probably most of the shoppers minds are completely elsewhere.  It pointed the shoppers to Him, and the true meaning of Christmas.  2) It made me think of the day when Jesus will be exalted throughout the world.


Monday, December 12, 2011

His Own Love Toward Us

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, 
in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8

There is a truth from this verse that I have been meditating on over the last several days - biblical love is action based, not feelings driven based on attraction.

It is also the will moving to meet a specific need.  In the action, self is laid aside and the one being loved is put first. 

It is the Christmas season and we are celebrating the birth of Jesus.  We wouldn't be celebrating Christmas if it weren't for the love that Jesus had for us.  The actions of His love began in eternity past.  He wrote our names down in the book of life and agreed with the Father that He would come and die for the people written in the book, because He knew they would fall into sin and need rescuing.

Two thousand years ago - Jesus came, continuing with His actions of love.  John MacArthur writes regarding Jesus birth in his book, "The Miracle of Christmas", "Here's a side to the Christmas story that isn't often told.  Those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them.  Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross.  That sweet infant's head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it.  That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear."  


Because of love that was action based, not feelings driven based on attraction.  Jesus grew up and walked among men, women, and children - healing them from all kinds of sickness and disease.  He fed them, miraculously.  Compassion did move Jesus to action.  God is love and Jesus being God in the flesh, lived a life of action, meeting need after need after need, giving of Himself, time and time again. The greatness of His love culminated at the cross.  There was no greater love in history, than at that moment.  It was not feelings driven.  There is nothing lovely and attractive about sinners.  It was based out of our need and Jesus desire to please His Heavenly Father.  

And this is how we are called to love.  Love that is feelings driven will never last because feelings come and go.  God demonstrated for us how we are to love.  It is the choice to lay ourselves aside and meet the needs of another.  God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.  We are empowered to love in the same way Jesus loved.  And the wonderful thing, we are created that when we love in such a way, great joy is produced from our choice to be like our Savior.  When we consistently choose biblical love, the feelings just follow.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

By Him, For Him

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."  Colossians 1:15-18

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Prayer

"Though you have not seen Him, 
you love Him, 
and though you do not see Him now, 
but believe in Him, 
you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and 
full of glory,  
obtaining as the outcome of your faith 
the salvation of your souls."  

1 Peter 1:8,9

The King is coming.  Jesus Christ has come and will come again.  This is the hope of the Church whom He purchased with His blood.  It is the eager expectation and desire of His people.  In His coming is our joy, for He is our treasure, our greatest good - Advent Guide by The Village Church.


My dear children - 
Ruh, Annie, Ben, and Mai, 
and my dear grandchildren - 
Daisy, Daniel, and Charlie:

My prayer for you this Christmas is that you will find Jesus Christ to be your greatest treasure, shining brighter and purer than all other treasures...

That you will come to the place where He is your deepest longing...

That He is the fullest captivation of your thoughts...

That obedience to Him is your greatest desire and reality, discovering that it opens up the floodgates of blessing and joy...

That when the storms in life arise you remember He is right there with you, His sovereign and loving hands enclosed around you...

And that you will come to have times in which the joy of knowing He loves you is so immense, you can't put it into words, instead, you just know your heart is going to explode...


When Love was Born

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Like Jesus

The cause of Satan's fall -
I will ascend and make myself like Jesus.


His lie to Eve -
Disobeying God will make you like Jesus.


The truth -
A bowed, submissive heart and
obedience to God is what makes us like Jesus.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Living Nativity

Discovery Baptist had their Living Nativity again this year.  It was wonderful, as usual.  Here are some pictures from it...

When we told Daniel we were going to see some animals, he got excited and began looking for the monkeys and dinosaurs...we had some explaining to do...

In the sanctuary there are beautiful works of art on display during the Living Nativity.  Nehemiah Suko just recently made this replica of the Ark of the Covenant.  Beautiful, isn't it?  Thank you, Discovery, for this wonderful outreach ministry to Gig Harbor each Christmas, for the past thirteen years.

The Same

"And the Word became flesh, 
and dwelt among us, 
and we saw His glory, 
glory as of the only begotten from the Father, 
full of grace and truth."
John 1:14

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."
Hebrews 13:8

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8

"But we all, 
with unveiled face,
beholding as in a mirror
the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image
from glory to glory,
just as from the Lord,
the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 3:18

Who is full of grace, 
and love,
for us...
to be sin for us,
when we were full of sin.
it didn't change Him.

He is holy, holy, holy,
from eternity past.

We are changeable,
we need to be changed...
We are changeable,
He is not.
He came,
to change us,
to be
like Him.

Aren't you glad?