Saturday, December 31, 2011

Let's go 2012

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jon Acuff and Stuff Christians Like

This article is taken from the Stuff Christians Like website by Jon Acuff. He makes me laugh so hard sometimes and teaches us Christians not to take ourselves so seriously. Read on!

#4 in 2011: “Wait, what???” Bible verses.

Sometimes, if I am reading the Bible too quickly, I have a Wile E. Coyote moment. Often when chasing the Road Runner, Wile E. would get so focused on what he was doing that he would run 15 feet off a cliff without realizing it. Then he would pause in mid air, look at the camera, then at his feet and plummet.

I feel that way sometimes while reading the Bible. I’ll get in a rhythm and start making progress. I’ll be cruising through Genesis and Exodus, moving along at a good clip, flying by the material, until out of nowhere I’ll pause, mid thought and say, “Wait, what???”

I’ll go back a few verses and realize that I breezed past something outrageous that at first glance I took as commonplace. Recognizing my error I’ll push pause, reread the verse and then fall off a theological cliff much like Wile E.

That’s exactly what happened to me last Monday. I was reading Exodus 4 when God gives Moses his marching orders. Here is what verse 21 – 23 says:
The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

God is giving Moses instructions. Dire, serious instructions, but thus far I am as pastors love to say, “tracking with him.” I get what is happening, having discussed the Passover story and the plight of the Israelites a lot growing up. So, at Wile E. Coyote speed I continue to the next verse:

“At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him.”

Wait, what??? In one verse, God is telling Moses what to do, and in the next verse he’s about to kill him. Not, “thinking about killing him,” but “about to,” as in “this is on like Donkey Kong.”

I might be the only one who has had a “Wait, What???” Bible verse moment, but if you ever experience one, there are three things you should know:

1. Slow your flow.It’s not a race. If you catch yourself running over cliffs regularly, chances are you’re speed reading the Bible. Slow down Vin Diesel. No need to get fast and/or furious through Exodus.

2. Version it out.When I run off a cliff, I immediately check other versions of the Bible. NIV, ESV, KJV, ETC. My coworker recently told me he read that someone had “vanished right before their eyes.” His version made it sound like Phillip had Scott Bakula’d right out of there. We checked multiple versions to figure out the text.

3. Enjoy the pause.You can read the Bible 1 million times and pick up 1 millions different things. That’s the beauty of the word of God. He’s going to highlight and call out new things each time you crack it open. Don’t think a “Wait, What????” verse is a bad thing. It might be exactly what you need to read.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever read the Bible and had a “Wait, What???” moment?

What verse gives you pause?

Also, give this one read - it's awesome!  ...and also makes us feel powerful as women....haha.

The Proverbs 31 Wife

Friday, December 23, 2011

That Hush

Below is my newest Bargain Hunter blog.  In thinking about what to blog about this week, I thought about how much I enjoy the time between celebrations.  When our Christmas Eve family fest is over and it's not yet Christmas morning.  Read and enjoy...

That Hush

How do you describe the hush that descends upon the world Christmas Eve?

Shoppers still scurry out of stores clutching last minute packages, harried brows knitted in anxious urgency.  Candies and cookies may still be sitting on waxed paper, waiting to be scooped onto a platter and cozied up to the other pecan tassies and Mexican wedding cakes.  Preparations have been in full swing for weeks for the culmination of this night.

Have you ever gone outside on this night, though, and stared up at the sky in wonder?  A “midnight clear” isn’t even enough to describe it.  The world hovers in expectation of something, and some still don’t know what it is they are waiting for.  

I remember a Christmas Eve we came home to gather presents and clothes to sleep over at my mom and dad’s house.  It was quite awhile ago when the kids were small.  George and I pulled in and got out of the car, but were stopped still in our tracks.  The moon was perfectly bright and the frosty air hung light and pure.  It was very cold, but the stark beauty and stillness – perfect stillness – were astounding to experience.  I simply stood and embraced the cold and hush of night.  

Even today, with the hustle and bustle that Christmas has become, and always will be, we still are waiting.  A pause is necessary, to feel and reflect on what Christmas is.  For me, it’s that moment between our extended family celebration on Christmas Eve, and the time we come home and midnight hovers near.  It’s a precarious balance, a hovering of coming to the top of a very high precipice.

We take this time to don our Christmas pajamas, while the kids throw all their blankets on the floor in front of the tree.  We make a last cup of coffee and sit in the living room with only the tree’s glow as a reflection.  No matter how old they are, they still must sleep by the tree.  We have no hearth with a fire, or even a chimney to hang our stockings, but as night falls, their bodies shudder and relax into heavy slumber - tucked together in sibling closeness to await yet another Christmas day.  

As we sit in our living room waiting for Christmas to arrive, usually around 1 a.m. George calls his family in Mexico who are ushering Christmas in as well.  They are an hour behind us, so we celebrate with them as we talk quietly into the night.  With a kiss and a salute, Christmas greetings are sent and received. 

I know Christmas day will arrive with all its splendor and gift-giving.  We will read the Christmas story and revel in what we know it really means.  But for me, that time when Christmas is close to descending upon the world, and that hush that falls quickly and breathtakingly over all – that’s when I feel Christmas.  I feel it, in the silent lucidity that is a Christmas Eve night.  And I thank the One who brought this perfect reassuring hush.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Christmas Stuff

Christmas, you've snuck up on me once again.

I knew you were coming, but once again p.r.o.c.r.a.s.t.i.n.a.t.i.o.n reigns supreme in my world.  ...and I love it.  To me, there's nothing like Christmas shopping and discovering wonders, deals, and snapping items up happily on a whim.

Lights, one by one, have been strung on my porch and throughout my home.  The manger scene is twinkling on top of the TV cabinet where it's held court for as many years as we've lived here.  Chipped camel and all.

My decorations aren't spectacular, things are chipped and cracked.  But they are mine.  Loved and worn to a perfection that lives in my heart.  The old Christmas balls are the only things my kids will put on the tree.  Red, gold, green and speckled with age.  Every year they are dragged out and the kids gently hang them on.

I don't aim to compete, or feel inferior when it comes to decorating for Christmas.  I just know I need to feel it in my heart.