Wednesday, December 28, 2011

faith building

Jim Mather posts and blogs some of the most challenging thoughts of any man that I know personally. Here are some thoughts he posted this past month...God has recently been rocking my spiritual world!
People with a real and dynamic faith should not only embrace change...
we need to anticipate it and plan for it.
When we resist change we ignore the spiritual realities of life.
At the center of the universe is a spiritual being...God.
God has created not a static universe but an ever expanding reality.
When we cry out to God and he "imprints" our hearts and minds with a vision and plan we MUST MOVE with him into his future, the only secure place on the planet.
As my faith is stretched in this growing time, I embrace it as a runner in the Race to the finish!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

post-Christmas reflections

"...for it is good to be children sometimes, 
and never better than at Christmas, 
when its mighty Founder was a child himself."
~Charles Dickens

I showed the film "The Nativity" to my students at school over this last month. I watched most of it with them, to remind myself of the Advent of the Son of God coming to our Earth, His cradle, as a babe. The humanity and Jewishness of Mary (Myriam in Hebrew) and Joseph stood out to me. The search of the magi to find the king foretold and pointed to by the celestial "Star of Bethlehem." Kepler thought that this nova was most likely a conjugation of Jupiter and Saturn around 7 B.C., while other astronomers say that they were in triple conjugation with the constellation Pisces. The Chinese even recorded a comet standing still for 70 days in 5 B.C. Who really knows? It is fascinating to conjecture though. :-D

When I think how far we have come from that event, that day when Christ was born in humanity to be our Savior, I wonder what Mary must have thought about her role in Jehovah's master plan. The Scriptures indicate that she thought about it, pondered it, and hid those thoughts in her heart. The immense responsibility of such a young girl bearing the Messiah must have weighed heavy in her.

This brings me to the idea of faith.

By faith, Elizabeth believed that the babe that Mary bore was the Messiah. By faith, Mary believed the angel Gabriel and accepted her role in the eternal drama. By faith, Joseph took Mary to be his wife, knowing full well that they would be ostracized for the unlawful pregnancy.

There is something about faith that stirs the human soul beyond itself.

It cannot be explained with logic or psychological means.

Faith is, of course, "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1).

Some of my former students are now sworn atheists. Once visited me two weeks ago, one day after returning from his second Army tour in Afghanistan. I sat and listened and talked for over an hour. What traumas he has experienced. What bloody hell-on-earth he has seen. I would not trade places with him for the world. But I do pray for his soul, his scarred and bruised and jaded soul. I want to see him in Heaven one day, so to that end I pray and intercede.

I feel that I have come to a point in my life that God is requiring me to dig deeper into my spiritual self and find a deeper faith, one that does not murmur or complain or gripe or ask "WHY?!?" It's as though He does not want me to question Him at all, to be acquiescent to His plan for my family, and more specifically my own life. And it is hard, so hard for this logical girl! :-)

oodles of gifts

55. A wonderful Christmas Eve, spent with family and long-time friends- the Touarts, Haights & Paynes

56. A spicey Jones clan Christmas Day (must everyone be so cranky about my kitchen buzzer?!?)

57. Excited glee from our nieces over their gifts, especially over the old toddler desk that "Unker Danner" refinished and painted anew for the next generation of Joneses to enjoy

58. Red Box movies

59. Renfroe Praline Pecans...soooo delicious & yummy!

60. The pretty red-blooming amaryllis I found in Winn Dixie's flower store

61. New Christmas music CD's: Michael Buble, Justin Bieber, Kutless

62. Last-minute Christmas gifts for my family & employees

63. Grace to properly react to a failure of trust in someone I should have been able to trust to carry out my good wishes

64. Strength to stop murmuring against the Lord for what I "have not"

65. Getting to see Orion and its nebula M42 tonight in our clear skies

66. Extra buttery popcorn

67. Energy and good health, to do what needs to be done

68. The luxury of sleeping through the night, every night

69. God's creation of a clean and pure heart, and a quiet spirit, within me

70. Being able to pay my mortgage and bills, once again, this month

71. Another NIECE...or nephew (this is Cori & Brian's #3) on the way!!! :-D

72. A future sister-in-law (via my brother Daniel), Brittany

73. The Holy Writ, that never-ending source of unfathomable riches and wisdom!

74. Dinner at Friday's tonight with my baby sis Sarah

75. Getting to sleep in late during my holiday

76. The knowledge that my sisters, Tricia and Sarah especially, have my back

77. Being raised in the knowledge of righteousness and holiness (without which, I would not see God!)

78. Two wonderful, however flawed, parents who listened to the voice of the Holy Ghost

79. Sparkly lights at Christmas, all over everywhere

80. The liberty and freedom of being able to worship my God freely, without censure

"Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!"

Merry Christmas!

Borrowing this from Ann Voskamp's blog...
”He was poor, that he might make us rich.
He was born of a virgin that we might be born of God.
He took our flesh, that he might give us His Spirit.
He lay in the manger, that we may lie in paradise.
He came down from heaven, that he might bring us to heaven….
That the ancient of Days should be born.
that he who thunders in the heavens should cry in the cradle….
that he who rules the stars should suck the breast;
that a virgin should conceive;
that Christ should be made of a woman, and of that woman which himself made,
that the branch should bear the vine,
that the mother should be younger than the child she bare,
and the child in the womb bigger than the mother;
that the human nature should not be God, yet one with God
Christ taking flesh is a mystery we shall never fully understand till we come to heaven
If our hearts be not rocks, this love of Christ should affect us .
Behold love that passeth knowledge!”
~Thomas Watson
Isn't that beautiful?!?
My "Jones Clan Christmas Craziness" will be posted on another blog with pictures. Where on earth does time go?!?

My meditations...
Oh, those mysteries that perplex us, drive us to distraction! The Great Enigma made this earth His cradle.

Humble Jesus, hear my prayer and help me to understand the things about my life that perplex and distract me! There is so much that, without explanation, would drive the joy of my salvation right out of my heart. My burden is too heavy.

Blessed Comforter, be with me now and infuse Faith into my soul, for I need it so! It is birthing a deeper walk with God that I am not accustomed to...causing "soul stretchmarks" that are painful, yet needful to my spiritual life. May His life be birthed in mine!

"The darling of the world is come..." ~R. Herrick
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