You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.
well 2011 is nearly over. give or take 12 hours.
if i had to use one word to describe 2011 it would be CHANGE. or TRANSFORMATION.
its hard to stretch my mind back to what 2011 was, december kinda numbed me but i think it was a good year. a year of much change and much hard work but all in all God is good and God is at work.
there were some notable events.
the chch earthquake that shook all our hearts and took 182 lives and changed our country forever. subsequent aftershocks. preaching at a womens conference. preaching easter sunday morning church. RWC. redundancy for my husband. new job 3 days later. being sick in june and having to stay in bed for 6 days. b12 injections. chicken pox. jesus culture live. farwelling one of our housegroupies to afganistan. new youth pastor and new childrens chuch pastor. nativity play. x box. sistas. winning the best housegroup in the world comp.
the year was also totally characterised by tonys dads ill health and many hospital visits, incl one from april till august, subsequent heart problems and then going in to say goodbye to him december 5th and his passing into glory early december 6th. 2011 will always be his year and a year that changed our family greaty.
trusting Him and desiring to walk closer to Him in 2012.
Ephesians 5:15-16 Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people),
Time really does fly, doesn’t it? On the other hand, in some situations, it may seem like time crawls! No matter how fast or slow it feels like time goes by, each of us only has a certain amount of time on this earth. With that in mind, I want to ask you, what are you doing with your time?
Time is such a gift from God! I see every day how He takes His time to make us what He wants us to be. And then, in His mercy and grace, He gives us time to get in agreement with what He’s doing in our lives so we can experience His goodness. What a loving God!
So, ask yourself, "Am I in agreement with what God is doing in me? Or, am I struggling and fighting, impatiently trying to do things my way?"
I can assure you, if you’re struggling with God, you’re just wasting your time, but if you’re in agreement with Him, you’re using your time for great things.
Remember, God is gracious. He takes His time. We might think He’s taking too long when, in His goodness, He is just waiting for us to line up with the work He’s doing in us. He won’t rush. He is patient. Our struggling only delays our progress.
So maybe this is a good time to change your outlook and start looking ahead to a new way of doing things, a new vision for life, a renewed faith and trust in the One who is always at work in us, and always for our good.
My encouragement to you is to trust God and spend your time getting in agreement with what He is doing in your life. Let Him define your purpose. Know in your heart that He has great plans, and no matter how much time He takes, He loves you, and He always has your best interest at heart.
Prayer Starter: Lord, I want to spend my time agreeing with, not fighting, the great work You are accomplishing in me. I thank You that when I start to waste time, You always remind me that You love me and that Your timing is always best.
love our local library. it has fantastic christian books i can easily order online and then read! yay!
last night i began this book, the principal of the path by andy stanley.
its very good. sometimes i’m a bit sceptical of leadership books, they all say the same thing.
but something about this book resonates within me. i have seen it work in my life, and seen the opposite. seen how i haven’t lived intentionally and thus reaped what i’ve sown, not what i wish i’d sown. i’ve lived the destination of my direction instead of the dream of where i wanted to be.
here are some of the quotes i scrawled into my notebook last night. mental note, if i want to be able to read my notes ever again, write legibly!
direction determines destination. every time.
it breaks my heart how many people i speak with who don’t connect the dots between the choices they make and the outcomes they experience.
are there discrepancies between what you desire in your heart and what you are doing with your life?
direction is everything. direction determines destination. that is why we cannot afford to live disconnected lives. when we discover those subtle and sometimes not so subtle discrepancies between intent and lifestyle we should stop and pay attention. we should break the habit of drawing a circle around individual decisions and events and dismissing them as isolated occurrences. these are steps. steps that lead somewhere. because life is connected.
the principal of the path is operating in your life every minute of every day. you are currently on a financial path of some kind, you are on a relational path, you are continuing down a moral and ethical path. and each of these paths has a destination. my hope is that by becoming aware of this powerful principal you will have the wisdom to know which path to choose and the courage to stay the course.
if someone in my circumstance came to me for advice, what course of action would i recommend?
the challenging aspect about picking the right paths is that the choices are NOW. the outcomes are LATER. the decisions you make today have ramifications down the road.
i have heard a sound
coming on the wind
changing hearts and minds
i feel a generation
breaking through despair
i hear a generation
full of faith declare
and our song
it will be
out of the darkness we will rise and sing
He is faithful
i thought for the last worship wednesday of twenty eleven i would recap and recommend my favourite new albums of the year. in no particular order:
Hillsong GOD IS ABLE - The theme of this album, woven through in every song, is that God is able and God is faithful. It stirs a response in my heart to trust God and draw near to Him. Recorded live this is one of the best Hillsong albums ever, filled with hope and the goodness of God. I’ve noticed that several new albums released this year ooze with this heartbeat. I believe it is God’s message for this generation. He is able. He is faithful. He desires to do great things in us and to us and through us.
Gungor GHOSTS UPON THE EARTH - my heart was stirred – or perhaps woo-ed is a better term – towards God as the heartbeat of hope and restoration was expressed in song. the ending of brother moon is an example of this. you just cant help but experience an rising of faith and hope as the music changes and they sing:
Maker of it all,
You provide it all,
In You we live,
In You we move,
In You we have our being,
You’re holding us together all together,
You are everything good, you are everything beautiful,
You are everything, you’re everything.
it so reminded me of “beautiful things” which stirs us to remember that God makes beautiful things out of dust, that He turns all things about for good and that my life is secure in His hands. again and again an underlying message of each song is the goodness and gloriousness and bigness of our God, who loves us and calls us towards Himself.
Elevation Church FOR THE HONOR - i really love this new song (and the whole album) out of Elevation Church because its all about honour. its all about lifting Jesus high. i was listening to a podcast where they talked about how/why they wrote this song, and they wanted to write a song that honours each person of the trinity. and i love the words of this song. each verse resonates with me and makes me go, yeah, wow, honour, worship. the Father reaches out to us, that we might be rescued and adopted and loved. Jesus who gave His life for us in the greatest exchange, our guilt for His innocence, our shame for His righteousness, our punishment for His redemption. and the Holy Spirit who dwells within us to reveal God and empower us to live for Him. Great message and great musicality. the whole album is filled with great songs, that i can listen to again and again and then get something fresh and revelatory out of it.
Brian & Katie Torwalt HERE ON EARTH - coming out of the Jesus Culture brand this couples first album is awesome. ‘Each lyric has a purposeful declaration of truth with the perspective of bringing Heaven to earth. Realms collide as voices raise and join together in songs about the goodness of God. Written out of spontaneous moments of worship, the songs were naturally born of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus Culture As with the Hillsong album several of the Torwalt’s songs have lodged in my heart and spirit and I have found they have drawn me into worship and knowing who God is!
also loving Bethels’ BE LIFTED HIGH, Ascend the Hill HYMNS and have recently got Jesus Culture’s AWAKENING (but haven’t listened to it enough to say much about yet) and looking forward to Bethel’s upcoming release THE LOFT SESSIONS coming next month….
When we’re living our lives with intentional gratitude we’re fixing our eyes upon Jesus and agreeing YES He is good and YES He is faithful and YES He is Lord and YES He is the one who loves us! Gratitude is an expression of faith.
1844. christmas has come and gone – a time to be together, but also a busy time of preparation. this year was especially special and meaningful after the month we’d had, incl loosing tony’s dad earlier in the month
1845. i love christmas, a time to show appreciation and love, a time to give and to receive, a time for kindness and feasting.
1846. still eating some christmas leftovers… esp the baking.
1847. snuggling up with the kids to watch the lion the witch and the wardrobe
1849. the opportunity of our church’s christmas eve service. may angels have opportunity to rejoice at salvation won. i love declaring the goodness and greatness of God and christmas is all about that!
1850. “there’s always hope” narnia
1851. kodak moments
1852. christmas wrapping paper – i love the look and the feel. and when all the rubbish is tided up and put away.
1853. coke cola
1854. so grateful for my wonderful husband and all he is and all he does
1855. new bookcases
1856. how the more random small presents are the one loved the most
1857. how my son is growing up.
1858. my sister gave my son a ipod shuffle, have loaded it with worship and praying he develops a worshipping heart
1859. boxing day online specials. yes online. i like to avoid those shops!
1860. new seasons and new spaces
1861. family. togetherness. skype.
1862. my friend in the middle east. i so love and admire her.
1863. gingerbread angels
1864. new sheets
1865. new pjs
1866. that our friends were safe dec 23rd earthquake
1867. hope and encouragement
1869. the housegroup resources that we won arrived! totally excited!
1870. anticipation about what this year will bring…
Be joyful: Intentionally look around for measures of joy each day. There is joy in simply being alive and in being redeemed by God. Remember, joy is a choice we make, not a feeling we hope to get from our circumstances. It’s good to look for the good, to celebrate it even in small ways. Doing so is a moment of victory. Lysa TerKeurst
so there we go. venturing on in life to 2000 things that i am grateful for…
a few months ago i did a post on the THREE THINGS I KNOW ABOUT GOD – well this mornings youversion devotion by joyce meyer had her 3 things. thought i would share here. i was going to say i especially love #2, but then i re-read #1 and #3 and love those things about God too.
Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him.
It’s important that we know God’s character. Why? It gives us discernment. If we don’t know the character of God, how can we ever know who is from God and who is not from God? Here are three character traits of God that help me stay in tune with who He is and what He is doing:
1. Justice: God is a God of justice. That word justice is so awesome because it means that He will always make anything that’s wrong right. This helps me to not worry when I am mistreated because I know God will bring justice. It’s who He is.
2. Goodness: God is good, this fact never changes. And He’s good all the time, not just once in a while or when things go your way. Psalm 34:8 says, "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him" (NIV). When things are bad, I find great encouragement in God’s goodness.
3. Holiness: God is holy and righteous, and He desires to make us holy, pure and clean, free from the defilements of sin. To be honest, it has helped me in my walk with God to realize that whatever He does is right, whether I like it or not. This helps me to stay in sync with Him.
These three traits are not the only characteristics of God, but they are some of the most significant and powerful ones to me.
I encourage you to spend some time looking up these traits, and other traits of God that are important to you. When you study who He is, the Holy Spirit will help you incorporate His traits into your own personality. Begin to practice them in your daily life, and see what God does… You won’t be disappointed.
Genesis 13:14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had left him, Lift up now your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;
It seems that life always has its ways of bringing us to a place where we need to make a fresh start.
In the Bible, Abram found himself in that very place when his nephew Lot chose the best land in the area, leaving Abram with the less desirable land. But God didn’t abandon Abram. Instead He showed up and gave Abram a bold new vision.
I like what the Lord told Abram after he and Lot parted ways. He told him, ‘Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are.’
It’s that phrase, "look from the place where you are," that stirs me. That’s the point of a fresh start, a new beginning. God Himself will bring us to that point occasionally.
You might be there right now. Maybe you want to break a bad habit or revive a lost dream. Maybe you want to get a handle on your finances, start your own business, write a book, whatever it is, God could be telling you to get started right now. This could be your new beginning!
we had a wonderful christmas together… was just our family and granny. the day had a bit of poignancy about it as it was the first christmas without grandad who died earlier this month. he was very missed on the day, despite all the joy and excitement of opening presents and the delish food. we have a family tradition of opening a present on christmas eve after our church service. each year the kids get new pjs. so they look cute in the photos the next day. yes seriously. we dont do santa, but the kids get a pillowcase with things like a lunchbox, books, new undies and smaller toys in it. then this year we opened a few wrapped presents but then waited for granny to come at 11am when we opened the rest of the presents. our whanau was blested this year to get an xbox. big joy for the kids. evangeline has lived in her tangled (the movie) dress since christmas and loves her new mini cd player. caleb got a neat star wars colour poster book and some bayblades (spinning tops) and stadium. lots of versing in our family. he also got a soccer net which the neighbour boys also are loving. we had a scrummy roast for lunch and then settle down for xboxing, nana napping and skyping the rest of the whanau in australia and the south island.
how was your christmas?
and as always. i love Jesus with all i am and all my heart and all my soul and all my days. For His glory and the building of His kingdom and the rescue of the lost.
so what are you totally loving this week?
… check out what other peeps are loving whatever day of the week it is over at Paisley Jade
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great Light; those who dwelt in the land of intense darkness and the shadow of death, upon them has the Light shined. Isaiah 9:2 AMP
this is a verse that appears in a passage so readily quoted at christmas time: isaiah 9:6-7
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.
but today the power and reality and promise of v 2 struck my heart.
to those walking in the darkness, in the darkness and oppression of life, in the sorrow and pain of grief, in the loneliness and despair of living in this generation… with poverty and depression, with economic recession and earthquakes and disaster… with divorce and death, sickness and fear… to those walking in the darkness, living in the land of intense darkness and struggle… a light has dawned.
a light has dawned.
a child given.
salvation has come.
to those far away and in rebellion, to those who have no hope and dont know the way or the answer
a light has dawned.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:4-9
to those walking in darkness
a light has dawned
life and love are here
born in manger
executed on the cross
light IS shinning upon you.
God’s grace is rich towards you.
mercy is here.
light has dawned.