Friday, December 19, 2014

Adoration: Five Minute Friday

I haven't played along with Five Minute Friday for ... too long ... but I'm back for the last FMF of the year.  Thanks to our hostess, Kate Motaung, for graciously picking up when Lisa-Jo Baker decided to pass the FMF baton.

START

I think that certain words have become overused in our culture.

Awesome.

Adore.

I've been guilty of using these words in an offhand way.  My niece did something well in school, and I exclaimed, "That's awesome!"  But really, if awesome is causing or inspiring awe, then what in this world is truly awesome?  Something can be impressive or fantastic or one of a myriad of other characteristics, but in my mind, only God is awesome.  We might think a sunset is awesome, but it comes down to the God who painted that sky, the One who created it all.

How about this?

"I adore chocolate."

"I adore my dog."

Same kind of thing.  One definition of adore is to worship as a deity or as divine.  Surely we don't think of chocolate as divine.  It might be my very favorite flavor, but I don't worship it.  This word, too, needs to be reserved for what's truly worthy of our adoration.  I can't think of anything or anyone other than God.

This Christmas (and every other day, actually), "Oh come, let us adore Him," and give him the honor He deserves.

STOP

I pray that your Christmas will be filled with wonder as you adore our awesome Lord.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December: Where's the Jesus?

Hope you're having a good December!

Since Thanksgiving, we've been busy:

Decorating the Christmas tree


Baking (and eating) cookies


Making a few cards (and, today, discovering that the adhesive I used is not adhesive at all!)


Sadly, my old nemesis Depression has moved in for the holiday.  (I'm thankful that he left his friend Anxiety at home this time.)  He's not as demanding this visit.  Still, he makes me wonder how decorations and cookies help us prepare our hearts for the arrival of Christ.  I'm not talking about the commercialism, because gifts aren't a big deal in our family.  I mean all the other "stuff," the busyness that fills the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  It seems to me that it's more of a distraction than preparation.

And at this time of year when so many of our activities are social, Depression makes me want to withdraw.  He wants me all to himself, to spend time with no one but him.  I'm fighting him on this, because I know it's better for me to spend time with good people.  People who encourage me and whom I can encourage.  Yet it can be hard to spend time with people who are joyful about Christmas coming.  For example, I love being with the women in my Bible study:  bubbly Karen, thoughtful Judy, quiet Lillian, and so on.  We have a wonderful group of godly, compassionate women.  I hope I can sneak out of the house and leave Depression behind when I go to the brunch with these ladies.  I know we'll be remembering the real meaning of Christmas, even as we share food and swap books.

We hear "Keep Christ in Christmas" so often that it's become trite.  We sing the same carols so often that we don't pay attention to the lyrics.  We get so wrapped up in decorating and baking and shopping and wrapping that it's easy to forget the miracle of the Incarnation.  I mean, how utterly amazing is it that Jesus--God the Son--gave up all He has in heaven to come to earth for us?  He took on human form and suffered and died a horrific death for us.  For my sin and your sin.  We were ruined and He came to rescue us, even at great cost to Himself.

I think that's why I like this song by Downhere, which reminds me of the price Jesus paid and how precious that gift is.
How many kings stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many gods have poured out their hearts
to romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me.




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sharing Some Sunshine: Meet my Blogging Friends

It's cloudy and rainy here today, so I wanted to pass along a little sunshine.

In October I shared with you a few of the great bloggers I'd "met" during the 31-day blogging challenge.  Today I'd like to introduce you to two women, fellow bloggers, who have been my friends for years.


First, Noelle blogs at Jumpin Beans.  I was still a new blogger when she sent me an email message, and we've stayed in touch ever since.  She's an Army wife and a busy mom to a kindergartner and four young-adult stepsons.  Amid her busyness, she finds time to blog product reviews and giveaways, as well as stories about her family.  Even her reviews are blended with stories and photos of her family, which makes them more personal and fun to read!  I love her joy, which shows in everything she writes.

Second--I'd put both of these ladies at the top of the list, but someone has to be second!--is Petula, who blogs at Petula Writes.  She also writes product reviews and is working on a holiday gift guide.  Beyond that, she writes about her four children, her beautiful granddaughter, and the health challenges she's facing right now.  I appreciate her candor and her heart.

Both Petula and Noelle have been good friends to me through good times and bad.  Even though they have full plates, they always ask how I am and check up on me when I'm silent for a few days.  I hope someday to meet them face-to-face and give them big hugs!

Stop by and say Hello to one or both of these friends today, if you have a moment!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Bonhoeffer Abridged (Book Review)

Our church library has a copy of Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.  I've always been intimidated by the size of the book (600+ pages), so I've never read it.  When BookLook Bloggers had Bonhoeffer Abridged, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.  I received a copy of this book at no cost to me for review purposes.

Publisher's synopsis:
From [Eric Metaxas,] the New York Times bestselling author of Amazing Grace, an abridged version of the groundbreaking biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the greatest heroes of the twentieth century, the man who stood up to Hitler. 
A definitive, deeply moving narrative, Bonhoeffer is a story of moral courage in the face of the monstrous evil that was Nazism. After discovering the fire of true faith in a Harlem church, Bonhoeffer returned to Germany and became one of the first to speak out against Hitler. As a double-agent, he joined the plot to assassinate the F├╝hrer, and was hanged in Flossenberg concentration camp at age 39. Since his death, Bonhoeffer has grown to be one of the most fascinating, complex figures of the 20th century. 
Bonhoeffer presents a profoundly orthodox Christian theologian whose faith led him to boldly confront the greatest evil of the 20th century, and uncovers never-before-revealed facts, including the story of his passionate romance.
 I'd heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but really knew nothing of his story.  I was also unfamiliar with this level of detail about what happened in Germany as Adolf Hitler rose to power.  As a result, I found Bonhoeffer Abridged to be a very intriguing book.  It's certainly not light and fluffy--the man suffered a great deal of danger and persecution--but the story is gripping.

The format of the book is interesting in that the prologue tells the end of the story, then Chapter 1 begins with Bonhoeffer's childhood.  Each subsequent chapter tells of a stage of his life, such as his time as a student and his early years as a pastor, through his arrest, his time in prison, and his eventual execution.

Another interesting aspect for me was the background about what was changing in the church during this time.  Just as we see now, divisions between the liberal and the conservative Christian groups caused some fierce conflict at times.  Bonhoeffer's convictions helped him persist even in the face of obstacles and danger.

Links for more information:
Disclosure:  If you click through my Amazon.com affiliate link and complete a purchase, I will receive a small commission.  Thank you!

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