Saturday, January 24, 2009

Motivation

Sometimes I have zero motivation to read my Bible. It's such a weird thing, that I know the riches of studying God's Word and I have experienced the fruits of this labor. Yet something in my flesh still desires to push it aside. I'm sure you have been familiar with this, too.

This morning as I was reading Deuteronomy 8 I came across a new motivation to be in God's Word constantly. Deuteronomy is a book of the Law--of God's Law to His chosen people (Israel)--given to them after the exodus from Egypt yet while they wander in the desert waiting to enter the Promised Land.
Chapters 1 and 2 = the setting: why God is choosing to make them wander.
Chapters 3 and 4 = remembering the conquests and obedience: God's faithfulness in their past is reason for them to trust and obey Him for their future
Chapter 5 = 10 Commandments revisited
Chapter 6 = obey: God rewards His people for their obedience
Chapter 7 = warnings and promises: a warning against the temptation of sin and God's promises for Israel's future; God's faithfulness to keeping His word
Chapter 8 = grace: God graciously deals with His chosen people in the midst of their sinful actions and attitudes
"Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statues which I am commanding you today; otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery" (vv. 11-14).
I had the fleeting thought that it must be possible that we we forget God's commandments and His ordinances and His statues that we begin to forget God himself. Yikes! What an even greater motivation to continually be in His Word and learning His decrees, that I might know Him more and not easily forget who He is in our lives.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winter Camp 2009

Every year we take our high school students to winter camp over Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. We take them to Pine Summit where the Evangelical Free Church denomination churches in our region gather and put on a camp consisting of biblical teaching, worship through music and just plain fun. Camp is a time of year we look forward to in growing in our relationships with each other and with God. This weekend was no exception! Here are a few pictures noting the fun and encouraging time we had together!

some of the girls just chillin' in the cabin

Raf-Dog chose to sit in someone's hand
while everyone else was shopping in town


the girls gearing up for a day on the slopes!
(sorry for making you look into the sun)
Gabby-Stefanie-Morgan-Nadine-Anna-Jordan-Amanda-Hannah-Chelsea

taking a lunch break in the lodge
Gabby-Stefanie-Amanda-Kate

Friday, January 16, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Epiphany

Lately I have been provoked by the study of the liturgical year. Advent calendars have been a childhood tradition in my family, but I never took the time to understand their meaning and purpose until just this year. Lame, I know. There's so much significance behind them! Since Christmas & Advent are over, I'll have to be more purposeful in blogging about them next year. BUT this coming Sunday (tomorrow) is the traditional celebration of Epiphany, which is a part of the liturgical year.

Epiphany, according to Wikipedia:
Epiphany (Greek for "to manifest" or "to show"), is a Christian feast day which celebrates the "shining forth" or revelation of God in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. The Feast of the Epiphany falls on January 6. Western Christians commemorate the visitation of the Magi to the child Jesus on this day, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles. Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, his manifestation as the Son of God to the world. It is also called Theophany ("manifestation of God"), especially by Eastern Christians. Epiphany falls on the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
We are now launching into the season of epiphany, which is followed by "ordinary time" until the season of lent. This is how I want to be purposeful during the "ordinary time":
  • be purposeful in researching and preparing my heart for the next season of lent
  • think of a creative way to get my small group girls involved in observing lent
  • focus on the life and ministry of Christ by reading through the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), since the purpose of lent is for the Christian to prepare for the Holy week leading up to Easter
  • use this time to start revolving my life around the liturgical church calendar rather than our all-American, self-focused holidays calendar

Monday, January 5, 2009

It's a Wrap


I felt kinda ridiculous syran wrapping the fully decorated Christmas trees today. I guess they've been up for long enough. It made me feel better that the Horning family does this every year.

As I was twirling the giant roll of plastic wrap around one of the trees I was provoked by the thought process behind Christmas trees. I've never really thought about why we purchase and decorate Christmas trees every year. In my family, I guess it's mere tradition. My dad has been going to the same Christmas tree farm in Northern California since he was 6 years old. I have a picture there with my sisters every year of my childhood (even one of me in the cooker). We go up as a family in October to choose a tree, reserve it with our name, and then in December go cut it down. It's been quite a fun family tradition that I have discovered many families do not have. Another family I know waits until Christmas eve and sneaks out to Wal-Mart's dumpster to find their Christmas tree of choice--for free. Different, yes; tradition nonetheless.

I realize that Christmas has come and passed for the time being, and it's pretty cliche to repeat that the realities of Christmas should remain in our thoughts at all times. Did you know that today is the last day of the Christmastide season? It is commonly known now as the 12 Days of Christmas, but traditionally is a part of the liturgical church calendar. Christmastide is a celebration not only of the birth but also the incarnation of Christ. From the little research I have done, Christmastide is primarily taken seriously by the Catholic following. It's just all interesting to me how we have come so far from a baby supernaturally born to a poor carpenter's wife in a place where animals dwelt and shepherds hearing the first of the birth to wrapping fully decorated fake trees in syran wrap to preserve their aesthetics while in storage for the next 10 months. Where is the connection?

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