Wednesday, December 24, 2014

{Advent} Jesus is our Prince of Peace

Jesus is our Prince of Peace
“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given . . . 
And He will be called . . . Prince of Peace(Is. 9.6)


God blesses us with and keeps us in Peace

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. (Num. 6.24-26)

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. (Ps. 29.11)

Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us. (Is. 26.12)

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” (Lk. 2.14)


Jesus came and died to give us Peace with God

But He [Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed. (Is. 53.5)

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . (Rom. 5.1)

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace . . . (Eph. 2.13-14)

For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him [Jesus], and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things . . . by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.
(Col. 1.19-20)


Only in Jesus can we have true Peace 

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Ps. 4.8) 

You [Lord] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. (Is. 26.3) 

"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. (Is. 54.10) 

I [Jesus] have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (Jn. 16.33)


All praise to Jesus! Truly He alone is our Peace. 
What a gift that God provided a way of Peace through Jesus' blood shed on the cross. It was for this reason Jesus came!
It is almost too wonderful for us to comprehend. 
This Christmas season we meditate on our Jesus, our Prince of Peace.

_____________________
More advent posts:

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

{Advent} Jesus is our Everlasting Father

Jesus is our Everlasting Father
“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given . . . 
"And He will be called . . . Everlasting Father(Is. 9.6)
Jesus and the Father are One

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn. 1.14)

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” . . . Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? The words I say to you I do not speak on My own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in Me, who is doing His work. (Jn. 14.6, 10)

. . . one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4.6)

No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 Jn. 2.23)
 
He is our True and Perfect Father 

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God is His holy dwelling. (Ps. 68.5)

. . . You, Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your name. (Is. 63.16)

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by Him we cry, "Abba, Father." (Rom. 8.15)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 Jn. 3.1)




Jesus is FROM everlasting (eternal existence)


And the Levites . . . said: “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting.” “Blessed be Your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise.” (Neh. 9.5)


Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. (Is. 40.28)

Lord, are You not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, You will never die. (Hab. 1.12)

Jesus IS everlasting (in character)


The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deut. 33.27)

Your righteousness is everlasting and Your law is true. (Ps. 119.142)

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does. (Ps 145.13)

“In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord your Redeemer. (Is. 54.8)

The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (Is. 60.19)

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jer. 31.3) 

I [God] will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. . . . and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. (Ez. 37.26)


All praise to Jesus! 

Truly He is our Everlasting Father, who showers us with everlasting kindness and light, and invites us into His everlasting kingdom and covenant.

This Christmas season we meditate on Jesus, our Everlasting Father 
_____________________
More advent posts:

Friday, December 19, 2014

{Advent} Jesus is our Mighty God

Jesus is our Mighty God
“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given . . . 
And He will be called . . . Mighty God(Is. 9.6)

 "As He has wisdom [Counselor], so He has strength, to go through with His undertaking; He is able to save to the utmost; and such is the work of the Mediator that no less a power than that of the Mighty God could 
accomplish it." ~ Matthew Henry

Jesus is Mighty in strength 

. . . a mighty hand . . . and outstretched arm . . . (Deut 4.34, 5.15, 7.19, 11.2)

The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets. From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before Him, and around Him a tempest rages. (Ps. 50.1-3) 

Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea— the Lord on high is mighty. (Ps. 93.4)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. (1 Pet. 5.6) 

Jesus is Mighty in salvation

My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. (Ps. 62.7)

Who is this coming . . . robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of His strength? “It is I [the LORD], proclaiming victory, mighty to save.” (Is. 63.1)

The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph. 3.17)
 

Jesus ALONE is Mighty

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome. (Deut. 10.17)

The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows! (Josh. 22.22)

Who is like You, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and Your faithfulness surrounds You. (Ps. 89.8)

Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are Your purposes and mighty are Your deeds. (Jer. 32.18-19)


Jesus' names of MIGHT:
Mighty Hand
Mighty One 
Mighty Rock
Mighty to Save
Mighty Warrior
Mighty and Awesome
Mighty God
LORD God Almighty

This Christmas season we meditate on 
Jesus our Mighty God.


_____________________________
More advent posts:

Jesus is our Wonderful

* Second tree photo provided by Christina Schenke

Friday, December 12, 2014

{Advent} Jesus is our Counselor

Jesus is our Counselor
“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given . . . 
And He will be called . . . Counselor(Is. 9.6)


The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him [Jesus]—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord . . . (Is. 11.2) 


Who are we to think we could "counsel" God Almighty?

To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are His.
(Job 12.13) 

Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as His counselor? 
(Is. 40.13)

Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? 
(Rom. 11.34)


Who are we that God stoops to provide counsel to us?

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. (Ps. 16.7)

I [God] will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you. (Ps 32.8) 

You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory. (Ps. 73.24) 

Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors. (Ps. 119.24)

Who are we that God gave such a gracious gift of The Counselor?
 
And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. (Jn. 14.16-17)

...the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (Jn. 14:26)

When He [the Counselor] comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment. . . . when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. (Jn. 16.8, 13)


All praise to Jesus! 
Truly You are the Counselor above all counselors. Forgive us, Lord, for even attempting to offer You "counsel" on the way we think You should run our lives, or the world. May we submit joyfully to the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, and may He guide us into Truth. 
This Christmas season we meditate on Jesus our Counselor.
 
__________________________
More advent posts:
Jesus is our Wonderful
Jesus is our Mighty God
Jesus is our Everlasting Father 
Jesus is our Prince of Peace 

*First tree photo provided by Christina Schenke, editing by me.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

JD update....Dec. '14 rendition

Oh Justus Daniel. Who knew that almost-3 is such a fun age!?

Various thoughts from the last couple of months:

// Such a good eater (will eat anything, literally) but could care less about actually doing the eating. One day he sat there for 2 hours at dinner time, just because he didn't really care to eat. We're working on it with him. Tonight we had a spicy dinner (Koren Beef Bowl--yum!) and he kept saying: "I'm spicy!"

// Sleeps in a daybed now. We switched him over mid-summer, once acrobatics to get out of the crib began.

// He loves to sing. Started dancing more now. Loves to play Bryce's ukulele, with a pick of course. Will hear a song once on the radio in the car and then later in the day I'll hear him singing it. At Bible Study Fellowship the other day, his leader told me that he sings all of the words to all of the songs.

// Loves to wear his shoes. Since we don't wear shoes in the house, it's all I can do to keep them off of him during the day.

// Such a little chatterbox. We have a little conversation going all day long. Constantly learning and saying new things. Although sometimes the verb tenses still aren't quite right. Love it when he yells across the house: "Where is you, Mom?"

// A few months ago, he started calling me "Mom," although Bryce and I always refer to me as "Mama." It's just so cute that he started doing it on his own.

// Spoon = poon. Handle = sandle. Dental floss = cwaf. Periodically throughout the day: "Oh man."

// JD is so good about helping to clean up. After every meal, he takes his plate to the sink. He helps me transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer. He helps put items back in the pantry. He gets diapers and wipes when I need them. Etc.

// About 1 out of 3 poops are in the toilet now. Definitely not potty-trained yet, but we're moving there slowly.

// A couple of weeks ago, we had our first snow and Bryce played outside with JD for a little while. Thanks to hand-me-down's, we have a complete snow outfit for him, and it was so cute to see him waddling around and touching the snow with his little gloves. He loved it!

// He's also loving everything Christmas this year. The concept is still a little fuzzy (Christmas usually means the tree to him right now) but we keep trying to explain at Christmas we celebrate Jesus' birthday. Back in November, JD and I were in Wal-mart and he saw the Christmas display from far away and got so excited. We walked by all of the trees and he looked at me with the biggest smile on his face and eyes all lit up. On our Christmas decorating day, Silas' birthday, we let him stay up all afternoon so he could help me, and he was so intrigued with all of the ornaments, the lights, and especially the beads-on-a-string.

// Justus is doing so well getting dressed and undressed these days. And also starting to have an opinion about what he wants to wear. He would prefer to wear short sleeves (the blue one with the football on it) and "short pants" every day, if he could, but if I won't let him because it's too cold, then he'll settle for a striped shirt and blue pants.

Oh Justus! Love the little conversations. Love your sense of humor. Love the way you love your Daddy. Love your hugs and noisy kisses and the random "I love you, Mom." Love you!





He was supposed to be sleeping, but got to enjoy some late night Sunday football and popcorn.

"I'm cheesin' " (no idea where he learned that from)




Playing together at Granma's house.

His "friend" was on the mantel, and so he attempted to get it down with the dust mop.

Hanging out with friends.

His brushing teeth spot, and watching Mama clean or get ready for the day spot.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

{Advent} Jesus is our Wonderful



Jesus is our Wonderful
“For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given . . . 
And He will be called Wonderful . . .” (Is. 9.6)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, 
God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him 
who called you out of darkness into His Wonderful Light. (1 Pet. 2.9)

His Word is Wonderful

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law. (Ps. 119.18)

Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. (Ps. 119.129)


His Plans are Wonderful

Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You and praise Your name, for in perfect faithfulness You have done wonderful things, things planned long ago. (Is. 25.1)

All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent. (Is. 28.29)

His Works are Wonderful

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. (1 Chron. 16.9)

Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for mankind . . . (Ps. 107.8, 15, 21, 31)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Ps. 139.14)

When He [Jesus] said this, all His opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things He was doing. (Luke 13.17)


His Ways are Wonderful

You [God] asked, ‘Who is this that obscures My plans without knowledge?’ Surely I [Job] spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. (Job 42.3)

My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. (Ps. 131.1)

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Ps. 139.6)


All praise to Jesus! 
Truly His word, His plans, His works and His ways are wonderful, 
almost too wonderful for us to comprehend. This Christmas season we 
meditate on our Wonderful Jesus

___________________
More advent posts:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Silas is One!

“Such a sweet boy!”
We hear that about Silas all the time, and he truly is! All smiles all the time. Personality just blossoming. Big and expressive blue/gray/green eyes. Lots of snuggles. Just a generally happy baby.

So many new skills in the last couple of months:

* Eating finger foods, no more purees. This is my least favorite baby food stage, but we’re surviving. I haven’t convinced (coerced) him to eat a single veggie yet (except stealthily) and he pretty much survives on peanut-butter & jelly sandwiches, yogurt, cottage cheese, avocado, eggs, fruits and sweet potato. I repeat to myself often: This is only a phase!

* Climbing the stairs. And he’s fast! Not too good on the going down part, so we really have to watch him. He’s great on the couch or the step going down into the dining room though: turns around on his belly and scoots backward down the step or off the couch.

* Crawling—no more army crawl! He’s pretty fast with the regular crawl now, especially when he’s heading toward the stairs or the dishwasher or the laundry room. That little diaper wagging in the back always makes me laugh. And no walking yet, but he likes to “cruise” on the couch and around the ottoman. And he’ll stand up holding on to my leg when he wants to be picked up.

* Sleeping in the same room with JD, which they’ve been doing since August. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s rough. But it’s nice to have the guest room always available. Silas still takes two naps a day, usually a long morning nap and then a little shorter mid-afternoon nap with JD.

* New teeth! Okay, so this really isn’t a “skill” but there are 4 new teeth in his mouth, top middle two and bottom middle two. Not much teething these days but I expect some more pretty soon!

Silas is just so much fun. He’s very vocal (but not verbal), likes to hear his own voice. The main sounds we hear are da-da-da, yeah-yeah-yeah, and na-na-na. Not much ma-ma-ma yet. He likes to clap and give high-fives (except they’re kind of low-fives). He raises his arms when you say “yay!” and is such a good little dancer—bobbing, bouncing, swaying….and all to the beat! Bryce and I watch in amazement. Silas would be happy to be carried around all day and he likes to cuddle, especially just before bed. He tucks his head in under my chin and I sing and he sucks his thumb. Speaking of his thumb, he sucks it all the time, much more than Justus did at this age.

And speaking of age…..our Silas is one years old now! We had a little celebration with our small group, funfetti cake and ice cream. He enjoyed smashing a piece. We’re trying to soak in every moment of sweetness and enjoy these wonderful stages. Thank you, Jesus, for our Silas Fredric! We love you, Si-Man!













Saturday, December 6, 2014

from cursing to worship

Tragedy.  Pain.
Sorrow.  Loss.
Questions.


How long, Lord? Will You forget me forever?
    How long will You hide Your face from me?


Fist in the air. Why, God?
Where are You? Why this? Why now? Why her? Why them? Why me?

A heart wanting to curse. To turn away.
So many questions. Unanswered.
"Curse God and die!" ~ Job's wife (Job 2:9) 


How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?


Silence.
And yet. A whisper of Hope.
A thread of Hope.

Realization:
If one turns away from Him, then there is nothing and no one left to cling to.
He truly is our Only Hope.
And so, we cling. With our last prayer, our last breath, we hold on to Him.

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

 

But just clinging in belief is not enough in the end.
      Even the demons believe.....and curse.
We must cling and worship. Because He is worthy, we glorify Him.
We do not know "why?". But still, we are compelled to worship.
In sorrow and in pain, somehow (supernaturally) our hearts overflow with praise and adoration. Because       He      Is      God.
And we are not.

But I trust in Your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in Your salvation.

I will sing to the LORD,
    for He has been good to me. (Psalm 13)


to curse...............or.............to worship
I submit to you there are
only two possible human responses
to a Holy and Sovereign God.

Monday, August 25, 2014

our almost 9-month-old Si-Man

Oh, dear Silas. He is my favorite littlest boy ever. So squishy and smiley and sweet. Bryce decided the other night that he's just like a teddy bear.

Some recent favorites:
* When Silas crosses his feet at the ankles. Well, I guess they're more like "cankles."
* His low, little giggle. He loves to laugh!
* For about a week in July, Silas did the funniest little smile. It was like a half-smile, an "I don't know if I want to smile" smile. It was hilarious, but didn't last long. Now he's back to his huge grin.
* He used to rock back-and-forth before he could even hold himself sitting up, and now he rocks when he's sitting with a toy in the middle of the floor. Man, can he move!
* How much he loves bath time and the pool. He'll splash and giggle and reach for toys and giggle some more.
* When he says "da-da-da-da-da." And sometimes he'll even repeat it back and forth with you.
* When he's sitting on your lap, and then gets excited for some reason and leans in for a big hug, and sometimes a sloppy wet kiss. I know he's not exactly meaning to hug or kiss, but it's the best thing ever.
* When he's on his stomach and starts flailing all of his limbs like crazy--he's like a little seal or a fish.

New schedule: awake around 7am, nap at 9am for about 2 hours, nap again at 1pm for about 2-3 hours, and then bed around 7pm. Periodically JD and Silas will sleep in the same room together and they do pretty well. Eventually they will share a room, so we figure it's good practice.

Foods he eats (all pureed): spinach, tomatoes, sweet potato, squash, peas, green beans, carrots, banana, applesauce, and peaches. (This immersion blender has changed my life. Making purees from scratch is a breeze now!) And lately he's doing much better drinking a bottle, three a day.

Mobility update: In late July (7 months-ish), Silas started rolling to wherever he wanted to go and then in early August he started army crawling. And now he army crawls ev-er-y-where, fast. In no time at all he moves from the library to the entryway, grabbing at toys or the dog or a cord or the random piece of lint on the way.

There's a tooth coming in: bottom, middle, right. A little bit of drooling. Lots of nose running. It'll be here soon.

Lots of pictures to post! And not surprising that most of them show a very happy Silas. What can I say--he's just a happy, smiley boy.













Silas with Great Grandma Pierce.

It's impossible to get a non-blurry picture with two wiggly boys.


Cousin Malachi making Silas laugh.






Bath time!

No, I did not ask Justus to pose for all of these shots with Silas.
It's his idea....because he wants to see himself in the picture on
the phone afterwards.

 I spy some curly hair.


At the state fair.




Lunch on the deck.