Friday, December 30, 2011

Simply not as simple as it sounds...

Plain and simple.  The words of John MacArhur in his book,  "Abiding in Christ":

"Have you ever tried to read the Bible and found it boring? When you've witnessed, have you felt like you've had ashes in your mouth? Maybe you've prayed in a superficial sense: "Bless the missionaries; now I lay me down to sleep. Amen." You go through the motions but you don't sense any spiritual life. 
If that's the case, let me encourage you to work on your relationship with Jesus. Don't concentrate on the deeds because they will be the joyful result of that relationship. God wants your life to be fruitful even more than you do. But you can't do one thing yourself to produce it. Just be close to Jesus by being in the Word, and by loving and obeying Him, and you will find His energy surging through you to produce fruit. The result will be joy. John 15:11 says, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." Would you like to live in the midst of full joy? You say, "What will I have to do? Win eighty-four souls to Christ a month?" No. One thing: abide."

This book is online, I read it when I *remember to spend time with Christ and study scripture.  The truth is, we are called to abide in Christ.  What does abide really mean?  To remain with, to reside with, to act in accordance with, to follow..... The only way we can do this is to open his Word, and spend time with Him.  Yes, like a real relationship.  I am often humbled when I think of how this relationship (between me and God) should work.  In relationships, you love the other... put them first... think of them often... speak to them, bounce concerns off of them and many more.   Do I do those things with my God?  Not as often as I should, and I wonder why my own self sufficiency won't get me through the tough times.  It's not meant to be me against the world.  It's meant to be me, my God... and the rest flows naturally.  My joy is His joy.   

Just a thought that humbled me.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas! Our card that never got mailed...

Vintage Snapshots Christmas Card
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View the entire collection of cards.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Reason.

The reason for the season.

Josh is out in the field doing training right now, living in a tent.  This means we can speak on the phone periodically.  Let me first explain that when I'm alone, my mind tends to experience such clarity... pondering deep seeded thoughts and emotions.   Thus ensued an emotional phone conversation about our Bella.

This phone conversation was about how sometimes I am saddened that she doesn't understand Christmas traditions.  I can still remember when my mom and dad (sorry... I mean Santa) got us all bikes and we ran down the stairs discussing how Santa might have shoved them down the chimney.  Bella on the other hand, doesn't comprehend Santa.  Oh and threats about how "when your naughty you don't get presents" don't work either.  If I'm being honest, she would really be more excited about the wrapping paper than the presents themselves.  Yes, it is hard to watch other kids sit on Santa's lap and list off their requests while Bella can't bare to be around the masses, let alone sit on his lap.  A few days ago, we took her to Disney to show her the Christmas lights.  I was so excited imagining us walking the streets of Disney, smiling, laughing....  In reality, Bella basically cried for the first hour because it was so busy, so many lights, so many noises.  Sigh.  I felt so guilty pushing our desires for her to enjoy the holidays like "I" do (and did as a child).

Last night, it hit me.  It's as if God was slapping me in the face with, "Annie... are you kidding me right now?"...  "Are you truly that off base?"  I opened the Bible and found the verses below.  I was humbled to tears at the verses I read.  This season is about Jesus Christ.  The birth of the one and only blameless human being who would live, and die for me (for Bella), so that we could spend eternity in heaven.  Heaven, a place where autism does not exist by the way.  I praise God today for Christmas.  Instead of talking about Santa, Bella and I prayed last night and thanked God for Jesus.  She doesn't understand her Savior either, but He is the most important thing that ever happened to her.  

So, I AM enjoying the holidays.... seeing the decorations, watching  kids enjoying the festivities.  I'm even more excited though about this holiday now that God gave me a reality check.  Without Christmas we would have no hope. 

P.S.  I am I am going to attempt Christmas cookies with Bella.  This, she will enjoy.... painting the table, her body, the walls, with frosting... and I'm totally ok with that!

(Luke 1:26-38 ESV)

The Birth of Jesus Foretold...

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Birth of Jesus...

(Luke 2:1-21 ESV)
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
        and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Here's a pic of Josh's in training in his tent ...
 Bella on her first day of school, and some of Bella and her cousins!