Friday, December 18, 2009

This Week's WORD

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the
clans of Judah,
our of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.

Micah 5:2

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord."

Luke 2:10-11

Last Sunday I heard a sermon in church which has stayed with me and given me hope all week long. The speaker took is through many, many Old Testament prophecies and showed us the New Testament fulfillment in Jesus. He (the speaker) reminded us that the Old Testament was written over a period of 1,500 years, by 25 different authors, yet every prophecy was fulfilled without contradiction and without error.
Only God could coordinate something like that!
And he reminded us - if God can manage the fulfillment of those prophecies over the course of 1,500 years and through 25 different authors, He can surely handle the details in our lives. Amen?
I pray today you find yourself trusting God more than you ever have before. He loves you so much. He sees what you cannot, and He will care for you in your circumstance.

I'll be taking a break from blogging until Monday, January 4, 2010.
Please enjoy celebrating Jesus with your family this Christmas.
Love them.
Love HIM.
Remember His amazing love for you!

May the peace of Christ rest upon you, and may you overflow with the joy of His Spirit. Today, and until we meet again.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Would it Take?

My Facebook friend, Julia, answered a question about me the other day which really got me thinking.
The question was, "What would it take for Karen Hossink to run a full marathon?" And Julia responded by saying, "Well I know of one way...if Jesus were standing at the finish line!"
At first I laughed.
Me? Run a full marathon???

Not likely!!!

First of all, my knee is bad. It hurts when I run.
Second, a full marathon is 26.2 miles. That's a lot of running. I do not have the endurance to go that long.
And finally, when I add the above two objections together, and consider my weak flesh, I just know I would not be able to run a full marathon.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized, I'm running that marathon right now. Every day of my life is another step in the marathon.
Oh, how many times I want to quit running! Because my heart hurts. Because the pain of real relationships can seem too much for me to handle. Because I can't take the sting of one more disappointment.
And, wow! How this marathon wears me out. I'm tired of unanswered questions. The endless list of needs and demands in front of me floods me with weariness. When I think of how far I have yet to run, it seems every ounce of energy is drained from my spirit.
And when I look at my condition, I get overwhelmed and believe I cannot go on.
BUT - and you know how I love a big BUT! - when I look ahead to the finish line, when I remember Who is there waiting for me, I am determined to keep on running.
And so, I will run. Without concern for my appearance. Not caring what my finish time will be. Unconcerned about who passes me, or by whom I run. Only fixing my eyes on Jesus - the Author and Perfecter of my faith.

What would it take for you to run a full marathon? Jesus is at the finish line.
Grab your running shoes. Let's run this race together!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Today I'm @ Faith, Family and Fun

It's the same every day.
At 8:10 my son and I stand on the corner waiting for our neighbor, and then the three of us walk to school.
The boys will lag behind and I'll tell them to keep coming. Then they'll run ahead and turn around to wait for me.
They'll grab sticks laying by the road and pretend to shoot passing cars. (If you drive by us, don't worry. They're harmless!)
At some point, there's usually talk about the latest game in gym class, and more recently - what's on top of the Christmas wish-list.

To read the rest, click here.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday in the Psalms

Psalm 30

1 I will exalt you, O LORD,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help
and you healed me.
3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave;
you spared me from going down into the pit.

4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his;
praise his holy name.
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

6 When I felt secure, I said,
"I will never be shaken."
7 O LORD, when you favored me,
you made my mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O LORD, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
9 "What gain is there in my destruction
in my going down into the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me;
O LORD, be my help."

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Which of these verses particularly speaks to your heart today? How???
I hope you'll write it down and carry it with you in your pocket - taking time to remember it throughout the day.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

This Week's WORD

And whether they listen or fail to listen - for they are a rebellious house - they will know that a prophet has been among them...
You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious...
Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says,' whether they listen or fail to listen...
And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days - overwhelmed.

Ezekiel 2:5&7 and 3:11&15b

Can anyone else relate to Ezekiel the way I can this week???
I was reading these words, thinking of my rebellious pre-teen son. And the repeated message to Ezekiel - that he needed to speak, whether the Israelites listened or failed to listen - pierced my heart.
Do you know how many times I just want to give up?
Do you have any idea how often I wonder if the words I am saying to my son will make an iota of difference in his life?

Oh, how often I have sat where he lives - overwhelmed.

But I read these words from God - His clear instruction to Ezekiel to go and speak to these people - and I realized something. Even though the Israelites were a rebellious people; even though they didn't do what God commanded them; even though they turned away from Him and did exactly what He told them NOT to do - still, He loved them. Still, He wanted them to hear His Word - to have an opportunity to hear the Truth.
And with that realization, God spoke to my heart.
I may not think my son is listening to me - when I correct, instruct, or even when I profess my love for him - but whether he listens or fails to listen, I will speak. And I will pray that whether he is listening or failing to listen today, God will store my words in my son's heart, that one day he may understand.

Have a wonderful weekend. I'll see you back here Monday!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who's to Blame?

Let's see...
I could blame the boys. After all, they are the ones who were messing around at the top of the steps and knocked the can over - sending it falling into the basement.
Of course, it could be my fault. Since I am the one who put the can there in the first place.
But maybe Elizabeth is to blame. She's the one who invited her small group over - which is why I put the can on the top of the steps, to get it out of the way.
Then again, maybe it's the church's fault. It's because of the huge Christmas outreach that's taking up the entire church building that there's no room for the youth group to meet. Such that they needed to meet off site, which is why Elizabeth invited her small group over to our house. Leading me to put the can at the top of the basement steps, to get it out of the way. So that it was in the way when the boys were messing around and kicked it, and sent it tumbling into the basement.

Er...Wait! Maybe God is the one to blame for this whole mess.

He's the One who sent Jesus to the earth to take the sins of the world upon Himself so that we may be reconciled to God.
Because of what God did through sending Jesus to save us, our church is using up the whole building for this major outreach event - that people may come to a saving knowledge of who He is!
So it's as a result of God's amazing love for us that Elizabeth invited her small group over to our house.
It's because God sent Jesus to teach us about grace and forgiveness, because He sent Jesus to die that we might live, that I put the can of paint at the top of the steps and forgot about it.
And the boys kicked it when they were messing around.
And the carpet going down the steps is ruined.
And the walls are a mess.
And the articles of clothing that were laying on the steps have been thrown away.

Clearly, if God had not sent Jesus to the earth to teach me about grace and forgiveness, there would not be this huge mess going down to my basement.

But now that the paint has dried and I've had some time to think about it, I've realized something wonderful.

That mess on the stairs really doesn't matter.

My heart is messier by far, and Jesus still loves me. And right here - in my face - He's given me an opportunity to practice what He preached: To offer grace and forgiveness in spite of the mess.

How about you? Been trying to figure out who's to blame for the mess around you?
Let's trust in His power at work within us, and offer grace and forgiveness instead.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Was That a Compliment?

OK, so the other night I was in my daughter's bedroom saying goodnight and she was telling me about some adventures she'd had that day. (Elizabeth loves to talk and would do so non-stop, given the chance. Which is why I laugh at parent-teacher conferences when her teachers tell me she's quiet. My daughter???)
It was getting late and I still needed to say goodnight to the boys so I said something like, "OK, honey. That's all the time we have for the story. Would you like a song tonight?"
Elizabeth said I must not have been that interested in her story. Well, honestly, I really wasn't. And I admitted as much.
Then Elizabeth said, "Mom, you're really good at making people think you're interested in what they're saying, even when you aren't."

And I wondered, Was that a compliment?


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Tuesday in the Psalms

Looking for a psalm to consider today.
Turning the pages of my Bible, pondering God's goodness as I read many verses I've underlined at one time or another.
Stopping when I get to this one. Yes. This is the one for today!

I will praise you forever for what you have done;
in your name I will hope, for your name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of your saints.

Psalm 52:9

Today I am praising God because He is faithful and patient. His love endures forever!
I am so undeserving of the Father's love. If I were my child, I would have run out of patience for me a loooong time ago.
But not God.
He keeps on loving. Keeps on persisting in teaching me. Keeps on staying by my side.
Our God is faithful!
And my hope is in Him.

Please join me in praising God in the presence of His saints by contributing your praise in the comment section. And may I encourage you to write Psalm 52:9 on a piece of paper and stick it in your pocket today? Then, whenever you remember this verse - offer up a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to the One who loves you endlessly. And, if you're in the presence of His saints when you remember the verse, how about verbalizing that praise audibly???


Friday, December 04, 2009

This Week's WORD

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.

Luke 2:6

When God caused Mary to become pregnant with Jesus, do you think He was aware of the fact that when the time came for the baby to be born Mary would be far away from home?
Do you think He knew there would be no room in the inn?
Have you ever wondered if God should have timed things better for Jesus' birth?
Ever wondered if He had His wires crossed in the timing of your circumstance?

I am certain God knew exactly what He was doing when He planned the timing of Jesus' birth. He worked out the details perfectly. And He's working perfectly in your life, too.

I'll be presenting a message based upon this scripture at a women's advent program this coming Sunday night. Will be including the gospel and an invitation for women to give their lives to Jesus. Would appreciate your prayers!

Edie has announced the winner of yesterday's giveaway - and explained the "real" element for this layout. Check out the details here.

Have a great weekend. I'll see you back here Monday.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

My New Look

Soooo, what do you think?

Edie is such a talented woman, and I hope you like the new look she's given me here as much as I do. Remember that I asked her to create a look that conveys a feeling of hope and peace? But that I also wanted to portray real? I don't ever want someone to come over here and think I have this whole mothering thing figured out, and that I never struggle.
So, Edie took that guidance and went to work. And this is what she created.
Now - as promised - you get to participate in the fun, too. Take a look around and see if you can determine what it is Edie included to convey that sense of real.
Then visit her Graphics Blog and tell her what you think that piece is. Edie will randomly pick a winner from all correct entries, and that person will win their choice of my books.
Hurry! Edie will have the drawing at 10pm EST today.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Today I'm at Faith, Family & Fun!

A few days ago I was meeting with our Physician.
The GREAT Physician, that is.
I was talking with Him about my children. My friend gave me a list of 31 Biblical virtues, and every day I talk with the Physician about one of those virtues as they relate to my kids. On this particular day, we were focusing on mercy.
As I do every day, I told the Physician how much I love my children and how great my desire is for them to grow up and become young doctors, walking in His footsteps. Then we started talking about this "mercy" issue.

To read the rest, click here.

Come back here tomorrow to see my new blog layout and enter the giveaway for one of my books!


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

While You Are Waiting

1How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4my enemy will say, "I have overcome him,"
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.

Psalm 13

Have you ever been there?
In the midst of a terrifying situation, waiting for God's deliverance?
Or, even in the midst of a not-so-terrifying situation (but difficult, nonetheless), just waiting?
Have you ever wanted to cry out to God, asking Him, "How long, LORD? How long must I wait???"

Recently I was talking with a friend about what happens to us when we're waiting on God to move. Both of us admitted we don't like to wait. Oh, I would much rather be busy working out the situation. I think, Don't ask me to wait, God. Just tell me what to DO! Let's not waste time with this "waiting" thing.
But as my friend and I talked and looked at scripture together, we realized - While we're waiting, God is working.
He may be building our trust, growing our faith, shaping our character, or coordinating the details. But God is never wasting our time.
Do you believe it?

If you are in a waiting pattern today, will you choose to trust God in spite of what you cannot see? Why not write down Psalm 13:5-6 on a piece of paper and carry it with you in your pocket today? Let God remind you all day long that He is working while you are waiting.

May the peace of Christ rest upon you while you wait.