I made my countdown to Christmas calendar a while ago and I didn't know how I would hang it up. Well, I made one for a friend, so I had to figure out some way to hang it up! My husband suggested going to Home Depot or somewhere and getting a dowel rod. So the other day, I loaded up my son into the car and we took off, to HD for a dowel rod and to Michaels (I had a coupon!) for some more needed craft supplies. We got to HD and had to visit the bathroom first, so we walked the entire way through the store, searching for the bathroom that they stuck in the very back corner. As soon as we came out, my little boy asked me what we were looking for. I said, "A dowel rod." He said, "I know exactly which aisle that will be in. Follow me." And he took off!
Everyone knows the verse, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." There are two other verses close by this one that I also know, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content" and the long, "Whatsoever things are true" etc. So I can never remember the order these three verses go in. One is verse 9, one is 11, and one is 13. I should memorize verses 10 and 12, or maybe that will make it even more confusing. Okay, so I just looked them up, and the whatsoever verse isn't verse 9, it's actually verse 8. (I do know verse 9, though, because it is a Mr. E song.) I also know verse 12, and this is what I want to talk about.
Everyone turn in your Bibles to Philippians 4:11-13. Just kidding. I will tell you them:
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Verses 12 and 13 are sung by the Hitchcock family, of which we have a 90 minute CD. I made an OT CD and a NT CD for our car, but I prefer Mr. E to the Hitchcocks, so I filled the car CDs with Mr. E songs and only included the longer verses by the Hitchcocks to fill up the CDs to the full 80 minutes. These verses are on the car CD. The CD is 80 minutes, as I said, and you would think that would last a long time, but living 20 minutes from church means we go through the whole CD in two trips. I put the CD in there about a month or so ago, so if you assume we only drive the car to and from church, that means I've listened to this song 7 or 8 times in the past month. Yesterday was the first time something hit me about these verses.
I have always, always thought "I can do all things..." was a super general verse, written for anyone facing a difficult task. Which I'm sure it still is. But as I sang the words to verse 12, how to be abased, how to abound, to be full, to be hungry, to abound, to suffer need...Those are some difficult things to do, not to mention doing them all at the same time! (And if you remember from verse 11, these are the situations we need to be content in.)
I don't know about you, but I HATE to speak in public. Only with Christ's strength am I ever able to actually speak in public. As much as I need His strength for that, though, I think that I need His strength so many times more to be content in an abased, hungry, and "in need" state. Isn't that really the hardest thing our sinful souls could be asked to do? Be content no matter what? So out of all the commands in the entire Bible, isn't it interesting that God chose here to place His promise of Christ's strength?
I used to not like Paul, because I felt that he was over-preached, but I'm beginning to see that he had some pure gold nuggets. In my devotions starting this Saturday (tomorrow), I will be reading through Galatians to Colossians, and I will be keeping my eyes (and heart) peeled for more treasures like this one.
I found this idea on pinterest, to paint and decorate a pinecone to look like a snowman on skis. At first we were going to gather pinecones from my in-law's backyard, but then my husband came home with a box full of them from a house he worked at. I pulled two pinecones out of the box (any ideas with what we should do with the rest of them?? There's like, 35 left!).
Growing up in Japan, I learned to love sushi at a young age. It is fun to visit the different Japanese restaurants around town and compare their cuisine to see how close it comes to the authentic stuff. Last year we discovered a new Japanese restaurant: Hibachi and Sushi Super Buffet in Pelham, AL. At first, when my husband told me the name, I didn't believe him. A sushi buffet? No way! Not until I walked in, and actually saw the sushi buffet, did I believe him, then I just loaded up my plate!
Most of our crafts in the next two months will be Christmas crafts. I think this year one of our trees will be decorated to a "homemade" theme with all our new ornaments we're making. But for this particular craft, it turned out to be more of a Thanksgiving craft. It took two days, but only one post.
Sunday--Ezekiel 36. Israel has not done what is right, but God restores her. He makes it very clear, however, that He does it for His own name's sake, not for Israel. When God gives me good things to enjoy in life, I need to remember that He does it so others can see He is the Lord, not because I deserve it in any way.
Monday--Ezekiel 37. I love this phrase from verse 23: "I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God." After everything Israel and Judah have done, God still loves them and wants them as His! What a calm it is to me to know that He loves me just as much.
Tuesday--Ezekiel 38. God brought destruction to Gog so Israel would know He is God. God shows Himself in everything. I need to keep my eyes peeled.
Wednesday--Ezekiel 39. This chapter is chock full of words. I mean, not just words, but cool, funny words. "Stop the noses of the passengers" and "all of them fatlings". It reminds me that just because you're talking about serious stuff doesn't mean you can't be creative with your words. Not uber-spiritual, but I consider this God's way of helping me with certain aspects of my writing.
Thursday--Ezekiel 40. Part one in the description of all the measuring. He was so precise in it all. He measured the south everything, even if it looked the same size as the north, but he measured it just to make sure. After making a project without measuring first, I can look at my crooked pockets and realize how important it is. I am so glad God is not haphazard in even the little things.
Friday--Ezekiel 41. What struck me today is that God is crafty, not like, a nice word for pyscho, but rather does crafts, like me! I think it would take someone creative to think to make cherubs have two faces, and to arrange palm trees just so everywhere. I'm glad God made me crafty.
Saturday--Ezekiel 42. God's most holy place. I never really wondered before why the outer court was so large. I guess I figured so a lot of people could be in there at once. With a nation as large as Israel, it would take a super long time to get everyone through if the court were small. The very last phrase of this chapter reveals a new reason: "to make a separation between the sanctuary and the profane place." Now that's something to think about for a few minutes.
"Thankful Thursdays" sounds a lot better than "Thankful Saturdays", but the last day of November is a Friday, and I already posted something on the first Thursday of the month. This Thankful Saturday post will only have 2 days' worth, but next week will have 7. Things I'm thankful for today:
Thursday, Nov. 1
Friday, Nov. 2
Our craft for this day actually took two days because we had to let the paint dry, but I am going to make it all one post. First, I found a 25-piece puzzle that only had 6 pieces left. We painted them white:
This verse and I go back a long way. I first memorized it when I was in kindergarten, and it helped me not be afraid of thunderstorms. I taught it to my son when he was in kindergarten so he wouldn't be afraid of monsters under his bed.
Two weeks ago, we watched the kids for visitation. Now that it gets dark earlier, we let the kids play in the gym instead of on the playground. We walk into the gym and all the lights are off--and it is pitch black inside. It's a little chilly outside, so I get all the kids to step inside while my husband goes to the closet after the light switches. One little girl refuses to budge, though, screaming that she's afraid of the dark. She's only 5, so I wasn't upset at all. But I did want to comfort her by asking if Jesus wasn't in the dark gym the same way he's in the light. If you know Jesus is in the darkness, and can see and protect you just as easily as in the light, there is nothing to be afraid of.
Several days ago, I was at a friend's house. They have a little girl, six or seven years old, who went outside to get something out of their vehicle. She took two steps and came right back inside, saying she didn't want to go alone because she was afraid of how dark it was. Again, my first thought was to lovingly ask if Jesus wasn't outside already and would protect her the same whether or not an adult went with her. In both situations, this verse came to mind (Ps. 56:3, to the tune I know it from Mr. E): "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." A "kid's verse" to be sure, but these were kids who were afraid.
Isn't it amazing how God uses other people to drive home a point? Yesterday, my husband's vehicle had some trouble, and I had to go pick him up off the side of the road. (Embarrassing, I know. Moving right along...) He called as he was headed home from work, so by the time I reached the interstate entrance, rush hour was in full swing. Our entrance ramp comes up at an angle, and the cars whizzing past don't ever seem to want to move over so oncoming ramp traffic can merge nicely. The speed limit is 70 right there, and since it was rush hour, no one was actually going 70, but with so many cars, they might as well have been to me. My palms got sweaty (sweatier than normal, anyway) and my knees started knocking. My breath started coming in gasps, and I was not the least bit scared of how I would safely join interstate traffic. Then the "grown-up" version of Ps. 56:3 came on the CD player (Heb. 13:5b-6, also sung by Mr. E): "For He hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, so that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." My knees relaxed, my breath slowed, and my hands, well they didn't get unsweaty, but they weren't sweaty with fear anymore. I imagined Jesus standing in the middle of the road, directing traffic around an opening just for me.
In a pitch black building, when I can't see my hand in front of my face, God is there. In the inky darkness with the wind whistling through the trees, bending them into odd shadows, God is there. And even on the busy interstate, with speeder, slowpokes, and road-hogs, God is there. He is not going anywhere, and I can't go anywhere He isn't. Even if I am the best merger in the world, if God needs me to have an accident, I will. Otherwise, I will do my best to be safe and leave the rest to God. No matter where I am.
Who am I, you ask?
In 2006 I had a stroke, and every day my husband encourages me to use my remaining brain cells to the best of my ability. I love to organize, make crafts, and go on adventures (safe ones). I hope that through my blog posts, you will be encouraged to accept and make the best of challenges God throws at your life.