Another coffee stained devotional finished…another 365 days of life lived.
So before we move on into what 2019 will be, I’m taking a moment to give a glimpse into our Christmas this year in case you want to take notes and start planning.
My photos are characterized by bad lighting…constant movement…and anything but a picture perfect event.
Please note Elmo face down against a mug of cold coffee….or egg nog…or apple cider…or who knows what …Tia’s current novel…two calendars going…rotting bananas…and G is down at the end using all my foil to fashion action figures which Tia then decided to hide all over the house and has requested remain until she returns….
I did have plenty o’help in preparing dinner….
And the non-food “crackers” were once again the best part of the meal…
although we each have our own unique style for sporting a crown…
and one of us just never took her’s off…
We hugged a lot…
took some walks to burn off energy…
hugged some more…
and put on puppet shows…
and when we got bored with the toys, we made our own fun…
Zach stepped even further into the role of girl-dad…and untangled a princess’s hair from the infernally frustrating packaging she came imprisoned in.
While Miss Caroline patiently waited…
We made room for each other…
and while the pictures may not be perfect, nor the people in them…we thank God for the gift of family that He has given us and we look forward with great hope and expectation for how He will continue to show up and show us how to love well in 2019…
Good morning my friend and thank you for stopping by for Day 12 of our Countdown.
I poured over today’s passage quite a bit and my mind mulled over it throughout the day yesterday.
There is so much more to write about than time or attention by you could allow; so let’s get right to the passage.
I am going to do it a little differently today.
I am using The Message version from Eugene Peterson and sometimes will throw in the Contemporary English Version to expand the thought.
We will take it in pieces and I will add some pondering as we go along.
This is how I read the Bible often when I am journaling in the morning so let’s do it together today, shall we?
As long as I was with them I guarded them in the pursuit of the life you gave them through me (MSG)
John 17: 12a
So much here.
In yesterday’s passage I didn’t comment on this, but Peterson uses this phrase in verse 11 –
“guard them as they pursue this life.”
This idea of pursuit, the action of pursuing life…this intrigues me.
So often, I act more like my life is pursuing me.
My actions reflect an attitude that I am somewhat like a leaf on the top of a flowing river that is my life and it takes me where it will…but these words of Jesus convey the idea that “LIFE” is something I need to be actively going after.
And that my LIFE is something He gave to me…thus it is worth and worthy of PURSUING.
This year I have tried to remind myself frequently that my day will go better if I consistently make good choices from the very start.
One good choice leading to another.
I have a chronic problem of letting time get away with me…see…that river current that I picture as something that controls and moves me along…instead of what Jesus says here about life.
He PRAYS for God to GUARD His disciples, His followers…so they are single minded in the PURSUIT of the life…sorry…but I must emphasize this like I was penning my thoughts in my journal so…
Single minded in the….
they had received THROUGH Him <3
Then He goes on to say…
I even posted a night watch…(MSG)
Do you know what I thought of when I read this with fresh eyes?
What did Jesus often do when He was traveling with His disciples?
Well, besides teach and correct and keep them from doing stupid things.
He would go off by Himself to lonely places and pray.
He would send them on and then pray through the night.
He would get up early and go off by Himself to pray.
He PRAYED…and that just might be the night watch He posted.
So a couple of things on this part:
First, there must be something quite powerful that happens in prayer if the Son of Man guarded His people with it.
Second, does anybody else freak out just a teeny bit to think how important prayer is and how little we really do it?
Third… and this one will make your head hurt…you and I must come to the realization that while God is Sovereign and we, as Christians, tend to fall back on this idea always that everything will work out because God is in control and we treat our prayer life like it is just something to occupy and calm us while God solves the problem….we really need to recognize that God set it up to work through the prayers of His people…
so get to it, my friend.
Get to it.
Make it your business to prayerfully set up watches in this night season of our country, the Church, your family … all of it.
He would be making prayer a priority.
And not one of them got away (MSG)…not one of them was lost (CEV)
except for the rebel bent on destruction (the exception that proved the rule of Scripture) MSG
Here is a time in our journey when I wish I had either not attempted to look closely at a passage OR that I was a true Bible scholar and could help you all out here with the difficult questions we must face.
We have to acknowledge that Jesus knowingly called a traitor to be one of the twelve.
We have to scratch our heads and ask…did Judas have a choice…could it have gone the other way?
Would God hand pick someone to betray His Son or because He is God and knows the end from the beginning, did He just know Judas would do that and so had the prophets tell it in advance?
And as we collectively nod our heads and feel a slight easing of the perplexity this verse introduced…can we just stop and back track to that previous phrase….
As long as I was with them…I guarded them…I even posted a night watch…
Because it would appear that there are options for all of us and even though God knows how it will all turn out, there is work on our part to be done.
And we have to face the fact that while Jesus prayed for Peter that when he was sifted by Satan, he would come through…so how come he didn’t pray for Judas…or did He and yet, it was destined for Judas to be a …. well…Judas?
Ah Advent…the tension in the waiting…we feel it today with this passage, don’t we?
Be blessed as you think on this passage today and what God might be speaking to your heart.
And since I stretched myself and you today…and I love you and can’t stand to leave you on such a challenging thought without something to make you smile…
Only I am fighting to just say you…because I want to say “y’all”….
because I spent three full days in Texas and well…Y’all….it fits everything.
It’s inclusive when you are speaking to a known or unknown crowd…and works when just speaking a friend.
It finishes a thought or sentence with a much sweeter connotation than our Midwestern go-to “Do you know what I mean?”
So please forgive me if you see me and I slip up and use it…but I think if I didn’t love and live right here in God’s country…Texas would be my next best choice <3
So here is a short recap of the past few days and then I will be spilling out some of what got poured in so…y’all come on back…sorry…last time…I promise <3
huge shout out and thanks to Russ for showing up and for all you sweet friends who supported us with donations and being at the walk on Saturday. I kept getting pictures sent and email notices of donations and my heart was so blessed.
And Russ cheesing it with the local news celeb…may have laughed out loud on that one <3
So thankful for each one who showed love for the caregivers and patients of this disease.
Also a very big thank you to Robin who is an amazing gift from God tech person who helped me unglitch my email list in a panic on Wednesday so my scheduled posts could go out.
The Declare Conference was amazing and I will be sharing more from that this week.
I got home around 1 AM…and hit the ground running Sunday morning because we went up north to hear our favorite brothers in Christ sing…and then Papi thought we needed an overnight so…
the band of brothers…including the rookie in the middle…climbed in Papi’s truck and the adventure began.
We detected a bit of maybe too much smiling from…
momma bear since Little Miss Thing looked really sleepy and the house looked waaaaayyyyy too quiet….
Because our truck was anything but.
You know we had a blast doing the most unPinterest worthy things like…
taking a spin through Menards….
using a box of crayons that has “Sarah Reimer” written in black marker on the top…yeah…circa 1996 art supplies.
My sous chef and I made pumpkin bread and muffins…
Boys played their favorite game…
count the change in Papi’s big baseball bat bank.
After a restful nights sleep for them and not us, of course….
We took a trek down to the butterfly fields and the creek…
Learned why it’s important not to have an open glass of water in front of you when you are playing cards with the band of brothers….
Met up with mom at the pumpkin patch…
introduced Caroline to the wonderful culinary world of Pumpkin Donuts…