Friday, December 28, 2012

What has been on my heart for the New Year

Hello everybody! I'm hoping that you had a a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to this New Year that is fast approaching!

But there something I wanted to bring up in a blog post.

In the beginning of November we went to a Matthew West concert. It was fantastic. Seriously, he was amazing. But as cool as Matthew West is, this post is not about him. It's about a little girl that I had the privilege of meeting that night (true, it wasn't face to face but still...).

Meet Ryhzel:

She is 6 years old and from the Philippines! Isn't she adorable?

I've always, always wanted to sponsor a child. But with different reasons, or should I say excuses, worried about the money, should I really do it? is it really for me? I held off. But finally, at the this concert, I gave in!

And I'm so incredibly happy that I did. I've only had my sponsored child for a little over a month now, but it has been filled with joy. I received a letter, written by little Ryhzel's mother, and it just brought a smile to my face. Praying everyday for this little girl has truly been a highlight of my day.

So I encourage you now, if you've EVER thought of sponsoring a child, don't wait. The joy and blessings you will receive from writing to your sponsored child and praying for them and hearing back from them will change your life. There are so many children waiting for a loving sponsor. If it's the money you're worried about, I totally understand. I was there too. But God provides. Pray about it. Think about it. The money that goes to these kids really does help and it brings them an opportunity to learn and to grow. You can pick your country, birthday, and gender of the child you want to sponsor. You get to see their pictures and read their stories. It is truly an incredible program. If you have any questions, the people at Compassion are fantastic at answering them. And although I've only been sponsoring for a short time, I would love to talk about it or tell you about the experience so far.

Will you bring hope and love to a child in this New Year?

All you have to do is check out the Compassion website HERE.

I pray that this New Year is one filled with joy and hope and the beginning of new adventures!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Why we all love 'A Christmas Carol' and Second Chances.....

I haven't found an exact number but after 59, I gave up. That's how many 
"A Christmas Carol" movies or shows have been filmed. It seems like everyone has done an adaption from the Muppets, to the Flinstones, or some have even filmed it under a new name (example Scrooged). But my all time favorite would be "A Mickey Mouse Christmas Carol". Ah, yes, it does bring back memories. Tiny Tim has never been so cute....

But it got me thinking....What is it about this tale that has so many others trying to duplicate it? The theme has been done time and time again, but we keep turning back to it. Why?

My answer is simply the message. We want a story of second chances. Of hope. That maybe someone can change their life around. But the climax is when the ghost of Christmas Present appears and Scrooge eventually falls to his lonely grave, usually with the lines, "I've changed!" ringing in the background. And then it happens: Scrooge awakes on Christmas Day to find he's been given a second chance. To set things right and save himself and others from a grim future. It leaves us with those warm, fuzzy feeling that all is right with the world.

It sounds a lot to me like the story of Salvation....Jesus came with a story of second chances. That's what He came to give us. We look over our own "ghosts"; our past of which we might not be so proud of or we look back at with regret. Our present, where we are completely lost without Jesus. And our future, with without Jesus and saving us from our own selfish decisions, might not look a whole different than Scrooge's. But at the end of the day, we look back and cry, "I've changed! I've changed!" And Jesus wakes up our hearts and gives us that second chance. Because we all like Scrooge better at the end of the movie rather than the beginning....

So if you watch "A Christmas Carol", I want you to think about it. Why is it that we like this movie? Because something about it resonates within our hearts and there's something beautiful about second chances. 

What are your thoughts, why do you think there are so many adaptions? What is your favorite Christmas Carol?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trapped in a prison with no walls (and the way out)

You know something? God is awesome. Really. Sometimes He just shows you a brief glimpse of what we need, that brief glimpse that there is more. And it keeps us going.

I recently read the book "Sanctuary" by Ted Dekker. No, this isn't a review but if you're looking for one, I suggest going and buying it. It's THAT good. If any of you are Dekker fans out there, you know this guys is brilliant. And this is another tale that goes to show that.
    The thing about Ted Dekker books is that even when you guess at the ending, it turns out to be beautiful and heart wrenching. It uncovers truth with such stark clarity, cold and beautiful and intense that you're taken aback and when you close the cover you feel as though you've been on a journey. Because, well, you have been. A lot for a book. I know...and yet, I feel as if you love books you might know what I'm talking about. It's a peek into something....something greater. But really now, I'll just write about the book:

To explain what happens in this book would require a lot of background, a lot of the plot of the story. And I don't want to give anything away. This is a sequel to "Priest's Graveyard". It is about Danny and Renee, two who are madly in love but are separated by Danny's prison sentence (which you can find out why in the book). After Danny is newly transferred to another prison, him and Renee are both plunged into a game with deadly consequences. It's a book of intrigue and mystery, pulling you along until you are flipping through the pages with no plan to stop.
But the truth that I took away from this book is that we all have our own prisons. They may not be made with concrete or steel, but they are prisons just the same. 
    "In truth we all exist in our own sanctuaries- but I don't mean cathedrals or prisons. I'm talking about our hearts and our minds, which imprison us in anxiety, fear, insecurity, anger and other forms of misery. The walls and bars that keep most in a state on constant suffering are thoughts and emotions, not concrete and steel. It's a disease. Insanity. Most are afflicted but it, regardless of which side of the law they find themselves on or where they lay their heads at night. To be free of this is to be free indeed." Page 400.

What prisons are we living in without even realizing it? Mine would have to be the prison of fear. It keeps me trapped in doubts and worries and the enemy delights to see me trapped in it. What can we do? We cannot redeem ourselves for what a futile effort that will prove. So what do we do? Yet- But YET- there is a Savior that banishes all fear, breaking through every door and chain to save us. And then, when the pathway stands clear to freedom, He does not force it upon us but rather He waits for us to take His hand. It's our choice.

Colossians 1:13-24, "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and has transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of  sons." ESV

These prisons hold no power over us. Because we have a Savior who has come to pull us from the darkness. To Save us.