Monday, December 31, 2007

Yearend Family Devotional

We have a Family Worship Bible and in it are outlines of topics for weekly family devotions. This week's devotional (Week 52) is from Acts 2:42-47. Yesterday, hubby led us through this devotional and we found it to be very appropriate and in line with the direction that God has been showing and leading our family towards.

Some key points from this devotional are:
~ Identify areas of ministry that need workers and find ways your family could be involved.
~ Are there areas of ministry or outreach that need to be started?
~ Can your family offer time, talents, materials or money to help start a needed area of God's work?

God has shown us that 2008 will bring about change in how our family serve Him! It is quite an exciting, yet humbling feeling both at the same time. One thing is for sure --- we are eagerly anticipating to see what God has in store for us!

"But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus — the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God."
---Acts 20:24 NLT

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Snippets...

Christmas has come and gone! What a whirlwind the past five days have been for us. This year, all our get-togethers with family and friends happened on or before Christmas Day. The festivities got off to a great start on Friday --- it being the last day of school for the children, grocery shopping for all the meals that had to be prepared, baking and cooking on Saturday, then church on Sunday morning.

Sunday night we got together with a group that consisted of family and friends. This group started with five young girls almost twenty years ago consisting of myself, my two sisters and two dear friends of ours who are also sisters. The five of us did almost everything together and really consider each other as sisters!!! At last count, including our hubbies, children and other family members, we have grown to twenty-six people plus one baby coming in April! Our get-togethers have now become events in and of themselves. One special tradition we started doing at Christmas is to have the children pack care packages for the homeless.

Monday night, Christmas Eve, we had hubby's family over to our home. We had a great time together --- we even got to meet some relatives for the first time! Of course, the highlight of the evening for the children was getting to play with their brand-new Nintendo Wii with their cousins all night!

Christmas morning, we were able to have a quiet morning --- just the four of us, before heading out to my sister's home in Missisauga for lunch. Before opening presents, we read the Christmas story together as a family, from Luke Chapter 2, and we prayed together. After which, we shared with each other our birthday presents for Jesus. My daughter's birthday gift for Jesus brought tears to my eyes --- she will obey God in whatever and wherever He chooses to lead us in 2008! --- said with so much maturity and conviction. Words could not express the joy that filled my heart upon hearing those words come out of her. Over the past few months, we have increasingly sensed God telling us that change is coming in 2008 in terms of how we serve Him as a family. We are eagerly anticipating what He has in store for us as He slowly shows us snippets of His plan. To hear my daughter being so open and excited about this upcoming change is really heartwarming and overwhelming for me at the same time!

Christmas Day celebrations continued with lunch at my sister's home where the little people continued to open more and more presents and the big people continued to eat more and more food. Seriously though, at this point, having been feasting for the past three days, hubby and I could hardly eat anymore! My sister's prime rib roast was irresistible though. Yummy! Upon coming home mid-afternoon, we realized that there was one more Christmas get-together to attend. This one was a spontaneous one --- hubby's cousin who is visiting from New Jersey wanted to get the families together for dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. So off we went --- Christmas Day culminated with a sumptuous and delicious authentic Chinese meal!

We are now relishing a break with a quiet week just hanging out at home. Nothing is planned between now and New Year's Eve. Yay!!!

John 1:16 (NIV) --- From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Daughter's Baptism

On Sunday, December 16th --- my daughter went through the waters of baptism! It was an unforgettable and memorable day, not only because of her baptism, but also because a huge snow storm came through our area blanketing us with more than 25cm of snow all within a 24-hour period. News reports have pegged it as the biggest snow storm in 60 years occurring in the month of December.

In spite of the massive snow storm, family and friends braved the weather and came out to the church to join us in celebrating this milestone in our daughter's life. As mentioned in my previous post, my heart is overflowing with pure joy as I give thanks to God for His work in my daughter's life.

Many people have congratulated us and credited this milestone to good parenting. Although we truly appreciate those congratulatory words, we truly do not feel that we can take credit for this milestone. Both my hubby and I feel that we are merely doing what God expects of us as parents, and that is to faithfully and consistently teach our children about God and His ways, and to model to our children what it means to live each day as a follower of Jesus Christ. It is purely because of God's grace that our daughter has come to a full understanding of God's great love at such a young age. And for that, we give God all the glory and all the praise! Although, I must say, that as a mom, my heart is beaming and I am extremely proud of my daughter for her willingness to walk in obedience to God. I can not ask for anything better!

Here is the text of her testimony:
Hi. I’m ***** ***** and I’m 10 years old. Ever since I can remember, my mom or dad would read my Bible to me nightly. They would also pray with me and explain what we read. When I was 4 years old, I went to my Aunt R’s church when an evangelistic group called “The Rubber Chicken Company” went there. They played games and told Bible stories. They told us about Jesus’ death and resurrection and presented us with the salvation story. At the end of the service, they asked if anyone wanted to pray and ask Jesus to be their forever friend. I went to the front and the leader led those of us who responded in prayer. I repeated a prayer after him asking Jesus to be my forever friend. After that, a counselor talked to me to make sure I understood what it meant for Jesus to live in my heart. I understood that I’m a sinner and that I needed Jesus in my life to help me live for God each day so that one day I could go to heaven and live with God for eternity. Since then I’ve been growing with God. So many people have helped me grow spiritually. My parents have helped me the most. They explain the Bible to me, help me through hard times and encourage me. My small group and large group leaders at Potter’s House teach me each week about how to grow with God.

In the Fall of last year, 2 of our neighbours, Mrs. K and Mrs. J, my mom’s friends got baptized. As I watched their baptisms, I realized I had to get baptized one day. I asked my mom when I could get baptized. At that time, I thought that baptism was just for adults. She told me that baptism is for anyone who believes in Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. Then I realized that baptism isn’t just for adults. I can be baptized too. So today I am choosing to be baptized because I want to follow Jesus’ example and I want to show publicly that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Please pray for me as I continue to grow with God and as I share God’s love with my friends, many of whom are not yet Christians.

If anyone here today has never asked Jesus to be their forever friend, I hope what I shared today has touched your heart. Baptism is to show that one is a follower of Jesus Christ, but it can not save you. Salvation comes from acknowledging you are a sinner and asking Jesus to be your personal Lord and Saviour.

In closing, I would like to share some of my favourite Bible verses:

1 Timothy 4:12 --- "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young. Set an example for the believers in what you say and in how you live. Also set an example in how you love and in what you believe. Show the believers how to be pure."

Luke 2:10-11 --- "But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy. It is for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.' "

John 14:6 --- "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.' "

John 4:13-14 --- "Jesus answered, 'All who drink this water will be thirsty again. But anyone who drinks the water I give him will never be thirsty. In fact, the water I give him will become a spring of water in him. It will flow up into eternal life.' "

Isaiah 40:31 --- "But those who trust in the Lord will receive new strength. They will fly as high as eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not grow weak."

The video of her baptism is posted in the blog entry previous to this one. It is her heart's desire that her testimony continue to touch people's hearts through this blog.

Philippians 1:6, 9-11 (NIV) --- "...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Baptism Video

My heart is overflowing with pure joy as my daughter got baptized yesterday --- Sunday, December 16. I will add a full blog entry on it later tonight. But, in the meantime, I wanted to post this video quickly so that those who weren't able to join us yesterday at the church can share in our joy via cyberspace!

Philippians 1:6,9-11 (NLT) --- "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation --- the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ --- for this will bring much glory and praise to God."

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Jesus of Christmas

As Christmas Day draws closer, my children get more and more excited! The house is decorated, presents are starting to arrive at our home, we start to wrap and deliver presents, bake cookies, plan dinner parties and the list goes on and on...

The greatest challenge for me as a mom during this very busy and festive season is to make sure my family is focused on why we celebrate Christmas --- to steer my children's attention away from the hustle and bustle of the season and towards the Baby in the manger!

My daughter is getting baptized this coming Sunday (this will surely have its own blog entry after the weekend, I can't wait!) and one of her favourite verses from the Bible which she has included in her testimony is from Luke 2:10-11. When I asked her why this is one of her all-time favourites, she said because without Christmas, there would be no Easter! So true --- that is precisely why Christmas is so significant!

As a family, we have a Christmas morning tradition. Before we open presents, we gather together in our living room and we read the Christmas story from the Bible and then we pray. After that, each family member gives Jesus a birthday present. This present comes in the form of words, where we each share with one another our desire of what we would like to do for Jesus in the coming year. It surely is a Christmas morning tradition that we intend to practice for as long as we possibly can!

"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 NIV

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Our Response

Week 6 of my Bible study, Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer, is entitled 'Responding to God's Voice'. What should our response be when we hear the Holy Spirit speak to us? I am reminded yet again that the only appropriate response is: 'Yes, Lord!'

God has been speaking to my hubby and me quite powerfully in the past few months. We are beyond excited, but at the same time greatly humbled, at what God has been showing us in recent days. It is always amazing to see God at work, as everything just seems to fall into place quite miraculously. But it is even more amazing to know that it is His desire for us to join Him in what He is doing in the here and now!

"I know when the Lord is speaking to me because literally the air around me changes. There is a stillness that settles all my raging emotions and questions and simply bids me to be silent, listen, and consider what I hear. And then it's almost as if it comes from the center of my being --- the answer, the revelation, the instruction and it is sealed in this definite place inside of me that I can't describe. I only know that I must do what I've been prompted to do. If I resist I can't breathe, but when I say yes and obey, the most incredible sense of knowing and peace overtakes me and the matter is settled once and for all."
---Michelle McKinney Hammond, as printed in Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer, page 104

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him."
---Hebrews 11:6 NIV

Monday, December 3, 2007

Child-Like Faith

I received an email last night from a good friend of mine telling me that her 4-year-old daughter made the decision to accept Jesus into her heart! I am rejoicing --- I'm sure the angels in heaven are doing the same! The note blessed me so much it moved me to tears --- it brought back memories for me of when my children made that very same eternal decision.

I am a firm believer that a young child is indeed capable of making such a huge decision and fully understanding it. Both my children were also just a bit over four years of age when they accepted Jesus into their hearts. Each of their experience and process was different, but each decision was for eternity just the same. My daughter made her decision publicly at a children's evangelistic outreach event at my sister's church. She went forward during the altar call and never once looked back. As for my son, he first made his decision in the privacy of his own bedroom, just him and me, then he needed a few re-assurances over the next year or so before he was fully confident of his decision. At which time, he prayed the prayer a second time, also privately (in my home office), just him and me.

Making a decision for Christ is indeed the most important decision that parents can help their children to arrive at. It is quite amazing to experience God's grace at work even in the youngest of children. What an awesome God!

"He said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
---Mark 10:14-15 NIV