Tomorrow I will wake up & he will be 16 & not have much time for me anymore. Almost makes me not want to go to sleep.
My daughter Sarah is the photographer of these pictures & Picnik was used to create the collage.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11
We believe in angels. Scripture talks about them. We teach our kids about them. I tease my sons that they give their guardian angels a great workout.
I have so many stories I could share with you about times when I knew that my children were being protected from harm. God used his angels to protect my children from harm countless times.
This past week, we experienced it again.
We always stay with my parents in East Texas for several days after Christmas. This year was no different. My brother John is home from college and it is always fun to see him too.
Saturday John & my two oldest sons, Josh & Collin were going to Tyler to run some errands. As they entered an intersection on a green light, they were hit by a man who ran his red light. The impact was great enough to send the mini van spinning in the middle of the intersection. The man hit the van right behind where Collin was sitting in the back on the drivers side, causing him to be thrown around & eventually thrown into the floor board. His seat belt didn’t hold him in.
The man was knocked unconscious by the impact.
Our boys were o’k, just shaken up quite a bit. Josh had a sore shoulder & some bruising on his neck from the seatbelt & on his leg from hitting the door. My brother has some bruised ribs. Collin had a level 2 concussion with bruises & lot’s of soreness. We don’t know the condition of the man as he was taken to the hospital. We do know that he didn’t not have insurance.
As we sat around for the next couple of days, we all were very much aware of how great was the protection of our God. In our conversations we sifted through all of the “what-if’s” and are so thankful that they didn’t happen.
For my family it brought back memories of another car accident we had 10 years ago that my older children still remember. The accident was much more serious, but still we saw God’s protection on our lives in a big way. No one lost their life, our injuries were very minor compared to what they could have been. Our vehicle was completely totaled, but our lives were saved. Not many people survive a roll-over the way we did.
It is important to let our children flesh out these memories by letting them talk about what they remember & reminding them of the way God took care of us instead of letting them dwell on the painful part of the memories.
Christmas 2009 was a very special Christmas for our family for many reasons, but I think we will always remember how God protected my boys & my brother from serious injury from that accident. I will always have the vision in my mind of angels in the van with my boys taking the brunt of the impact so they would not be more seriously injured.
God is good & his promise of protection is mighty & alive in our hearts and minds as we start a new year.
Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?
Shall we accept the good from God and not trouble? Job 2:10When we are in the midst of adversity we don’t know what God knows. We can’t see the big picture. All we see is what is right in front of us and it usually doesn’t look very good.
Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. Job 14:5Job knew that his days were numbered by God, he cannot live longer than God had already determined him to live and he wouldn’t die before God had determined him to die. God is sovereign, in complete control. When His ways don’t make any sense to us, but they make complete sense to him and we must trust that.
"Why on today would you let this happen to me? How can I celebrate your sons' birth when my body is discarding my dead baby?"I spent the day at my in-laws in pain, emotional and physical pain. I was feeling very sorry for myself and really just wanted to be at home in bed rather than pretending to enjoy Christmas Day. That evening as the pain began to lessen I asked God again why this had to happen today of all days. It was my worst Christmas ever. Never again would I be able to celebrate the Christmas season without remembering losing my baby on Christmas Day. I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me.
"Your baby was conceived to serve a purpose in my plan for you. My son was conceived with a purpose; so he could die for you. Your baby died so that you would understand my son's birth."This realization pierced my soul. I knew that it was o'k to mourn the loss of my baby, and now I had a greater understanding of my Savior's birth. The pain I felt as my body progressed through the miscarriage was great, but the pain of my sin was even greater to my God. I began to ask myself if I had the ability to control conception would I conceive a child knowing that he would be born to later die so that others would live; knowing that he wouldn't just die, but that his death would be traumatic and excruciating. I know I could not do this and my God did it for me! He knew that we needed someone to walk among us and show us his love. He knew that we would need Jesus, but he knew that it meant that his son would have to die so that we could live. He would do away with the Old Testament covenant and Jesus would be the new covenant. And for all of this to take place God orchestrated a brilliant plan to send Jesus to earth in a way that we all can relate to; as a baby born from an earthly mother.
"Whom God will use greatly, he will hurt deeply."He loved me so much and wanted me to experience him in a deeper way and for this to happen I would need to experience a painful loss. He knew my pain and my loss, yet his was much greater than mine, but he loved me still; enough to send his son to earth to die for me, knowing how sinful I would be. How can I not love him with all that I have in me? How can I not devote my life to serving him?
"Through his death and resurrection, the baby born in Bethlehem had become Lord of all. This is the real meaning of Christmas, the joy and glory of it all!"
I suggest a nationwide reading of the Holy Scriptures during the period from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas. . . . [G]o to . . . the Scriptures for a renewed and strengthening contac t with those eternal truths and majestic principles which have inspired such measure of true greatness as this nation has achieved.While the five week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the focus of this particular email, it is still worth noting that many presidents before Roosevelt similarly urged Americans to delve into the Bible – including President Zachary Taylor, who declared:
The Bible is the best of books and I wish it were in the hands of everyone. It is indispensable to the safety and permanence of our institutions. . . . Especially should the Bible be placed in the hands of the young. It is the best school book in the world. . . . I would that all of our people were brought up under the influence of that Holy Book.And Daniel Webster had earlier affirmed:
To the free and universal reading of the Bible . . . men [are] much indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is . . . a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.And well before Daniel Webster, the Founding Fathers had declared the same:
The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed. Patrick Henry
For nearly half a century, I have anxiously and critically studied the Bible and I still scarcely ever take it up that I do not find something new. Were you to ask me to recommend the most valuable book in the world, I should fix on the Bible as the most instructive both to the wise and the ignorant. Were you to ask me for one book affording the most rational and pleasing entertainment to the enquiring mind, I would still stay the Bible. And should you ask again about the best philosophy, or the most interesting history, I would still urge you to look into your Bible. I would make it, in short, the alpha and omega of knowledge.
The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts. John Jay
Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited . . . What a Utopia! – What a paradise would this region be! John Adams
So significant was the Bible to America's greatest statesmen that many of them committed themselves to reading through the Bible from cover to cover once every year. For example, John Quincy Adams stated: is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society. . . . All of the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from them despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.
The first and almost the only book deserving of universal attention is the Bible. I have myself for many years made it a practice to read the Bible once every year. I have always endeavored to read it with the same spirit and with the same temper of mind which I now recommend to you. That is, with the intention and desire that it may contribute to my advance in wisdom and virtue.Considering this background, right now – that is, the next five weeks – is the perfect time to begin doing exactly as President Roosevelt recommended:
"I suggest a nationwide reading of the Holy Scriptures during the period from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas."Urge those in your family, church, business, youth group, school, or whatever, to take the Roosevelt Challenge: regularly delve into the Bible from now unto Christmas.
You ask me what Bible I take as the standard of my faith. I answer, any Bible that I can read and understand.Indeed, select a version that you "can read and understand." And if you are further wondering just how to go about reading the complete Bible in a year, let us recommend the One-Year Bible a full Bible divided up into 365 daily readings. (The One Year Bible is available in all major so that you can select the one you can best " read and understand.")
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and hi will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6I had done a study of this verse last year in preparation for a talk I gave to a mom’s group. I went back to my notes to review and was surprised by the reassurance I gained from it.
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”Our world is all about doing what feels right. Or doing what others think you should do. Many times in the life of a believer, we will stand alone as we trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Henri Nouwen made a very important statement that offers an incredible perspective for your relationship with the Lord. Henri Nouwen defines discipline as the effort to "create some space in which God can act. Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you're not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn't planned or counted on."
What discipline will help you create that space? The discipline of a plan - a very simple plan for your quiet time. The Lord gave me this plan many years ago and it has been incredible in helping me to draw near to God. You can remember it according to the acrostic: P.R.A.Y.E.R.:
Prepare Your Heart
Read And Study God's Word
Adore God In Prayer
Yield Yourself To God
Enjoy His Presence
Rest In His LovePrepare Your Heart is necessary at the beginning of your quiet time. It allows you to turn your eyes upon Jesus as the hymn goes. There are many ways to prepare your heart including reading a devotional or a psalm. Then Read And Study God's Word to hear God speak to you. Adore God In Prayer and respond to what you have heard Him say. Then Yield Yourself To God as a response to what you have learned in His Word. Enjoy His Presence and take all you have experienced in your quiet time throughout the day. Then take God's promise and Rest In His Love.
Two artists set out to make a picture representing perfect peace. The first painted a canvas depicting a carefree lad sitting in a boat on a little placid lake without a ripple to disturb the surface. The other painted a raging waterfall with winds, whipping the spray about. On a limb, overhanging the swirling water, a bird had built its nest, and sat peacefully brooding her eggs. Here she was safe from her predatory enemies, shielded and protected by the roaring falls.
"The tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot of whatsoever sort that is"
"Freedom from worry, harmony in personal relations, freedom from evil disturbances."