My favourite Christmas picture. EVER.
More Wordless Wednesday here.
Labels: Wordless Wednesday
Happy Thanksgiving, my American friends! Hope your day is sufficiently full of family, friends, fun, food, and football ~ and all the good times and great memories that come with!!
Again, I've struggled with feeling thankful this week and so the term "practicing" gratitude is quite fitting. That whole "facing the future with joy" thing has been a struggle lately. I'll be honest, it really hasn't been happening at all. Fear, worry, and/or self-pity would be more accurate. It's difficult to focus on small, everyday blessings with something big and scary in the way.
But like anything else really worth having, growing a heart of gratitude takes time and requires effort. There are always going to be times when we don't feel like there's anything to be thankful for.
And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
Labels: Thankful Thursday
So our pastor is in the midst of a series on the Gospel of Mark and yesterday's sermon was a survey of most of Chapter 6 ~ the disciples' "missions trips," Herod's reaction to Jesus, the Feeding of the Five Thousand, and Jesus' midnight stroll on the stormy lake. He made a very interesting point about v. 45, where the account transitions from the miraculous supper to the watery walk. It says "Jesus made His disciples get into the boat..."
Apparently, this word translated "made" in English is a much stronger word in the original language. "Forced" or "compelled" would have been more accurate. The disciples didn't want to leave Jesus behind; they wanted Him in the boat with them before they crossed the open water. They wanted to stick together, yet Jesus refused to go with them and insisted they leave without Him. Why?
Because His purpose for them was to experience the storm seemingly without Him at their side.
Their faith and understanding needed testing at this point. They'd come back from their missionary trips, where He'd specifically given them power to heal and cast out demons. They'd felt His power coursing through them, and they'd seen His power at the lakeside when He fed thousands of people with next to nothing. Now it was time to see if they'd learned the lesson.
It appears they hadn't yet, but it just really struck me that Jesus specifically sent them on without Him to experience something He knew would scare and test them in a way that the missionary trips to potentially hostile towns and a hungry crowd at suppertime just didn't. His plan was to come alongside them in their hour of deepest need regardless of their reaction, but they needed to be in a situation where it seemed like He wasn't anywhere to be found.
How many times do we find ourselves in situations where it seems like He's much too far away? Is He really that far away or is He testing how far we've come in our journey with Him?
Labels: On the Soapbox