Happy New Year from us to you!
Elisabeth Elliott well expresses my thoughts on this New Year's Day.
"New Year's Day is a good time to fix one's eyes on the only One who knows what the year is to hold.......My goal is God Himself - not joy, nor peace, nor even blessing, but Himself, my God. 'Tis His to lead me there, not mine, but His - At any cost, dear Lord, by any road! So faith bounds forward to its goal in God and love can trust her Lord to lead her there; Upheld by Him, my soul is following hard, Till God hath full fulfilled my deepest prayer...."
(from "Secure In the Everlasting Arms" by Elisabeth Elliott)
"Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy
strength be" Deuteronomy 33:25
Our family just spent three wonderful days with friends at Ilihan Beach Resort on Samal Island. It reminded me very much of camping at a state park in Michigan.
We rented a big gazebo and all 19 of us slept in it.
The hut we stayed in.
Our Filipino friends made delicious Filipino food for us.
Bringing breakfast to the gazebo
Bebe, Arlene, and Alan cooking pork bbq and rice.
Arlene cooking pork bbq with Ben.
We went to Hagimit Falls which is a beautiful waterfall place on the island.
We spent a lot of time in water, talking, and enjoying the quiet, peaceful setting. It was a wonderfully, relaxing opportunity and I enjoyed getting to know our friends better. We shared many laughs together, sang songs at night, talked, prayed. I thank God for our friends!
Shaul, Mikayla, Chaim, and James enjoying cokes.
Joebert's and our families.
Bebe and Alan
Gigi and Joebert cooking supper.
Kurt and I.
James playing with a starfish. Yes, it is blue!
Jerard sitting on a swing with Arlene.
A favourite activity at night was to take flashlights and look
in the tidal pools for seacreatures. All kinds were found.
It was a lot of fun.
Ben and James looking at a crab.
Shaul and James.
Arlene, Bebe, and Jerard.
Bebe, Me and Julie
Lori Ann and Mikayla talking and swinging.
James on a swing.
Lori Ann, Kirsten, and Lani Lou exploring the seashore.
Cherry Joy, Gigi, Joebert and Julie
Ben and J.R. being silly.
James kicking a beach ball.
James and Chaim.
Playing Frisbee Football.
We also enjoyed time playing frisbee and badmiton.
Mikayla and Kirsten enjoying 'sister time'.
Our group - not in order of picture - Arlene, Chaim, Shaul
Joebert, Gigi, Cherry Joy, Julie, Alan, Bebe, Lori Ann, Lani Lou,
J.R., Kurt, Beth, Mikayla, Kirsten, Ben, James, Jerard.
(on our last day there another family from Faith Academy was
camping at Ilihan too. Their daughters, Linea and Maggie are
in the picture too. Linea is a classmate of Ben's in 2nd grade.)
I thank God for the good time and fellowship we had at Ilihan. It was restful, peaceful and enriching!
I am already planning a return trip for part of the summer break!
For the beauty of the earth, for the glory of the skies, for the love which from our birth over and around us lies; Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.
For the beauty of each hour of the day and of the night, hill and vale, and tree and flower, sun and moon, and stars of light; Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.
For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child, friends on earth and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild; Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.
Merry Christmas from our house to yours!
It is now 11:30am Christmas morning as I write this.
Here in the Philippines, most Christmas celebrations are held on Christmas eve. It was quite loud last night with music, laughter, vehicles driving around.
This morning it was wonderfully quiet as all the people who stayed up late last night slept in.
We had our own Christmas eve service at home as few, if any, churches hold Christmas eve services here.
This morning we enjoyed family time opening gifts from relatives and each other. Now we are relaxing and enjoying some of our new gifts!
Carolers at the gate! These guys were really good singers!
Kuya Ben playing with his little brothers on Christmas Eve.
Mikayla and James making 'rock cakes' for our Christmas
breakfast! These are wonderful jam-filled muffins...not hard
Kurt working on his computer.
Kirsten working on crafts in her room.
Ben wasn't feeling well yesterday so laid on the couch for a
while. Thankfully, he feels better today!
The 'velcro tree' we made for several reasons....James can
take ornaments on and off all he wants without breaking any;
Mikayla requested we make one in memory of her Grandma
who had made her one when she was two; and it is a great
therapy tool for Jerard to learn about pulling off and putting on.
Kirsten and James passing out gifts sent to us in a big red
'Santa-clause' type bag! Thanks, Nancy and Jason!!!!
Jerard thought eating the paper was easier than trying to tear
Jerard, a bit overwhelmed by the activity this morning, resting
in his Daddy's arms. Reminded me of Isaiah 40:11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
May each of us have a worshipful Christmas, remembering our Saviour "veiled in flesh, the Godhead, see...."
A quote from C.H. Spurgeon....................
"Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given." As Jesus Christ is a child in his human nature, he is born, begotten of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary. He is as truly-born, as certainly a child, as any other man that ever lived upon the face of the earth. He is thus in his humanity a child born.
But as Jesus Christ is God's Son, he is not born; but given, begotten of his Father from before all worlds, begotten--not made, being of the same substance with the Father.
The doctrine of the eternal affiliation of Christ is to be received as an undoubted truth of our holy religion.
But as to any explanation of it, no man should venture thereon, for it remaineth among the deep things of God--one of those solemn mysteries indeed, into which the angels dare not look, nor do they desire to pry into it--a mystery which we must not attempt to fathom, for it is utterly beyond the grasp of any finite being.
As well might a gnat seek to drink in the ocean, as a finite creature to comprehend the Eternal God.
A God whom we could understand would be no God. If we could grasp him he could not be infinite: if we could understand him, then were he not divine."
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th'incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with man to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Imagine deeply the love Jesus has for each one of us that he willingly left His throne, came to earth to be born as a baby, lived a humble life of poverty, and died on the cross for us, to save us from our sins.
"Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God would die for me?"
The cradle in Bethlehem was just the beginning of the redemptive plan. We have to look beyond that to the cross
and resurrection of Christ. He came to this earth to die for us.
He knew that from the beginning. Amazing love. I pray each person reading this blog truly knows the salvation of Christ and is living for Him.
John Piper has a Christmas message that expresses well the love Christ has for each of us.
"There is no traditional Christmas story about the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of John. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Instead of putting the Christmas story up front with its explanation, John weaves the story of Christmas and the purpose Christmas through the Gospel.
... after saying in John 1:1 that the eternal Word "was God," John says in 1:14-16, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth". . . . And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."
So the eternal Word of God took on human flesh, and in that way the divine Son of God--who never had an origin, and never came into being, and was God, but was also with God--became man. And in doing this, he made the glory of God visible in a wholly new way.
That is the meaning of Christmas in John's Gospel. God the Son, who is God, and who is with God, came to reveal God in a way he had never been revealed before.
Or as it says in John 3:16-17, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, [that's Christmas and Good Friday all in one--why?] that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world [Christmas is not for condemnation], but in order that the world might be saved through him [Christmas is for salvation]."
He is the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). And the aim of giving himself as the truth to the world is freedom. You will know the truth and the truth will make you free. Free from the guilt and power of sin. Free from deadness and blindness and judgment."
As you celebrate Christmas this year, I pray you will think deeply on the love Christ has for you and come to know Him as your Saviour and Lord.
read the full text of this message at - http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2009/4444_You_Have_the_Words_of_Eternal_Life/