Archives for December 2007

New Things

Thought I would sneak in a quick post between all of our Christmas and New Year’s activities. Are you all celebrated out yet? Like Evelyn Underhill once said, “I do hope your Christmas has had a little touch of Eternity in among the rush and pitter patter and all. It always seems such a mixing of this world and the next–but after all, that is the idea!” What a wonderful way to think about Christmas–a mixing of this world and the next… With that in mind, I guess you could say I had a mixed up Christmas, and I hope you had the same :)

As these last hours of 2007 slip away, let me pose a question (or two or three…you know how I am!). Have you given any thought yet to what the new year may hold in store for you? Are you excitedly anticipating the new things that may come your way in 08? Are you facing the new year with hope and faith that God will bring about good things in your life?

In Isaiah 43:19 (NIV), Isaiah tells us that the Lord says, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Pretty exciting, huh? What new thing do you think the Lord wants to do in your life this year? It makes me think of the unplowed ground I wrote about in my inaugural post (if you’ve forgotten, check it out by clicking on the label “inaugural post”).

I challenge you to be ready–to be looking for and expecting God to do new things in and around you as 2008 unfolds. If you’re having trouble seeing the possibilities, just remember that God is able to make a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The best part? He will be with you every step of the way.

Happy New Year to you all!

Merry Christmas!

Things are very Christmasy at the Barker house. Our kids are home, and we are in the thick of enjoying each other and all of our traditional Christmas activities — eating, playing games, eating, watching Christmas movies, eating… Bet it sounds a lot like your house :)

And guess what our kids did? They surprised us with a digital camera for our anniversary! Yes, we are a little late moving into the digital age. Now I just have to figure it all out :) Thought I better post a picture on the blog while they are here to show me how to do it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to remember all of the ins and outs so I can share more pictures with you in the future :)

Today I simply want to wish each and every one of you a “Merry Christmas” and leave you with a little something to think about as you celebrate this most precious holiday:

“…she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7 NIV) Is there room at your house, in your heart, for the Christ child?

“God always fills in all hearts all the room which is left Him there.” F.W. Faber

May you be blessed this Christmas — and don’t be surprised if I don’t post again for a week or so. I’ll be busy eating fudge and Christmas cookies. Hey, a girl’s gotta celebrate! Merry Christmas!

Pray For These This Christmas

We’re coming down the home stretch before Christmas, and you probably need a quick read as much as I need a quick post :) Let me just ask you to remember a certain segment of our population that could use our prayers during these days when so many are happily singing “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. Consider for a moment the loneliness and heartache that will be experienced by prisoners and their families.

Don and I got a glimpse into the lives of some of these families as we delivered Angel Tree gifts to the children of four prisoners a couple of nights ago. (Others in our church bought and wrapped the gifts.) In just those four visits, we saw that all kinds of people are touched by the grief of having loved ones incarcerated. The homes ranged from run-down to modest to upper middle class. One family was Caucasian, another was Hispanic, and two were African American.

People of all races and income levels will be missing a loved one who can’t be “Home for Christmas” this year. Prisoners will be aching for the comforts of home and the arms of loved ones. And let’s not forget that in some countries, some of our brothers and sisters in Christ will be spending Christmas in prison simply because they are Christians.

Take a few moments this Christmas season to lift prisoners and their families in prayer. “Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners…” (Hebrews 13:3a NIV) As you do so, you will bring Christmas blessings into the lives of hurting people. People not so different from you and me…

December Giveaway Winner!

Drum roll, please :) The winner of the December Giveaway (and a copy of The One Year Life Verse Devotional) is… Matthew! Congratulations, Matthew! You should have a message in your inbox from me. I’ll send the book as soon as I get your mailing address. Enjoy!

In this last full week before Christmas, may God bless all of you with quiet, worshipful Christmas moments and inspire you to seek out such moments with Him each and every Christmas season. Be blessed!

O Little Town of…Cancellations?

Old man winter showed up in force over the past few days across our portion of the Heartland in the form of an ice storm. In our community, we actually got off easy — we didn’t lose power. Yes, it did go off momentarily on Sunday, and at one point on Monday the lights dimmed. Thank goodness that was the extent of it. Those moments were enough to strike fear in my heart, though, as I thought of the prospect of no heat. When I woke up Monday morning, the first thing I thought was “we still have power — thank You, Lord!”

This kind of weather certainly plays havoc with our lives. Cancellations abound. All of our church services on Sunday were canceled — which means our choir didn’t get to do the cantata we had been working on for the past several weeks (it has been rescheduled for this Sunday, though). I had also spent time practicing for a trio number for Sunday morning. That one may have to wait for next Christmas. Classes on Monday were canceled at the college so that messed things up for Don. He was counting on getting in some more lecture time before finals started today. And to top things off, a fun Christmas outing I had planned with a friend had to be put on hold as well.

These cancellations were really relatively minor. At least our electricity wasn’t “canceled” by mother nature. Nor did the storm come on Christmas and cancel everyone’s travel plans (knock on wood!). The first weekend in December last year, however, we had a huge snowfall that canceled a much-anticipated family weekend gathering and outing to see Silver Dollar City decked out for the holidays. We were one disappointed lot over that.

Life can hand us even harder “cancellations” than these, though. Do you happen to be dealing with a cancellation in your life right now? Maybe your job was “canceled” due to a lay-off or downsizing, or maybe your marriage was canceled through divorce. You might be going through the break-up of a relationship or even tragically faced with the end of a relationship because of a death. Maybe you’ve had to cancel your plans or put your dreams on hold to care for a loved one. You might even have had to cancel plans to go home for Christmas for some reason.

When our lives and times don’t go as we planned, it helps to remember that God is in charge and that He is able to work things out for our good. So if you are faced with some sort of cancellation in your life, I encourage you to look to God and say, “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands…” Psalm 31:14-15a NIV