My Christmas Kiss

first-kissAbout 40 years ago or so, I kissed my girl friend for the first time.  It was at her house next to the Christmas tree.  I still remember that first kiss.  Mostly, because I didn’t know what I was doing.  As a matter of fact, I still don’t know what I’m doing.

I thought that kiss was the sweetest moment of my life.   But then later I got a second kiss and it turned out sweeter than the last.  Well 10’s of thousands of kisses later, the kisses just keep getting sweeter. 

What is it about a kiss that you have shared thousands of times before and yet it never goes stale? How is it that you anticipate the touch first thing in the morning and last thing at night?  It is really a God Spot!

My girl friend and I have been married 36 years.  I still open the car door, take her coffee in bed and hold her hand on walks.  She is the ultimate encourager for me.  She never gives up on me.  She is always there as my number one cheer leader.  God has sure blessed me through her.

Christmas is a time for remembering the good things in life.  Appreciating God for all He has done.  It’s a time for remembering that first kiss. 

Thank you, sweetie.

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TRUE Confessions: For the rest of the world, where was your first kiss?

One Heart Beat Away

heartbeatWe are all one heart beat away from eternity.  It would seem some of us are closer to meeting our Maker than others.  When the doctor says, ‘Things don’t look so good.  We did all we could.”  It tends to sensitize one to the reality of life and death.

There are several people both young and old in my life that I wonder how many heart beats they are away from Christ’s perfection.  Will I get the sad news of a “passing” during the Christmas season?  Will I get the glad news of new life birth during this season?  What an incredible contrast there is between life and death.

The “God Spot” of today is to appreciate you are one heart beat away from meeting the Creator.   Make today special.

  • Appreciate the birth of the baby Jesus 
  • Be amazed at your new life in Christ
  • Get excited about the gift of your Spirit life
  • Share that Spirit of Christmas with others

OK.  Here’s the challenge.  See how many times you can say, “Merry Christmas!”  Then, count the smiles you get back.  And finally…

Vote the number of times you said, “Merry Christmas” and vote the number of smiles you received.  The Voting Poll is in the right column, over there ———————————–>

Are you a Wii little man?

How’s the song go?  Zacchaeus was a wii little man, a wii little man was he?

“Then Jesus entered and walked through Jericho. There was a man there, his name Zacchaeus, the head tax man and quite rich. He wanted desperately to see Jesus, but the crowd was in his way—he was a short man and couldn’t see over the crowd. So he ran on ahead and climbed up in a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus when he came by.

When Jesus got to the tree, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, hurry down. Today is my day to be a guest in your home.” Zacchaeus scrambled out of the tree, hardly believing his good luck, delighted to take Jesus home with him. Everyone who saw the incident was indignant and grumped, “What business does he have getting cozy with this crook?”

 Zacchaeus just stood there, a little stunned. He stammered apologetically, “Master, I give away half my income to the poor—and if I’m caught cheating, I pay four times the damages.”

 Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.””

What are you willing to give this Christmas season IF Jesus chooses to visit your house?

What prevents you from seeing Jesus?

So I’ve made a new friend

ichabod_with_a_gunYou’ll notice his blog listing as Ichabod.  He is a confessed “Odd People” and has a great blog.  You won’t agree with all he has to say, but then you shouldn’t agree with all anyone has to say.  Hitler kinda set the stage for that mentality. 

Probably the first offense you will take is his name,  Ichabod.  I think this means something like “the glory is departed” in the Hebrew.   Certainly, not my choice of names.  But, it also refers to the story about a man named Ichobod.  You will have read his blog to get his take on it.  http://plainview.wordpress.com/

Today is Monday.  It is the start of a new week and start of a new friendship.  Let’s designate this week as “Make a Friend” week.  I’d like to hear from you about your new friend.  Consider our pastor’s direction of we are the church.  It should be easy to find a new friend.  Tell me about the odd person you find or in your life.

Straight from Africa

An update from our missionary friend.  Enjoy!  Be part of the adventure.  Pray!
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Hello My sisters, pastors, and friends!
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Thanks to those of you who are praying for my team and I and for writing so quickly in response to my last email. We came here to Loki (northern Kenya) for what was to be a short break of 3 or 4 days but turned out to be a temporary withdrawal from Sudan due to unaddressed crime in our village (against us). I want to re-emphasize that we are not in any more physical danger, just that the chief needs to step up and unite the community.
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For the last two years, the team leaders have communicated to the chief and village elders that our purpose in coming is to learn the language and culture before starting any community projects. It was clarified many times, but we have found out that the community leaders did not communicate this to the community at large, so the villagers expectations have been that we were there to build a school and a clinic as they did in nearby a village.
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We do expect to do these things as there is great need here, but everything about starting projects like this that are long lasting & self-sufficient point to the missionary team establishing relationships with the people and learning the language is key to this. Another very key point is that all of the suffering here is basically a result of sin and godlessness, and these people need, more than anything, the Living Water that is Jesus Christ.
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So the latest as of this afternoon is that the community we are attempting to work in, is having a meeting with the area commissioner, the chief and elders, etc. We just got a message from our team leader that the commissioner thinks he needs to arrest the chief!!! So our fate is still unknown to us, but we still all feel very strongly that we want to return to the area as soon as we can.
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However, we cannot go back if there aren’t any consequences given to the thieves who are known, and we want to hear from the people of the village as to how they feel about us being there as learners. So needless to say, pray that God’s will above all is done, that we will get clear direction and have wisdom in moving forward to our next step in all this.
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In the meantime, Loki, though very very very HOT, it is breezy (unusual) and we have an internet cafe (free wireless!) where we can get cheeseburgers, fries, and milkshakes as well as iced drinks! There is a resort down the street that you can go for swimming for about $7.00US and of course we have taken advantage of that every day. I hate to admit we are eating like pigs, but it is mostly because we really can’t get or keep meat up in the village, so we are eating beef, chicken, pork, and anything else with 4 legs we can get our hands on!!! Our spirits are up and we are very sure the Lord will work all things together for (us) who love Him.
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Those of you who can, please forward this to as many of our mutual friends, relatives, etc that you can, and sisters please make sure Mom is updated and praying with her little old ladies in the Valley. Amy, should I be saying “best wishes?” Any mail will be most welcome, and email in the next few days if we end up staying. My power cord just blew, so my computer use will be even more limited! I love you all and we all can feel your prayers and support and love way over here in Africa. I’ll be in touch!
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Every breath, every step, every move in Him,
Janette

I love odd people

odd-people“They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus’ feet, so grateful. He couldn’t thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.”  That’s a bit odd.

I love odd people.  I suppose it is because I am a bit odd myself.  I feel at home with odd people.  My dad was an odd person.  I loved my dad.  What is it about odd people that make my day?

I think maybe it is because they love life.  They appreciate what God has done for them and are confident enough in their identity to just be themself.  While most of the world looks at them and giggles behind their back, they have a smile and beauty that maybe only they appreciate.  They love God.

When I was a research scientist, I had a friend who wore different color socks.  He had more interesting things going on in his head than worrying about the color of his socks.  I had a mathmatician friend that took his toothbrush for a walk on a string.  I had another scientist friend who was comfortable peeling his toenails in the middle of a party.  These people were all brilliantly odd and didn’t fit in.  They were modern day Samaritans.

Samaritans don’t fit in, but do great things.  Wouldn’t you like the confidence to be a modern day Samaritan?

My Favorite African

Email from Janette to her sistors.  Enjoy!
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My TIMO team flew into Loki, Kenya today so I am at an internet cafe. We may be able to check our email once more Thurs. or Fri. so hope to hear from you! I am getting letters about 4 weeks after you’ve sent them–thanks Mary, Martha, and Cathy!
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We had this time in Loki scheduled as a short vacation, but it turns out it is a temporary withdrawal from Sudan. We are all fine, no one is hurt or threatened, but we have had ongoing problems with crimes/theft since even before we came. Sunday was the last straw: we had a flight out on Sunday scheduled (the tribe knew about it) but it was cancelled because the pilot was sick. While we were all at the team house, someone broke through the wall of our hut and stole a bunch of stuff.
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They also broke the lock on my hut but didn’t get in, we think we scared them away on our way home. So my team leader, spoke to the Chief and laid down some conditions as we all toted our five thousand bags and boxes of stuff to the house. He said we were leaving, and unless the past known thieves were caught and punished, as well as the current thieves, we would not come back.
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Another condition was that the chief has to reiterate to the community that we have come first and foremost to learn the language, that we cannot do anything long lasting with the community needs until we learn it, and that the chief needs to communicate we will not build a school or a clinic or anything until that is done, Many people have been complaining about us “not doing anything”  and we are constantly bombarded with requests for soap, salt, tea, and water.
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Other than that, we are doing fairly well learning the language and getting to know the people, even have some we are very friendly with. Life is very physically draining, and having to be mentally processing things almost all day to communicate simple things is draining, not to mention getting used to living here with complete strangers! My hut-mates are really great, and we are still working out our chore schedule and trying to find a sort of household “rhythm.”
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The terrain is breathtaking: we are surrounded by layers upon layers of mountains, and a cool breeze is always blowing. I will be able to get internet for the next couple of days, which is very unusual, and snail mail is really the best way for us to keep in touch. Our internet connection in Sudan is very bad and unpredictable. I am sending Christmas cards today so you’ll get more on my daily living/life especially if you share with each other.
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Please do not stop praying for me and my whole team every day–we really need it. The spiritual oppression here is palpable, the people are lawless, and God wants so badly to show them who He is. Also pray for our physical strength, for quick language acquisition, and for continued team unity. I would even go so far as to say to get a group  together  to fast and pray for us.
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This is a very difficult time for us all, and we all want very badly to stay in the village, but must face the reality that it will not work out. We want the community to give a clear indication through the chief that they really want us there, that it is not just the chief and the state commissioner.
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I love you all and am praying for each of you! Despite what I have just written, I am in great spirits–just had a strawberry milkshake! And the Lord has given me a supernatural peace. Please do not worry about me but PRAY instead, and know that I know that God is in control and He will protect me.
 
Every breath, every step, every move in Him,
Janino