12.26.2012

Are We Were Sleeping?

-Pryor Mountains-
Because of God's amazing grace, He left His Heavenly throne to die for our sins & adopt us into His kingdom. In the little town of Bethlehem, God became a man. While we were sleeping He came to save us! He was born among the animals, wrapped in dirty rags, because there was no room for Him, in the world He came to save. In Bethlehem a city with no room for its King. While we were sleeping….

"He gave up His place with God and made Himself nothing. He was born to be a man and become like a servant."  —Philippians 2:7 

Looking at America today, it looks like another silent night. We are going down in history, as a nation with no room for its King.  America, what will we miss while we are sleeping? What have we already missed, as we're sung to sleep by philosophies "of save the trees and kill the children". Our culture has really distorted the meaning of what Christmas is. We are engulfed in the lies we tell ourselves. Many get too caught up in the "Holiday" of a few days off from work & making sure they are nice & not naughty, so Santa Clause will come. Christmas is such a special time. & we're losing the wonder of it. America, we are truly lying in the dark…

But there's a shout to be heard across the eastern sky. A giant star lights up the dark night. An everlasting light is shining. A light that brings joy to all the world. We need to open our eyes & truly see what Christ has done, & is still doing for us! The bridegroom Christ has returned, & he has carried away his bride in the night. What will we miss while we are sleeping?

Here is a passage below, that tells a small part of the Christmas story. I love it. It's amazing to see how throughout history, God often choses the weak & lowly to accomplish His will. The angels didn't go to Herod to announce the birth of Christ. Nor did the wise men, or Magi, who traveled from afar to worship & present fine gifts of frankincense, myrrh & gold to their Lord. (Another thought, we don't actually know how many wise men there were, or even if they were kings.) God used lowly shepherds to spread the word of our Savior's birth. Think about what a great company, or multitude of angels must have been. What an amazing night to be a shepherd. I think the heavens truly opened up & lit the sky; there must have been thousands, upon thousands of angels, thunderously singing praises to God….

 "Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.  But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them." —Luke 2:8-20     
                                                                                                                             
…..Lets think about Herod for a moment. So often, the murder of all baby boys gets completely left out of the Christmas story. Did your nativity scene come with a Roman soldier figure, to stand on the side with the wise men? Herod, as King of the Jews, was alarmed at the prospect of a new king. (Herod had ruthlessly killed off three of his sons, his wife, & many others to keep the throne.) Herod assembled the chief priests & scribes of the people & asked them where the Messiah was to be born. They answered, in Bethlehem. (quoting Micah 5:2.) Herod sent the Magi to the little town Bethlehem, instructing them to search for the child & if they found him to report back to him, so that he "might go & worship him too". However, after they had found Jesus— (who would've been a young child by now, living in a home with his family, somewhere in the city.) — the Magi were warned in a dream not to report back to Herod. Similarly, while Joseph was sleeping, he was warned in a dream that Herod intended to kill Jesus, so he & his family fled to Egypt. When Herod realized he had been outwitted by the wise men, he gave orders to kill all boys age two & under in Bethlehem & the region. It's so horrific to even think about... Have we as a nation, become as vile & bloodthirsty as Herod, with the daily murders of the unborn?

But the strength of God's love for His people is unfathomable. He will uphold us, while working all things, the good & the bad for His glory & just will. For Christ has forgiven us — 

"God shows His great love for us in that way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners." —Romans 5:28  

While Christmas is probably my favorite time of the year, with all the gift giving, caroling, baking, warm cozy indoor days, etc, we need to remember why we give gifts & why we sing. We need to remember, that Jesus is no longer the babe in the manger. He is a victorious warrior, a King clothed in a fine robe dipped in blood, & He is fighting for us. We give gifts, because Christ was the ultimate gift - given to us! 

"He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.  And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords." — Revelation 19:13-16 

"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." — John 3:17 


So again, while we were sleeping, our King came to earth as a real human baby. For our death & sin, he came to die, so that we might live! He came to save us; to cleanse our corrupt hard hearts -if we'll have Him. He came to adopt us into His kingdom -  Not because of anything we've done, or can do; adoption is something we receive, not something we earn. The story of how Joseph, Mary's husband adopted Jesus into his family, should be one the greatest examples of adoption. Think about your own life this Christmas season, & into the new year. How has the Lord used seemingly small or weak things to work in your life?  Remember to keep the wonder. Like a little child, enjoy the small delights & miracles of every day life. Always be in awe of what Christ has done for you.  For us. His hand can be found in everything. God is wondrous. He sees all. He knows all. He never sleeps. Thank you Lord for sending your Son to fight the battle for us!

                                      Let's all wake up. 
-GB

Note: This  post was partly inspired by Casting Crowns' song called "While We Were Sleeping" - give it a listen, it's truly beautiful. 

12.25.2012

12.12.2012

Christmas treats!

____________________— Here's what's been cookin'
CREAMY FUDGE TRUFFLES-   
1 cup cream
1/4 cup butter
1lb chopped semisweet chocolate
Powdered sugar & cocoa, or crushed candy canes
DIRECTIONS: Simmer cream & butter; stir until smooth. Pour over chocolate; stir until chocolate is melted & smooth. Add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Chill for one hour. Then, roll into small balls. Coat with crushed candy canes or cocoa/powdered sugar. (I personally liked just plain cocoa, for more of a bitter-sweet taste.) Makes about 16 bite sized truffles. Warning: They are very rich. :)
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[Costco] AUSSIE BITES 
2 cups regular or toasted oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 31/2 cup can of unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1 cup (of each) dried fruit chopped: raisins, dates, figs, cranberries
1/4 cup honey
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons hot water
flax seed - about 1/2 cup (optional)
DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350. Melt honey & butter in microwave, mix hot water with baking soda, add to butter mixture. Pour mixture into dry ingredients, mix well. Place tablespoons of thick batter into lightly greased non-stick mini-muffin cupcake pans, & flatten mixture slightly. Bake 10 minutes, or until golden. Makes around 40. 
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CHOCOLATE PEANUT CHUNCHIES - fun party snack
About 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
(roughly) 3 cups dried chow mein noodles
Coarsely chopped peanuts or almonds or cashews  
DIRECTIONS: Melt chocolate chips. Stir in noodles. Drop from a tablespoon into an oiled baking sheet & sprinkle with nuts! Let cool. Makes about 24. Super easy. 

note: photos via various online sites. But they look very true to what I've baked. 

12.10.2012

Music- Beta Radio

A couple months ago, I discovered BETA RADIO. I think I'm a little obsessed with them. They are an amazing clean band. It's all pretty light music, with great harmonies, melodies & songwriting skills.:)

12.09.2012

Music - Gungor

Gungor - this is a truly awesome song. So beautiful! Really like this band. ♫

12.03.2012

Paper Christmas Ornaments


What you need:  


1. With the paper of your choice, cut out 12 circles, using something round to trace. 


Here are some tips for getting a symmetric-looking color distribution on the final tchotchke: If using 3 colors A B C, stack them in the order: ABBCCAABBCCA. If using 2 colors A B, then stack them in the order: ABBAABBAABBA. If using a single type of card, but double sided, then alternate "heads up" & "tails up".

2. Fold all paper circles in half, stack them inside each other. 

3. Wrap a lenth of thin wire all the way around the stack, so that it runs along the fold. Twist the ends together to secure. If you want to add a jingle bell, add it on the wire at the bottom. You can just see the wire - it's the thin line down the middle.



4. Stick a glue dot onto a circle, about 1/4 of the way from the bottom.  Fold the facing flaps together and press to secure the bond. My glue wouldn't hold, the card-stock was too strong. So I whipped out the ole' hot glue gun. It worked great! 


 

5. On the next circle, stick a glue dot about 1/4 of the way from the top. Continue like this all the way around, alternating high & low glue dots. (In one of the photos, you can see that I didn't use glue. I actually sewed the paper together. The paper was heavy duty card-stock, so it held together nicely, & gave it even more of a 'handmade' feel.)


6. Almost finished! Just attach a ribbon, & hang on your tree, or these make great gifts. I used silk floss/hemp string with a needle to feed it under the wire that holds everything together. 

 

Finished! (forgot to remove the little 'cobwebs' from the hot glue!)