Sunday, May 30, 2010

Verses of Peace and Life Well Lived

The knowledge of the Lord brings peace, now and eternally, and enables us to extend peace (Jesus Himself) to others.  Isaiah 11:1-10...
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, 
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.  
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him
The spirit of wisdom and understanding
The spirit of counsel and strength
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.  
And He will delight in the fear of the Lord
And He will not judge by what His eyes hear; 
But with righteousness He will judge the poor 
And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth;
And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, 
And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.  
Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins
And faithfulness the belt around His waist.  

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, 
And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, 
And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; 
And a little boy will lead them.  
Also the cow and the bear will graze, 
Their young will lie down together, 
And the lion will eat straw like the ox.  
The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, 
And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. 
They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, 
For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord 
As the waters cover the sea.  
Then in that day 
The nations will resort to the root of Jesse 
Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; 
And His resting place will be glorious.

Ephesians 2...But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were so far away, through the blood of Christ have been brought near.
For He is our peace...    And He came and preached the glad tidings of peace to you who were afar off and peace to those who were near.  For it is through Him that we now have access by one Holy Spirit to the Father so that we are able to approach Him.
Therefore you are no longer outsiders (exiles, migrants, and aliens, excluded from the rights of citizens), but you now share citizenship with the saints (God's own people, consecrated and set apart for Himself); and you belong to God's own household
Matthew 25...
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Christian's class packing food for Feed My Starving Children
John 6...
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?"
 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."
 Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
 Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."
 So they asked him, "What miraculous sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our forefathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

II Timothy 4...
For I am already about to be sacrificed [my life is about to be poured out as a drink offering]; the time of my [spirit's] release [from the body] is at hand and I will soon go free.
 I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.
[As to what remains] henceforth there is laid up for me the [victor's] crown of righteousness [for being right with God and doing right], which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that [great] day--and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved and yearned for and welcomed His appearing (His return).
Lord, thank you that you are the Prince of Peace and that we are your adopted children, heirs of Your peace, your amazing peace which surpasses our understanding.  We long for your return and for an earth where peace reigns.  Yet you fill us with Life now.  You fill us with the knowledge of  your mind and heart now, always teaching us, continually bathing us in your love, lavishing us with grace when we fail, picking us back up and equipping us to do work for you here.  You alone are worthy to be praised.  In Jesus’ name, Amen
You have made known to me the path of life;
 you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Two Weeks!

*In two weeks we'll be leaving for Ethiopia!   There are 7 families for the June 9th embassy date!  We are looking forward to meeting up with our friends and going to get our girls!!

*This weekend was a pool weekend, the first 80-90 degree days of almost summer!  We spent a yummy, lazy evening with the Grynas and went to Joe and Claire's today and enjoyed their pool.  After baseball and lacrosse games, mowing lawns and swimming many hours, the boys are happily exhausted.  We love sunshine.

*Gia's room is coming along.  Hope to have it pulled together this week.  I apparently love 11th hour projects.

*The Re:new sale?  God is awesome!  The misty early-morning fog left us a little concerned at first, but the weather changed for the better and we had a great sale.  Some pictures:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Friends Are...

My friends threw me (really Giana) a baby shower on Sunday.  The day was beautiful in so many ways.  100 pounds of donations were collected for the two orphanages in Ethiopia where Giana has lived!  From Crocs to nail clippers to crayons, friends and family donated generously.  Some things even had sweet notes attached to the kids and were wrapped with ribbon and tissue paper.  Here in America we take for granted the simple things of childhood.  In an Ethiopian orphanage where 5 kids sleep to one bed (I have pictures of this!), bubbles, play-doh and toy cars do not abound.  They are grateful.  Over the last 8 months I've gotten to see pictures of the kids playing with the adoptive parents who visit the orphanage.  Their smiles are priceless, not only because they are getting some cool stuff, but because they love to be loved on.  As the parents hand out hugs and smiles and care packages and have the children try on clothing, you can sense the excitement and the joy.  Now in two weeks it will be our turn to bring donations, take pictures for other families and love on the kids and babies who are still waiting for someone to bring them into a family.   
I can't believe this time has come.   We will finally meet our daughter face to face.  Dina gave me this beautiful piece of art, painted by our friend.  Galatians 1:15 is the verse God gave me for Giana.

And did I mention the baby girl stuff?  A beautiful green blanket knit by Claire, cute little outfits, baby board books,, I was overwhelmed with a whole bunch of love, all wrapped up in pretty little pink packages!  Boys, I'm sorry, but girl stuff is WAY cuter.  And I don't think the boys had anything monogrammed.

Lord, thank you for the gift of friendship.  It is very amazing and beautiful how you knit lives together, sometimes for a short season, sometimes for life.   Through friends, You constantly show me yourself, your goodness and grace and love and steadfastness.    In Jesus' name, Amen

Re:new SALE!

The Re:new project is having their first sale this Saturday!  Whoo-hoooo!!!  They have made some very cool things which are being sold for very reasonable prices!   Think Anthropologie-ish!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Life in Sunshine

We've been a little off kilter lately.  William commented yesterday that even the dog has been off track.  She runs out the door with one eye on us and one eye on her temptation of the moment.   She watches us to see if we're watching her!  If she thinks we're not looking, then she's off to the neighbor's yard or heads back to the evergreens to dig up fertilizer sticks.  But if she knows we're watching, she's a perfectly obedient dog.   Even this morning she was pretending to love on me, all the while thinking about how to eat Christian's leftover toast.   We think we're all a little stir crazy from the lack of sun.  But today...

Today we woke up to SUNSHINE!!! after what seems like many days of rain and cold.  Ahhhh....  I am so glad that God created the sun.   It infuses energy and hope and life into us after a string of cloudy days.   I am grateful.  As I've walked through life this week (a rather rainy week in several respects!) God has brought this verse in front of me several times:

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!
Psalm 84:11-12

Father, I know that rain is good.  But then the sun breaks through the clouds, and Your glory is proclaimed as I soak up the warmth, the light, the refreshment.  My heart rejoices.  There is much to be thankful for just this week, like little Ela's successful surgery, Deb's trip to Uganda, my sweet baby's caretakers in Ethiopia, and my ongoing journey with Aimee.   And my husband and my boys!  What gifts!  Thank you for the sun.  Thank you that you are a sun and shield.   In Jesus' name, Amen

(My mom's posts about Spring Rain and Gladness tie right into this.  She is wise.  She dwells upon Truth: Her Timely Words of Wisdom)

Friday, May 7, 2010

We're Coming Soon, Gia!

In less than a month...
she will be in our arms
she will leave beautiful Africa and
enter beautiful America
she will meet her awesome brothers
we will wipe her tears
kiss her cheeks
envelope her with love
sing to her about Jesus
lay our hands on her and pray
and our family will be
forever changed...
for our good
and His glory
she blesses us.

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love,  O Lord, endures forever...Psalm 138:8

Saturday, May 1, 2010

God's Beautiful Heart

This morning I read a great post by Jessica, Why Adopt?  I loved it.  Read it!

As I reflect on our own journey, I feel nothing but completely humbled and amazed at how God cared about our hearts.  He cared that we were comfortable, content with the status quo...and He wanted to shake us up, reveal HIS heart, reveal HIS plans for our family.  All the "what ifs" seem silly now.   God calls ALL OF US to care for orphans, widows, aliens, the sick and the poor.  I was blessed to grow up in a home where the doors were always open.  Our family of three had a table for six that was always overflowing with eight, and it was filled many evenings.  My mom and dad love people and love to serve them.  What a gift.  My dad has a little baseball card shop and is always showing his customers --- the rich, poor, Jewish, athiest, unemployed, the sick, the marginalized, etc. -- all about Jesus.  He listens to their stories and loves on them, prays for them, heals them, points them to Jesus.  All while being in pain himself many days.  We pray for complete healing for my father.  My mom always says, Watch out!  When he is 100% I'd better hold on for the ride!   Well, she has already been on quite a ride!  God is richly glorified in their lives.  Their story is of the beautiful, crazy redemption of God, His lavish love for them so evident and true.  Jesus adores them.  And they adore Him.

You know what's amazing about God's timing?  When William and I were celebrating our 17th anniversary in Galena, which was an entire weekend spent in our hotel room talking about adoption (okay, we didn't talk the entire time), Giana Helen was born.  We left that hotel with the decision to change course and adopt from Ethiopia.  Our application was sent in two days later.  That same weekend, on the other side of the world, our daughter was born into a place of poverty and circumstances that were not good.  Yet God says: "The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; tongues are parched with thirst.  But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them."  And He brings His plans to pass.

Here's another picture of our sweet Giana at approximately 8 weeks.   This is our referral picture.   God is gracious.

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