Saturday, December 24, 2011

Please HEAR this

I am blown away by this 5 minute video. So simple, yet so powerful. If you never read my blog again, this is a MUST hear/MUST watch video. It will be the very best 5 minutes of your day...and ultimately your life. Five minutes...that's all it takes.

Advent: God With Us from The Village Church on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Wonder If...

I have been awake since 3:45 with just one thing on my mind...

I wonder if Mary was ever awakened by the sounds of Jesus' little feet pitter-pattering down the hall to her room in the middle of the night. I bet she was!
I wonder if Mary was ever slightly annoyed that Joseph and Jesus could fall asleep in 2.2 seconds yet it took her forever to unwind at night.
I wonder if Mary ever gave Jesus "eskimo kisses" and if they giggled about it in the process.
I wonder how Mary taught obedience to Jesus as a toddler - especially a 3 year old.
I wonder if Mary ever got frustrated with Jesus - surely she did?!?
I wonder if Mary ever just caught herself staring at Jesus and silently began thanking God that he chose her to be Jesus' mommy.
I wonder if Mary knew that she would only have 33 years with her precious Son what she would have done differently, kept the same, done more of or less of, etc...

These things, along with many other, cross my mind especially this time of year. We are coming upon the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I feel like I have fallen into the Christmas spirit of frenzy, decor, gifts, parties, and activities with the kids. Don't get me wrong, these are are wonderful and exciting things when kept in perspective. It's just that it has been and will continue to be a busy season for Team Blevins. I had chemo 5 days ago, David is having surgery tomorrow, I'm having another thyroid biopsy Thursday, and our family is coming for Christmas. There are groceries to be bought, meals to be prepared, a house to be cleaned, kids to keep entertained, a husband to take care of post-operatively, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention that I haven't wrapped a single present yet. Oooh, I can just feel my anxiety level creeping up as I type. I wonder if Mary's anxiety ever crept up as she just thought about what her days entailed.
It's time to stop, bring the focus of Christmas back and let it be what drives the rest of the season forward. If you find yourself like me, all caught up in the "to-do" lists that seem to grow with each passing day in December, take a  moment to breathe, really thank God for the birth of His Son, and bring Christ back to the forefront of your mind this season.

I'm off to spend some time with Him now and as I do, I will not only pray for my family and the week we have ahead of us, but I will pray for each of you...that your week will be filled with things that scream Jesus and bring you back to the real "Reason for the Season."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Excerpts From A Favorite...

I have been reading some FANTASTIC books lately that I strongly recommend...could I even use the term "endorse"? Well, if I were an author, which I will be one day soon, I could use that term officially, but for now, I will use it and pretend...HA!

The first book I want to tell you about is by Kyle Idleman and is called not a fan. (and it is written just like that on the cover...lowercase and all). Here is how I came across this book. I had recently finished another book on my Kindle and decided to just do a search using just the word "Jesus" and this was one of the first books that came back. Now given the title, I was originally offended and decided to get the free sample just to see why this would come back on a Jesus search term. HOLY MOLY...I was hooked by the end of the short sample. Catchy title also comes with a subtitle (that I couldn't see at the time it was searched) of...becoming a completely committed follower of Jesus.

This book is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!!! Who wants to be a fan of Jesus? It sounds good at first, right?!? I mean it gives the feeling of "yay Jesus! Woo-hoo, I love Him..." but honestly, is that as far as it goes for you? Is that as deep as you want to go with Christ? Not me!!! I do not want to be merely a fan, but a follower! Here are some excerpts from the book...

* It wasn't the size of the crowd Jesus cared about; it was their level of commitment.
* Fans of Jesus who know all about him, but they don't know him.
* The biggest threat to the church today is the fans who call themselves Christians but aren't actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.
* Fans often confuse their admiration for devotion. They mistake their knowledge of Jesus for intimacy with Him.
* There is no way to follow Jesus without him interfering in your life. It was cost you something.
* Like the Pharisees, many fans have given their minds to the study of God, but they never surrendered their hearts.
* Jesus does not expect followers to be perfect, but he does call them to be authentic.
* When we learn to truly follow Jesus, we find that obedience to God comes from the inside out. Submission to what God wants for our lives flows naturally out of that relationship.
* In Luke 9:23, Jesus makes it clear that if we are going to follow him, a casual no strings attached arrangements isn't a possibility.
* If you call yourself a Christian, by definition you are committing to following Christ with every area of your life.
and lastly...
* Taking up your cross and following Jesus can and will bring pain and suffering. You can't carry a cross without suffering. And here's the question that is keeping me awake these days: Am I really carrying a cross if there is no suffering and sacrifice? When is the last time that following Jesus cost you something?

Seriously, get the book. I will loan it to you via Kindle if you have one and that will save you a few's really that good!!! Promise.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Update and Other Things

Just a quick update on Cathey. She is doing much better now and was able to enjoy Thanksgiving with her family. What happened to make her so sick with the chemo is that her body may not have the enzyme needed to actually process the medication the way it should. If that is the case, the med is not working and there is no reason to continue it. She has had the labwork to determine if her body is lacking this particular enzyme but I'm not sure how long it takes to get the results. Without the medicine, her life expectancy is cut DRASTICALLY so please pray that her body has the enzyme and that she can continue to take it. In the meantime, our oncologist did cut her dose of it so that hopefully she won't have the horrible side effects. Also going on with her is that her dad just fell out of his deer stand while hunting and is in the trauma unit at Vanderbilt with a broken neck. Another prayer request please. During this holiday season, lets just lift up the whole family to our God who is the ultimate healer and protector.

On another note, I have just finished an intense study of the book of John and I am telling you that there are so many things I discovered that I didn't catch the other billion times I have read from this book. For instance, there was one day that just 3 words stuck out to me and literally I stopped, read them over and over, meditated on them and the just prayed thanking God for the revelation. Those 3 words: "Jesus, being weary..." simple, huh? Easy to read and keep going on, but not this time. It was a day when I was recovering from treatment and was simply exhausted and not feeling well. Those 3 little words spoke volumes to me. Jesus knew what it was like to be so dog tired that it was hard to keep going. John could have used the word tired or exhausted, but me that indicates that Jesus was not just physically tired, but emotionally and mentally also. Oooh, the comfort I received just knowing that Jesus had days like I have too. I needed that particular revelation on that particular day and it has stuck with me. This past week I have been exhausted and weary to the point of tears. I'm pretty sure it's probably related to a drop in blood counts, but that doesn't really provide any comfort. It's been one of those things where I have had to just accept that my body was worn out...weary...and just rest. Just be still. I have thought of Jesus feeling the same way a lot this week and the truly it has provided comfort to know that as I am praying for energy and healing that He understands it and wants that for me too.
I don't know...I'm probably rambling now, but I would encourage everyone to slowly read through a passage, a chapter, or a book of the Bible and let the Spirit speak to you. I used to always wonder how someone could spend so much time on one or two verses, but now I know. When the Spirit reveals something to you, you can't help but stay there and ponder it, pray through it, and let the Spirit reveal things to you. Maybe this would be the perfect time of year to do that with the Christmas story from the book of Luke. Read it as though you have never read it before and let the Spirit move you. If any of you have any exciting revelations, please share them with me via the comment section. Trust me, I will probably get just as excited about it as you are...that's why some of my friends call me a Bible geek...because I get almost giddy at things that are newly discovered and it excites me to no end.