I was blindsided reading the blog this week - oh my, if you combine all the responses from Facebook, my radio page, and Joni's Blog, we've got a great group of friends committed to reading Through-the-Bible-in-a-Year. Yesterday, when I showed Ken how many of you were responding, he shook his head and whispered, "Wow, just look what we started!" But I beg to disagree - this is definitely something the Holy Spirit has started! And it's not too late to join us - just download the chronological reading schedule, tuck it in your Bible, and get ready for one amazing adventure this year. By the way, we've collected your e-mail addresses and created a 'group' so Ken and I can cheer you on with occasional messages...
The year 2012 is only days away and, with it, Ken and I will be restarting our annual practice of reading-through-the-Bible-in-a-year. This will mark our fifth year of reading through the entire Bible in 12 months and we are amazed at all the insights God has given us through this wonderful Bible-reading habit (listen to Ken and I talk about it on a recent radio program). This past year, we used a chronological reading plan, and Ken and I both agree it really made the redemption story...
Over the weekend, Ken and I really spruced up our home for Christmas. He put up white Christmas lights on the eaves of our house, and I set out a few pine-scented candles and poinsettias around the living room. Last night we arranged our Nativity scene on the fireplace mantel (that's Daddy's painting hanging above the mantel). As we moved the figurines this way and that, I tried hard to imagine what the first Nativity actually looked and felt like (growing up on a Maryland farm, I'm familiar with wooden mangers that held hay for our horses). I'm amazed that from His first moments on earth to His last, the life of Jesus reflected simplicity, humility, and lowliness of heart - even in His birth, Jesus was reaching out to identify with us in our weakness; what a Savior! Oh, during this beautiful Advent season may our lives reflect His simplicity and lowliness of heart. That's my prayer for Ken and me... and my prayer for you this week, too.
My friend Amy, who serves as our radio coordinator, loves all things 'peacock.' Earlier this year at her bridal shower, she gave peacock feathers to all her guests – it was the first time I had really examined the intricate, elegant design and stunning colors. So I decided to prop it up on my bathroom counter because every morning when I see it, I want to be reminded of the wonders of God's creative genius. When you consider all the thin, individual strands which form the turquoise 'eye' of the feather, and how each feather then makes a grander design on the peacock's plume, well… it was worth doing a radio program about. It's posted on the radio page today and I'd love for you to hear it! Job 37 says "Do you know the wonders of Him who is perfect in knowledge?" Well, find a peacock feather – take ten minutes to really look at it; it'll give you a fresh insight into the wonders of our great, creator God!
When Joni said she asked a few friends to send me birthday wishes, I was thinking a couple of extra cards in the mail. Then she told me to look at her blog – whoa! I couldn't believe how many of you wrote -- they even told me "my birthday blog" froze up the blog page on the website for an hour or so! Just know I'm really grateful for all your comments and for your prayers. Joni invited some folks from the ministry to a birthday luncheon for me at the IDC, complete with my favorite kind of cake: a Baskin Robbins chocolate-chip ice cream/chocolate cake. I think I'm taking this 65-year-old thing okay – as long as Medicare doesn't make it too complicated. Thanks again for writing – it was a neat surprise! I am a much loved man… and much prayed for. Thank you for that!
I love this guy... I absolutely love his smile (I captured it well as he was carving our Thanksgiving turkey). I also love his devotion to Jesus, and his deep and abiding affection for me, his wife. And on Tuesday, December 13 he's going to celebrate one milestone of a birthday - Ken will turn 65 (he just got his Medicare card a few weeks ago :-). I praise God for the way our Savior keeps drawing us closer to each other, and closer to Him. Ken's most oft-quoted Bible verse? Romans 12:11, "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." Yep, it's what he does so well and nothing would please me more than for you to post a birthday comment to my husband on Joni's Blog; actually, I do know something that would please me more: your prayers for this most excellent man. Happy birthday, Ken!
Everywhere you go this month, you hear strains of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” right? It was written by Hugh Martin for the film Meet Me in St. Louis, in which Judy Garland made it famous. Sometime later, Hugh, a successful composer and lyricist, suffered a nervous breakdown – but through it, he came to know Jesus Christ! Afterward, he decided to rewrite sacred lyrics for his Christmas classic – he called it “Have Yourself a Blessed Little Christmas.” Hugh and I became fast friends after he read the Joni book and began praying for and supporting our ministry. Earlier this year, however, God called him home to heaven at the age of 94. Be inspired by this remarkable man’s story by watching this touching video (below). Or you can watch the entire Joni and Friends TV episode right here on our website!
Download Lyrics to "Have Yourself a Blessed Little Christmas."
Last week, after I spoke at Dallas Baptist University, a line of students formed to ask questions ranging from "Is God responsible when bad things happen," to "Do you believe healing is for today?" Pictured here are several exceptional students who simply wanted to pray for my pain (never do I refuse a prayer for healing)! The young man in the photo prayed earnestly and passionately, said Amen, then immediately looked up and inquired, "Is the pain gone?! Do you feel better yet?!" Although my hip was still aching, I broke into the biggest smile – the joy I felt for this student's devotion to Jesus, well… it totally obliterated any discomfort I felt. God bless young brothers and sisters in Christ who step right up and pray with confidence! True, time and maturity will inform this young man on...
Thank you SO much -- I'm really grateful to God for your prayers this week when I spoke at Dallas Theological Seminary and Dallas Baptist University to promote their disability ministry classes which Joni and Friends helped design. It's so exciting to see those classes maxed out every semester :-). While at DBU, I was approached by Lauren, a senior student who has been volunteering at our Family Retreats for six years (she is showing me one of our Joni and Friends newsletters whose cover photo features her with little Isaiah who has Down syndrome)! "Oh, Joni," she said, "serving with your ministry really opened my heart and eyes and I'm happy to tell you I'm soon to graduate with a major in special education!" NOTHING could please me more, than to see a young, passionate sister in Christ heaven-bent on reaching kids with disabilities and their families with the Gospel of Jesus. And the best thing? Lauren's story is being repeated a hundredfold in Christian colleges all across the country. Want to join her? Visit our Christian Institute on Disability and Family Retreat pages to learn more!