Meant For Good

Joseph, as a teenager, was most favored by his father. His brothers resented him and were jealous of the place he held in his father’s heart. Joseph spoke of dreams that caused his siblings to seethe inside. Gnawing bitterness grew to rage. He was stripped of his robe, thrown in a dry cistern and later sold into slavery.

English: Joseph Interprets the Dreams While in...

Joseph lived in a foreign country, away from family and friends. An official’s wife tried to seduce him, and then lied about it. Joseph did hard time in prison for crimes he didn’t commit. He was an interpreter of dreams, and yet his friends from prison turned their backs on him as soon as they had opportunity.

Life was rough for Joseph. Seemingly unfair. Had God forgotten him? Didn’t He care? Why was he here? He didn’t deserve this. He had done nothing wrong.

He again used his gift of dream interpretation. He became known to Pharaoh. He earned a high position, and friendship with royalty. Life changed for Joseph.

From a pit…to a promise.

God had not forsaken him.

Joseph went on to help his family during a severe famine. He took care of them. He loved them.

He forgave them. He was not bitter over his brothers treatment of him, because he was able to look back…

and see God’s plan. God’s provision.

19 But Joseph said to them (his brothers), “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.  Genesis 50:19-21  NIV

How many times do I look at the circumstances in my own life and wonder where God is at?

When I’m in the midst of the plan…..too far in to go back, and not far enough out to see the end result…. it can be scary.

I need to remember to trust that God intends good for me…

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Thanking Him today for all the things that are good in my life:

* warm sunshine on my face

* the scent of freshly washed linens

* bare feet

* checking off items on my to do list

* wrapping gifts for little ones

* finding a chore already done by my son

* crock pot dinner

* work completed

* new ideas

* a compliment from a friend

* encouragement

* when I get a glimpse of the plan

* knowing that God is good and He does love me

In Search Of The Nativity

Krippe crib family w 3wisemen

I decided a couple of months ago that I needed a new nativity. I already have two. One is a cut crystal and the other solid white ceramic. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought those sets. I mean, they are pretty and everything but, they are almost too pretty, if you know what I mean. I wanted something a little more real…well, as real as a nativity scene can be.

My first hunt for the nativity was on Black Friday. I know, not the best night (early morning?) to be looking for a nativity. I just need to say that Wal-Mart had exactly two nativity scenes. One was a snow globe and the other was a plastic ensemble that was a scary scene of molded plastic and vibrant colors that made the baby Jesus look clownish. Sigh. Not want I wanted at all. I would wait for something better. Something more.

Today I set off with my son and daughter to find a nativity. One with a stable and with people that did not look scary. We headed over to the antiques stores in the quaint little town of Mount Victory, Ohio. I figured (hoped?) that we would be able to find a vintage nativity scene. I told the kids on the way there that it would be great if we could find one that had been made in Italy, and was made with paper mache‘. The ones made in Italy seem to be more realistic and are painted nicely. I didn’t know that we would really find one, but I hoped.

The first store, and the kids spotted some nativities. The second one that was found, was made in Italy and it was made from paper mache’. It was meant to be! I was so excited.

In the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season, I was reminded. The holy scene in the stable, is still here. The scene of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus is just as real this afternoon as it was over two thousand years ago.

Sometimes it just takes quietly looking for it. Persevering. Remembering.

You know what?  I believe Jesus was delighted that I found that nativity scene this afternoon, on the shelf of that old store.

He was there waiting for me…

just as He waits, for each of us, to find Him.

Mary On My Mind

The Virgin Mary, baby Jesus, and angels in heaven.

Image via Wikipedia

Mary Did You Know?

I think I mentioned that I am playing Mary (mother of Jesus) tomorrow at church. I’ve been thinking of Mary a lot lately because of this part that I have in the Advent monologues. Having to memorize “Mary’s lines” helps me to remember what is truly important. Allow me to practice my lines with you…..

” How can I even begin to tell you what I saw in Jesus? Even before he was born my life was filled with wonder and amazement!…..I was visited by an angel. Such power and authority! And yet there was such gentleness as he shared with me the expression of God’s love.

And then there was Joseph. He was incredible throughout all these events. Of course, he had questions and concerns but, he always responded to me with such love. I know that his own visit from an angel had a lot to do with that.

There are so many things that I remember…and I hold those  moments close to my heart. Because to be honest with you, most of Jesus’ life didn’t make sense to me…..until it was finished.

Jesus, he always thought of others before himself….I remember when we went to a wedding feast. Jesus changed the water into wine because he didn’t want the wedding host to be humiliated. Then there was the Samaritan woman at the well. He reached out to her with such love, I can’t even describe it! He even loved Peter, a man who had denied knowing him, multiple times! And yet, love and forgiveness were his.

Then there was the cross…..the cross. Even on the cross Jesus was so full of love, and thinking of others. He didn’t want me to worry about how I’d be taken care of, so he said, ‘ John, take care of my mother.’ And to me he said, ‘ Mother, treat John as if he is your son.’

As he hung on the cross, with his life slipping away, he still had such love— and was putting others before himself. I heard him say, ‘ Father, forgive them!’……………….. and to the thief on the cross next to him he said, ‘ Today I will see you in paradise.’

And then it made sense. I understood. Love. God’s love. Jesus was a demonstration of God‘s love to this world. He was born, and he lived, and he died, and he rose again as an expression of God’s love to me! And as an expression of God’s love to each of you! God’s love…..that is what Jesus is all about. ”

This certainly puts Christmas in perspective. Doesn’t it?