Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 12/28/11

The Musings Book Club selection for December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. This will be my last post on this book. My final quote from the body of the book is from chapter 8. Mrs. Deibler was taken to maximum security prison for a time, interrogated, and put in solitary confinement. I was struck by how she passed the time in her cell:

"Much time was passed repeating Scripture. Starting with A, I would repeat a verse that began with that letter, then on through the rest of the alphabet. I discovered that most of the songs we had sung when I was a little girl were still hidden in my heart, though I hadn't consciously memorized many of them. 

As a child and young person, I had a driving compulsion to memorize the written Word. In the cell I was grateful now for those days in Vacation Bible School, when I had memorized many single verses, complete chapters, and Psalms, as well as whole books of the Bible. In the years that followed, I reviewed Scriptures often. The Lord fed me with the Living Bread that had been stored against that day when fresh supply was cut off by the loss of my Bible. He brought daily comfort and encouragement--yes, and joy--to my heart through the knowledge of the Word." 

It was an encouragement to see how God used His memorized Word to comfort, instruct, inform, console, and nourish in such a great time of need.

Eventually, the war end, that author was released from prison and returned home to America, this time a very young widow. She later remarried, had two children, and returned to the mission field (where she spent most of her life).  I highly recommend reading this book. We need books like this to remember what a faithful God we serve and to remind us of the price at which we enjoy freedom in America. On that note, I leave with a final quote from the author. This quote was found in the "acknowledgements" section at the very beginning of the book.

"More than 10 years ago I began to write my experiences during World War II for Bruce and Brian, my sons. I wished them to know, if ever difficult circumstances came into their lives, that their mother's God is still alive and very well, and His arm has never lost its ancient power!"


Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Happy Anniversary, Dear

Today, Greg and I celebrate 17 years of marriage. We started today with a ferocious bout of the stomach flu (yep, both of us, but I'll spare you the gory details), which reminded me a bit of our 13-year anniversary where the morning started by plunging a stopped up toilet in our bathroom, together. Ahh, may the romance live on.

God in His providence allows some anniversaries to fall on run-of-the-mill, "this is really married life" days, for which I am grateful. There can be some danger in looking to the calendar to fill you emotionally, and that certainly can happen with days like anniversaries and birthdays.

As we approached our anniversary this year, I found myself incredibly grateful for God's kindness toward us in our marriage. I can say it is only by God's grace that our marriage survived and still thrives today.

As I reflect on the past year, I am ever so grateful to God for continuing to grow my husband in the knowledge of Him. I can see Greg's patience with me and compassion toward me growing with each passing day. He is an example to me of how to love and serve others. I thank God I can with live with him and learn from him.

So, it was this morning after a night of exhausting trips to the bathroom that we both collapsed in a heap on our bed and I turned to my husband and said, "Happy Anniversary, Dear." Then we both called in sick to work, an unexpected day off together. May there be, if God wills, many more days together, whatever His plan for them may be.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Book of Acts Part 3

As mentioned before, our pastor at church is currently preaching from the book of Acts in the Bible (love the book of Acts!). I'll be sharing those sermons with you on a weekly basis. Click here to listen to the sermon or to download it so you can listen to it at another time. This week's sermon is from Acts 1:12-14 "Devoted to Prayer". Enjoy!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cookie Baking Night Update

For those fans of Cookie Baking Night posts, we usually have just one "Cookie Baking Night" in December, so we're currently on break. Be looking for us to resume on Monday, January 9. At that time, we'll head into our 9th year of Cookie Baking Nights with the nieces and nephews.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Joy to the World/Merry Christmas

I am particularly struck by this line in the song "Joy to the World"

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,


Jesus, the second Adam, came to this earth to break the curse incurred by the first Adam. That is truly a reason to be joyful. May we not forget it. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

You just can't beat the theology in some of our most cherished Christmas carols. I challenge you to pay attention to the words as you sing them this year. I'll be posting a few in the days ahead, starting with "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

1. Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th' angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

2. Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th' incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

3. Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"


Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788; alt. by George Whitefield and others
Music: Felix Mendelssohn; arr. by William H. Cummings
Tune: ---, Meter: 77.77 D with Refrain

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Club Thursday 12/22/11

The Musings Book Club selection for December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose.

In my desire to finish posting on this book by the end of December, I've decided to add a "Book Club Thursday" post this week.

Today I leave you with a scene from chapter 7. The author had been separated from her husband for several months. He was in prisoner of war camp for men, and she was in a prisoner of war camp for women. Mrs. Deibler was told about the death of her husband three months after it happened. On the day she was told, many sought to console her including the commander of the camp, Mr. Yamaji. He said, "You are very young. Some day the war will be over and you can go back to America. You can go dancing, go to the theater, marry again, and forget these awful days. You have been a great help to the other women in the camp. I ask of you, don't lose your smile."

The author replied thusly:

"Mr. Yamaji, may I have permission to talk to you?" He nodded, sat down, then motioned for me to take a chair.

"Mr. Yamaji, I don't sorrow like people who have no hope. I want to tell you about Someone of Whom you may never have heard. I learned about Him when I was a little girl in Sunday school back in Boone, Iowa, in America. His name is Jesus. He's the son of Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth." God opened the most wonderful opportunity to lay the plan of salvation before the Japanese camp commander. Tears started to course down his cheeks. "He died for you, Mr. Yamaji, and he put love in our hearts--even for those who are our enemies. That's why I don't hate you, Mr. Yamaji. Maybe God brought me to this place at this time to tell you he loves you."

With tears running down his cheeks, he rose hastily and went into his bedroom, closing the door. I could hear him blowing his nose and knew he was still crying. We were not supposed to leave the presence of a Japanese officer without permission; however, since he didn't return to dismiss me, I sat quietly praying for his salvation, that he might understand life in Christ Jesus and someday go home to share God's love with his wife and family--to be a light in some dark, possibly even remote, area of Japan. Realizing finally that he was not coming out of his room, I left, knowing from that moment on that Mr. Yamaji trusted me, and I understood why I was in the Netherlands East Indies. How adequate his Indonesian was to fully understand what I shared with him, I didn't know, but there had definitely been a response.


Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 12/21/11

The Musings Book Club selection for December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose.

If you, by chance, hold to the philosophy that people are basically good, then I suggest you read a book describing life in a "prisoner of war" camp OR life in a communist prison. You're likely to change your mind. Every time I read any such book, I am reminded that people are basically evil, only God is good, and only God can take an evil heart and make it good. The depths to which an evil heart can plunge are almost unimaginable but can often be described in a book depicting the life of a prisoner of war.

In chapter 6, the author describes a scene where the commander of the camp, having been fed up with the problem of numerous flies created by the open drainage ditches carrying waste from the piggery (pigs used to feed the Japanese soldiers), ordered each woman from the camp to kill and personally deliver to his office 100 flies a day. Those who came up short of their quota were beaten severely with a cane. The author described many such scenarios throughout the pages of this book, and I am sure she left out many details along the way and did not come close to describing the actual horror of the situation. I am, again, reminded of Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?"

Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Luke 2:68-79

After finding out his barren wife would conceive a son well after child-bearing years and that the child would be the forerunner to the Messiah, Zechariah questioned how this could be true and was struck dumb (silenced) for six months. When his tongue was finally loosed, this is what he said,

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us: to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in to the way of peace." Luke 2:68-79 (ESV)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Evangelism

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a post about the "Christmas packs" I made up and have been handing out while I run errands (at restaurants, grocery stores, hair salon, gas station, etc.) Each pack contains a gospel tract, a couple pieces of candy, and a half sheet of paper with the following info:


"Peace on earth. Goodwill to men." That's a popular phrase this time of year. Do you know where it comes from? It comes from the Bible. Many people think of peace as the absence of conflict or the absence of fighting, but the peace spoken of int he Bible is much greater than that. "Peace on earth. Goodwill to men" refers to peace between you and God. It's the message the angels brought to the shepherds in the field the night Jesus was born on this earth. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:14. It's the message we proclaim when we sing that classic Christmas carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing ("Peace on earth and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled). Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born on this earth. He came here to provide us with the peace of reconciliation with God. That is why we celebrate Christmas. 

I have provided two things for your today: 
  • A treat (Merry Christmas! Enjoy!)
  • A gospel tract (my hope is that you will read the message in the tract and spend some time considering it today).
Merry Christmas and enjoy your day!

Christmas Evangelism Postscript: 
I have been most grateful for these packs this year and have handed out about 30 in the last couple weeks. They couldn't be easier to hand out.

If you're not sure it's something you could do, let's have a little training session. Repeat after me. "This is for you. Merry Christmas!". One more time. "This is for you. Merry Christmas!" Consider yourself trained.

Now grab some gospel-centered material, a couple pieces of candy, a baggie and a ribbon, and hit the errand-running trail prepared to the share the gospel. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Niece & Nephew Christmas Party 2011

Today was the 8th annual Niece and Nephew Christmas Party. We offer this in lieu of gifts (the party is the gift). Hmmm ... conspicuously absent from the party this year ... nephews! (Ethan had a birthday party to attend and Joe is all grown up--so this year just the girls). In attendance: (left to right) Carissa, Kylie, and Emily. 


We started the party by making Shrinky Dinks (ahh-remember Shrinky Dinks), cute little girly charm Shrinky Dinks--they were a hit. 


Next, we decorated a gingerbread house cookie. As you can see, everyone got in on the act (even Uncle Greg).







And back by popular demand, the surprise activity. This year, Uncle Greg set up a movie theater in the basement, and we watched the movie Tangled. Greg stood at the bottom of the steps and collected the tickets. There were concessions to purchase (candy, pop, and popcorn).


Greg borrowed a projector from work and projected the movie onto a large wall in the basement. A good time was had by all.



Merry Christmas little ones! We love you all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Evangelism Focus 12/16/11



Post from July 8, 2011

Two nights ago, my brother asked me to visit one of his friends (a childhood friend of ours) in the hospital. I was a little confused by the request because I hadn't seen the man he was speaking of for at least 15 years. My brother finally admitted, "I'm concerned for his soul." Who can refuse a request such as this--an invitation to share the gospel? So, to the hospital I went.

Unfortunately, my brother's friend (Jeff) was in the ICU in critical condition and unresponsive. I let him know I was there and left him the gospel in the form of a tract. I have visited twice now with little response (or capacity to respond) either time.

I left there pleading with God to have mercy on this young man (37) and allow him the opportunity to hear the gospel one more time. I also left there with a heavy heart and renewed desire to share the gospel with those I know while there is still time.


Post from July 15, 2011

I mentioned last Friday that I visited my brother's friend in the hospital. I visited two times. On both visits, Jeff (my brother's friend) was unresponsive (awake but not able to communicate, he had spent some time without oxygen to his brain, and there was the appearance of brain damage). At the point I first visited him, he had been in the ICU at the hospital for 12 days.

I also mentioned that I left the hospital (on both accounts) pleading with God to have mercy on him and allow him to hear (and understand) the gospel one more time.

I stopped back today, a week from my first visit. I was very self-conscious about visiting him for the third time when I hardly knew him. I considered leaving at least three times while I was in the waiting room (waiting for the nurse to give me the clearance to go in and visit him).

When I arrived in the room, I was amazed to find Jeff alert and responsive. We had a lengthy conversation. I was able to share the gospel with him and pray for him.

In the beginning of our conversation I said, "Jeff, God kept you alive for a reason."

He said, "Well if he did I don't know what that reason would be."

I said, "Jeff, if you had died when they first brought you into the hospital, would you have been ready to meet God?"

He said (most emphatically), "No!"

I said, "Well, I think that might be your reason right there."

I left Jeff with some literature about the gospel, and he invited me to stop back and visit next week. I pray God grants him the gift of repentance.

This time, I left the hospital overwhelmed by the mercy and kindness of a great God who hears our prayers.

Post from December 16, 2011

I was able to visit Jeff one more time in July. On that visit, he was recovering from his illness and was moved out of ICU. We had just a short visit as his parents were visiting him at the same time, and I spent some time catching up with them as well. I stopped by a few days later and Jeff had been released from the hospital. I was told the doctors were calling it a "miracle recovery". I knew God had answered my prayer. He allowed Jeff another opportunity to hear the gospel message.

Last Sunday my brother told me Jeff was in the hospital again in a similar situation to the one he was in back in July. I stopped to see him on Monday (he was in the ICU), and he was unresponsive and not doing well physically. They had put him on life support. I stopped to see him on Tuesday and found much of his family in the room, saying their goodbyes. Jeff died on Tuesday evening, and I will be attending his funeral soon.

As God knew the outcome of Jeff's situation long before I did, I continue to praise Him for allowing Jeff the opportunity to hear the gospel again. I marvel at God's goodness to us and His faithfulness in answering prayer. May I never hesitate to share the gospel again (Oh, please Lord). Amen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Book of Acts Part 2

As mentioned before, our pastor at church recently started a sermon series on the book of Acts in the Bible (love the book of Acts!). I'll be sharing those sermons with you on a weekly basis. Click here to listen to the sermon or to download it so you can listen to it at another time. This week's sermon is from Acts 1:4-8 "The Necessity of the Holy Spirit in Christian Witness". Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 12/14/11

The Musings Book Club selection for December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose.

As I was reading through Chapter 5, the author was describing life in the Japanese prison camp. She explained that she was selected as a barracks leader and responsible for representing her barracks as go-between with the head of the camp and the camp commander.

I was particularly struck by the following paragraph:

"Immediately following evening roll call, everyone came to the front section of the barracks to hear the announcements and check the work schedule for the following day. The first night in our barracks, I established a practice that I believe was responsible for maintaining the high level of compassion and cooperation that existed in our small community. That night and every night, we invited everyone to remain while we read a portion of God's word and prayed. We were united by a recognition of a mutual need from within for help from One Who is greater than we. We faced a common enemy from without, and if we were to survive we had to function as a unit. The interpersonal barriers of language, race, and color became nonexistent, and an ever-increasing appreciation of one another enabled us to face with courage the common plights of most prisoners of war: suffering, hunger, deprivations of every kind, forced labor, bombings, disease, psychological pressures, death, and lonely graves. People from other barracks often joined us during the evening devotions. Throughout those very difficult years that tried our souls, but kept our barracks home center in the eye of the military storm that raged around us. There was a sharing, a concern, and a love that was unique. We struggled to preserve family feelings, to discover ways to lift morale, to encourage, comfort, and bear one another's insupportable burdens. I am convinced the harmony we experienced in barracks 8 was due to the spiritual shelter beneath which we all hid when there was no other refuge."


May this kind of commitment to God be said of each one of us when facing severe trials.

Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookie Baking News

It's a boy! We have another nephew. Rylar Gene Oseid made his appearance into the world on December 3, 2011. (Congratulations to Dan & Deena, Greg's brother and sister-in-law, Rylar's parents).

Rylar, we'll see you at Cookie Baking Night in about three years. We've reserved a spot for you.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Day With A Niece 12/10/11

Our niece, Emily, spent Saturday night with us. She came over to help me with a little Christmas "baking" project. I usually make candy mice at Christmas time and sell them to coworkers, friends, family and the like. This year I scaled back and took only one standing order for 10 boxes. Emily was very concerned that we also made enough for our family Christmas gathering (and a few boxes for her to give to her friends), so we did that together. We made a lot of mice and had a good time in the process. Emily's been making these candy mice with me since she was about 3 or 4 years old so she's an experienced candy maker and was a huge help to me.




Friday, December 9, 2011

Meaningful Christmas

Revive our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss recently aired a few helpful radio programs on "keeping Christmas more meaningful". Click here to listen to the first program in the series titled "How to Quiet Your Heart at Christmas". I find this women's ministry (Revive Our Hearts) very helpful and I found this particular radio series thought provoking. I recommend checking it out.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Book of Acts-Part 1

As mentioned before, our pastor at church recently started a sermon series on the book of Acts in the Bible (love the book of Acts!). I'll be sharing those sermons with you on a weekly basis. Click here to listen to the sermon or to download it so you can listen to it at another time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 12/07/11

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In God's providential timing, I am reading Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. Darlene and her husband, Russell, were missionaries in New Guinea when World War II started. I read chapters 1 through 3 this week, and the beginning of chapter 3 describes the scene when they first heard the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The author describes it this way: "A day that would live in infamy. America was now a participant in the global conflict." She then went on to describe and link together events from the past year that led up to that fatal day. It was fascinating to read about this historical event as told by one who was living through it. Darlene was in her early 20's when World War II started.

Chapters 1-3 were pre-war days and described Russell and Darlene's missionary work with the natives of New Guinea. The author's excitement for the work and love for the people of New Guinea is contagious.

I hope you're reading along. This is a hard book to put down. I look forward to reading your comments.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Day With A Niece 12/6/11


My niece, Meghan, spent the night at our house on Saturday, came to church with us on Sunday, and after church, she and I went to a "tea tasting" event downtown. (Meghan loves tea, and there were at least 100 different kinds to choose from). Above, she's pictured helping me wrap some homemade caramels (while you have them, put them to work, that's my motto).

She's 16 years old, has a job now, and is on the verge of getting her driver's license. Needless to say, spending time with her aunt is very low on the priority list. I enjoyed spending the day with her and will seize the opportunity when it presents itself again.

Always good conversation with Meghan. She's a thinker, and it's my prayer that she thinks long and thinks deep on who God is and what He wants for her.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 12/05/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily. She helped me create a version of the Baker's Square candy cane pie. I think we got pretty close with this one. It certainly was a good prototype, and we learned many things that will aid us in future attempts.





Most of our evening was spent making the pie (it had several layers and several steps), but we did spend some time reading Lesson 60 from Leading Little Ones To God by Marian Schoolland. The lesson tonight was titled "God's Children Think About God". Emily read the lesson, and I read Psalm 77:11-14 from the Bible.



As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Housekeeping

Just a few blog "housekeeping" items today:

  • Labels-I wanted to mention the "Labels" section of this blog (found on the bottom right hand side of the page). I label most blog entries with a word that describes what that particular post is about, i.e., Cookie Baking Night, Evangelism, etc. If you're looking for a post on a particular subject, you can go to the "Labels" section, click on the subject of interest, and it will bring up all the posts on that subject.
  • Book Club Wednesday-In 2012, I plan to read missionary biographies/autobiographies and blog about them on "Book Club Wednesday". I already have a few in mind, but would be interested in your input as well. If anyone has a missionary biography suggestion, please weigh in with your opinion in the comments section of this post.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Evangelism Focus 12/2/11


This year I've made up some "Christmas packs", and I'm handing them out while I run errands between now and Christmas time (restaurants, grocery stores, hair salon, etc.) Each pack contains a gospel tract, a couple pieces of candy, and a half sheet of paper with the following info:

"Peace on earth. Goodwill to men." That's a popular phrase this time of year. Do you know where it comes from? It comes from the Bible. Many people think of peace as the absence of conflict or the absence of fighting, but the peace spoken of int he Bible is much greater than that. "Peace on earth. Goodwill to men" refers to peace between you and God. It's the message the angels brought to the shepherds in the field the night Jesus was born on this earth. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:14. It's the message we proclaim when we sing that classic Christmas carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing ("Peace on earth and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled). Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born on this earth. He came here to provide us with the peace of reconciliation with God. That is why we celebrate Christmas.


I have provided two things for your today:

  • A treat (Merry Christmas! Enjoy!)
  • A gospel tract (my hope is that you will read the message in the tract and spend some time considering it today).

Merry Christmas and enjoy your day!

If you have an evangelism idea you use during Christmas time, please share it with me in the comments section of this post.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Book of Acts-Introduction

We attend Bible Baptist Church in Otsego, MN, and our Pastor (Doug Roman) has recently started a sermon series on the book of Acts. Love the book of Acts! I'm looking forward to hearing it preached on Sunday mornings for the next few months in our church. I'll be sharing the link with you as we go through it. Click here to listen to the podcast or to download it for future use. This first sermon is "An Introduction to the Book of Acts". Enjoy!

Cookie Baking Night 12/4/17

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Carissa, Allison, Rylar, and Enzo. Tonight was Rylar's birthday choice (he...