Monday, December 30, 2013

Katrina's Musings 12/30/13 (fear of forgetting)

During this past Christmas season I found myself very distracted by the busyness of the world. Consequently, I felt panicked and depressed and joyless for much of this year's season. I would have told you that I was focusing on the Lord because I had enough "Spiritual activities" mixed in there to make me feel that way, but my overall demeanor and mood was truly reflecting what was going on in my heart. I had abandoned reading my Bible and praying for Christmas shopping and event planning. As a result, I was not focused on the Lord.

About two weeks ago, I knew this turmoil was going on inside me, and I called a good friend to ask her to pray for me about it. In the absence of reaching her in person, I left voicemail messages for her describing what was going on and asking for prayer. She responded in kind. My friend reminded me that my state before God was not dependent upon my actions. God had not changed. God was the same today as He was yesterday. My condition before Him was not then nor had it ever been dependent upon my actions. I stand in relationship with God because of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for my sins. I am righteous before God because of His righteousness and not my own. She urged me to remember that and to read my Bible out of gratitude for that truth and not to miss the blessing of who God is by neglecting reading my Bible and praying to Him.

As I finished listening to my friend's messages, I was on my lunch break from work and had arrived at my destination. I hung up the phone and stepped out of the car. I was in the parking lot of a local grocery store. I immediately crossed paths with an elderly lady (approximately 80 yeas old) leaving the grocery store. She was being followed by a grocery store employee who was carrying her bags for her. Upon looking into this woman's eye's it was obvious what was happening at that moment. She didn't know where her car was parked. I spoke with her briefly as the grocery store attendant helped her hunt for her car. I assured her that forgetting where you parked your car happens to people all the time of varying age groups (myself in particular). But, I could see she wasn't comforted by my words because she had moved into feeling panicked. I could see the panic and fear in her eyes and it communicated much, much more than her words did. I could see all the lies and mixed messages that are in one's head when you give into the fear of forgetfulness. Irrational thoughts such as, "I will never find my car again." "I am doomed to live in this parking lot for the rest of my life." and "Everyone here knows where their car is, and everyone knows I forgot where mine is." I also saw real concerns in her eyes such as, "I can't believe I did that." "I have absolutely no recollection of where my car is parked, and I'm afraid."  and "Is this the beginning of losing my memory forever?"

After about 20 minutes passed and the pleasant elderly lady was reunited with her car and returned home, I was heading back to my car to return to work. As I did so, I realized that God had just given me a very real picture of what it looks like to forget what you know, to forget truth. The fear I saw in that woman's eyes was the fear and panic I was experiencing for the past several weeks. I was reminded of the many, many times God urges us in the Bible to "remember" ("write it down, tell it to your children, build an altar to remember what God has done for you, do not forget the LORD your God"). God knows we are a forgetful people. He knows the kind of fear that is produced by not remembering (and resting in) who He is.

I stared "the fear of forgetting" in the face that afternoon, and it was heartbreaking. Now, in the afterglow of once again remembering God's promises (and in gratitude for His faithfulness), I join with the psalmist and say,

"I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate."
Psalm 145:1-5

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 12/25/13

Merry Christmas from the Oseids!

May you know Christ and treasure Him as the greatest gift now and through the coming year. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Musings 12/23/13

Tonight on this Christmas Eve eve, Greg was out shopping with his brother (a tradition for them on Christmas Eve eve), so I stopped at a local fast food joint to grab a bite to eat before heading home. As I sat in the restaurant and ate my meal, Christmas music (loosely called so) was playing over the speakers. The song that was playing when I first sat down was of the "head banging" variety, loud, fast-paced with screaming lyrics. The lead singer was screaming (literally) the words "Merry Christmas to You! Merry Christmas to You! I hope you get everything you deserve this year!" (that was the chorus). As I listened to the song, I was struck by the reality that this particular song was everything that Christmas is not. It was loud and chaotic while Christ's entrance into this world was meek and mild. It spoke of getting what you deserve when Christmas is about the exact opposite. Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) entered this world in human form to give us what we do not deserve. We have broken every one of God's laws and sinned against Him in unfathomable ways, yet He offered us a way to have our sins forgiven, a way to be reconciled to Him through His Son.

Oh to hear the words of this song played over the loud speakers in the public square:

Who is He in yonder stall at whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress fasting in the wilderness?
Who is He the people bless for His words of gentleness?
Who is He to whom they bring all the sick and sorrowing?
Who is He who stands and weeps at the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng greet with loud triumphant song?
Lo at midnight who is He prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree dies in grief and agony?
Who is He that from the grave comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from His throne rules through all the world alone?

Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
Tis the Lord, the king of glory!
Humbly at his feet we fall
Crown Him, Crown Him Lord of all.

And to be reminded of Scripture like this: 

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:2-11

If you haven't already done so, I urge you to repent (turn from your sins) and believe (put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins and hope of eternal life).

Merry Christmas! May you not get everything you deserve this year (and because of the mercy of God, you don't have to).

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Musings12/21/13

If you're on this blog today because you received a "Christmas pack" (a little bag with candy, Christmas message, and a gospel tract) from me in a store or restaurant etc., please know you are invited to attend our Christmas service at Bible Baptist Church, Sunday December 22, 2013. Click here for church details. Hope to see you there.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cookie Baking Night 12/16/13

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Alli. We made Christmas Cookies tonight: One-Eyed Susans and Sugar Cookies with cream cheese frosting.

We interrupted our regularly scheduled chapter from Sammy and His Shepherd this evening to read from the Bible. We read passages about the birth of Jesus. We read from Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-14. 

The children also helped me put a few ornaments on our Christmas tree (as Greg and I hadn't completed decorating it yet). 

Ethan (at 10) is already taller than I am, so he was able to put some ornaments near the top of the tree.

This year, I finally completed a project I've had in the back of my mind for several years. I made ornaments for the tree that have Bible verses about Jesus on them. The children (Ethan and Carissa) took turns reading the Bible verses aloud, and then they (Ethan, Carissa, and Alli) would hang the ornament on the tree. 

The verses are as follows: 

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 

 He was in the world, and the world did not know him. He came to his own people And his own people did not receive him. John 1:10-11 

 For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

 She will bear a son, and you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21 

 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for he has visited us and redeemed His people and raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his 
 servant David. Luke 1:68-69 

 But made himself nothing taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:7 

 And being found in human form he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death even death on a cross. Philippians 2:8 

 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high Hebrews 1:3 

 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 

 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14 

 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 

 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14

This was our last Cookie Baking Night for 2013. We'll resume in the new year. As usual, a fun time was had by all. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Niece and Nephew Christmas Party 2013

Today was our 10th annual Niece and Nephew Christmas Party. In attendance this year: Kylie (14), Emily (13), Ethan (10), Carissa (8), and Alli (3). In Minnesota, you never know what winter will bring. Last weekend we had no snow, and it was about 40 degrees. Today, however, on the ground was a foot of snow we had received earlier in the week, and the temperature was a balmy -1 degree F (at noon). The temperature gave us a few moments of pause as our planned activity was a hay/sleigh ride at a local park/stables facility, but being the hearty Minnesotans that we are, we told the children to bundle up, canceled the scheduled campfire for after the sleigh ride, and proceeded with our plans.

First, we party at the Oseid home. Every year we participate in a few traditional activities, one of them being decorating a gingerbread cookie. This year, we decorated a cookie in the shape of a house. As you can see from the pictures below, each person (from the youngest to the oldest) has their own decorating style and motives (frosting). Personalities really come out during the cookie decorating activity. That's my favorite thing about it.

Kylie and Emily

Uncle Greg




Aunt Katrina 

This year, our time was split up a bit. We started the party at our house, ate some lunch and decorated cookies. Then off we went to Bunker Park Stables for our sleigh ride. 

A surprising fact about Minnesota in the winter time is that we have a lot of sunshine. Often, the coldest days of the year are the sunniest days (another reminder of God's common grace to us all). Today was no exception to that rule. Several layers of clothing, a few toe warmers and hand warmers placed in our boots and mittens, and the sunshine made this event quite tolerable, dare I say, even enjoyable. 

We took a lot of pictures, and Greg even shot a few videos. 

It was Alli's first Niece and Nephew Christmas Party and her first hay ride. She liked jumping off the back and running back to the sleigh to hop on (much with uncle Greg's help, of course). 

Ethan's favorite activity was also jumping off the back of the sleigh and then jumping back on. I think he might have spent more time off the sleigh than on.

In this next video, I had no idea Greg was shooting it (I thought he was taking pictures). Part of the hay ride route is to stop half way on the trail and allow the families to climb up a large hill and slide or roll down it if they like. Kylie was preparing to run and slide down the hill, and I was trying to teach Alli how to roll down the hill. It makes for a pretty funny little video. 

When I originally scheduled the hay ride (three weeks ago), I was told it was a very busy day at the stables, and I could have one of two slots still available, so I chose 12:30. After the hay ride today, Greg asked if they had many cancellations today, and the reply was, "Yep. Everyone but your group." When I heard that it suddenly made sense why when I arrived at the office to make the payment arrangements for the ride, I was greeted with the words "Ahh, the hearty group has arrived." The park worker also told us we were the first sleigh ride of the season (they use wheeled wagons until there's enough snow for a sleigh), and we were the first group to take out this brand new sleigh--a banner day for sure. 

After the sleigh ride, we headed back to our house for a lively round of the dice game for small prizes (a favorite activity every year), some snacks, and hot apple cider or hot chocolate. 

We love our nieces and nephews, and we're ever so grateful God allows us the opportunity to spend time with them. As usual, a fun time was had by all. 

Cookie Baking Night 06/25/18

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, and Enzo (Allison and Rylar were attending a birthday party els...