Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Will You Marry Me?"

A year ago Christmas Eve my husband proposed to me here in Florida. I meant to post this on Christmas Eve but ran out of time. So here it is a few days later. Needless to say, I was very surprised! He was so patient with me through my entire dramatic reaction. He is still patient with me. I had no idea he was coming and I usually can figure out surprises. This time I was totally shocked, if you couldn't tell by my relentless screaming. Hope you enjoy the video!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Reissigs! We are settling in after a long day of fellowship, food, and presents. But as the day comes to a close, I don't want to forget that Christ will one day come to earth again. This is good news. Below are the lyrics to one of my favorite Christmas songs. The words bring me to tears every time.

In the first light of a new day
No one knew He had arrived
Things continued as they had been
While a new born softly cried.

But the heavens wrapped in wonder
Knew the meaning of His birth
In the weakness of a baby
They knew God had come to earth.

As His mother held him closely,
It was hard to understand
That her baby not yet speaking
Was the Word of God to man.

He would tell them of His kingdom,
But their hearts would not believe
They would hate Him and in anger
They would nail Him to a tree.

But the sadness would be broken
As the song of life arose
And the first born of creation
Would ascend and take his throne.

He had left it to redeem us,
But before His life began
He knew He´d come back not as a baby
But as the Lord of every man.

Hear the angels as they´re singing
On the morning of His birth
But how much greater will our song be
When He comes again
When He comes again

Hear the angels as they´re singing
On the morning of His birth
But how much greater will our song be
When He comes again to Earth

When He comes to rule the Earth!

Glory to the newborn King! Praying that you are trusting in this precious and glorious King today and always. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Genealogy of Jesus

Have you ever wondered why certain women are in the genealogy of Jesus? Have you ever been surprised when you go back and read their stories? On Friday, I came across a post at the Christianity Today Women’s blog that caught my attention. The initial post was not about Christ’s genealogy per se, but it was about the truth regarding Mary’s shame over her pregnancy. The author seeks to argue that Mary was not shrouded with illegitimacy claims for the remainder of her life because of the nature of her betrothal to Joseph. In other words, she was not considered an unwed mother. What struck me most were the last few paragraphs that served as a rationale for why Mary was not stuck with the scarlet letter of adultery for the rest of her life.

"Finally, some argue that Matthew is emphasizing Mary’s marginality by highlighting four immoral women in Jesus’ genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (called the wife of Uriah the Hittite) (see Matt. 1:2-17). However, it is arguable that all four have histories of faithfulness in the face of troubles. Tamar is credited with doing the right thing in holding her father-in-law to account for failing to look after her. Ruth is repeatedly praised for her obedience to her mother-in-law and to Boaz. Bathsheba was taken from her home by King David, and the text places no blame on her for his misdeed. Only Rahab is identified as a prostitute, but in saving the Hebrew spies and siding with Israel, she redeemed herself and her family — she is a heroine of the story. It remains unclear to me what motivated Matthew to compose his genealogy as he did, but we can rule out the suggestion that the list reinforced Mary’s suspected sexual impropriety."

In all of these cases the text is silent regarding their actions. The Bible doesn’t explicitly say, “and Tamar committed sin by sleeping with her father-in-law.” We know enough to understand that God does not approve of adultery and deception. But God used the line of Judah to bring the Christ into the world. The Bible also doesn’t explicitly condemn Bathsheba for committing adultery (and we also aren’t told if she is forced into it or not). But we are not told exactly that there is no blame placed on her. Again, God used her son, Solomon, to carry on the line of David.

The thing that is so sad about this statement is that it implies that God used only obedient women to bring about his purposes. What hope is there for the Tamar, Bathsheba, and Ruth of today if they were not really what the text says they were? If what this author is saying is true, there is certainly no hope for me?

The reality is we can look at Bathsheba and Tamar and say that yes, they committed sexual sin, but God redeemed their lives and their families in the most amazing way—Messiah would come through them. The circumstances and family line surrounding the birth of our Christ were so unlikely, and so not king-like. But that is the beauty of it all. It’s our story, too. We are the Bathsheba’s, Tamar’s, Rahab’s, and Ruth’s. We were all once Gentiles, sinners, immoral, and outside of God’s family. But he redeemed us, just like he redeemed them.

The great part about their stories is not that they were faithful in the middle of trouble, but that God can, and does, redeem awful people for his glory. God chooses the unlikely to bear his name, so his grace and salvation is made much of. This is the Christmas story, and it is our story too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Preparing My Heart for Christmas Part 2

One of the great things about the book I am reading during Advent is that I gain new perspectives on Christmas. I think about it in a different way, or see it from another angle, and am changed and encouraged. Martyn Lloyd-Jones chapter was so helpful in preparing my heart and mind for Christmas. Listen to what he says:

“What God did when he sent his Son into the world is an absolute guarantee that he will do everything he has ever promised to do. Loot at it in a personal sense: ‘All things for together for good to them that love God’—that is a promise—‘to them who are the called according to his purpose’ (Rom. 8:28). ‘But how can I know that is true for me?’ asks someone. The answer is the incarnation. God has given the final proof that all his promises are sure, that he is faithful to everything he has ever said. So that promise is sure for you. Whatever your state or condition may be, whatever may happen to you, he has said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee’ (Heb. 13:5)—and he will not. He has said so, and we have absolute proof that he fulfills his promises. He does not always do it immediately in the way we think. No, no! But he does it! And he will never fail to do it.”

—taken from Come Thou Long Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace of Promise of Christmas

As I prepare my heart for Christmas, I want to reflect on the fact that this day is a celebration of the greatest promise ever made and kept. All of God’s promises find their “yes” in Jesus Christ. And it started in the manger.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Micah

Today my youngest brother turns 20. It's really hard to believe he is already 20. I remember going to the hospital with my dad and two brothers to visit him and my mom, and now here he is turning 20. I have so enjoyed watching him grow into a man these last 20 years. I value his opinion, appreciate his friendship, and admire his walk with the Lord. He is a great brother and I am so thankful for him. He also makes us laugh, a ton. We like that about him, too.

Happy Birthday, Micah. We love you!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Life of Peter

The Apostle Peter’s life has always fascinated me. Maybe it’s because I can relate to the whole “foot in the mouth” moment a little too much. The thing that strikes me most in Peter’s life is how broken he was in the moment following his denial. I can’t imagine the sorrow he felt after repeated denials. Wait. Yes, I can. Maybe I am drawn to Peter’s story because it is my story too. I have not seen the actual face of the Savior look over at me in the moments of my denial, but he was there. And I felt his presence.

I would imagine that Peter never got over that moment. It was a defining moment for him. It changed him. Maybe he knew what happened to Judas and knew that Judas’ remorse led to death. But Peter had another way. One of the most comforting passages to me is when Jesus says to Peter in Luke 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

The only difference between Judas and Peter is Jesus, and only Jesus. The only difference between any person who denies Christ and me is Jesus. God can take a brash, impulsive, cowardice man and turn his tongue and will for good. And he did.

I’m sure Peter never forgot that night around the fire. He was always mindful of his sin—but he was always mindful of his Savior, too. He knew it was Jesus keeping him that dark and sorrowful night, and he knew that Jesus was keeping him until the end. When Jesus makes a promise, he keeps it. This is reason to be thankful.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Specials on TV

Growing up we watched a lot of the Christmas specials that came on TV. I don't care how many times I have watched Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, I will still plop down on the couch and watch it (and quote it) whenever it is on. As my life has gotten busier I have found it really hard to know when certain specials are on TV this time of year. Thankfully has done the work for me. The have put together a Christmas TV Guide that is so very helpful. And being the crazy scheduler that I am, I have printed this off, circled the ones I wanted to watch, and put it up on the refrigerator. I have also added it to my Favorites. Call me crazy, but I don't want to miss A Charlie Brown Christmas one more year. Now I don't have to!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Christmas Craft

I am trying to learn to be crafty and so last year, right after we got engaged, I bought cheap stockings on sale in hopes that I could muster up enough craftiness to put our names on them this year. I know. It sounds like such a small task, but if you knew my lack of craftiness, you would be proud of any attempts at it. Let's just say I am no Martha Stewart.

Growing up our stockings had our names on them in glitter. My mom used glue and glitter to make our stockings unique and special. This was a tradition we decided to carry on into our family. So the minute we got home from our trip last week I got to work putting our name on our stockings. I was so excited to hang them and decorate our apartment that I couldn't wait until later this week. The above picture is my finished product. They are proudly hanging in our living room, just waiting for presents to go in them!

The State of the American Woman

In October Time Magazine came out with a cover story on The State of the American Woman. CBMW responded in the initial weeks following the story. You can watch the full response video here.

Today they put up a blog post I wrote about the stories of the woman profiled in the issue. My main point was that womanhood as God defines it is not a cultural construct that shifts with cultural expectations. It is defined by God and it is unchanging.

Here is an excerpt from the end:

The hope for the American woman is not better pay, more career opportunities, perceived equality, or even a well-kept home and family. It is in Jesus Christ alone and in his plan for his people. We don’t believe in womanhood because we just think men should be the “dominant” ones. We believe in womanhood because God said that is what we are. And that is what we must be and teach.

You can read the entire post here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Preparing My Heart for Christmas

As I move into the Christmas season I decided to pick up my copy of Nancy Guthrie’s Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus. It is a book of Advent readings from various Christian pastors and theologians designed to prepare us for the birth of Christ. I read it last year and decided to make it a tradition. So I am starting year number two of reading the book. But this year I am reading one a day (or so) hoping that God will use this to quiet my heart as I prepare to celebrate the birth of my Savior. I leave you with a quote from the first chapter, an excerpt by George Whitfield called “Contemplating Christmas”:

Did Jesus come into the world to save us from death, and shall we spend no part of our time in conversing about our dear Jesus; shall we pay no regard to the birth of him who came to redeem us from the worst of slavery, from that of sin, and the devil; and shall this Jesus not only be born on our account, but likewise die in our stead, and yet shall we be unmindful of him? Shall we spend our time in those things which are offensive to him? Shall we not rather do all we can to promote his glory and act according to his command?

O be not so ungrateful to him who has been so kind to you! What could the Lord Jesus Christ have done for you more than he has? Then do no abuse his mercy, but let your time be spent thinking and talking of the love of Jesus, who was incarnate for us, who was born of a woman, and made under the law, to redeem us from the wrath to come.

-George Whitfield