Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas in different languages!

French - Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année!

Han - Drin tsul zhit sho ahlay & Drin Cho zhit sho ahlay

Spanish - Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo

Vietnamese - Chuc Mung Giang Sinh - Chuc Mung Tan Nien
Malayan - Selamat Hari Natal
Aramaic - Edo bri'cho o rish d'shato brich'to!
Bulu - Duma e bo'o
Greek - Kala Christougenna Ki'eftihismenos O Kenourios Chronos
Iraqi - Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah

Japanese - Shinnen omedeto. Kurisumasu Omedeto

Korean Sung Tan Chuk Ha

Latin - Pax hominibus bonae voluntatis
Norweigan/Nynorsk - Eg ynskjer hermed Dykk alle ein God Jul og Godt Nyttår

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Father's Plumb Christmas Story

This Plumb Christmas story also comes from the "Beyond The Manger" by Don Johnson.
I hope you enjoy it.

The Father's Will
A widower and his son both had a taste for fine art. In fact they spent a good portion of their lives together traveling the world and collect master pieces. Their collection was said to be the envy of the world.
As time would have it war broke out and the old man's son was sent to fight for his country. The old man missed his son but was proud of the honors he received in battle. His son was as valiant a warrior as he had been an art collector.
One day the news came that his son while saving some men had lost his own life in battle. The old man was devastated. He was now truly alone. He soon lost interest in everything including the priceless works of art that adorned his household. No one could reach him. He sat heartbroken everyday mourning His son.
It was Christmas day and the old man sat where he always sat starring at the fireplace missing his son and giving up on life. A knock came at the door and the old man rose slowly and made his way to the door. There stood a young man with a package in his hand.

"Sir, I know you don't know me but I knew your son. In fact Sir, I am one of the men who owe him their lives. He saved mine sir the day he lost his."

The old man invited the young man in and together they shared a few memories about the man's son.

"Sir, your son and I would sit for hours talking about art. He told us about the great collection you have and about each adventure you went on to collect them. Sir, I am an art lover also and I painted you this portrait of your son." He held out the package.

Trembling the old man tore open the paper. The artwork was crude by the old man's standard but there in the portrait he did indeed see the face and character of his beloved son.

With tears falling down his face the old man pushed aside the great masterpiece that hung over the mantle and placed there the picture of his son. He thanked the young man and told him he would treasure it always.

Many years passed and the old man grew sick and died. Having no surviving family the art world was overjoyed. They knew that the old man's collection would have to be auctioned off.
According to the old man's will the auction would take place on Christmas day. The day he was given his greatest gift the picture of his son.

The auction house was packed. As the auctioneer got up to start the auction, he held up first the portrait of the old man's son. There was grumbling and no one offered a bid. No one wanted the picture of the old man's son! They wanted the master pieces!

The auctioneer finally explained that it was in the will that this piece be the first piece sold. Still no takers, in fact more complaints arose from the crowd. Hesitantly, a gentleman who was a neighbor of the old man offered all he had for it.....$10.

"Going once!"

"Going Twice!"


The auctioneer then announced that the auction was now over!

"There are millions of dollars worth of painting there!"
"How can it be over?"

"It states in the Father's will.....Whoever takes the son will get it all!"

Take Jesus this Christmas because just like this old man.....whoever takes the SON WILL ONE DAY GET IT ALL!

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Plumb Christmas Stories Episode #3

Hi Y'all!

Today's Plumb Christmas stories (Yes, there is more than one) are about Christmas through the eyes of Children and gifts from the heart.

The Golden Gift
One night as a spry little girl was busy trying to wrap a present, her dad came upon her and watched for a few minutes. He watched as she pulled out a little too much gold shiny paper and clumsily wrapped this box. Then to his surprise she actually pulled out more paper to cover this box. A little frustrated at the waste of paper he scolded her about the sloppy wrapping and wasted paper. Her lip quivered as she looked up at him and said, "But Daddy, this is your present and I wanted it to be beautiful." The Daddy now, a little heartbroken kissed her and sent her off to bed.
The next morning was Christmas and everyone was excited about opening their gifts. The little girl grabbed the golden present, wanting her dad to open it first. Her dad unwrapped the box and carefully opened the lid. His anticipation quickly turned to anger however, as he discovered that the box was empty. "Don't you know enough to put a present in a box! You don't give people empty boxes as a gift!" He yelled. The little girl cried. "But Daddy there is something in the box I blew kisses into the box until I thought it was filled! Are my kisses not a good present daddy?" The father's heart this time was not just broken, but then mended by the love of his little daughter. He put the box beside his bed and every time he thought of the little girl, he would reach in to pull out the greatest gift he had ever been given...a kiss of unconditional love.

It is not the gift, it is the love that is treasured at Christmas. God could care less if we give Him an empty box. In fact, I actually think He would prefer our empty hearts, so He could fill them with unconditional kisses of His grace and love!

10 days ago Zoie sang for the Billy Graham Library as a caroler along the outdoor carriage rides. She would start singing every time a carriage started down the drive in front of her station. Sometimes, the carriages would stop for a few seconds to hear her songs; while other times they would only wave and drive on. As one carriage stopped, a lady clapped and shouted a lot of encouragement. When the carriage started to pull away she reached into her pocket and threw something on the ground in front of Zoie. It was a dollar! We could not believe it!
Zoie sang for about another hour before we packed up to leave. We were headed to get something to eat, when Zoie from the back called for her dad's attention.
"Yes, Baby what is it?"
"Dad if I were to be honest...I need to tell you something. If I were to be honest...after that lady threw me the dollar, I sang more because I wanted more people to give me money than I did for God. That was wrong and I'm sorry."

We sat stunned. One, because what nine year old would even realize that singing more for the money would be wrong. Two, that That it bothered her enough to confess it.
Ladies if I were honest...I can't say that I would have realized it or confessed it!

Celebrating the joy of the season. Celebrating Jesus' birth should be about Jesus!
Not the gifts or parties or songs or entertainment. Those things are tools we use to celebrate! Oh how often do they become the end instead of the means to the end, which is praising and celebrating our Lord.

Please pray for Zoie today because she is on her way to the doctor for the second time in 4 days with an ear infection that doesn't seem to want to clear up.

We love you.
Only two more Plumb Christmas stories to go!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Plumb Christmas Stories #2

Hey Ladies,
Here is another Plumb Christmas Story. If you did not read my previous post please drop below and read it to understand why these Christmas stories are Plumb.

The Stupid Gift
Several years ago a Youth Minister's wife was struggling with the ministry her husband had chosen. The truth was she did not really like being around youth. It wasn't that she hated them...more like she just didn't get them. They were so self-centered, whinny, and could at times be very mean. Her frustration at this population would, on occasion, trickle over to being frustrated at her husband, whom she most of the time adored.
It was that way one Christmas. The youth were a little more challenging and seemed to be all about themselves even more than usual. The woman's husband had a plan, but as he shared it with his wife, she became critical and unenthusiastic. In fact, if she were to be honest she thought the whole idea was stupid.
The plan was to have the youth give a party for some kids who were needy, instead of having a party with gifts for each other. Sure enough, the plan was met with little to no enthusiasm by the youth; although the adult leaders (except for his wife) loved the idea. It was set.
After contacting a service ministry that helped the homeless and down and out, it was decided that everyone would draw the name of a child and buy them a pair of shoes.
"Shoes!" The youth minister's wife shouted. "What child at Christmas is going to want a pair of shoes? Why not toys or even a coat? Shoes? I don't get it! This party will probably bomb right in your face." Yes, She was a very supportive wife at that time....NOT!

The night of the party the church bus was packed with youth, adults, food and wrapped up packages of shoes. The children came into the shelter room and pounced on the food. "At least we did this right." Thought the youth minister's wife, still in a frustrated huff. Games were then played and carols sung. Everyone enjoyed the games and carols. "At least they had a good time." Thought the youth minister's wife feeling sad more than mad now. Her hard heart had begun to melt for these children and for the youth who were giving so generously from their hearts. She had never seen them so loving and eager to serve.
But now was the time to pass out the gifts. Oh how these children were going to be so disappointed. "SHOES! Only Shoes"
Each child's name was called and presents were tore into. With each opened package, came a strange sound. The youth minister's wife sat astonished and mystified. Each child screamed with delight at the shoes. Shouting, "My own Shoes!" "New Shoes and they are brand new!" "Wow! look ma! Shoes! Reeboks!"
The children were not disappointed the gifts were not toys! In fact, they were screaming with delight at the shoes! One little girl walked over to the youth minister's wife to show her her new shoes. " I'm going to sleep in these tonight! Are they really mine?" A youth boy had been standing beside the now broken wife. He picked up the little girl and said, "They are yours to keep. Jesus loves you and wanted us to get you new shoes." Tears fell down the youth minister wife's face and washed away the frustrations and prejudices she had against, not these homeless children, but the youth in her own church.

Many years have passed but I will never forget that night and how it broke my angry heart. There is not a Christmas that goes by where I don't think about those children, a gift of shoes, and self-centered me watching selfless youth give their all.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Plumb Christmas Stories

Hey Ladies,
Thanks so much for praying for my friend Bonnie. The type of cancer he has does not respond to chemo or radiation. Surgery is not an option at this time either. However, there is an experimental study going on at Harvard on a different drug. This drug has been successful with his type of melanoma. He will be doing some test to see if he qualifies for the study the first week in January. Please! Please! Please pray that he qualifies and that this treatment will be successful.

Every year, I make God a Christmas prayer list (not wish list) of things I would like to see happen during the next year. It is a simple list of only one or two things. When I was single, it was to meet the man God had for me. One thing that is always on the list is that this would be the year Jesus would come back. This year there are three things on my list.

Jesus may this be the year you return. I want to see your face and sit at your feet.

May our family follow You to the ministry positions You are preparing for us, without hesitation and with a full servant's heart passion.

May you heal Bonnie of this cancer and show our world that You are still the great physician.

Now, onto the Plumb Christmas Stories

From now until Christmas, I am hoping to post some of my favorite Plumb Christmas stories. I call them Plumb Christmas stories because they are straight, true and wholly. Which is part of Webster's definition of the word "plumb."

The first is called "The Christmas Gift" and is told on a CD called "Beyond The Manger" by Don Johnson the host of AfterGlow. The story is paraphrased by me for both time and space constraints.

The story teller recalls a Christmas as a young man, when his family was struggling financially along with the rest of the world. His mother had been struggling with her health and even standing was a chore not easily accomplished. His father's Christmas gift to her was a dishwasher. How could he afford such an expensive gift, at a time like that? He wrote a note and made a vow to wash the dishes...every one for one year. This was when real men didn't do housework. Yet, he loved his wife so much that this sacrifice of washing the dishes was the greatest and most loving gift he could give.

It made me think about the gifts I have given my husband over the years. I think I will write down a servant-vow-gift for him this year,and place it along with the others under our tree.

What servant-vow-gift could someone use from you this year?

God gave us His son! Not only for our salvation, but also for us to have abundant life here and for eternity.

Thank you Father Jehovah!

Love to you all.
Look for more Christmas Plumb Stories.


Friday, December 12, 2008

One Of My Favorite People

Hi Ladies,
Today I would like to honor one of my favorite people here on earth.
His name is Bonnie Watts. He has been my dad's best friend for over 40 years. Bonnie has also been like a dad to me.
He is a true man of God who loves His Lord Jesus dearly. It oozes out of him. You can not be near him long before you know where he stands and to who his devotion belongs.
He is one of the old breed of men. The kind that heroes are designed after. He is the kind of man, like my own dad, that as soon as they walk into a chaotic situation, people calm down. Not because of their physical strength, even though they are physically stronger than men half their age. It is because they have a commanding presence of peace and strength.
Bonnie is one of those men that whatever he decides to do he does right. God has blessed him in both business and friendships.
He never compromises his integrity or his faith values. I remember a time when he was offered a huge contract to be exclusive provider for a major business. It would be worth millions. The only problem was that Bonnie knew that if he took the deal it would close down one of his smaller competitors. He refused the deal. God smiled.
When I lived in Kentucky and would travel back home for a visit. I would often find gifts hidden in my car.

There was one time when I had to have some work done by a franchise car shop because, a part they had replaced in Kentucky was defective. Before I could leave town, I was instructed to drive to Bonnie's work place. He checked the work to make sure it was done right this time. He looked after me the same way he did his own daughter.

One Christmas, I was about a week out before coming home for Christmas. I got a call one morning that my dad was being rushed to Charlotte with heart issues. I was needed home immediately. As I made arrangements to come home, it dawned on me that I had no Christmas presents for anyone. Being single and in Seminary there was not a lot of extra money, so I made crafts for my family. I had the materials but no time to make them. In light of maybe losing my daddy, I pushed the thoughts of presents right out of my head. About that time, the doorbell rang. It was our mail carrier. She had a package for my roommate that would not fit into the box, so she brought our mail to the door. I absentmindedly thanked her and closed the door. As I was setting down the mail, I noticed one with my name on it. It was from my home church so I opened it. Out fell a check...a large check. It would not only cover my unexpected trip home but be enough to buy any gifts I would need. It was from Bonnie. God had him send money before any of us knew just how bad it was needed. God also sent that package for my roommate. If the mail had not been brought to our door, I would have missed it all together.

I am telling you about Bonnie because he needs your prayers. He has been diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive cancer. Please pray for him and his family. I can't believe that God is done with using him here on earth. I will pray for healing until the spirit directs otherwise. Please join me. He is my friend and I love him dearly.

Thank you for allowing me to share memories and joining me in this prayer battle for Bonnie's health.

Love Pamela

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Ogres

Did you know there is a Christmas Ogre?
No, I'm not talking about Shrek. Though he is sorta cute and has seemed to have made his way into the Christmas holiday traditions as much as the Grinch and Rudolph.

No, this ogre is mean and horrible. Worse than the Grinch. Worse than Scrooge. Bigger than Rudolph's abominable Snowman. Worse than the nuts out there trying to put up signs to quiet us Christians about Christmas!

This ogre is real. He tries to eat up and devour my joy. He is sneaky...I don't know he is there until it is too late. He may one day sneak up on me at the Christmas treat table...where he helps me eat too much of those goodies. The next day he is lurking about at the store, where I loose control and want to buy too much! Where is Dave Ramsey when you need him? That big ugly sneak (The ogre not Dave Ramsey) will even sneak up and steal my time with my family and friends. He steals it, by convincing me that it is my right for something. My right to be on time. My right to have nothing but joy at Christmas! (Where is that in the Christmas Bill Of Rights?)

The truth is this is sometimes a hard part of the year. For some, we will miss those not with us this year. For some we will not be able to provide the gifts we could last year. For some, it is a reminder of a toxic past. The song "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" is ringing as true this year as it did when it was written during the Civil War.

That old ogre loves to trick us into riding the "Bi-polar Express." Up the high hills of joy only to avalanche down into a hole of sadness the next minute.

However, I have found a way to slay this ogre. Yes, it helps to think of the true meaning of Christmas. But I found in my life, that although that wounds him deeply it doesn't slay him. He will come back. This year, I am going to focus not on the manger as much as I am the cross. Not the stable but the Savior.

God dwells in the praise of His people! So I will level off this Bi-polar Express by praising Jesus not the season.

This time of year we will all be let down by either family, friends or just plain ole disappointment.

The ogre can only exist when I focus on myself. He is slain every time I focus on Christ.

It's not about Christmas! It is about Jesus!

Think of Him and slay you a ogre!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I believe in Santa's Cause.

I believe in Santa's Cause.
Did ya get that? Read it again.
I believe in Santa's C-A-U-S-E CAUSE. I do not now nor have I ever believed in the fat, little, red-coated man with a beard and reindeer.

I do believe in Santa.

My belief in the true Santa started as a young child. My mom told us that the store "Santa" wasn't real. In fact she told us that the whole reindeer, North Pole story was just that...a fun story, to give a face to what we could not see. A fun story you could participate in at Christmas time. We would set cookies out and sure enough there were gifts left for us at the fireplace on Christmas morning. But we never said, "Thank You Santa." We said, "Thank You Jesus! Happy Birthday!"

The real Santa was much more special than a fun made-up story. We knew, the real Santa was not a man: more of an idea or CAUSE rather than Clause. The real Santa could only celebrate the true meaning of Christmas...JESUS. Since it was Jesus birthday and you couldn't actually hand him a present. Santa's CAUSE was to give Jesus a present. Jesus' present was to watch all His children open their presents on Christmas morning. Somehow, no matter how financially dismal things were for us at times, Santa's Cause made that happen. It might be that "impossible to find toy" that my sister or I just had to have, that mom and dad found at the last minute. It might be that the budgeted money went just a little further than common sense one year. It might be that the thing I wished for, but didn't dare ask for, that was my surprise that Christmas morn.
Sometimes it was as simple as my favorite candy hidden in the tip of the toe of my stocking. For me, one thing I looked forward to was getting my tangerines. I was deathly allergic to oranges, so I got tangerines.

What I remember most about Santa, and still know today, is that for our family...Santa only points to Christ!

As I got older and realized that my parents were Santa's arms and legs, I was not disappointed! In fact, I came to a greater knowledge of Christ. Are we not His arms and legs? I'm not saying Santa is Christ, but I do get the analogy very well. I too began experiencing being Santa's Cause to my parents. It was fun finding that special present, rather than just a brush for mom and a tie for dad. Giving gifts took on a whole new meaning at Christmas. These were not just gifts I had to give my family at Christmas; they were birthday presents from Jesus! I pray hard about each present and ask God to help me choose wisely and with Santa's Cause in mind.

For me, I still believe. And if I could whisper this little secret to you....

Shhh...I believe with all my heart that one day, in Heaven, as I'm being introduced to everyone in my hot pink pumps...I'll meet and shake the hand of a being named Santa!

What about you? I know many would not agree with me and that is OK. This post is not meant to start an argument on the right or wrong of Santa. It is meant to tell you what my family believes most of all. Christmas is about Christ!

But my last word is..... that is SANTA'S CAUSE!

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Thermometer Of Faith

Hey Y'all!

Are you stuffed with Turkey and cranberry sauce? Can you ever eat enough cranberry sauce? I bet you now know what my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is...the cranberry sauce! But the candied sweet tators come in a close second.

We had a eventful but amazing Thanksgiving trip. We left Tuesday night about 7:00 and drove about 5 hours before stopping for the night. It was late so we all three quickly snuggled down for the night in our big king size bed. Sometime in the night, Zoie crawled out of bed and went to the bathroom. Since we are all sharing a bed and I'm the mom, I of course woke up. She took a while and just when in my half awake state I begin to wonder if my nine year old had snuck down to the lobby for her dad a morning surprise coffee (she would never do this by the way...I did say I was half asleep.) She crawled back in bed saying her legs hurt. I reached over and pulled her into a snuggle....and jumped straight up out of bed.

"Zoie, do you feel bad baby?"
"Yes, Mama but I don't have a fever!"
" Yes! You do! Mike! Wake up...She's burning up! Where's the Motrin? I know I packed it. Oh, thank you God, I remembered to pack it! Oh no! I didn't remember the dispenser cup! I don't know how much to give her! Let me see if I can find something?"

As I am running around the motel room looking for a spoon or something I could measure out the medicine in, Zoie is crying. Mike is holding her and trying to console her.

"I can't have a fever! I want to go to Nana's."
"Did you pack the thermometer?"
"NO! I forgot that too!"

I found a empty plastic water cup and turned it caddy-cornered and poured in the Motrin into the corner of the cup doing a mother's best guess at what two teaspoons might be.

I grabbed another cup and put some water in it and gave her the medicine with a water chaser. She would have rather had sweet tea but you do with what you got! We then went back to bed.

Zoie went to sleep. Mike went to sleep. I worried and kept touching her belly all night. At one point, She was burning up again and sweating at the same time. I took this as as a good sign. Her fever was breaking.

What should we do? How high had that fever been. It felt like it was when she had the flu. What if it is the flu? We can't take it to Louisiana. Does she need antibiotics? She said her neck hurt, could it be Spinal meningitis? the enemy loves to make us moms worry! The night was a terrible battle with no peace and no answers. I prayed for wisdom and fought off irrational worry. (If I hadn't battled it we would have spent the night in the emergency room.)

The next morning, no fever. She still did not feel well but no fever. We still did not know if we should head on or head back. We asked the front desk clerk if there was a drug store near-by. I needed a thermometer. I did not trust my hand. I needed to know what her exact temperature was...right now! So we left and drove to a drugstore and plopped the newly bought thermometer right into her mouth. Normal! We decided to go on.

Our whole direction depended on that little thermometer's reading. It did for the rest of the trip. Our faith and guidance was wrapped up in that little black digital reading and tiny beeps.

It made me think...If I received so much peace out of a little stick that measures temperature...what peace should I receive from God's word? I honestly had put more faith in that thermometer, than I had in the plans I had already believed was God's for our trip.

While worrying and pleading/praying the night before, I had asked God to take away the fever so we could go on and not turn back. Why had I not trusted my own judgement or hand to tell that the next morning. No, I needed the thermometer to tell me it was OK to go on.

Now that thermometer, is a reminder for me to trust. I don't need man's devices to tell me what I should do. I just need to trust the great hand of God when I can't tell what the temperature is and what I should do.

We had a fantastic time and Zoie stayed well. She was achy at times and more tired. But happy and well. God blessed our trip.

I hope yours was as wonderful but not as eventful!

I love you all!