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Focus On These Things

I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13

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This past Sunday we finished up a sermon series on the book of Philippians, focussing on chapter 4.  The verse above is a portion of that chapter, though the whole section is beautiful (read it!).  Paul is writing this letter from a Roman prison and yet his words aren’t of despair but of joy, hope and encouragement.

The Thanksgiving Holiday is a beautiful time of reflecting on being thankful for the blessings that surround us.  It leads us to conversations about contentment and what it means to be satisfied.  It is somewhat ironic that on a holiday that is supposed to be a celebration of our contentment, our thankfulness, we stuff our stomachs beyond comfort and scour sales adds for the greatest bargains of things we want but probably don’t need.  Perhaps this is our idea of being thankful- we are grateful for the abundance and for having means to get more, but that is not the secret that Paul is talking about in his letter.  Paul says he has the secret to contentment and that it does not lie in what we have or possess but it is found in God.  God is near and God provides us the strength we need to get through even life’s toughest circumstances: imprisonment, sickness, the death of someone we love, rocky relationships, the dullness of routine, loneliness… the list goes on.  

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There is Only One Levi

“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Psalm 139: 13-14a

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I am just returning from 8 weeks of maternity leave, I am humbled and blessed to be the mother of another little boy.  The last 8 weeks have been wonderful and exhausting at the same time.  There are moments that pass and I can’t recall what took place (perhaps that is the sleep deprivation), there are moments that can’t pass quickly enough as all three boys are screaming for a variety of reasons, and there are moments where time seems to stop as I look at the face of this little person and it all becomes clear.

One of the natural questions for others to ask as they meet our baby for the first time is “Who do you think he looks like?”  Does he resemble Brandon or me, does he look more like his brothers Micah or Graham?  I have never been very good at that.  Then yesterday as I was laying on the floor with Levi and soaking in the few minutes of smiles and giggles before sleep set in again, I had one of those moments when time stopped and clarity came: he is Levi.  The ONLY Levi. The awe set in. 

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