Friday, December 21, 2007

The Best Gift of All

Have you ever been excited to give someone a present? Ever anticipated seeing their face when they open it? There have been several presents over the years I've been excited to give (maybe even more excited than the person I've given them to!). I remember when we were first married, money was tight. I had left Channel 16 and they were suing me. I was using every bit of money I had to pay the attorney. During that year, I was working 4 part-time jobs but I was able to tuck away $20 here and there to prepare for Christmas. Someone had given me a tip that my husband wanted a new set of golf clubs but would never ask for them. After doing some shopping and sneaking around, I bought a set of new Callaway Golf Clubs for $700 and hid them. I couldn't wait until Christmas because I wanted to see his face when he opened the box. I was more excited about seeing his reaction and the smile on his face. Sure enough, his reaction didn't disappoint me. In my opinion, that was a great gift!

Over the last few weeks, I've been reminded about how God must've felt in sending Jesus to earth as a baby. I wondered, "Was God excited? Was He peeking around the corner waiting and watching for our reaction? Did God wonder if we would like His gift?"

What makes giving a gift special? When I gave the golf clubs to my husband, my gift was special because times were tough financially and it was a sacrifice on my part. Did God the Father feel that way? Think about it...He had one Son to give...that's it. God knew His Son would bring you much joy and comfort. God knew His Son would save you from your sins so you could have eternal life. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life." You don't give special, sacrificial gifts to someone you don't love. What a waste of your time and effort! But you'll give whatever you can afford to someone you love dearly.

See God's gift for what is it--sacrificial, one-of-a-kind, full of love and adoration. And just imagine God peeking around the corner of your life to see how you react to His gift!

Merry Christmas!

(I'll return on January 2, 2008.)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What About the Baby Jesus?

There is a commercial running on WLBT which shows a home all decked out for Christmas. The sister is rushing around getting ready for a Christmas party; the father is busy working on his palm pilot; and the mother is yelling at them about getting the presents wrapped and her casserole out of the oven. The camera then shows the little brother sitting on the floor asking, "What about the baby Jesus?" When that commercial came on the other day, Gracie was sitting beside me. I noticed her face and her eyes filled up with tears. "They forgot about baby Jesus, mom. You can't forget about baby Jesus and his manger friends at Christmas!" This commercial obviously caused her concern.

How true it is. This is a busy time of year and if we aren't vigilant, we will forget about the baby Jesus. The sad fact is, most people want to keep Jesus as a baby in the manger. They don't let him grow up. They don't see him for the Savior he is. They don't see him as God in the flesh. They don't see him as coming to die on the cross for their sins. They don't let baby Jesus ever get out of the manger in their life.

For me, the baby Jesus signifies hope. Romans 15:4 says, "Everything that was written in the past was written to teach me, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures I might have hope."

If we don't slow down and take it all in, we will totally miss the "Christ" in Christmas. We will totally miss the whole purpose for God sending His Son.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

God's Favorite Things To Say

Who doesn't love a surprise? Gracie has this game she plays---she goes to get something from my bathroom drawer or my jewelry box, she puts it in tissue paper, then brings it to me. "I have something for you, mommy....Surprise!" Of course, the object of the game is for me to act surprised and not point out that the item is something that was already mine.

I think of God as having two favorite sayings:
"Surprise!" and
"My grace is sufficient for you!"

Think back on some of the people in the Bible to whom God said "surprise" to: Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Job, Ester, Mary, David, Paul...the list goes on and on. Sure, it probably wasn't the surprise they wanted as they probably saw it as adversity or trials God was allowing to come their way. But God always walked through every trial with them and comforted them. You can almost hear Him say, "My grace is sufficient for YOU!"

So has God said "surprise!" to you lately and completely caught you off guard with a new challenge? You may not think of it as a present right now or a pleasant experience (then again, it may be), but remember...His grace is sufficient to get you through it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stealing From The Children

I don't always blog about the news, but a story yesterday struck a nerve with me. For those of you who live in this area, you are probably aware of the miraculous work the Magnolia Speech School does. Magnolia is a K-8 school which specializes in teaching children who have severe language disorders and those who are deaf. It has a budget of 2 million dollars per year and is run strictly off tuition (which many parents cannot pay) and donations. I know this because I am on the board of directors for the Magnolia Speech School. Over the weekend, their air conditioning and heating units were stripped and destroyed by thieves who stole the copper on the units. No one noticed it until they couldn't get the heat on before the children showed up for school yesterday morning. The damage to the units, fence and other parts of the building are estimated to cost $100,000. There is hope that insurance will cover a portion, if not all, of the repairs. However, if you've had any dealings with insurance companies lately, you don't always get what you pay premiums for.

Magnolia is special to me because my grandmother is deaf and has been since she was 11 years old. She had a horrific case of the flu and the fever she incurred burned the nerves in her ears. She has never heard a word since. The deaf and those with language disorders are a group of people who get left out of our society. It is a quiet existence for them.

Parents from all over the country bring their children to Magnolia Speech School. It is a one-of-a-kind school, which does not teach sign language. The goal is to mainstream these students into public and private schools at a certain age and to become productive citizens who function at the same rate as any other person born on this earth. As a board member, I've seen it happen over and over again and I stand amazed at what those teachers can do.

Stealing is an abomination to God; stealing from a ministry who serves children is even worse in my opinion. Pray for the person(s) who did this; pray for school as it tries to move forward and that it would find favor with the insurance company; pray for people to step forward to help remedy the damage; and pray for the children who don't understand why they are so cold.

If you are interested in watching a video of the story WLBT ran Monday night, click here:

http://www.wlbt.com/global/story.asp?s=7507956

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fear Not

I love the childrens programs this time of the year. There are always plenty of children to act out the roles of shepherds, wise men, sheep, cattle, Mary & Joseph...and don't forget the angels. Gracie played an angel in our church program a few weeks ago and had more fun with the costume than should be allowed. She really thought once she put the wings on, she was immediately transformed to an angelic state of mind. When I asked her what did the angels say when Jesus was born, I thought she would say something like "Glory to God" or "Jesus is born"; something like that. But the thing that stuck out in her mind the angels said was "Fear not!".

Have you ever noticed when God had good news to give to someone, He sent His angels to proclaim "Fear not"? Obviously, seeing an angel was enough to bring anyone to their knees, but God wanted to let it be known He had good news to share in the middle of adversity. When Mary was told she would bear God's Son, the angel told her "Fear not" (Luke 1:30); when the shepherds saw the star announcing Jesus' birth, the angel told them "Fear not" (Luke 2:10); when Isaiah learned of the job he had before him in being a helper to Israel, he was told "Do not fear" (Isaiah 41:10). In all of these examples, as well as many others, I noticed God always had a plan to deliver the person He was talking to. He didn't make them shake in their boots for nothing! God wanted them to know that He understood their concern and their anxiety, but He would see them through it all.

Hebrews 13:5-6 says it best, "God Himself has said He will not in way fail me nor give me up not leave me without support. He will not in any degree leave me helpless nor forsake me let me down. So I take comfort and am encouraged and confidently and boldly say, 'The Lord is my Helper. I will not be seized with alarm.'"

Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy Birthday Will!

Today is a special day in the Bassett home--it is Will's 2nd birthday. It seems like yesterday when my water broke just minutes before the 5pm newscast. Will was breech so we had a scheduled c-section date planned, however Will didn't know that. All I could think was "I can't have this baby right here! He's not turned right!" Not to mention, I didn't want Bert Case to be the one to delivery him! (For all of you out-of-staters, Bert is our 5pm news anchor--a legend newsman in these parts). I drove myself to the emergency room while fighting the contractions and the plans that were put in place to do a c-section a few days later were sped up to do the procedure right then. Over the last 2 years, things haven't always gone as planned, but we've had more fun with this little boy. I've laughed more times than I begin to count; and cried over a few broken items. Boys are definitely different than little girls. So today, I'm taking off to be with my children and to enjoy this time which appears to be flying by now more than ever.

I'll leave you with the scripture the Lord put on my heart when I found out we were expecting Will. Zephaniah 3:17, "The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Dance

The other night, 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' was on. One of my favorite characters in the whole cartoon series is Snoopy. What makes Snoopy so unique is that he shows his joy. Have you ever seen his Snoopy dance? His feet go 90 miles an hour, his paws are up in the air, he tilts his head back and his ears flop all around him. Snoopy knows how to rejoice.

Several years ago, my husband bought me a car for Christmas. It was the car I had always wanted and the one I still have today. He gave me a box to open and at the bottom of the box was a set of keys. He escorted me outside, lifted up the garage door and there it was! He claims I did a 'Snoopy dance' right there on the driveway and says the neighbors watched it all (I don't remember such an event).

Psalm 30:11 says, "Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness." Rejoicing is a demonstration of our faith in God. The Lord is turning things around for our good. If you don't rejoice through your circumstances, Satan will think he's winning.

The next time something happens you're not expecting or when you find yourself down and out about a situation, do a 'Snoopy dance'--rejoice in the Lord! Act like you are winning in Christ!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Inconvenient Truth

I traveled to Utica last Sunday to sing at Utica Baptist Church. My good friends and pastor of the church, Ben and Laura Leigh James, always ask me to come sing for their church about this time of the year. I took the children with me and had loaded them back in the car, said our good-byes, and headed back home. Sunday was going to be a busy one with our Christmas program Gracie was to be in that night and other things we needed to do, so my mind was focused on the day ahead. Just as I was about to leave the town, one of Utica's finest pulled me over. "Why is the police car behind you, mommy? He has his lights on!" Gracie said.

The officer approached my car, looked at my license and said, "Ma'am, I clocked you doing 40 in a 35 mile per hour zone." I admitted I wasn't from that town and didn't see the sign; my mind was somewhere else. He looked at my license and said, "You're a long way from home. What brings you to Utica?" I explained I had just sang at the church and was heading home with my children. "I'm sorry I missed that," he said. So I took the liberty to say, "Well, I'm sure the church would love to have you come visit next time you're off work." The officer smiled and said, "I'll do that. Be careful and slow down." (Whew! No ticket....this time!)

I pleaded ignorant because I truly was. It was my fault I was speeding, if even it was just a few miles over the speed limit. Romans 2:8 says, "God will pour out his wrath and anger on those who live for themselves." There may be some verses in the Bible that we don't fully comprehend, but this one is straight forward. If we are not serving others, doing only what is convenient for us, God makes it very clear how He feels---a verse we won't be able to plead ignorant to because we didn't understand what the scripture was saying.

A speeding ticket would surely have been an inconvenience and ding on my driving record. Will you serve someone else today, even if it isn't convenient for you? Or will you plead ignorant to God's Word?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Viewer Phone Calls

(In my best soap opera announcer's voice) And now..it's time for another episode of "Viewer Phone Calls"......

Caller # 1:

Hi Barbie. I've been watching you for the last few weeks and I had a question. Are you having:
A. Twins
B. Triplets
C. Quadruplets, or
D. One big 20 pound baby?
Please tells us on TV and I'll be watching.

Caller # 2:

Hey Barbie. My sister and I have a bet going on and we need you to settle it. We were wondering how far along you are? I said you are due in April, but my sister said you are due any day now. I told her when you have as many kids as you have, you just get fat alot quicker. I keep trying to tell her that you're going to get much fatter before it's over, but hopefully you won't stay fat after the baby is born. So if you can, please call me back and settle this!

(Can I roll my eyes here?)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Seeing Things at Eye Level

I traveled to Osyka Saturday to be in their Christmas parade. While I was gone, my husband and children put up the Christmas tree we bought earlier in the day. When I got home that night, Gracie insisted she and Will help put on the ornaments. Of course I was hesitant because I have beautiful glass and glittered Christmas balls as ornaments and I didn't want any to break. But I conceded and let them "help" put on the ornaments. When we finished the tree, we noticed all of the ornaments they put on were 2 feet up the tree or lower, hanging all along the bottom of the tree. I guess when you're not very tall, you put everything at eye-level! They helped alright...they just put ornaments where they could reach them.

It is hard for us to see the big picture in life sometimes. We see only what is in front of us at the time. Psalm 94:9 says, "Does He who formed the eye not see? Does He who formed the eye not see?" The writer of this chapter is reminding himself that although he may not see and hear the future, God does and the writer is trying to muster up some faith through his circumstances.

Although we may not see the big picture now and not understand where God is leading and going with our situation, God does. He sees it all, He hears it all; He is in control.

When the kids became distracted and started playing with the nativity scene, my husband and I quickly grabbed the "low" ornaments and gave them a new home on the Christmas tree. Isn't that what God does? He takes the things we see and spreads His plan out to make a full picture of the type of person He is making us to be.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Jehoshaphat's Story

For the last couple of months, I've been reading 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles. Talk about mind blowing! These books in the Bible are all about genealogy, the various kings that ruled and their reputations, and the numerous battles that took place. Even muddling through the different accounts of it all and wondering "where is this going?", I found a chapter I could identify with. It is the story of Jehoshaphat and his rule as king of Judah.

Someone breaks the news to Jehoshaphat that the Moabites and Ammonites are heading his way to go to war with him. He is alarmed and declares a fast for all of Judah. Everyone came together and prayed to ask God for help. They all gathered in the temple courtyard and Jehoshaphat prayed in front of all of them so they could all hear his plea with God. His prayer starts in 2 Chronicles 20:6. In verse 12, he prays, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." If you read the rest of the chapter, you'll see where the battle ensues and the Moabites and Ammonites were defeated. But the interesting part is, they were not defeated by Jehoshaphat's army--another group of people from Mount Seir (who had initially joined in the battle to invade Judah along with the Moabites and Ammonites) rose up against them and defeated them. In fact, the Bible says in verse 23, "they helped to destroy one another."

Sometimes we find ourselves in Jehoshaphat's shoes--we have a battle before us and we don't know what to do. But if we keep our eyes fixed on God, God provides another way for the battle to be won--and sometimes, it is won through a most unlikely means.

In the middle of this whole chapter, a man named Jahaziel stood up after Jehoshaphat's public prayer and says (verse 17), "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you." Notice Jahaziel encouraged them to be ready, and they would get the opportunity to watch God fight for them.

Whatever battle rages in your life right now, grab your supplies, take up your position and stand firm. Then watch God do the fighting for you.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Love Him Alot

Time to pull the nativity scene out once again. Our nativity set is nothing spectacular. It is wooden and cheap--just right for little hands to hold and drop on the floor countless times. I use the nativity scene every year to teach the children about Jesus. We role play and take turns at telling the story. Pulling the scene out today, I was reminded of Gracie's rendition of it last year. I wrote this on one of my blog entries from last December, but thought I'd share it again.

At our house, we have a wooden nativity set my daughter Gracie plays with. Its cheap enough that it would not be too expensive to replace should one piece get broken or should baby Will chew the angel's halo off. Gracie is a loving 3 1/2 year old, but she has a tendency to squeeze baby Will too hard when she hugs him. We've had several conversations with her lately on the importance of being gentle---it's ok to love baby Will, but don't squeeze him too hard--he's not Charmin! While I was playing with Gracie, she said she wanted to tell me the "Baby Jesus" story. I obliged. She grabbed the angel and baby Jesus and said "Hello everybody! My name is angel and I'm here to tell you that baby Jesus has been born today." She handed baby Jesus over to Mary and Joseph and instructed them both, "Here is your baby Jesus. Love him alot, but don't squeeze him too hard!" I bit my lip and tried my best not to laugh. Then I realized Gracie had gotten the whole Christmas story perfect---"love him alot". That's what Christmas is all about.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

God Chose You

God chose you. You didn't choose Him. In fact, He chose you before He made the world. Nothing you did before you believed in Christ changed His mind. He adopted you as His very own child and redeemed you through the the blood of Jesus so that we could become His own. Realizing all of this, do you really think God would ever turn his back on you?

Hebrews 13:5-6 says, "He Himself has said, 'I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,' so that we confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?'"

When Satan parades our guilt in front of us, reminds us of our shortcomings and failures, and tells us no one cares about us or wants us, remind him that God so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son to die in your place. When we feel all alone, let's remember the nail prints in Jesus' hands; they are for eternity and so are we. Isaiah 49:15-16 says, "I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Words--A Powerful Witness

Sometimes, you just need alittle good news. I got this email last week.
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Barbie, I know your brother Doug. I deliver his propane gas to the farm. He told me today what happened to him. When I left him today, I was going down Highway 6, and I started praying and cried. I asked Jesus to come into my life. I needed that talk. God has left him for a good reason. PRAISE GOD. Signed, Gene
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For those of you who are readers of this blog, you are aware of what Gene is referring to--my brother's heart attack and his heavenly experience (read the August 10 blog entry). Because my brother was willing to witness to Gene, Gene will now have eternal life and a life worth living.

Matthew 12:36-37 says, "On the day of judgement, I will have to give an account for every idle word I speak. For by my words I will be justified and acquitted, and by my words I will be condemned and sentenced." Proverbs 18:21 says, "The power of life and death are in the tongue and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it (for death or life)."

How many times a day do you and I let pass when we should be witnessing to others? Sure, most of us haven't had a near death experience, but we have something to boast about--how our life has changed since Christ came into our lives.

Being in the "Bible Belt" in Mississippi, we assume everyone around us knows the hope by which we are called, but that isn't necessarily the case. If that were true, Gene would've had someone share Christ with him before last week. What an awesome responsibility we have in giving life to others just by the words we share and knowing that when we get to heaven, we will be justified and acquitted because we were willing to testify to the changes in our life since Jesus came into our heart!

Monday, December 3, 2007

If You Quit, Satan Wins

What a wonderful time I had with the ladies (and few men!) in Kosciusko last Saturday at the First Baptist Church's ladies brunch. The crowd was so encouraging and uplifting. I hope I was able to leave them with some of the same.

One of the many things I shared with the group is how important it is to persevere at things you feel God has led you to do. It is so easy to give up, especially when times get difficult. Some of you know how torn I was at coming back to work after having Will. Not only was I dealing with the adjustment of another baby, but I was sleep deprived and having some post-pardum issues and couldn't stop crying. When I came back to work after 3 months, the viewer emails and phone calls were hateful--everyone wanted to know when was I going to lose my baby weight? I called my mother and told her I thought I was having a nervous breakdown and couldn't take it anymore. The only option I could see was giving up my meteorology career and staying at home, thinking that would fix my problem. My mother reminded me how I felt called to do what I was doing and ended the conversation by saying, "If you quit, if you give up, Satan wins."

I Corinthians 15:58 says, "I am standing firm, letting nothing move me. I give myself fully to the work of the Lord, because I know that my labor in the Lord is not in vain." In the hard times when your world has fallen to pieces, we must learn how to pick up the one piece that matters most. However, there's no other place to know the strength of your faith, but in the hard times.