Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Carnatal!

Today the church here is leaving the city of Natal for a weekend retreat. The famous Carnaval season is upon us, but not really. The way it was explained to me is that Brasilians can't wait a full year for the traditional Carnaval celebrations, so each region or major city has their own at other parts of the year. This is so utterly Brasilian that it makes me laugh every time I think about it-- I told you Brasilians love to party! Carnatal (yep, that's the real name...) begins tonight, about a mile away from my apartment and the church building, and thus we are getting out of the city for a few days to avoid the madness. Should be a relaxing few days. I need it.


I've never been good at reading the Old Testament. I just didn't quite know what to do with it. However, this week, I've found special comfort, peace, and strength in the words of my buds Isaiah and David. I hope you can as well.

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. -Isaiah 46:4

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. -Isaiah 41:9-10

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. -Isaiah 43:2

Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you. -Psalm 25:20-21

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. -Psalm 121

Happy Carnatal!

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