Monday, December 28, 2009
We made our traditional rounds to all the family for Christmas this year and it was even more crazy than usual because we had some bad winter weather. It was the 1st time Texas had a white Christmas in my living memory.
My fun new memory for this year was reading the Christmas story as we drove in the snow and ice to my parents to celebrate Christmas and then getting to go sledding. We had a white Christmas for the 1st time in my memory and got to go sledding and play in the snow. It was lots of fun and we enjoyed it but it reminded me why I don't love cold weather! Jonathan was glad to go back inside because he really doesn't like the cold!
It was a lovely way to spend Christmas and to celebrate Christ's birth!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Now I love Christmas, decorating the house and being focused on the birth of Christ as well as time to enjoy with friends and family. That part makes me smile and think back on many blessed Christmases in the past! So with determination to be full of cheer this time of year in my heart, I am going to blog about some happy memories of Christmas as often as I can between now and Christmas!
Today's simple memory that stands out to me is sitting with my family in our living room watching the tree lights flashing on the ceiling and talking about Jesus. We always had a live tree with tons of multicolored lights that flashed in random patterns. You could watch for hours as the tree branch shadows flickered on the ceiling and we laughed and talked about why Christmas was so wonderful! That memory has me smiling right now!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
This is a great reminder of how you pray for specific things and God answers your prayer!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
I have always thought that Paul understood grace much more than many others because of the depth of his sin from persecuting Jesus and His followers. I have always imagined Paul being deeply grieved by what he had done and his understanding of grace stemming from this. But I was studying Galatians & Acts where it tells of Paul going to Jerusalem to once and for all get a decision about whether gentiles had to convert to Judaism and be circumcised. He brought the issue before Peter and the apostles and they deliberated over whether righteousness was from faith or from something we must do. The decision was that faith alone restores you to God and that this is it in order to experience salvation.
When I was studying this it occurred to me that Paul had grown up becoming the perfect Jew, following all the law, being groomed to be the best, zealously persecuting those he felt were wrong and forcefully obeying the rules. When Christ came to him and set him on a new path on the road to Damascus, he encountered God and it completely revolutionized who he was. I realized that his understanding of grace came from feeling the burden of the law ("doing & performance") being lifted from off of him. Suddenly the weight was gone and he understood Jesus saying that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
So instead of it just being sorrow and repentance for his sin (which I am sure he felt deeply) being the basis of his understanding, Paul understood grace and freedom because he personally experienced it. He no longer suffered and groaned under the law. No wonder he was so passionate about not putting the yoke of slavery on gentile believers. He knew that his own people were breaking under the burden and refused to lay that burden on others.
I am a gentile believer and I have not been put under the law but under grace. I can glimpse a bit of Paul's passion for grace and understand even more how Christ has set me free and blessed me beyond my wildest imaginations! What a thought! Praise You God for Your wondrous blessings and love! I will be meditating on this verse.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Lots of people have been asking me if I will stay 29 forever and I even remember my mom wanting to be 29 for a little longer. But now that I am here, it really isn't that big of a deal. Or maybe it just hasn't sunk in yet. ;-)
I have been mulling over where God has brought me in the last decade and thought I would share a few things.
20:I was newly married and going to school full-time at Tarleton finishing up my bachelor's degree in Dietetics. I was also working for the 1st time in the hospital and enjoying living in our own tiny little apartment. This was a really peaceful and fun-filled year!
21: I was in graduate school at Texas Woman's University and living in the big city. This was a switch and I had to deal with traffic, new types of professors and a whole new world but quickly came to love it! I found a great running friend and started running more seriously. Jonathan and I found a wonderful group of friends and a church home this year so spiritual growth really took off!
22: I was finishing my dietetic internship and getting ready to become a dietitian while finishing my master's degree in nutrition. This year was very busy with work as I also started my 1st full-time job in a hospital. I quickly determined I wanted to work for myself again! I also started teaching exercise classes for the 1st time. I also became very active in my professional associations.
23: I trained for and ran my very first Marathon. Jonathan started his own financial business this year and I decided to go back out on my own for work. God began to bring contract jobs in and build some fun opportunities for us. I really began to expand my exercise class part of my career and start putting nutrition and exercise together in my work.
24: I started working in sales for the 1st time and had a lot of fun traveling all over the south and mid-west. I also added a lot more exercise classes to my work schedule. Jonathan's business started hitting some roadblocks but we both continued working for ourselves. We got another lab puppy and had to start the training process from the beginning. It was like having a kid that you could crate! ;-)
25: This was the 1st birthday where I realized I wasn't a little kid anymore. I truly was a grown up! ;-) We climbed the tallest mountain in Colorado and in Mexico with some friends this year and I ran another marathon. We also bought our 1st home and this was a complete God miracle!
26: I began and ended working in sales full time this year. God seemed to open and door to what I thought I wanted to do and quickly showed me that I was not following Him in complete obedience while trying to do sales too. He shut that door and sent me out there to work on my own again. Jonathan started a different job for someone else and God worked on both of us a lot. I met some new running friends and ran another marathon this year. We also started going to a new church and God began to take us through a spiritual transition.
27: I decided that I wanted to try and qualify for the Boston marathon and started training harder than I ever had before. For the 1st time in my running hobby, I started to race and try to get faster! This was fun and exhausting. I also started running the employee wellness program for our city and found something that I loved doing with both nutrition and fitness. Jonathan started his own business again and we continued to grow in our faith. Many of our friends started having families and babies were everywhere. I started the Centurion Program with Chuck Colson and really started deepening my learning with God.
28: I continued to attempt a marathon to qualify for Boston. I continued to race and started coordinating a running program to inspire others to go for their running dreams. We quickly became one of the only couples without kids of our friends. Jonathan's business continued to grow with lots of time, sweat and tears. Jonathan turned 30 this year so I got to tease him about getting old! I finished the Centurion's program and became a mentor for new Centurions. I started teaching bible studies for the 1st time.
29: I continued to attempt qualifying for Boston and still didn't make it. This was one of the most discouraging years for my race goals because I felt like I had worked as hard as I know how and still hadn't met the goal I set for myself. God and I had to really work on this one together. Then I had to rediscover my love of running just for running. Jonathan's business really grew with the addition of many more employees and the headaches that go with that. Sometimes we were just ships passing in the night. I really started digging deep into theology, original language word studies and lots of in-depth bible study and could feel God pushing me beyond head knowledge to action and obedience.
So here I am. Continuing on in the grace that God has given me daily and waiting to see what He will do next! Come on 30, let's see what God will do!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
Then today God once again spoke to me in my time with Him. If I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior, doesn't He have the right to be the focus, initiator and director of my life? This means that whatever circumstances I am in, whether good or bad, I have to trust, obey and look to God for His perspective on what I am going through. My human nature is to question myself, God and the circumstances to find the fault. In my mind there must be something wrong if life isn't going along peacefully. But what He said is that I need to come to Him when I don't understand and am struggling and ask for His perspective instead of my own. Here are some progressive steps for facing confusing circumstances:
1) Don't begin blaming God
2) Don't abandon following what He told you to do
3) Go to Him
4) Ask for Him to reveal the TRUTH of the circumstances
5) Ask for His perspective on them
6) Wait for Him to answer and to move
By following this model, I can feel secure in my faith, circumstances and direction. I can trust God. Maybe His desire is to deepen my relationship with Him in a new way, reveal His awesome deliverance in such a huge way that He receives all the glory, or perhaps He is working through my life to minister to someone else because they need it. I must maintain seeking God's perspective so that I can stay God focused and others oriented. Then God can accomplish His work through and with me and I can grow in Him!
Now I am praying for God's perspective and am trying to wait on Him! Hang in there with me and remember...
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
God invites us to experience of and with Him --->
Through experience with Him, we grow in love for Him--->
We learn to believe Him because we have a foundation of love --->
Trust grows out of our belief in and of God --->
Trust and belief lead to obedience to God, whatever He asks we will do!
If you love Him, you will obey Him!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
"The essence of sin is a shift from God-centeredness to self-centeredness. The essence of salvation is denying self instead of affirming self."
Wow, what a deep truth. I could spend all day just mulling over this. We shifted our view from God to self with the fall and only through God's provision of redemption from ourselves can we be set free. I am a trap for my own soul! Self always leads to destruction!
"God never asks people to dream up something to do for Him. The pattern in scripture is that we submit ourselves to God. Then we wait until God shows us what He is about to do, or we watch to see what God is already doing around us and join Him."
Once again the focus is off of self and completely on God. When we look around us at the world and see what God is doing, we have a choice to join him or keep living in the disaster that is our self.
Potent thoughts for today.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
1) Sometimes you may have reason to be discouraged by all that is behind and before you but you also have the ability to choose your response to the circumstances. You may not be able to control everything but you can control you!
2) Satan is trying to make things more and more bleak for you so that you get discouraged, get down and give up. He is actively fighting against you and using the same old tricks to affect you because he knows they work! Only you can change the rules and throw him a curve ball by choosing to deny his tactics and turn away from his end game!
3) When you get discouraged, it is essential to pull closer to God even if you feel like running from him. Often my personal response is to pull away because I get frustrated, angry or resentful at him. Sometimes I get so caught up in my woes that I get lost in the dark valley and can't see beyond the present struggles! But we must pull closer or we will get stuck in the dark.
4) Only victory is found in Him! We can't do it alone- there is no physical way that we can be victorious. There is no physical way that you can keep going under this heavy burden. There is no physical way that you can maintain your sanity and energy without total burnout. But Christ can do all things through us! He can supernaturally meet our needs to get us through. So don't forget to ask and then do. He will come through. I know because I have experienced it!
Some scriptures that I found were a great reminder to me.
Psalm 84:11-12 Amplified
For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts in You [leaning and believing on You, committing all and confidently looking to You, and that without fear or misgiving]!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Eph 5:11-16 Msg
Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light! So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times
NLT: Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
Amplified: Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil.
Friday, August 14, 2009
"When you are confronted with a circumstance that challenges you, you have two choices. You can say to your soul, "Get depressed." Or you can say to your soul, "Hope in God." Place your expectations in the goodness of God." J Rothschild
A few scriptures came to mind to go with this:
Psalm 42: 5 NASB
Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence.
Psalm 27:13 NIV
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The Hebrew word for "still" in this verse is (Strongs- KJV- raphah) has some great meanings- sink down, relax, let drop. To quote Jennifer Rothschild, the Hebrew word "pictures a physical position. It's like letting your body go limp or relaxing the grip of your hand. It simply means you quiet yourself by acknowledging He is God and His ways rule... The reason stilling our souls brings peace and calm into our thoughts is because it puts us in a posture of acceptance rather than anger and deference rather than defiance."
So dwell on that today and be "still" before God!
Friday, July 17, 2009
I reflected on where this push for greatness started for me- when I was young I felt like I was different and weird because I was home schooled, came from a larger family and my parents were not typical in their beliefs about church and the body of Christ. I felt like I stood out in a bad way. So I think I reacted by deciding to be different but in a "great" way and became consumed with going above and beyond to prove myself and to be great. One of my greatest fears is to be mediocre!!! I have to lay this down at my heavenly father's feet all the time because I struggle with it daily. What I am beginning to see is that my quest for greatness and perfectionism is a huge burden that weighs me down and I break under the stress and burden of that load.
"If your identity is wrapped up in the magnificent things you're destined to achieve- as a great writer, musician, scientist, politician, chef- the thought that you might produce something mediocre can be devastating."
My So Called Genius- Author Laura Fraser
If you constantly feel the pressure to do great things, you sometimes disdain or become too prideful to do good things. The small things in life are what really make up our days and lives. If I am too full of pride to do them, I miss out on much of what God has put me here on earth to do.
"Couldn't craving to do something great keep you from doing something good? Living just to be great will prove at least empty and maybe even deadly." - Beth Moore
God has called me to get up each day, greet it with an attitude of thanksgiving and get to work on what he has set before me to do that day. There may not be any accolades or the notice of man in the mundanes of life but God is there watching. What I have to ask myself is "Who am I living for? Do I seek man or God's notice with all that I do?". In God's economy being least is the way to be great- humility and putting others above myself always wins!
"Spending ourselves for something infinitely greater still fans our parched soul with the God-given need to matter, but relieves us of the relentless pain of being the "It" person at the center of it. To live for the greatness of God is to live the great life. Every one of us who embraces the glory of God as our purpose will end up doing great things precisely because we do God things. Those with presence of mind and semblance of health are called to pour out the drink offering of their lives until the cup is overturned and every drop of energy slips- perhaps unnoticed, uncelebrated- into the vast ocean of earthly need. "- Beth Moore
In putting off my pride and dying to self, I can let God rule in my and shine through me out to the world. This makes me think of Matthew 5:16- "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." It is not about me, it is all about him!
"In effect Christ says, "I'm great enough for both of us," relieving the willing of their woeful burden. "Just Follow Me."- Beth Moore
Praise the King- Let it ring- Praise the King! I was burdened but now I am at rest.
Father, help me stay at rest; not to pick up this burden again and when I do, remind me to put it back down at your feet!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
1) In the 10 commandments God told us to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy- setting aside a day of the week that we rest and put him first in our thoughts and lives. This hearkens back to God resting on the 7th day after creation. When it (his plan for his creation) was finished, he rested! This was a part of the old covenant and law that the Jews lived by in order to follow God.
2) God's people in typical fashion took a day made for their rest and enslaved themselves to it by creating laws to bog it down. The Sabbath became a day of religious restriction and was anything but restful for his people. God saw that his people were burdened down and he knew that they could not keep the law so he made an escape!
3) Jesus came to fulfill the law and in so doing also fulfilled the Sabbath. He illustrated that God's intent for the Sabbath was to point us to God and away from ourselves. With Jesus coming and setting up the new covenant of forgiveness and salvation, the old law was fulfilled. Jesus showed the Jews that they no longer had to keep the law or the Sabbath because he came to set them free. Jesus healed, taught, worked, cast out spirits and displayed the works of God on the Sabbath while he was here on earth. Suddenly the Sabbath became about doing things for the benefit of God's people and not about holding up destructive old laws full of bondage. As Mark 2: 27 says "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
4) By believing in Christ and becoming a child of God, we are not bound to the old covenant and keeping of the Sabbath but to the new covenant and to display God's works here on earth. So instead of being stuck with honoring 1 day (the Sabbath) believers should honor God in their hearts and lives each day. The Sabbath is no longer just one day but all day every day for the believer. While we may still meet together as a collective body on 1 day during the week, we are no longer in bondage to the Sabbath.
5) As believers we can rejoice in the true freedom of the Sabbath and literally partake in God's rest. Because he did all the work for our salvation we are under grace and not under the law so our hearts can always be at rest. This is eternal, deep, fulfilled rest! So even though I may be bustling about externally, I am always at rest internally because of the cross. Do you grasp the magnitude of this? I am at rest!!! I am always at Sabbath with God! These famous lyrics come to mind:
Jesus did it all; all to him I owe; sin had left a crimson stain; he washed it white as snow
Hebrews 4 sums it all up perfectly! Here are verses 9-11 (ESV): "So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience."
Enjoy some of God's rest today!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
So today I was reading Esther 4:14
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
I am enjoying some summer bible studies but other than that, my schedule has been as busy as ever. When you don't have kids, aren't in college or a teacher, summer is pretty much the same except for more heat! This is the time of year when you don't want to wear too formal of professional dress for work each day! Thank goodness I can wear workout clothes when I am working some days! ;-)
But really I am blessed and thankful. Last week we had a big storm come through the area and our power was out for a few days. It quickly reminded me of how thankful I was to have air conditioning and a working fridge. Thankfully work is in the AC and I could borrow a fridge for most of my groceries. It could have been much worse. God was gracious to us and the weather wasn't too hot! The storms were awesome to watch and always inspire me to worship God and be awed by his creation.
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
A hilarious story of our 10 years together is portrayed in a poor old recliner. We were blessed with some furniture from some friends when we were married. We still have the couch and lazy boy recliner and they are really comfy. But over the years the recliner has gotten more and more relaxed shall we say. It literally had bolts drop out of it and was almost able to lay horizontal. A few weeks ago one of the side brackets of the back sheared off the bolt and it leans severely to the right now. So Jonathan got creative to keep his chair around for a little while longer. It made me laugh so I had to share.
It just goes to show that creativity, laughter and ingenious ideas can make anything work! That is how our marriage has been with lots of laughter and God's glue. When you make a choice to love, God really blesses it!
So hopefully I will be able to show you pics of the new chair in the near future too!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Year 1- The simplicity of living together in a small apartment with little or no worries and the adventure of a new life together. It was very worry free and relaxed even though we worked and studied very hard.
Year 2- Moving to the big city for graduate school and embarking on the adventure of finding a new place to live, worship and make friendships in a place we had never been before. Connecting with a church where we made some of our lifelong friends was the biggest joy.
Year 3- Traveling to Arizona and getting to spend time exploring Phoenix, Sedona and the Grand Canyon was a great time together. It was our 1st major vacation after our honeymoon and holds some cherished memories.
Year 4- Enriching our marriage through our small group studies and groups and Jonathan starting a new business made this a busy yet exciting year. We really faced some of our first major opportunities to lean on each other and depend on God.
Year 6- We traveled to Puerto Vallarta to celebrate our anniversary. We learned many of the rules for beach volleyball in other languages and laughed at the funny nightly entertainment. We also bought our 1st home and were so blessed with how God provided it for us.
Year 5- We traveled to Mexico and climbed the tallest volcano with our best friends in a wild adventure of a lifetime. This was a fun marriage builder!
Year 7 -We traveled to the Dominican Republic and stayed on some of the most incredible beaches in the Caribbean. It was a restful and relaxing get away. We learned a lot about how we can encourage one another as business changes continued.
Year 8- We skied together for the 1st time and I was terrible! Don't know if I will do that again. :) We also got to go on our 1st cruise with some friends and visit some new locations in Mexico.
Year 9- We really grew in our dependence on each other for support through some tough times and challenging decisions in our businesses. It deepened our sense of commitment to each other and to the hard purpose of God. Reaching for the best even when it was hard strengthened us because we learned to work together!
Year 10- Patience... patience with work, our life stage, moving forward in God's time, trusting Him for His best and many more areas. But also the fun of making it 10 years and laughing a long the way ( I have cried some too). It has been a grand adventure with great, good, tough and rough patches but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Can't wait to write all about the next 10 years! I love you Sweetie!
Thanks God for your indescribable gift of our marriage.
1) What was your 1st reaction to the article?
2) What was the hardest thing to agree with?
3) What was the easiest thing to agree with?
4) Do you think the authors are correct?
5) What does this challenge in you?
6) Would you read the book or recommend the article to others?
Here are my answers:
1) What was your 1st reaction to the article? I was a little uncomfortable at first because I find myself in that category of getting married and being determined to enjoy married life but unsure about the kid question. We have been married for lots of years and I know that God has not laid the burden for children on Jonathan's heart or has the timing been good in the past but I am still wondering about my decisions and the motives of my heart.
2) What was the hardest thing to agree with? That I have been in the wrong and have been being selfish with my life and with my time. I see myself portrayed in this article and it is a ugly picture.
3) What was the easiest thing to agree with? God is working on all of us and He can give us the love and desire for children!
4) Do you think the authors are correct? I do agree with several of their points and will have to do some serious praying and seeking God about this topic now. I do think that we can easily get off balance about it and go towards legalism too!
5) What does this challenge in you? My own selfish nature and buying the lie that I have to have it all and children are a burden rather than a gift.
6) Would you read the book or recommend the article to others? I am intrigued to know more and make look into this book. I would love to have a discussion group about it with others.
Monday, May 18, 2009
~ Pastor Harold Bullock
I am mulling over this concept my pastor discussed yesterday. Knowledge without action means nothing. Do I walk out my faith in obedience to God or do I just love knowing about it? I do love studying God's word and learning more about him. But at some point, you have to shelve the books and put on the running shoes because God does not desire knowledge but obedience and service to him!
Where does the knowledge become transforming lifestyle? How does it? I have to plug into God's power so that He can do it in me. This takes self discipline and obedience- two of the hardest things for me to choose!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
But I was mulling over it more this morning and something occurred to me. We have some active examples of persecution right now. Take the Miss USA debacle going on with Ms. Prejean (learn more at http://www.citizenlink.org/videofeatures/A000009996.cfm) or the hate crimes legislation that is before the senate to prosecute those who might take a stand against certain sins and moral wrongs. These are persecutions that we are confronted with here on the home front and we have the opportunity to rise to the occasion or to drop off God's band wagon.
Instead of being surprised or feeling put upon and astounded that we would be persecuted, God tells us that we should feel blessed because this means we are really one of his own. Especially as God's time line advances and the world progresses towards his grand conclusion, we will only see more persecution and confrontation.
So my honest feelings are a little dread and fear, "will I stand for him or fall for the world?" I am not looking for persecution but I don't want to run from it either. I don't want to stumble into self pity when it occurs either. I want to learn to praise and look for what I can do for God in the tough times, learn to make it about him and not about me!
Father, help me choose to stand for you and not give in to fear or a pity party for my woes. You have overcome and will help me live this out daily if I turn to you. May I learn to worship you in the hard stuff as well as give thanks for the restful times. Help me to love you more each day so that I can say like Paul...
Saturday, May 9, 2009
-Last week we had a benefit concert with Natalie Grant for the Mid Cities Pregnancy Center and God blessed it so that it went very smoothly. The whole event went over beautifully, mainly due to the wonderful volunteers we had for the event. We could never have done it without all of you and may God bless your time and service greatly!
-Thursday Hurst gave some employee awards and the wellness program won an award for excellence and team work for the employees. It is such a blessing to see that the employees are benefiting from the program and it is making a difference in their lives. That makes me know that God has me here for a plan and a purpose and that He is working in this program. It brought tears to my eyes because I know that they are the ones who do the work and take to heart what they are learning. Thanks for the encouragement!
-Yesterday we had employee giving day for the city and it was incredible to watch employees turn out at 4 homes in Hurst to transform them into something better than before. It was such a joy to serve the seniors who can't do the work for themselves anymore and to watch all of the employees bond together to work for others benefit. I was moved at the team work (and it was hard work) and generosity of each employee.
Each of these events brought to mind how blessed and awed I am to know each of you and to serve God in all that I do. It inspired me to work harder and to never give up. To make each encounter count and to enjoy all that God brings my way through life. Even the mundane is a gift we can give to someone else!
Friday, May 1, 2009
Here is my verse for May 1st:
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Now onto the verse for April 15th:
Thursday, April 9, 2009
I can't think of many easter traditions other than going to an early morning service on Easter to celebrate Jesus coming out in all his glorious countenance from the grave! We never did easter egg hunts or ham but we would often do a sader supper as a family.
That is my most potent Easter memory- celebrating a sader supper as a family. We made our own head coverings and matzo pillows, the whole 9 yards of tradition. Then we would go through the ceremony and talk all the while about why we were celebrating it. After we finished, we then got to talk about how Jesus came and fulfilled all the traditions and law requirements and that we get to live in freedom and grace now. Those are precious memories for our family.
This week I just finished reading a book about how Caiphas (the high priest that tried Jesus before the Sanhedrin) might have experienced life, especially that last holy week before Jesus was crucified. It got me thinking about the deep richness of our Jewish heritage of faith and the depth of symbolism and meaning that Jesus represents to us now. How it is a joy to learn and grown in the understanding of the scriptures and who God is! So I highly recommend you taking some time this week to dwell on our Saviour, holy week and what traditions you have to celebrate Him in your heart. And read a great book or watch a movie that brings this message home to you this week too!
Friday, April 3, 2009
In my exercise classes this week God used some of my students to speak truth and conviction to me without them knowing it. The first was something I said about a role model they were talking about that I don't particularly agree with. Instead of being winsome and loving in my words I said something harsher and they were amazed. "Esther never says anything harsh or mean towards anyone, surely I didn't hear her right" said one of them. OUCH!!!!! Can I say that God got my attention with that one. The fury of the tongue!
Then the second happened a few days later- God gave me a chance to try this again. We somehow got on the subject of politics and one of my students said something that I strongly disagreed with. But instead of jumping right in there, God caught my mind and I reined in the tongue and said something (hopefully) different and winsome to make all of us think. My student didn't feel poorly and everyone had a great rest of the class (I hope).
So the power of the tongue is another lesson God continues to help me learn. Little by little, step by step I pray I am becoming more like Him!!!!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I can change when I see You holding up the the mirror of Your truth and setting me straight! What a gift from the Giver of all good things. I love God more each day! Thank You for Your promises.
Monday, March 23, 2009
We went to the park yesterday afternoon for a little break and played some 2 on 2 soccer with my brother and his girlfriend. The 2 girls guarded each other and the 2 guys. While the boys certainly had more skills, we girls made up for it in aggression. I knocked over my opponent lots and we both have huge gigantic bruises on our shins and calves. Then both of us rolled our ankles and I was bowled over- head over heels- by my own loving husband and team-mate (I guess we both wanted the ball). By the time we hobbled home (with the dog leading the way), we could only laugh in utter dismay at our legs! While the men swore we wouldn't be allowed to play anymore since we were obviously bent on self-destruction. This morning I can barely walk with my ankle but it sure was fun! God must be laughing even more than we are!!!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Personally I struggle with a judgemental black and white perspective when looking out at the rest of the world. It is very hard for me to separate the sinner from the sin and I have been becoming more and more aware of this. I think I am more like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son than I ever want to be. It is hard for me to see beyond the choices that someone makes- the sin they commit.
Then God brings the world crashing back in on me by showing me my own sin and judgmental heart. This time it was the passage in Matthew 18 about the unmerciful servant who was forgiven his debts and then held a fellow servant who owed little accountable to a higher standard than he personally met. I have done this very thing and it hit me hard. God forgives all of us so who am I to hold my fellow human to a level I can't reach?
With all my thoughts and learning about biblical worldview over the last few years, I have learned why other worldviews don't make sense and why they lead to deception and destruction of many lives. But at the same time, I have to remember that we are all on a journey and God is drawing us to Himself. My heart and mind are being renewed and brought back to the way God created them to be and only when I finish my journey at home with Him will I be complete.
So back to all the other worldviews and the people that hold them. I have to separate how I see people from the way they operate in the world. If someone has not found Christ, they are only operating in the way that they know how- themselves. If someone has found Christ, they are like me, still learning and being transformed. Suddenly, the person comes back to the forefront of my view and not the sin. I can begin to see a glimmer of how Christ looks at the world.
I have to let go of the need to be right and see the fault in others and just love the person. After all the essence of a biblical worldview is seeing the world through God's perspective and that begins and ends with love. I am praying that God will grow my love for others and help me be more winsome in sharing His worldview. God brought a fantastic verse to my attention that really helps me and that is what I am memorizing for this time.
Friday, March 6, 2009
I had dinner with a friend from grade school last night. We stay in touch and try to see each other regularly. As we were sitting at dinner last night we were talking about funny moments with technology. Both of us had funny stories about texting and e-mail miscommunication. Then we were also talking about how our parents use technology and how we have relate to them through it. My parents are not the best at staying in touch so I have found that I do best if I take responsibility for that. I send e-mails and call them regularly. But sometimes I will contact them and they never get the message or don't know how to respond. That always makes me laugh. Then I think "If I have kids some day, how are they going to laugh at me about technology?" We are constantly inventing more methods to interact and stay in touch but are we succeeding? With more and more ways to communicate, am I really listening and growing with those around me?
This got me to thinking about how God must feel communicating with us sometimes. With my generation, I think we don't stop long enough to hear him (not that he is can't speak to us through ways we hear) or use methods that truly connect with him. For example- I have this calendar that I change daily that has a scripture verse on it. I read it daily and then go on to the next thing. I really appreciate the scriptures and they speak to me but often I don't take the time to truly read, dwell or meditate on what the verse is saying.
I know we all know the verse "Be Still and know that I am God" (Ps 46:10) but I did some digging into the root meanings of this verse today to deepen my understanding and challenge myself to get back in touch with God. Still is the Hebrew word- raphah- some of the meanings are: sink down, relax, be quiet, let go, let alone. Know is the Hebrew word- Yada'- some of the meanings are: to know by experience, perceive, distinguish, recognise, admit, confess, be acquainted with. So plugging in these deeper meanings, suddenly this verse takes on a new depth.
Be still (sink down, relax, let go and let alone) and know (perceive, recognise, admit, confess, be acquainted with, know by experience) that I am God;
WOW! I am challenged to do this today! How about you?
Father, help me to be still and to know you by experience. Draw my heart to yours so that you become all that I desire!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
And an update since my last post. Yes, God has had us in the pressure pot but He has come through in big ways. God is so faithful to give you a burst of hope and lighten the burden just when you think you can't handle anymore! He reigns and He is good all the time! ;-)
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I am burdened for 2 people in my life right now.
1) My husband- he is working so hard for his business right now (and has been without a break for years) and burning the candle at both ends. Just when it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel for a few things, something comes crashing in! God has been faithful and is growing our faith with the waiting but I don't think he can make it much longer without some relief. I know that we can't rely on self and that God is teaching Jonathan a lot in the refiners fire right now. But I also see the difficulty and it breaks my heart!
2) My brother- he is frustrated with life because he wants to make a difference in the world and yet doesn't know what that is or how he can. Part of the problem is finances and part of it is needing God's clear direction. In the last 24 hours, it seems like things have come out of the wood work to cost him money and hinder forward progress. It is hard watching the suffering of another without getting righteously upset- why God????
Yet even with this tough things and burden for them both, I know that God is working. I kinda feel like David in so many of his Psalms- calling out to God for relief, calling down curses on the wicked, crying out in anguish and then praising God because you know He is at work and it doing His will. Especially when it is tough. So I will keep praying, crying out to God for His relief and solutions, seeking His guidance and asking for perseverance. Especially for those who are in the fire.
Sunday, February 1, 2009
I have been super busy (I know no excuses) but I am doing another verse for Feb 1st and here it is. Better late than never.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
"the way to genuine openness and inclusiveness lies through the narrow gate. In renouncing all for Jesus' sake, we become heirs to the entire universe. But those who deny God's reality and cling only to the visible world shut themselves up in a box with a tightly closed lid." -The Truth Project Daily Travelogue.
And our response as servants of Christ should be:
Friday, January 30, 2009
Praise the Lord for this is the day that He has made!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
But it got me to thinking about the purpose of winter. The obvious reason is for creation to have a time of death, rest, conservation and preparation for the spring. It allows the plants and animals to renew themselves in the spring after they have died or hibernated over the winter. Cold and wet weather also allows the land to renew and the bugs to be cut down in number. All good things.
Winter is also a time of reflection for the soul. God opened my eyes to the analogy of how we all have winters in our lives like aging, our spiritual walks, death of loved ones or hard times. We can easily relate to that in America right now with the economic situation. I have personally experienced winters in work, relationships and my spiritual journey. All these times are difficult but not bad because they have helped me to deepen my character, look beyond myself, appreciate the little glimpses of sun radiating through the gray and know that God is my only source of support and provision. They are hard times but really good all the same. God is ever faithful to give me tastes of spring right around the corner and the new thing that he is faithful to do! I have a hope and a future that He has made!
So now I can look out my window at the steely sky and know that while winter seems to linger, hope of spring and God's new thing is right there waiting to break through the surface and burst forth into full bloom!
Monday, January 19, 2009
I am not an MLK expert and neither would I dare to put words into his mouth about what he might say to America today. But I do think he would be proud to have a black man about to be inaugurated for the 1st time in our history. I do think he would caution and counsel that man about some of the positions and moves he desires to make for our great nation. I do think he would continue to challenge our whole nation to rise out of this self loving, careless, destructive lack or morality and justice to become the nation we have the potential to be. I am going to continue to ponder this today and as history is made tomorrow.
Here are some powerful quotes for you to think on too:
I am aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons--who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid. A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on; it is not man. The Trumpet of Conscience, 1967.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true. Strength To Love, 1963.
Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy. The Measures of Man, 1959.
The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority. Strength to Love, 1963.
If a man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live. Speech, Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963.
To be a Negro in America is to hope against hope. Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Now on to memorizing it! :)
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I just finished meeting with the wives and members of Vendigm for a brainstorming session about what the future looks like as we all desire to follow God's leading and serve him. It is so exciting to see that all of us, even though we are different and have very different interests and lives, desire to follow God's leading. We all want to make a difference in the world for God's glory and his service. We are just beginning to get a glimmer of what that might look like for 2009. Although nothing is set in stone yet, we are already working hard and I will be keeping you up to date with what we are doing!
But at this point, I am mainly praying for wisdom, unity, integrity and commitment as we seek to follow after our Lord and Savior! May he be blessed in all we do and say! May our lives and service point to him!
Monday, January 5, 2009
Saturday, January 3, 2009
So my first verse for 2009 is:
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Jonathan and I were talking last night as we drove home from celebrating. God took us through some tough stuff in 2008 but the cool thing is that he brought us through it. Sometimes the worst things you imagine seem so impossible until you are walking through them and hanging on to God by the skin of your teeth. Then as you see ahead and begin to understand what is behind, you can look up and see how real God was through it all. He will carry you through!
So as we move forward into 2009, here is my prayer for you and for us!
Thank you for bringing us this far and for your faithfulness! You are sovereign and able to do all things. You know the desires of our hearts and the perfect timing for bringing all things to pass. May you give us an extra portion of patience, perseverance and trust to follow you through to the end! May 2009 bring you glory. Help us to keep our eyes, hearts and minds focused on you alone. May your truth continue to triumph and may we point others to you. Bless this year, draw us to your heart and bring your will to pass! We can't wait to see the awesome things you are going to do and to give you all the praise and honor for doing them! AMEN!!!!