Saturday, October 29, 2011

Obsessed...

Following is a poem written by my daughter Abby. Enjoy...


What if....
we became as consumed and obsessed with Christ as we are with so many other things?
we truly believed that Jesus is who He says He is and that He is sufficient?
we found all of our desires fulfilled in Christ?
we stopped compromising and started living set-apart?
we fell deeper in love with Jesus like never before?
hmm......what if??


Obsessed
Longing to be loved
Needing to belong
Feeling empty
Pretending to be strong
Makeup, hair, perfect date
Fashion, Clothes, perfect weight
Attention, Perfection
Security, Affection
Shows on TV
Quoting the latest movie
News feed,
Texts to read
The craving, the hunger,
The compromise I’m living under
Nothing can suppress:
I’ve become obsessed
Is there something more
That this life is meant for?


Unbelievably loved
Eternally I belong
Completely filled
I’m weak, but He’s strong
The cross was His weight
Our sins determined His fate
He bore the rejection
Godly perfection
Glorious resurrection
John chapter 3
Words it beautifully
“The Son of God died for me”
He’s satisfies the hunger
He despises the compromise I’m living under
Nothing can suppress:
I’ve become obsessed
Christ is the something more
He’s the one my heart has always longed for

*Colossians 3:1-4*
*Philippians 3:7-11*

Monday, October 24, 2011

Undermining God's creation...

Satan is crafty; from the very beginning he was deceiving and tricking man. As time has passed he has had to change strategies, but his goal is always the same; to move man away from God. He started out in the Garden by deceiving Eve, and he's been busy deceiving man ever since!



One of Satan's more recent approaches has been to attack the family. He gained some ground with this war, families are all so busy now, both parents are working, kids are in every activity imaginable, divorce is rampant, and now we have gay marriage. So in defense of that many Christians have gone on the offensive, fighting off his attacks before they began. Many organizations such as Focus on the Family and Family Life were created to give families some ammunition, to learn how to be a family, how to be a husband, how to be a wife. My own husband took a job as Family Life Pastor because we have a passion for families, that they would grow closer to God and as a result closer to each other.

Lately though, I've been noticing a new area of attack. It's This attack is a bold attempt to slap God in the face, a way to get man to question their very creation. A way to make us wonder if maybe God does make mistakes.  I read an article in the Des Moines Sunday Register that got my blood boiling. I was so mad as I read this article I had to call my husband just to vent. I was surprised this was happening at all, let alone in my state. There is a college in Iowa that has been promoting and encouraging gender-free living. Gone are the days where men and women had their own dorms. Now they not only share a dorm, they share a dorm room and a bathroom. This is not about a sexual relationship, its about gender. Here is a quote from the article: "Ideally, we would live in a gender-neutral world where your sex wouldn't define you. We wouldn't be defined by our physical bodies." In fact there are new pronouns to replace he and she (because these are too gender specific), if you are a female you would be called "ze" and if you are a male you are called "hir". This is about allowing a person to choose which gender they want to be, plumbing is no longer important.

I see this as a direct attack on Genesis 1:27: 
So God created man in his own image,
   in the image of God he created him;
   male and female he created them. 
God created us male and female. He knew what He was doing. When He was finished He declared His creation to be very good. Adam didn't complain to God that He made a mistake. He accepted that he was a man. God hasn't gotten lazy or sloppy lately, when He creates us He doesn't get DNA or body parts mixed up. He knows what He is doing. We are each created with a purpose and God has a plan for each of us. We cannot begin to allow Satan to have a foothold on this issue. God created us male and female, we don't get to choose this one. We need accept who we are and follow God's guidelines for what we were created to be.

As much as I complain about the pains of being a female, I would never trade who I am. God allowed me as a woman the joy of carrying and delivering three miracles into this world. He made me to be a mother to them.

I think our first response is to pray. We need to show Satan that He cannot attack God's creation like that. We need to pray for people to see that being male and female is special and how they were born is how they need to live!! Take some time and reacquaint yourself with Genesis. It is very clear in that book that God created us male and female, lets not allow Satan to win on this one!



Friday, October 21, 2011

5 Minute Friday...Beyond



Today I am linking up with Gypsy Mama to participate in 5 minute Friday. One word, five minutes, no editing, just writing what comes to mind. Please feel free to hop over to Gypsy Mama and check out what others have to say about the word of the week.

Today's Word: BEYOND




When I first saw today's word I was tempted to just skip participating today. Beyond makes me think of the future and what happens next August. That is when Brian and I will become official "empty nesters" I'm not afraid of that term, but it does make me a bit sentimental. After all, mom is my job, I've been doing it for almost 22 years. I've not only been mom, I've been their teacher, so next August, I will be a bit lost and that's ok. 

I may not know exactly what my life looks like beyond August 2012, but I know someone who does. God is the keeper of my future, he knows exactly what beyond looks like for me. So for now, that's enough for me! Instead of spending my emotional energy worrying about this thing called the empty nest, I am going to instead focus on now, and finishing strong. I will pray for Caleb and he decides between two amazing schools and just enjoy the time we have now, before "beyond" gets here.

God gave me my life verse for times like these, He knew I would need the encouragement for me and my son as he goes beyond the walls of this home to a college either 10 1/2 or 13 hours away!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Just had to share some senior pictures!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pastor Appreciation...

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. 
 

 Since my husband is a pastor and I appreciate him, I always try to do something a little special for him. I tried hard to come up with something and everything I came up with has been done. 

I could get him a new tie?
 Oh wait...one year he got 31 new ties...he's good.

I could get him a new Bible?
 Wait...we own like 30 of them...


I could buy him an inspirational mug?
 
 No...did that more than once....

How about I use my blog and just tell everyone who happens to read it that I appreciate this man. I get to see his heart, what makes it beat, what breaks it, and how big it is. I get to see him at his worst (its not pretty ladies...but it makes him real) and at his best (that isn't pretty either...what man wants to be pretty..but it is pretty darn good looking!!). 

I have had the privilege of watching this man serve God as a pastor for the past 23 years...
he literally has done it all. He's been a youth pastor, a senior pastor and a family life pastor.
Each one with its own set of challenges, each one with its own set of blessings, and each one he gave 100%! 

My man does not take his calling lightly, he gives his all in everything he does. He is not only called to be a pastor; he is also called to be my husband and our children's dad. He does not take those roles lightly either. He has been my husband for 23 years and is as committed to me today as he was on our wedding day. In fact, he has shown that commitment over the years in many wonderful ways. The most amazing way is the day he nailed a pair of his shoes in a box. He showed our kids and said, I can't leave, as long as my shoes stay nailed here, I'm not going anywhere. He then took out our dictionary and grabbed some white out and erased the word divorce! We have our struggles, but his feet are firmly planted in this marriage and family!


Brian, I do not say this nearly enough, I APPRECIATE YOU!!!
 

His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!
Matthew 25:21a

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Forgotten Christmas...

Christmas is only 66 days away.....ahhhh!!!!!

Now this news probably does send some of you into a panic. Your mind is racing with lists already. Some of you have had your lists made for months, in fact some of you have even checked it twice. Then there are those of you who are thinking I've got plenty of time...after all that's what Christmas Eve is for...to buy presents! 

Every year our family tries to do something different with how we give gifts to one another. We try to avoid overspending and at the same time make the gifts meaningful and fun. A few years ago we had a theme for our Christmas...simply put our Christmas that year was JOY.

  Jesus
    Others 
You
Our first focus that season was of course on Jesus. Our next focus was on others, and then we focused on each other, or you. One very practical way we reached out to others was by forgoing a Christmas tree that year. Choosing and cutting down our tree is always a big thing to us, so by not getting one this year, it made a big impact on us all. We chose to take the money we would have used on a tree and purchased fruit trees for a person who needed the fruit to survive. This small sacrifice on our part is still impacting people to this day. And yes, our Christmas was just as special without the tree!


Gospel for Asia is one of  a few ministries that makes available a Christmas catalog where you can purchase things ranging from chickens to water buffalo to houses for people who can't afford these things on their own. They have put together a web site called Forgotten Christmas. The following video explains what the website is all about. 

**WARNING....this video is convicting!**


So, as you begin to make your lists for Christmas, I challenge you to prayerfully consider buying one less thing this year, or set a smaller spending limit. The average person spends at least $500 on Christmas. In some parts of the world that is more money than they will even see in a year! Imagine if we all could take just a portion of that money and buy someone the gift of hope, love and encouragement. A small gift on our part is a huge gift can be multiplied over and over again to the forgotten people!

As we are celebrating the birth of our Savior let us not forget that 2,700,000,000 people have not yet heard that Jesus was even born! 


In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35


Linking up with:

 


iFellowship


Monday, October 10, 2011

Navigating Through Life...

I told my hubby today that I was having a brain freeze as far as an idea on what to blog about. So Brian offered to by my guest blogger today! Please make him feel welcome!
*****************************************

Our family finally broke down and bought a navigational system for our car.  My cell phone has this technology: I used it on a trip to Washington DC once, but it costs $9.99 per month.  When our family has gone on trips we have borrowed from friends.  Finally we decided enough is enough, we need to know where we are going.  Brenda found a great deal on line and we bought one!


Photo Credit
I know it goes against everything a man stands for.  We aren’t supposed to ask for directions.  But these things are really amazing.  They tell you distances, speed, where rest stops are and of course the best of all, they calculate what time you will arrive at your destination.  Amazing!  Her name?  Bonnie.  That is what Brenda decided to name her.  So I need to tell you about Bonnie.  She isn’t perfect!  The first time Brenda used her she was going to a bridal shop to potentially pick out a wedding dress for our daughter Ashley.  Pretty important destination.  Well, Bonnie took Brenda to a residential neighborhood.  The coordinates or address or something was off.  Thankfully Brenda went the day before and was able to find the real location.
If only there were such a device to help me navigate through my life!  How do I make decisions.  Where should I work? Where should I live? There are so many questions I have in life that I need help answering.  I need direction!  Well, I do have a place we can turn for clear directions.  I do have a tested and approved way to navigate through the most difficult turns of life. 
I have the Bible.  I know it seems like the Bible is a difficult book to understand.  It does take some work to figure it out.  Well, so does any GPS device.  It takes time to figure out how they work.  How to put in the coordinates, how to understand the data that this GPS device is giving to me.   When we take the time to figure out how it works it truly can guide and direct us through life.
This is so much like the Bible.  There is great direction, teaching, instruction in the pages of the Bible.  We can learn from the mistakes people have made in the past.  We have the Bible, prayer and the Holy Spirit to help us navigate through this life.  We live in a time where we need direction.  We need a true North to help guide us.  The Bible is that book God has given us to guide and direct us through difficult times.  Most people have one or many Bibles in their house.  Pick it up, read it, you will be glad you did.  If for some reason you don’t have a Bible you can read it on the computer, go to Bible Gateway. We don’t have an excuse!
If you are tired of getting lost, losing direction?  Turn to the tested and true navigational system.  The bestselling book of all time that will never give you bad directions: The Bible.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path. 
Psalm 119:105


iFellowship

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Of salsa and Jesus...

I remember it well, the very first time I ever tried salsa. You would think it was when I was little, but no, I was 20 at the time. I was working at a place called the Lazy T in Estes Park, Co. My coworkers and I were sharing a late sight snack they called chips and salsa. I remember thinking wow, this salsa stuff is good, must be something new on the market! Well, imagine my surprise when I was told salsa had been around for awhile, in fact the first jar of Pace Picante Sauce was sold in 1947! How could I have missed it? Did the salsa industry forget to sell to Iowa? Or was I just really that oblivious, I mean I even worked in a grocery store in high school. Somehow, this amazing product escaped my radar for 20 years!!!

There was something else I missed growing up too....Jesus! I didn't really cross paths with Him until I was 18. I grew up going to church, I even prayed regularly and owned a Bible. Somehow, I missed Jesus, just like I had missed salsa. He was right there ready for me to see Him, but I just didn't.

The summer I accepted Christ was a pretty crazy one for me. I had just graduated high school and was preparing for college. My parents decided to divorce and I found myself living with my aunt and uncle. Nothing was normal, everything was changing and changing fast. Our youth group went to an event in Estes Park, Co (the same place I would discover salsa in two more years). During that week, something happened, somewhere in the midst of all the workshops and games, I came face to face with the Gospel. It was a major aha moment. One I took in quietly, I prayed to become a Christian, and thought I was good.

I wish I could say, everything changed at the moment, life suddenly made sense and I became a strong believer overnight. No, I kind of put Jesus on a shelf, not intentionally, but because I was so shy and private at the time I told nobody of my decision and therefore I had no one to tell me there was more to Christianity than that one prayer. I went off to college and had an interesting year. I wanted to be like my Christian roommate Lynn, but I also wanted to have some fun. I slept in on Sunday mornings, feeling a bit guilty about seeing Lynn leave for church, but my Saturday night fun was more important at the time.

 Lynn had a strange habit that totally fascinated me...she read her Bible. In fact, she even wrote in it! That totally blew my mind. I mean weren't Bibles for looking good on a shelf? You weren't supposed to write in them, right? What was she doing every day reading and marking in her Bible? This was another aha moment in my life, similar to discovering Jesus and salsa. I thought well maybe just maybe I should find my Bible and read it too.

 Another aha moment was when my friend Teresa became a Christian. People were congratulating her and when I finally found out why I remember saying, "Hey, I'm a Christian too then, because I also accepted Jesus."  Slowly over the next year, I let my guard down and figured this whole Christianity thing out.

God had one more aha moment for me in that time frame. The end of my sophomore year, I was asked out by of all people, Brian Haynes. Oh was I thrilled. I never thought someone like him would like someone like me! During those final few months of that school year, Brian began taking me to church. Not just any church, but one that taught out of the Bible, in fact is was called the Bible Church. I'd never seen people actually carry their Bibles to church. This is where is all started to click for me. Aha..there is more to Christianity than just praying a pray, there is more to it than reading your Bible, there is more to it than attending any old church. It's where I realized Christianity wasn't just an extracurricular activity, it is a way of life!

I still had a long way to go, but as I look back over all those years, I see growth in my life. I did not come out of the gate a strong Christian with all the answers, but God was patient and has taught me so much. I still don't have all the answers (even though I like to think I do!), life is full of aha moments with God and it so much fun, challenging and crazy all at the same time.

My relationship with salsa has ended, it is now an enemy of my body; but my relationship with Jesus is much more spicy and flavorful than anything salsa could ever be for me!

The fruit of the Spirit is much better than any old jar of salsa!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 
Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:21-23

Linking up Today with:

Encouraging Words Wednesday
iFellowship

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The LORD is my strength...

I am so thankful for all my children who walk with the Lord. As my son is in his final year of high school I feel so blessed to see him become someone who not only loves the Lord, but defends Him.

The LORD is my strength and my song;
   he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
   my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
Exodus 15:2

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. 
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone 
 who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 
But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15