Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Meet Bruiser!

This is Bruiser, and he's the newest member of our family. Bruiser is a teacup chihuahua and yes, he is full grown. To give you an idea of just how big he is, that box he is in is made of one foot squared puzzle pieces! He weighs between 2 and 3lbs.
Bruiser came to us from my brother's house where he's been a happy member of the family for, I believe, around 3 years. They felt that Bruiser needed a new home, though, for many good reasons, and so, he came home from vacation with us!
Bruiser is the most fun! He chases the cats & barks like mad at them. But, the second they turn to hiss at him he cries like a wounded baby! I think they're all starting to get along. Even though my oldest girl is allergic to dogs, she doesn't seem to have a problem with small dogs, especially chihuahuas, so he's a great puppy for her! She's done great learning to be gentle with him. I even caught the baby this am stroking him gently with one finger, just as Mommy had instructed her sister to do.
We're sad that Bruiser couldn't stay with his original family, but we're glad to have him with us! And, we're glad he didn't have to completely leave his family, just move in with an Auntie!
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Why I Submit: My Pastor

I've had very few pastors in my life. That's the lot of a pastor's kid. Most of my life my pastor was my father, which is an interesting experience, but it doesn't teach what the proper relationship between member and pastor should be. I've had to learn this over the past seven years since I've joined my great church, Here.
I will tell you the honest truth, I had great difficulty submitting to a pastor that was not my father. In fact, I had difficulty just referring to him as "Pastor." Instead, I would call him, "Pastor Brenneman." Over the past seven years of sitting under his ministry, I've grown to greatly respect Pastor Brenneman and his wife. Unfortunately on July 24th they served their last Sunday with us, as God has called them to another ministry.
Partially, I feel apprehensive will I respect and care for my new pastor and his family as I did my old pastor and his. It's a new experience for me. But, my greatest desire when he arrives is to be a blessing. I would like to be an easy sheep to shepherd.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Contacts or Glasses?

I've been wearing contacts or glasses for eleven years. I started with contacts and a horrible pair of "back-up only" glasses. (They were horrible because I let my mom pick them out while my eyes were dilated. Don't ever let my mom pick out your eyeglasses. Sorry Mom, you make an excellent chicken caccatiore, but you're terrible in the optometrist's office!)
Eventually, I got a different, much better pair of glasses. (These are my back-up glasses now.) I hardly ever wore glasses at this point.
And, then, when I was expecting my first child I woke up in the middle of the night because my eyes hurt like crazy! I tried to open them, but it was so difficult. I was alone because my husband was working, so I stumbled to the bathroom. I turned on the light, and that made it worse. It was like being poked in the eye and you just can't seem to open it, only one hundred times worse. I had to force my eyes open by hand, and then I realized I was wearing my contacts still. I thought for sure I'd removed them, but even still, I'd slept entire nights with them in my eyes and never had anything like this happen. I had to re-wet my eyes to remove them, but I finally did. (It felt like ripping scotch tape off of my eyeballs!) I thought, certainly this is just extreme dryness, I'll go to bed and it will be better in the morning.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Queen of Baby Gadgets takes a Trip

I like to post about the many gadgets I accumulate, and to let you know which ones are worth their salt. Here's a great one. I don't use it terribly often, but when I do, I truly appreciate having it handy and think it was well worth the cost.
When you open my van doors you may see clutter, what I see is a treasure trove of on the go necessities:
There's a travel diaper bag that hangs on the back of the passenger seat. Great for storing extras. (It needs restocked.)
There's a shopping cart cover. Have you ever seen the studies about what kinds of microorganisms are found on a shopping cart? That knowledge makes it a must! (I will be blogging about it at some point.)
There's a box containing an Ergo Baby Carrier! (I will MOST definitely be blogging about this one, but I won't give any of that away, it's too awesome for sneak peeks!)
There's a sit & stand stroller.
A tray made to affix to a car seat.
And a host of toys.
But, there's also one little item that sometimes gets forgotten, it gets stuffed behind seats, it gets tossed out of the way, it gets man-handled beyond compare, but I'm ecstatic that we made this purchase.
It's my travel booster seat.
I can't really post a pic of it right now, but I'll encourage you to check out the link.
I love this thing! It folds super compact and is super light. You don't even notice it when you're carrying it.
The best part is, when you're away for a while like we recently were, you can use it as a highchair away from home.
When our older daughter was 10 mos. old we chaperoned our youth group at church camp and found this seat to be indispensable! These past two weeks as we shuttled our children to OH, PA, & MD. AND, then back again, I used this seat so often.
I'll tell the truth, I don't use it when we go out to eat because I use the restaurant's high chair. However, in these situations, when you're miles from that good ole staple high chair that sits splattered with peas in your marker stained dining room, this chair is a must. It's not too expensive and as I noted above, it just happily sleeps in my van being tossed about until it's necessary. But, when it's necessary, it's really necessary!!!
Again, here's a link to the item on One Step Ahead (One of my favorite sites ever!
Travel Booster

Saul, First King of Israel : Before the Crown

I know you're all anxious for me to begin another blogging series, am I right?
I've decided to do one about Saul, the first king of Israel. I've always been intrigued by him, and I feel that he's a misunderstood character that receives worse critique than he deserves. After all, he tried to murder David, but, we all love David and forgive that he, along with other Bible heroes like Moses, were in fact cold-blooded murderers. I'm not saying that Saul is an excellent example for the Christian. There are reasons we try to emulate David and reject Saul's example, however, I believe there is a lot to be learned from Saul, especially in the climate of lukewarm Christianity in which we now live!
This is my preface post:
We'll briefly look at the Saul before the Crown:
Saul was the son of Kish, and he was a mighty handsome man. He looked the part of a king. The Lord was going to use Saul to show the people of Israel that the world looks beautiful, but following their ways lead to unhappiness.
When we first meet him, Kish has lost some donkeys. He sent his son and a servant to fetch them. Saul's reaction was to dutifully venture out and search far and near for them. He doesn't seem like such a bad guy, now does he?

"And the asses of Kish Saul's father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses. And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not" - I Samuel 9:3&4
Finally, when Saul and the servant had exhausted themselves, they sought a man of God that he might help them search.
"And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go" - I Samuel 9:6
This is a right reaction isn't it. He's seeking guidance from the Lord. The only problem is that he didn't seek the Lord first. This is the tell to what Saul's life and reign shall be. He does seek the Lord. He does want to honor Him, but not first.
Before we judge him too harshly, is this not an overwhelming problem in the lives of nearly all Christians? I know it is in mine. Perhaps we're all a little more like Saul than we think...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Church Full of Lots

This post has been brought about by a conversation I had with my sister who was pointing out some verses to me earlier today.
Most Christians today, when listening to a sermon featuring the story of the ill fated Lot, will think Lot foolish and wicked. How could he depart from his righteous uncle, Abraham, and stay in the plain of Jordan near Sodom:

"Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom." - Genesis 13:12

The next time Lot enters into the story of Abraham he is sitting at the gate of Sodom. No longer was his tent pitched toward Sodom, but his home was in it & he was in a position of leadership.
He finally had to be dragged from the town of Sodom to avoid destruction:

"And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city." - Genesis 19:16

Finally, he lost his wife as she did not heed the warning of the angels that came to save them from this terrible fate.
So what do we take from the life of Lot? Do we merely see footprints in which we do not wish to follow? Or do we see a warning that we've pitched our tent toward Sodom, or perhaps we're sitting at the gate?
When we look at this scripture we're given a great insight and admonishment:

"And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)" - 2 Peter 2:7 & 8

We see here that Lot was just, therefore he was a born again man. His sins had been washed by faith in the Lord. We see that he didn't participate in the sin that was all around him, but only saw & heard it. But we learn even more, it vexed his righteous soul. It was a torment to him. It was a torment to the Lord whom he served. Immersing himself in that culture even if he didn't participate in the sin. It was wrong, it led to his destruction. Was Lot happy at the end of his life that he'd pitched his tent toward Sodom? I think not.
Here is the warning to Christians: We are living in a modern day Sodom, the sins of our nation are many! We are in this culture, but have we sanctified ourselves? Or are we immersed in the society watching and listening to the sin of it? What have we allowed our eyes to behold? Eyes that should be surrendered solely for the Savior. What have we allowed our ears to hear? Do we fill them with sounds that would appall our Savior?
I'm reminded of a song that I sang as a child:
Oh be careful little eyes what you see, Oh be careful little ears what you hear...
Are we a church full of Lots?

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." - Romans 12:1&2

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back from Vacation!

Hello Blog world!
I've been fairly silent over the past two weeks. I've spent them traveling with my lovely family!
We started out on Tues., Aug. 9th. That evening we went to Ohio to stay with my awesome Grandma for a couple of days. We got to enjoy her fabulous cooking. (MMMMM Roast Beef & Homemade biscuits!) On that Thurs., the 11th, we left for Pennsylvania (near Reading) where we stayed two nights at my big brother's house & then, we were off that Saturday to Ocean City Maryland!
My girls and I had never seen the ocean. (My hubby's an army brat so he's seen everything.) *I've got to tell you the truth, I fell completely in love with the ocean. So beautiful & loud & fun!! I'm now a champion boogie boarder! Well, at least, that's how I see it!
We had such a fun week with my brother, his family & his sister-in-law & her children. We went to the ocean, ate sea food, relaxed in the evening while looking out over the bay from our deck. What a great vacation. (My brother made it all possible, we couldn't have afforded it otherwise!)
We returned to PA on Sat., Aug. 20th. We left my brother's on Mon. (Spending Sunday visiting his church & eating at an awesome brunch buffet!) Spending one more night with my grandma, a quick biscuit stop. You'd understand if you've tasted one!
We finally made it home to the great state of Indiana yesterday, Aug. 24th! I'm not used to leaving home, so two weeks felt like an eternity! But, it was such a great two weeks.

I've already felt the sting of reality as our older daughter has been sick with a tummy bug all day & I've been cleaning, sorting, unpacking, laundering & catching up on all my normal projects for church & etc. Whew! What a lot of work, but SO happy to be doing it again.
Ocean City, MD 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

30 Days of Esther: Day 29

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."4:5 - James

Mordecai is the picture of godly wisdom and humility. Haman put the needs and interests of others far beyond his own. Before his ward entered into danger she specifically requested that he fast and pray for her. This is because Mordecai had a reputation as being one to come before the throne of the Lord with great effect. He notified the king of the evil plot against him, and when the king neglected to reward him, Mordecai still served the king faithfully.
Being godly will often invite scorn from those that choose to serve mammon.
"Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you." - I John 3:13

Haman was the picture of pride and self-importance. His actions were only motivated by self-promotion. Because he disregarded the things of the Lord and followed his own heart, the seed of hate and bitterness filled his heart. This eventually was his undoing and the man that he hated more than any other took his place and fulfilled his dreams.
Humility vs. Pride
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." - Proverbs 16:18

30 Days of Esther: Day 30

We've come to my last post on the book of Esther. I'm sure you're all relieved!
I love the book of Esther because I think it displays many different personality types, and it illustrates what the results are of loving the Lord and rejecting Him.
We first meet Ahasuerus and Vashti. They are picture of what pride can do to marriage. If we're only after our own self interest in a relationship than it will crash and burn. Marriages are destroyed when we seek our desires and disregard the feelings of others. We often end up with broken hearts and regrets.
Next we meet Mordecai and Esther. Here's a picture of humility and right familial relationship. Esther loved and respected her caregiver, who loved and prayed for her. He taught her about the Lord and taught her a humble spirit.
Finally we meet Haman. He is the picture of pride and anger. Pride is often the beginning of all the sin. When we seek to satisfy our own desires we can't seek after the things of the Lord. We then reject the Lord and can not receive his blessing.
Haman and Vashti, as a result of their pride, faced ruin. Mordecai and Esther, as a result of their devotion to the Lord, were blessed. Ahasuerus, as a result of the witness of Mordecai and Esther changed. He softened and became usable by the Lord.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

30 Days of Esther: Day 28

"For Mordecai the Jew was next unto king Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews, and accepted of the multitude of his brethren, seeking the wealth of his people, and speaking peace to all his seed." - Esther 10:3

When we start this book, Esther is just a young Jewess, and Mordecai her kind, wise relative that raised her when her parents died. At the end of the book Esther, she is queen and her uncle the second only to the king of the World's most powerful kingdom in the world.
It's exciting to see that God rewarded the goodness of Mordecai with this position. This position was a blessing to all involved. Think of how Ahasuerus was blessed by the knowledge and wisdom of the godly Mordecai and our history books record how prosperous this nation was, and I'm sure that was in part because of Mordecai's elevation!

Friday, August 12, 2011

30 Days of Esther: Day 27

"To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly,22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor." - Esther 9:21-22

The Jews realized the importance of remembering what the Lord has done for us. Likewise we observe the Lord's Supper. There's a reason why we do this, it's a very important reason.
" And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel." - Judges 2:10

When do not remind ourselves of the great and mighty works of the Lord. If we are not continually mindful then how will our children know what God has done for us?
The Jews in Persia had learned from their former mistakes. They set up a Holiday as a memorial of God's works. Just as we erect memorials to war heroes and past presidents, even more importantly we should have memorials to our children of what the Lord has done for our lives. Our children should know our testimonies, and be taught to share their testimony with their children!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

30 Days of Esther: Day 26

"And the king said unto Esther the queen, The Jews have slain and destroyed five hundred men in Shushan the palace, and the ten sons of Haman; what have they done in the rest of the king's provinces? now what is thy petition? and it shall be granted thee: or what is thy request further? and it shall be done" - Esther 9:12
God has promised to provide us. Look at how He has done so for Esther. He's softened the heart of a king who has proven to be harsh with his former queen. King Ahasuersus loves Esther greatly and allowed her to write the decree that would save her people.
It's amazing to see how God can change a heart. I am thinking of someone to whom I've been very close that has come close to serving the Lord, but ultimately chose to reject Him. I'm so thankful to the Lord that He provides us with examples of people like Ahasuerus. When we see his proud heart at the beginning of the book of Esther we might think that he's not capable of the kindness that he has shown to Esther, but nothing is to difficult for God. If you are praying that the Lord will change the heart of someone that you love, do not be discouraged. God is powerful enough to change any heart! Keep praying!

The Truth about Sin

Unfortunately, we live in an age that doesn't believe in definite right and wrong. This is difficult for Christians. We're ridiculed and mocked by coworkers, neighbors and friends for endeavoring to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. We're even persecuted by other "Christians" I use that term lightly because the word "Christian" means to be Christ-like. These "Christians" do not want to live a Holy life separated from the lusts of this world, but they desire to partake of the goodness and blessings of the Lord, yet they distance themselves from Him by allowing, tolerating and participating in acts that are wholly against Him and His commandments. When we sin, we transgress against the Holiness of God.
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." - I John 3:4
I'm not saying that I'm perfect, but rather, this is a testimony of my own life. I know that when we allow knowingly, and even, unknowingly, sin into our lives, we place ourselves in a position of enmity with God. I know this, because this is the direct result of the multiple sins that I've indulged in during my life. I will continue to sin and distance myself from the Lord, but I praise Him that He is not content to let me go! No, He pursues me relentlessly when I run from His presence.
When we adopt a mindset that there is no definite right or wrong we are doing our part to destroy lives and eternally condemn others. We know that there is only happiness, joy and contentment through God and that all other avenues to those gifts are temporal. If we don't inform others of a real sin and a Holy God who judges these sins, they will never understand that they need Him. They will never be able to enjoy the eternal blessings they we will.
Rather than being worried that we might offend, please let us show a far greater love and warn others of the great and eternal results of sin. Let us also tell them that there IS a cure for this sin, but is only found in the grace and mercy of the one, true, living Lord!
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

30 Days of Esther: Day 26

"The ten sons of Haman the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews, slew they; but on the spoil laid they not their hand." - Esther 9:10

This verse is a warning to parents. We must be mindful that what we do will always effect our children. In the case of Haman, his sons were killed because of his wicked heart! While our children may not have give their lives for our faults, be not deceived, they will feel the repercussions of our bad choices. My former pastor (that makes me sad to say, because he's recently move to a different ministry!) has been quoted as saying in regard to temptaion, "It's always about your faith, your family, and your future." Remember that when Satan tempts us to sin, he's out to weaken our faith, destroy our family, and change our future.
It's a lot easierr for the devil to attack me now, to cause me to fall and reject my Lord, than to do attack my children individually when they're older. If he can create a poor example in me, how much easier will it be for him to lure them from the Lord when they're older?
Parents need to be continually mindful that all our decisions, great and small, will have direct ramifications for our children!

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Road

I began a journey long
With my father close at hand.
I was small and weak and young
Much I didn't understand.
But, I trusted my dear father
Who would lead me in the way.
I know he'd never leave me,
he'd be close to me each day.

However, as we traveled,
I saw some peers of mine.
I paused for just a moment
to play with my own kind.
We had such a great adventure
And enjoyed our time of games,
but when I looked for Father,
I felt anger and shame.

I began to search for him,
and he quickly then appeared.
Father, how could you leave me,
Your only child dear.
My father held my hand
To direct me to the path.
As we left my place of pleasure,
I would not turn to look back.
Soon we met a princess
More beautiful than Spring.
When I looked upon her beauty
I loved her more than anything.
I desired nothing more
Than her lovely hand.
But when I asked my father,
he was no where in this land.

I cried out for him
to return to me again.
As quickly as I said the words
He reached out and took my hand.
Again he returned me
to the desired road,
and helped me as we journeyed
to our distant home.

Finally, along the avenue
a glittering I did behold.
I saw rubies, diamonds,
and the purest gold.
How could I pass these riches
And leave them in the way
For all my hearts desires
These would surely pay.
But at that moment I viewed that no one near me was. Though my father's promises He'd left without a cause. But then I heard his voice Speaking Oh so near. Which brought not only joy, but agony and tears. He showed me where his foot fell and there I saw the print. That he'd stayed steady, but I from his side went. So, when he'd felt so far, It had never been the case. For it was I that from his presence raced. I see now when's he's distant, My father's always near, For I'm the one who wanders, From his presence dear. And each time I cry to him, My voice he quickly heeds. He draws me to his presence And fulfills my needs. No greater love hath any, Than that he has for me. Though many should distract He's all that I should see. I shall walk in his presence Till my journey be complete, and there at my destination I shall sit at his feet.

30 Days of Esther: Day 25

"Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them." - Esther 9:5

When the Jews joined together they were able, through the power of God, to thoroughly defeat the enemy. Likewise, Christians ought to be of one mind and of one accord.

"Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:" - Romans 15:5
"Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." - Phil 2:2

We too have a common enemy, one who lays in wait for us that he might attack us at our weakest moment. We need to band together as brothers and sister, as soldiers in the spiritual war against our advisory the devil.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" - I Peter 5:8

Just as the Jews used their weapons to defeat those who would seek to destroy them, we have been given weapons of war. We've been given a full armor to wear to protect us, and to help us to fight and win the battle against this great adversary.

Monday, August 8, 2011

30 Days of Esther: Day 24

"Wherein the king granted the Jews which were in every city to gather themselves together, and to stand for their life, to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish, all the power of the people and province that would assault them, both little ones and women, and to take the spoil of them for a prey," - Esther 8:11
God will protect those that love him. And, he certainly delivered the Jews from a great calamity!

"The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." - Psalm 34:7
When I was a little girl and I thought someone mistreated me, my first reaction was that I would tell my dad. I knew that he would defend and protect me, because he's my dad. If our earthly fathers love us and will defend and protect us from danger, then how much more will our Heavenly Father protect us! He loves us so much more than even our dads on earth. (And judging from my dad and my husband, that's a whole bunch!) We have no need to worry when dangers present themselves, because our Father knew they were coming even before we do. And, He's already set in place a plan for our protection.

"And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?" I Peter 3:13

Saturday, August 6, 2011

30 Days of Esther: Day 23

"For how can I endure to see the evil that shall come unto my people? or how can I endure to see the destruction of my kindred?" - Esther 8:6

How beautiful Esther's devotion to her people. She came before the king again, and risked her life, but this time she came broken and tearful. Her heart ached for the great injustice that was planned against the Jews. Though, she had been saved from the intended slaughter she did not forget that she had the power to rescue others!
The king replies:

"Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in the king's name, and seal it with the king's ring: for the writing which is written in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse." - Esther 8:8

What an unwise law! However, it's a reminder to us that certain things can never be undone. The King thought he was acting wisely, but he decreed something that he later greatly regretted. I'm sure that everyone can think of something that they regret, some action that are not able to reverse the effects of that decision.
Ahasuerus is a lesson for us to think through each decision we make, consider what is the wise course of action, what is the biblical course of action? Even small decisions effect our future lives. No decision should be made without prayer!

Friday, August 5, 2011

30 Days of Esther: Day 22

"And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it unto Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman." - Esther 8:2

Could you imagine how frustrated Haman would have been had he known that Mordecai would replace him at the kings right hand? (I often think the Lord must enjoy irony!)
Isn't amazing how He works. Esther had been just a stranger in a foreign land a mere few chapters ago, and now, she is queen of the most powerful nation in the world. She had been marked for death, but now, the man who sought her life and the life of her people was dead, and she was the master of his estate.
Mordecai sat at the gate of the king, but now he would sit at his side, and was placed as steward of the former estate of the man who sought his ruin above anything else.

"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;" - I Corinthians 1:27

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Letter

He'd been gone from her for days now, and she missed him so. She paced as the anxiousness the lack of communication had created. Only he could calm her now, only he could give her the words of truth and love that could restore her peace. The longer it had been since she was exposed to his love the more she began to doubt it. She started to feel that he never did love her. That perhaps her he never did have her best intentions at his heart.
If only she could know what he was thinking, what was in his heart. Was she really his beloved? Was she really precious to him? Perhaps if she could read his words she would feel the peace she needed?
She could no longer stay where she was, she must leave! As she walked from the room she passed the table that contained a letter addressed to her from him.

So often we long for the peace and love of our Lord, yet, day after day we reject His words of love and peace by refusing to read His Word? It sits dormant on a shelf while we spiral into a world of unrest that is created through a lack of relationship with the Lord.
Who doesn't enjoy receiving a love letter from that one special person? When it arrives, we tear into it and devour each word. Why then, do we not do so with our Bibles?

The Cookie Plate

A plate stood upon a tabletop.
On the plate were cookies placed.
Each cookie was similar
In size and taste and shape.

But one cookie would not conform
to the baker's plan.
It stretched and twisted away
from the Master's hand.

All the cookies looked pleasant
And tasted just as sweet.
Except for the rebellious one
It was not so nice to eat.

Fight against the Creator,
And I'm certain you will find,
That instead of a cookie sweet
Your flavor is the bitterest kind.

But when we give our hearts in full,
to the Father, Creator.
We present him with a sacrifice
of the sweetest savor.

30 Days of Esther: Day 21

"So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king's wrath pacified." - Esther 7:10
This is the part of the story where everyone cheers at the defeat of the villain, but I can not. While I can praise the Lord for the protection of Mordecai and the Jews, and that He's a merciful God who will be with His children through all their troubles, I can never be anything but saddened by the loss of a soul.
Haman is the example of what Satan can do to a life.
Haman had a mother and father, he was once a child. He was a normal person, but he was one that gave in to the temptations that Satan had presented to him. Satan gave him opportunities to be puffed up, and Haman seized them. When someone surrenders to Satan's temptations and loses his soul in the process, I can not help but be truly saddened.
It's important to pray for our enemies. Paul was an enemy to the early Christians, John Newton was an enemy to Africans, but through the redemptive powers of the Savior their lives were changed!
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" - Matthew 5:44

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why I Submit: Government

I earlier posted about submitting to my husband. You can read about that here This is a second post about submission, something modern Americans believe to be a belittling act, but they couldn't be more wrong.
I want to talk to you about David.
David was a shepherd boy who was chosen and anointed by the Lord to be the next king of God's chosen people. However, while he was anointed the future king, the present king, Saul, still occupied the throne.
When Saul is first exposed to David he likes him, but he quickly realizes that this young man will take his throne and that the Lord is with him. He begins to despise David deeply and seeks to kill him. As a result, David runs and hides from Saul.
Twice while in hiding David is presented with the opportunity to kill Saul and save himself from the king's pursuit. However, the first time David merely cuts the robe of King Saul and the second, having felt tremendous guilt for cutting the King's robe, David refrains altogether. This is where we see the famous verse:

Why I Love My Children

I saw a tweet recently that said in essence that we should love our children because of who they are, not because of what they do.
While I don't necessarily disagree with this completely, I'm not sure that this is stated correctly. Perhaps we should not love our children because of who they are, but because of who we are.
I've never known anyone who has lost their life in a rescue attempt of another, but I imagine it would take great love and respect of the life of the other. The Lord loves us so much he was willing to do this. When we accept Christ as our Savior and give our lives to Him, our goal is to be more like Him. Part of being more like Him is to love others, all others, as He loved us.
I love my children, my husband, my mother, my father, as a reflection of the love that Christ is loving me. If He didn't love me as much as He did I would probably be incapable of loving others in a life-long, self-sacrificing manner, but I am, and I can, because He does!
Praise the Lord for a Agape Love! The love He shows me everyday. The love I should be reflecting to my family and all that I see.
Perhaps the tweet and I are both incorrect. Perhaps: We love our children not because of what they do, but because of who He is!

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." - I John 4:7

30 Days of Esther: Day 20

"And the king arising from the banquet of wine in his wrath went into the palace garden: and Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king." - Esther 7:7

Finally, Ahasuerus has done something worth applauding! I knew if he saw Esther's virtues there must be some good in the guy.
Ahasuerus has discovered that Haman's plot would be an attack against his queen. Finally, he realizes what an evil, conniving, and proud man he's had at his side. He was very angry!
But, look at the king's actions. I'm sure he was angry enough to kill Haman, right at that moment, but he went into the garden. He showed great wisdom in his wrath, wisdom he hadn't shown when he was angry with Vashti! Had Esther been a good influence on him? He paused and took a moment to calm his anger before he chose the course of punishment to be allotted to Haman. What a wise course of action that we should all emulate!
Sometimes my daughter can do just the right thing to aggravate me. Like when she dumps baking soda all over the floor, or this morning when she threw cheerios on me, or the time she took my ink pen to the walls (I blame myself for this one) my natural reaction is to react in anger. But, we know that it's always best to pause and calm before we administer punishment.
"He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated." - Proverbs 14:17

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Netflix on My WIi

I love Netflix! (Although, I'm not crazy about the rate increase!) What I love the most is being able to instantly stream video on my Wii. The only problem with this is...Wii Remotes!
I can never watch a show without accidentally turning off the show!
Why are those "b" buttons so sensitive?
To prevent this, I try placing the remotes farther away from me, but this doesn't work. We have four remotes and after a few minutes they go dormant. At that point if you press the button on another remote, that one becomes the remote that will control the Wii. Unfortunately, if I let one remote go to "sleep" I inevitably will hit another button and there we go again!
Honestly, this isn't too much of a problem on a quiet Thursday evening when I'm enjoying my weekly Murder She Wrote, and no one else has to deal with my ineptness. However, when I'm watching with others, it's quite annoying for them, and a little bit embarrassing for me!

Going to the Zoo

Each year I receive a family membership to the Indianapolis Zoo for my birthday from my husband. Now, you may think this unfair, because I receive a gift that's really intended for the girls. You couldn't be farther from correct! I love going to zoos, and I almost never do go, so a membership is an awesome gift for me! We bought our first one in 2009 and we've definitely used it. I never get tired of watching the same animals because they're always doing something different while I'm there.
I'll be honest, I don't know how the Indy Zoo ranks among its peers, but I enjoy it immensely. The staff is always courteous, kind and helpful, and you can tell the animals are cared for and healthy! Isn't that a mark of a good zoo?
I love taking my little ones to places like this and watching them learn about the world that God created! It's so much fun to watch my baby realize that the giraffe is just a few yards in front of her, and to see her stare in awe.

30 Days of Esther: Day 19

"Then Esther the queen answered and said, If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request:" - Esther 7:3

Esther had risked her life to request the king attend her banquet. She prepared this elaborate banquet for him. Finally, the time had come, he asked what she wished of him.
Esther had fasted, prayed, and sought the prayers of other, she was fully prepared. She responded to the king's question, "let my life be given me."
Esther had risked much, she was brave and courageous for the life of her people. What an amazing testimony. But, if Esther was willing do so much to pray the king preserve her physical life, how much more we should petition our Lord on behalf of those who do not know Him.
Esther sought only to protect the physical, but how much more important is it to save the soul. Our physical bodies are temporal, but the souls of the Lost are eternal. It is our duty to stand between them and death and hell. We need to be petitioning our Lord on their part, and interceding at every possible moment.
We won't win everyone to the Lord, but we can make it as difficult as possible to reject Him, can't we?
"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" - Matthew 16:26

Monday, August 1, 2011

30 Days of Esther: Day 18

"And Haman told Zeresh his wife and all his friends every thing that had befallen him. Then said his wise men and Zeresh his wife unto him, If Mordecai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him." -Esther 6:13

Though an Atheist will not admit it, the glory and power of the Almighty God is evident all around us.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork" - Psalm 19:1

It's encouraging to Christians to see when the world recognizes the power of our Lord. Zeresh and the wise men saw that Mordecai was of the chosen people of the one true, living God. They saw His hand working when Mordecai was honored, and realized that Haman would not succeed against Mordecai or his Lord. How exciting a turn of events! Unfortunately for Haman, this wisdom was given to him too late!
Man has made great advances in recent history. As we've excelled technologically we've developed a belief that deity is unnecessary, but recent history has also shown that man will never conquer nature. Only One can control these elements. We should be humbled by the catastrophes we've deemed "acts of God." We should recognize that these are, in fact, acts of a living Lord, that He is real and that we'll never be righteous enough to face Him. We're not his equals, and if we struggle against Him, we'll never succeed. The only answer is to submit ourselves and completely commit our lives to Him.
"But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" - Matthew 8:27
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