Monday, December 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
I came into my quiet house, made a cup of French Vanilla Cappachino, and got ready to relax. Then I got the text..."Are you busy?" Sigh. I wanted to say yes, but then thought better of it. "Can we talk?" Sure...come on over. It was no coincidence that she texted me one of the few times EVER that I have an empty house. To be able to have a conversation and listen without interruptions was a rare opportunity. And while I'm not sure my words had any effect on the heart of this woman who is so far from the Lord, I hold onto this hope that God will use me to open her eyes to His presence.
I have since picked up the boys and tucked them safely in their beds. I have spoken with my husband and said good-night. And now I have the quiet time I had been anticipating, with much more to pray about. I am thankful that God opened my eyes to his divine appointment tonight. I would have regretted letting it pass by.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Ever since becoming a Christian I've had a question that never had a clear answer. "Is it ok for a married person to be friends with someone of the opposite sex?" (By "friend", I mean more than business-related or small talk). A few years ago I would have said yes. I thought as long as there was not an obvious problem with lust or something inappropriate physically that it was ok. Today I would answer differently. Here's a few reasons why...
Marriages are falling apart all around me, both non-believers and Christians. Sometimes a physical affair is involved. But even if it isn't, there is usually an "understanding" member of the opposite sex who has befriended one or both individuals. Things start out very innocent, but once that person starts to listen and meet emotional needs that the spouse is not, there is trouble. My eyes have been opened to this pattern that is being repeated over and over in various forms.
I believe that opposite-sex friendships give Satan a foothold in our lives. There is even more to consider than the obvious temptation of emotional or physical affairs. Let's say the relationship is 100% innocent...is there any harm? One thing to consider is the spouse. There is potential for jealousy and feelings of insecurity to arise in them, which could put distance in any relationship. And then there is the potential for rumors to spread. It doesn't matter if they are true or not...rumors could do damage to our witness for Christ. Satan wants us turning to members of the opposite sex rather than to God or same-sex friendships because there is so much destruction for him to put into motion. Marriages destroyed...friendships strained...Christians losing their power to influence others...
Being someone who grew up with mostly male friendships I can tell you that this part of married life has been a struggle for me at times. I have had to give up a good friendship. It wasn't easy...but it was right. I figure I'm already in a battle with the enemy, and I certainly don't need to be providing him with more ammunition. Decide today what your boundaries will be. Pray that your eyes will be opened to Satan's schemes. And please feel free to comment any thoughts you have on the subject.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
We also have choices to make every day that can result in blessing or consequences (curses). We choose whether or not to listen to God's voice, believe Him, and obey. We choose how we react to circumstances that are a result of the choices of others or a result of living in a fallen world. We choose whether or not to love, to forgive, or to put the needs of others above our own. Our choices can lead us to abundant life or to a miserable existence. Let it be said of us that we chose life.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
It all started with Numbers 21:4-9 ...But the people grew impatient along the way, and they began to murmur against God and Moses. "Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?" they complained. "There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this wretched manna!" So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among them, and many of them were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, "We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes." So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told him "Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to the top of a pole. Those who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!" So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to the top of a pole. Whenever those who were bitten looked at the bronze snake, they recovered!
The people sinned and there was a consequence. And of course the consequence wasn't pleasant so the people repented and asked for it to be removed. (I'm pretty sure a bunch of poisonous snakes would have caused me to beg for mercy too!) But what stands out to me is how God works. He doesn't remove the consequence of sin, but instead provides a remedy. The snakes were still there...someone may still get bit...but if he looked to the snake on the pole, he would live.
Jump ahead to John 3:14-17 and we see the same thing played out. Jesus says "And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so I, the Son of Man, must be lifted up on a pole, so that everyone who believes in me will have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it."
Sin was brought into the world and caused separation between us and God. We live with the consequence, but God provided a remedy. The enemy is still there...we may still get attacked...but look to Jesus and believe in him, and we shall live. Sometimes I would rather that God take out the enemy and remove all the consequenes of sin from my life. But if He removed the snakes, would I still be as desperate to catch a glimpse of the image on top of the pole?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Got this stuff for $6 after rebates at CVS. The Extra Care Bucks at CVS blows me away. If you work it right you can get free products all the time. It seems too good to be true. For example, the contact solution I bought was $7.99, but I got $7.99 Extra Care Bucks that I can use as cash on my next visit...so essentially it was free! And if I use that money to buy other "Free" items on my next visit, no money will be leaving my pockets. And you can use coupons for the item too, which actually makes you a profit! LOL
This is the result of my trip to Kroger. Spent only $15...saved $44. Part of it was matching up sales with coupons. I also took advantage of a pharmacy promotion they are running through the middle of August. Transfer a prescription to Kroger Pharmacy and get $25 free groceries! (You can transfer up to 8, for a potential profit of $200).
I still plan to support my small town grocery store and pharmacy when the prices are competitive, but a weekly trip out of town to hunt down deals has now been added to my schedule :)
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 7, 2010
I have learned a few things during this process of creating our flowerbeds.
1. Plants look much smaller once you plant them than they do at the greenhouse.
2. Do not order plants bareroot unless you are prepared to wait a while to see something that resembles what you ordered.
3. The beauty of the flowerbed is not only what you see initially, but what you imagine it will look like. I know the potential each plant has to grow and bloom. I have planted in faith of what will come. So now I need to nurture them to maturity and watch what will happen. It's kind of like raising kids. My joy comes from the present, but also hope for the future and what it will bring.
4. All things of beauty take effort to maintain. It didn't take long for weeds to rear their ugly heads. Now I will need to learn to recognize the plants from the weeds, especially in the spring when I hear they can look very similar.
5. Working outside and rainfall must be connected somehow...
6. Solar landscaping lights and children are not very compatible! Super glue and duct tape are good to have on hand.
7. Landscaping is addicting. We already have future projects in mind. I never knew I would enjoy it so much!
So now we wait, and water, and weed. Waiting on things to grow and blossom and spread. Appreciating all the beautiful variations of plants and flowers that God has created.
Monday, May 10, 2010
The more I thought about it, I realized that many of the times I'm rushing around it's to accomplish a to-do list that I've created, but which isn't really necessary. Maybe it's time to lower my expectations a little in order to enjoy life more.
Here are some of Chip's observations...
When I'm in a hurry I don't notice the flowers blooming alongside the road.
When I'm in a hurry there seems to be more irritating drivers on the road than normal.
When I'm in a hurry I don't strike up friendly conversations with those around me.
When I'm in a hurry I avoid people, places, and things that take time, energy, and effort.
When I'm in a hurry I pretend not to see the person behind me in line who only has a few items while I have a cart full of groceries.
When I'm in a hurry I rush through the day and I rush by people.
When I'm in a hurry I don't ask people how they really are. Or if I do, I don't stick around to hear the answer.
When I'm in a hurry my devotional life is a task to get done instead of a time to treasure.
When I'm in a hurry I'm abrupt with people.
When I'm in a hurry it feels like life is a race to be run.
When I'm in a hurry I get angry more easily and more often.
When I'm NOT in a hurry I enjoy my food more.
When I'm not in a hurry I smile more and just feel calmer.
When I'm not in a hurry life seems to be more enjoyable and less stressful.
When I'm not in a hurry I'll ask about others, about themselves, how they're doing, and I actually like hearing what they have to say.
When I'm not in a hurry my times in prayer are more meaningful.
When I'm not in a hurry things don't bother me as much. I'm more patient, loving, understanding, and tolerant.
To which I will add...When I'm not in a hurry I more accurately reflect the character of Jesus.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Jacob is now in baseball. Just adding practice two nights a week seems to fill up our schedule. I can't imagine what it will be like when all 3 boys are playing sports! I am thankful for now that there is a playground next to the ball field, so Brady and Isaac have a fun place to burn off some of their energy :)
So that's what is happening in my life amidst the daily routines and trying to balance work and rest. My days are full, but not too busy that I don't have room to breathe or be available to others. And that's just how I want them to be.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
It begins with her marriage to Abram. I wonder if she knew how much that one event would change her life. God instructs Abram to gather his family and move to a new land. So Sarai obediently leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known. After traveling a great distance to this promised land there is a famine, requiring them to go to Egypt temporarily. Here is where her knight in shining armor lets her down. Because Abram feared for his own life, he partially lied about his relationship with Sarai, resulting in her being taken into the king's harem. I wonder how special she felt surrounded by the other women, knowing that her husband had decided not to fight for her. Thankfully God came to her rescue by making the truth known to the pharaoh so that she was returned to her rightful place.
So they left Egypt and made a life for themselves in Canaan. God had promised Abram descendants as numerous as the stars, yet after 10 years Sarai was still barren. I can hear her asking herself "What is wrong with me? Am I not worthy?" In a moment of weakness she suggested to Abram that he bear children with her servant Hagar instead. I wonder if she was hoping he would say "No Sarai, you are my wife and the only one I want. We will wait on God who will fulfill His promise". But instead Abram agreed. Hagar became pregnant, Sarai became bitter, and the drama began.
Thirteen years later, God once again declares his promise to make Abram the father of many nations. This time He changes Abram's name to Abraham and they form a covenant. God says his covenant will be fulfilled through a son born to Sarai. And He gives Sarai a new name as well. Maybe because He could see her heart, her hurts, her questions. He knew she needed affirmation of her worth... so He says "From now on you shall call her Sarah", which means princess.
Sarah's story doesn't end there. Even with a new name and a fresh promise, Abraham once again decides not to claim Sarah as his wife and allows her to be taken into another king's palace. This man may be a great patriarch, but he sure is a slow learner! Once again, God comes to her rescue. He then fulfills His promise by blessing her with a son and bringing her laughter.
Abraham was a good man, and therefore I assume a good husband, but he had some stumbles at his wife's expense. I see the Lord as the real hero in Sarah's story. He is the one who rescues her (twice) and affirms her with a new name. And we too can look to that same hero to rescue us and name us "princess". After all, we are daughters of the King!
Monday, April 5, 2010
"Women put men under enormous pressure to be the prince. Most of the time we aren't even aware of how much we do it. Somewhere along the journey we stopped hoping that the prince would come and started hoping that the prince would come through. The hope of his physical presence changed into a demand for his emotional presence. Some of those expectations are normal and right. But if a woman doesn't yet know her own name, or if she thinks that the love she has (or doesn't have) is all the love there is, she might end up clutching the prince by the throat. Every woman seeks to get the love she needs from an earthly prince, but at some level it will not satisfy her - ever. The thirst for love in a woman's heart must be met first by a higher love, from a well that won't run dry. Unfortunately, an earthly prince just doesn't have enough water... So the princess must first look into the face of God's Son. She must trust her love from the Prince of heaven above the love of any earthly prince. Whether she is single, married, divorced with three children, or a young teenager entering the world of love, she must turn her gaze to meet his eyes before looking into the eyes of anyone else." - Nicole Johnson
I have a great husband, but he can't fulfill all my needs. I benefit from reminders, like this one, to keep my eyes focused on the only prince who can satisfy my princess heart.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
So today I give thanks for my little boy who fills me with so much joy. May we have many more years together ~
Monday, March 22, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
"I wish I could tell you the situation has improved but I cannot. If anything the situation deteriorates each day. A large majority of the dead have been buried, but there are many who still remain under the rubble of buildings. There are many who are sick and have no medical help, many who had medical help but now with no follow-up lie on a sheet on the street under the broiling sun of the day and the rains that are now coming during the night. There are many surviving on mud cakes because they have no money and no food. There are many who are still wearing the clothes they had on when the earthquake hit January 12, so the on-the-ground situation has not improved. BUT the incredible good news is Haitians by the thousands are accepting Jesus. And in the overall picture of life and death, that is the greatest news of all!"
Our circumstances in the United States are so much better than that of Haiti, yet their faith outshines ours by a mile. They must believe Jesus when he said "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 In the midst of the suffering happening all around them, they know where their hope lies...or shall I say, lives.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I have been enjoying Beth Moore's book Believing God. Lots of good stuff. Do you not only believe IN God, but believe what He says? (Or maybe the question is, do you even know what He says?) One issue that I've spent a lot of time pondering this year is miracles, especially healings. Why don't we see the amount of healings that were recorded in biblical times? Does God still work that way? If my prayers aren't answered, does that mean I didn't have enough faith? Chapters 5 and 6 is this book do a great job exploring these questions. Here are a few quotes that were helpful to me...
"A believer will see miracles, all right. Sometimes the greater miracle may be abundant life, redemption, ministry, and the exceeding harvest after a NO we felt we wouldn't survive. If you dare to believe and don't get your miracle, God has a greater one planned. Stay tuned. If what you desperately need or deeply desire is founded in the Word of God, don't let anyone tell you that God can't...or that He undoubtedly won't."
"We must cease to accept the visible as the possible and start believing what God says over what man sees"
"Sometimes God may prioritize performing a miracle on our hearts and minds over a miracle concerning our circumstances."
"I'm freed from what scares me, and many of you, most about getting out there and believing God. We're scared half to death that He won't come through for us, dignify us with a yes, and prove faithful. Or that we'll prove to be failures at having enough belief for Him to bless with a miracle. If I'm convinced that God really loves me and has certain priorities for me that may take precedence at times, then I am "safe" to walk by faith. I am freed to know that my God is huge and my God is able and that if I don't get what I asked, if I'll cooperate, I'll get something bigger. I'm going to believe Him to do anything His Word says He can. Then if He chooses not to, I don't have to assume: He doesn't like me, He doesn't answer my prayers like He does others', He hardly knows I'm alive, He can't do it, He's never willing to do it, I didn't have enough faith, I wavered for a split second, I have that sin in my past, I'm a failure, I've made a fool of myself. Instead, I get to know that a greater YES is in progress, and I can count on the bigger miracle."
May our prayer be that of the prophet Habakkuk, "Lord, I have heard of your fame. I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known." (3:2)
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Monday, February 15, 2010
When I first married into this family I was blown away. The Bobos have 5 children, all of whom know the Lord. They have been blessed with 13 grandchildren (if I counted correctly) and numerous great-grandkids. What makes this so amazing is that the family actually gets along and reunites twice a year on Labor Day and near Christmas. Never once have I seen an argument take place at one of these gatherings. Pictured above is a photo taken Labor Day 2009. This is what can happen after 63 years of Christian marriage. This is my dream. Thank you, Betty, for showing me that it is possible.
She was loved and will be missed by many. I will miss her contagious little laugh. I picture her now in the Lord's presence in her new heavenly body, experiencing a joy beyond description, about to receive her reward. She may not be able to read my blog posts anymore, but one day I will see her again and be able to fill her in on the rest of my story...
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Some highlights of the year have been taking his first trip to the ocean, receiving his Nintendo DS for Christmas from Papa D (which he plays frequently), moving into his "own" room, getting his first pair of "tie" shoes, singing his first solo at church, and of course losing a bunch of teeth! Today he wanted to be a "packer" and bring a PB&J sandwich. Then later we are off to Acres of Fun. Thankfully the snow has stopped so we can go!
One more year that I'm amazed at watching my son grow and learn. One more year that I am humbled and challenged through my role as a mother. And one more year that I am thankful for the love and grace shown to me along the way. Praying for many more...
Sunday, January 31, 2010
We met Mike this past summer when he worked with Jeremy to replace our roof. Slowly we became friends with him and his wife. Just recently Mike decided he wanted to straighten up his life and start going to church. He decided to try out New Hope because once when he needed $5 for gas he stopped into the office and they gave it to him! So he called up Jeremy and asked if he could pick him up the next Sunday. He's been twice. He was going to go this morning, but slept in too late. I have no doubt in my mind that it was the enemy at work. This evening Mike was killed in a car accident. It doesn't seem real to me yet. I believe he was around 31 years old. Left behind a wife, Mandy, and a one year old son, Michael. Please be in prayer for them. He is also the son of Les Hughes, who goes to New Hope.
There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Don't put off making a decision about Jesus. Don't put off reconciling your relationships. Live today as if it were your last, because you never can be sure when that will be...
Thursday, January 28, 2010
But sometimes I wonder..."What if, like Job, it was all taken away? What would happen to my faith? Would I be still be able to trust in God's promises and praise His name?"
I just heard this song, which echoes my thoughts, and it gave me "God bumps". I hope that if I lost it all I would still be able to lift my hands and worship the One who gives and takes away. But honestly, I hope I never find out the answer to that question...
Thursday, January 14, 2010
"The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. In this way we are like various parts of the human body...each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body...let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't" - Romans 12:3-6 (The Message)