Monday, December 12, 2011

Coming


When you look up the word "Advent" in the dictionary, here is what you get:
"Coming; the arrival of an important person."

The 1828 Webster Dictionary defines it more clearly as:
"Coming, as in the coming of our Savior."

One thing that has always been a part of Christmas in my house is Advent.  We read scripture, learn about the birth of Jesus, and sing carols around a candlelit table.  Some of my favorite Christmas memories are of Advent.  Sure, it is a time where our family comes together and celebrates Christmas, but do we truly understand "the coming?"

Jesus is coming!


We should be on the edge of our seats, with our eyes always open, waiting, watching for the birth of our Savior.  And when at last we see his star in the sky, we can shout "Hallelujah! Our King has finally arrived!"  This is our time of celebration.  While the rest of the world enjoys the holiday, this is our time of joy!  God has sent his Son down to save us, his lowly sinful people.  Soon, with the coming of Easter, he will have conquered death and set us free.

We who know the truth can identify with Simeon as he praises God:

 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
   you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
  which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
   a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
   and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32)

Simeon knew what few understood at the time.  This humble baby, born into a bed of straw, would be the one to rescue every person on this earth.  This little boy would grow up and change not just the world, but eternity forever.  

We are those Gentiles he speaks of.  We have seen the light, the beautiful light of salvation that God sent down to us in the heart of a baby boy.  

So as we celebrate this blessed season, we can hold onto the hope and the joy of knowing that he is coming, not just at Christmas, but at the end of all time.


For unto us a child is born.


Unto you.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Perfection = Suffering

So I was studying Hebrews for Bible Quizzing and came across this verse:


"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering."  Hebrews 2:10
Hhmmmm.  As I was reading this, something came to me.  Perfection = Suffering.  By the simplest logic, I can come up with this: Suffering = Perfection.  

So at least part of the point of suffering is to bring us closer to perfection.  Interesting. 


On this same topic, I recently watched an extreme home makeover show where they built a house for a boy named Job and his family.  This boy had leukemia, had had both lungs replaced, and on top of that, his family's house was condemned.  


When asked why they named him Job, which means "suffering", his parents replied with a Bible verse: "In the land of Uz there lived a man named Job. This man was faithful and upright in the eyes of the Lord." The parents said that they wanted their son to be as faithful and upright as the job of the Bible.  


Because of all the pain Job has gone through, they often compare the boy Job with the Job of the Bible. As the mother said, "In the last part of the book of Job it says, 'Job was more blessed in the latter part of his life, than in the first.'  I believe that is the way it will be with our son Job; he will be blessed more in the latter part of his life than in the first."

Faithfulness through suffering brings blessings later.  Maybe on this earth, but certainly in heaven.  

So all the pain, all the struggles of this world, are they really worth it?  

As one of our favorite Mandisa songs says, "When the waves are taking you under, hold on just a little longer. He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger. The pain ain't gonna last forever, and things can only get better. Believe me, this is gonna make you stronger, stronger."
Or as it says in Romans 8:28, "And we know that in all things God works together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." 
I noticed that it doesn't say "The happiness of those who love him" but, "the good of those who love him"  What is good for me is not always what will make me happy.  



Here is one other verse from Bible Quizzing:
"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (Hebrews 2:18)
If you ever think that God doesn't understand what you are going through, he does!  He experienced it!  He understands temptation, because he was tempted, for forty straight days no less, in the desert by the devil.  Think about it.  He was all alone.  He was starving, He was hot, He was tired.  He didn't have any people around him to support him.  And yet he stood firm.  
He understands criticism, because he was criticized, sometimes in the harshest terms. (Matt 9)  
He understands the unfaithfulness of people, because the crowds that cheered and praised him as Lord on Palm Sunday were the same ones who yelled "crucify him!" a week later. 
He understands grief, because he himself mourned for his friend Lazarus. (John 11:34-37)
He understands how it feels when people you are close to betray you,  because he himself was betrayed by one of his chosen few.  
He understands how it feels to be mocked, shamed, and beaten down, because all of these things were done to him. (Matt 27)
More than anything, he understands you. For who else could know you as well as the one who made you?  


He knows your thoughts, for he shaped the mind that makes them.  
He knows your heart, for he is the one who made it. 
He understands your feelings, for he was the one who gave you the ability to feel. 
He knows your love, and gives His to you a million times greater.  
For who could love more than the one who created love?





Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Trend Sweeping the Nation

Something is going on in the world today.  An American sensation that will soon become an international sport.  This is the coolest thing since sliced bread.   

Mattress Sliding


Oh, yes. It's real.  And it started in my house.  


A week ago, my sister M&M was sleeping on an old mattress that creaked and was hard.  After months and years of this, my parents finally decided to purchase a new mattress for her.  Little did they know that the old mattress, rather than the new, would become more highly valued than gold.  

Upon investigation, it was discovered that the old mattress of  was the perfect width to slide down our stairs.  After one round, then two, and three and four, mattress sliding became a huge hit.  Other uses for the mattress, including using the mattress as a trampoline and gymnastics mat were discovered, but none can hold a candle to the treasured mattress slide.  When our friends came over, they said:

"I've got to try this" 

and


"No way!  Really?"


It is a favorite with kids and adults alike.  Hurry for your own chance to try this amazing contraption—before the mattress is taken to the dump. 








Saturday, June 25, 2011

Peace.

Somewhere in the middle of South Dakota....

Winds tear through the trees.  Dark foreboding clouds fill the sky.  Light poles, trees, and shopping carts swing precariously back and forth.  Yet, in the middle of all this, I feel peace.

This wind, this massive force, can change into hurricanes and tornados. It can shake all that we as humans think is secure.  When I see an endless field of prairie grass swayed back and forth by the wind, I can feel its awesome power.

But wind isn't even a 'someone.'  It's a thing.  A thing controlled by God. He gives the wind its power and strength.

We can't see the wind.  We can't see the Lord.  If wind—this unseen force—is so great and powerful, how much greater must the One who controls it be?

In this world, lives can be changes in a split second by the storms of nature.  Life is so fragile.  But we have an awesome God who controls it!  What a blessing to have this assurance, this peace.  Even in the midst of the hardest struggles, we can remember who holds the world in His hand.

Love.

What makes you think of love?  I think of pies baking in the oven, warm hugs, and unconditional forgiveness.

God shows his love to us through many things, the greatest of which was sending his son to take our place.

I especially see his love in creation.

Look at the beauty and diversity of the animals in creation.  Each one is unique in its own way.  God could have made no animals at all or even stopped at one hundred.  But he didn't.

All the mountains.  They range in color from grey to red.  You can see spikes, or soft shaping.  This month I went to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado.  Wow.  From the top of that mountain you can see five states. I could see the the gorgeous hills of colorado, the snow covered peaks of wyoming, and even the cornfields of Kansas.

God made this world for us to enjoy.  He gave us beauty we don't deserve.  THAT is love.





Thursday, May 26, 2011

You Love Me ANYWAY!









The question was raised
As my conscience fell
A silly, little lie
It didn’t mean much
But it lingers still
In the corners of my mind
Still you call me to walk
On the edge of this world
To spread my dreams and fly
But the future’s so far
My heart is so frail
I think I’d rather stay inside
But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
How You love me
It took more than my strength
To simply be still
To seek but never find
All the reasons we change
The reasons I doubt
And why do loved ones have to die?
But You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway
See now, I am the man that called out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with this smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life
But You love me anyway
Oh, God… how you love me
You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
You love me, You love me
You love me, You love me
How You love me
How You love me
How You love me
WOW! I had heard this song several times on the radio, but had never really listened.  A few days ago, I took the time to listen to what this song was saying.  How amazing is our God!
In all other religions, you must have attained some sort of 'cleanliness' before approaching God.  But our Sovereign God, who created the world, wants us to come to him as we are! WE fail again and again, but he stills loves us!   I am Judas' kiss.  When we feel that worthless, that sinful, he still wants us, loves us and is waiting for us to come to him!

Praise the Lord!
Remember the picture of petals I put at the beginning of this post?  We come to God like that.  Like torn up flowers that are apparently worthless.  But God is powerful.

Through his love, he can make those petals into a gorgeous flower again.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Formal 2011

This last weekend, I went to this year's homeschool formal.  It was really fun!  The best part was getting ready with a bunch of my friends.

My friend Taylor (see post Taylor Day) came down from college to help us get ready, take pictures, etc.

It was so awesome!  We spent hours curling hair, doing make up, and singing Disney songs :)

Here are some pictures:

I took a dress that my Grandma made for my Mom when my Mom was in college.  I had a lot of fun altering it to suit my taste.




See my hair in this picture? Taylor did it for me! When I took it out after the dance, I found that I had 52 bobby pins in my hair :)










And just in case you wanted to see how much fun we had taking pictures.......



 God's Princess

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Glorious Day



One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When All the Ducks are in a Row

I read this wonderful post by Jasmine Baucham on Ladies Against Feminism last week.  It addresses something we Christians don't think about very often.

Enjoy!

Once upon a time, there were two women attending a conference.
After one of the sessions, the speaker called all of the women in attendance to bow their heads and pray. One of the women bowed her covered head, lowered her unpainted eyes, and clasped her work-worn hands in front of her:
“God, I thank you that I am not like other women, who pursued college educations, worked outside of their homes, delayed marriage or children, and walk around in power suits instead of floral dresses. I homeschool my children. I submit to my husband. I go to a family integrated church every week.”
Sound familiar?
It’s a version of one of my favorite passages of Scripture, and, yes, I took a bit of creative license. It’s much better this way:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ {Luke 18:10-12}

Here’s what I’m learning:

It’s so easy to sound like that Pharisee.

It’s so easy to feel like that Pharisee.

This article is for you, fellow Pharisee. You know who you are.

There is a reason why I live my life the way that I do. There is a reason why I am a homeschool advocate, why I live at home with my family, why I make it a point to embrace and promote biblical femininity, why I have chosen to walk the path that I have…

I want to bring glory to God in my every decision. I want to take every thought and action captive for his glory (2 Corinthians 10:5).

None of the things that Pharisee mentioned were necessarily bad things. In fact, they were very right and good things. But that Pharisee wasn’t thinking about God’s glory, and, so many times, neither am I. I’m thinking. “Whew! Thank goodness I’m not out there in the rat race like those girls.” “Thank goodness I’m not wrapped up in a bad relationship likethat woman.” “Thank goodness I am not like other men…”

What I’m learning lately is not that the decisions we make are not important. They are. But I’m learning that they mean nothing when they are not offered up to the Lord as humbly as the prayer of that second man:
But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ {Luke 18:13}
If our convictions do not flow from a heart that realizes daily that it is only by God’s grace that we evendesire to please him… if the choices we make come from a prideful need to exalt ourselves above others… if we cannot reach out to others with the glorious news of the gospel because we somehow feel they are beneath us… if our gospel begins to include steps that will make the hearers look more like us than like Christ…

In essence our righteousness does not exceed those empty works of the Pharisee (Matthew 5:20), and unless our hope is solely in the righteousness of Christ Jesus (Romans 3:20, 1 John 2:2)…

We are no longer walking in grace. We are offering filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We are loveless, whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27, 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

And we are not blessed, as that second man:
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted. {Luke 18:14}
The good news? Well, the good news is the Good News.

We all fall woefully short in this area. The answer is neither to try to walk by the letter of the law, trusting in our own righteousness to save us… nor is it to cast aside all morals in a hedonistic free-for-all.

The answer is to proclaim and apply the gospel that quickens dead hearts and transforms lives instead of the behavior modification that turns virtue into an idol and whitewashes open tombs.

The answer is to lean on the finished work of Jesus Christ, and not on our own exertions. 

The answer is in our motive. Because all of the trappings of biblical womanhood are meaningless when the woman claiming to believe in “biblical” womanhood is more concerned with her own glory than that of the Author of the Word. A heart satisfied in Christ and fully applied to following him? That’s the goal.

Oh, what a sigh of relief, and, oh, what a balm for the soul! Oh, what sweet, sweet rest we find when our joy and purpose comes from seeking Christ and his will for our lives, and sharing our love for him with others… and nothing else.

Because what else do we really need?



Friday, April 8, 2011

A Man Named Andrew

I was reading a book about Brother Andrew,  a missionary to countries beind the iron curtain. He smuggled hundreds of Bibles to people who had never had one before.  Many years before he was a missionary, he was in college, and really short on money.  He was practicing obedience to God by trusting Him for his expenses. 

One time in particular, he needed to renew his visa, since he was studying in England.  The cost of sending a letter was a schilling, and he had no money.  Day after day, he waited for God to supply, but nothing came. 

Then on the day he had to mail the letter, he saw a friend coming toward him.   At last! But no.  This friend was coming to ask for money, not to give it.

 During their conversation, Andrew saw a schilling among some stones at his feet.  Carefully, he picked up the schilling with the stones and put it in his pocket.  Andrew debated with his conscience for several minutes, and finally gave the schilling to his friend.

One hour later, Andrew checked his mail and found a letter from his sister with thirty-two pounds—more than enough for all he needed!

God is an awesome provider!  He tells us over and over in his word that he will provide, but how often do we trust him? 

It says in Matthew 6: 25-32
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
   28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.


Last weekend, my youth group did 30 hour famine to raise money to build a well in Africa.  30 hour is an event that you raise money for, and then fast for 30 hours to feel a little of what it is like to live in poverty.  At 30 hour famine, the parents were counting the money.  When they counted it all, we were about $40 from our goal. The parents were disappointed, but prayed for the Lord to provide. 

Soon after, one boy who was late came in with his money, bringing the total to just $6 over the goal! 
Our God is an amazing God!

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Love is Here!

Come to the water
You who thirst
And you'll thirst no more
Come to the father
You who work
And you'll work no more
And all you who labor in vain
And to the broken and shamed

Chorus
Love is here
Love is now
Love is pouring from His hands
From His brow
Love is near
It satisfies
Streams of mercy flowing from His side

'Cause love is here

Come to the treasure
You who search
And you'll search no more
Come to the lover
You who want
And you'll want no more, no
And all you who labor in vain
And to the broken and shamed
Yeah

Chorus


And to the bruised and fallen Captives bound and broken hearted
He is the Lord
He is the Lord, yeah
By his stripes
He's paid our ransom
From His wounds we drink salvation
He is the Lord
He is the Lord

Chorus
Love is here
Love is now
Love is pouring from His hands
From His brow

Love is near
It satisfies
Streams of mercy flowing from His side
Streams of mercy flowing from His side

'Cause love is here
Love is here


Wow. Isn't it amazing that we serve a God so big that his love his here for us all the time?

We sang this song at my youth group last night, and it really spoke to my heart.

One thing especially stuck out to me.

Love is near, it satisfies


Christ's love is enough for me.  It should satisfy all my wants and needs.  Yet, that is not always the case.
I sometimes look to things or friends or my emotions to satisfy me.  None of these things will bring true satisfaction.  Only when I surrender my life to Him, will I be satisfied.

Why don't we surrender? Why don't we submit to God if that is the best way?

We are human.  Surrender is hard.  It means giving up all we want, all our wants and needs, all of the things we think we need.

Despite the hardship and difficulty, surrender is the best way.  Would you rather have your best, or God's best?

I challenge you today, whatever the area it is, surrender yourself to God.



God's Princess