Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baptism in the Jordan River

I was just visiting the site of a fellow blogger and came across her experiences in the Holy Land...one of which being she was baptized in the Jordan River! So, I had to share! Below are the links to her posts:

Baptism in the Jordan River

Journey to the Dead Sea

Lead me to the Cross - Hillsongs

I Have Not Come to Bring Peace, But a Sword

"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:34-39. ESV.)

As John Piper puts it,
"With long-suffering and prayer and humble, exemplary conduct, the believing partner longs to win the unbeliever. But it may be, as Jesus predicted in Matthew 10:34ff., that the rebellion and unbelief of the unbelieving spouse will turn Christianity into a sword that severs, instead of a peaceful balm that heals."
To which I give a hearty "AMEN!"

Now, to clarify, I do not believe dissociation and complete disconnection from the loved one is the proper course of action but I do believe sometimes distance is required. And as always, God can see the heart and when one stands with a clear conscience before Him and sits at the foot of the throne communing with Him, it makes a huge difference!

The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9. ESV.)

Proverbs 16:1: The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

Proverbs 19:21: Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

Proverbs 20:24: A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?

Proverbs 37:23: The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way;

Jeremiah 10:23: I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

I have to say, my way of doing things is SO much different than God's way! I love to run (metaphorically speaking) everywhere I go and currently the Lord has me standing in one place…and I've been immobile for a while now, which (as one can imagine) is driving me batty! My sovereign King has said, "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10. ESV.) So cooling my heals has become my mundane. Not to mention I have to trust COMPLETELY in Him for everything! And I ask a lot of questions, "But Lord, what about this? And how about that?" As a patient parent I imagine Him smiling and saying (to my heart), "Don't worry, my child, I'll take care of everything. You just listen and follow directions." I can say I have experienced each, the sword that severs and the balm that heals. Both, praise God, come with His grace that is sufficient and a peace that surpasses all understanding.

And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:60. ESV.)

Taken Out by a Bug

Ooh boy, I was knocked out...down for the count yesterday thanks to a "bug" which caused a fever, chills, body pain, and stomach functions I won't mention. Ick! Anyway, I'm feeling MUCH better today and will post later.

Monday, March 22, 2010

For the Week

Hello fellow bloggers and Facebook friends. I will be offline for a few days here and there this week but I did not want to leave my blog blank. So I figured I would leave a little something for the whole week...no skipping ahead. :) And, if you get bored may I suggest some blogs that bless to keep you entertained:


The Freedom and Justice of God in Unconditional Election by John Piper
The doctrine of God’s unconditional election is so different from what most of you grew up with that you not only have a hard time believing it is in the Bible, but also a hard time feeling that it is good news. So I am swimming against a doubly difficult current in these messages from Romans 9. On the one hand, I believe that is exactly the doctrine that Romans 9 teaches, and on the other hand, I believe that doctrine is very good news. So I must do my best both to show you that it is there in the text, and that it is good news. That’s my job in these days. It is humanly impossible, but with God all things are possible. So, Lord, please help me.

Boasting Only in the Cross by John Piper
But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14.)

Wordless Wednesday
Cake and Picture © Bella Dolci Cakes

Watch Out by Pyromaniacs
"Be watchful" (1 Corinthians 16:13)

My sovereign King has opened two new doors for me which I cannot wait to share! However, I want to be prayerful that these are God's will for my life. I have watched doors close and tried not to panic (or be sad) as I wait on Him who paves the way. Then one day, two doors opened which contain wonderful blessings! But that is a post for when I am back online. "See" you then.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Are You Saved?

Check out this excellent post by Tim Challies.

Are You Saved?

Congratulations Molly and Abraham

I have just returned from hanging out over at Molly and Abraham Piper's websites where I just learned of their FANTASTIC news! And, I wish them my deepest, heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS and truly (as part of the body of Christ) rejoice with them and their family! God is so good! If you have no idea about what I am speaking, I encourage you to go visit Molly's site and read the wonderful reports of what the Lord is doing in their lives!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Marriage: God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace

With a wedding tomorrow, I am reminded that marriage is the model of Christ and the church. I look to John Piper who so eloquently speaks on important messages in God's word.

Marriage: God’s Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace

A Model of Christ and the Church

I asked Noël if there was anything she wanted me to say today. She said, “You cannot say too often that marriage is a model of Christ and the church.” I think she is right and there are at least three reasons: 1) This lifts marriage out of the sordid sitcom images and gives it the magnificent meaning God meant it to have; 2) this gives marriage a solid basis in grace, since Christ obtained and sustains his bride by grace alone; and 3) this shows that the husband’s headship and the wife’s submission are crucial and crucified. That is, they are woven into the very meaning of marriage as a display of Christ and the church, but they are both defined by Christ’s self-denying work on the cross so that their pride and slavishness are cancelled.

We spent the first two messages on the first of these reasons: giving the foundation for marriage as a display of the covenant love of God. Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman in which they promise to be a faithful as husband and a faithful wife in a new one-flesh union as long as they both shall live. This covenant, sealed with solemn vows and sexual union, is designed to showcase the covenant-keeping grace of God. © Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Skydiving 2004

Shackles (Praise You) by Mary Mary

"Shackles (Praise You)"

It sure is hot out here
Ya know?
I don't mind thought
Just glad to be free
Know what I'm saying, uh!

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
(What'cha wanna do?)
I just wanna praise you
(Yeah, yeah)
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
(Uh feel me?)
And I'm gonna praise you
(What'cha gon do?)
I'm gonna praise you

In the corners of mind
I just can't seem to find a reason to believe
That I can break free
Cause you see I have been down for so long
Feel like the hope is gone
But as I lift my hands, I understand
That I should praise you through my circumstance

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

Everything that could go wrong
All went wrong at one time
So much pressure fell on me
I thought I was gonna lose my mind
But I know you wanna see
If I will hold on through these trials
But I need you to lift this load
Cause I can't take it anymore

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

Been through the fire and the rain
Bound in every kind of way
But God has broken every chain
So let me go right now

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

Take them off
What'cha gonna do, yeah

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise you
I just wanna praise you
You broke the chains now I can lift my hands
And I'm gonna praise you
I'm gonna praise you

Monday, March 15, 2010

Are You Humble Enough to Be Care-Free?

Are You Humble Enough to Be Care-Free?
(John Piper)

And on an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. 22 And the people kept crying out, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" 23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. (Acts 12:21-23; cf. Isaiah 14:12-14)

Because Their Hearts Were Different

A few weeks ago a dear loved one gave me some of her "old" jewelry to do with as I wish. Some of it was silver and the rest was gold. She said she no longer wanted it and I could keep it or sell it, whatever my desire. A few days to a week after that another loved one suggested we have a "Cash for Gold" party. She was willing to "lend" me her home so I could be the hostess and earn an additional 10% based on all the gold that was sold. Do you see God's orchestration in all of this yet?

Yesterday was the "Cash for Gold" get together at which there were only a handful of people but the total sold in gold was $710.00. My personal total for the day was $116.00. That is not a lot however it is $116.00 more than I had the day before…and that I can put toward debt owed. Praise God!

I am so thankful God is sovereign even over the mundane. He provides all that I need. That money, combined with my paycheck from freelance work and two other checks I received this month (one from a company as a "reward" and one from a school) puts me nearly at what I need to cover monthly expenses.

I cannot help but wonder…If God is so faithful in supplying what I need each month, why would He not take care of every portion of my life? There is still one main area about which I worry. But why? Hasn't God shown me over and again to trust in Him completely and He will take care of everything?

I am reminded of Joshua and Caleb. Moses sent them (and a few others) to "spy out" the land of Canaan. (Numbers 13.) During this time the Israelites were whining, complaining, and questioning as to why the Lord would bring them out of Egypt to the wilderness only to die in battle. Joshua and Caleb said to the people,
"The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them." 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the LORD appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.

11And the LORD said to Moses, "How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs that I have done among them? 12I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they." (Numbers 14:7-12. ESV.)

Moses said to the Lord,
Now if you kill this people as one man, then the nations who have heard your fame will say, 16'It is because the LORD was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to give to them that he has killed them in the wilderness.' 17And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 18 'The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.' (Numbers 14:15-18. ESV.)

Now, because of their unbelief despite the Lord's faithfulness and care of them, the Israelites 20 years and older did not get to enter into the promised land of Canaan and were condemned to die in the wilderness except for Joshua and Caleb because their hearts were different.
And the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation grumble against him by bringing up a bad report about the land— 37the men who brought up a bad report of the land— died by plague before the LORD. 38Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive. (Numbers 14:36-38. ESV.)

Like Joshua and Caleb my heart needs to remain different. My focus must stay on God and my conscience has to continue to be clear before God. I cannot doubt or be concerned for the things I cannot change. Only the Lord has control over the issues (especially the ones that are out of my hands). I can only take responsibility for myself. I will be ever prayerful for wisdom and for the Lord to speak to my heart.

Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exodus 33:11. ESV.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Every Gift is From Above

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above… (James 1:17. ESV.)

The Lord's blessings continue as we prepare for a very special event. In just one week our family will be celebrating an occasion of utmost importance. One in which we will have to dress accordingly. Now, with a budding freelance career (and no other income to speak of) it is a bit challenging for me do anything "extra". But my sovereign King provides…and perfectly at that (of course)! He gives me all that is necessary whether it be clothing, shelter, food, etc. Further, it is in my hands before my lips utter a single request regarding it at the foot of the throne! It is absolutely humbling (yet so precious) to be taken care of so dotingly by the King himself!

The first outfits came by way of a dear friend who gives me hand me downs for my children. In a bag full of shorts, jeans, and tee shirts there were two sets of dress pants, two dress shirts, two ties, one suit vest, and a suit jacket. These items were exactly what I desired and fit flawlessly! The next garment (complete with shoes no less) was bought with two gift cards and birthday money!

(Please excuse the fuzzy pictures.)

John answered, "A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. (John 3:27. ESV.)

All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,

declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:2. ESV.)

Hear the word of the LORD,
you who tremble at his word:
"Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, 'Let the LORD be glorified,
that we may see your joy';
but it is they who shall be put to shame. (Isaiah 66:5. ESV.)

They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. (Romans 11:20. ESV.)

Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses….As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:11-12, 17. ESV.)

So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22. ESV.)

The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
but he loves him who pursues righteousness. (Proverbs 15:9. ESV.)

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Philippians 3:12. ESV.)

I am so thankful God is attentive, even when it comes to the small things.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Give Myself to Prayer

Be not silent, O God of my praise! 2For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
3They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
4In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.
5So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love….
21But you, O GOD my Lord,
deal on my behalf for your name’s sake;
because your steadfast love is good, deliver me!…
25I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they wag their heads.
26 Help me, O LORD my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love!
27Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O LORD, have done it!
28 Let them curse, but you will bless!
They arise and are put to shame, but your servant will be glad!…
30With my mouth I will give great thanks to the LORD;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng. (Psalms 109:1-5, 21, 25-28, 30. ESV.)

I give thanks to the Lord for He is good (1 Chronicles 16:34). He knows exactly what I need before I even go to Him in prayer to ask for it. One week ago I was chatting with someone who disagrees with my faith commitment. As the conversation continued my heart broke. Then suddenly a sister in Christ popped up and asked how I was doing. God knew I needed some encouragement. My sister in Christ quoted Luke 6:22-23 which says,
"Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets."

Four days ago I attended a wedding shower and got to see some old friends again! It had been years…seemingly a lifetime ago since I had been with them last. One of my sisters in Christ there shared with me what the Lord has done in her life and encouraged me greatly. Both of us are independent contractors. She freelances in illustration (developing characters, penciling, color, etc.) and I in web design and writing.

She spoke of a time in her life when she did not feel she was doing what God had planned for her so she prayed. She asked Him to give her an "in your face" sign that He had something better for her. The very next day she received a call from a well known greeting card company offering her a job. They wanted her to move to the city in which they were located and begin work right away. When God says, "move," I feel it is wise to obey!

Today my sister in Christ gave me the second part of that story. She said when it was time for her to leave that job with the popular card corporation she felt like God was speaking to her heart saying, "Why are you afraid to leave? Take that leap of faith and I will make you fly." While she was on Christmas vacation with her family she and her husband unexpectedly bought a condo, she returned after her holiday, quit her job, and has been extremely successful ever since. She said, " God was right, I think it was the best thing to happen to me."

It is my opinion God truly provides and His grace is sufficient. Whenever I am downcast He lifts me up using the precious body of Christ. I am so thankful for all of you who have been faithful to the Lord in giving me love and encouragement!

4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. (Psalm 23:4-5. ESV.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

His Megaphone

I saw this quote by C.S. Lewis on another blog and had to snag it!

"But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." ~C.S. Lewis

Embrace Life: Always Wear Your Seatbelt

Incase you haven't seen this yet. It gave me chills. I feel it is an excellent message!

Friday, March 05, 2010

For Jack and Elizabeth

For Jack and Elizabeth

Thank you, Elizabeth and family for permission to post this and link it back to you!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Living the Adventure

The following article on Christianbook.com (CBD) is by a fellow blogger (whose "button" is on the right sidebar of my blog). Stop by and check out her piece on "Homeschool, Advice, and Encouragement".

Living the Adventure
by Tonya Prater

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

He Will Keep Your Life

5The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life. (Psalm 121:5-7. ESV.)

The children's bible study this week is on pride with a focus on Samson. Each Sunday they bring home their weekly, lesson study guide (plus they pick events out of God's word to read, we do memory verses, they draw a picture of what they read, and then we pray. The verses above are the new ones on which they started working today.)

The telling of Samson is dear to me because I feel it is a great reminder of how easy it is to get ensnared by the sin of pride and fall because of it. Judges 16 tells of Samson and the strength with which the Lord blessed him. It also tells of Delilah with whom Samson fell in love.

18When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, "Come up again, for he has told me all his heart." Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19She made him sleep on her knees. And she called a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. 20And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he awoke from his sleep and said, "I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him. 21And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles. And he ground at the mill in the prison. 22But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved. (Judges 16:18-22. ESV.)

I can relate to Samson in that I too struggle terribly with being proud. As I mentioned before, it is difficult for me to accept help. I have an, "I can do it all by myself" mentality which has caused me to suffer dearly. As the Lord would have it I was placed into (and continue in) a situation where I am forced to get assistance from others. I absolutely cannot do it on my own and I have had to humble myself incredibly (even to the point of tears) and reach out to other individuals. It was so hard to even look them in the eye I was so embarrassed. And still I wait on the Lord and His divine orchestration for an outcome.

After at least 10 years of trying to handle my tribulation in my own wisdom and strength, depending on myself to make things right, and closing off to family and friends (for things only the Lord can give through His servants) I was broken and lowly. God knew EXACTLY what it was going to take to get me to stretch out my hand, open up, and not be so hard to read.

I have always "prided" myself on how quickly I am willing to serve others…to assist someone in their time of need. Yet, I could not receive. How gross is that? Can you see the arrogance just oozing from my pores?

I still feel a bit of discomfort when I am in receipt of God's precious provisions through those I know…but I am getting better. I continue to have a tendency to attempt to "fix" things on my own…but God has told me (as He did the sea), "Here your proud waves must stop." (Job 38:11.)

…who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples, (Psalm 65:7. ESV.)

You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them. (Psalm 89:9. ESV.)

Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the LORD on high is mighty! (Psalm 93:4. ESV.)

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31. ESV.)

Monday, March 01, 2010

According to His Own Mercy

1Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. (Titus 3:1-11. ESV.)

This weekend was truly amazing. The blessings began on Friday when my very first friend ("partner in crime" I dare say) came to visit me. She brought with her one of her children so that our kiddos could have some playtime while we caught up. We first met the year I was born and have been pals ever since. Though we lost touch for a little while there I would still say truly she is friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). And that in itself is, beyond doubt, incredible. I am so thankful God has placed her in my life, and I am grateful for her love, friendship, conversation, support, generosity, honesty, and kindness. Thank you, Kiki, I love you dearly.

I am always amazed at how God works (often times doing things much differently than I expect or would do them myself). His orchestration, unlike mine, is flawless, perfect in timing, and indisputable. Not to mention awe inspiring. I marvel at how He moves people according to His purpose for my life (and theirs), in each season. I watch as individuals come and go. Some are gone only for a season while others leave for good. New friendships are generally exciting though sometimes a little intimidating and endings are usually sad. Further, when I take a guess at who is going to continue to be a part of my life and whom the Lord is going to remove, I am often times surprised at His choices for me. But I know, all is in His infinite wisdom. For that, I am so thankful.

Sunday brought fantastic fellowship at the local Sovereign Grace Church plant where I learned a dear sister in Christ and her husband had just lost their six month old daughter. Though they were joyful she is now with our Lord they were also visibly sad their time with her had been so short. What touched me, personally, the most was this sister in Christ had been so hospitable to me my first week at this church though she was struggling with the tribulation of her tiny daughter's pending health. I saw Christ in her! Her kindness (not just a "hello and welcome" but a genuine "here, let me show you around and serve you" attitude) washed over me as I hugged her and thanked her for her service to me (when I was just a newcomer) in spite of her trial. Her words in response were, "God is so good." Indeed He is.

The weekend wrapped up with a precious celebration of marriage (bridal shower) for my soon to be sister in law and the resurfacing of an item I thought was gone forever. What is better than getting something brand new? Rediscovering an old, sentimental belonging. Yes, I know, the things of this world will pass away (Isaiah 40:8) however I could not help but get excited about seeing this worldly pleasure again. (Hello old friend.)

So, I guess, to say this weekend was a blessing would be an understatement. It touched me to the depths only light can reach. And the author of that light, of course, is God. To Him be the glory.

20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20. ESV.)

A Word from Noel Piper

In the excellent forward by Noel Piper in John Piper's THIS MOMENTARY MARRIAGE, Mrs. Piper writes,
"The pendulum of our marriage oscillates and sometimes wobbles, but it is suspended from above and is firmly attached. By God’s grace, it will not crash to the ground. This year we celebrate our fortieth anniversary, and thanks to God, we feel like celebrating as we press toward the gold of our fiftieth, if God should be gracious to give us so many years.

"We know it is the weight of our sin that accelerates us into the seasons at the bottom. But here’s the amazing, unbelievable thing—a profound mystery, as Paul says: ‘A man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ . . . and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church' (Eph. 5:31–32). Marriage refers to Christ and the church—every marriage, no matter how pendulum-like because of our sin; every marriage, even if the couple doesn’t care a bit about Jesus."

I have a feeling this is going to be a fabulous book!

This Momentary Marriage

I am getting ready to add (yet) another book to my reading. It is John Piper's THIS MOMENTARY MARRIAGE. Though I have not heard about this book I know I can trust this author who so passionately sticks to the truths of God's word without wavering. This resource is an ebook and can be found at Desiring God.org.

The First Step

Prayer is the first step to nurturing a budding faith: "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24). Go to God in faith and confess your unbelief, and thank him for the forgiveness he has given us through Christ. Ask him to guide your study of his Word so that you can understand all that he teaches about peacemaking. Pray that he will replace your unbelief with faith. And then ask him to give you strength to do whatever he commands, even if it requires making major changes in the way your church responds to conflict.

The second way to build faith is to rejoice in God's grace as revealed in the gospel of Christ, which is the driving motivation for peacemaking. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). This incredible news reveals our radical sinfulness: nothing could save us except the death of God's only Son. But it also reveals the depths of God's radical mercy: he gave his Son to die for us! As we reflect on and rejoice in the gospel of Christ, two things happen. Our pride and defensiveness is stripped away, and we can humble ourselves and admit that we struggle with sinful conflicts that we cannot resolve on our own. At the same time, the gospel shows us how important reconciliation is to God, and it inspires us to do everything we can to see that the love and forgiveness of Christ is reflected in the way we make peace in our families and churches. ~Ken Sande


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