Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Act of Righteousness Leads to Justification and Life for All

Somedays the writing I want to transfer to this page feels like Athena, ready to burst forth from Zeus' head. Not so much as a "splitting headache" but rather like a fullness and urgency. Yet, it does not spew or even flow evenly, sometimes. It stays trapped, building pressure...like a festering blister.

Fall in Love with Jesus

An excellent point was brought to my attention recently (a couple weeks ago). How easy is it to fall in love with God's servant, the one sharing Christ, instead of with Christ Jesus Himself?! I had to think about it for a moment. How many times have I gotten tied up in the ministry, wrapped up in "the church" (the people), or idolized the pastor instead of truly focusing on the Savior? I admit, it's a little clearer seeing some "churches" for what they stand for yet, much harder with others. Or perhaps a congregation (or its leaders) changes direction suddenly (from doctrinally sound, to not) and leaving is difficult...after relationships have been formed. But, I feel, the important thing is to be focused on Jesus! (Side note: I do not have any of the above mentioned with the current church I attend.)

The #9 ranked post on my site, currently, is a guest post by Carl Jones entitled, "Give Them Jesus". When it comes to doing just that, I believe GRACE is a HUGE part of it! My unbelieving loved ones are not interested or pleasantly receiving when/if I blurt out how the bible says the unforgivable sin is unbelief and hell is real! That does not go over well at all...(gee, I can't imagine why)!

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:18-21 ESV)

Jesus died for the sinner! He is beautiful, and wonderful, and truly worthy of our praise! He was fully God but became wholly man so he knows how we feel! He understands our struggles with the flesh! He gets it!!! He comprehends what it is like to be mad, tempted, hungry, sad, weary, hated, betrayed! He experienced it...all of it! The creator of the universe became His created! Doesn't that just blow you away?! It's breathtaking! ...humbling. ...unfathomable.

I adore Jesus! ...more than you, me, and/or anybody/anything else. And, those who love me, are not offended by it. They accept it...and either don't take it personally or believe me to be a nut (or "extreme" (because I prefer to read my bible everyday)). Either way, they realize it...(even if they don't like it or agree with it). And, those who have a heart for Jesus, rejoice with me!

8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Phillippians 5:8-11. ESV.)

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Old Long Since: Farewell 2012 (a list)

Are you new to my blog? If so, WELCOME! If you are a returning reader or if you allow me to show up in your inbox each day, THANK YOU!

As 2012 comes to a close I suppose I could reflect on the year gone by, or make a list of my favorite pieces on here (or memories from 2012)...but instead I am going to link to the top ten visited Matt5verse6 posts of "all time". I cannot even begin to tell you why some of these are favored however, others are self explanatory and truly deserving of the traffic they generate. So, without any further ado:

#1. Matt Chandler’s Pathology Report and a Call to Continued Prayer (12/16/09)

#2. Holy is the Lord God Almighty by Chris Tomlin (10/05/09)

#3. Whatever Does Not Proceed from Faith is Sin (1/30/10)

#4. For the Week (4/30/10)

#5. Wife Swap (10/06/09)

#6. The Love Dare Book (3/24/09)

#7. Science and Faith Come Together (7/19/10)

#8. God and Father of All, Over All, Through All, and In All (11/15/12)

#9. Give Them Jesus: Guest Post (12/04/10)

#10. Friday Featured Writer: Christie Weatherby (4/22/11)

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
(Lamentations 3:22-24. ESV.)

Happy New Year! May it be full of God's unexpected blessings!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

...And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Growing up, I lived where it never snowed. For my children, I enjoy when we take them to play in the snow each year. This time, it was a winter wonderland for Christmas Eve (day). Nothing like a white Christmas!








Monday, December 24, 2012

Four Colly Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves...

Tonight is Christmas Eve and yesterday we spent some time preparing...


We woke to a gray sky, heavy rain, and standing water in the backyard of our rental house.


We made our way along the back roads, past the windmills, to church. (Well, actually the Little Chef, Litter Leaguer, and I attended church. Hubs dropped us off.)


Then we borrowed some tree stands, put up the trees...


...and decorated. (Well, as much as I decorate.)



I love that we have a fireplace mantle on which we can place stockings and a Christmas village. (Actually the stockings should be hanging "by the chimney with care" but who's counting.) :::grin:::


I attempted a Crème brûlée (which the sugar on top did not come out very well though the dessert itself tasted très délicieux)!


In the evening it was making goodies like a gingerbread house and cookies! Hubs was in charge of the gingerbread house project with the kiddos and I headed up things with the cookies.


The gingerbread house came out FANTASTIC! The cookies...not so much. Humph!


This year we actually have three trees. Not because we need them or even planned to get that many! We bought a "family tree" and got it on sale for $20.00 (two days before Christmas Eve) and two smaller trees came with it for free. The Little Leaguer decorated one...


...and the Little Chef, the other. (We only bummed two tree stands off of friends (because we cannot find ours) so this tree got a dirt bike stand instead...which seems to be working out just fine.)


After the young bloods went to bed, we wrapped gifts. (Sydney wanted to participate but ended up being more of a hindrance than a help.)


From our home to yours, we wish you a beautiful Christmas celebrating our Lord and Savior, and a brand-new year filled with unexpected blessings!
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
(Luke 2:14. ESV.)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

T'was Two Days Until Christmas, and All Through the House...

The place we are renting has lovely stainless steel appliances...one of which is a convection oven which works a bit differently than a run of the mill, conventional oven found in track housing. The first night (thankfully not the first TIME) I used the convection oven, what I was cooking spilled to the bottom of it! Okay, it wasn't quite heart failure (like when you've lost your child, all the blood drains from your face, and you think your heart is going to stop!) but, it was definitely an "oh no!" moment!

Yikes! What to do? Dinner was already late as it was. After a brief cool down and attempted (first) clean up (which failed, by the way), preparation for supper resumed as usual. The next day, thankfully, I was able to get all of the mess from the floor of the oven. Phew, relief!

The young bloods are into spy gear and such. And what a perfect hide out to be had under the stairs! I have not ventured far past the door but the younglings have it stocked with all of their best spy items!

The soft light from the bulb gently warms the scented wax. As it puddles into the plate, the sweet fragrance of "Douglas Fir" floats through the air. Although we had not yet purchased our tree, we have been able to enjoy the delightful smell of Christmas filling our residence! Oh, so lovely!

And, no dinner would be complete without my precious, furred darlings begging for anything I am willing to drop as I get things ready. (I do not usually pass out people food goodies to the doggies, but that does not stop them from trying.) This is Syd sitting by the stove, giving me his "puppy dog eyes".

Okay, so I spoil my pooches. So what?! If this is as good as it gets for them, I want them to be as happy, healthy, and comfortable as possible!

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peacethere will be no end,on the throne of David and over his kingdom,to establish it and to uphold itwith justice and with righteousnessfrom this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
(Isaiah 9:6, 7 ESV)

I Don't Like Being Pushed Around

I received the following via email and though I did not see or hear Ben Stein on "CBS Sunday", I thought this worth sharing:

The  following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday  Morning Commentary.

My confession:  

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for  being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are  sick and tired of getting pushed around, period.  I have no  idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly  atheist country.  I can't find it in the Constitution and I  don't like it being shoved down my throat... 

Or maybe I  can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we  should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God  as we understand Him?  I guess that's a sign that I'm  getting old, too.  But there are a lot of us who are  wondering where these celebrities came from and where the   America we knew went to. 

In light of the many jokes we  send to one another for a laugh, this is a little  different:  This is not intended to be a joke; it's not  funny, it's intended to get you thinking.  
    In  light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings,  etc..  I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she  was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she  didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then  someone said you better not read the Bible in school...   The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and  love your neighbor as yourself.  And we said  OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our  children when they misbehave, because their little personalities  would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr.  Spock's son committed suicide).  We said an expert should  know what he's talking about..  And we said  okay..

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have  no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it  doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and  themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard  enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal  to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.' 

Funny how simple it is  for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to  hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but  question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send  'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when  you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think  twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and  obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public  discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.  

Are you laughing yet? 

Funny how when you forward  this message, you will not send it to many on your address list  because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will  think of you for sending it. 

Funny how we can be more  worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks  of us. 

Pass it on if you think it has merit. 
   
If not, then just discard it... no one will know you  did.  But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit  back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.   



My Best Regards,  Honestly and  respectfully, 

Ben  Stein

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Defines Success?

By what standards should one measure success? Is it a powerful placement in a large corporation? A strong position with the media capable of transforming societies? Or how about enough supporters to shift a movement toward the cause you lead? What about the mother teaching her child (who grows up and somehow changes the world in a significant manner)? Is achievement and importance based on money earned or generated? Is it formed by the vote of "the people"? Or popularity...celebrity status?

Jesus only had twelve followers (disciples). His ministry (as an adult) was brief. His own siblings doubted who He said He was (John 7:5). His mother believed in Him. He had no place to rest his head (Luke 9:58). He was a carpenter by trade (Mark 6:3). Though He fed 5,000, he was not popular at all. Infact, His lack of fame and acceptance by society lead to His murder when the people voiced their preference to pardon a criminal instead of Him. But Christ Jesus impacted the world in a very profound way for thousands of years and counting. (I believe He saved us all...but this particular post is not about salvation.)

Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. (John 7:6, 7 ESV)

If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. (John 15:24 ESV)

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19 ESV)

Each gauges accomplishment differently. For me, it is founded in the words of Jesus when He told the parable of "The Rich Young Man".

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 ESV)



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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What is the Bible: Got Questions?

Are you looking for some answers? Well, I know where you can find them! My ol' friend (he's not old but our friendship is) from high school has a fantastic post: What is the Bible? I highly recommend you check it out at www.learnchangegrow.wordpress.com/2012/12/18/what-is-the-bible/! And, tell him I sent you! :) (Just joking.)

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Everyone Should Eat and Drink and Take Pleasure in All His Toil

Most weekends, for us, are just the "Average Joe", but this one was a tad bit different. It all began with a Christmas party!...at the "Crown Plaza" no less. Well, actually, it started with a brisk, December morning. We braved the bad weather to drop off belongings to our new residence and then to head to the "Crown Plaza" for a Christmas soiree.


The atrium was quite reminiscent of that of the once Stouffer (now Renaissance) hotel in Orlando, FL. The daylight cascaded down into the created world of the "Crown Plaza". Water fixtures dumped liquid into the fish filled ponds as trees lined open space. It would have been nice to have a balcony, on which we could relax and drink our coffee, but this view was fine just the same. (Much better than others about which I had heard.) But this was no picnic! It was business. The best kind...a Christmas gathering...complete with shrimp cocktail and crab legs, a pasta station, a meat station, a potato bar, and desert table.


As the night went on, the music became more vibrant and dancing was encouraged. The Little Chef and Little Leaguer called me and asked if there was a disco ball (when they heard the beat in the background). I do believe a good time was had by all.



For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4, 11-13 ESV)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Main Thing, is to Keep the Main Thing, the Main Thing

Christmas creeps nearer and the clock is ticking. T-minus days and counting before we move into our new place. The excitement swells in each of us as the beginning of a season is on the horizon. For me, it is one step closer to my ultimate goal...moving out of state. But, for each of us it is different. We started this week with the final walk through of our "new", rental house.

Next, came an evening of fellowship with newfound friends. That is a mystery to me, I live in the same town for eleven years and right when I am about to move, I make some fresh, fantastic acquaintances I hate to lose! For years it was a group of us, peas in a pod, amigos, partners in crime. One by one, the Lord moved members to seemingly all corners of the U.S. (and abroad). Out of the eleven or twelve of us from our women's bible study, few remain. And now, a changing of the guard...fellowship, with yet more wonderful ladies of faith!

One of the remaining "original" is getting ready to move to San Diego! But for now, I get to spend the dwindling days helping her pack and watching her kiddos...while I also (admittedly) enjoyed the fire place in their home! The younglings and I fell in love with Anakin Skywalker side by side with Padme as we watched "Star Wars: Episode Two" in their furnitureless livingroom.

Yet, most of my current time is spent packing (and unpacking). Given our rental home is so close (or close enough), I fill storage bins with our belongings and shuttle it to our soon to be residence! In just a few days, we will move our furniture and the bulk of our items into the place where we will be dwelling until our relocation to Texas (or where ever we happen to end up).

Finally, was AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed) and our last meeting before Christmas break! As an assistant in "Cubbies", my job (this time) was crafts! All of these little pieces had to be glued together before the little darlings returned from games to make something special for the holiday season.

Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29, 30 ESV)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Where I Am, There Will My Servant be Also: My Full Time Job

You probably won't think it is glamorous. Heck, I even have a hard time reminding myself what I do is of any importance. But, God's word tells me it is...and (to me) that is what matters most!

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.....and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:1, 4, 5 ESV)

"Working at home!?" But that means (more or less) giving up all that I have planned for myself! In essence, "dying" to myself!

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. (John 12:24-26 ESV)

You know, I'm going to be honest here...I always thought this scripture meant the physical death. That we must die, our bodies must deteriorate before we can be a new creature in Christ. But I look to the cross reference to help me understand:
You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.... If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.... The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:36-44, 50-53, 56, 57 ESV)

Good grief! What does all that mean?! Okay, from what I understand, we are to die to ourselves. I am to give up what I want, and crave what God and Christ Jesus desire! Part of which, includes me giving up a career and instead, "working" in the home. I yearn to contribute! I long to help hubs provide! But, God's word says, I am "to love [my] husband and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to [my] husband". That is to what I am called.

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The One Stop Christmas Shop

As I entered the door the fragrance of chocolate swirled about me. There were at least ten tables lined up around the room...so many fantastic companies and products featured. I visited the "Velata chocolate fondu" and "Blessings Unlimited" presentations as I made my way to my spot. I was representing "Beachbody health and fitness" and hosting "Silpada jewelry" for this Christmas inspired event, "The One Stop Christmas Shop"!

Scentsy wick less candles, Grace Adele purses, Avon makeup, home made soaps, Tupperware, home baked goods (to raise money for a mission trip to India)...colors danced about the room as the Christmas spirit filled hearts. The only bummer was the event was not permitted to be advertised publicly, though the local paper desired to do so. "The One Stop Christmas Shop" was the place to be this past Saturday, in the Northern California river delta!

But, if you happened to miss this particular shindig, don't worry! You can still catch up with us on our websites! And if you are just not quite sure what to get that special someone, I invite you to drop by and see what we have available! There is:

Beachbody
Velata
Blessings Unlimited
Silpada
Scentsy
Grace Adele
Tupperware

We are sisters in Christ, one in the body of Christ! And we work together to help support our families and eachother!

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body....But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, 18-20, 24-27 ESV)

Monday, December 03, 2012

If the Lord Wills

As the beginning of December rolls around, the countdown begins. Not just the 25 days until Christmas, but also the ones leading up to a birthday, our move into a new house, a Christmas party, Christmas Day, another birthday, New Years Day, and the start at a new school location. Further, it is hopefully the close of a dearly beloved's season of treatments for a sarcoma. To say, "There is a lot to celebrate," would be a gross understatement. My cup, truly, runneth over. And, yet, I cannot help but think about how delicate life is...a vapor that is here one moment and gone the next.

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." (James 4:13-15 ESV)

(Of course movies like, "The Bucket List" and true crime television shows do not help matters.)

God willing, my children (ALL of them) will grow up to be servants of Christ. If it is His will, I will become accomplished at something and assist in providing for and protecting my family and friends. If the Lord wills, my steps will take me closer to those I miss wholly and with whom I desire to spend more of the days we are on this earth (and an eternity).

You see, I whole-heartedly believe Christ Jesus "is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." (Hebrews 1:3 ESV.)
for "'In him we live and move and have our being';... (Acts 17:28 ESV.)
"If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit and his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust." (Job 34:14, 15 ESV.)
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (Ephesians 1:11 ESV)

Though the minutes tick by, and the days go screaming past, I have peace and take solace in God's sovereignty not only over my life, but over all His creation. He holds it all together. (But this is a topic to be continued on another day.)

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:25, 26, 28, 30, 33, 34 ESV)

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