Tuesday, December 31, 2013

"The New Birth Produces Love" by John Piper

The very thought that those I love who are not saved will know how to love once he/she is saved, makes my soul rejoice!

The New Birth Produces Love
By John Piper

...new birth creates the connection between God’s love for us and our love for each other. If anyone ever asks, How does the fact that God loves you result in your loving others? the answer is: The new birth creates that connection. The new birth is the act of the Holy Spirit connecting our dead, selfish hearts with God’s living, loving heart so that his life becomes our life and his love becomes our love.

Click HERE to continue reading.

Romancing the Hero

Up where the mountains meet the heavens above
Out where the lightning splits the sea
I would swear that there's someone somewhere
Watching me

Through the wind and the chill and the rain
And the storm and the flood
I can feel his approach
Like the fire in my blood
(Steinman, Jim. "Holding Out For A Hero". 1984.)

There have a been a couple of times in my life where I was "holding out for a hero". I had a preconceived notion as to what that person would be like. Is it just me or does anyone else do that? Maybe waiting for "Mr. Right" or perhaps a "knight in shining armor" to rescue a "damsel in distress"?

The chorus of the above mentioned song goes,
I need a hero...
He's gotta be strong
And he's gotta be fast
And he's gotta be fresh from the fight...
He's gotta be sure
And it's gotta be soon
And he's got to be larger than life.
(Steinman, Jim. "Holding Out For A Hero". 1984.)

"Larger than life." What would that person look like? Would he or she be a "super hero" in a costume with a special ability to fight crime? A military personnel or soldier? A firefighter? A police officer or deputy? Medical staff/ doctors and/or nurses? A judge or lawyer? The district attorney (DA)? A body guard? A politician? A social worker? A celebrity? An astronaut or scientist? A teacher? A television or radio personality? Someone who fought for the rights of others? A missionary? A family member?

Each time I roll this over in my mind, I catch myself focusing on tangible things. Something (or someone) I can see, touch, embrace, hold (or by which or whom I can be held). But, at the end of the day, my "hero" is an idea...a belief...a faith! As cliché as it sounds, my #1 hero is Jesus! Also, Pastor John Piper stated the following,
Here is one small contribution. In spite of all the legitimate warnings against hero worship, I want to risk waving a flag for holy emulation—which includes realistic admiration. Hero worship means admiring someone for unholy reasons and seeing all he does as admirable (whether it’s sin or not). Holy emulation, on the other hand, sees evidences of God’s grace, and admires them for Christ’s sake, and wants to learn from them and grow in them.

This theme is strong in the New Testament.

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

“Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us” (Philippians 3:17).

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

“And you became imitators of us and of the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

“[Do] not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).

“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness” (2 Timothy 3:10).

“Continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it” (2 Timothy 3:14).

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity” (Titus 2:7).
(By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org.)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

When Relationships Are Gone

Doing my Christmas cards, this year, gave me time to reflect on the people who have come...and gone...during my life, so far. I think it is safe to say there have been thousands... hundreds of which I call "friends". But, sadly, I have been so bad at keeping track of some of them. That is something I hope to remedy. This Christmas, I updated my address book. Next year, I will add to it even more individuals, who are dear to me, I have lost track of along the way. My goal is to send out 300-400 cards each year. (I thought that was a lot until I saw a friend of mine has over 800 true friends!) I thank you, Lord, for truly I am blessed!

...The cry of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of our people is for a fresh, decisive emphasis on relationships of Love.

Therefore we eagerly embrace God's call for new, visible manifestations of love toward each other, our guests, and our neighbors. With a fresh openness and outgoing spirit to each other and to all new people, we henceforth put understanding above accusation, forbearance above faultfinding, and biblical unity above the demand for uniformity.

The value of relationships. We will take new practical steps to develop an atmosphere where personal, deepening, supportive, faith-building relationships of love are highly valued as expressions of our passion for the supremacy of God's love.
(By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org)

I honestly do not know where I would be without the amazing relationships I have (and had) in this vapor of a life! Each one has brought something wonderful with her/him and has a special place in my heart. Whenever I am in need of guidance, encouragement, and/or advice, God provides all that (or who) is necessary. I especially miss those who have gone before me.

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:1-4 ESV)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Lost Tooth

The Little Chef lost a tooth, is so stoked, and wanted to blog about it. So here you go:

This one of my favorite teeth and now it's out. It's been loose for a while.

2000 Posts!

I've hit the 2000 posts mark! Woot woot!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

When Our Children Grow Up

Truly, I am blessed beyond measure to co-parent four children. I love the way God has beautifully orchestrated my vapor of a life. I got married young--- probably too young--- and share the care and upbringing of four uniquely different kiddos...two younglings and two who have established their own households. One of which, the Second Born, will be leaving us soon (within days) to join the military.

Being I got married when I did and am starting to experience empty nest at the age of thirty-something, the next step of being, once again, without kids in the home is not one of hesitation, pessimism, or reluctance. Rather it is met with excitement and hope. (Not that I have not enjoyed a full nest.)
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5 ESV)
It will be, in essence, a new beginning if you will. A second chance at an opportunity I passed up when I was immature and naïve...when I was too short sighted to see anything beyond the tip of my nose...when I was undisciplined.

The first time I attended a university, I was on my own with no life experience. (I wish there was a way to give our children a bit of that before they try to "fly solo".) I was unfamiliar with the ways of the "worldly". I stepped from the safety and familiarity of being a "little church girl" into the chaos of finding my own way. I was not very wise and did not have much "street smarts". I trusted people easily, was a terrible judge of character, and more or less "went along with the flow" instead of staying focused on what was important.

This time around, I come with an arsenal of common sense, practicality, understanding, exposure, and seasoning! I have a lot under my belt, now, and a better handle on things. All of which keep me from being hindered or thwarted when it comes to my goals.

But, if it is the will of God and not my own! Pastor John Piper states the following regarding the "empty nest" season,
Everybody in our culture knows the meaning of the term empty-nester. Behind it is the assumption that one of the meanings of marriage is to be a nest for the younger birds until they can fly and find their own worms and build their own nests. And if we are Christians, we say that the very essence of that nest is the flesh-and-blood drama created by a husband and a wife living and showing and teaching the covenant-love between Christ and his church. That activity is the essence of the nest. (By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org.)

Okay, so I still have a good number of years before I am completely and officially an "empty nester" but I am preparing now...getting my ducks in a row. And, above all, trusting in God.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

For Everyone Who Has Been Born of God Overcomes the World

"...after 1917, as the war took its toll of young men, the British government established women's auxiliary units for the army, navy, and air force. These positions gave thousands of women a sense of participation in the war effort and a taste of personal and financial independence." (Bulliet, Crossley, Headrick, Hirsch, Johnson, and Northrup. The Earth and Its Peoples: Fifth Edition. 2011. Pg. 771.)

"Personal and financial independence"... I remember after I graduated high school, I bought a used (yet decent) car, got a two bedroom apartment with a female coworker, had a full time job, paid all of my bills, and took care of myself. I was self sufficient, self governing, and unaided. Next, I found a job that allowed me to travel and did that for a little bit before I decided to get married and start a family.

I began a family, foremost. Many go through school, get their degree, establish their career...I chose having a husband and children before anything else. Was it the right decision? For me? I believe so. I would not trade ANY of my kiddos (not even the most difficult one) for anything! They are mine! A gift from the Lord! Regardless if they see themselves that way, that is what they are...a beautiful blessing to me from God. He entrusted me with His precious little lambs and I will be held accountable for how I have trained them up!

My sibling did the exact opposite, by first getting a degree, establishing a means to support a family and then came everything else. I love it! I am given the opportunity to be "Auntie" and it is wonderful. I see a future in which I can attend birthday parties, Christmases, maybe some Easters...the holidays I hold dear. The ones in which Jesus is King and glorified. Not much else matters to me. That is the truth!

Experience is the best (and cruelest) teacher. I have found living according to God's word is best, but that means in EVERY way, not just the ones I see fit to choose. Not doing things "by the book" (as I call it) causes all sorts of issues. Just look at Abraham and Sarah. God promised Abraham a NATION yet they just could not be still. Sarah suggested Abraham have a child with her handmaiden and Ishmael was born. To this day there is a messy conflict that can be traced all the way back to that!

When (not "if"...because, unfortunately I have done it) I get impatient and do things "my" way, it causes all kinds of problems! So, please allow me to encourage you to stay in God's word and BE PATIENT! God knows what is best!

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:1-5 ESV)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Homeless Family on the Corner

Thanksgiving day I was on my way to the Second Born's place for dinner when I stopped at a local store to pick up something. When I pulled into the parking lot, the Little Chef, Little Leaguer, and I noticed a small family standing on the corner. The mother held their youngest tightly as he/she napped, their oldest (about six or seven years old) played while sitting on the cement, and the father held a sign stating they were homeless and needed assistance.

After grabbing that for which we came, we walked to the corner and gave the small family some cash. (Nowhere close to what I wish I could have given.) But, what I really wanted to do was invite them to our Thanksgiving dinner. My heart broke and I almost came to tears as the mother, father, and oldest child thanked me for the cash. How desperately I wished I had an apartment or house to offer them until they could get back on their feet...a place the children could stay dry and warm...a safe place.

I am currently working on getting my Bachelor's Degree so I can attend law school. Once I pass the bar exam and land a job as an attorney, I look forward to giving at least 1/4 of my pay to charity! (I have a yearning, to the depths of my soul, to give all that I have...which currently I only have a "seasonal" position so, not much to give.) Yet, one day, that might be different. I plan for a change.

I keep telling myself... One day, after I get my Bachelor's Degree in business, finish law school, pass the bar exam, and get a great job, I am going to...

1. Help other people.
2. Donate 1/4 of my pay to charity.
3. Fund a halfway house for homeless families.
4. Fund a foster home for children.
5. Buy myself a refurbished muscle car....

I'm sure the list will get bigger as time goes by and I strive to reach my goal for the next season of my vapor of a life. A friend of hubs joked and said I will be 60 years old by that time. Funny, but boy, I hope not!

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33 ESV)

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13 ESV)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Scorpion and the Frog Fable

"A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, "Because if I do, I will die too." The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp "Why?" Replies the scorpion: "Its my nature..."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

...But Encouraging One Another...

I love the body of Christ. Whenever I am in need of anything, God touches my life, provides for me, and/or protects me... (most of the time) using His servants. And, ALL things are His servants.

By your appointment they stand this day,
for all things are your servants.
(Psalm 119:91 ESV)

In this season, I am back in school for my Bachelor's Degree. I am also a daughter, sister, wife, mother, step-mother, sister-in-Christ, friend, etc. When I look at scripture regarding "fellowship" I am reminded:

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24, 25 ESV)

"This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12 ESV)

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2 ESV)

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46, 47 ESV)

I love fellowshipping! I love having similar talents and interests as others in the body. My friend (and sister-in-Christ) called me Saturday evening and asked if I would be interested in an acting gig. It has been years but I guess it's one of those things that never goes away. I don't know if I'll ever outgrow it.

I have to be honest, getting up at 5:00 a.m. was an obstacle. And, I was kind of hoping she would text or call me to say she had a change of plans and was not going to be able to go. But, that did not happen. It was an hour and a half drive and though we passed the place many times (driving up and down the street), we were finally able to find it. By this point, we had also come up with a plan of action if we felt uncomfortable being there and needed to leave.

My point here is, God is truly awesome! He orchestrates my life as I need encouragement. Whether friends move or relationships change, God always has my heart covered. He challenges me, grows me, blesses me abundantly, provides for me, protects me from wickedness, teaches me, disciplines me, loves me, nurtures me, is not only my Savior but also my Lord.

I "feel young again" (as my friend so accurately put it). And, I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to just play for a day (no pun intended), for hubs who took on all of the parenting and household responsibilities so I could be gone for the day, and for Amber who threw down the gauntlet and said, "Let's do it!" I had a blast and cannot wait until next time!


(24 Hour Theater: Writers get 12 hours to write the script then the actors get 12 hours to learn it, rehearse it, and perform it.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Video of My Acting Gig Yesterday

Saturday evening, my friend called and asked if I was interested in doing "24 Hour Theater" with her. Play writers had 12 hours to write a script then directors and actors had 12 hours to rehearse and perform it. We were up at 5:00 a.m. and arrived at the "theater" at 8:00 a.m. (at which time we were assigned to a director, script, and cast). We only took a 90 minute break for lunch and a 45 minute break for dinner. We came up with all of the props and wardrobe, too. So, without further ado, I present:

"Real Men Eat Quiche On Mars" by Charles "Chuck" Fanucchi
Directed by Anderson Templeton
Actors: Amber R. as "Dudeman"
Me as "Dudebro"
and Sarah as "Dudemanbro"

I hope it makes you laugh!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Do Not be Anxious About Anything...Not Even Theater

I was looking up some information, yesterday, in my SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY book by Wayne Grudem and I was reminded how much I truly love (and desire to study) God's word. When I was a teenager, I wanted so much to be a pastor. I just knew that is what I wanted to do with my vapor of a life. Now, as an adult, I know that is not the path to which God is calling me. I still don't know all He has in store (because He choses to reveal things to us, slowly) but I do have faith and confidence I am on the right track.

On a different note, this evening a friend called me and asked if I was interested in participating in a theater thing, tomorrow. My interest was peaked. Theater is my third love... 1. God and Jesus (and God's word), 2. Dance (ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, acrobatics, etc.), 3. Theater, 4. Martial arts and MMA, 5. Volleyball...

But, I have to be honest, it has been quite a while since I have done ANY kind of theater work. But, I still love it. Every single time I watch a musical or theater production, I want to get up and join in it. So, when this opportunity presented itself, my two responses were 1. Heck yeah, I really want to do it, and 2. No way, it has been way too long since I've done this kind of thing. But, I prefer to challenge myself...to go outside my comfort zone and just give it a try. Part of the fun, tomorrow, is making errors, forgetting lines, resorting to improv, etc. I love improv!!!

Side bar: Let me just say, here, how insanely thankful I am to the teachers I had in dance, voice, acting, and theater! I feel they were each amazing individuals who taught me well and all they know. I am generally very comfortable on the stage...almost as if it were my second home. I hear "home" calling my name.

Alas, it is time to say, "Good night!" I have to be up at 5:00 in the morning to leave by 6:00 a.m. to get to the theater event by 8:00 a.m. And on a Sunday, of all days! It must be love...to get me up and out of the house by 6:00 a.m. AND to miss church.

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:5-7 ESV)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Live to the Hilt Every Situation You Believe to Be the Will of God

I was on a roll posting more than just daily scripture pictures on here, again! Yay! I have been so bogged down with school work for my Bachelor's Degree that I haven't been very social at all (online or in person). But, I see the light at the end of the tunnel for this semester. Only three weeks, five homework assignments, three or four quizzes, four exams, and one big paper to write left! Hopefully, next semester will be a little less demanding. But, I am SO thankful to be able to go back to school!

It took me a long time to get past the fact I was going to have to start from scratch when it came to higher education. With a goal of law school, that would be a seven year commitment, I just did not think I could do it. However, some of my credits did transfer over from my first attempt at college and God has provided for this opportunity. Still, I have a long way to go, yet it seems doable! I believe it is fair to say, I am excited! I will be ready to begin a new season when my youngest are, too, after they graduate high school. We will take that leap, in faith, together.

I am curious where I will attend law school. My hope is it will be somewhere close to where I'll be living but God only knows.

Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God. - Jim Elliot

Today, I was a chaperone on a school field trip to see the fabulous musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". I have to be honest, it made my desire to perform again even more intense...but I doubt I will ever go back to it. Although, a friend of mine said we should go audition at the local theater just "to feel young again". So, I don't know, maybe.

For the time being, here is one of my old competition videos...just "to feel young again". (I wish you could see that I am smiling.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Learn to Do Good; Seek Justice

Thinking about egg donation brought something to my attention. What about women who really want to give birth but are barren? When all other options have failed and in vitro is being considered and discussed. I felt a mild pull toward it as I contemplated egg donation but how strong and tempting it must be to those who want a baby with all their heart.

Multiple eggs are harvested, fertilized outside of the body, the "best" one or two are implanted into the woman's uterus, and the remaining embryos are aborted or used for stem cell research. This would be quite a dilemma for me if I was faced with such a decision! The call to be a mother is so intense it is sickening at times! But to sacrifice multiple lives for a 55% chance of a successful pregnancy and birth?

Side note: All of this brings to mind embryo stem cells. When I had each of my children, I was asked if the stem cells from the umbilical cords may be obtained. I said, "Yes," each time but I couldn't help but wonder if there is any "unethical" research conducted on those cells. Today, I read, "...umbilical cord blood is an ethical source of stem cells." That gives me peace of mind.

How truly thankful I am for my biological kiddos, my kids I co-parented but did not birth, and someday (maybe) adopted children. Yep, I am back to mulling over adoption...but not in the near future. Perhaps in, oh say, 12 years or so. I want to get my Bachelor's Degree, finish raising my young ones, go to law school, and then meditate on and pray about being an adoptive or foster parent.

learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow's cause.
(Isaiah 1:17 ESV)

The above is what I intend to do as an attorney, too.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (John 14:15-21 ESV)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Declare Me Innocent From Hidden Faults

To donate or not to donate? That was the question.

What is the biblical standing, if any? I'm not sure the bible addresses this directly. There are so many beautiful children, little lambs of God, who need loving, forever homes. But, I also know there are women who strongly desire children, yet are infertile. There are adoptive parents, foster parents, surrogate mothers, those who donate, etc.

Back when I was in college (the first time), I considered donating an egg cell or few. Presently, being in Human Biology and having studied "survival of the fittest" and "natural selection" a tad, I have been thinking, once again, about giving reproductive cells. However, no matter what I do in life, I want it to glorify God! Would this? Or would it be considered "wrong" or "unbiblical"?

Perhaps it is the pride in me that says, "I am in excellent physical and mental health. I carry roughly a "B" average (it's not Mensa, Ivy League, or anything but hey, it's not bad). I am athletic and agile. I pick up things pretty quickly. I feel God has blessed me abundantly. All good attributes to pass along.

The bottom line here, though, is the end result will be a human being. An offspring who will not know me and I will not know him/her. Yet, we will coexist and twenty-four of his/her chromosomes will be from me. I believe I would be okay with this but I would ALWAYS pray for him/her/them as I do the kiddos I have (and continue to) co-parent hands on. (Two of which are not my biological kids but I love them dearly as if they are.) So, why would I not be able to do the reverse...co-parent biologically but not in person? Am I so arrogant to believe I am the best mother out there?!

13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
(Psalm 139:13-14. ESV.)

I have learned that "family" is made up of many varying factors and looks differently to everyone (or many). For some, it is all about bloodlines. For others, their "family" members do not share the same genes. We have church "families", dance "families", fighter "families", foster "families", adoptive "families", biker "families", biological "families", brothers and sisters in Christ, beloved friends who act as "family" (and sit closer than a brother), etc. And, as long as a child is loved, nurtured, provided for, protected, and trained up in the way he/she should go, that should be what matters, right?

But upon further research I found egg donation and implanting is a more complex procedure than I originally thought. The donor would have to receive hormones or chemicals to cause the ovaries to produce and release multiple "eggs". I am not fond of putting anything into my body. I prefer to be au natural.

Further, the part that bothers me the most is once these "eggs" are harvested, they are put into petri dishes, fertilized, the best one or two are placed in the recipient's uterus and the rest are aborted. And that there, is the deal breaker for me.

7The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
(John 14:15-26. ESV.)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Straining Forward to What Lies Ahead, I Press on Toward the Goal

I run into some interesting individuals day to day. A couple weeks ago I was studying in a coffee shop when two voices caught my attention. It was not the sound of their words that caused my ears to tune into their conversation, but rather what was being said. Okay, I was eavesdropping, you caught me. But, they were talking loudly...so there ya go.

One woman, who was facing me (they were at a table over my left shoulder) was a surgeon, as so it sounded. (I am not sure about the other lady...she did not say very much.) The first lady spoke of patients comparing scars and trading stories about their surgeries, to each other and another physician. Hers boasted about how beautiful she is, etc. My interest was peaked and I wanted to sneak a glimpse (at this gorgeous doctor) without looking obvious.

I was still (most likely) as evident as a neon sign. I am about as subtle as a firecracker.

When I got up to leave, I looked directly at her. Yet, quickly. She had long, flowing hair and was wearing make up. Other than that, it's a blur. But, two things happened in that moment...well, two thoughts, actually. #1. I said to myself, "I could be like her." And #2. I felt a moment of envy. But, why?! I really do not desire what she has or does...I do not even know her!

I suppose I could change my major to medicine and serve people in the scope of that field. But, the heavy burden of losing a patient, if I was just unable to help, would weigh heavily on me. And, I would never want to challenge God or shake my fist at Him because His will was different than my own.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

Most importantly, though, is the fact I love my life! Not necessarily all that has transpired in it or the bad choices I have made, but rather what I have and the wonderful individuals with whom I have crossed paths. Not to mention the direction in which I am heading.

I by passed a higher education right after high school, traveled, and started a family. I would not trade that for all the success and money in the world. The children I have co-parented (and continue to co-parent) are amazing! And, I have SO much life experience (well, as much as a thirty-something year old can fit into those years).

Maybe I forgot who I was or what I wanted, for a period of time, but I remember now. I have always put my husband and children before myself, as I always felt I should, for 13 years. This past summer, I felt it was time to go back to school, chase down, and obtain my goal of being an attorney... not a healthcare professional.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13, 14 ESV)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Baptism in the Near Future?!

I am so excited!!!  The Little Chef wants to be baptized!  The first step though, is a three week "New Member" class. 

I was baptized in the church where I grew up (in Florida) and the Little Chef started off at this church (pre-school + 2 years) and now, we have returned (been back for maybe two years).  So, it makes sense to me.  It makes me glad.  I'm hoping the Little Leaguer feels called, too, before we move.

John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16 ESV)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Archimedes' Principle

Do you know Archimedes' principle? Guarantee you'll remember it after watching this video!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Challenge Center at California State University Sacramento

I had the pleasure of chaperoning a field trip to California State University Sacramento to watch the kiddos participate at the "Peak Adventures" Challenge Center.  It was such a fun experience and I think the students truly had a wonderful time!  Check it out!

http://www.peakadventures.org/team_development/index.php




Healing to Your Flesh

Monday, October 14, 2013

Nothing Will Be Able to Separate Us From the Love of Jesus

Washed by Jesus

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand." Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me." Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!" Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you." (John 13:3-10 ESV)

As I sat and listened to this event for what seemed like the umpteenth time, suddenly it took on a new feeling and I began to think, "This is how I view faith." Jesus calls --- for the sake of this, he wraps a towel around his waist, pours water into a basin and begins to wash the feet of the one he calls. The individual being summoned responds --- with either, "Yes, Lord, wash my feet. I love you!" or "Oh okay, if you must but really it makes no difference to me." or "Excuse me, please don't touch my feet!"

As in this recount of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus initiates things. The bible shows it time and again as each disciple is going about his own business when Jesus shows up and says, "Follow me."

When we are invited to church by a friend, Jesus is beckoning. When we are dragged to worship or bible study by a spouse, Jesus is whispering. Jesus seeks us because left to our own devices, we would not desire Him. We would just go on about our day. Look at how often (or not) we are in God's word daily, for example. Do we make time for Jesus or just squeeze Him in when it's convenient?

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" But when he heard it, he said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:9-13 ESV)

That's us! Sinners! Every last one of us. I am so thankful to have a Lord, Savior, King, Heavenly Father, Holy Spirit, Provider, Protector who sought me out. God does not need me. He can produce followers from the rocks if He so choses. Yet, the creator became like His creation, He can empathize with us in our struggles, He suffered torture, and died for our sins so we can have a love story with Him and commune with Him at His throne of grace. Truly, that is an amazing, indescribable blessing!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

You Have the Words of Eternal Life

Instagram

Being my "free time" and "social media" time is limited (when I'm not doing wife, mother, student, substitute teacher stuff), I have picked one --- Instagram --- and would love to meet up with you there!  What is your account name?  Mine is Matt5verse6. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

No God Besides You

The Body: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

The body truly is amazing!  Feel better soon, Ralph!


Photo Information:
http://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:MRI_brain.jpg

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

[Jesus Is] With You Always

And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20 ESV.)

Jesus is with me, always. I do not doubt that. And, the Holy Spirit convicts me when needed...which is very unpleasant, by the way. Generally, I am not anxious about each day and what is to come. But, every once in a while, when I least expect it, the shadow of doubt slithers into my consciousness and causes a wave of discomfort to wash over me. But why?

Jesus is my provider, my protector, my King, and Heavenly Father. He loves me, yet He is just. He does not give me everything I want rather all that I need. His hedge of protection is regularly around me, my loved ones, and all who are His. And, He will not neglect nor forsake me. All that I have was given to me, by Him, through His servants. "All things are His servants" (Psalm 119:91) whether they want to be, or not.

He opens doors and closes others. Sometimes the ones He opens are not quite what I have in mind...but I am obedient because He truly knows what is best! The times I have broken down the wrong door and determined to take what was not for me, did not go well, at all! So I have learned to be thankful for the path that is mine and to not offend the Holy Spirit!

The unknown is unpredictable, but it does not have to be scary. God goes before and paves the way. He wrote, orchestrated all that is to come and He did it before the foundations of the world. For me, that is a comfort...and I pray it is (or may be) for you, as well.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. (Psalm 121:3 ESV)
He will not let me stumble.

But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Then Peter said in reply, "See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?"... And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:26, 27, 29 ESV)

Moody Tuesday


Time to get back to studying...but I am really not in the mood.  I am so thankful, though, for the privilege.

Friday, October 04, 2013

I am Going to Be Honest...

I am going to be honest, when I go to volunteer at the school my children attend it is not truly with the intent of helping out. It is primarily to be near my kiddos, actually. That might sound creepy, dramatic, or a little over the top...(I volunteer nearly everyday but the school staff is happy to have me assist).

They are only young for so long then my time with them (on a regular basis) will be over. The older ones have moved out and don't live that far away (maybe 30-45 minutes) yet I hardly ever see them. We're all so BUSY---Being Under satan's Yoke, perhaps or walking the path God has placed before each of us--- we pass each other like ships in the night...though we text moderately often, I guess. Come to think of it, I wonder if the teenage years are engineered (wired) to aid parents and kids to make the transition of separation a little easier. Maybe. ???

I have noticed in my focus to study, get decent (if not good) grades, and earn a Bachelor's degree, I tell my children, "Not now. I have to do this first." What a terrible thing to say to them! They deserve my all, my everything...and yet don't receive it. They feel the burden of it...especially (I believe) the Little Chef who tells me we don't spend mommy/child time together anymore. How heart breaking. We are used to my life revolving around them. Now it does not and the Little Leaguer has become even more ornery than before (if you, who know him, can imagine that)?!

The house schedule has been changed. I always said nothing was to get in the way of the "house schedule" but my school work has. The earth has shifted and everyone in the household feels it. A lot has been sacrificed and I really hope it is all worth it in the end!

But, at the close of the day (no matter how much I second guess myself) this is where I feel lead...this point, right here. It is a layover on route to my next destination. (Not quite what I had in mind, but okay.) And, God goes before me like He did with the Israelites (as a pillar of smoke by day and fire by night). As long as I never lose sight of Him, all will be okay. I cannot veer off the path or hit a rock with my own walking stick and expect water.

The final goal (in this matter) is to be an attorney for children. I have always (for as long as I can remember) said, "I want to be a lawyer." I thought being a court appointed child advocate would curb or satisfy the hunger. No such luck. And God knows how to push my buttons (of course)! He keeps me motivated! In one way, there is a child molester who hangs out at a baseball/softball field among a bunch of children. It irks me almost to the core! I do not believe he should be allowed anywhere near God's precious little lambs. Yet, there he is...a wolf among the sheep...dismissed, tolerated, until it is too late...again. NOT ON MY WATCH! God knows what drives me...and uses it!

For all things are His servants. (Psalm 119:91. ESV.)

Indeed! Thank You, Lord!!!

The Lord is Your Keeper

Sunday, September 22, 2013

History 111: The Protestant Reformation

Today, my assignment in Modern World Civilization is regarding the Protestant Reformation. I have to admit, I am quite jazzed. I have a great interest in Martin Luther, his ninety-five theses, and the spread of the Reformation with John Calvin jumping on the bandwagon! Their thoughts and take on theology is where I camp in my own walk. I agree with a lot of what these men said and follow the teachings of those who came after them, Jonathan Edwards and John Piper. Martin Luther paved the way and so for today's post, I am going to share with you my discussion of the specific doctrinal and political issues that led to the Protestant Reformation and how the Catholic church responded. It's a little History 111. Don't fall asleep now!

(Side note: The views of this paper are as recorded by Richard Bulliet, Pamela Crossley, Daniel Headrick, Steven Hirsch, Lyman Johnson, and David Northrup in their book THE EARTH AND ITS PEOPLE: Volume II (c) 2011 being I am not permitted to use any other sources for this particular class.)

Martin Luther did not agree with the way the Catholic church did things. He did not believe one could buy his or her way into heaven, do works to attain a spot, or penance in order to receive forgiveness. His view was more along the lines of serve others out of love for Christ Jesus (truly from the "heart") as opposed to trying to earn the love of Christ Jesus. Further, he did not support the act of having a spiritual father like the Pope. Rather, he contended followers of Christ should be faithful to that which is in the word of God not the authority of a man. The "sale of indulgences" was seemingly the straw that broke the camel's back, setting the wheels of change into motion. Luther responded to the Catholic church with the Protestant Reformation.

This first division of the church was the beginning of terrible wars within the church body and opened the door for many more divisions yet to come. The second to jump on this bandwagon was John Calvin (1509-1564). His views, though similar to those of Luther, differed in that Calvin believed salvation is a gift, from God, of grace. Man does not control whether or not he is saved, rather it was decided before the foundations of the earth...grace by faith alone. Christian marriage was also a focus of Calvinists instead of a dictatorship within the home.

The answer from the Catholic church (1545 - 1563) regarding all of this was to tweak things on their end, as well, and clarify their standing. The Catholic church felt their doctrine was correct and there needed to be correction of Protestant "errors". No to mention there was a desire to solidify the reign of the Pope. The formation of the "Jesuits" by Ignatius of Loyola took place in 1540 created yet another branch of the Christian faith.

A house divided cannot stand against itself and the Christian family was no different. Each crack in the foundation caused more turmoil. This animosity continued until 1648 in western Europe however still causes friction now days, in the United States. Recognition and support of the Reformation flip flopped back and forth with each new monarch pending his views and leniency. King Phillip II of Spain had a no tolerance policy, enforced it heavily, and punishment was severe. Calvinists gained some ground in 1562-1598 and also with the Edict of Nantes however this freedom of religion was then later revoked by Louis XIV in 1598.

Yet more separation from the Catholic faith came during the supremacy of Henry VIII who denounced it and headed up the Church of England. Next, came the Angelican Church and the English Puritans. All of which began with Martin Luther who said enough is enough and stood against the Catholic beliefs. I do believe the Christian faith has the most denominations. Islam has two, as I understand.

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