November 27, 2012

1000 Gifts

813. Carry Me To The Cross by Kutlass
814. Family pictures
815. Amazing money saving deals
816. Candles
817. New journals
818. Laundry soap
819. Yellow
820. Dad's new job!!!!!!!
821. Sunday afternoon visits with dear friends
822. A Weed in the Church
823. Tissue paper
824. Knee braces for bum knees
825. Quilts
826. Leaves to rake
827. Fun evenings with friends
828. Sunflower seeds
829. Spring mix from our garden
830. Letters from dear friends
831. My new coat
832. Mars Hill Church
833. Paracord bracelets
834. Pillow cases
835. Dad's wisdom
836. Pandas
837. Francis Schaeffer
838. Hebrews 10:26-27
839. Closet doors
840. 75 degree fall days

My list will continue to grow as I praise the Lord each week here on my blog!
To join in the praise click here

November 26, 2012

What is my nature?

"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."
Romans 8:5 
 

November 25, 2012

Sunday Meditation




I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed
Galatians 1:6-8

November 22, 2012

I am thankful for...

My beloved parents, David and Julia, and their commitment to pursue Truth, Jesus, love, sacrifice and service for God's glory and the advancement of His kingdom on earth.  They mean so much to me, and I am profoundly grateful to have them as a huge part of my life.  So many of my peers and even close relatives have experienced the breakdown of their parents marriage, and I have been graciously spared.  What a gift.  What a treasure!

Joel my one and only "big brother" who has been such an inspiration in my life since I was a wee girl.  It has been a real joy to see him grow and mature into a godly young man of God.  He has pursued His calling on his life in the areas of politics, Christian Apologetics, Creation science, discipleship, and honest business.  He is so interesting to talk with, and I am glad to have a relationship of trust and respect, where we can mutually share about our struggles, joys, trials, blessings and life happenings.  I am excited to see where the Lord will lead him next, as he plans on beginning grad-school in January.  He is such a blessing and encouragement to many!

Caleb who is now a "distant" brother, geographically, but not in my heart or mind.  It's hard to watch him grow up, because that means I am getting older too.  And yet, and I am filled with anticipation at the mighty works I know Jesus has planned for him to accomplish.  How thrilling it was when he shared that he had begun taking a Spanish language course through a local homeschool co-op.  His desire is to reach out to the Hispanic people in his community, and the Lord is preparing him for such opportunities.  He is such a fun guy, and always smiling, when he enters a room it brightens.  I miss his warm humor, and his deep insights on life and what the Lord is showing him, daily.  Thank God for texting and Sundays.

Phoebe is, as I have said many times, my best friend.  Her enthusiasm for life, her smile, her quiet, wise ways, and her brilliance all inspire and challenge me to never stop learning, to enjoy life and let the little things that could annoy me, go, to have a trust in Jesus that grows each day and embrace life to the fullest.  She minsters to me through her amazing baking skills, and her gentle rebukes.  I love it when she mischievously pulls a "fast one" on me, and I laugh in spite of myself.  She has a way of giving me confidence, and she's often by my side.  Her love for Jesus and her understanding of His word and Truth in general is refreshing from one so young.  I look forward to seeing her continue to grow in the beautiful bright and radiant young lady the Lord desires her to be.

 Jo and I have become better friends in the last year or so.  Before we used to butt heads quite a bit... but thankfully, for us both, we have matured and been able to resolve much of those conflicts.  I am so grateful to have not just one, but two, beautiful, highly-talented and caring sisters.  Jo's creativity is something I love to watch as she makes crafts or brain-storms ideas.  I love to encourage her when she comes to me with an idea, or possibility.  God has given her an amazing artistic eye, and a special touch for the piano.  Whenever she sits down to play some classical piece or a hymn, I am blessed.  The fact that she is almost entirely self-taught, blows my mind, continually.  I enjoy our midnight heart-to-heart chats, with Phoebe and how we always seem to have the most to say after we've turned off the light.  Her sensitivity and desire to please the Lord are so wonderful, and encouraging to my spirit. 

Jaden is my bebe-brodder, haha. ;)  He'll be ten soon and that really is hard to believe!  Seems like just yesterday I was holding him, shortly after his birth.  He is growing up so quickly, and I adore his childish ways, that are so innocent and funny.  Recently he has begun to loving reading and it is fun to watch him read through a book of his choice, although he still prefers when someone else reads to him.  I love our bike rides, times at the park playing on the playground or swinging.  Baseball, basketball, and ultimate frisbee are also things we share in common and enjoy together.  His smile is goofy and his spirit is full of life.  I know the Lord has amazing plans laid out for his life, and I look forward to cheering him on as He leads my dear Jaden-bug.

I am so very grateful to my Grandma Kautt, who has been graciously hosting my family in her home since my Dad resigned back in the spring.  She shows her love for me through her cooking, her caring conversation and her smiles and love.  I am glad that she is still with us, and that we can share a little more in her life each day. 






I am also thankful for the experience of being surrounded by godly, encouraging friends.  I have way too many to count, which is such a HUGE blessing, and just because your picture doesn't appear in the series above, doesn't mean I am not thankful for you (those were just the pictures of my friends I had available).  My life is richer and fuller because of you and your precious time that you invest in my life.  Special thank yous go to the following families and individuals who have played a big part in my life this year:

- Amy (even though we talk infrequently, I am always refreshed at your passion for Truth and how you are humbly, gently seeking Jesus and encouraging those around you to do the same.  I was especially blessed by that one chat we had this summer, late one night, and what an encouragement it was to me.  I am so blessed to know you and your dear dear family)
- Brittany (what a true blessing to get to know you even better this year dear.  Our conversations about the things of God have challenged, sharpened and strengthened my faith.  I am indebted to you and love you greatly!)
- Camille (you are such a dear, sweet friend and I thank God for you on a regular basis, for being there with me through thick and thin and always encouraging my spirit.  I love you dear!)
 - Aunt Cee (for all of the love gifts you have bestowed on our family through the last many months, they have been a tremendous help and blessing, your affection and care for our family means a lot and we are so thankful for you!)
 - C. family (for all of your help and guidance leading up to Dad's resignation, and for assisting us in our camper project, with house cleaning and packing, and of course for your tireless friendship and health care efforts for my Mom, we love you all so much)
- G. family (your love and support through prayers, phone calls, personal visits, meals shared, texts and facebook conversations raised our spirits, and encouraged us through some dark times.  We love you guys!)
- D. family (Isaac was such a helpful renovation assistance to Joel in the camper project, and a close companion of Caleb throughout the move and even now, and for Mrs.' sweet hospitality and kind words of wisdom and encouragement, and of course how could we forget what a great friend Andrew has been to Joel and Caleb)
- Elizabeth (your sweet spirit and heart for Jesus have ministered to me since I first met you such a short time ago.  I smile each time I think of you, and thank the Lord again for how we became friends, and what a blessing you are to me.  I love you!)
- Hannah (dear sweet Hannah girl, I am so thankful for you and your passion for Jesus.  You are an inspiration to me, and I love when we can get together or talk on the phone. You are a dear dear friend, and I love you) 
- Mr. J. (for your care and concern for our family, even before you met us in person, and all of the prayers and your generous spirit.  We thank God for men like you!)
 - Mr. and Mrs. J. (for your encouragement to Dad and Mom, and your love and support for our entire family throughout the painful church situation and ensuing move, I am so grateful)
- Mr. and Mrs. K. (for your love and concern expressed through phone calls, visits and prayers that have lifted our spirits - you guys are an inspiration)
- M. family (for allowing Dad and Mom to have a weekend away in your guest house, I know that ministered to their spirits, and for your love, prayers and support over the months and last couple of years, we are always so blessed when we get together with you guys.  God-speed!)
- N. families (Mr. and Mrs. for your prayers, cards and phone calls; Kevin and Courtney for your love expressed through phone conversations and prayers, for sharing homeschool resources with our family, we are so grateful)
- Mr. and Mrs. P. (for your love and concern, and understanding, for the prayers and cards, we are so thankful for friends like you guys and are excited about how the Lord is using you both in a new place)
P. family (there are WAY too many blessings to count when it comes to you guys, all the Sunday Bible studies, and afternoons of fellowship, the phone calls and meetings with Dad, sharing your helpful boys who took part in the final house cleaning sessions, supplying boxes and just for being there during some tough times, we love each of you dearly)
- Sara and Mrs. P (for all of the help you gave with packing and cleaning the kitchen and entire house, inside and out, and for Sara's magnificent help with the window cleaning project, for your encouraging conversations with Mom, Mrs. P., she is always blessed when she interacts with you.  God uses you all to bless others, and we were deeply touched by your service to our family.  We love you all!)
- Sian (even though we've yet to meet, our interactions over the internet, especially on chats, have meant so much to me.  I love how you are seeking the Lord's face and favor with your life, and what a blessing that is to everyone around you, including me.  May He bless you always dear one) 
- Kerri S. (thank you so much for being a friend and encouragement to Mom, and for being her new health go-to person, you are a real blessing to our entire family as you minister to our dear Mother)
- The T. family and church family at Bella Vista (for your gifts of love and many prayers on our family's behalf.  We are so so grateful for the Christian charity you extended our family in a time of need)
- Larry W. (who gave us invaluable insight into what to look for if we built a house, and other encouragement as our brother in Christ, thank you for showing selfless love and service towards our family)
- Mr. and Mrs. W. (for blessing our family with your generosity, and for being friends with Mom, I know she has been blessed by her conversations with you Mrs. W, as she has shared with me, thank you both)

I know I am leaving out someone (please forgive me), these are the ones who came to mind.  To everyone else (you know who you are) who has ministered to our family this year, I am so thankful for you and the blessing you have been to me personally, and to my family!  I thank God for you. 

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
I Corinthians 2:1-12

 Thank you Jesus for everyone who has touched my life in 2012, what a true blessing and gift they have been.  I ask that you would in return, pour out Your great blessings on them and cause them to know and experience Your love in an even greater, more powerful way.  I am so so grateful... my cup is running over, and streaming down the side.  May those blessings touch the lives of people around me. 

November 19, 2012

1000 Gifts

786. Matches
787. Lecrae and his uplifting, God-centered lyrics
788. Noah's "goodnights"
789. Family bible studies on Sundays and how Jesus keeps moving, in amazing ways, week after week
790. Blueberry yogurt
791. Dad's heart
792. Mom's healing process
793. Elizabeth and her heart for Jesus - what a precious friend
794. Rose lotion which smells so lovely and feels so soft
795. 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redmon
796. Note pads
797. Morning walks
798. Late night chats with my darling sisters
799. Pop Murray's flannel lined quilt he made 
800. A voice to praise Jesus with
801. Heart Cry Missionary Society and the work of Paul Washer
802. Thanksgiving smells in the air
803. Ezekiel 3:20-21 
804. Johanna's photography
805. Jacob, Tanisha, Tristan and Elizabeth (that's actually 4 wonderful blessings, in one family)
806. Kerri S.
807. A new route to work, saving me time and fuel
808. My gray scarf / neck warmer, Jo made for me
809. My blue Converse All-Stars
810. Ice cream on Sundays
811. Sharpie markers
812. This blog post 

My list will continue to grow as I praise the Lord each week here on my blog!
To join in the praise click here.

November 16, 2012

Thoughts on marriage


Marriage is about honor.  It is all about putting the needs, wants, and desires of your beloved above your own, and more importantly, about putting God's desires for your marriage, ahead of any ideas one may have.

A wedding band symbolizes purity, but it also symbolizes restriction or how could I put it? fidelity?  One wears a band around their finger, encircling it, reminding that person of the sacredness of their vows, to always be faithfully committed to purity and holiness in their marital relationship.

Someone has said that marriage is like an ocean.  After marriage the husband and wife now embark on a never-ending voyage of discovery in a sea so deep, we can't see the bottom.  Whereas, platonic, casual relationships, one-night stands, recreational sex and any other form of "relationships" are like diving into a kiddie wading pool.  There is neither depth nor substance to be discovered in those illicit "delights" the world makes seem so appealing. 

As the wise king Solomon instructed his son, regarding the perils of adultery:

Drink water from your own well—
    share your love only with your wife.
16 Why spill the water of your springs in the streets,
    having sex with just anyone?
17 You should reserve it for yourselves.
    Never share it with strangers.

18 Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.
    Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.
    Let her breasts satisfy you always.
    May you always be captivated by her love.
20 Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,
    or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?
Proverbs 15:5-20 (New Living translation)

This is a more graphic reading of this passage, but it really does get the point across!  I remember reading Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship by Josh Harris a few years ago, and he quoted this passage (using the NLT version) and it left an impression on me, concerning the sacredness of sex and the marriage covenant.

If we understood the seriousness of sexual sins, and how defiling and damaging they are, scars on our very souls, more people would carefully consider whether or not it was "worth" having sex, before marriage.  Even if you do end up marrying the person you slept with, you will have that feeling of shame and regret, and will have lost something so special and exciting.

Enjoy your spouses sexuality!  Be enraptured only by their beauty and your relationship with that other person.  God created us as sexual beings, not as a curse, but as a great blessing and responsibility.  If we are holy and pure in our marriages, we bless not only our spouse and ourselves, but we bring blessing to future generations, by setting a godly example of what a devoted to God marriage looks like.
Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. 
Hebrews 13:4 

Love and respect are two key ingredients to a successful marriage.  When a wife shows respect for her husband, when she builds him up with her words and works, when she does not criticize him or talk badly about him, whether in front of him or behind his back, she is ministering to him in a deeper way than she may realize.  


Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
 1 Peter 3:1-6

And, when a husband loves, affirms and tenderly cherishes his wife, he brings the security and stability she requires.  She will thrive on his love, as he bestows his affection upon her.  Showing her that she alone, is the one who has his heart.
He brought me to the banqueting house,
And his banner over me was love.
 His left hand is under my head,
And his right hand embraces me.
I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the does of the field,
Do not stir up nor awaken love
Until it pleases.
Song of Songs 2:4, 6-7 

One book I would recommend to married couples, or young people who are pursuing a serious-leading-to-marriage relationship, is Emerson Eggerichs book Love & Respect (The Love She Most Desires, The Respect He Desperately Needs)

My parents are reading through this book, and Mom has told me how helpful it has been for her already.  I look forward to one day reading through it, and gleaning some important lessons about respecting my (for now future) husband. 

November 11, 2012

Sunday Meditation

  
When you come to appear before Me,
Who has required this from your hand,
To trample My courts?
Bring no more futile sacrifices;
Incense is an abomination to Me.
The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies—
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.
Your New Moons and your appointed feasts
My soul hates;
They are a trouble to Me,
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide My eyes from you;
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not hear.
Your hands are full of blood.

Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.
Come now, and let us reason together,
Says the Lord, 
Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Isaiah 1:12-20 

November 10, 2012

How are you?


Have you ever pondered the delicacy of that question?

In essence, the questioner is asking the one they question, to bare his or her heart to them.  To reveal what's really going on inside.  That's pretty delicate.

It seems cliche, but really this question is packed with human emotion and care, directed towards the other person.

We all long for honest, open relationships, where we can trust and rely on the advice of another human being.  This is how we should view this question, and not be afraid to truthfully, honestly, gently share how we are - really.

So, next time someone asks "how are you?" be honest.  And, listen when your friend opens up to you in return to your thoughtful, "how are you?"

You'll be glad you did.

-----

A friend loves at all times...
Proverbs 17:17 

November 6, 2012

On Parenting: A Few Observations

I remember my Mom telling me how some parents try to be friends with their children, during the time when they need to just be a parent, and the trouble it can cause.

There are of course, good reasons to be friends with one's children.  It's all about timing though. 

What do I mean by "friend":
  • being less strict, because you want your child's input on how you'll discipline (letting them decide their own punishment, yes I have seen this)
  • letting them have more freedom in things they may still need your guidance or supervision with
  • understanding that you and they have separate, God-given roles, that need to be carried out in a way that brings Him honor and glory, and does not mar the child 
All too often, I've seen parents "spoiling" their children.  Because it is much easier to get a child to stop whining by simply giving them what they are whining for.  But in the long run, what message are you sending that child?  That they can have any and everything, so long as they are persuasive enough?

When I was a small child, under two years old, I was ill a lot.  My frequent ear infections and sinus related problems made me cranky and not much fun to be around.  Added to that, my strong-willed nature, and natural tendency towards disobedience, and that made for a self-centered, hateful little girl, hard to take care of, hard to really love.

My Mom began to understand about this time the proper ways to discipline a child, and began employing those methods.  I don't remember much until I was six or older, but I know that the talks, the punishment, the restrictions and the loving but firm hand my Mom (and Dad) placed on my life, helped to mold and shape me into who I am today.

One very vivid memory I do have as a young child, is of my Dad explaining to me what repentance was: he used the metaphor of a highway, and how when we are sorry over our sin, we are taking a U-turn, in effect.  Turning away from our sinful desires, and turning towards God, and life.  It was so real to me at that time, and I recall it from time to time, even today.

If my parents had treated me as their "friend" during the years when I needed the most guidance and training, I don't want to imagine who I'd be today.  It wouldn't be pretty.

Now, there certainly does come a time in a young person's life, where their parents can trust them with more responsibilities, and they have valuable insight they can share with their parents, and so in a way become "friends" with their parents.  I think that is a good thing.

Parents should seek to disciple their children, so that they would feel safe, loved, valued, and noticed as a member of the family.  And, when the time is right, seek to befriend their children in a different sort of way, then previously experienced.

Parenting is hard.  You have the responsibility of raising up a living soul, with an eternal destination.  And that's huge!  There are many good resources to help you on the way to successful parenting.

Some verses on parenting taken from my favorite parenting resource: The Bible -

A wise son makes a glad father,
But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.
 (Proverbs 10:1)

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

 (Proverbs 13:1) 

A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.

(Proverbs 15:20) 

Another favorite passage is Proverbs 31:1-f, where King Solomon's mother is instructing him in the way he should go.  And of course, the rest of the chapter is targeted at young women, and their roles.  So, the whole chapter is chock-full of godly wisdom as to how young people should live their lives.   

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