Tuesday, May 27, 2008

delve deeper

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Do you study scripture? It saddens me when I think of the countless "Christians" out there who try to walk according to scripture without having ever read through or studied it. Our ultimate goal is to bring glory to God, but how can we know what will glorify Him if we do not read His Word, His instruction to us?

I have heard it said that there is no such thing as a lukewarm Christian, that a Christian must be "hot" and not "cold". Paul Washer talks about radical Christians, and how we must be radical or nothing at all. If you ever think you are radical, I encourage you to listen to his story about a little boy who could not deny Jesus, and was killed for it- now that, my friends, is a radical Christian.

Jesus said that we must "hate" our families and give up our possessions in order to follow Him. Granted, we are not literally supposed to hate people, but we are supposed to be willing to give everything up in order to glorify God.

If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple... So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his possessions.
Luke 14:26-27, 33

I would venture to guess that not many of us in America are sacrificing a lot by reading scripture, yet so few take the time to try and understand what God is teaching us through His Word. God speaks to us through His Word. If we are Christians, we should be out there trying to learn all we can from what He has said in the Bible. We should desire to know scripture, and desire to understand it, and desire for others to know it and be saved.

As we progress in our Christian walk, we must be growing in holiness, and studying scripture more in depth. Paul speaks about the age of our Christianity by referring to baby Christians as needing milk- basic scriptural understanding, and more mature Christians as needing solid food- in depth scriptural understanding. Where are you at as a Christian? Are you still drinking the milk of scripture, picking and choosing verses here and there, wondering why you don't understand what others are speaking about? Or are you looking hard at scripture to glean all you can from God, finding ways to equip yourself to carry out the Great Commission and disciple others?

For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Hebrews 5:13-14

Monday, May 26, 2008

oh be careful little tongue, what you say!

I've been reading Liz Curtis Higgs' book "Bad Girls of the Bible" for my Tuesday morning Bible study, and this week I was catching up when I read the story of Delilah. You remember Samson and Delilah- he trusted her, she betrayed him, and ultimately that stuff led to his renewing of faith in the Lord and his death.

Delilah betrayed the man who loved her because she was selfish and some Philistines offered her money that she didn't want to refuse. I got to thinking, and realized how often women do that to their husbands. We are so selfish that we betray a trust or say something that humiliates or brings shame to our husbands. Some things that I can think of that we may selfishly be interested in are: popularity/status, acceptance, power, a role we want to achieve/job we want to do, money, security, beauty, freedom, etc.

I have an example to share, and have my husband's permission to retell this story of a time that I brought humiliation to him because of my own selfish desires. Our church had a men's retreat a while back, and one of Ken's friends was trying really hard to get him to go. I thought he was going until the friend said something to me about it, that Ken had declined the invitation to have his way paid. The friend wanted to know why Ken wasn't going to go, and I just told him I didn't know. Instead of leaving it at that, the friend started asking Ken, and when he didn't answer, the friend started asking me again. After several times of getting the third degree, I did what Delilah did- I asked Ken for a reason. At first he didn't tell me, and then said he didn't like hunting for no gain. When his friend wasn't satisfied, I started nagging Ken (ladies, from my own experience, nagging doesn't work) and finally he told me he didn't want to go on the retreat because he didn't want to spend that much time away from me. I thought that was sweet, and I was so intent on getting Ken's friend off my back that I didn't think about how a guy would see that answer, that it could be embarrassing for Ken to explain to his buddies. So I shared the information.

You can guess by now that it didn't go well. The friend called Ken up and hounded him about his reason for not going on the men's retreat. I felt guilty for sharing publicly something that was shared with me in confidence between husband and wife. I should have treasured the fact that my husband is so dedicated and loves me so much that he didn't want to spend days without me.

I'm sure everybody has their story, and I'm also certain that many would try to justify their selfish actions to make themselves feel better about sinning against their husband. In her book, Higgs points out that we never know whether or not Delilah loved Samson, but only that he loved her. They were not married, but I looked in the Bible anyway for a command for women to love their husbands. I did not find any explicit command that we must feel those lovey-dovey mushy romantic feelings for them, but only that we are bound by the command to love our brothers. Husbands are given a specific command to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. So I see no justification for people saying things like, "he did it first" or "I don't see the problem- he doesn't show love for me, why should I be kind to him in return?"

Unfortunately, we often overlook blatant sins because we are only thinking of ourselves. Even if our husband is not following God's instructions, we are told to be examples to him.

In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. 1 Peter 3:1-2

There is no room to be catty or two-faced and plot to disrespect our husbands. If you'll look at scripture you will see that it is not our job to act out revenge on those who have sinned against us, or those we do not want to submit to.

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, " says the Lord. Romans 12:19

I encourage you to look at your own actions and search for those places where you have sinned against your husband. Then repent and ask God's forgiveness for those sins, and ask your husband to forgive you also for disrespecting him. We are to be examples to others of what Christ has done in our lives, and one step that is crucial is to form our marriages to the biblical standard that we may be an example for them. Remember, it's not about selfishness, it's about God, and bringing glory to Him in every aspect of our lives.

But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Colossians 3:8

... in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. Titus 2:7-8

Sunday, May 25, 2008

color my world

Just for fun, I thought I would post the different kinds of fabrics that I have to make bags with. I've got them in a circle, kind of in the order I'd like to use them. For example, the red eastern print with the tan print, the two spotted fabrics together, the black flowered and the red flowered, and the brown and teal together (that was my original plan, to copy a shoulder bag and Bible cover with a scripture printed on it that I saw in a catalog a month ago). I figure that I'll keep acquiring fabric, and eventually I'll find something that I want to pair with the other fabrics.

it takes a village

I've mentioned before that I watch my nephew on Tuesdays so my sister can go to work. Right now I'm also taking the days my parents normally watch him because they're in Kansas doing family stuff and vacationing. That little guy is so awesome, and he never ceases to amaze me with all he can do! He loves to "go to work" and get his keys and pack his bag- to go to George Fox to work with his mom and dad. He's been using the bags I've made as his work bags, and this past week he went and put on my shoes, grabbed the bag and his keys, and headed towards the door. I managed to stop him long enough to snap a picture of him, then chuckled to myself for several minutes. Have you ever seen anything so cute?

We also had a ton of fun during lunch! We sang a little song I created:
Thank you Jesus, for saving my soul
Thank you Jesus, for making me whole
I will praise you for all of my life!
Thank you Jesus, all of the time

I know, it needs some work, but Quinn seemed to love it and picked up on the lyrics pretty quickly. Seriously, just an amazing little guy.

ahhh, comfort foods!

I thought I would share with you some of the foods I've been happy with lately. My favorite quick food is dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets that take less than two minutes to prepare. Put a few next to some salad and grapes and you have a nice little lunch! They're perfect for when Ken won't be home for meals, since I don't waste food by cooking a lot.

My favorite all-in-one meal is roast with potatoes and carrots. You throw a roast in the crock pot, add carrots, potatoes, garlic, onion, worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, and water, and let it cook it on low for 8-10 hours. It is so wonderful to eat, and great to just have to serve it up at dinner time instead of busting out pots and pans!

My newest favorite sweet treat comes from my friend Crystal at Serving God and Family. She has the best recipe for Chocolate Chip Muffins, and when I made them the entire process only took me 30 minutes- perfect if you're doing some last minute entertaining. The ingredients are simple, and i just used a bowl and spatula to mix everything, so no mixer clean up! They are great warm with a glass of milk. :)

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar (regular sugar)
2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3/4 Cups Milk
1/4 Cups Oil
1 Egg
1/2 Cups Chocolate Chips (can use milk or semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 400° F
Combine dry ingredients in medium bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix until blended. Add in chocolate chips. Pour into greased or lined cupcake tins, fill 3/4 of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.

another bag for your viewing pleasure

After making my sister a bag the other afternoon, she said that she thought our cousin (who just had a baby) would like a bag, so I busted one out as a project this week. Next is a bag for one of my friends from church, and I think I finally found the perfect fabric for her!

I should mention, the bags have 6-8 pockets total! Perfect for storing tons of things. There are 3-6 pockets on each side, so you'll be able to remember where everything is no matter which side you're using.

my new hobby

Well, since school finished I've been trying to find ways to be productive around the house. My mom helped me buy my very own sewing machine a month or so ago, and I've started making bags. The idea came to me when I wanted to be able to make diaper bags for people, and decided they should be reversible so my friends have more options. So I set out to create something, and so far they've turned out pretty well. I've had a lot of fun searching for fabrics that go together and give people options for what their bags look like. The examples of the bags I've made so far are above. Let me know what you think!

I'm also considering selling them in the future to bring in some extra money for groceries and such. We'll see how people like them for a while, and what I can do to "spruce up" future bags. I'm thinking of trying to put a zipper on the bag, or a button flap. The possibilities are endless :)

Monday, May 19, 2008

mother's day/birthday

Every so often, my birthday falls on Mother's Day, which is fun because the family has more to celebrate. This year it was a bit different for me, because it also marked four months since Ahlai passed. The week leading up to it was very emotional for me, because I just longed for a baby to love and care for. I listened to all of my pregnant friends get excited for the day, and I wondered if anybody would remember that I was a mom, too. My pastor said something the week before that stuck with me, and made me realize that everything would be ok. I prayed a lot, and cried a little, and Ken was by my side the entire time. Well, Sunday came and I headed to church wearing my "angel mom" pin that my mother-in-law Carol gave me (I cried when I opened the card). I had a few birthday wishes, and a couple Mother's Day wishes, but nothing big. I took the gift for the mothers, and nobody questioned me. One of the elders was so kind in telling me that he had thought of me, knowing the significance of the day.

The rest of the day was spent up at my parents' house eating breakfast for dinner (a Mother's Day tradition) and just having fun times. I got sweet cards from my family, and teared up a little at their thoughtfulness at remembering what is important to me.

So Sunday came and went, and I survived. I was amazingly blessed on that day, and am so thankful that God provides in ways that we do not expect- not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Though most people did not remember me on the day, I found that I didn't need them to. My family remembered me, and most importantly, God remembered me.

girlfriends night at church

A couple weeks ago Meredith (my sister) and I went to the Girlfriends "Blast from the Past" night at my church. They had fun activities like bingo, board games, movies, car rides in classics, volleyball, crafts, and of course- free coffee! Meredith and I decided to try the crafts area, and ended up making card holders... it's basically a thick poster board that you cover with batting, fabric, and ribbon, and then hang your cards/pictures on for display. I kept the brown one, and gave my mom the tan one for Mother's Day. It was so much fun! It's easy to make one of them, and adds a nice decorative touch to the house.