Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trouble with temptation

Hey everyone!
I'm back from a few days of Christmas recovery.
 I hope you had a wonderful Christmas!
This month I've been keeping myself busy with some DIY fun.
These are my latest creations:
 
bookpage wreath
 
Bible verse coasters
 
3D wall art
 
decorative tray
 
Those are just a few things that have kept me busy this month.
 
I've also been doing a lot of reading lately.
Ever since my last post, I've thought a lot about the many different reasons why God became human through Jesus.
In today's reading, Hebrews chapters 1-6, something really stood out to me. It stood out so much that I felt the urge to write about it.
Hebrews 4:15 - For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Now, I've known this truth, but honestly, I sometimes forget about it, because it's just so hard for me to imagine. Why? I don't know.
I mean, Jesus was a human so of course, He would be tempted.
I guess because He was perfect, I just tend to think He was exempt from temptation, but that's not true.
 
Hebrews 14:5 tells us that He was tempted in every way possible, just like us.
Think of all the things you're tempted to do in a single day.
It may not seem like a lot, but I bet we are tempted more than we even realize.
Jesus faced every temptation, however, He did not follow through like we often do.
Wow. I don't know about you, but that gives me hope.
Jesus can sympathize with us in everything we face.
He must know how hard it is to be tempted.
This shouldn't give us an excuse to follow through with our temptations, but it should motivate us to rely on Him.
 
When we are tempted to shout out in anger, 
Jesus says, "I know how it feels, but rely on me and I can help you resist."
When we are tempted to find pleasure in worldly things,
Jesus says, "I know how it feels, but rely on me and I can give you true happiness."
When we are tempted to give up on our dreams,
Jesus says, "I know how it feels, but rely on me and I will give you your heart's desires."
When we come to Him, His strength can help us resist our temptations.

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Mini series - The Cast of Christmas - Day 6

 
It's the last day of the mini series and of course, I saved the best for last! :)
 
So this imagination time will be interesting...
Imagine you're a baby.
I know you've been a baby once...however, you may not remember, but oh well.
Anyway, you're a newborn baby...totally dependent on others, clueless of the evil of the world, and innocent. 
People are taking turns holding you and admiring your precious face and little toes.
Your mother has swaddled you in blankets and put you in a manger of hay.
Luke 2:7 says, "And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn".
 
Now fast forward 33 years later (this is a little more difficult to imagine), you have now figured out the purpose of your life. God, your father, has sent you here on earth to save the world. You are perfect and sinless. There is no way you can do anything wrong (yeah I told you this was the hard part). You thrive to be in relationship with others so you can share your father's (God) love with them, but there's something else you must do.
You must sacrifice yourself for the sinful people of the world so that they may have life. Although you are totally perfect in every way possible, completely innocent, you want to save everyone from damnation in hell because you know that they are sinful and are in need of a savior.
 
So you were beaten, crucified and hung on a cross for the people of the world.
 It was painful. It wasn't fair, but you knew you had to do it.
You wanted to do it so that they would not suffer. 
Death, however, did not win. You may have died on the cross, but God raised you from the dead 3 days later to prove to the world that death does not overcome when you believe in God. You spent some time on earth, loving on people and then you went to Heaven.
 
It's pretty hard to imagine, huh?
 For a baby to one day save the world.  
Luke 2:11 - For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
For a perfect, sinless person to die for an imperfect, sinful world.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
For a man to be crucified and then resurrected.
Luke 24:6-7 - He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
For God to come to earth in the flesh of Jesus to show that He loves us enough to live a human life on earth so that He can walk with us. He experienced this evil world (just like we have), even though He was perfect.
John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
 
That, my friend, is the best gift we will ever receive.
The baby who was "dependent" on his parents is actually the one who everyone depends on.
The baby who was "clueless" of the evil of the world is actually quite informed and even died to overcome evil.
The baby who was "innocent" is still innocent, but guilty of showing the most sacrificial, forgiving, selfless, everlasting love in history.
 
Out of all the cast members we have learned from, Jesus is the one we can learn the most from including love, patience, forgiveness, sacrifice, trust and the list goes on. If you have any questions about Jesus, please email me!
 
Merry Christmas! I hope you had a wonderful day full of love, joy and family!
 
Check out this Christmas song!
"Glory in the Highest" by Chris Tomlin
 
 
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Monday, December 24, 2012

Mini series - The Cast of Christmas - Day 5


 
Time to use your imagination again!
You're an astrologer from a far away land.
You love to study and learn new things.
You've studied the stars and the prophesies.
Your mind is always searching the unknown. Finding answers is your goal in life.
 
You've heard about the prophesies of the King of the Jews...the one who would save the world.
You've been turning to the stars to find this King.
You've made notes of the alignment of the stars and have determined that it should be the time when this king would be born.
You aren't the only one that has been searching, other astrologers have been looking too.
 
The day has come that you would travel to Jerusalem to find the King of the Jews.
You and your fellow astrologers from around the world have come to find the exact place of the baby boy. In order to do so, you go to King Herod to find out.
You say, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star int he east and have come to worship Him" (Matthew 2:2).
 
King Herod, (being the envious king he was), was frightened that this baby boy would steal his power from him. Herod tricked the magi into telling him about the exact time when the star appeared (Matthew 2:7) with the excuse that he wanted to worship the boy too (Matthew 2:8).
 
So you and the other astrologers leave to find this new king. The star you had seen in the east had moved so you and your colleagues followed it until it stopped over the house where Jesus was (Matthew 2:9).
 
After such a long journey, of course you were all excited to finally be in the presence of the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:10). You didn't want to waste a minute so you immediately dropped to your knees at the beautiful sight and worshiped Him. You even presented the child with gifts. Not just any gifts like a pacifer or toy, you brought the finest of gifts....gifts fit for only a King. "After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh" (Matthew 2:11).
 
Instead of doing what Herod told you to do, you did what God told you to do. "And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way" (Matthew 2:12).
 
So what can we learn from these wise men?
We can learn to be our best. Just like they gave their best gifts, we can be our best for Jesus, because after all, a king deserves the finest of things.
We can also learn to have a heart and mind that is constantly searching for God. Searching to learn who God is, who He has called us to be and how we can further His kingdom, because all the answers are found in Him...no where else These wise men could have studied and not have followed through with their passion, but they didn't. They followed through and found the most precious gift.
 
 
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mini series - The Cast of Christmas - Day 4


 
The past 3 Christmas story members that we've learned from shared a few things in common...one being, who God sent to them (other than Jesus)... the angel(s).
 
I would ask you to imagine to be the angel who visited Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds, but that's really hard to do. If you know what I mean.
 
I know there is a reason God used an angel as a messenger. He didn't have to use an angel, but He did. I mean, He's God, He can do anything.
I can't tell you why God did it this way (because I'm not God, duh), but I'll take a guess. I could be wrong or maybe I'm right, but here it goes...
He wanted to make a statement.
Jesus deserved a grand entrance and who better than an angel sent from God. Someone who would grab Mary, Joseph and the shepherds' attention and hold it.
Someone so magnificent, so big, maybe even terrifying to prove that he was sent from God.
Someone who would prove that this was serious, lifesaving business that required such obedience and commitment.  
 
Not only did God send one angel to tell Mary and Joseph, He also sent a multitude of angels to the shepherds the day of Jesus' birth. I know for a fact, that this was for a reason.
Jesus, even though He was a baby, deserved a multitude of praise by heavenly host to give God the glory of this wonderful gift of salvation and to proclaim the peace which He would bring.
Luke 2:13-14 says, "And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.'"
 
So what can we learn from the angel(s)?
Although we aren't angels, God can use us as His messengers of His love just like He sent the angels. We can be bold, loving messengers of the wonderful news of Jesus' birth, crucifixion, and resurrection that brings salvation for all who believe.
As the shepherds left the manger scene praising God and as the heavenly host praised God the day of Jesus' birth, we should also praise God and in all we do bring glory to His name.

Check out this Christmas song from the angel's perspective!
"Good News" by Avalon
 
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mini series - The Cast of Christmas - Day 3 shepherds

 
Imagination time again! Don't you just love using your imagination?! haha
 
So you're a shepherd, just minding your own business, taking care of your animals. Maybe you were resting, while the animals were grazing.
"In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night" (Luke 2:8
 
When all of the sudden you see an angel. You hardly see anything other than your animals and pastures and night so this was a shock to you. You're scared of what this figure may say or do to you. Why would anyone be visiting you, especially at this time?
"And angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened" (Luke 2:9).
 
You calm down a bit because, "the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' "(Luke 2:10-12) Not only did they see one angel, a multitude of angels appeared and were praising God, saying "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased" (Luke 2:14).
 
You then decided, along with your friends, that you had to go see this child...this King. You and your shepherd friends find yourselves at the inn where the baby Jesus laid in a manger just like the angel had spoken of.
"When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told by them by the shepherds" (Luke 2:17-18).
 
You were amazed and left changed.
"The shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them" (Luke 2:20).
 
It dawned on me that the shepherds were like their animals...they followed Jesus. Throughout the Bible, Jesus is thought of as the Great Shepherd. He is the one who leads and guides us. This night, however, the shepherds weren't only leading their animals, but they were being lead by Jesus. I know they left changed that night...I mean, how could they not?
 
We learn from these shepherds to get up and follow Jesus. May He guide us throughout our lives and may we praise Him for all He does for us.
 
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Friday, December 21, 2012

Mini series "The Cast of Christmas" - Day 2 Joseph


 
I think we sometimes forget about Joseph when we think of the Christmas story. At least I know I have overlooked him in the past.
Like every person involved in the Christmas story, God chose Joseph for a reason.
 Just like Mary, we can learn a lot from Joseph.
 
Imagination time! Girls, it's your turn now...imagine yourselves as a man who is engaged to a girl who is pregnant. On top of that, the child isn't your biological child. People probably stare at you and turn there noses up. Who knows what her parents think of you.
You have an easy out though. Since she is pregnant, you can turn her in so she can be stoned because of her perceived "fornication". He could have fixed the mess he was in, but he didn't. Matthew 1:19 says, "And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly." He was looking out for her feelings and the shame she may have felt, that's why he had planned to send her away secretly. God had other plans though.
 
Just like Mary, an angel came to him and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20-12). Now Joseph is faced with some BIG news...the son of his soon to be wife would be the Savior of the world. Pressure!
 
Scripture continues to say, "Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which translated mean, "God with us.' And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus" (Matthew 1:22-25).
 
First, Joseph married Mary despite the bizarre situation they were in. Second, he honored God and His holiness by keeping Mary a virgin until after Jesus was born. That says A LOT. He obeyed God and followed through by honoring him. He took responsibility even though Jesus wasn't his biological son. Usually a dad will take responsibility, because that is his child, but Joseph was responsible despite the circumstance. I'm sure he was stared at and mocked, but he still did what God told him to do. Not only was he by Mary's side throughout her pregnancy and delivery, He was there throughout Jesus' life.
 
Are you recognizing a reoccurring theme? I am...obedience. Although God didn't choose you or me to be Jesus' mother or stepdad, He gives us PLENTY of opportunities to obey Him even when it may look ridiculous from our perspective.
 
If God is telling us to do something, we should do it in a heartbeat!
 
Check out this Christmas song from Joseph's perspective.
 
If you're following along in the reading plan, today whole book of Colossians.
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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mini series - The Cast of Christmas - Day 1 Mary

I'm so glad you stopped by!
Today is the first day of my mini series, "The Cast of Christmas". I figured since we're only 5 days away from Christmas, I would spend this week getting to know the people (cast) involved in the Christmas story. God picked each and every person for a reason to be a part of this spectacular event. I believe we can learn something from each person. So get a cup of hot chocolate, sit back and join me on this mini series of getting to know the cast of Christmas.
 
 
Imagine with me for a moment...you're a young teenage girl, probably 14 or 15, maybe younger (guys, try and pretend you're a girl, I know it may be hard ;). You're going through puberty. Zits on your face and roller coaster emotions. You live a pretty ordinary, hard working life of cleaning, cooking, working around the house, drawing water and more. Then one day, you are visited by someone you've never seen before. Someone very unique. An angel.
 
The angel tells her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you" (Luke 1:28). You don't really understand who this person is and why the extravagant salutation (Luke 1:29 paraphrase).
 I mean it wasn't an ordinary happening for an angel to visit you.
 The angel continued to say, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end" (Luke 1:30-33).
 
Woa. Talk about a tad bit overwhelming. Plus, there's a problem. You're a virgin. There has to be some mistake. So you speak up..."How can this be, since I am a virgin?" (Luke 1:34).
Good question.
The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible for God" (Luke 1:35-37).
 
You think, "Hmm good answer, I can't argue with that" and reply with a firm, "Behold the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word" and the angel left (Luke 1:38).
 
Okay, imagination time is over now. I would think that must have been overwhelming for young Mary, but then again, maybe not. She wasn't married. She found out she would be pregnant with the Son of God. That had to be a little bit frightening, at least I would be.
 
Even though it may have been scary for her and she was afraid of what her parents might think, as well as her community, she confidently obeyed (verse 38). She didn't say, "Can I think about it and get back to you?" or "No, I don't want to carry the Son of God, that's a lot of pressure!" She said, "May it be done to me according to your word." Wow. Props to Mary. Not only that, she believed in the fulfillment of the Lord (Luke 1:45), she praised God (Luke 1:46-47), and she recognized the magnitude of what was coming through the child she was carrying (Luke 1:48-55).
 
So what can we learn from Mary?
I don't know for sure, but I'm thinking that in the beginning she didn't completely understand how everything was going to work out. Also, despite the pressure she may have felt from the responsibility of bearing the Son of God, she still said yes. She trusted in God's promises and thanked Him for what He's done and what He will do. How does this translate to us? Well, when God tells us to do something, we should reply just like Mary did, even though we may be overwhelmed or have questions. We should trust that if He starts something, He will bring it to completion, even if we are just an ordinary, teenage girl. He takes ordinary people and uses them for the extraordinary.
Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
 
Check out this song from Mary's perspective.
"Be Born in Me (Mary)" by Francesca Battistelli
 
 
 
If you're following along with the year long Bible reading plan, today's scripture is Ephesians 4-6.
 
Stop by tomorrow and learn more about the next cast member of the Christmas story!
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Sunday, December 16, 2012

"If we've ever needed You..."


The people of Newtown have not left my mind.
So many tears have been shed for them.
I don't have much to say other than, I can't imagine the hurt, anger and pain that these families are feeling.
My heart is broken for them.
 
Pastor Gregg Matte talked about the shooting in Newtown today in his sermon.
One of his points really stood out to me...
"God is not to be blamed, He is needed." So many people need the love of God. He gives it freely and to anyone, but there are so many people who don't seek it or may not even know about His love.
 
He went onto talk about the pain that these families are feeling.
He talked about how there will be candlelight vigils, fundraisers and other things to support this town.
He said that although these are great things, they will not erase the pain.
Man cannot heal, only God can.
This is true because man is not always good...clearly.
These parents and family members can only heal from God's love and presence.
Of course, love from others is helpful, but only God can truly comfort them.
I'm sure it will be a long, healing process.
I'm sure there will be many nights of tears.
I'm sure there will be many bouts of anger.
So what can we do?
 
We can pray that these people will feel God's comfort, presence and love.
 
I found this video of a father who lost his daughter in the shooting. It's an amazing speech that speaks of love and forgiveness despite such a tragic time.
 
 
Cherish the times with your loved ones, pray for those who are suffering, and spread the wonderful news of Jesus Christ to others.
There are so many hurting people in this world that need some good news...news that can change lives. News that can make a depressed person, happy. News that can make a hurting person, healed.
Our world needs God and we're the messengers for the job.
 
The title of this blog comes from Casting Crown's song, "If we ever needed you"
Check it out!
 
This week we'll be reading Galations chapters 1-3 all the way to the end of Colossians.
 
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Must see video!

This is going to be a short & SWEET post.
I ran across an awesome video today that goes great with my previous post, Carry the hurt and probably a few other posts because I talk about this subject a lot.
Anyway, you may or may not know that my favorite band is Tenth Avenue North. I don't have their newest album yet so I listen to it a lot on YouTube & Spotify. Not only is their music great, but they also post awesome video journals that explain the story behind their songs.
Please, please, please watch this video about their song "Worn".
I hope it's a blessing to you!
 
 
Today's scripture for read-your-Bible-in-a-year plan is 2 Corinthians 5-9.
 
 
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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Carry the hurt

 
Illness. Death. Depression. Financial issues. Divorce. Disappointment. Loss.
We've all we've been burdened by one of those or maybe all of them.
I think it's safe to say we're hurting people.
 
Lately, I've read a lot about people suffering including Christians. I think some people think that Christians live an easy, happy life, but the truth is, everyone faces hard times. Christians just realize that they have a Savior they can lean on. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 says, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body."
 
Not only have I read about suffering people, I know suffering people. Not only do I know suffering people, I see suffering people. People on the corners with signs crying out for help. People in hospitals wishing they were anywhere but there. People counting out pennies just to get food for their family. People in their homes yearning for a loved one to be with them.
 
For all these people, my heart hurts for them especially for my friends, Alisa and Jaime. It seems like holidays only make this hurt intensified and I just wish I could take it away. Although I can't take it away, God tells me that I can do something..."Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ," Galations 6:2.
 
Angie Smith talks about this verse in her book, Mended. The Greek word for burdens is "baros" which is translated into "heaviness, weight, burden, trouble". She says, "Baros is the type of weight that is only of this world - the difficulties that come from living in a fallen world as a fallen person and with fallen people. It includes a sense of weight that is burdensome." It's crazy how Christmastime brings joy, but a lot of times we experience a heaviness. Is your heart heavy for someone right now?
 
Christmas is often labeled as the "season for giving". I think we should be giving throughout the whole year, but anyway, if you know someone who is suffering right now, share their burden with them. I know that may not sound like a fun time, but it's what we are called to do. You may not have money to give or a spectacular gift, but you can give them your time, a listening ear, and a prayer. It's okay to feel heavy for someone. God gave us emotions for a reason. He has given us experiences for a reason too. Maybe you can relate to someone who is suffering right now.
 
2 Corinthians 1:3-8 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of your comfort."
 
With that being said, reach out to those who are hurting right now.
Share your experiences. Give your love. Offer up prayer.
They will be comforted and you will too.
 
Today's scripture for the year long reading plan was 2 Corinthians 1-4. Yesterday's was 1 Corinthians 15-16. If you would like the full plan check it out here or shoot me an email and I'll send it to you!
 
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A bunch of randomness

Hey everyone!
Sorry I haven't been as consistent as I was last month. With Christmas around the corner and my 2 new, lovely medicines that are causing me some pain, I've been either busy or resting. Anyway, I wanted to stop by for a little bit and let you in on some of the stuff I've been up to...
 
painting DIY 3D wall art...
and more painting...
 
creating...
 (This little guy is a SUPER simple DIY Rudolph made out of a piece of wood, lightbulb, paint, glitter and branches. Maybe this is silly, but it was a fun little project.)

and decorating!
 
Also, I've been nominated for the Liebster award again! My new blogger friend, Cat, over at This Little Life of Mine nominated me. She is such a sweet woman of God with a moving testimony. I ran across her blog a couple weeks ago and told her about Alisa and Jaime's story. She even blogged about their story-so sweet! Please go check out her blog...you won't regret it! Thank you so much Cat! I nominated some blogs for this award a couple months ago and if I would have known you then, I would have nominated you in a heartbeat!
Since I just nominated a couple months ago, I'm going to wait a few more months to nominate again so that I can nominate new bloggers :)

These are the questions Cat asked me, so here's your chance to get to know me a little bit better :) I hope it's somewhat interesting! Haha.
 
  1. Why did you start blogging? I started blogging because I felt that God put it on my heart to share with others what He has taught me. Honestly, I had always hated the idea of "blogging" before and was totally against doing it...God has a funny sense of humor haha.
  2. Favorite Movie? Gah that is SO hard...how bout I list 3? A Walk to Remember, Remember the Titans & Accepted - this should tell you that I like Nicholas Sparks books/movies, football and comedies. What can I say- I'm a girl of variety!
  3. Favorite holiday tradition? I guess it would be decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music. What's even better is when the tree is all finished and we can sit back, drink some hot chocolate and enjoy our masterpiece.
  4. Who is your role model? I know this may be a Sunday School answer, but I would have to say Jesus. I have many people I look up to, but even though they are wonderful, they aren't perfect and the only perfect person is Jesus. He sets the example of how we should live.
  5. Movies or a book? I think it just depends on my mood because I like both. Right now-I would say movies.
  6. Do you have a favorite scripture? Just like my favorite movies, I have a tie of 3 or 5 or even 25 favorite bible verses. I'll just go with 3 right now- Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, Ephesians 4:1-6
  7. Where is your favorite place for vacation? Here's another tie..(I guess I just can't make a decision haha) Vegas & Destin, Florida-Vegas just has so many things to see & I like the weather. Destin is just gorgeous-nothing like crystal clear water and white sand!
  8. Are you ready for Christmas? Oh I'm ready for Christmas! I'm always ready for Christmas, but the real question is, am I prepared? No way. I have so much to do and so little time. I knew I should have gotten started earlier.
  9. Do you have any pet peeves? Hmm...tapping!! It could be nails tapping on a table or a foot tapping on the ground, whatever- it drives me nuts haha.
Now that I've filled you in, I figured I'd share some encouraging words. It comes from the Bible, so rest assured that these words are 100% true.
 
 
Mmm...I love that. God is with me (& you!) He is mighty to save (mighty-oh yeah!). He takes great delight in me/you (woa!). He quiets me/you with His love (He sure does!). He rejoices over us with singing (wow-I feel special!).
 
Rest in these truths & may they bring you peace.
 
Today's scripture for read-your-Bible-in-a-year plan was 1 Corinthians 12-14.
If you would like a copy of the plan, check it out here or send me an email!post signature
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Joy abounds


Pastor Nathan's sermon today was called "Joy Abounds".
I've talked about joy before, but his sermon was so good, I have to share.
 
Before Pastor Nathan got deep into the details, he wanted to make sure that we all knew what joy is...exceeding gladness. It can't be forced, but just happens. It's not a shallow happiness, but a deep happiness that comes from our souls and overflows. True joy comes from God and only God.
 
The main point that stood out to me was, "Joy is not the result of proper circumstances. Joy is the result of the right response to the Lord of our circumstances." Read that again because it's important. He continued with the example of Mary, Jesus' mother. She was a young girl, whom an angel visited and said she would give birth to the son of God even though she was a virgin. She wasn't married at the time, but was marrying another man who was not the father of the baby. Culturally, it wasn't a good circumstance to be facing. However, she responded with obedience and she found joy. Luke 1:46-49 says, "And Mary said: 'My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name."
 
This made me think of my friends, Alisa and Jaime. In case you don't know their story, check it out here. They gave birth to their precious son this past Friday. Because of the the baby's fatal birth defect, they were given the option of abortion, but they quickly declined. They knew that God had given them a baby despite the many doctors who said she would be unable to get pregnant. They couldn't stand the thought of ending their baby's life so they decided to make the most of their time with their baby. They went to soccer games, basketball games, carved pumpkins, and went to see Santa...things that you would do with your child outside of the womb. Alisa knew it was risky to carry, but she was going to anyway because she felt that's what God wanted her to do. Doctors were unsure if London would be alive by the time Alisa would be awake from the anethesia, so that was a case for worry. Guess what?! Baby London came, spent 71 minutes here on Earth (more than what was expected for the circumstances) AND he got to spend time with his mommy while she was awake.
 
71 minutes doesn't seem like a lot of time, but it was more than expected. Looking at pictures of their special moments, I could tell that although it has been a difficult time, Alisa and Jaime had so much joy during those 71 minutes. I can't imagine being in their position. I know they have shed some tears of sorrow since their baby boy is no longer with them, but I know they have shed tears of joy because of their gift from God. They've also found joy in that God revealed Himself through their situation to thousands and thousands of people. God chose them to be the parents of London...a boy who would show people all around the world what faith looks like. His parents have put their trust in God's will despite their circumstances. To me, that is true faith...obeying God even through the hard times and trusting that His will is better than ours.
 
quote from Jaime
 
I have cried and cried for my dear friends, but I've also been in amazement....amazed by their strength, faithfulness, and most importantly, how God has moved through this situation. Pastor Nathan said, "Your faith can only grow through suffering." I agree with him from first hand experience and I know they would agree too. No doubt, this has been extremely difficult for them, but I do believe that they have and will experience joy because they responded to the Lord of their circumstances in the proper way...trusting and loving Him no matter what.
Please continue to pray for Alisa and Jaime as this is still a very difficult time.
 
 
If you are facing a hard time and you just don't understand why, trust in God.
Know that He is strengthening you through the hurt and the pain. 
Respond to Him in the proper way...obedience, submission and love.
We live in a tough, sinful world, but God is bigger.
 He can work through those times and strengthen our faith in Him.
He reminds us that we will face roadblocks, but He can get us through.
Life isn't easy, but He has bigger and better things in mind for us (not to mention, a perfect paradise in Heaven for all eternity) when we believe in Him.
 
Check out this song, "My soul magnifies the Lord"

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Clear & to the point

Today I was reading Romans 11-13 for the Bible reading plan I've been following and I really enjoyed chapter 12. You wanna know why? It is so clear and to the point. It's basically a list of do's and don'ts. For instance, verses 10-11 says, "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." I can go through this chapter and check off the ones I do and circle the ones I need to work on. Not all scripture, however, is this clear and to the point. Other places in the Bible require you to read it multiple times and maybe even push you to ask your pastor about what it truly means.  I think God did this on purpose. 

The past few months I've been focusing on this type of scripture. I've wanted to figure out why this one chapter says this and why the other chapter says that. I've had a lot of questions and I've studied different translations and even the Hebrew and Greek origins, hoping I would figure out what God is saying. These questions have really instilled a hunger to read and learn more of God's word...which is great! On the other hand, I realized that I came to the point where it wasn't a healthy hunger, but it was more of an obsessive search to know all the answers.

Thankfully, God reminded me that I'm not training to be Him and to know all the answers. I don't need to know all the answers. Yes, the Bible is truth, but I realized that maybe I'm not supposed to completely understand this topic at this point in my life and maybe I never will. I was reminded that this is where faith comes in. Maybe I don't know every answer to every theological question, but that's okay because I have faith in God. Questions are great because they can create a healthy hunger in us, but there comes a point where we have to say, "Okay, God, I don't really need to know all the answers. All I really need to know is that you sent your son, Jesus, to die for my sins and that my purpose of living is to serve and praise You." 

Do you struggle with this? 

So I'm thankful for the scripture that is clear and to the point, but I'm also thankful for the scripture that forces me to practice my faith in God.

Today's scripture was Romans 11-13 and tomorrow's scripture is Romans 14-16.

Please don't forget to pray for Alisa, Jaime, and baby London! If you don't know their story, check it out here


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Monday, December 3, 2012

Social Stack Up Blog Hop

Hey Everyone! For all my fellow bloggers, welcome back to the Social Stack Up Blog Hop! We are in our 4th week, I hope everyone has made some new blog friends! Link up your blog and share the hop with your followers! For all my awesome followers, check out all of these other great blogs!!

If you are interested in co-hosting one week, shoot Michelle an email at: michellespixiedust@gmail.com


Michelle's Pixie Dust


Social Stack Up Rules:

1. Please follow me and the amazing co-hosts via GFC, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or other social network.

2. Grab a Social Stack Up button to display somewhere on your page.

3. Share this hop with your friends! The more people who know about the hop, the more friends we can all make.

 



Host:


Co Hosts:


Returning for an encore due to technical difficulties {and because we like her}

 
 
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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Disappointment


So last night I was catching up on the book, Mended by Angie Smith. There was definitely a reason why I pushed "pause" on this book and pressed "play" last night. It was perfect timing for me. God is good.
 
Something in the chapter stood out to me...Isaiah 49:23. When I read this, I was like, "woa, hold up, wait a minute!" I know I've read it before, because I've studied Isaiah, but it was like lightbulbs had turned on. So I'm sure you're wondering what Isaiah 49:23 says...

"Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet. Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed." The last part really got my attention..."those who hope in me will not be disappointed."
 
I think why this verse flashed red lights at me because just a few days ago I was disappointed in someone. Unfortunately, this disappointment really affected my attitude. Not proud of it, but it's true. So when I read this, God used his Holy Spirit to convict me. I realized that I was disappointed because I had put my hope in a person and not God. If I would have looked at this situation in a different light, I would have not been affected in that way. That got me thinking of all the times that I've been disappointed...well, not every single time (because my memory isn't great & I would be thinking for a longgg time). I'm pretty sure that my times of disappointment have stemmed from me not putting my hope in the right person. When a person disappoints me, I shouldn't be surprised because we are humans and we mess up, instead I should put my hope in God. 
 
People can disappoint, but God doesn't. There may be times when I don't understand what God is doing in my life, but that doesn't mean He disappoints me. He has a reason for everything.
 My hope is in Him and no one else.
 
Check out this song...it's one of my favorites!
Cornerstone by Hillsong
 
Also, here is the reading plan I've been following (just in case I miss a day to remind you):
 
 
 
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