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Birthday Presents

18 Mar

So amazingly, I turn 30 today.  I say amazingly because I don’t feel like what I imagined 30 would feel like.  I think back to when I was fifteen and how I pictured myself at 30… “a grown-up.”  Now in my mind at fifteen “grown-up” meant someone with kids and a house and lots of responsibilities… someone very different from who I thought of myself then.  But now that 30 is here, I find it kind of funny that I still don’t feel like a “grown-up.”  I mean, yes, I am married and I have a lot of responsibilities, but I still feel the same. I didn’t wake up this morning and the whole world had changed.  I am happy and I feel blessed and grateful.

There is one huge difference in my life from when I was 15; I now know Jesus. So, I guess I am a different person, but not in the “grown-up” sense, in the sense that I have been given a new life and hope.  I was 25 when I gave my life to Christ, now 5 years later my relationship with Him just keeps getting better.  Of course, I have stumbled and taken some backward steps, but once I felt his love, I don’t want to live without it.

It got me thinking about gifts that we give to each other on special occasions and sometimes for no reason at all.  Why do we? Out of obligation or out of love?  The presents given out of love are always the best ones.  It could be something that has little monetary value or is kind of ugly, but you love it anyway because it reminds you of the love that someone has for you.  My best birthday present is God’s unfailing love. His open arms for me even though I screw up all the time.  Nothing can compare to the gift of eternal life and hope that he has given me.  He even gave me my second best birthday present, my husband.  He poured out his love on us and he gave me my husband’s love. He blesses us to overcome the obstacles that we face in our marriage; that every couple faces in their marriage.  That is why the vow says “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health,”  there are hard times in every marriage and I thank God that he helps us to get through them.

I thank God for all of my family and friends.  Those are the priceless birthday presents.  Of course it’s nice to get gifts, but they are never as valuable as the people who gave them.  It reminds me of the scripture that we had read at our wedding (and that lots of people have read at their weddings):

Love Is the Greatest
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13

Amen!

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Peace and Quiet

29 Nov

Last week I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. The long Thanksgiving weekend couldn’t have come at a better time! I was able to relax with my husband and spend some time doing nothing, which was exactly what I needed. Time to not do homework, not do any work, just let my mind rest.  What was even better was how after my last blog post, where I shared how overwhelmed I was, several people prayed for me and I really felt God’s peace come over me. The next day, I was able to pray for someone else who was in need of prayer and I felt so grateful for God using us to help each other!

This morning, my friend shared a message with me from 1 Thessalonians 4:11-18 and I am going to share it with you.

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.

We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves.  Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:11-18

My last post: Lord Pick Me Up

Love is the Greatest

18 Nov

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13

We had this scripture read at our wedding 4 years ago. This is how Jesus loves us and how we should strive to love one another.

I love this message. It is so true and so beautiful!

Drawing Close to God

16 Nov

Sometimes there are things that need to be said that are hard to hear, but in the end the temporary discomfort of listening is well worth it.  This is one of those things that can be hard to hear.

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.

You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy? But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud
but favors the humble.”

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” James 4:1-10

So you see, it is hard to admit some things; that is because those things are not from God.

God wants you to love him with all your heart, all your mind, and all your soul.

“Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.” Psalm 1:1-3

In order to draw close to God, we also need to watch the company we keep.

As the saying goes, “Bad company corrupts good character.”

It’s Easy to Love your Friends

14 Oct

Yesterday, my friends and I were discussing how something that looks so simple on paper, “love one another,” can be so hard to actually carry out.  It comes down to this, everybody has people that they love, but what about the people that have done you wrong? What about the ones that you have trouble even being around? Well, when God says love each other he is talking about all the people that we find hard to love too.  My friend said, “man, it is probably easier to follow the ten commandments, like don’t murder or steal, than to love everyone.”  But that is what God does for us; he loves everyone of us even though we are difficult, annoying, wrong, and undeserving.  I pray for God’s love to be shown through our lives.

I will sing of the Lord’s unfailing love forever!
Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.
Your unfailing love will last forever.
Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens. Psalm 89:1-2

All heaven will praise your great wonders, Lord;
myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness.
For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord?
What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord?
The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God.
He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne. Psalm 89:5-7

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
They rejoice all day long in your wonderful reputation.
They exult in your righteousness.
You are their glorious strength.
It pleases you to make us strong. Psalm 89:14-17

So now, come back to your God.
Act with love and justice,
and always depend on him. Hosea 12:6

Love Ever After

13 Oct

I watched the second movie in the Left Behind series last night that stars Kirk Cameron.  Overall I think it was a cool film and I really recommend watching the series of films.  It gives a perspective on what could happen during the time when Jesus comes back (the time of the Rapture and tribulation period). If you aren’t familiar with the term, Rapture, it is when many people who are right with God will be taken up to heaven and many people will be left behind here in the world during a time of tribulation. The bible tells us that many family members and friends will be taken to heaven at one moment and others will be left.  So the question then arises who will be left behind?  No one knows when this will happen, but we do know that if you don’t want to be left behind then you need to be living your life in a way that is right with God. The bible gives instructions on how to do this:

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. 1 John 3:1-6

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. 1 John 3:16

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.
And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us. 1 John 3:18-24

Here is the trailer for the 1st movie in the Left Behind series:

 

Attitude Adjustment

27 Sep

This weekend it became clear that I had a bad attitude.  A major case of the cup is half empty.  As I thought about things, my mind would focus on negative aspects and outcomes.  An outing that should have been fun, I turned into a disaster because of my attitude.  I was trying to keep my thoughts to myself and not let it be known that I was worrying unnecessarily about trivial things, but when you are around people who know you well it is an impossible feat.  The thing is about a bad attitude is that it is contagious like a virus.  When it takes a hold of one person, it spreads like an uncontrollable outbreak. It’s like your bad attitude needs company and it sets out to ruin everyone else’s attitude too.

I realized that I was always thinking of things that I “should” be doing (which I really didn’t need to be doing or worrying about) and it kept me from being the wife and friend that my husband, family, and friends deserve to have.  A bad attitude can destroy what matters most: relationships.   I see that I need an attitude adjustment; I need to see the cup as half full, to not worry about trivial things, and not whine and complain.

When the Israelites sent out scouts to the Holy Land, those scouts came back to camp to tell the others that they had found a land flowing with milk and honey, an abundant and prosperous land, but they also said “But the people living there are powerful, and their towns are large and fortified. We even saw giants there!” Numbers 13:28

They interpreted what they had seen as negative, they saw an “impossible feat” even though God has promised them otherwise.  The scouts’ bad attitude spread throughout the people and the Israelites cried, complained, and plotted.

There was an exception, though, two of the scouts Caleb and Joshua, had different attitudes, from the beginning they urged the others to not listen to the words of despair from the other scouts. Caleb proclaimed, “Let’s go at once to take the land. We can certainly conquer it!” Numbers 13:30

They trusted in God completely and it showed in their actions.

The others succumbed to bad attitudes that cost them greatly. This display of negativity and distrust in God’s promise to give them the Holy Land is why God had them turn around and go back into the desert that they had walked through as they left Egypt.  They spent 40 more years wandering around that desert because of their reaction to the scouts with negative mindsets.

I don’t want to wander through a desert.

I want to be like Caleb and Joshua; they are examples of people with positive attitudes.  I can’t be the person that God wants me to be with a bad attitude, this story clearly shows that.

What about you; is your cup half full or half empty?