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Archive for June, 2010

Summer Reading

So one of my fellow bloggers, Erin Brady http://www.erin-brady.com/  put out an invitation to join her in reading the book of Deuteronomy. I haven’t read that book in a long long time, so I figured why not. I recently finished Exodus, so Deut. should be good.

I am seven chapters in the book and have already been reminded of how God is faithful, loves us to the nth degree, keeps his word, will fight for us, wants our love above all, is constant and will never leave us.

Wow! That a whole lot of goodness in just a few chapters. Here are a couple of my favorite verses thus far:

Deuteronomy 4:29-31

29But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. 30When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; 31(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

That section just evokes so many emotions in me. Utter thankfulness. I just want to throw myself dow before the throne and worship, praise, and thank him for never leaving me. For always giving me the chance to come back. For withholding the punishment I richly deserve. Jubilation. How blessed are we??? We have a God that will rescue us from our own messes, and all we have to do is seek him. Yee-haw!

Deuteronomy 6:5

5And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Simple command. Those are my own personal internal orders. Love my God with every single fiber of my being. Everything. More than I love myself or anything else in my life. Just love Him. Not so hard considering how much he loves me.

Deuteronomy 7:7-8

7The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

God doesn’t bless me because I’m the brightest kid in the class. Not because I’m the prettiest either. Has nothing to do with how popular I am or how many friends I have. Bank account balance means nada. He blesses me because he LOVES me. Just for me. And he is faithful to his promises. He said he would, and he will.

I sure hope some of this has blessed you as much as it has me. So I will throw out my own invitation. Dive into the Bible this summer with me. I don’t care what book or chapter. Just dig in. And if you have a blog, shoot me the link at materra 1 before gmail com (trying to beat the bots!) I’d love to share it with everyone. If you don’t have a blog, write something out and email it to me, would love to have some guest posts.

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Blessed to be a blessing.

I frequently tell others how blessed I am. And that is completely true. I am. Truly I am blessed in so many ways. Let me count a few of them:

  1. I have a wonderful husband that has stuck with me thru the thick and thin of almost 12 years of marriage.

2. I have the three most beautiful, wonderful kids (no your kids AREN’T cuter than mine… so there!) just kidding…kinda.

3. I own a house and I don’t get ulcers every month trying to pay the mortgage.

The list goes on.

So yeah… I’m blessed. The past few weeks my pastor has been preaching on being blessed to be a blessing. So what if I have been blessed so that I can in turn be a blessing to others? What responsibility do I then have?

John 13:34 (New International Version)

 34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

That is my basic duty as a Christian, but do I owe more since I have been so blessed? I have been struggling with thoughts like these. Not that I have to do anything to earn God’s blessings, but my heart hurts thinking of everything going on in the big bad world, and I’m not sure how or where I should try to make an impact. I can’t help out with every project. I can’t give money to every charity or orphan. So how do I accept my limitations and realize that I can’t do it all?

I need to spend some prayer time on all of this, but would love any thoughts you may have on the subject.

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How He Love Us

I came across this video on a blog I was reading http://shaungroves.com/ . This is a new blog for me, but I watched this video because I LOVE this song. And I cried. John Mark McMillan is ridiculously talented and I appreciate this song even more now after watching this video. Do me a favor – watch the about video, then the full song video. Get floored like I do by how much He loves us.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-NXWE6AC8ao&feature=player_embedded

 

Were you able to watch that without getting a tight feeling in your chest? I sure couldn’t.

Here is the full video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jpEKI-F1PA

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I listened to a sermon today on abiding in God’s love and what that truly means. And for some reason the image of the Nestea Plunge came to mind. You remember it. Stand on the edge of a pool and just fall straight back into the pool.

I started thinking about my love for God, and how I just want to be engulfed, completely submerged and surrounded by His love. But you know what? That’s kind of a scary proposition in a way. So exciting and ultimately fulfilling, but in the moment as you lean back and the gravity of His love takes over, there is a second of fear. Your tummy clenches. You wonder, “What did I do?”

Why is it kind of scary? Well at least for me, to be fully immersed in God’s love means there will be no room for the noise of my current life. I won’t be able to fully experience His love until I fully let go of my grasp on my things of the flesh. Not that I can’t still have worldly things, I just have to let go of the importance my flesh has placed on those things. Meaning I guess that you could take all of it away and I’d still be rejoicing because I have the love of the Father.

Does that make any sense? I feel Him stirring something up in me. I’m not sure if this post fully expressed it, but there is something really important in here for me.

John 15:9-11

9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Now remain in my love. Wow. Immerse yourself. Abide. Sink into. Be engulfed. Curl up in.

His love.

Take the ultimate Nestea Plunge. Do it…I dare you 🙂

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Travelers

Tis the season… for everyone to start taking trips every which way.

This morning my awesome nephew Anthony is taking off for a week-long missions trip to Honduras. I am so so proud of him. I hope he just has an amazing experience that will shape his whole life.

There are too many other people to name that I know are leaving on road trips (myself included next weekend) and so I wanted to do a group traveler’s prayer.

May God protect you all in your travels. I pray that He anoints each and every person traveling that they might take Him with them and share the good news. I pray that you are fruitful in whatever you do. And I pray that God bring you all home safely.

So I hope everyone has a great trip. Anthony rock it out in Honduras! And I look forward to hearing everyone stories when they get back!

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Tending to our Gardens

I was having a bit of a writer’s block today. Lots of ideas, just couldn’t settle on one. So I asked my dear husband for a topic to write about. His response: weeds.

So here is my take on why we have to be vigilant in tending our gardens.

Ask any good gardener and they will tell you, it you don’t pull the weeds out of your garden, they will eventually choke out all the good plants.

Proverbs 20:4

4 A sluggard does not plow in season;
       so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing.

Basically if you see a weed in the garden – pull it. If there is a weed growing in your heart – pull it! Otherwise you will wonder why the seeds you sow are not producing a full harvest.

Sin is tricky. If you let it in once or twice, it is that much easier to just go ahead and do the wrong thing the next time.

Example: Hanging around the water cooler at work. Every workplace has that one unfortunate person that  is not as cool or hip. Isn’t very good socially and tends to keep to themselves. So anyways, you’re hanging out and this co-workers name comes up. Everyone throws a little dig in. Lots of laughs are had. She didn’t hear it, so no harm no foul right?

After a couple Fridays of that, how quick would you be to jump in on mocking her or anyone else around you with judgments and unkindness. And maybe next time she will walk up and hear you.

Not exactly the model of love and acceptance is it? But just that quick a small weed can become a huge tangled mess.

Just some random thoughts courtesy of Clif’s thoughtful topic suggestion 🙂

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LOLCI

I heard a comedian say the other night LOLCI.

For those of us non-text savvy people, that stands for Laughing Out Loud Crying Inside.

Wow. I don’t know why it stuck with me so, but it made my heart ache for all the people out there that I know are doing this right now. How do I know there are people like this out there?

I used to be one.

When I was going thru my teen angst stage this described me to a T. I carried on like nothing bothered me, but inside I was literally sobbing inside. I hated everything about me and about my life. Luckily for me, God spared me from doing any serious damage to myself.

But how many out there have done or been something that they think is too dirty… too bad for even God to forgive?

It’s interesting how the human mind invariably sets a linear limit to the sin that Jesus’s blood can cover. You can only go this far before you reach the unforgivable point. It’s so hard to understand the kind of love that truly has no limits. But so many out there need to know that kind of love is out there.

I believe there are Christians today that have a smile on their face, but when the sermons on how the blood will wash away all sin are preached, they cringe and cry inside. They don’t truly believe what they have done can be forgiven.

They hide the dirty messy parts away from people for fear of being judged and turned away. Sadly in a lot of cases that would probably be the case. But we as Christians need to show mercy, love, and forgiveness – even if it is a really dark and ugly sin – because He did no less than that for each one of us.

God has seen every single one of our dirty ugly sins…. and thru his Son all is washed away.

Are you forgiving and merciful in your view of others? I know I struggle a lot sometimes. How can we create an environment of forgiveness that allows those truly desperate for God’s love to reach out?Any thoughts?

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