And A

Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Days that Follow: Epiphany

Thursday, December 17, 2009

After Christmas, everything stays the same until Epiphany.

That is the day that represents the wise men coming to visit Jesus sometime in the years after he was born.

On this day we each get another gift from our parents. It's usually something small like a cd, movie, or whatever.

This is the beginning of the end of the Christmas season in our home. By the time Epiphany comes around the tree is all but dead. We try to get it undecorated and out of the house as soon as possible. I leave any snowmen/winter decorations up until February, but the nativity, garland, and all get put away as soon as the tree is gone.

Christmas may be over, but the birth of our Savior lives on! The joy He has brought us continues to manifest itself throughout the year.

I love Christmas for many reasons. It's a time to purposefully look back on all that God has done and joyfully look ahead to all that He will do!

The Big Day: Christmas Morning

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We do not do anything special on Christmas eve.
Everything happens on Christmas morning.

When we get up, we all gather in the living room.
Somebody reads the Christmas story from Luke.
Then, we exchange gifts.
My parents get each of us three gifts (to go with the three gifts that Jesus received).
Along with these gifts are ones we've bought for each other, or from other family and friends.

Then, we do our stockings. They are full of little things like gum, candy, hair goodies for girls, little games, gloves, etc.

THEN, it's breakfast time. We usually have homemade waffles with whipped cream and strawberries.

The rest of the day is spent visiting, sledding (if there is snow), sharing our new gifts, playing games, and of course, preparing and eating the Christmas dinner.

The Days Before: The Tree

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The first or second week of December, we get our Christmas Tree.

When it's ready, we bring inside.
Dad strings the lights, and then the rest of us put all the ornaments on it.

Our ornaments are all very different.
Some are from when my mom was growing up, some are homemade, some have been gifts, but most of them are ornaments that our god-parents send us every year. As you can imagine there are several boxes worth. The tree is always topped with a big gold star.

We have plain tree skirt that goes around the tree. We cut off all the low branches and have a giant nativity scene that goes under the tree.

The Days Before: Advent

Monday, December 14, 2009

We do nightly devotions during Advent season.

The things that fill this time of preparing our hearts for Christmas have changed each year.

We started with doing the Advent candles and a reading from "Jotham's Journey".

We made our way through that series over the next few years and then a few years ago, we discovered the Jesse Tree.

This year, we are celebrating Advent in several ways.
First we use the Jesse Tree. We read Scripture and a portion of a book that explains the topic of that night. Then someone opens the package containing that day's symbol that tells part of the account leading up to Jesus' birth. Whoever opened it gets to place it on the tree.
Then, we read a chapter from a book called "Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus".

The Days Before: Beginning

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The day after Thanksgiving, Christmas begins!

I pull out the Christmas CD's, Christmas movies, and Christmas decorations.

Some of My Favorite CD's Are:
"The Living Room Sessions" - Chris Rice
"Christmas Sing with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby"
"I'll Be Home For Christmas" - Various Artists
"Favorite Carols of Christmas" - Various Artists
"Gift Rap" - CMR and Friends

Some of My Favorite Movies Are:
"It's A Wonderful Life"
"White Christmas"
"Holiday Inn"

Some of My Favorite Christmas Decorations:
Nativity Scene - especially the one that used to belong to my mom's parents
Jesse Tree
Green Garland Strung With Lights
Spiced Candles

No Santa Here

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I wanted to mention one thing about our Christmas celebration, but couldn't figure out where to put it. So, I'll just say it now.

Jesus is the center our celebration of Christmas. After all, it is the time that we remember His birth and look forward to His second coming. As such, santa claus has absolutely no place in our lives. We do this simply because having santa takes the focus off of Jesus.

John Piper says it better than I can!

Christmas Time Is Here

Christmas. Some people celebrate it, some people don't. Everyone has their reasons for everything they do.
For some, it's "tradition"!
For some, it's just doing whatever happens.
For others, it's about making new, purposeful traditions that glorify and honor Christ because the previous generations of their family failed to do so.

So, what I'm wondering is, how do YOU celebrate Christmas?
I want to know about Christmas morning at your house as well as anything else you do in the days leading up to and following Christmas.

Our Christmas celebration has changed over the years.

Over the next few days I'll share some of our Christmas with you!

Recipes I'd Like to Try Out Soon

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Last week, I went shopping at our town's annual Christmas bazaar. I didn't bring home too many goodies, but I did get one AWESOME one.

I love aprons. All different kinds of styles and fabrics make me smile.

One kind of apron that I didn't have was a Christmas/winter themed one.
That is, until this year!

I picked up the cutest reversible apron. It's got all things Christmas on one side and then the other side is a dark red with creme colored snow flakes!
I can hardly wait to get in the kitchen with it on.

As it happens, I've also been having my eye on some new recipes to try out. Of course, there are some old ones in the mix as well!

Here's a List (for my sake and your enjoyment):
Cake Balls

*Note: If you tried any of the above recipes or recipes similar to them and would have a review to offer, I'd love to hear it!*


I don't know how many of you are readers of the blog that Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters write.

But, I am. I don't read EVERYTHING they post, but I do read a good portion of it.
Whenever I do, I always leave refreshed, encouraged, and challenged.
Their latest tidbits on Advent are no different.

Today's post was especially encouraging!

So, do me a favor, or rather, you a favor, and go check it out!

Are You Satisfied?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

This morning, I woke up thinking about people and the ways that they live.

No matter who you are, there are two basic ways in which you can go on living your life.

One way is to live for your self enjoying the pleasures of this world as much as you can, as often as you can, and as long as you can. When this is your pursuit, you might work long and hard in order to have the most money to buy these pleasures with. Or you might be lazy and expect the government to provide for your addiction to pleasing yourself.

The other way is brought about by salvation. When God grants you His saving grace through the blood of Jesus Christ, you become a new person. You begin to daily put off "self" and put on "Christ". That is to say, you no longer live for you but instead you live for God.

So, this got me to thinking. The most popular way to live is the first way. That way is all about drinking out of those broken cisterns. On the other hand, many people claim to live the second way. Yet, even many of those people are clamoring for the broken cisterns.

Jeremiah 2:12-13
Be appalled, O heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord,
for my people committed two evils:
they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that hold no water.

God has offered His people a fountain. This fountain has living water, that never runs out. This fountain has living water, that satisfies your soul. This fountain, is God Himself!

Won't you drink with me?

Speaking of Accountability

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In the last bunch of posts I did, I mentioned accountability.
In the Church today accountability and mentoring have become widely known.

So, I was wondering...
Do you belong to a church that encourages it?
Do you have a mentor?
An accountability partner?

A Little Clarification

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I have said that we must separate ourselves from all things in opposition to God and His Word.

This is true, but only to a certain degree. There is one thing that is in opposition to God that we must not shut ourselves out from, namely, lost sinners.

We must stay close to lost sinners.


Because we too were once lost sinners and God used those found sinners who stayed close to us to bring us to Himself. Yes, we must be discerning. Yes, we should seek to spend time with them in ways that honor God.

For example, if we have a friend that is into partying, getting drunk, etc...the best place to spend time with him is NOT at these drunken parties of his. OR If we have a friend who is into sitting at the coffee shop hoping to hook up with cute guys...the blest place to spend time with her is NOT at these coffee shops.

We must seek to lead them to Christ by offering alternatives. We must show them who we are in Christ and hanging out in those places for those reasons is not who we are in Christ.

All that to say, the purpose of being a Christian is knowing God and making Him known.
If you fail to do this, you've failed to carry out your calling.
In your ministering and your living you must be discerning lest you be led astray.

One Final Word

Monday, November 23, 2009

2 Corinthians 10:5

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Now, may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completly, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of the our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.

What Will You Do With the Tools?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We have seen that God has given His people tools to obediently live for Him.

These tools can only be properly used with a heart that truly loves Him and so wants to please Him.

Some tools that He gives us in battling against the sinful thoughts and thought patterns are:

Communion (that is) Abiding with Him - Enables Us to Use All the Tools (John 15:1-11)
Himself - Gives Us Grace (2 Corinthians 12:9)
His Son - Sets the Example (John 14:6)
His Spirit - Works in Our Hearts (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
His Word - Teaches and Trains Us (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
His People - Holds Us Accountable (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

As John Owen said, "You must be killing sin, or sin will be killing you".

Won't you join me in taking your thoughts captive Christ, that is, making your thoughts obedient to Him?

Now What?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Alright, I've resolved to stay away from things that are not in obedience to God's Word. I will put off these things that lead to sin. I will put on those things that are in obedience to God's Word and will encourage me to pursue righteousness.

Even so, I'm still a sinner saved by grace. I still have thoughts that are in disobedience to Him.

Now what?

Well, this is where we will get to continue building on the foundation we've laid. We know God's Word and are continuing to grow in knowledge, understanding, and application of it. We seek to surround ourselves with things that honor God. Now, we've got to battle against the flesh.

When a thought comes to our mind that we know is in disobedience to God, we must pray that God would remove it from our mind. We must take the time to look to His Word and preach to ourself about why this thought is wrong and what God would have us replace it with.

If we find that a thought pattern is beginning to develop, this is proof that we've not been diligent enough in battling the flesh daily. We must examine our life to see if there is some sin or presence in our life that is feeding this sinful pattern. Most likely, there is. But, in some cases its just our rotten nature showing up. These patterns must be stopped. If we allow them to continue, they will only grow. To stop them, we must resolve to seriously search the Scriptures, memorize Scriptures the Lord lays on our hearts, pray, confess, and find accountability.

This is where the rubber meets the road. If we don't make our thoughts obedient to Christ, it won't be long before we realize that the space between Christ and ourselves has become a weed patch that we have planted.

However, if we crucify the flesh each day we will find only a few weeds growing here and there in our glorious garden of life where it can truly be said that we walk and talk with God all the time.

How Do I Do This?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Okay, so as Christians we're striving to press on toward maturity in Christ. This comes about by having our minds renewed (Romans 12:1-2). Having our minds renewed requires

Taking every thought captive to Jesus Christ, that is, making every thought obedient to Christ.

So, the next question is HOW?

Well, I think there are numerous ways to apply this Scripture. First of all, we see that the goal concerning our thoughts is that they would show that our hearts, minds, and lives have God at the center. When God is the center, we will seek to have things that He likes close to us and things that He despises far from us.

In order to think like Christ, and so have our thoughts be in obedience to Him, we must be putting things into our minds that encourage us in that direction.

HOW do we discern what those things are?

Simply put, we judge them by the standards laid forth in God's Word, The Bible.
We should pick books, movies, music, friends, magazines, and even clothes and places that are obedient to His Word.

If we are filling our time with things that are in opposition to Him why would we be surprised when our own thoughts, and in turn, lives begin to show evidences of opposition?

Into Captivity

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another familiar verse came to mean something new to me this week.

We've all heard it many times "Take every thought captive to Christ". It's a common phrase spoken by many Christians and yet, how many of us actually DO this? Do we even really know what it means?

I'll be honest, this elementary practice was something I had not fully wrapped my mind around. I don't know how I've managed to go this long without maturity in this area, but it's true, I have not.

Yes, I strive to live out Romans 12:1-2, but I've begun to realize that without 2 Corinthians 10:1-6, I really can't have my mind renewed.

So, what's the latest truth that God has revealed to me?

Simply put: Taking every thought captive to Christ means, taking every thought that pops into my mind and making it obedient to Christ.

If Only a Murmur

Saturday, November 07, 2009

"This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!"

Many of us have enjoyed this song from Psalm 118:24.

How true are the meaning of its simple lines.

Recently, I have been faced with days that do not seem to hold reason for rejoicing or being glad.

A dear friend of mine has been struggling.

Some dear friends of our family have been faced with uncertainty as their nine year old son was terribly injured in an accident. The life of this boy hangs in the balance. The future of his family seems to be on the line.

Even though I am unable to be with any of these people at this time, I have been burdened for them. When I find myself enjoying the moment, I think...."Why should I be happy?" This moment, my friends are facing hardship and need me to turn to the Lord on their behalf.

In my own life, I'm feeling as if there is more. I find myself reaching for the door knob that leads to the next season in my life. Yet, I am here.

And that's it. That's when I remember, this IS the day that the Lord has made. Whatever fills this day is exactly what He wants to fill it. There IS reason to rejoice AND be glad in it!

May this be the shout of my heart on good days and seemingly bad days...I pray that even if it's not, it will at least be a murmur.

Not Just Any Prayer

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What kind of prayer is essential to render it effective?

Prayer that comes from a heart that belongs to the Lord.

It is this heart that will lead us to pray less and less selfishly and more and more Godwardly.

Matthew 21:22
Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.

Prayer's Role

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I want to be spiritually minded.

I need to seek the Lord for the wisdom to be spiritually minded and live like it.

He has given me the privilege to pray.

In this sermon by Matt Chandler, he says,
"Prayer is a means to confessing and fighting sin, that is, it is a spirit driven activity."

"When we're praying we are disconnecting from the sinful falleness of this world and connecting to what is holy, right, and good!"

The Best Way

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The best way to become spiritually minded is, quite simply, to ask God!

James 1:5
If any of you lacks wisdom let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given Him.

This applies to wisdom about all things. When we struggle to be more like Christ, we need wisdom to get there. Rather than reading the latest book, watching the latest talk-show host, or even turning to a mature Christian for practical "how to's", God tells us in James to ask Him!

Then and only then will we be seeking the Holy Spirit to bring about lasting change in our lives.

How Does Your Mind Work?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This week, I did some serious reading. There was something that came up several times. Not surprisingly, the issue was something I'd been pondering before the reading even began.

I've been wrestling with being spiritually minded. What I mean is, having God, His Kingdom, His Word, and His purposes on my mind at all times. The mindset that I long to have would change everything about me. It would make me able to look at circumstances, people, EVERYTHING differently and help me to act accordingly.

So, here's the verse that I came across at least three different times this week:

2 Corinthians 5:16
From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.
Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.

Here's an article that I found very encouraging.

Have you grown in your spiritual mindedness? Do you have any verses to share?

It is my prayer that I would continue to grow in this area. My goal in this life is to disciple as many people as I possibly can for the cause of Christ. I'm beginning to realize that if I'm not spiritually minded I'll be going about it all the wrong way and will miss loads of opportunities to delight in God by myself and with others.

The Wonderful World of Books

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I made a commitment this year to be purposeful about what I was going to read.

Usually I just come across books that I want to read and read them, no planning involved. It works great except that it often means I read only what I LIKE to read and that I take much longer than I should to read a book simply because I don't have another one to get to after it.

I made a list. My goal was to read as many of them as I could and keep track of any others that I decided to read along the way.

I liked the idea so much that I've already started on next year's list!

What are you reading? Do you make reading lists for yourself? Are there any books that you think I should had to my list?


Saturday, October 10, 2009

I heard this song the other day.

Where would you be if there was no remission of sins? or You got what you deserved by what you've been? or If Jesus never gave His life for you?

Truth in Action

Monday, October 05, 2009

I wanted to share with you all that all though Annie Keary wrote those words during her lifetime many years ago, they speak of God working in the lives of His people. The very words that she spoke, I have seen played out in my own life.

Have you found this to be true in yours?

I want to encourage you to join me in looking at what seem like "interruptions" as part of God's plan for your life. It is not easy to do, but in doing this, there is great reward. What sort of reward? I have found it to be peace in knowing that you are being a faithful servant.

"Keep a Quiet Heart" by Elisabeth Elliot

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Here's an excerpt from a book that I'm reading. The title may have given you a hint, but this book is one that God used to speak those things to me that I referenced to in yesterday's post!

"Do Not Rush.
And Keep a Quiet Heart."

"I think I find most help in trying to look on all the interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one's work. Then one can feel that perhaps one's true work - one's work for God - consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one's day. It is not a waste of time, as one is tempted to think, it is the most important part of the work of the day - the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it."

Annie Keary, 1825-1879

From: "Keep a Quiet Heart" by Elisabeth Elliot. Preface. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Servant Publications, 1995.

Listening to the Voice

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Today I have felt sort of "ho-hum". It didn't help that the weather was such that I just felt like I had to stay inside.

This evening I picked up a little book that I bought a few weekends ago and my Bible. I sat to have some time with the Lord, knowing that seeking His face would bring me peace, joy, and purpose.

He began to speak to me, through His Word and the words of some of His faithful servants!

Here's what I've been reminded of tonight.

  • The secret to serving God in any circumstance is keeping a quiet heart.
  • The quiet heart is one that rests in Jesus.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Isaiah 66:13.
  • When God looks at me He sees the work of His Son in my life.
  • I am rich in Him.
  • Nothing I could: be, have, or do would add any lasting sense of fulfillment to my life.
  • Contentment, with godliness, is great gain!
Forgive me for not getting my thoughts across very well. Trying to sum up my time with God tonight is no easy task - He used many things to get these points across to me and finally after about two weeks I think I'm beginning to hear!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Well, I've changed the way the blog looks...again. :)

What do you think?

It's plain, I know. Is it all right though?

Proverbs with Covenant Life

Monday, September 28, 2009

As I've had the opportunity, I've been taking the time to make my way through Joshua Harris' series on Proverbs. Each and every message that I've listened to so far has been challenging, encouraging, and inspiring.

This evening, I just listened to this sermon. Check it out and take the time to answer these application questions - they'll help you resolve to live out whatever God has brought to your attention!

One Thing More

The following information was posted in the Drug Store.

Drug Store Rules in 1854
The following was among the artifacts donated to the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum by the Wreath's Phillips Smith Drug Company.

"Store will be open promptly at 6 a.m. and remain open until 9 p.m. the year 'round. Store must not be opened on the Sabbath day unless absolutely necessary and then only for a few minutes.

Any employee who is in the habit of smoking Spanish cigars, getting shaved at a barber shop, going to dances or other places of amusement, will most surely give his employer reason to suspect his integrity and all around honesty.

Each employee must attend Sunday School every Sunday. Men employees are given one evening a week for courting purposes, and two if they go to prayer meeting regularly. After 14 hours of work in the store, the remaining leisure time must be spent in reading good literature."

Imagine if these rules were given and followed today - I think we'd have a class of respectable people and a nation to show for it! Going shopping would include meeting ladies and gentlemen rather than girls and boys who would rather be out goofing off!

Field Trips

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Today I took my brothers and sisters to a living history exhibit at a nearby museum. Museums are not usually one of my favorite places to go - but if they've got living history on the menu I'm always up for it!

Let's just say, I was not at all let down by today's trip!!! I expected it to be a rather small museum, but it turns out they basically have a whole "town" on their grounds.

We visited:

Hat Shop*
Drug Store (complete with soda fountain counter*)
Dentist's Office
Sheriffs' Office
Newspaper Office
Camera Shop
Livery Stable
School House*
Dress Shop*
General Store*
Barber Shop
Beauty Shop*
Train Car

....and more! The stars (*) indicate my favorite stops along the way! Most of these places made it on my favorites list because of the visits we got to share with the people inside. Several of the people proved to know a wealth of information about their "profession".

At the School House I met a woman who is going to be 100 years old in a few weeks. In 1928 she took her first teaching job at the age of 19. At that time, you were supposed to be 21 in order to teach highschool, somehow she got away with not disclosing her age (she said she claimed to be 108), and managed to get the job! I got to share with her the reason we homeschool and I also got to hear about some of her teaching days.

At the homestead I met a man who grew up in Oklahoma during the Great Depression. He knew just about everything there is to know about the things you might find in an old homestead! His story was especially interesting because he was raised by his grandma after being "abandoned" by his family. I could tell it was a touchy subject, but it sounds like his family felt that his Grandma would be able to provide for him better than they could so they just dropped him off. Upon reaching adulthood, he headed west and reunited with his family.

At the Hat Shop, I learned about the tricks that women used to styled their hair in those days. I saw a wreath that was made entirely out of womens' hair (and a picture of the women who donated their old locks for it). AND visited with a woman whose mother was born in the late 1800's. The mother traveled with her husband from their Minnesota home. This woman was amazed because her mother never complained about the move even though Minnesota was quite different than the land they pioneered.

I plan on posting some pictures. But before I do, I wanted to share one more thing with you...since this post is already so long, I guess you'll have to come back to find out what it is!


Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm an education major with the hope of homeschooling my own children some day and lately I find myself thinking about all the methods, options, styles, etc. etc...

If you were homeschooled, are homeschooled, or are homeschooling - would you please share your experience with me? Tell me about the "method(s)" you use. Tell me what a typical day looks like for you family. Tell me what programs you think everyone should use. Tell me what you don't like or do like about your experience.

I'll share more about my hopes and dreams in this area later...For now, I just want to hear from you!

What's Next? What Can I Do About It?

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Check out this post over at Abigail's Leftovers. She said it better than I could!

Dying to Give

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Are you ready, willing, even eager to escape prosperity in order to live simply and give lavishly for the cause of Christ and the glory of God?

Does your heart beat to have more in order to give more?

Do you have and find it hard to give? Perhaps this thought on Luke 20:25 from John Piper will help:

Render to God what is God's, namely, everything.

Giving lavishly is not an option. Giving lavishly won't be easy. Join the ranks, do the hard thing, join Christ and die to give.

If you've been saved, the blood of Christ has done a work in you.

The world will think you're dead, but in Christ you'll know that you are living with a great abundance that will last for all of eternity.

New Discovery

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I recently discovered this website. If you click on the link, you'll find a website that is devoted to J.C. Ryle quotes. All though I am not very familiar with the works of this man of God, so far I've greatly enjoyed just about every quote they have posted. 

If you are familiar with Ryle, would you please take a moment to recommend a work of his that you think I should check out? 

If you're not, I encourage you to see what J.C. Ryle Quotes has to offer!

To give you a small taste, I wanted to share today's post with you:

"It does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run.”

“Conversion is not putting a man in an arm-chair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory.”

~ J.C. Ryle

Faithfulness and Holiness: The Witness of J.C. Ryle, p. 174.

What Do You Like Most

Monday, August 24, 2009

When you read a blog what do you like most? What keeps you interested and coming back for more?

Is it: 

Deep thoughts


Short Posts


Long Posts

Certain Topics on Certain Days

Posting by Series

....I might change, I might not, but I'm just wondering what OTHERS enjoy! So here's your chance to tell me what YOU think!

Bible Reading

Friday, August 14, 2009

This year, I committed to use this plan to read through the Bible in one year. For the first four months I never missed a day. I'm not sure what happened, but during the month of May I got behind. I've been in the Word - just not following "the plan". 

Recently I read this article by John Piper. It's about making resolutions for this autumn by faith in Jesus.

Then, I read this article by Ron Frost. It's about making this the year that you commit to read the least two or three times a year!

So, among my resolutions for this autumn is spending at least one hour each day reading the Word. I've decided to pick up my plan where I left off and whatever I read during that hour (or more) will be checked off. 

If you were to make (or have made) resolutions for this autumn, what are they?

Blown Away

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Today Psalm 112 had a lot to say. It begins with this simple statement:

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord,
who greatly delights in His commandments!

Then, it goes on to describe the life of this man who fears the Lord and greatly delights in His commandments. 

I challenge you to read this Psalm today, but before you do, ask yourself:
Do I fear the Lord and greatly delight in His commandments? 

If I've Said It Once...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

This article speaks for itself - enjoy. :)

Posted using ShareThis

New Discovery

Friday, August 07, 2009

This morning, I sat down to read James. 

When I came to verse 19 of chapter 1 I said it without even having to look at the Bible 
"be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger....".

Then, I continued reading and for the first time I realized that verse 20 and 21 carry the weight of this verse. 

Yes, being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger are important. WHY? Well, verse 20 and 21 tell us:

For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. 

Are there any familiar passages in your life? Go to them and ask God to show you something new - you just might be surprised at what you've never seen before!

Here and Now

Thursday, August 06, 2009

God is always speaking to His people. 

Yes, we all go through "dry" times, but I truly believe that there is always something He is speaking into our lives. 

Last summer I began to watch for "themes" in the way that God was working in and through me. 

Recently, this verse and the message it brings has been popping up a lot: 

Proverbs 16:9
The heart of a man plans his way,  but the Lord establishes his steps.

What has God been teaching you?


Sunday, August 02, 2009

I saw this today and had to ask myself:

Why do you want those wayward people in your life to be saved? 

So often, we want to place a band-aid on them by fixing or covering up the problems, but what we should really be after is that they would KNOW JESUS. 

Read it from someone who once was wayward here!

Summer Count Off

Friday, July 31, 2009

Things of This Summer 2009
  • Shopping for Clothes
  • Vacation Bible School
  • BBQing with Friends
  • Watching Fireworks over the River
  • Swimming
  • Reading Good Books
  • Watching Swimming Lessons
  • Tutoring
  • Seeing "Up" at the Theatre
  • Went to the Water Park
  • Summer Reading Program
  • Family Camp
  • Seeing the Guys from Reach Records in concert - TWICE
  • Picking Raspberries
  • Cooking up massive amounts of food when our freezer began to thaw out (on accident)
  • Seeing Harry Potter at the Theatre
  • Setting up Mom's Gazebo 
  • Picnics in the Park
  • Walks in the Warm Night Air
Yes, there are some things I'd like to, plan to, and will add to the list - but so far, I'd say that my summer is going quite well! The best part -

I know that all the things (good and "bad") I've been facing this summer are for my good in that they are shaping me into the image of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So that, God may be made known among those I come into contact with and my joy may be full!!! 

C.S. Lewis

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Surely we've all heard of him. Here is something he wrote that I read today:

"The safest road to hell is the gradual one...the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." 

Something More Valuable

Monday, July 27, 2009

A sermon to help you see that "nothing is more valuable than the Kingdom of God"!

Experiencing Hospitality

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This last week, my family went away on a retreat. We were privileged to spend time with about 15 Christian families at a ranch in the countryside. 

This place is a wonderful get away for us. We have developed friendships with the people that live there as well as other guests we've met during the different times we've visited. 

The element that makes this place in the middle of nowhere so appealing, even to a "city" girl like me, is the way the people there extend hospitality to their guests. 

Through the different times I've visited, I've learned that in the body of Christ, we must take turns serving and being served. To say it another way, in our serving there will be times where we are also being served and it is essential that we gladly accept it

These experiences (both serving and accepting service from others) provide a unity in Christ  and teach us a little more of this bond we share in Him. 

Childlike Hospitality

Saturday, July 11, 2009

How often do kids want to have friends over? 

Ask any parent and I'll bet that's probably one of the number one questions they hear while raising their kids. 

What prompts this desire - a favorite meal, a special game, or just an ordinary day? 

Whatever the cause, I think it's time that we take a look at their simple wish to be hospitable! 

If only we would open our doors, invite others in, and not have a care as to whether we're "up to it today".  As we minister to others in this way, I think we'll begin to see that it's not so bad after all. 


Thursday, July 09, 2009

The ladies at GirlTalk are starting a series on hospitality. 

If you're not familiar with them, I'd encourage you to head over for a visit. I can promise you that you will not be disappointed. 

Here is a favorite highlight of the posts that have been made so far:


Hospitality is a love of strangers. “It is to show kindness to strangers in such a way  that they cease to be strangers.” It is “A concrete and personal expression of Christian love, intended to include strangers in a circle of care.” (New Dictionary of Biblical Theology)

A “stranger” isn’t merely a person you’ve never laid eyes on before. So often, people in our churches, neighborhoods, jobs, schools, and even extended family are strangers. Even though we see them every day, we hardly know them. 

But when someone walks through our front door, a tangible, powerful thing happens. There is a fundamental change in our relationship. People who were once strangers cease to be strangers. They become a guest, and even a friend.

As someone that is said to be gifted in this area, this series has caught my attention for sure! Please feel free to jump back here for a discussion of any points that interest, challenge, or inspire you! 

Why the Name?

I've got a confession to make. It's nothing extreme. As with a lot of the writing I do, when I named my blog the words just came to me (Through*For*By). Since I liked the sound of them, I kept them even though I really wasn't sure exactly what they meant or where they came from.

Sure, I knew that meditating on Scriptures like Colossians 1:16 melded these words into my heart and mind. But at the time, the why behind me choosing these words for my blog was a mystery to me.

Last night, out of nowhere, they came into my head. All three, one by one, along with meaning. 

For anyone wondering, here is the simple answer to the meaning behind the title of my blog:

 I live THROUGH God, FOR God, because I was created BY God. 

Meditating on the Word

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I spent some time in Psalm 73. I was so moved by this Psalm that I want to share with you the verses that especially stuck out to me. 

Understand that I picked up my Bible and thought, "Let's see what 73 has to say." 

As it turns out, the theme of this chapter fits right into what God has been teaching me lately and the studying I've been doing through John Piper's book "Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist".

Truly God is good to Israel, to those are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Behold, these are the wicked: always at ease, they increase in riches.

But when I thought how to understand this [the confusion expressed in vs. 13-15], it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!

When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward You. Nevertheless, I am continually with You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will receive me to Glory.

Whom have I in heaven but You? 

And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 

For behold, those who are far from You shall perish; You put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to You. 

But for me it is good to be near God;

I have made the Lord God my refuge,

that I may tell of all Your works!!!

Encounters in the City

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I spent my Saturday running errands and shopping in the city this weekend. We saw a lot of things, made some good purchases, had interesting conversations, and discovered a little bit more of secular humanism's influence in America.

Among the things we saw:

Two car accidents.

The providence of God - had mom rushed along like I was pushing her to do towards the end of the day, the chances are very great that we would have been around for both of them.

People who worship very different things made manifest by the way they talk, dress, and act.

Cute old people - 'nuff said.

"Corner!" at Outback Steakhouse.

Pretty scenery.

Comments among the conversations we had:

"It's not their place to judge....Everyone has a right to be who they want"

"I really admire that. It takes a special person to follow God [so religiously]."

Some amazing things about the day were the amount of things we got done...the provision of the Lord in the way of some new clothes to add to my wardrobe (with the styles of today it truly is a blessing when I pick up modest clothes that fit my figure) lasted longer than I did...God gave us safe travels, good fellowship with one another, and more reasons to be thankful for the community we live in!

Looking New

Monday, June 01, 2009

As you probably noticed, I just gave my blog a fresh new look....When I checked in this morning to do a new post, I forgot that I had changed everything and actually thought that I was at a blog besides my own! I'm not sure if I like this bright new look yet. What do you all think of it?

These last few months, my family has been having the privilege of meeting and spending time with new people. We have traveled far and wide going to conferences, family retreats, meetings, etc. As someone who loves to travel I'm almost always up for some sort of trip. When new people and places are involved, I get that much more excited.

For me, these getaways have been great for a number of reasons:

- the house is clean when we leave and I have an excuse to pursue cleanly perfection

- the van is in order with the luggage area neatly packed and arranged, snacks and drinks to go around, etc.

- the Biblical teaching and discussions are such a blessing

- the new faces and old faces that eagerly wait to meet, greet, and speak with you

- the scenery between here and wherever we go is always worth seeing

- we come home feeling refreshed, often times closer together, and ready to live out loud

Why do you enjoy taking trips?

Good Books

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This week I have enjoyed spending some time in the mornings sitting out in the sunshine on the back patio reading a wonderful book.

I'm sad to say that I'm already done with it. Through this book, Raley helped me to practically analyze my interactions with other people (especially those who are different than I am). He helped me to examine myself in such a way that shows me where I fall short.

I would recommend this book to anyone who takes Biblical evangelism seriously. This is a book that will probably change the way you pursue conversations.

I must say that not all of the topics are appropriate for younger readers. However, I appreciated the way that the author wrote about life as it is without sugar coating our actions, motivations, and perceptions.

Surrounded By Wisdom

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I love wisdom. I have always admired those people who are truly wise. I long to have a piece of the understanding that they have been blessed with.

This morning I began to ponder just how much wisdom surrounds me! I have the Word of God at my fingertips anytime I open it up and place it before my eyes. I have the ability to click links, open books, watch tapes, and discuss Biblical thinking and loving. This is just one more reminder of how great God's plan to form the Body of Christ among beleivers truly is.

I'd like to share two pieces of wisdom with you.

The first comes from my 11 year old sister. Yesterday we were at Wal-Mart. As we walked through the toy isle, we were bombarded with half dressed Barbies, Bratz, and other plastic "play things". I noticed that my sister who was walking in front of me put her head down and raised her hand so that it came between her face and the shelf. I asked her what she had done and why and she looked at me and simply said,

"Those things we just passed were not properly dressed."

This made my heart leap for joy. My sister's standard, even in her young age, is the Bible. She knows what PROPER is and desires to gaurd herself from anything less. She does not practice it let alone look upon it. My sister has not been deceived into forgetting how to blush.

The other comes from John Piper. I'll let you watch for yourself.

Please note that this version does not allow you to see all the footage. If you go to the homepage or click here you can watch it in total.

Thank You

Monday, May 11, 2009

I just wanted to thank everyone who takes the time to read my blog. I especially want to thank those of you who have left me comments!
To be honest, I love to write so much that I'd probably continue even if nobody was around to read what I've written...even so, knowing I've got readers makes it that much more enjoyable!

Here's to Being Done

Monday, May 04, 2009

As of last January, I am a student of Whitefield College. Since I got a "late" start, I decided to work through last summer so that my second year would begin in the fall. 

It was hard work. I had to say no to many trips to the pool. I did not instigate many camping trips. I did not take any of the job offers. I was officially named "the Sissy who doesn't do anything but listen to lectures and read books for school" and heard over and over again "Do you have any lectures toda...." and looked up to see that whoever asked the question assumed the answer was yes and walked off. 

Sounds absolutely terrible doesn't it? 

Well, that's just it, even with all that it wasn't. You see,  two things made it great: 

#1: By God's grace, I take the time to do this work knowing that by giving up my todays I am building better tomorrows. Not only for myself, but for my husband and the children and the grandchildren I hope the Lord blesses us with.

#2: I have a wonderful family who did a great job at extending that extra grace I desperately needed. Even with all let downs, weird meals I put together, clutter building up, and  laundry in places they never knew we had - I knew that their jokes, shoulder slumps, and sometimes even the callous remarks came not out of malice toward me but a serious longing to have me "back". 

So, to God, I thank You for strengthening me! I thank you for providing the awesome friends (you know who you are) who encouraged me, listened to my doubts and worries, and prayed for me through the highs and lows of college at home! I thank you for the resources You continue to bless me with as I seek to serve You. I pray that You would continue to strengthen me, provide for me, and guide me in this journey I've committed to live for You!

To my family, I thank you for standing by me! I thank you for supporting me! I thank you for putting on those happy faces! 

Through the last year and a half, I have accomplished much. But I take zero credit. I could have done absolutely none of it without all of those who have come alongside me in the process.

Here's to a long summer. 

Sissy's home, grab the books, the mop, the games, the tea, the car keys - it's time to get back to the way things were! 


Friday, May 01, 2009

Growing take effort.

The old saying "no pain no gain" is true about all things physical, but how much farther it goes in the spiritual realm of things!

This post is for you readers - How do YOU pursue growth in your own lives?

Ten Things

Friday, April 17, 2009

I wanted to post today. Thought I'd share something different and go with a list of ten things I did this week!

1) Gardened

2) Read LOTS

3) Talked on the phone with friends

4) Did Laundry

5) Didn't do much cleaning

6) Edited

7) Went to Little League Games

8) Slept more than usual

9) Made Banana Splits

10) Looked forward to next weekend's plans

Going Through the Motions

Monday, April 13, 2009

I just discovered Matthew West's song and video "The Motions".

The official video is really neat....but the story and the outcome are even better!

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Friday, April 10, 2009

I have never been a big fan of spring because it brings thoughts of rain, mud, and mess. Even so, as it begins to lead into summer I rejoice!

The temperatures rise, the flowers bloom, the grass begins to turn green, the sun and blue skies return! I am reminded of the seasons in my own life as such drastic change takes place in God's lovely creation around me.

This last week has been one thing after another for me. Amazingly I'm not too behind in school, my family is happy with me (mostly), and I've been able to bless others outside of our home.

Today mom and I spent some time cleaning her room. I cherish the times we get to work together.

You see, usually we don't really do that much anymore. She's trained me and now reaps the blessings of the seasons spent patiently enduring my "learning".

As we went through her room she was blessed becaues the job was being done right. I was blessed by her companionship. My dad will be blessed by the outcome.

Take joy in spring. Take joy in your family. They are both blessings sent from God that we might taste and see yet another glimpse of His goodness.

Oh magnify the Lord with me,
Let us exalt His name together!
Psalm 34:3

Let God Speak

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The other day, I made a post. I wanted to encourage each of you to let God speak on the issue.

Prayerfully consider these words with me from 2 Corinthians 11. I'll quote verses 13-15, but I'd encourage you to grab your Bible and contextualize this!

"For such men are false apostles, 
deceitful workmen, 
disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 
So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. 
Their end will correspond to their deeds." 

Palm Sunday

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Today was a great day. The sun was bright, I broke out my first "spring outfit", the lawn is looking way better, and I'm truly recharged for another week!

On top of all that and a very fruitful Saturday, some deep thoughts regarding world and life views have been on my mind lately. 

I quote a sermon I heard today -

"Zeal by itself is not enough. Zeal must be accompanied by knowledge to produce a right world view lived out!" 

This means, we must not only know what we believe. We must also be passionate about it and sincere in our pursuit of living it out. As we seek to know Truth, we must also seek to be devoted to it. 

Looking at the choices that Peter made near the death of Jesus, we see a man who totally denied all Truth. As I pondered Peter's actions, words, and emotions I began to realize this:

How often do I deny Jesus with my actions of sin? I, like Peter, know who Jesus is...but in my sin I speak otherwise. 

I must remain "in the garden" (experiencing Jesus' presence) with all zeal and knowledge living for Him. Knowing God and making Him known. 

Satan comes to deceive us looking like light, but Jesus is the true Light. I must seek Him alone. 

I was further challenged by these thoughts after hearing some statistics -

Does my Christianity look like Jesus

If not, it's's's turning people away...I neither know God nor make Him known. 

So - what's your world and life view? Everyone has one. You living for Truth or for lies? Do you look like Jesus or satan? 

One simple question to get you thinking - 

If I had to pick one theme as to what my goals truly revolve around, what the meaning of my life is rooted in, what determines my desires, speech, and actions - is it Truth (as found in the Word of God) or the stuff of the world (as found on Oprah, Dr. Phil, so many of our classrooms, newspapers, and in all of our fallen hearts)? 

Flesh vs. Spirit

Friday, April 03, 2009

I want to challenge everyone, including myself, to take a day and discern the flesh and the spirit.
At random points during the day ask yourself, "In this moment, which is ruling in my life flesh or spirit?"
If the answer is spirit, praise the Lord! Thank Him for the grace He has bestowed upon you that is causing you to increase in good works.
If the answer is flesh, pray to the Lord! Ask Him to bestow His grace upon you by helping you to seek His ways and walk accordingly. 
As I ponder the days I've lived. The struggles my family is facing. The shortcomings in this fallen world, I see one thing: A Spiritual Battle. 

In Genesis 3:15, God speaks of this battle for the first time. In Ephesians 6, we are told how to live in light of it. 
Won't you join me in resolving to follow the words of  2 Corinthians 13:5
 where this discernment is fleshed out?
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified.

Finally Here!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I feel terrible that I've neglected the post I said I'd be making...If it's any consolation I've done nothing but keep my inbox from getting overloaded and use AllRecipes lately! Life outside of the internet has tossed me its fair share of time filling activities and as always, those are given TOP priority. 

Here we go: The Similarities I Share With George Whitefield

Like many other Christians, the growth and understanding period of my new birth took place over an extended period of time

When the understanding finally came and I began to see the whole picture of the purpose of my existence - I experienced joy unspeakable!

I have longed and prayed for local Christian companionship to no avail. 

As a result I have reached out to others and currently long to begin a revival of sorts in my community. 

Studying the life of George Whitefield has given me great hope! God took a solitary man from a spiritual "wasteland" and worked good for His glory in and through Whitefield's life. I have yet to see the complete big picture of my life story played out - but seeing Whitefield's humble beginnings gives me hope for what God plans to do with mine. 

"Look among the nations and watch-- 
        Be utterly astounded! 
        For I will work a work in your days 
        Which you would not believe, though it were told you"

Habakkuk 1:5