Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Quest for Clarity

When it comes to traditions and holidays, you have to ask yourself…
1. Why the costumes and the candy?
2. Why the Santa and the Savior?
3. Why the bunny and the Cross?

Is it because…
1. You’ve always done it?
2. Everyone else is doing it?
3. It’s fun?

If you don’t, will you feel…
1. Left out?
2. You’re depriving your kids?
3. Others will think you are being too holy or spiritual?

I’ve pondered all of these questions. There are not specific commandments for how to celebrate holidays/traditions. If there were, it would be so much easier…like, “Thou shall never have your child sit on a chubby, red-suited stranger's lap”. Anyway, we still need answers, so what’s a believer to do? I don’t have any answers for you, but check these scriptures out -

* So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

* And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

* Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Hmmmm – The Quest Continues…

The Quest Conquered

My pondering to all these questions ended after I read the book, Treasuring God in our Traditions by Noel Piper. This book is a MUST read! It is an easy read and very practical (my kind of book!) In a nutshell, here are the 3 most profound statements that totally changed my way of thinking.

1. “Traditions are a vital way of displaying our greatest treasure, of showing what—Who—is most important to us” (p. 18). That statement reflects 1 Cor. 10:31.

Do the things you do on holidays represent the One you say you treasure?

2. “We should keep God’s Word as available and as visible as if it were hanging between our eyes—as if everything we see and do comes through his filter. His Word should be as if it were tied on our hands so that all our acts are directed and shaped by his Word” (p. 24). That statement clearly defines Deut. 6:6-9.

Do the things you do on holidays represent God’s Word?

3. “From their births, I have always wanted my children to know as much about God as they were able to grasp at whatever age they were. And I have wanted my life and our family to be a picture of God to others—that we be the body of Christ who presents an image of Christ to the people around us” (p. 30-31). That’s what Prov. 22:6 is all about.

Do the things you do on holidays send mixed messages to your child? Does your child have to sift through the loads of fairy tale to see the ounce of truth?

Basically, when we question something we do on holidays and say, “What’s wrong with…?” “That’s the wrong question. We need to be asking: Will it strengthen my faith and help me love Jesus more?” (p. 54)

"All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23

Friday, October 24, 2008

The True Woman

"This is the essence of the true woman. Regardless of the time in history when she inhabits this earth, she is one who lives in the presence of glory. Her redeemed character is shaped and driven by God's Word and Spirit. Because she is the very dwelling place of the Lord God, her reflection of Him is manifested in every relationship and circumstance of life. The distinguishing characteristic of her life is His presence in her radiating out to all who see her. The true woman's life is not segmented into sacred and secular. All of life is sacred because it is lived in His presence. The true woman is a true reflection of God's glory." (Susan Hunt - The True Woman)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God’s Hand Is Not Shortened!

What an encouraging truth! It is mentioned 3 times in the Bible –

* And the LORD said to Moses, "Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not." Numbers 11:23

* Why, when I came, was there no man; why, when I called, was there no one to answer? Is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Isaiah 50:2

* Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear. Isaiah 59:1

This is basically saying, “The Lord’s power is unlimited!” Nothing can hinder His power! It is so encouraging because no matter how big our trials are, God is BIGGER! Like the song that the kids sing, “My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty. There’s NOTHING my God cannot do!” In what areas of your life are you acting like God’s hands are too short to reach? Let God’s truth overtake those areas today and trust His limitless power.

Click here to hear one of my favorite songs on this subject.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy 1 Year in Minnesota Day!

The Top 10 Things We Like About Minnesota

1. Our house is in walking distance to a park. The kids really enjoy our daily wagon walks.

2. My morning walk place is beautiful & serene. It really encourages me to want to rise up and do my prayer walk (not in the winter of course).

3. We like the change of seasons! The extreme beauty of each season is a reflection of our God.

4. We own bikes & ride them too!

5. Carysse & I like going to our weekly Baby Storytime at the library since she was 9 mos old.

6. I have 2 gardens! This is my 1st home-grown tomato!

7. Our new friends – they must be special because they got me to walk in the middle of a frozen lake during 20 below weather!

8. Christian has the best one-on-one assistants at church. Thanks Elisa, Rachel, & Jenny!

9. The Minnesotans that we’ve met have lived up to the state’s reputation for being Minnesota nice.

10. Our
church family

We praise God for moving us here. He has done, “far more abundantly beyond all that we asked or thought". (Ephesians 3:20)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bittersweet: Temporal vs. Eternal

When my kids are sick (like they’ve been all week), they hate to take medicine. It gets to the point that we have to pin them down and sometimes hold their nose (nurse trick we learned once). They don’t realize that what they’re rejecting is the very thing that will help them feel better. At the moment, all they’re concerned with is the bitter taste which is only temporary.
That’s exactly what some of us do to God. He is offering us His help in our current situations but because we don’t like His answer, we shun Him.

* Someone may be longing for a child, God is offering you contentment as you wait.

* Someone may be longing for a spouse to be saved, God is offering you a submissive heart in the meantime.

* Someone may be longing for direction & guidance, God is offering you faith as you trust Him.

* Someone may be longing for healing, God is offering you strength to endure.

* All of us are longing for an answered prayer, God is offering us joy & peace as we persevere.

We may think we know the right fix to our problems. But God is more concerned about our hearts changing than our circumstances. He is all about eternal, lasting results not temporal, quick fixes (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). So, perseverance in a trial may seem bitter, but as we trust in God and hold on to His Word, we will reap sweet blessings.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Monday, October 13, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Sometimes God is more glorified by giving you strength to climb the mountain than by exercising His power in removing the mountain." ~ My Hubby

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, October 10, 2008

You Know You’re 33 if…

1) You’ve worn leg warmers as a fashion statement.
2) You had the very 1st Cabbage Patch Kids (I still have my 3!)
3) You watched The Smurfs when you came home from school.
4) You remember when it was actually safe to play outside ALL DAY & not go in ‘til the street lights came on.
5) While you played outside, you rode your bike WITHOUT a helmet.
6) Your family owned the movie E.T. on VHS.
7) You remember when NO ONE had cell phones, digital cameras, or iPods.
8) You remember when snail mail was the only option and stamps cost less than a quarter.
9) You can still name each member of the Huxtable & Brady Family.
10) You grew up in the 80s when no one used E-mail, IM, Facebook, My Space, or Blogs and you still survived!

Thanks for celebrating my 33rd birthday with me! It’s been fun!
Have a God-exalting weekend!
Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Psalm 33: 20-22

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Hardest 33 Days of My Life

My son, Christian Anthony, was born on February 10, 2003 at 25 weeks gestation, which was 3½ months early! He weighed 1 pound 13.4 ounces and was 13 inches long. The final words given to us just before our son was born were, “This baby will have a 50/50 chance to live. The first 48 hours will be crucial. We cannot promise anything, we’ll just see what happens.” Here’s a brief look at the 1st 33 days of his life.

Day 1
*Blood Pressure Low –- put on 2 medications
*Oxygen Saturation in blood dropping
*Lots of sedation

Day 2
*Our 1st family prayer together

Day 3
*Blood Pressure stable
*Only needs 25% oxygen from ventilator
*Peeing good with catheter
*1st blood transfusion

Day 4
*2nd blood transfusion
*Weaned off of one blood pressure medication

Day 5
*We taped your testimony (Psalm 71:6-8) to your bedside
*Off one blood pressure medication & weaning off the other
*Ventilator setting down to 40 from 60
*Peeing in diaper — No catheter
*No sedation needed since last night

Day 6
*Off both blood pressure medications
*Given steroids to assist in development
*Ventilator setting continues to be turned down
*1st head ultrasound – No bleeding on the brain...Praise God!
*Little jaundice – needed to lay under a blue light
*Daddy was reading the Bible while we were visiting you and he saw this scripture: I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17

Day 7
*Start feeding on mommy’s milk at 11:00P.M.
*Fed every 6 hours – 1 cc (cubic centimeter)
*Blood gas pH level low – needs monitoring

Day 8
*Jaundice down – do not need blue light
*Found blood in lungs last night – went up on ventilator setting
*Mommy was encouraged by I Peter 1:21 which states that as believers in God through Jesus, our faith and hope are in God.
*Blood gas pH level good
*No more blood found in lungs all day

Day 9
*Daddy correlated Ephesians 2:10 to your birthday (2/10). It reads: For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
*Your nurse says you’re becoming a big boy because you don’t make a fuss like you used to when she turns your head.

Day 10
*Heart report showed an opening in the valve between your lungs & heart

Day 11
*Day 1 of a very TRYING week for all of us
*Surgery to close the valve between your lungs & heart
*Feedings stopped for recovery

Day 12
*Recovering well from surgery

Day 13
*We touched you for the 1st time!

Day 14
*Oxygen level had to be increased – Lungs not doing well

Day 15
*Infection in lungs from ventilator – put on 2 antibiotics
*Blood pressure dropped
*Not peeing
*Blood transfusion

Day 16
*Ventilator support lowered
*Off blood pressure medications
*Made sucking noises with the tube in your mouth :-)

Day 17
*Very uncomfortable – moving a lot
*2nd head ultrasound – possible abnormal cells

Day 18
*Day 1 of RELIEF for all of us
*Blood gas excellent
*Blood pressure good
*Down on oxygen support
*Only on 1 antibiotic
*Lungs look better
*Peeing good
*Feeding again

Day 19
*Moved to your own “home” – incubator
*No more lines in your belly button
*Fed every 3 hours

Day 20
*Fed 2 cc
*Slowly weaning off morphine

Day 21
*Fed 3 cc

Day 22
*We saw you yawn for the 1st time. :-)

Day 23
*Fed 4 cc
*3rd head ultrasound – possible abnormal cells

Day 24
*Fed 5 cc

Day 25
*Fed 6 cc
*Only 1 blood gas check now instead of 2

Day 26
*Fed 7 cc
*Oxygen level at 30%

Day 27
*Fed 8 cc
*Eye infection – drainage – given eye drops

Day 28
*Fed 9 cc (1 cc will be added every 12 hours to 18 cc)
*Urinating and having bow movements regularly

Day 29

Day 30
*Blood gas was not good

Day 31
*Blood gas good

Day 32
*No TPN (protein supplement) IVs
*All feeding done via feeding tube
*Growing infection in lungs – on antibiotics
*Up on vent support
*Blood transfusion

Day 33
*Infection in blood – on antibiotic
*IV for feedings – back on TPN
*More sedation

In all, Christian was in the hospital for 135 days! He had to endure…
* Ventilator (breathing machine) for 2 months
* Feeding tube for 2½ months
* Various infections
* 6 blood transfusions
* 1 surgery

But God said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” ~ John 11:4

The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. ~ Psalm 126:3

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The 33 Things...

That made my Birthday Special
11 cards
10 blog comments
5 phone messages
4 gifts from my sweetie
3 gifts from family/friends
The 4 great gifts my sweetie blessed me with are:
1. He took the day off!!!
2. He got me a spa gift certificate! My appt is this Sat. I can't wait!

3. He got me a brand new camera!!! I like my old camera but it's so slow between shots. It has only 3.2 mega pixels. This new camera has 8!!!!

4. He got the kids a babysitter and he took me to my fav. restaurant - Red Lobster. Of course I ate my 2 fav. foods...snow crab legs and shrimp.

Thank you so much babe for making my birthday extra special!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Life or Death @ 33

“Great age to die; you’ll be in great company!”

That is exactly what Pastor Piper said to me about a week ago when he found out that my 33rd birthday was coming up. Even though I knew that our Savior died at age 33, that comment still caught me off guard. However, it was the best thing that anyone could have told me. It reminded me that…

1) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my [Christ] sake will find it. – Matt. 10:39
2) To live is Christ, to die is gain. – Phil. 1:21
3) Absent from the body is to be home with the Lord. – 2 Cor. 5:8

Thank you Pastor John, I was thinking about life, but you helped me to think about death which would be of greater gain to me. Whether I die at age 33 or not, I want to live a life worthy of the calling (Matt. 10:37-38). Lord, help me to walk more faithful with You. My prayer is that when I see your face, You will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Matt. 25:23

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
(Pastor Piper's mom went to be with the Lord 34 years ago; she would have been 90 yrs old today. Click here to read the blog post that he wrote about her.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me…I’m 33!!!

Praise the Lord for blessing me with 33 years of life!

My friend, Tricia
, gave me a blog makeover for my birthday! Thank you so much T, you did an EXCELLENT job!!!

Blog friends, what ‘cha think???

P.S. Those who know me well know that I love birthdays. So, in honor of my 33rd birthday, each day this week all my posts will have something to do with my birthday or the #33. A week long birthday celebration…oh yeah! :-)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Christ trumps Color!

If you are a believer of Jesus Christ, EVERYTHING you do should represent Him. You no longer live, but Christ lives in you. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

At the point of salvation, you belong to new family. God is your Father and other believers are your siblings. It doesn’t matter what color you are; that’s obsolete in the body of Christ. When Christ lives in you, He is the One who should govern your thoughts, words, and actions not your culture. He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). Christ is serious about our love for Him. How do we love Him? We love God by living according to the truth of His Word (John 14:15).

When we as believers have an opportunity to choose someone to represent us, we should look closely at how well their beliefs and opinions line up with Biblical truths. The decision should never be based on their color.

Christ should trump color in ALL things! Think about that when you’re choosing a mate, a friend, or a church. By the way, be sure to remember that on November 4!

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Colossians 3:11

Friday, October 3, 2008

B is for Blessing!

Our baby girl is saying more words each day! When your only other child is non-verbal, you don't take any word or "attempt" for granted. Most of her 1st words all begin with the letter "B". She can say ball, bear, banana, baby, and the newest one is Bible. Of course, some of the words are missing a consonant or two, but you can definitely understand what she is saying. We're looking forward to the day that she can say Believer & Baptize, but not just say them but personally embrace them as truth. One day, I pray that I will be able to say --

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4