Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Encouragement for your Tuesday

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him...so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12:2-3)

When I'm tired, emotional, weary about my day, my circumstances, my life, whatever it may be....I should look to Jesus, who has endured the cross for me! Many times, I'll go to eating, zoning out on TV, some "guilty pleasure" for comfort, when I should be going first to Jesus.

Jesus, who is God, went up to the mountain to pray and be alone with God every night during His mission years! He needed to strengthen Himself and refresh Himself spiritually for His mission. How much more do I need to spend time going to God in prayer and alone time!

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Its been forever

I know its been an incredibly long time since I have posted. Life has been coming fast and furious. I often think of things I'd like to post but never find the time/energy to do it! I'm amazed by the people who are able to consistently post....

Of all of the things that I have been doing, the one that has me growing the most spiritually and in my accountability to Christ is the weekly Bible study I have been attending through Community Bible Study.  It is a wonderful women's group with (of course) Scripture, study, worship and fellowship. Some weeks I feel like I don't want to make the effort to get Brogan and myself ready to go, but I am ALWAYS glad that I do!

We are studying the book of John, which is an incredible book! I'd like to share a few things with you. Bear with me because it will be kind of choppy (I don't have a gift for prose!)

The amazing thing is that Jesus just lays it out there for everyone. There is no beating around the bush. So many times I have read over a Scripture passage or heard a message at church and only caught the superficial meaning. I have been trying more and more to get to the bottom of the spiritual truth and apply it practically to my life. That has been key for me in my growth.

"I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of Life" Jn 8:12 Its incredible to think, especially when my path looks uncertain, or when I don't know where I'm going in life or how I'll get there, all I need to do is to look to Jesus (and follow him!) and he will light my way. Its that simple! Of course, actually following and relying on Him may not be as simple......

"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him." Jn 3:17 and after the crowd asked Jesus how they could accomplish the works of God he said "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." Jn 6:29. The will of God is that we believe in Jesus, so that we may be saved through Him. That is how we accomplish his work! Once we believe in Him and are saved, we have eternal life "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life..." Jn 3:36, and if you believe in Him, you'll follow his teachings.

Following his teachings is not easy or fashionable. In fact, many of his disciples left and returned back to their old ways as he revealed some of his teachings (Jn 6:66). My challenge is to continue to learn how to apply Jesus' teaching practically to my life.

This book is filled with so much spiritual fruit, I hope you'll take the time to read and study it.  I wanted to include so many other things but I'm out of time! I will try to add more as we learn more. Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Intentionally spending time in the Word

So again, its been a long time! We have been very busy with Brogan's first birthday (can you believe it?!) and just life in general! In my continual quest to become more organized I am trying to become more intentional about how I use my time. I have been very fortunate because recently Brogan decided to take 2 naps a day consistently! So, I am trying to optimize my time as much as possible for as long as this phase lasts.

For the past year or so, my husband and I have been doing daily devotionals together and we have separately been spending a little time here or there reading the Bible. Our pastor at church has been consistently asking us if we are spending our gift of time growing closer to God. (Time is one of 3 aspects of Stewarship: Time, Talent, Treasure) Well, some of it! I have felt for awhile that I needed to take this aspect of my faith more seriously so Brandon and I talked, and we are going to set aside some time in the evening for Bible study. We found a great resource: Agape Bible Study www.agapebiblestudy.com , which is a free Catholic based Bible study. It has several different studies, other articles and info! We will be starting with the Beatitudes, which is a 10 week study, then move on from there. There are so many studies on there, it will keep us busy for quite some time, which is great!

This is going to be a great, wonderful challenge. How are you spending the gift of your time?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

He is Risen! As I contemplated Christ's sacrifice for us over the last few days, I began to feel the familiar shame over my sins. Each year at Easter, I get very emotional about the sacrifice that Christ made for us and the part I play in his sufferings. Sometimes I am so sad and so ashamed, I have difficulty celebrating because of what Christ went through for us! In our church bulletin today there was a quote from St. Augustine which I wanted to share. I need to keep this in mind whenever I begin to feel those familiar pangs. Its ok to be sorry for our contribution to the cross, but we need to keep our hope in the Glory of Easter!

"The death of the Lord our God should not be a cause of shame for us; rather, it should be our greatest hope, our greatest glory. In taking upon Himself the death that He found in us, He most faithfully promised to give us life in Him, such as we cannot have of ourselves. He loved us so much that, sinless Himself, He suffered for us sinners the punishment we deserved for our sins. How then can He fail to give us the reward we deserve for our righteousness, for He is the source of righteousness? How can He, whose promises are true, fail to reward the saints when He bore the punishment of sinners, though without sin Himself? Brethren, let us then fearlessly acknowledge, and even openly proclaim, that Christ was crucified for us; let us confess it, not in fear but in joy, not in shame but in glory."

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the Easter egg hunt and our walk at the park this weekend :)

Friday, April 22, 2011

Where is Spring?

This cold weather seems interminable! I am still making soups, which I thought I would have been done with those a month ago! So, I'm posting a delicious soup recipe that I recently made for those chilly Spring days!

Chicken Tortilla Soup - serves 6ish

2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups cooked/cubed chicken
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 diced yellow pepper
1 diced onion
3 cloves garlic -minced
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 T oregano
black pepper
hot peppers if desired

Saute onions and garlic until onions are transparent, add yellow pepper and saute for a few minutes. Combine rest of ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips.

I love this recipe because I just use whatever I have on hand - easy to mix and match, its quick too! You can add cilantro, a jar of salsa, hot peppers or cayenne pepper to your desired heat, use avocado or sour cream as garnishes as well. :)


Monday, April 11, 2011

Busy Busy Busy!

So I know its been a long time. I've thought a lot about sitting down to write an update, but then suddenly its on the bottom of the list and it never happens. We have been busy keeping our house (semi)clean while its on the market. The basement has been finished, I am planning Andrea and Joe's engagement party, we went out of town to Chicago last weekend, etc! Needless to say, this update is going to be all over the place.

So, first of all, the house: It has been on the market for about 5 weeks now. We have had 2 showings. The feedback for the first was very positive, they just wished we had carpet down in the basement. However, they have to sell their house first before they buy. The other showing has not given any feed back yet, but they had just come this past Wednesday. The bad news is, another house went on the market in our neighborhood, so that makes 5 others right by us that are for sale. We'll see. If it doesn't sell, we are ok with that. We would love to have a large yard so that the kids could go out an play, but it isn't a requirement, and we could be quite happy here for a while!

Andrea and Joe's engagement party is coming along. It is scheduled for May 1st. I finally got the invites out. We are having it at a coffee shop in downtown Grand Rapids. It should be really cute! I have been getting a lot of help from my mom and my sisters, thank goodness. This party planning business is a lot of work! :)

Now onto what you really want to hear about: Brogan! He has 3 teeth right now, 1 is coming through as I write this, and 1 more is just sitting there waiting to come in. He is balancing by himself, can walk with 1 hand assistance and every once in awhile will try to take a step. He can crawl up and down the stairs with one of us standing there. About 7 weeks ago he got his first official haircut and he definitely needs another one!

It has been amazing to watch him grow. I can't believe in less than 2 months he'll be a year old. He is now understanding some words and following a few simple commands. His favorite is when I tell him to "shake the ball!" and he'll do it! :) I hope to get some more pictures as the weather continues to improve and I will post them here. Have a great day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Accountability Update

Well time flies, doesn't it? I have had difficulty finding time to work on this. We have been busy getting ready to put our house on the market. Our goal at this time is to sell our house, buy some land and build a house. We had a lot of family over to help us clean a few weeks ago....it would have taken us months to do it ourselves! Thank you to everyone who helped!

The day after I posted the first message, I actually got up on time, worked out, and did all I said I was going to do! It felt great! I felt so much more productive and at ease. Since then, I have been working out a few days a week and trying to keep up with housework, though I must admit, not as much as I wanted to. With the basement under construction and the house kind of torn apart, keeping up has just not been feasible. And, you'll be happy to know, I haven't been stressing out about it! Its just the way it will be for a little while!

On another topic...
One of the ways I have been honoring my accountability to Christ is through daily devotionals. I came across one the other day that I'd like to share. It speaks to something I have been thinking about for a while now. It is part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount:

               "...Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." Mt 5:16

We are the Body of Christ. We are His Hands and Feet. We bring Christ to others, partly through our good deeds. However, we can't just do good and expect others to know that God is responsible for our actions. They may think we are just do-gooders. We need (Jesus says must) to shine our light before others. How do we do this? I think of my daily grind and the limited interaction I get with others outside of my own family. How am I going to shine the light for Christ so that in my good deeds, He may be glorified? I definitely get stuck here. It is a work in progress....