Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Giver of All Authority

This morning I was listening to an audio version of the Bible and today's portion included John 19:10-11

So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin. (ESV)

I was comforted in the reminder that God is sovereign in all aspects of our world, including the selection of who will be our leaders.  God has a plan behind raising a leader up or allowing another's reputation to be destroyed. 

Already candidates are gearing up for the 2012 presidential election.  Although God is sovereign and He ultimately will determine who will be our next President in 2012, we as Christians still have an obligation to be informed and to vote.  God's sovereignty is no excuse for inaction.  Rather, our actions (prayer, voting, running for an office) are a part of His plan.

In these troubled times, God's peace sustains me.  His grace will be sufficient for whatever we Christians may face in the near future.  Man is powerless apart from God. God is the Giver of all authority! 
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."  - Jesus

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering Their Sacrifice

Memorial Day draws to a close and for many it was a day for family gatherings, remembrance celebrations of lives given in sacrifice for our country and the placement of flowers on the graves of loved ones.  Did you know there is another group of individuals whose memory we should also cherish?  The Christians around this world who are martyred for their faith.  Until last week I did not realize that around 176,000 Christians are martyred in a year.  One Christian gives up their life for their faith every three minutes.  I realize this number was provided in 2009, but I suspect the number could be low instead of high. 

Open Doors USA provides an annual World Watch List of the countries where "faith costs the most".  Their rating system ranges from Severe Persecution (North Korea) to Some Problems (Malaysia).  It's reported that in North Korea they test chemical and biological weapons on Christians. An estimated 40,000 to 60,000 believers are imprisoned for their faith.

"They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—
of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth."  Hebrews 11:36-37

The top 10 worst countries to live in as a Christian:
  1. North Korea
  2. Iran
  3. Afgahanistan
  4. Saudi Arabia
  5. Somalia
  6. Maldives
  7. Yemen
  8. Iraq
  9. Uzbekistan
  10. Laos
It's sad to note that eight of the top ten are Muslim countries.  Could there possibly be any connection between this religion and the persecution of Christians? 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Proejct 64: Asparagus

Abby's little bucket hat seems to contain the asparagus color.

Teething = a fountain of drool.

To view the other entries, visit the Project 64 website. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

God's Gift of Life

As I view photos of the destruction left in the wake of these week's tornadoes I am so grateful for life.  Don't we take it for granted?  We assume each day will resemble the previous.  Disaster is so unexpected. 

So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

I am also grateful for life when I see Abby learning new things.  It's amazing to see her stand up, crawl, taste new foods.  When I first learned I was expecting, she was a little "bean" and now look at her. 

God is good.  Life is short.  Cherish each moment. 

Each Step I Take

Each step I take my Saviour goes before me,
And with His loving hand He leads the way,
And with each breath I whisper "I adore Thee;"
Oh, what joy to walk with Him each day.

Each step I take I know that He will guide me;
To higher ground He ever leads me on.
Until some day the last step will be taken.
Each step I take just leads me closer home.

At times I feel my faith begin to waver,
When up ahead I see a chasm wide.
It's then I turn and look up to my Saviour,
I am strong when He is by my side.

I trust in God, no matter come what may,
For life eternal in His hand,
He holds the key that opens up the way,
That will lead me to the promised land.

Each step I take I know that He will guide me;
To higher ground He ever leads me on.
Until some day the last step will be taken.
Each step I take just leads me closer home.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Too Many Possessions?

I'm in the middle of packing up our belongings.  Nearly a third of them remained packed throughout the last two and a half years.  I was able to survive without using these items.  I wonder if I could continue to live without them.

It seems we have too much stuff.  Do we truly need all that is contained in these towering stacks of boxes?  We did sell many unneeded items a few years ago and  our duplex was fairly empty.  Then along came Abby.  We have not been extravagant, but in spite of this, her gear, toys and clothing has accumulated.  How did the pioneers ever raise their babies without all these modern niceties? 

My closet is too full.  I have too many decorations.  I've spent too much on items that aren't necessary. I think I should be giving more to those who have a need.  More prayerful when I purchase items.  (A good deal can be passed up).  And more appreciative of my husband and daughter.  They cannot be replaced, but these possessions are only transient. 

"And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content." I Timothy 6:8

Monday, May 23, 2011

Be Ready with An Answer

I was upstairs packing boxes this morning when I heard a knock at the door.  I hurried down to the door to find a well-dressed lady at my door with a friend who had a baby in a stroller.  I immediately noticed a Bible in the lady's hand and guessed they could be Jehovah's witnesses.  I was correct.  I felt so unprepared as I had never spoken with any at my door since I had previously worked during the daytime hours. 

She had her Bible opened to Psalm 37:10-11 These verses speak about the meek inheriting the earth and the Bible she was using referred to the wicked one being taken away in verse 10.  I find it difficult to understand scriptures when they are taken out of context.  (That's why I love expository preaching.)  I don't know a lot about the beliefs of the JWs, but the selection of this verse seemed rather odd.  When she asked about peace on this earth I told her I didn't believe this world would have peace until the thousand year reign of Christ after Christ returns to reign with the saints.  She proceeded to offer me the Watchtower magazine, which I promptly refused. 

I then asked if I could share a little about my faith.  I explained my background as a pastor's daughter and how at the age of seven I was under heavy conviction regarding my sin.  After fighting this conviction for some time I was saved by God's grace and repented and put my faith in Jesus Christ.   She nodded and agreed that this was wonderful. 

I asked her who she thought Jesus Christ was and she said He was God's Son who led a wonderful example for all to follow.   I explained to her that I believed in the Trinity: Father, Son, and Spirit.  Of course she disagreed we both realized our conversation was going nowhere.  I told her I believe the Bible holds all truth and the more we study it and seek God's direction the more we will understand. She thanked me for my time and left. 

I prayed for both ladies immediately.  I really felt I didn't accomplish anything or approach them in the proper way.  Is the goal to win an argument?  Is the goal to show them their errors?  Is the goal to establish a relationship with the individual hoping to share more truth in the future?  I really don't know what questions I should have asked, but I am glad I was able to share my personal testimony, albeit a simple one. 

I suppose the lesson I learned was that I must be better prepared. 

"Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear"  I Peter 3:15
I've known so many who have taught we approach those who are deceived in an aggressive and confrontational manner.  The meaning of the Greek word for meekness is mildness of disposition and gentleness of spirit.   I should never use a sledgehammer to try to drive the seed into someone. 

I've also realized I have a tendency to speak using Christianese language.  It's so difficult to get past this when it's been ingrained for so many years.  The unconverted have no idea what these trite little phrases mean. 

God has continued to provide opportunities for me to share my faith with individuals recently.  I pray I will be a bit more prepared next time.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Kicking on Closed Doors

Several days ago we made the decision to move to a small town in north central Kansas.  For those of you who don't know our story, we returned to Northwest Iowa after Jeff lost his job in Wisconsin.  Iowa was a temporary stay and we knew we would eventually relocate again once we were back on our feet financially.  That was two and a half years ago.   

I had hoped to return to Wisconsin, but that wasn't an option for Jeff.  We had no idea where we should begin searching for jobs, but decided shorter winters would be nice.  Jeff must have fishing and hunting opportunities nearby.  I wanted a good church that we could be involved in as a family (as I'm still a member at my home church in Wisconsin).  Living closer to a few shopping options would be nice.  No, I'm not an extravagant spender, but enjoy shopping for bargains at stores like Target, Walgreens and Kohls. 

Throughout the last two and a half years we made numerous trips to search for jobs and housing:  Florida, NW Arkansas, Western Colorado and Southern Missouri.  We searched online for jobs and housing in many other locations.  Upon becoming a full-time mom I really tried to assist Jeff in his job search and scoured the web for jobs he might qualify for.  I submitted resumes and emails on his behalf.  He was never even called for an interview once.  It has been a frustrating journey.  We kicked and kicked on so many doors and they just weren't opening. 

Our last resort was for Jeff to request a transfer to another location.  The problem is that his company only had welding jobs available in Kansas.   This is not the most scenic state.  Just over a month ago we visited our soon-to-be-home in Kansas.  I thought it was too remote.  So did Jeff.  He was supposed to calling the human resource manager and tell him "no," but he felt he shouldn't and asked if the company would consider paying all of our moving expenses.  We prayed that if God would have us move there they would be willing to cover this added expense.  In the meantime we discussed the pros and cons to making the move and were very undecided.  It didn't seem as if God was clearly telling us to stay or go.   We waited nearly two weeks for an answer.  Imagine my surprise when the email arrived announcing they would cover all expenses.  After added discussion and prayer Jeff reluctantly accepted the job offer.  Since then we've really felt peace and some growing excitement about the move.  We had to take that initial step before God confirmed His will in our minds. 

This new location doesn't have the shopping amenities I had really wanted.  We may have to drive quite a distance to locate a good church, but apparently God wants us there for some reason.   His ways aren't our ways.  I'm anxious to see what He has planned for us. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Speak Up or Remain Silent?

This evening Jeff was out fishing and I had the TV on while Abby was napping on my lap.  There weren't many shows to choose from so I ended up catching a good portion of ABC's "What Would You Do?"  It's not a show I regularly watch although I believe I've seen it once before. 

This evening's show featured a young teen couple in a cafe arguing over whether to keep their baby.  The "dad" said he wasn't ready to become a father and pressures the "girlfriend" to get an abortion.  The women from Dallas, Texas area didn't appear to be shy.  Several were courageous  enough to come over and encourage the "girlfriend" to choose life.  One lady even prayed with the couple.  Another told the young man they were too young to "doing this" and encouraged them to save sex for marriage.  I trust I would have the courage to speak up also if faced with a similar real-life situation.  Life is precious and must be protected. 

"A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent." - Calvin

So when is it appropriate to speak up for what is right, defend the helpless or protect the innocent?  I certainly don't enjoy confrontation.  (That's my husband's role and he seems to enjoy it.)  There are times I fear for my own safety and feel I don't have the time to get involved.  I suppose that's how the high priest and Levite felt in the story of the Good Samaritan.

"Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked." Psalm 82:3-4

May I live out these commands in my daily life.  I must not fear what people think.  It's God I seek to please.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Project 64: Cerulean

Well, I struggled to find the color cerulean this week.  I opted for my garlic box.  It seems to be a bit darker, but I think it's as close as I'm going to get.  For more entries of the color cerulean visit Project 64.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Black Screen

This morning when Jeff left for work he came into the bedroom and informed me that my laptop screen was black even though the computer was on.  My response:  panic.  It was just before 5:00 AM, but I stumbled out of bed and hurried downstairs to determine the problem.  He didn't intend for me to react that way, but didn't want me to think he had "injured" the laptop.  This would be a likely assumption since I am the more technical one in our family. 

Unfortunately, I tried to restart the laptop and it wouldn't start.  This was the same problem I had about a month and a half ago and the solution required professional help.  I knew we couldn't afford to take the computer to the pro every other month so I prayed about it and began running all the repair options.  After about two hours, my computer restarted!  I have no idea what the problem was, but I thank God for answered prayer!  He cares about the smallest details of our lives. 

Lord, help me not to be a Martha, anxious and troubled over many things, but give me the heart of her sister, whose desire was to sit at your feet and learn.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

No More Heavy Patients?

Today I read the story of doctors refusing to treat patients due to their weight.  While their equipment may not be capable of handling heavier individuals there is also concern that these patients are high-risk.  Is this wrong for the doctors to do?  While there are definitely individuals who overeat and bring obesity upon themselves, this is not always the case.  Regardless, there are many diseases and conditions caused or exacerbated by risky behaviors or addictions.  Where do we draw the line?  Shouldn't all life be sacred?  Should anyone be refused due to their age, addiction to cigarettes, or a previous medical condition?

I thank God that He the Great Physician does not refuse to treat those who are bound by the disease of sin.  He seeks to deliver the sinner through salvation.    Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.  Mark 2:17  How can He treat those who are oblivious to their terminal condition? How wonderful it is to have the Holy Spirit reveal to us our sinful condition and then proceed to draw us to the Father. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

God's Creativity

Yesterday afternoon Jeff, Abby and I took a stroll on one of the local nature trails.  We didn't stay out too long as Abby wasn't entirely thrilled with the idea of riding in the stroller for any length of time.

Not enjoying her ride too much.  Note the bruise on her forehead from lots of recent tumbles.

The sun was brightly shining and soon our senses were flooded with the smells, colors, and sounds of spring.  We were especially excited to see so many varieties of birds:  ducks, geese, yellow warblers, sandpipers, osprey, and several others I couldn't identify as I hadn't brought along our field guide.

I was reminded of God's creativity.  Only a creative God would create thousands of species of birds, melodious calls for mankind to enjoy, flowers in numerous colors, and an array of pleasant smells emanating from the blossoms on trees and flowers.  He created all things according to His will and pleasure.  If we enjoy the beauty of this earth now, how much more will we enjoy that which is not tainted by sin's ugly curse?

I find it fascinating that man or woman in expensive designer clothes does not compare to the delicate beauty of the lilies in the field.  Matthew 6:29   We serve the greatest Designer.  Those of us who have been redeemed are His masterpieces, handcrafted for a specific purpose in His kingdom. Ephesians 2:10

Sunday, May 15, 2011


It's difficult for me to sit down and read a book.  I care for a four-month old several times a week and watch Abby as well.  I've been tucking the book If into my diaper bag so that I can grab it and read a few lines between naps and feedings.  It's a small book that holds powerful words about Calvary love by Amy Carmichael

Here is a portion that spoke to me today:
If I cannot catch "the sound of noise of rain" long before the rain falls,
and, going to some hilltop of the spirit, as near to my God as I can,
have not faith to wait there with my face between my knees,
though six times or sixty times I am told "there is nothing,"
till at last "there arises a little cloud out of the sea,"
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

 Right now I'm trusting that the rain will soon be falling.

Friday, May 13, 2011

How Do You View God?

Paul Froese and Christopher Bader published a book last year entitled America's Four Gods — What We Say About God and What That Says About Us.  In their studies they discovered that 95% of Americans believe in a God, but their views of Him can be broken down into four varying perceptions:

  • About 28% believe in an "authoritative" God who is engaged in the world and judgmental
  • About 22% in an engaged but "benevolent" God who loves us despite our failings
  • About 21% conceive of a "critical" God who keeps track of our sins and may render judgment in the afterlife
  • About 24% see a "distant" God who set the universe in motion but is not involved in day-to-day life
Take their test online to see what your view of God is.  My results showed I believe in an authoritarian God.

If you had to describe God in one word, what word would you use?  I think I would use the word "holy."  I personally think this word encapsulates who God  is best.

David Wells in No Place for Truth, Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology? wrote:
"Sin is defiance of God's holiness, the Cross is the outworking and victory of God's holiness, and faith is the recognition of God's holiness. Knowing that God is holy is therefore the key to knowing life as it truly is, knowing Christ as He truly is, knowing why He came, and knowing how life will end."
The one command that makes me tremble at the thought of my own unholiness is ""Be holy, for I am holy." I Peter 1:15  The preceding verse commands us to be holy in all our conduct and behavior.  When I have a proper view of God I will obey His commands and treat my fellow man as God instructs me to.  Isn't this what is summed up in the two greatest commands:  to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind and to love my neighbor as myself?  Matthew 22:37-39  I have a dear friend of mine who when faced with temptation verbally asked himself "How could I do this and grieve my Savior?"  A proper view of God is sin's best prevention.

In Revelation we find creatures declaring "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come" both day and night.  I enjoy the Revelation song as it reminds me that if these creatures can declare God's holiness, how much more should we who have experienced His saving grace?  Here are the lyrics:

Revelation Song by Kari Jobe

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain
Holy, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be
to You the only wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder
At the mention of your name
Jesus your name is power
Breath, and living water
Such a marvelous mystery

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings
You are my everything
And I will adore You 

For a video of Kari singing it visit this link.  

Afternoon Walk at the Hogsback

I took Abby to the Hogsback for the first time.  It's a local wildlife refuge that has sloughs, trails, and small lakes.  I wore her in her carrier and discovered it's quite difficult to shoot photos while carrying a baby.  She enjoyed it in spite of the cool cloudy weather.  I love being outdoors in God's creation.  Not a lot is blooming yet, but it's encouraging to see green grass and leaves sprouting.

New Mommy Style

I’ve noticed the clothing I wear has morphed into "new mommy style" in the last six months.  Before I dress each day I go through a checklist of questions:

  • Have I invested enough money into this item that it’s not worth ruining today?  I’ve been able to get most stains out, but there are a few select items it’s not worth taking a chance on.
  • Can I nurse in this?  This rules out almost all dresses.  Someday I shall wear them again.
  • Is the shirt long enough?  Seems I need longer shirts after becoming a mommy.  I have a couple of theories, but won’t share them at this time.
  • Would this pattern or color camouflage puke, drool, and remnants of baby food?  Someone should absolutely come up with a new camouflage pattern just for mommies and perhaps it could be absorbent too.  And disposable clothing sounds like a good idea.
  • Is this shirt sturdy enough to provide modesty if my daughter decides to pull down on the neckline?  Why is this fun for babies?  I’ve had to jerk my neckline up so many times when wearing any stretchy comfy shirt in public.  
  • Will this fabric became a lint roller if I decide to play on the floor with Abby?  Never a good look and difficult to rectify unless you have some duct tape handy.  
  • Does this outfit reveal my lack of muscle tone in the stomach area?  I’ve lost the baby weight, but my body shape has changed.  Guess I have to actually work at toning those muscles if I want that flat stomach again.  Oh well, too much time and effort.  Maybe some other day.  
Today I learned I should not wear a flowing knee-length skirt when carrying Abby.  When the wind picks up and your skirt also gets a little lift, it’s difficult to know what’s a priority . . . keeping your baby safely grasped in your arms or tucking the skirt down.   

I love shopping for affordable clothing at resale shops and on clearance racks.  Guess it's time to hit a few stores and expand my wardrobe a bit.  Of course, what woman really needs an excuse to shop for clothing?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Project 64: Tumbleweed

 I don't think I quite matched the exact shade of Tumbleweed, but here is my entry.  I've included two other outtakes.  It's really enjoyable to search for the color of the week.  Check out the other entries at Project 64.
Last year's cattail.

Little mobile elephant.

Much-used wooden spoons.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

True Faith, Where Is It?

Luke 18: 8 asks "when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"  I was reminded of this verse as I was reading a fairly recent Barna report.   In a day when tolerance is embraced most of the statistics weren't all that surprising.  Of the individuals surveyed here are a handful of the results:
  • 43% agreed and 54% disagreed with the statement, “It doesn’t matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons.” 
  • 40% agree and 50% disagreed with the statement, "All people are eventually saved or accepted by God, no matter what they do, because he loves all people he has created”
  • 48% agreed and 44% disagreed with the statement, "If a person is generally good or does enough good things for others, they will earn a place in heaven.” 
  • 59% of adults believe that “Christians and Muslims worship the same God even though they have different names and beliefs regarding God.”
Barna then asked some questions to those who  are considered born-again.  They specify in this report that the term "born again" was applied to  "those who have made a commitment to Jesus Christ and who believe they are going to heaven because of their confession of sins and accepted Christ as their savior. It is not based upon self-identifying with the label 'born again.'"  Upon surveying the group of born again individuals they discovered that 25% believe all people are eventually saved or accepted by God. 26% believe it doesn’t matter what religious faith you follow because they all teach the same lessons. 40%  indicated that they believe Christians and Muslims worship the same God. 

People easily tolerate false teachings, but it's the truth that wounds and cuts.  Yes, the "Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword . . ."  Hebrews 4:12  Wouldn't it be startling for us to realize how few individuals who consider themselves born again are truly converted?   The gospel has been watered-down or added to in so many churches.   So few are living a life of true faith.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Being Still

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10  I looked up the meaning of the Hebrew word still.  Included in its definition is to cease, to leave off what you have been doing, and to be idle.

It seems I've been forced to be still lately.  Yesterday I spent five and a half hours sitting with a man who was dying.  When I introduced myself to him I asked if I could pray with him or read some scripture to him and he said, "Not now."  Inwardly I wondered, "If not now, then when?"

I really felt I didn't accomplish much during the vigil (I'm a Hospice volunteer).  I sat alone next to him most of the time.  Later on in the evening I chatted with his cousin as we waited for the man's sister and only immediate family member to arrive.

It's difficult for me to be still.  I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything.  Yesterday when I was alone I used the time to silently pray for the man.  I was able to adjust his pillow, give him sips of water and coke and call the nurses for him.  Such small things.  Often I want to do the big things to make a difference in others lives.  But this is not what God has called me to do.  At this moment He's not called me to be "doing" a lot by secular standards.  I'm raising my daughter, a caregiver for a four-month-old and a volunteer who sits with those who are dying.   Yet I am influencing the lives I touch and I need to remember to do all (yes, even the sitting) to God's glory.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

For Our Children

My life has been blessed since the birth of little Abby.  I never knew how much a child could transform a mother's life.  I also never realized how quickly the sin nature becomes evident.  She is quite obviously a stubborn child, but I love her regardless. 

When I began assembling a baby scrapbook to remember Abby's milestones I discovered this poem that Amy Carmichael had written.  I printed it off and included it on one of the pages.  In honor of Mother's Day, here's that poem:
For Our Children
Father, hear us, we are praying,
Hear the words our hearts are saying;
We are praying for our children.
Keep them from the powers of evil,
From the secret, hidden peril;
Father, hear us for our children.
From the whirlpool that would suck them,
From the treacherous quicksand, pluck them;
Father, hear us for our children.
From the wordling’s hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Father, Father, keep our children.
Through life’s troubled waters steer them;
Through  life’s bitter battle cheer them;
Father, Father, be Thou near them.
Read the language of our longing,
Read the wordless pleadings thronging,
Holy Father, for our children.
And wherever they may bide,
Lead them Home at eventide.

An Hour At the Lake

Spring Buds
Little buds that are somewhat rose shaped.

Ahh, spring is here . . .  better late than never.

Love to see people flying our flag.

Evening shadows begin to set in. 

Milky Way Road Kill

Pretty sunfish Jeff caught.  He released it.

Lake's edge abstract.

I'll Pass on the Poison, Thank You

Since becoming a mother, I've been introduced to a brand-new universe of fears:  recalls of products, pesticides in foods, vaccines, toxic chemicals, additives, heavy metals, hormones in foods, meat glue, and the list goes on and on.  Every week I share a new concern about a food or product with Jeff.  He typically doesn't take information about these food items too seriously and usually comments that this does not affect his daily life.

I believe God has given us all foods to enjoy and man has tainted many of them in our quest to produce more foods faster and at a lower cost.    Upon this cursory research I'm beginning to wonder if Jesus might be referring to the foods we consume in everyday life when he mentions if they drink any deadly poison it will not hurt them. Mark 16:18  (And no, I'm not being entirely serious.)

I think most women are prone to worry. If I allowed these fears of potential harm to take control I would only grow my own food and live a cloistered life from now till my death.  I don't believe that's exactly what God intended for my family.  How can the world learn about our Savior if all Christians went and hid in secluded locations? Christ desires for us to mature spiritually as we fellowship with the believers at our local church body.  That's impossible if we're cut off from civilization.  This would also prevent us from practicing the "pure religion" of caring for the orphans and widows as mentioned in James.  This verse also adds that we are to remain unspotted from the the world.  Our goal should be to become/remain irreproachable in this world as opposed to shielding ourselves from all environmental ills. Facing these tangible fears in a calm and faith-filled manner can be a testimony to those around us.

So until I'm in heaven sampling fruit off the tree of life I'll pray and ask God to bless the poison right out of all the food I eat.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Project 64: Red Violet

I don't have a box of 64 crayons so I used my computer screen as my guide to try to match this color.  Red violet is definitely more pink than I ever imagined.  Here is my entry for the week and a few outtakes just for fun.  Visit Project 64 to learn more about this creative photo journey.

Tiny baby shoes.

Ointment in the Eye

Abby has had a blocked tear duct since birth.  It's been an annoyance as I'm always cleaning the crustiness or goop off.  People ask questions and her eye looks unappealing in photos.  At her doctor's appointment on Monday her doctor prescribed some antibiotic ointment for the eye.  I'm also supposed to massage the blocked duct with a warm washcloth and a little baby shampoo each time I change her diaper.  She doesn't mind that.  But the instructions accompanying the ointment are a bit more complicated.  The pharmacist stepped over to the consultation window and reviewed the steps with me:  "Now put a 1/2 inch strip on the inner lower eyelid  three times a day for seven days."  I should have requested a demonstration.  I never knew a baby could squeeze her eyelid closed so tightly.  I'm fearful I'll jab the tip of the tube into her eyeball as she thrashes her head around screaming.   Her long black eyelashes end up covered in the ointment and I just hope some of it will soak into the eye area.  I even talked Jeff into trying it as I wanted him to realize how difficult this was.  He essentially failed also.  Now I've resorted to holding up one of her favorite toys with my left hand and distracting her as I quickly try to squeeze a bit of the ointment into the eye.  Ahhh, the challenges of motherhood.   Yes, I'm still grateful to be a mother to my precious daughter. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Joshua and the Gibeonites

We have a major decision to make and we're seeking God's guidance as we don't know what to do.  It's not as simple as casting lots.  I would love to solve life's problems so easily.  Laying a fleece out in the rain (or snow) is a tempting solution also.

I mentioned to Jeff this evening that we don't want to make the mistake that Joshua made.  Despite being an amazing leader to the children of Israel he once made a hasty decision that cost him dearly.  Joshua made a peace treaty with the Gibeonites without consulting God first.  Why need to bother God with such a small decision?  These poor tired ambassadors from distant Gibeon appear honest.  But they were locals who were feared annihilation and successfully tricked Joshua into the treaty.  The repercussions affected subsequent generations as King Saul eventually broke the treaty and killed many of the Gibeonites.   Then under King David's rule God cursed the land with a famine for three years.  In order to end the curse that resulted from King Saul's sin, seven of his children or grandchildren were killed.  II Samuel 21:1-9  All of this occurred because one man did not consult God when making a decision. Charles Spurgeon said, "We generally make our worst mistakes in matters which appear to us to be so plain that we think we do not need direction from God concerning them."

How do we know which choice is the right one? 
  • We must allow the peace of God to rule our hearts.  Colossians 3:15  Yesterday I heard David Jeremiah on our local station KJIA mention this verse and he explained that the word rule translated from the Greek can mean "umpire."  (I didn't take his word for this and I looked it up for myself).  We should allow God's peace to call the shots, so to speak. 
  • We must make certain this decision doesn't violate any of God's commands.  How many times can selfish motivations skew our judgment?
  • We must pray that God will make the way clear.  Like Moses we must pray "if I have found grace in your sight, shew me now your way" and "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here."  Exodus 33:13-15

Little Imitator

Abby is only six months old, but she's already beginning to imitate her mother.  She prefers to type on my laptop and grabs the remote and the wireless mouse to use.  It can be quite frustrating as I give her the toys she's supposed to play with and she chooses to use my "toys."   She attempts to make the same silly noises I do when I'm playing with her.  She's already imitating me and it's a frightening realization. 

What am I teaching her at this young age?  Are my attitudes, my habits, and my verbal responses ones I want her to imitate?   Do I have reason to be embarrassed to have a daughter follow in my footsteps?

It's a challenge to be purposeful in my parenting.  I posses the proper ingredients to be a godly parent, as found in God's Word. Am I using each of them in daily living?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dei gratia

I have the Theological Word of the Day widget on my blog.  I'm often overwhelmed with too much information and don't take the time to read what the word of the day is.  Today I noticed it's dei gratia.  This Latin phrase is translated to mean "by God's grace" and is a "phrase used in recognition that all of life, sustenance, power, and hope are found in God’s unmerited bestowal of favor upon the undeserving."  What I found most fascinating is that this phrase is used on British and Canadian coins with the abbreviation D.G.  Do the citizens know what those two simple letters stand for?  Isn't that a wonderful phrase?  I think I like it better than "In God We Trust."   Yes, all I have and all I am is only possible through God's grace. 

The Label Maker

I recently heard Elizabeth Hagen speak at a Moms and Toddlers event.  Elizabeth is a professional organizer, not someone I would naturally emulate.  I am disorganized.  More so now that I'm a mom.  I'm constantly interrupted.  I begin a task and then discover another undone task and begin to work on that and then Abby begins crying.  So my house is in an undone state.  Elizabeth's presentation made organizing almost sound fun.  I took some good notes till I was notified that Abby was crying and hungry in the nursery. 

Elizabeth had three door prizes and I was fortunate enough to win a label maker.  Now I've used one in my previous jobs, but it's not a product I would consider purchasing.  Unfortunately, it still sits unopened on my table in the living room.  I know I have no excuse for not being organized.  I have the tools. I have the steps I need to take. Now I just need to take action.  I must make it a priority.  I know I can be organized, as several bosses have told me I am.  I think I've just pretended to be organized so that no one would know how disorganized I actually am.  More likely the pressing deadlines compelled me to prioritize. 

My problem is that I don't consider my home my workplace.  I guess it is now.  I've viewed it as my sanctuary, my charging station and my entertainment center.  It's so difficult to view it in a different light and focus on the tasks that must be completed in order to keep it functioning smoothly.  I've enjoyed planning major events and fundraisers, but when it comes to tomorrow's menu, I have no clue what we'll be eating.  It all depends on what I'm hungry for the moment the hunger pangs begin. 

I am slowly implementing some of the tips Elizabeth provided.  One of them was to make sure every item has a home.  I guess it's time to find a permanent location to store my new label maker. It must be put to good use.  I WILL BE organized.  It's not too late for a 2011 resolution is it? 
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