Tidbit # I lost count

So I know I said I would post the tidbit’s I send out at work here.. But I’ve been a little behind the eight ball with it… So I’ll slowly but surely catch up.. Here is this weeks though!

“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:19-25

I wish I could just put the entire book of Hebrews in this tidbit, but that would be too long. So for those of you who have not read Hebrews, I challenge you to do it! It is a book all about who Jesus is and then what that means for us. It’s so good!

The above verses are kind of the shifting point in the book. Anytime you see a sentence that starts with the word therefore you should go back and see what it’s there for. This therefore is a big therefore in my opinion. I think it’s the writer taking a big breath after describing Jesus in depth and says because of everything I just said about who Jesus is this is what you should do.

Since I can’t put the whole book of Hebrews in this tidbit I’ll summarize a little of what the writer has said about Jesus. He starts out the book explaining that Jesus is his son, and is fully God. It states that Jesus is higher than everyone, or thing because it was created through Him. It talks about how God chose to speak through the prophets in the old days but in these days he chose to speak through His son. And because He chose to speak through his son, we better listen a little more carefully because Jesus is better than the prophets, better than Moses, and Joshua. Then he goes into how Jesus is a High Priest. And not a high priest from the line of Levi, but a high priest from a better order. It goes into how Jesus’ sacrifice was better than the rams and the bulls because those continually had to be offered for sins and Jesus’ sacrifice of his own body was once for all! The writer basically describes how Jesus is better in every respect than everything that has come before, and that the new covenant he established with his death and resurrection is so much better.

The writer says because of all that let us draw near to God with confidence, let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, and make sure we meet together and keep encouraging others.

So how do we do this? How do we practically live this out? I think we make sure we are spending time with the Lord, and when we pray we pray in confidence that He hears our prayers, and that He answers prayers. We remember that God is still in control, even when things seem like they are out of control, when things are so uncertain.

Instead of focusing on each other’s faults, or weaknesses, or the latest gossip, we focus on how to stir one another up to love and good works. Elsewhere in Hebrews it talks about how we should exhort one another every day, and that doesn’t leave much room for non-edifying talk. When we meet together let’s keep all the negativity out and lets focus on Jesus, and how to be more like him. Instead of tearing each other down let’s encourage each other.

My challenge this week is for us to pick two people a day and intentionally encourage them, or show them love, in some way. Whether you send an email, shoot a text, make a phone call, or say it face to face.

Jesus is better, so let’s strive to be like Him!

Advertisements

The 40 days before Easter

I have been participating in Lent since I was in junior high, maybe even before that. But in the last few years it’s taken on a new meaning for me. I’ve put more thought into what I wanted to give up or add-on. I really wanted whatever it was to remind me of Christ death on the cross, to draw me closer to him, to make it about him and not about what I could do. You can read here and here about the things I gave up the last two years and how they drew me closer to the Lord.

This year as I was talking about what to give up or add-on with my friend Jamie. She mentioned that we needed to think outside the box. And I agreed. I wasn’t feeling led to give up any food, and after becoming gluten intolerant after giving up bread last year I wasn’t keen on doing anything food related anyway. I wasn’t feeling led to give up anything really.

So I started thinking about what I could add-on. Jamie and I talked some more and we decided we would memorize some scripture together. And here is what I learned:

  1. When you repeat scripture over and over out-loud to yourself you can have “aha” moments. You know moments where a piece of scripture comes together and you really understand it. Had I not been repeating the verse over and over I wouldn’t fully understand those sections.
  2. You can’t memorize scripture on your own strength. There were a few times where I would read the verse and my brain would say “nope, no more, I’m done.” or “Nope, I’m tired, not doing it.” These moments were really good reminders that my flesh is weak, but God’s strength is immeasurable.
  3. The more time you spend in the scripture the more you see correlations between books of the Bible, the more you understand certain topics, and the more you learn. This doesn’t have to come from memorization, certainly just studying the Bible helps you do this. But because I was memorizing certain verses, those were on my mind and when I would hear a sermon, a song, or have a conversation about the Lord with someone, it would relate somehow or it would expound upon a verse or something.
  4. I’ve wasted a lot of time in the last year and a half… Say what? Well I did most of my memorizing while I was walking my dog in the mornings. I walk her forty-five minutes to an hour most mornings. And while I’ve tried to use that time for the Lord before, I’ve always been distracted or not disciplined, and it hasn’t worked out. But I see now that I can focus and be disciplined with that time. So here’s not wasting that precious time but to start using it for God’s glory!

 

Adults Throw Temper Tantrums Too

I’ve heard it said that the Lord uses your kids to teach you about Himself. I’ve always believed it just because people I’ve been close to have said it. But now I can believe it because it happened to me the other night.

I’ve kind of been in a funk with my relationship with the Lord lately and not been spending much time with him. As a result I’ve been down in the dumps, discontent, and really negative. A few days ago I reached bottom I guess you can say. I knew the Lord was patiently pursuing me, and waiting for me to repent, surrender and turn back to Him. And I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t turning back to Him. So of course I asked the Lord for help. To show me where my sin was, so I could turn away from it. And like always, He did, but He used one of my kids to do it.

On Saturday while one of my kids was in the midst of a fit they screamed “You guys don’t love me because you don’t let me do what I want, I never get to do what I want, You let all the others do whatever they want but I always get no answers!” My first thought was “I hate the devil.” I was thinking that because this kid, like so many in this generation, has a distorted view of love. They think that love is getting whatever they want regardless of their behavior. The devil just keeps on spinning that lie.

As I was thinking about that the Lord just knocked me to my knees. He brought me to the realization that I was acting toward Him just like my kid was acting toward me. I was mad at the Him because He wasn’t giving me the yes answer I wanted. And I threw a fit just like my kid. I stopped spending time with Him and started trying to fill the place in my heart that only He can fill with human things. I was exchanging the creator for the creation. Which only led to heartache and pain, which caused more anger at the Lord, just like the consequences my kid earned made her more mad at me.

What is there to do in that moment other than to repent, and praise Him answering prayers even when we don’t deserve it?

 

 

 

Likeness of God

For the third year in a row I committed to reading through the Bible in a year. Last year I failed miserably at staying with the plan. But this I’m determined to stay with it this year. But with reading through I want to make sure I’m reading it as if for the first time. I want the Lord to reveal to me new things in his word. Things I’ve never seen before, or things I’ve seen but not realized the depth of. As I come across these things I want to share them with you all. So here is the first of many to come.

So as with a lot of read through the Bible in a year plans part of my readings started in Genesis. There are two things so far in Genesis that I want to share.

First is in Genesis 1, which is the creation account. What stuck out to me when reading this is when God comes to create humans he says “let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”

This is not news to me. I wrote my advanced writing paper in college about being made in the image of God and what that means. But what was news to me this time is that the text itself emphasizes this. Previous to this verse are verses about God creating all the animals. And it says he creates them after its kind. It says that about all of them. But then he comes to make humans and it’s not after their own kind. It’s after his kind. When something is repeating in scripture and then the pattern breaks usually you should pay attention to what it’s saying when the pattern breaks. The text is drawing emphasis to it. I’ve never noticed that before.

The second is in Chapter 3, the fall of man. We all know the story. The serpent comes to the woman tempting her to eat the forbidden fruit. But what he says is what stuck out to me. He says “You will surely not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (italics added by me).

Wait a minute… The woman was already like God. She was made in His likeness. She forgets all about this. She trades the truth of being in His likeness for whatever fake likeness she will get from the fruit. The crazy thing is, to this day we are trading the truth of God for the lies of sin.

blog

Answered Prayers

This morning at church one of the missionaries we support gave the sermon. It took about maybe 2 minutes, if that, into his sermon for me to realize the Lord was speaking directly to me. He made slight mention to his main point and I knew what he was going to say and knew it was the Lord answering my prayers!

The back story:

Back when I was in high school I started spending time with the Lord daily. I would be super consistent until I could no longer “feel” the Lord right there with me. Then I would struggle and doubt and all that jazz. Then between my junior and senior year of high school I went to this month-long camp at Hume Lake called Caleb. We would have a quiet time every day. I struggled with “feeling” the Lord a lot during those times. We were studying Ephesians that month and one quiet time at Jenny Lake where we had backpacked to I came to Ephesians 2:6, where it talks about how we are raised and seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ. And it just hit me that it didn’t matter if I could “feel” him or not I was seated with him already.

After that moment whenever I didn’t “feel” Him and that doubt would come I would go back to that verse and it wouldn’t matter anymore.

Flash forward to recently… I’ve been trying to get consistent with my quiet times again but have been struggling. I’ve been distracted, super tired, feeling fake during my times, and all the other excuses you can come up with. And because I know a bunch of these are excuses and I know that the enemy would rather me not spend time with the Lord, I’ve been taking these struggles to the Lord.

The sermon today was out of Exodus. When God first called Moses, he couldn’t come near and he had to remove his sandals. Then later on in Exodus what did he have to do to commune with God? He had to hike a mountain. It wasn’t just easy peasy. He had to put in the effort to hike the mountain to commune with God. But God was there ready to meet with Moses every single time he hiked up that mountain. The point the missionary was making is that our relationship with the Lord takes work. Spending time with him takes work. We have to be willing to put in that effort. God is faithful and meets us every time!

So all these struggles I’ve been having? I just need to persevere through and keep putting in the effort to commune with God. Because He is so worth it! And thank you Lord for hearing my prayers about my struggles and providing me with the answer!!

 

Christmas Spirit

elf1I’m finding it very hard this year to have any Christmas spirit. I really don’t have any… Which is very rare for me. I know it’s terrible… Especially with it being the most wonderful time of the year and all…

I’ve tried to get my Christmas spirit back. I’ve listened to Christmas music. I’ve watched several cheesy Christmas movies… And nothing. I haven’t even watched Elf, or Chevy Chases Christmas Vacation… And those are my two absolute favorite Christmas movies.
elf2I’m not quite sure why I don’t have any Christmas spirit this year.. But I think it’s because work has been really rough this past month. Our kids have been struggling big time. More than last year at this time in my opinion. The holidays are hard for them. Which doesn’t excuse behavior but it does change how we correct it. It does change how we sympathize. It does change our level of exhaustion at the end of the day. Which in turn kinda makes us long for the holidays to be over.

So if you think about it in the next few days. Say a few prayers for our kids and their hearts during this time. And for us as Teaching Parents to continue to love on and support these precious children during this difficult time for them. And that we would all remember that Jesus is the reason for the season. And He is our hope!

What’s New In Bullet Points

Since I can’t seem to publish a real blog post I figured I could at least bullet point some new things in my life since the last time I blogged.

  • Christmas break for the kiddos was tiring… I was so thankful when they went back to school… To be fair we had a cottage sponsor take us out on fun outings multiple days in a row, and my work had gotten money donated for the break and had multiple events, and neither of those things are normal…. But still kinda scared for summer
  • With that said I’m trying to take less naps during the days I’m working… Once summer comes they will be non-existent. Plus there are much better things I could be doing with my time.
  • I started a new read through the bible in a year plan (although I’m like a week behind right now) it’s a context plan. It’s been good so far.
  • I moved from the staff house into a cottage. It’s only been a few days so can’t judge yet. Tomorrow is the first morning the boys will be up before me so we’ll see how that goes. And my first off days while living here are starting Saturday…
  • I have a friend from P-town who is teaching overseas in Germany and fell while rock climbing and had back surgery and doesn’t have much feeling in her legs. But she is a rockstar and is praising God through it all. Check out her blog here and also you can get regular updates on her Post Hope Page.
  • I’m thinking as a birthday present to myself (yes I know it’s a little less than 8 months away) I’m going to get a dog! There are other reasons why I’m waiting until then other than just a birthday present to myself. But that one sounds the best lol.

I think that’s it on new stuff. Hopefully I’ll be back soon to write a meaningful post soon. Until then… I miss you all!

The Newy News!

I have so much new stuff to tell you about! But I do not have the time tonight… Super bummer! But I do have 4 new things I will share with you.

1. IMG_0042I got my hair cut! And I love it. It’s a little shorter than I went last time! But I still love it!

2. IMG_4834You probably already saw this on Facebook… But I started Hebrews last night! I’ve been looking forward to this for a while! I just love Hebrews! And Jeremiah has been really good too!

3. IMG_0495 (1)Started my new job training this morning… Don’t worry there will be a whole post on this sometime soon… But for now… Just know I brought lots of Elephants!

4. I will be in California in…. 22 days!!!! (not including today since it’s almost over!) Excited!

You Gotta Run Run Run

This afternoon after I got home from work I made myself get into work out clothes and head to the gym. I was  going to gut out a 2 mile run even if it killed me. You see I haven’t consistently worked out since before our 10k in February. It’s been hit or miss since. And in the last two months it’s been more miss than hit. I haven’t run in at least a month, if not more (it might actually be closer to 2 months). And the longer I kept going without running the less and less I wanted to run. I knew the longer I went the more stamina I was losing, and the harder it would be to start running again.

I think sometimes we approach our relationships with the Lord this way. We are spending time with Him consistently, growing in our relationship with him, able to spend more and more time in His word, in prayer, in listening. And then we miss a quiet time here, and then another one there. And soon we getting less and less consistent with our time with Him. We let other things get in the way, we don’t make it a priority. We know the more time we choose not to be consistent with our time with Him the harder it’s going to be for us to start again. We’ve given the enemy that foothold in our lives and he doesn’t want to give it up that easily. The enemy doesn’t want us spending time with the Lord consistently, so he tries his hardest to keep us away whenever he gets the chance.

My 2 mile run tonight didn’t kill me. Yes it was hard. Yes I got a stomach cramp. Yes it was tiring. Yes I wanted to quit after 5 minutes of running. Yes it was hard to push through the cramps, and wanting to quit. But was it worth it? Yes. Did I rediscover my love of running? Heck yes. Despite the pain, despite being tired and being short of breath, I was rekindled with my love of running. Even as I fought to focus on the sermon I was listening to instead of focusing on not being able to breath or my stomach cramp or how much time had gone by, I still realized how much I’ve missed my running times. How much good it does for me.

I think the same thing happens when we start spending time with the Lord again. Is it hard to focus? Yeah sometimes. Is hard to make it a priority again? Yeah sometimes (even though it shouldn’t be). But is it worth it? You can bet your bottom dollar! Do we rediscover our love of the Savior? Do we rediscover our love of His word? Do we rediscover that He is worth it? Do we rediscover why we so desperately need consistent time with Him? Yes, yes we do to all of those things!

So if you are struggling to spend time with Him consistently. Or if you are in that place where it’s been awhile and you know it will be hard to start again… Just start! Rediscover your love of the Savior and your intimate time with Him! Don’t just walk to Him…. RUN RUN RUN into the arms of LOVE

The Lord Redeems

pano park hillSince moving to Texas almost 3 years ago I have been back to P-town 4 times (including this past weekend). The first three trips back, good times were had, but there were also some really rough patches. Which might be news to some since I probably never mentioned the rough patches. Mostly I wanted to ignore them, pretend they didn’t exist, forget about them.  I wasn’t very successful at doing any of those three things. Couple that with the fact that the 3 years I lived in P-town were the hardest years of my life. Not school wise, but just emotionally and life wise. I was dealing with a lot, working through a lot. So when it came time for this trip back, I was a little apprehensive. I was a little unsure how it was going to go. It put a damper on my excitement. Which was a bummer. Because I really was excited to go to Bryan and Katie’s wedding. I really was excited to see my friends and hang out with them. I really was excited to be back in Portland.

plane mountainsAs my plane descended into the Portland area, the Lord simply stripped away all my worries, all my fears, all my apprehensions about the weekend. He calmed my heart, and gave me a sense of peace about the weekend. I just knew it was going to be a different kind of trip. And it was. While I was there I didn’t know why or how, I just knew it was. But as I’m reflecting back on it I’m seeing just how much the Lord was at work.

I serve a God of redemption, and this weekend was all about redemption. All the things I thought I’d lost or missed out on from my time living there and my trips back there. All the lies that the enemy had been tossing my way recently about my time in Portland that I had started believing. All the hurt and pain I had been associating with the place rather than the reason. The Lord stripped it all away and showered me with the truth throughout the weekend. He redeemed it all.

It was oh so fitting that I came back just in time for “Awaken.” Which was a time of worship at my church on Sunday night. Oh so fitting to come back and praise the God who loves, loves enough to redeem the hard times in our life for His glory!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9