- I love getting up early on Thanksgiving and running the Turkey Trot with my family. I love cheering on our kids as they run their little races and receive Turkey trophies.
- I love that the 'O factor' gets to run in a race this year
- I love getting out and running in the cold, crisp air. I love watching all the people run with their families, talking about their plans for the day
- I love that everyone wears toboggans and gloves
- I love that Eric helps everyone sit out their toboggans and mittens in neat little piles the night before
- I love how excited my kids get about running their Turkey shirts and pinning on their race numbers
- I love that Soph and Joshua are old enough to run in the longer races
- I love driving to Indiana on thanksgiving
- I love the fact that we get coffee for the road
- I love butterhorn rolls and homemade noodles. I don't love the fact that I can't make homemade noodles worth a diddly. correction: I love Grandma and Aunt Mary's homemade noodles and butterhorn rolls!
- I love hanging out with my brothers and sister and their families
- I love the deep fried turkey that my brother makes
- I love the fact that my sister in law posts a menu of the food in the kitchen
- I love that the Titans are playing today
- I love that we actually put our Christmas tree up early this year.
- I love how neat Joshua and Wes are and the pride they took in decorating their trees in their rooms and hanging lights on their bed
- I love the fact that you have a hard time seeing Sophie's tree amongst the clutter in her room. (even though I have a panic attack every time I walk in)
- I love watching my kids play with their cousins
- I love pouring over the ads with my sister and planning our strategy for Friday's shopping spree
- I love the fact that Melissa, Chasisty and Reagan are going shopping with us this year
- I love how much we laugh on our shopping spree
- I love having thanksgiving at Jimmy and Melissa's.
- I don't love how this will be the first Thanksgiving without my mom there. She loved this holiday. But I love the fact that she is with Jesus now, completely healthy.
- I love the fact that God is with us today, healing our hearts, making our relationship with Him and with each other stronger. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
We are getting out the Christmas decorations and decorating today! The kids are SOOOO excited! They will be busy setting up their little trees in their room while I cook up a storm! We are going out on a limb (no pun intended) and putting our Christmas tree in a different spot this year. I know, we are sooo wild and crazy, changing it up like this. We are also one of those few families still living in the stone ages with a tree that is not pre lit...so Eric may need lots of your prayers today :) It is also missing some limbs and beginning to look a bit Charlie Brownish...every year we say it is its last year.
I got a crock pot cookbook not long ago and I am wearing it out! Last night we had chicken and dumplings--they took about ten minutes to put in the crock pot and then four hours later, dinner's ready! They were so, so good and so easy! Today I am throwing some ingredients in and presto! Four hours later we'll have philly cheese steak sandwiches on toasted hoagie buns. This sounded really good to me, for some reason. It's not even 8 am and my mouth is already watering.
So what are you doing for Thanksgiving Eve? Hope it is wonderful and family filled!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Here are 39 things I love about my hubby:
- His love for the Lord
- That he'll do anything for me, even go get me coffee at 5:30 in the morning if we are out.
- That he is the person behind the scenes that really makes homeschooling work for us...by pitching in and doing laundry, dirty dishes, you name it!
- He is the best daddy in the whole world to our children
- The bond that him and our 'Little O Factor' shares.
- That he is unimpressed with fashion and labels and outward appearances
- He has a heart for the poor, widowed and orphaned
- He is a true servant through and through
- His work ethic is like no other
- He does not do things for accolades or recognition
- that he cares about staying physically fit
- He prays for me and our children
- He knows the Truth but isn't all theological about it. It simply is what it is and that's all that matters!
- He goes to the store for us and is really good at it
- He does our bills (in my opinion, the yuckiest job in the whole world!)
- He loves the Office as much as I do
- He gives me free time or 'girl' time whenever I need it
- He is organized
- He looks good in a cowboy hat
- that he likes to coach our kids in sports
- that he can strike up a conversation with any stranger on the street
- He can paint a wall faster than anyone I know
- His discipline
- He can see something so black and white and simply that I have over-analyzed for hours.
- He rarely worries about anything
- He loves the beach
- He's got that 'cool' factor that I've never had
- He still dates me
- He's always game for all the goofy things I ask him to do
- He can keep a secret better than anyone I know
- He still plays flag football at 39 and is holding strong
- that he leaves me notes
- He likes me without makeup and doesn't care that I am wearing it less and less these days
- He enjoys cooking
- the fact that his Starbuck drink is so strong it's hair-raising
- his quiet dry wit
- He'll take all of our kids out to eat or to the store by himself like its a walk in the park
- eating dinner together often is important to him
- He is a walking sacrifice for me and our children, sacrificing his wants and desires daily
Eric is not perfect nor will he ever be. He does things to annoy me, frustrate me and get under my skin just as all of our husbands do. But these are the things I love about him and want to celebrate and focus on these things as much as possible!
Happy Birthday, sweet hubby! I LOVE YOU!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
On Sunday, Nov. 16, we had a surprise birthday party for Soph. It was SO much fun! It was a mystery birthday party. After eating lunch, I informed the 'secret agent' girls that they had been invited over for a top secret mission. I fingerprinted each of them and took their mug shot, telling them they were now part of the 'circle of trust'. I informed them that someone had stolen the birthday cake earlier that morning and they had to figure out who did it. We handed out clipboards with sheets I had made similar to the sheets you use with 'Clue'. There was a list of suspects (with their pics), a list of weapons and a list of rooms the crime could have been committed in. Their job was to narrow it down to who did it, with what weapon and in what room. After they figured out who, with what and where, they had to run outside and find a box. The box contained a walkie talkie with a note to call headquarters with further instructions. They called me telling me that 'Bob Marley' was the culprit. Bob Marley was really Eric wearing a Jamaican wig with dreadlocks. I proceeded to tell them to go in the fort in our backyard and find a basket of balls. They did. Then I yelled, "Look, here comes Bob! Get him!"
Bob (Eric) comes running through the backyard with the stolen birthday cake, shooting them with a nerf gun. They pelted him with balls and finally 'caught' him. Mission Accomplished!
This birthday party was so, so fun (did I say that already?). I wanted to be a detective most of my childhood and even had a 'Snoopy Club'. So, let's just say I really got into this one! I felt nine again.
This day was also my mom's birthday; she would have been 64. She loved birthdays, so celebrating Sophie's birthday on this day seemed the best way to spend it!
These are the 'secret agent' girls:
Friday, November 14, 2008
'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.'
This is what I felt He said to me when He led me to run a marathon. This is what I heard whispered to me as I pounded the pavement through my training. This is what I heard Him say to me on that scorching hot, excruciating day in Chicago.
As I ran the last six miles of the marathon, I was not prepared for the agony that my body would experience. I was not prepared for the pain that I could not get away from, no matter if I was running, walking or stopping and stretching. It was 100% torture. The pain was in full force and there was no getting around it--I had to move through it. I had to keep going.
Post marathon, I realize the mistake I made through that last painful hour. I took my eyes off of Jesus and focused completely on the pain. And as I focused more and more on how awful it was it became worse and worse and bigger and bigger. Remember the scripture cards I was determinedly going to carry and pray through as I ran? Did I pray through them once during those last six miles? Nope! In fact, they felt so heavy in my hands I almost through them down.
'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.'
He whispered it to me--but I chose to focus instead on the circumstances of the moment.
Perseverance. The Lord has opened my eyes to a deeper appreciation and meaning of this word and what it looks like to actually do it. Running a marathon gave me a real, tangible definition to associate with this word. It has given me a little glimpse of the agony and torture that Jesus endured for us on the cross. It has given me a backdrop against which to lay the difficulties and troubles that arise in everyday life:
I am going through my homeschooling day and coming up against all kinds of obstacles...I am about to throw my hands up in the air. Suddenly, I hear that gentle whisper: 'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.' I am reminded of what it took to make it through those last six miles. I see Jesus up on the cross. My obstacles don't seem so difficult anymore.
Eric goes out of town for several days. On day four, loneliness starts to set in and one of the children get sick. I begin to let it defeat me and the whisper is so faint I almost miss it: 'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.' I am reminded of the marathon. I see Jesus up on the cross. Once again, I get perspective on this momentary trouble and fight through it.
We came with Eric on a business trip and arrived last night. I geared up for staying in a hotel room with our five children. What I hadn't gearup up for was a stomach bug that hit me and one of our children, keeping us up most of the night. Today, I felt lousy. The last place I wanted to be was in a hotel. The last thing I felt like doing was all of the activities we had planned the night before. But I had no choice. I had five little ones counting on me. I felt the way I felt after the marathon--achey and flu like. It took me back to that day and again, I thought about that race. I heard the words of my Lord: 'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.' As I forced myself through each step today I kept picturing those last miles. I kept picturing Jesus and the agony He endured. Everytime I pictured it, my current circumstance seemed a little bit smaller.
During my training, I heard so many people bewilderly say, 'that is so crazy--I just don't understand why you would want to put yourself through that.' They thought running a marathon was looney. But, I wouldn't trade anything for what I've learned through it. I have learned how to buck up and endure through chaotic days with my children. I have learned how to keep going when I am really tired in the middle of our school day. I have learned how to reach inside of me and pull more out when needed. I have learned more about relying on Jesus when there is nothing left in me to keep going. I have learned a little bit more about persevering.
We are told in God's Word that in this world we will have pain and suffering. Suffering is an invitation to know Jesus better. I am glad I took the challenge and ran the race. I am glad that I learned a little more about suffering. Today, I feel closer to Jesus. I leave you with the words of Paul:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They doi it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 cor. 9:24-2
'Persevere, precious child--you can, if you rely on me.'
Saturday, November 8, 2008
I think Mommy needs you to get home. She has been in the bathtub for over an hour, she has had two starbucks today, her hair is looking even crazier than usual and she is letting us watch lots of movies. Actually, we kind of like the movie watching. Oh, and little 'O' threw up all over his bed. You might need to bring her something extra special from your trip.
Friday, November 7, 2008
- his high pitched little voice
- his hair
- his brown eyes that are so brown they are almost black
- that he is a clone of Eric
- the way he sucks his two fingers and holds his ratty 'sheet' up to his nose (...even though this is going to cost us thousands in dental expenses one day...)
- that he gives me hugs when I need them the most
- that he wants to be a baseball pitcher when he grows up
- his wind up and pitching stance
- listening to him pitch in the hallway at the front door (with a 'soft' ball, of course) for hours on end as we have school in the next room.
- how he says 'Sorry!' when he draws a Sorry card.
- the way he overpuckers his lips when he says 'Mom'
- his tender heart
- that he dressed up as Yoda on Halloween and was the smallest, cutest one ever
- watching him play softball and kickball in the back yard
- how his tummy suddenly 'really' hurts when it is time to clean up
- that he is four (STOP GROWING UP! JUST STOP!)
- that God gave us this joyful little boy that I couldn't imagine our life without.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Written by: Dr. David Reagan
Many people believe there is nothing that can be known about the timing of the Lord's return because Jesus said He would return like a "thief in the night" (Matthew 24:42-44).
But Paul makes it clear in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 that Jesus' statement does not apply to believers: "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief..." He then proceeds to explain why: "for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober." Paul is referring, of course, to the light of the Holy Spirit who indwells all true believers and who can enlighten us through our study of Scripture to know the season of the Lord's return (1 John 2:27).
As a matter of fact, God is obligated by His character to warn the world of the imminent return of His Son. The reason is that Jesus is returning in great wrath to "judge and wage war" (Revelation 19:11), and God never pours out His wrath without warning.
God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should be brought to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Therefore, God always warns before He executes His wrath. He warned the world through Noah for 120 years. He warned Sodom and Gomorrah through Abraham. He sent Jonah to warn the pagan city of Ninevah, and He sent Nahum to the same city 150 years later.
Likewise, God is warning the world today that His Son is about to return. He is calling the world to repentance. The message of the hour to unbelievers can be summed up in these words: "Flee from the wrath that is to come by fleeing into the loving arms of Jesus now." Jesus came the first time as an expression of God's love; He came to die for the sins of Mankind. But when He returns, He will come in vengeance to pour out the wrath of God on those who have rejected God's love and grace.
The soon return of Jesus also carries with it a message for believers. Lukewarm Christians and carnal Christians are being called to commit their lives to holiness: "The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts" (Romans 13:12-14).
God's Method of Warning:
God is alerting believers of the soon return of His Son through what are called "signs of the times." These are prophecies concerning world events that we are told to watch for, prophecies that will identify the season of the Lord's return.
The Bible is full of these signs. There are about 500 prophecies in the Old Testament that relate to the Second Coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament, one out of every 25 verses is concerned with the return of Jesus.
In fact, there are so many signs that it is difficult to grasp all of them. The best way I have found to do this is to put them in categories:
1) The Signs of Nature — We are told to watch for earthquakes, famine, pestilence, and signs in the heavens (see Matthew 24:7 and Luke 21:11).
This is the least respected category of signs for several reasons. For one thing, many people simply shrug their shoulders and say, "There have always been natural calamities, so what else is new?" Note that Jesus says these signs will be like "birth pangs" (Matthew 24:8) — that is, they will increase in frequency and intensity as the time draws near for His return. In other words, there will be more intense earthquakes and more frequent ones. That is exactly what is happening today.
Another reason these signs are given little respect is because most Christians are so rationalistic that they do not really believe in the supernatural, and they therefore find it difficult to believe that God speaks to the world through signs of nature. Yet, the Bible teaches this principle from start to finish.
God dealt with the world's sin through a great flood in the days of Noah (Genesis 6). He called the nation of Judah to repentance through a terrible locust invasion (Joel 1). In like manner, He called for the nation of Israel to repent by sending drought, wind storms, mildew, locusts, famine and pestilence (Amos 4:6-10). The prophet Haggai pointed to a drought as evidence that God was calling the people to get their priorities in order (Haggai 1:10-11).
The New Testament begins with a special light in the heavens marking the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 2:2). On the day that Jesus was crucified, there was three hours of darkness and an earthquake (Matthew 27:45-51). And when Jesus returns, the earth will experience the greatest earthquake in its history as every mountain is lowered, every valley is raised, and every island is moved (Revelation 16:17-21).
God has always spoken through signs of nature, and He continues to do so today. We had better pay close attention to them.
2) The Signs of Society — Jesus said that society will become increasingly lawless and immoral as the time approaches for His return. In fact, He said it would become as evil as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:12,37-39).
Paul paints a chilling picture of end time society in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. He says it will be characterized by three loves — the love of self (Humanism), the love of money (Materialism), and the love of pleasure (Hedonism). He then points out that the payoff of this carnal lifestyle will be what the philosophers call Nihilism — that is, a society wallowing in despair. Men's minds will become depraved (Romans 1:28), and people will call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20).
We are seeing these prophecies fulfilled before our eyes today as we watch our society reject its Christian heritage and descend into a hellish pit of lawlessness, immorality, and despair. Even worse, we are exporting our nihilism around the world through our immoral and violent movies and television programs.
3) The Spiritual Signs — There are both positive and negative spiritual signs that we are to watch for. The negative ones include the appearance of false christs and their cults (Matthew 24:5,11,24), the apostasy of the professing church (2 Thessalonians 2:3), an outbreak of Satanism (1 Timothy 4:1), and the persecution of faithful Christians (Matthew 24:9).
These negative spiritual signs began to appear in the mid-19th Century when Christian cults started forming. First came the Mormons, then the Jehovah's Witnesses, and then a great variety of spiritualist groups like the Church of Christ Scientists and the Unity Church.
The apostasy of the mainline Christian denominations began in the 1920's when the German school of higher criticism invaded American seminaries and undermined the authority of the Scriptures, teaching that the Bible is Man's search for God rather than God's revelation to Man.
During the 1960's Satanism exploded on the American scene and has since been exported worldwide through American movies, books, and television programs. Dabbling in the occult has become commonplace in the form of astrology, numerology, crystal gazing, transcendental meditation, and channeling. The whole trend has consummated in the appearance of the New Age Movement with its teaching that Man is God.
As society has secularized, true Christianity has come under increasing attack. Judeo-Christian values, once the foundation of Western Civilization, are now openly mocked, and those who still adhere to them are castigated as "intolerant fundamentalists" by the media.
The positive spiritual signs include the proclamation of the Gospel to the whole world (Matthew 24:14), a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32), and spiritual illumination to understand prophecies that have been "sealed up" until the end times (Daniel 12:4,9).
As with the negative signs, we are seeing these positive signs fulfilled in our day and time.
Through the use of modern technology, the Gospel has been proclaimed throughout the world in this Century, and the Bible has been translated into all major languages.
The great end time pouring out of the Holy Spirit that was prophesied by the prophet Joel has also begun. Joel called it "the latter rain" (Joel 2:23), and he said it would occur after the Jews had returned to their land. The state of Israel was re-established in 1948. In 1949 God anointed two ministries that would have a worldwide impact — the ministries of Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. Then, in the 60's, came the Charismatic Movement which prompted renewal in worship and gave emphasis to the continuing validity of the gifts of the Spirit.
The acceleration in the understanding of Bible prophecy began in 1970 with the publication of Hal Lindsey's book, The Late Great Planet Earth. It seemed to open up to popular understanding many prophecies that had been "sealed up" until the end times (Daniel 12:4, 9). Remarkably, it became the number one best seller in the world — with the sole exception of the Bible — for the next ten years!
4) The Signs of Technology — The book of Daniel says that there will be an explosion of knowledge in the end times and that people will move about quickly (Daniel 12:4). There are many Bible prophecies that cannot be understood apart from modern technology. For example, how can the whole world look upon two bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8-9)? Modern television satellite technology makes it easy. How can the False Prophet build an image of the Anti-Christ that appears to be alive (Revelation 13:15)? The answer, of course, is the science of robotics. How can the False Prophet require all people on earth to take the mark of the Anti-Christ in order to buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-17)? It would not be possible apart from computers and lasers.
Jesus said that the Tribulation will be so terrible that all life on earth would cease to exist if He did not cut the period short (Matthew 24:21-22). How could all life be threatened prior to the advent of nuclear weapons? Another reference to nuclear power is likely contained in Luke's statement that men in the end times will "faint from fear" because "the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Luke 21:26). That certainly sounds like a reference to the splitting of the atom.
5) The Signs of World Politics — The Bible prophesies that there will be a certain pattern of world politics that will characterize the end time geopolitical map.
The focus will be the re-established state of Israel (Zechariah 12:2-3). It will be besieged by a menacing nation from the "remote parts of the north," the nation of "Rosh" — or modern day Russia (Ezekiel 38:2,6). There will also be a threatening nation to the East that will be capable of sending an army of 200 million — namely, China (Revelation 9:13-16 and Revelation 16:12-13). A third source of danger to Israel will be the Arab nations that immediately surround it. They will covet the land and will try to take it from the Jews (Ezekiel 35:10 and 36:2).
Another key player on the world political scene in the end times will be a coalition of European nations that will form a confederation centered in the area of the old Roman empire (Daniel 2:41-44, Daniel 7:7,23-24, and Revelation 17:12-13). This confederation will serve as the political base for the rise of the Anti-Christ and the creation of his worldwide kingdom (Daniel 7:8).
Other international political signs include wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6), civil wars (Matthew 24:7), and general international terrorism and lawlessness (Matthew 24:12).
6) The Signs of Israel — The signs related to the state of Israel are prolific and very important.
The most frequently repeated prophecy in the Old Testament is the prediction that the Jewish people will be regathered from the "four corners of the earth" in the end times (Isaiah 11:10-12). The Bible states that a consequence of this regathering will be the re-establishment of the state of Israel (Isaiah 66:7-8). The Scriptures say that once the Jews are back in their land, the land itself will experience a miracle of reclamation (Isaiah 35). The desert will bloom and people will exclaim, "This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden" (Ezekiel 36:35).
Another end time miracle will be the revival of the Hebrew language (Zephaniah 3:9). Most people are not aware of the fact that when the Jews were dispersed from their land in 70 A.D., they ceased to speak the Hebrew language. The Jews who settled in Europe developed a new language called Yiddish — a combination of German and Hebrew. The Jews who migrated to the Mediterranean basin created a language called Ladino — a combination of Hebrew and Spanish.
Other significant signs of Israel that we are told to watch for in the end times include the re-occupation of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24), the resurgence of Israeli military strength (Zechariah 12:6), and the re-focusing of world politics on Israel (Zechariah 12:3).
All these signs have been fulfilled in this century. The nation has been re-established, the land has been reclaimed, the ancient language has been revived, the Jews are back in Jerusalem, and Israel is the focal point of world politics.
Jesus says in Luke 21:28 that when these signs begin to happen, we should "straighten up and lift up our heads" because "our redemption is drawing near."
The Key Signs:
The most important signs are the ones that relate to Israel because God uses the Jews throughout the Scriptures as His prophetic time clock. By this I mean that very often when the Lord is revealing an important event that will take place in the future, He will point to the Jewish people and state that when a certain thing happens to them, the important event will also occur.
A good example of this principle can be found in Daniel 9 in the famous "Seventy Weeks of Years" prophecy. The prophet tells us to watch for a decree to be issued that will authorize the rebuilding of Jerusalem. He then says that the Messiah will come sixty-nine weeks of years (483 years) after that decree is issued to the Jewish people.
There are two key prophecies which relate the return of Jesus to events that have occurred in Jewish history since 1948. These two events clearly established the period in which we are now living as the season of the Lord's return.
The State of Israel:
The first is the re-establishment of the state of Israel which occurred on May 14, 1948. Jesus singled out this event as the one that would signal His soon return.
His prophecy is contained in the fig tree parable (Matthew 24:32-35) which He presented in His Olivet Discourse. The day before He delivered this speech, He had put a curse on a barren fig tree, causing it to wither (Matthew 21:28-29). This was a symbolic prophecy that God would soon pour out His wrath upon the Jewish people because of their spiritual barrenness in rejecting His Son.
The next day Jesus reminded His disciples of the fig tree. He said to watch for it to bloom again. In other words, He said watch for the rebirth of Israel. He indicated that when the fig tree blooms again, He would be at the gates of Heaven, ready to return (Matthew 24:33).
Equally significant, He added an interesting observation: "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place" (Matthew 24:34). What generation? The generation that sees the fig tree blossom.
We are that generation. The fig tree has blossomed. Jesus is at the gates.
The City of Jerusalem:
The second key event was prophesied by Jesus in the same speech, as recorded by Luke: "[The Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).
The first half of this prophecy was fulfilled in 70 A.D., forty years after Jesus spoke the words. In that year the Romans under Titus conquered Jerusalem and dispersed the Jews among the nations. Jerusalem remained under Gentile occupation for 1,897 years — until June 7, 1967, when Israel won the city back during the Six Day War.
The Jewish re-occupation of the city of Jerusalem is proof positive that we are living in the season of the Lord's return. Jesus said it would mark the end of the Gentile Age.
A Call to Action:
There is no way to escape the conclusion that we are living on borrowed time. The signs of the times are upon us, and they are shouting for our attention.
Are you ready? If Jesus were to return today, would He be your "Blessed Hope" (Titus 2:11-14) or would He be your "Holy Terror" (Revelation 6:12-17)? If you have never received Him as your Lord and Savior, now is the time to act. Repent of your sins, and call upon the name of the Lord that you might be saved (Acts 2:14-39).
And if you are a Christian, are you living as if Jesus might return any minute? Have you committed your life to holiness? Are you praying for the lost and witnessing the Lord when you have an opportunity?
Are you yearning for the Lord's return? Can you say with Paul that you are a candidate for a "crown of righteousness" because you have lived your life "in the love of His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:7-8)?
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Over the past three weeks I have been amazed at how BIG our God is! My goal with Team Worldvision was to raise $1,500.00 to bring clean water and food to communities in Africa (particularly Zambia), thus rescuing them from disease, poverty and death. But God had much BIGGER plans in mind!!! Through the support of many families and friends (YOU!), I raised almost twice that--$2,930! Yippee! I can't even begin to tell you how exciting it began to be each day that the marathon got closer and I would get on to check my First Giving status. Every time the percentage went up, my heart would swell and tears would fill my eyes. And then I would read the sweet comments you left along with your donation and--well, it was just too much! I can't even begin to explain how moving the whole experience was. Every gift, no matter how big or how small, was used to rescue people in dire need! Thank you so very much for responding to this need. It was such a very exciting thing to be a part of and I am praying that the Lord would bless you and continue to move your (and our) hearts for his kingdom! I will be sharing a video soon showing footage of Team Worldvision's trip over to Zambia. Tangible footage of wells being dug--something that could not have happened without your donation!
There is a movement in the Christian circle that is really fed up with Americans and their lack of concern/ empathy/ care for what is going on elsewhere. I get that. So much of me feels that way too. These Christians have an even rebellious spirit about them. Maybe the rebellion is against the system because they've grown up seeing corruption and greed run so deeply and rampidly through our government. I get that too. I am fed up with that too. They are vying for absolute change. Partly because they are so angry with how our current government is working and partly because they are so angry with Americans and their self centeredness. I understand the anger. I struggle with anger regarding these things too. But I am conflicted within. Throwing out the whole bucket with the water doesn't seem to be the answer. Democracy and freedom is a good thing. The Bible itself promotes private property, justice for all, voluntary care for the poor, low taxes and public policy that favors the debtor instead of the creditor. Our current system is corrupt and does need to be cleaned up but I shudder to think we might vote in 'communism' as the answer.
There are others who are not going to vote. They feel that as Christians we should not even be concerned with the election. God is in control. Jesus wouldn't be concerned with it, why should we? I get that too. However, there are a lot of things we get caught up in our world that Jesus wouldnt bother with too. Sports, television shows, blogging :) , to name a few. Does that mean we don't weigh all the facts that are in front of us and cast our vote? I can't get totally comfortable with throwing my hands up and staying out of it altogether.
Many people laugh at the absurdity of our country actually becoming communistic. They think people are getting all worked up over nothing. I get that. It does seem far fetched. Yet, I have read and done as much homework as I can on our two candidates, and the 'little' info I can find on one of them is alarming. And it is even more alarming that there is such 'little' information. If I owned a company, I wouldn't be able to hire him, there is so little information to obtain on this guy. And the little that is out there, shows real ties to people who hate our country and want to usher in communism. Again, there's the rub. I want to protect my children from a government that will dictate to them how to live. I don't want that for them. The thing is, even though I don't want that for them, it might be God's plan. Maybe God's plan is to usher in a whole different government for our country; maybe he wants to awaken the people in our country from their slumber. God's will is that which will most glorify himself. It is that which will draw people to Him. I know that and am praying for His will even though a large part of me yearns for comfort and security for my children, a future full of baseball, football and such and no worries. ...I feel so conflicted within...
"Ha, Ha, people are laughing...like communism's going to happen. " I just have a gut wrenching feeling in the pit of my stomach that this is no laughing matter.
One thing I know, God's Word tells us we can petition Him about anything. He says to not worry, but to turn those worries into prayers: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:67
I have been praying for forgiveness for being worried; I know He is in control. He is the King of kings, the lord of presidents. So come Tuesday, I will do the only two things that can make a difference. I will cast my vote and then be on my face praying for our country.