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Showing posts from 2009

A New Year's Resolution

Written by the apostle Paul to the church in Rome around A.D. 56. Relevant then. Relevant now.

Romans chapter 6

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no long…

Think Biblically, Live Accordingly

If you haven't ever checked out the website for the radio broadcast The Christian Worldview, I would suggest doing so (www.thechristianworldview.com).

I like their mission statement and think they strive to accomplish it with their show. Here's the mission statement:

To think Biblically about all matters of life and faith so we can then live accordingly

AND

To share the good news that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be, the way, the truth, and the life and that His Word is both relevant and our basis for living in this modern world.

Grace Gems

This was in my grace gems e-mail feed this morning (www.gracegems.org). It was a timely word for me so I thought I would pass it along.

The Smallest Trifles

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered!" Matthew 10:29-30

It is most important for us to learn that the smallest trifles are as much arranged by the God of Providence as the most startling events. He who counts the stars--has also numbered the hairs of our heads. Our lives and deaths are predestined--but so, also, are our sitting down and our rising up!

-----Charles Spurgeon

Happy Anniversary

Today, Greg and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. All the glory and all the credit for this goes to God. I marvel how God took two strangers from completely different backgrounds and upbringings, two young people who knew nothing about what marriage meant and gave very little thought, at the time, to the idea of entering a life-long covenant, and He has sustained this relationship for 15 years.

I can truly say that none of the credit could go to me. In my flesh, I would have ended it several years ago (and gave serious contemplation to it). I was unregenerate at the time and my only thoughts were of my happiness. I knew nothing of what it meant to make a covenant and keep a covenant. I was also unaware that marriage is a picture of Jesus and the church. Marriage is an opportunity (and responsibility) to demonstrate that covenant relationship to the world. Jesus does not divorce the church.

In God's mercy, He saved me through Jesus Christ and regenerated me. He continues to grow me a…

A Christmas Tradition

Yesterday was Christmas day. As per our family tradition, my family came over to celebrate with us. We ate a nice meal and exchanged gifts. It was a lovely time.

In the evening, our good friends, Joe and Kim, stopped by. It is a Christmas tradition we have been carrying on for about 8 years now. Every year they stop by after they finish celebrating with Joe's side of the family. We talk about our days and what our family celebrations were like. I look forward to that part of the day as much as I look forward to the family celebration.

Ultimately, the conversation always leads to Spiritual things, and that is the sweetest part of the day, talking about Jesus, talking about the Bible and how we can apply it to our lives.

We are not friends with this couple because we all have so much in common and we have not remained friends with them for that reason either. It is their hearts for God that draws us to them and keeps us in a lasting friendship with them.

Merry Christmas, Perfettos! We …

Evangelism Video 12/25/09

On Fridays, I try to share an evangelism video clip, usually someone sharing the gospel with another person. This is a video clip of Pastor John MacArthur explaining Christmas. It's titled "the real Christmas story". It is well stated and fitting for today. Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Oseids

This is the picture on our Christmas Card this year. It was taken in front of the Hennepin Avenue bridge in Minneapolis Minnesota on November 27, 2009.
Below this picture you will find the letter I included in our Christmas Card this year.

Merry Christmas from the Oseids!



A bit of Oseid News:

A few days after Christmas, Greg and Katrina will celebrate 15 years of marriage. We are grateful to God for that.
We have found a wonderful church home in Bible Baptist Church (in Otsego). We are learning so much about God’s Word there. We are so thankful!
Greg is on the job hunt, and God is sustaining us in the process. One way He is doing that is by allowing Katrina to continue working at MCN (7 years now).

A few thoughts about Christmas:

I recently heard the song It’s about the Cross by Go Fish. I was reminded that as a Christian, I too am susceptible to getting caught up in the sentimentality of Christmas and emotions of it without truly reflecting on what it means. I like the message of the song an…

Christmas Praise

A friend from church (thank you, Jenny) gave me the book 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers. I started reading it about a week ago, and I'm really enjoying it. I'd like to share with you the written praise from day 4 (pg 48-49) of the book. I think this excerpt does a good job capturing the whole thought of Christmas, beginning, middle, and end.

I love you, Father, because You first loved me and sent Your Son to atone for my sins. And I stand amazed that Jesus, who by nature had always been God, did not cling to His rights as Your equal...that He laid aside all His privileges, to be born as a human being...that He totally humbled Himself, submitting to the death of a common criminal, enduring infinite humiliation and pain...that on the cross You laid on Him the compressed weight of all my sin and guilt and shame, of all my griefs and sorrows, and He became sin for me, dying the death I deserved.

And how much I praise You that it was impossible for death to hold Him in its power...…

Sweet Fellowship

Last night we had our church over to our house for the church Christmas gathering. Our church is a plant off another church and still somewhat in the beginning stages, so we're small and, at this point, able to fit into one house. At one point in the evening, my friend asked me, "If someone said to you three years ago that you would have the whole church over for a gathering in your home, would you have believed it?" I would have found that hard to believe (or certainly to fathom), but something else surprises me about this situation. I think if someone would have told me three years ago that some day I would belong to a church that felt like my family, I would have found that hard to believe. If they would have said, "One day you will enjoy sweet fellowship with believers who hunger and thirst after God's Word and in turn seek to live a life that reflects that desire", I would have said, "Get out of town".

But, alas, God is good, and that does exi…

My Thoughts on Text Messaging

My thoughts on text messaging---for what it's worth:

Text messaging is not my favorite form of communication, but it comes in handy if you have a teenager in your life. It does have the potential to open the door to evil, and it dumbs down communication (after several back-and-forth texting transactions with a teenager, you're very willing to use U for the word you and the number 2 for the word to just to keep up with the pace, and you're willing to invest time in finding out what LOL, IDK, K, and BTW mean just so you can stop dragging an interpreter around with you everywhere you go--laugh out loud, I don't know, okay, and by the way--by the way).

As with all forms of technology and media today, it should be used with caution and should be communicated about (with real face-to-face talking) along the way. I recommend using the text messaging with the teenagers, though, because:
They use itThey respond instantlyThey bond with you over it (sounds silly but it's true)It…

Who Is He in Yonder Stall?

Last night there was a Christmas hymn service at church. It was a Christ-honoring service and a joy to attend. We sang Who Is He in Yonder Stall? This is a new song to me, and I was struck by the words as it describes Christ's birth, life, death, resurrection, and reign as king of all. So I thought I would share the words of the song with you:

Verse 1:
Who is He in yonder stall, at whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress, fasting in the wilderness?

Verse 2:
Who is He the people bless for His words of gentleness?
Who is He to whom they bring all the sick and sorrowing?

Verse 3:
Who is He that stands and weeps at the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng greet with loud triumphant song?

Verse 4:
Lo at midnight, who is He who prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree dies in grief and agony?

Verse 5:
Who is He that from the grave comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from His throne rules through all the world alone?

Chorus:
Tis the Lord! O wo…

Christmas Party

Today was our 6th annual "niece and nephew Christmas Party". As our Christmas gift to the nieces and nephews, each year we throw a party that ends with some sort of activity that we all enjoy together. In attendance was Joe (17), Meghan (14), Kylie (10), Emily (9), Ethan (6), and Carissa (4). A fun time was had by all!

First we decorated Christmas ornaments



Then lunch (chicken nuggets and french fries, a classic) followed by a gingerbread cookie decorating contest.

















A quick round of the dice game for some candy prizes



Then off to the activity of the day---a hayride.











Of course, part of the fun was jumping off the wagon and getting back on again.





Time for a little rest (ohhhh, so cute).



The hayride was followed by some time around the campfire, warming up and enjoying apple cider and a few snacks (it was a balmy 24 degrees in our area today, which is a lot warmer than it was earlier in the week. We were grateful for that--24 degrees is much easier to take than, say, 6 degrees--…

Lies Young Women Believe

In a few of my posts I've talked around the book Lies Young Women Believe (and the Truth That Sets Them Free) by Nancy Leigh De Moss and Danna Gresh. Today I'm going to talk about it. I like it. I've read this book twice now. Last week, I met with my niece, Meghan, and we discussed the book. I was surprised how much she related to the book and how it opened conversation to subjects that usually would take months of careful planning before even considering approaching them.

This book is saturated with Scripture. It starts out discussing truth and giving a foundation for what that means. Then it discusses 25 lies that young women believe (such as God is not enough, I've never been exposed to satanic activities, I need a boyfriend, everyone at church is judging me, I'm my own authority, etc.) Each lie is exposed and refuted with Scripture.

The book ends this way:
"In this final chapter, we want to highlight 22 truths that we believe will radically transform your lif…
Today I would like to share a quote with you that I came across in my daily e-mail feed from Of First Importance (www.firstimportance.org).

“Some think of the gospel as so slender it does nothing more than get us into the kingdom. After that the real work of transformation begins. But a biblically-faithful understanding of the gospel shows that gospel to be rich, powerful, the wisdom of God and the power of God, all we need in Christ. It is the gospel that saves us, transforms us, conforms us to Christ, prepares us for the new heaven and the new earth, establishes our relations with fellow-believers, teaches us how to work and serve so as to bring glory to God, calls forth and edifies the church, and so forth. This gospel saves — and ’salvation’ means more than just ‘getting in,’ but transformed wholeness.”

- D. A. Carson, “Four Questions with D. A. Carson“

The Importance of Language

The other day I was complaining about a work situation and explaining how I handled a conversation with a computer contractor. After I was a few minutes into the story, Greg (my husband) asked, "Did you say anything that hurt your Christian testimony?" Those words stopped me in my tracks. It caused me to think about exactly what I said that day and how I handled the situation. It also quenched the desire to complain and drove me to repentance.

I appreciate when Greg uses Biblical language in conversation. Gods uses it in my life every time.

Fix My Problems

As I prepare for another book discussion with one of my young friends, I've been reading through the book Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free (by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh) a second time. In the middle section of the book, the authors name 25 lies that young women believe. Hmmmm, not just young women. As I was reading the book last night, I was struck by lie #3 God should fix all my problems. I easily fall into that mentality and have been especially susceptible to it lately.

I was brought to my senses with this line from the book: God is more concerned with changing you to be a reflection of Christ than with solving all your problems.

It goes on to say, "The Bible teaches us that God uses trials and difficult times in our lives to help us grow. James 1:2-4 says that we are to be joyful in our trials, because God is testing our faith so that our faith will grow stronger. And Romans 5:3-4 tells us that 'suffering produces endurance, and endu…

Frightening Friday 11/27

How fitting to return to Frightening Fridays (a day of intentional evangelism) on Black Friday.

This morning my good friend, Kim, and I hit the morning sales, not looking for a good deal, but looking for an opportunity to share the gospel. We went armed with gospel tracts and granola bars. Kim picked me up at 5:00 am, and we went to Menards where we found a parking lot full of cars and a line of people heading down the sidewalk and into the parking lot. Kim handed out the granola bars and I came behind her with the gospel tracts. At least 100 people received the gospel this morning.

We pray God will call them unto Him and that they will hear the gospel and respond to it in repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.


If you are on this blog today because you received a gospel tract from me, please check out the links at the side of the page for the name of a solid local church in the area and other Christian resources.

I Am Thankful

On this Thanksgiving Eve, I thought I would take a few minutes to write what I am thankful for:

I am thankful that God saves sinners.

I am thankful that in all my self-righteousness, God was able to convict me of my sin and show me my need for a Savior. I am more thankful than words can express that God opened my eyes to my sin and allowed me repentance and forgiveness through His son Jesus Christ.

I am thankful that as it says in Ephesians 1 In love God predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. He took a rebel and made me His child. That is a remarkable concept to grasp.

I am thankful that God continues to convict me of sin and uses that to santify me.

I am thankful that God has allowed me to marry. I am thankful that he uses marriage as a means of sanctification in my life. I am thankful that I don't have to lead our family. I am thankful that God has given that role to Greg, and that, per His design, Greg has the ability to fulfill that role.

I am thankful that Greg l…

Cookie Baking Night 11/23

Tonight was cookie baking night and Emily's birthday choice (she's turning 9 on Saturday). Emily and Meghan were in attendance this evening. Emily chose tacos-in-a-bag for supper. For her cookie choice she wanted to make the desserts for Thanksgiving Day. We made pecan pie bars, lemon bars, and pumpkin pie bars, also a few turkey cookies for the table, and the girls peeled potatoes for make-ahead mashed potatoes. It was a productive evening, and we had a great time together.
They'll be back on Thursday to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Plumbers are Beautiful

As a commuter in traffic (about 2 hours each day), I see a lot of bumper stickers, most of which fall under the category of "offensive", "stupid", or "I have no idea what that means", but the bumper sticker I saw on my way home from work today stating Plumbers are Beautiful (one big green bumper sticker on the back of a small white car) simply caused me to chuckle.

Kids of Courage

A few months back, a friend told me about the Kids of Courage section of the Voice of the Martyrs website (http://www.persecution.com/). As the website explains, "Voice of the Martyrs publishes Kids of Courage materials for children ages 5 to 13 so families and schools can include children in learning about and serving the persecuted church."

The website contains a lot of material and a lot of free downloads. They have a section where you can download curriculum that teaches children about different countries (I counted at least 12 different countries).

My niece Emily spent the night last Saturday, and before she arrived, I downloaded the "Bold Believers in China" curriculum, which is a 52 page workbook containing information about China and a lot of activities to support the learning process. Emily and I sorted the pages, punched holes in them, and put them in a three-ring binder, so she can work her way through the book when she spends time at our house.

I highly re…

Grace Gems

I subscribe to an e-mail feed called Grace Gems (http://www.gracegems.org/) which sends you a daily e-mail usually containing a quote from a puritan. I found this one particularly convicting.

"Lovers of pleasure--rather than lovers of God." 2 Timothy 3:4

Is the love of pleasure growing upon you, gaining the power and the ascendancy over you? Is it dulling the keenness of your zest for spiritual pleasures? Is it making Bible study, prayer, communion with Christ, meditation upon holy themes--less sweet enjoyments than before? Is it making your hunger for righteousness, for God--less intense? Is it interfering with the comfort and blessing you used to find in worship services, or in Christian work?

If so, there is only one thing to do--hasten to return to God, cut off the pleasure which is imperiling the soul, and find in Christ the joy which the world cannot give, and which ever enhances the life. We must test all our pleasures and amusements by this rule--Are they helping us to …

Feed the Starving Teenagers

When my niece, Meghan, turned 14 a couple months ago, what started out as a birthday gift to her turned into an ongoing program (for the lack of a better word) with the teenagers in my life. I gave Meghan a book (Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris) and told her that it came with an optional bonus. If she read the book and made arrangements to meet with me and talk about it, she would receive $20. We have since met and talked about it, and we're in the process of reading another book (Lies Young Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Dannah Gresh). I'm also reading a book with my 17 year-old-nephew and one with a teenage girl at my church, same deal for them as for Meghan. I am affectionately calling this little "program" Feed the Starving Teenagers. Of course, I pick out the books, and I read them ahead of time. My goal in this is to share the gospel with the young people in my life and to disciple them along the way. If time a…

Cookie Baking Night 11/9/09

Tonight was cookie baking night with the nieces and nephews. Emily, Ethan, and Carissa were in attendance. We ate supper, made gingersnap cookies, and worked on the second lesson from the "Is the Bible personally from God?" curriculum by Josh McDowell at True Foundations ministries. The lesson was titled Why God Gave us the Bible.

IDOP

Tomorrow (November 8) is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Please remember our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world in your prayers. To learn more about the persecuted church and specific ways to help them or pray for them, I would recommend visiting the Voice of the Martyrs website at http://www.persecution.com/.

There are two books I would recommend reading. They are very compelling books about the persecuted church. The first one is about the founder of Voice of the Martyrs, Richard Wurbrand, called Tortured for Christ. A free copy of this book is available on the Voice of the Martyrs website.

The other book contains 8 testimonies of different women around the world who have been persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. It is called Hearts of Fire. This book is also available for purchase at the Voice of the Martyrs website.

I have also included below a video made by the Voice of the Martyrs organization. It contains the testimony of a Christian …

The Importance of Language

The other day at work a coworker witnessed me taking a salad from the refigerator and commented that I was "being good" and it made him feel guilty. I thought to myself, "Does my salad make me moral and your junk food (his words not mine) make you immoral?" What if I just downed 7 brownies and a Coca Cola at my desk before making my way to the kitchen to grab my salad, would that then mean I was "being bad"?

Another time and place I witnessed someone handing out free informational materials to people passing by, and someone wishing to have the information said, "Can I steal one of those from you?"

In another case, I witnessed someone speaking at a gathering and they said, "Please turn to page 7. Oh, I'm sorry, I lied, turn to page 11."

Witnessing these scenarios, particularly when professing Christians are involved, makes me aware of my own language. In our society, we are very casual with language, and it's easy to go with the fl…

Bible Memorization

I'm in the process of memorizing Ephesians chapter 1 right now, and here are a few tips that I've found helpful along the way.
Study the passage beforehand and know what it means--know what you're memorizing. In my case, it helps tremendously that our Pastor is working through the book of Ephesians in his Sunday sermons right now. What I don't understand in my personal study becomes clearer after I hear a message preached on that verse. Print out the passage you're working on so you can carry it with you or tape it to areas around your house or vehicle or work area. This makes for easy access when you find yourself with some uncommitted time on your hands. Currently, I am working on memorizing my verses as I walk on the treadmill (I have a printout of the verses taped to the treadmill). I find this allows me to concentrate my efforts toward memorization while working through a very repetitive activity. I also find my time on the treadmill seems to go faster for me w…

Halloween Evangelism

I like Halloween time for evangelism. People come to your door and ask for things and take what you give them. There is no other time of year that this happens!

For the last several years, Greg and I have made a point of making this a ministry night in our home. Here's what we are doing this year:
Full size candy bars. Our philosophy: Be generous just as we have had great generosity shown to us. Side note: Kids remember the house that gives the big candy bars and they come back, with friends. Business card from our church taped to the back of the candy bar with a label that reads: "This is our church. We invite you to visit sometime."Gospel tracts to go with every candy bar. I'm a big fan of the tracts from "Living Waters" ministry. This year I'm using the cartoon "Are you a good person?" tract. "Why Christianity?" video for the older children and teenagers who come to our door. It's a great evangelistic message in a DVD format. It…

Do Hard Things

I recently finished reading the book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. The subtitle of the book is A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.

I liked the book. I thought they did a good job relaying history, explaining where and when the concept of a "teenager" began, and giving lots of examples from history and current times of teenagers who took on hard things. The authors are teenagers themselves, so that made the book real to the reader. The book is written from a Christian perspective and gives a pretty good gospel presentation at the end of it.

My niece Meghan (14) and I read it simultaneously (part of the Feed the Starving Teenagers program--more on that another day). Last week we got together to discuss the book. Meghan was very excited about it. It spurred her on to expect more from herself as a teenager and to want others to expect more from her as well. She's looking for a big project to do. We're brainstorming about that together.

My one concern a…

Cookie Baking Night 10/26

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. Ethan and Carissa were in attendance. After we ate supper and baked brownies, we took on a new endeavor. I've been working on teaching the kids the books of the Bible. As I was gathering information for this task, I found a gem in my closet I had forgotten about. Several years ago, we attended a meeting where Josh McDowell was the speaker for the evening. He has developed a curriculum (http://www.truefoundations.com/) for teaching young children about the Bible called, "Is the Bible Personally From God?" I had purchased a variety pack of information at the time of the meeting, and this curriculum was amongst that information. This "course" included a teacher's guide and a couple workbooks for children. It's an eight week course. It's more information than we need for our limited amount of time at Cookie Baking Night, so we'll probably be working through the information (picking and choosing a bit) over the next y…

Frightening Fridays

If you visit this blog from time to time, you might have noticed the absence of Frightening Fridays posts in the last month or two.

Frightening Friday is the name I gave to the day of the week I go out in the community with the intention of sharing the gospel with strangers (I usually go to the mall or a carnival or a skate park to do this).

I'm still going out and sharing the gospel (if not by one-on-one encounters then by handing out gospel tracts) but the day of the week varies, and I'm trying to figure out a plan with winter approaching (this being Minnesota and all).

So, I am putting my Frightening Friday posts on hold for awhile. Please continue to pray for these efforts, and I'll keep you posted.

Because of Christianity...Reconciliation

Because of Christianity, we have reconciliation. If you have watched the world and the world system you will notice a lack of reconciliation (no restoring to friendship or harmony, as Webster's would define it). There is little motivation or need to reconcile with another human being. When doing what is right in one's own eyes, the thought of reconciling with another person often invokes statements such as, "Why should I, they were wrong." or "If that's the way they treat people, I don't need them in my life anyway." But Christianity teaches us something different. The Bible tells us:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Speaking of Jesus in these verses:
For it pleased the Father that in Him all fullness should dwell, a…

Evangelism Video 10/16

This is a video of Ray Comfort witnessing to a man named Chris. I think the end of the video is particularly interesting when Chris mentions how many people had spiritual conversations with him (or gave him gospel tracts) that weekend and how it was starting to have an impact on his thinking.

Book Binding Tip

Today I will pass on a book tip to the masses (or the 5 or so people who occasionally read this blog). If you are a continuous reader of books, as I am, occasionally you will run into a book that you read over and over and want to recommend to others or want to study further in conjuction with studying the Bible. If this book you have found is paperback, I find it helpful to bring the book to an office supply store (like Office Max) or a copy center (like Kinkos) and have a spiral binding put on the book. This can be done for the cost of $3.00-$4.00 per book. This will allow you to open the book flat or completely flip the book around and study (and write in if desired) one page at a time. A few wise women in my life have passed this tip onto me, and I've found it very useful (especially when studying a book in conjuction with a Bible Study--one that that you will be returning to for months). When I run into a real "keeper" of a book, I invest in this extra step (just d…

Cookie Baking Night 10/12/09

Tonight was cookie baking night. Emily, Ethan, and Carissa were in attendance. We made pumpkin bars.
Tonight we got back to our project of learning the books of the Bible. We practiced the first 10 books of the Old Testament and learned how many books are in the whole Bible (66) and how many in the Old Testament (39) and New Testament (27) each.
The evening also included supper (pizza, a favorite), a Bible story, and lots of coloring pictures.
A grand time was had by all.

Evangelism Video 10/3

Today I'd like to share a video with you of Trisha Ramos (from the Fish with Trish website), doing some follow up with a few young people after Todd Friel witnessed to them (shared the law and the gospel) on the Way of the Master radio show. I found the follow-up conversations intriguing and thought I would share them with you.


Evangelism Video 10/2

Today I'm in Iowa visiting relatives. I pray I will have the chance to share the gospel while I am here (and while I'm traveling).

I leave you with this video from the Living Waters University series of Ray Comfort witnessing to a young man named Brandon.

Ephesians 2:1-10

Ephesian 2:1-10 (NKJV)

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sin, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created i…

Every Secret Thing

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (NKJV)
Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.

I grew up thinking I was a Christian. When I was 12, I said a prayer and asked Jesus in my heart, and I believed that saved me. I was trusting my eternity on that prayer. I called myself a Christian and fully believed I was one.

But.......verses like the one listed above scared me. The thought of God knowing secret things and one day having that exposed to the world terrified me. I knew what went on in my head. I knew my thoughts and what evil I was capable of. I literally lived in fear of judgment day, but I didn't understand why.

I was trusting in my own goodness to save me and not what Jesus did for me on the cross. And if I really allowed myself to ponder it (which I rarely allowed myself to do), I knew I had no goodness in me, and someday everyone would know that. I had never humbled myself bef…

Galatians 5:19-26

Galatians 5:19-26 (NKJV)

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, durnkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirt is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Cookie Baking Night 9/28

Tonight was cookie baking night. In attendance: Ethan, Emily, Meghan, and Carissa. We made pumpkin patch brownies.

Recipe:
Make brownies (package or homemade, whatever you prefer)
Frost the brownies (prepared or homemade frosting, whatever you prefer)
Use a tube of prepared green frosting to create "vines" on top of the frosted brownies (the kids like this part)
Place candy pumpkins along the "vines" to look like a pumpkin patch.


Great God of Wonders

This morning in church, a men's quartet sang "Great God of Wonders". Here's a verse from it.

Great God of wonders, all Thy ways,
Are matchless and divine;
But the blest triumphs of Thy grace
Most marvelous, unrivaled shine;
Who is a pardoning God like thee?
Or who has grace so rich and free?

Who is a pardoning God like thee? Or who has grace so rich and free? Indeed!

Greetings!

Galatians 1:1-5 (NKJV)

Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

These are the first five verses of Paul's letter to the Galatians. Basically, this is Paul saying "hello". May our greetings and every word that comes from our mouths be this gospel-centered and meaningful.

Timely Verses

God has been dealing with me lately on the subject of humility and my frequent lack thereof. I find the tool He uses most often to teach me humility is my job. I've been feeling the sting of these lessons particularly in the last week or so.

As I opened my Bible this morning, I found great comfort in these words spoken by Paul in 2 Corinthians 12.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak…

Psalm 73:25-28

Psalm 73:25-28 (ESV)

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth I desire beisdes You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from You shall perish; You put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to You. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of Your works.


May it be so in my life.

Ephesians

This morning our pastor started a series of sermons on the book of Ephesians in the Bible. He started today with an introduction to Ephesians chapters 1 & 2. I was encouraged by this because I've been desiring to memorize Ephesians 1 & 2 (ambitious?, probably--but well worth it). I didn't want to start memorizing it without understanding it. I want to give it the inflection and emotion it deserves. Today's morning sermon was a good start to studying Ephesians 1 & 2, and I was encouraged even further when we had home fellowship groups this evening and we continued discussing those two chapters. I look forward to knowing it more in the next few months.

I'll leave you with Ephesians 1: 1-6 (NKJV)

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with ever…

Handing Out Tracts

Earlier this week I blogged about not underestimating the witness of a gospel tract. I'd like to share with you the story of the little white-haired man on George Street. This story encourages me when I start to feel result-driven in my evangelism ministry. I hope it is an encouragement to you as well as you follow this link to the audio recording of the story.

http://www.higherpraise.com/ChristianVideos/WhatcanonemandoforGod100K.htm

What I'm Learning About Evangelism-Part 3

This week, my posts are about what I've learned about evangelism in the last six months. Here's my thought for today:

Never underestimate the witness of a gospel tract. If you are doing nothing in the area of evangelism right now, I encourage you to start by handing out gospel tracts.

1. Find a gospel tract you like (one with a message you agree with, maybe one that presents the gospel in a similar style to the way you communicate). I like the tracts sold at Living Waters ministry (http://www.livingwaters.com/). I use them often.

2. If you don't think there's a gospel tract that explains the gospel exactly the way you would, then write one yourself (I've done that. I had my husband, a good friend, and my pastor proof it and advise me on it--Greg and I designed a cover for it on the computer. We took it to a local printer and had a large volume printed up. It was a relatively inexpensive process. I believe the Living Waters website also has a tool available for writing…

What I'm Learning About Evangelism-Part 2

This week my posts will be about what I've learned about evangelism in the last six months.

Two lessons stand out to me today:

1. Know the gospel. Read about the gospel, understand it, preach it to yourself. If you do not understand the message of the gospel (we are sinners, enemies of God, yet God loved us and sent his Son, Jesus Christ-fully God, fully man-to live a sinless life and die a cruel and painful death, taking the punishment we deserve for the sins we committed, and then rose from the grave after three days, defeating death, that we may be reconciled to the Father through the sacrifice of His Son--nothing we have done or can do ourselves) then you will not be able to share it with others and you won't be compelled to do so either.

2. You will never be brave enough to share the gospel with someone else. I put it off for weeks and months thinking, "If I just hear one more person share the gospel with someone else, then I'll be ready" "If the circumsta…

What I'm Learning About Evangelism-Part 1

I'm going to spend this week talking about what I've learned about evangelism in the last 6 months. I've been seeking to intentionally go out and share the gospel with others in that time period, so I'll pass on what I know so far (for whatever that's worth).

Today I'll pass on a tip I learned from the Fish with Trish website (www.fishwithtrish.com) that I tried out yesterday on my way to work.

I decided to stop at a local coffee shop on the way into work (alright, I'll confess I don't drink coffee--it was hot chocolate I was after). It didn't take long for a line to form after me in the drive thru. I asked the cashier if I could pay for the drink of the customer behind me. She gave me the total, and I paid the bill. I then handed her a couple of gospel tracts. I told her that one was for her and asked her to give the other to the customer behind me and let them know that their drink had been paid for. She kindly agreed. Then I pulled away.

I wouldn…

Cooking Baking Night 9/14

Tonight was cookie baking night. We have a tradition at cookie baking night. When it is near someone's birthday, that person gets to choose the meal for that evening and the cookie we make. It was Meghan's birthday on Saturday. She chose spaghetti, french fries, and apples for supper and a sugar cookie for the baking part of the evening (that's been her standard choice for a few years now).
Since Meghan is a teenager now (year #2 as a teenager, actually), her appearances at cookie baking nights are few and far between. It was a joy to have her with us this evening. Meghan read the Bible lesson from our book, Leading Little Ones to God. It was fun to have her participate in this way.

Later in the evening, Meghan was sending a text message to a friend. Emily saw the message. Meghan said she was telling her friend something along the lines of "you're so funny". Emily said, "That is sooo boring. I thought being a teenager would be more fun than that. I think I…

Psalm 56

My Bible titled this Psalm "A prayer for relief from tormentors". With that title in mind, I was struck by the phrase, "I will trust in You."

In my MacArthur study Bible the note for this phrase says: "Confidence in the Lord is a purposeful decision, replacing an emotional reaction to one's circumstances."

Psalm 56 (NKJV)

Be merciful to me, O God, for man would swallow me up;
Fighting all day he oppresses me.
My enemies would hound me all day, for there are many who fight against me, O Most High.
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me?
All day they twist my words;
All their thoughts are against me for evil.
They gather together,
They hide, they mark my steps,
When they lie in wait for my life.
Shall they escape by inquity?
In anger cast down the peoples, O God!
You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
T…

Happy Birthday, Meghan!

Today is Meghan's birthday. Meghan is my niece (daughter of my brother, Rob). She turns 14 today (or 27, I'm not sure which).

I love Meghan and pray that she knows that. Meghan is beautiful. She is funny. She is oh-so-cool (maybe a little too cool?) She's fun to be around, a real thinker.

I talk to Meghan about God, often. She tells me that Jesus is the most important thing in her life. I pray that is true. I pray these verses are a reality in her life:

Ephesians 2:4-10 (ESV)
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immearsurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Chrsit Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result…

Bible Reading Plan Part 2

I mentioned in yesterday's post that in January Greg and I started reading the Bible using Robert Murray M'Cheyne's Bible reading plan for the year (please see the September 10 post for more details).

I mentioned in yesterday's post that we are enjoying reading through the Bible in this way, and we're finding it beneficial. What I didn't mention in yesterday's post is that we have struggled keeping up with the plan a bit. We stayed on track January through the beginning of May. In May I took a trip out to California (for five days), and Greg and I have been struggling to catch up ever since. With approximately four chapters of reading a day, it doesn't take long to get behind. We have been struggling to catch up and we were starting to get discouraged (we were at least a month behind the plan at this point).


Today, I made the decision to start reading my personal reading from the place where the plan recommends today (starting over in a sense) and not try…

Bible Reading Plan Part 1

In January, Greg and I started reading the Bible using the Robert Murray M'Cheyne Bible reading calendar for the year. It was suggested to our church by our pastor. It is comprised of reading roughly 4 chapters of the Bible a day. Two chapters are read as a family and two chapters are read indivdually (the plan calls it "secret"). The plan takes its readings from different books throughout the Bible (for example right now for family reading we are in 2 Samuel and 2 Corinthians and for personal reading we are in Ezekiel and Psalms). By the end of the year, this plan will have you reading through the entire Old Testament once, the New Testamet twice, and Psalms twice.

I'm enjoying the fact that we read part of it alone and part of it as a family. I find that I digest the information differently in each setting and both are beneficial.

When I read the chapters with Greg, I'm able to have discussion with him and hear what he is thinking as we read the Bible. He often o…

1 Corinthians 13:7-13

If you've ever attended a wedding, you've most likely heard some of 1 Corinthians 13 read out loud. I've heard it called the "love chapter". How often have we heard that chapter read out loud but not listened to it? How often have we read it but not paid attention to it? Love is not just for weddings. It's for families, it's for coworkers, it's for evangelism, it's for neighbors, it's for enemies, it's for strangers. And it's not easy. Let the words sink in as you read these verses today.

I Corinthians 13: 7-13

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I reasoned like a child, I thought like a child. When I became a man, I gave up ch…

1 Corinthians 13:1-6

If you've ever attended a wedding, you've most likely heard some of 1 Corinthians 13 read out loud. I've heard it called the "love chapter". How often have we heard that chapter read out loud but not listened to it? How often have we read it but not paid attention to it? Love is not just for weddings. It's for families, it's for coworkers, it's for evangelism, it's for neighbors, it's for enemies, it's for strangers. And it's not easy. Let the words sink in as you read these verses today.

1 Corinthians 13:1-6 (ESV)

If I speak of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arro…

A Birthday Present

At my party on Friday, Emily (my 8-year-old niece) had several presents for me. A couple of the presents she made herself. My mom gave her a bunch of pictures of me from my growing-up years. She gave Emily only pictures of me, and Emily (all by herself) made a scrapbook for me using those pictures.

Emily also made me a special frame with one picture in it. Unbeknownst to Emily, the picture she chose was the infamous (in our family anyway) 4th grade picture. Until recently, it was my least favorite school picture of all time. I did my own hair that day and I can still remember the photographer asking me ("Don't you want to comb your hair before I take the picture?"--I was appalled. I spent a lot of time on that hair. It was exactly how I wanted it). My dislike for that picture actually stemmed from pride, something God convicted me of later in life (which made the picture all the more unappealing to me).

When I opened Emily's present on Friday night and saw the picture …

40th Birthday Party

Friday was my 40th birthday and I decided to have a party. One of my goals at the party was to have my picture taken with everyone in attendance. I came close. Unfortunately, I failed to get my picture taken with my mom (sorry Mama!) and my husband (sorry Greg!). They were there, and I spent a lot of time with them through the evening but never got it documented (bummer). With that disclaimer made, here's some of the pictures from that event. It was a very enjoyable party. I loved seeing everyone and spending the evening with them. The cakes were pretty, yummy, and a big hit!



Here I am with my Dad-Larry (I love him!)--He took the night off of work to be there (so nice!)

Here I am with my uncle Ernie (haven't seen him for awhile--was thrilled he came)

Here I am with my Aunt Wanda (the other half of the Uncle Ernie set)

Here I am with my brother Rob and his family. From the left: Meghan, Mary, Emily, Rob, Me and Joe

Greg's cousin and aunt and uncle (so glad to have them there). …