Thursday, December 31, 2009
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 longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
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
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.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
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!
Monday, December 28, 2009
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 and teach me about marriage. I am grateful for that. I am also grateful for Greg. I know not a more patient man than him. I learn a lot from him, and I'm very thankful for his leadership in our marriage. God is truly good!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
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 love you.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 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 and want to share the words with you.
It’s not just about the manger where the baby lay
It’s not all about the angels who sang for Him that day
It’s not just about the shepherds or the bright and shining star
It’s not all about the wise men who traveled from afar
It’s not just about the presents underneath the tree
It’s not just about the feeling that season brings to me
It’s not just about coming home to be with those you love
It’s not all about the beauty in the snow I’m dreaming of
It’s about the cross
It’s about my sin
It’s about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again
It’s about the stone that was rolled away
So that you and I could have real life some day
It’s about the cross
Philippians 2:5-8 says:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
Remembering the cross this Christmas season,
Greg and Katrina Oseid
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
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.....that You raised Him from the dead to be my Savior, to make me righteous in Your sight...that You highly exalted Him, giving Him a position infinitely superior to any conceivable command, authority, power, or control, both natural and supernatural. Thank You that He is the Great High Priest...That He is able to save me completely, for He lives forever and prays for me, and for all of us who have come to You through Him. I glorify you, My Father, with gratefulness and joy.
And I bow at the feet of Him who was dead, and now is alive forever and ever. I exalt Him, I yield myself to Him, for He is worthy of the total response of my entire being: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessings."
And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
But, alas, God is good, and that does exist at Bible Baptist Church to the praise of His name!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
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 it
- They respond instantly
- They bond with you over it (sounds silly but it's true)
- It is a legitmate form of communication for them
I have a teenage niece and a teenage nephew. I have gone out with them several times over the last couple months. Every outing has been set up via a text message. I could call them for days and get no answer, but if I send a text message I get an instant response (usually a large paragraph that takes me 10 minutes to respond to with a three-word sentence--then in 10 seconds they send back a paragraph of text--and the cycle continues that way).
BFN (bye for now)
Monday, December 14, 2009
Who is He in yonder stall, at whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He in deep distress, fasting in the wilderness?
Who is He the people bless for His words of gentleness?
Who is He to whom they bring all the sick and sorrowing?
Who is He that stands and weeps at the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng greet with loud triumphant song?
Lo at midnight, who is He who prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree dies in grief and agony?
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?
Tis the Lord! O wondrous story!
Tis the Lord! The kind of glory!
At His feet we humbly fall
Crown Him! Crown Him, Lord of all!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
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--but I guess you have to be from Minnesota to fully understand and appreciate that distinction).
Merry Christmas to the nieces and nephews. We love you all!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
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 life if you will choose to believe and embrace them. These are key truths we find ourselves going back to over and over again."
It goes on to name 22 truths from Scripture with references to back it up (such as God is enough Psalm 23:1; the blood of Christ is sufficient to cover all my sin 2 Corinthians 12:9, I am responsible before God for my behavior, responses, and choices Ezekiel 18:19-22, I need the church Ephesians 2:19-22, Eph 5:25; 1 Corinthians 12:12-17, etc.)
Meghan said she liked this last chapter of the book the best because "it gave her real advice about what to do from here and real Bible verses."
A few closing comments about this book:
- Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote Lies Women Believe first. That book is geared toward adult women. Several people have asked me, "Aren't they pretty much the same?" I've read only half of Lies Women Believe now, but I think I can confidently say, no, they are not the same. Both are good, and I would recommend both of them, but they are geared toward two different audiences. In Lies Young Women Believe, the authors do a great job of addressing specific issues dealt with by a specific culture, one that is removed from the world of adults. It's an education in itself.
- I would recommend reading this book with a young lady and discussing it afterward. A few words of caution on this, though. This book contains some sensitive subject matter. If the young lady you have in mind is immersed in the world system, unsaved, or attending public school, I would recommend reading this book with them (not giving it to them to read alone) when they are between the ages of 13 and 14 because, under those circumstances, they will be able to handle the subject matter and, for the most part, won't be exposed to any new ideas. If the young lady you have in mind is a regular church attender and attends Christian school or home school and has mostly Christian friends I might wait until 15-16 to read it with them because you could be introducing new ideas to them. Ultimately, it should be discussed with the young lady's parents before reading it with her or it should be read with a parent.
- This book is a keeper. It will remain in my library.
Monday, December 7, 2009
“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“
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I appreciate when Greg uses Biblical language in conversation. Gods uses it in my life every time.
Monday, November 30, 2009
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 endurance produces character, and character produces hope.' So even in our trials and our suffering, God is at work in our lives!" (page 49).
Just another reminder of how easily our focus can shift to ourselves.
James 1:2-4 (NKJV)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Romans 5:3-4 (NKJV)
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Friday, November 27, 2009
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.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
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 loves Jesus Christ and wishes to please Him and become more like Him everyday.
I am thankful that God has allowed me to help out with the family finances through my job. I am thankful that God uses this job as a means of sanctification in my life. I am thankful that God has provided me with a mission field like no other through this job.
I am thankful for relationships with friends and family. God uses these relationships as a means of sanctification in my life. True relationships allow an inescapable testing ground for trusting God.
I am thankful that I have a Bible and can read it without fear of punishment.
I am thankful that there are those who came before me who fought and died to make it possible for me to have a Bible in my possession in my own langage.
I am thankful that I live in a country that still allows me the freedom to worship God and preach the gospel.
I am thankful that God created the world and that He knows me.
Psalm 139:1-5 says: "O LORD, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up: You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquinted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You hem me in behind and before and lay Your hand upon me.
I am thankful that God is sovereign and all things are in His control. I rest in that.
Monday, November 23, 2009
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.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
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 recommend this resource for your children.
Monday, November 16, 2009
"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 grow into Christ-likeness and spiritual beauty?---J.R. Miller.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
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.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
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 woman in Pakistan.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
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 flow in this regard (I'm guilty of it myself). But, as Christians, does our language reflect the God we serve and the theology we profess? Should we be so quick to attach morality to how we look or what we eat? Are lying and stealing words we should casually throw around in daily conversation as if they mean nothing?
Words have meaning, and I am constantly challenged to remember that in my daily conversations as I interact with Christians and non-Christians alike.
Monday, November 2, 2009
- 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 when I'm concentrating on the verses.
So far, I'm up to Ephesians 1:1-6 (ESV) as written below:
Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God. To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are 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 in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:1-6 (ESV)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
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's available through "Living Waters" ministry and, when bought in bulk, can be purchased at a discount rate.
With those tips in mind I say, "Happy Halloween Evangelizing!"
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
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 about the book is that it could inadvertently encourage moralism (behaving well for the sake of behaving well-to be a better human being). Because of this concern, I think it's worth reading this book with a teenager, so you can have some discussion afterward.
In my discussion with Meghan, I was able to address that concern and present the gospel to her. She listened intently and was truly interested in the message. I'm grateful to God that He allowed that opportunity through the reading of this book. And I know that the intense interest this book stirred in Meghan will allow for more conversations of this nature in the future. To God be the glory!
Monday, October 26, 2009
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 year. Tonight we started with some information from lesson 1, "Who Wrote the Bible?". The lesson focused heavily on the word "inspired" and covered how God inspired men to write the Bible. The balloons were visual aids, each with the word "inspired" written on them. Each child took a balloon home at the end of the evening as a reminder.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
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.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
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, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless, and above reproach in His sight. Colossians 1:19-20
We reconcile with others because we've been reconciled to the Father.
We forgive because we've been forgiven by the Father through the Son.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
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.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
I leave you with this video from the Living Waters University series of Ray Comfort witnessing to a young man named Brandon.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
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 in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
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 before God, asked for forgiveness of my sins, and put my trust in Christ alone for my salvation. So, fear was my constant companion, and I had no peace.
About six years ago, God brought me to my knees before Him in humility. He showed me my sin and how I had wronged Him, and that's when I understood why Jesus died on a cross. He took the punishment for my sins, so I could be reconciled to God. Jesus lived a sinless life (which I could not do) and died as the perfect sacrifice for my sins. He then defeated death and rose from the grave three days later.
In brokenness, I repented of my sins and trusted Christ for my salvation.
Now I can read verses like Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 and fear God with reverence and knowledge of His holiness and righteousness and not out of selfish fear of exposure.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
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.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Tonight was cookie baking night. In attendance: Ethan, Emily, Meghan, and Carissa. We made pumpkin patch brownies.
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.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
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!
Saturday, September 26, 2009
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.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
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, then I am strong.
Monday, September 21, 2009
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.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
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 every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
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 your own tract (haven't used it myself but I've seen it on the website under Resources).
3. Hand out gospel tracts when you are out running errands, eating at restaurants, standing in line somewhere. It's awkward at first (okay, always!), but it's not hard to do.
4. My own personal rule--don't leave a restaurant without leaving the waitress/waiter a gospel tract. It's a no-brainer. Note: Leave the gospel tract with a good tip--be generous, as God has been to you.
5. I have heard many testimonies of people who have come to salvation in Christ because of the witness of a gospel tract. I know a few of them. The tract usually asks a question or makes a statement that causes a person to think in a way they haven't before. The gospel tract also sticks around until the person is ready to read it (until the Holy Spirit works on their heart), which may be days, weeks, months, years. I've heard testimonies of people shoving the gospel tract in their pocket and then in a drawer at home but pulling it out months or years later, reading it, and responding to the message of the gospel in repentance and faith.
Never underestimate the witness of a gospel tract.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
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 circumstances line up just right, then I'll be ready" "If that person didn't look like they were in a hurry, I would share the gospel with them" "If I didn't have my friend with me and the awkwardness around the situation, then I would have shared the gospel with that person." "I have to memorize a few more Bible verses, then I'll be ready" "If I had more time today, I would share the gospel with that person".
I have never been ready. I keep waiting for a brave feeling, and it hasn't arrived yet. I am terrified every time I approach a stranger to talk about the gospel with them.
I remind myself that this is not about me. I will not be converting any souls. God will do that, in His timing. It is simply my task to proclaim the gospel, whether I feel brave enough to do so or not.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
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't recommend a steady diet of evangelizing in only this way, but I would recommend trying it sometime. If you do I would also recommend these tips:
- Smile (I think I might have forgotten to do that in my concentration)
- Make sure you give a tract that presents the gospel very clearly since this is your only interaction with the cashier and the person behind you in line.
- Utilize this stop in this way. You were planning to go through the drive-thru anyway. Use it to spread the gospel if at all possible.
Monday, September 14, 2009
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'll stay 8 years old."
Meghan enjoying some sugar cookie dough
Emily doing the same
Ethan and Carissa making cookies
Sunday, September 13, 2009
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,
Then my enemies will turn back,
This I know, because God is for me.
In God (I will praiseHis word),
In the LORD (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man to do me?
Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God;
I will render praises to You,
For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God
In the light of the living?
Saturday, September 12, 2009
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 of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
I love you, Meghan, and I always will! Happy Birthday, kiddo!
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
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 trying to catch up. I recommended this plan of action to Greg for our family reading as well. He thought that sounded like a good idea. So, we skipped ahead to the reading for September 10 instead of floundering back in July (for family) and August (for personal).
I didn't want to give up on it. I want to stick with this plan not for legalistic reasons but because it offers a structure that has been very helpful to our family.
Here's a few other benefits I have found from following a plan this year:
- Our pastor is following this plan as well, so he often reads from his daily readings at the beginning of Sunday services or preaches on the text during a Thursday or Sunday evening service. I enjoy that, and for this reason it is helpful to be reading the text he is reading at the same time and becoming familiar with it.
- By reading through a plan, I am finding myself in parts of the Bible that I would not have made myself read through on my own. It challenges me to think and to understand what is going on in that particular passage. It challenges me to understand the text as it is written and not to smash my circumstances into the meaning of the text. For example, right now we are reading in Ezekiel for the personal reading. I am loving it. I am surprised by this. I would not have started reading Ezekiel on my own.
- It keeps me in God's Word every day, which allows me to know Him more and love Him more.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
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 observes things in the passages that I don't. I love talking about it with him.
When I read the chapters alone, I'm able to write it down if necessary (add it to my "What do I Know About my God?" notebook), look to commentaries if desired. And I still have the benefit of discussing it with Greg because we are reading the same chapters at the same time separately (in theory).
This has been a great tool for Spiritual growth in our lives throughout this year.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
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 childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide; but the greatest of these is love.
Monday, September 7, 2009
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 arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
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 she chose for her special frame, I was surprised by my own emotions. It actually filled my heart with joy. It was a reminder to me that God is sovereign. All things are known by Him and used by Him.
I started laughing when I saw the picture she had chosen. I was sitting at the bonfire when I opened it. We had a blast passing it around. My brothers especially enjoyed it. It also did not go unnoticed that there is a striking resemblance between Emily (now 8 years old) and my 4th grade picture (I was 10 at the time).
I will cherish this picture frame made by Emily (and the picture that it holds). I marvel at the work God does in one's heart and the means He uses to do it.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
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). From the left: Tammy, Me, Monica, Larry
Dan and Deena (Greg's brother and wife) and me. (Hmmm. I didn't get my picture taken with Greg but we did get a picture of Dan, they look a lot alike---close but no cigar).
Diana, Carissa, Me, Ethan, Jon (Greg's sister and family)---Jon also took the night off of work to be there--so kind of him.
Dee & Phil & Me (Greg's parents)---so glad they were there. I love them.
The Roman family (our pastor and his family). Back Row: Me, Julie, Doug. Front Row: Isaiah, Abigail, Samuel.
The Tingelstad Family. (I used to teach Karl and Erik at the daycare--little tots then, now they're 21 and 18). From the left: Merle, Karl, Me, Erik, Kathy.
Our good friends, the Perfettos. From the left: Kim, Me, Joe
The Stoffels. (I work with Cindy--she's a good friend and a great coworker). From the left: Tony, baby Roland, Cindy, and Me.
The nieces and the nephew (Rob's kids). From the left: Joe (17), Me, Emily (8), Meghan (13)
The Kidd kids all grown up. John, Katrina, and Rob. Do you see a family resemblance?
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