Monday, March 31, 2008
I find the story of Jacob and Esau particularly interesting. You remember the story: Jacob and Esau were the sons of Isaac and Rebekah. Esau was a manly man who loved to hunt (and according to the Bible he was very hairy - eeeeew!). Esau was loved by his father Isaac, maybe because they had similar interests. Esau was the kind of son Issac could call on to help put food on the table, help fix things around the 'tent', or with any other manly task. Jacob, on the other hand, was loved by his mother, Rebekah. Jacob and Rebekah probably had a lot in common. Jacob was more of the sensitive type. He liked to cook (what mom wouldn't want some help in the kitchen?). Jacob was probably a great help with the other kids in the camp. He probably helped decorate the tent and keep it tidy. Needless to say, other than their parents, Jacob and Esau had very few similar interests.
Even though their interests were different, Jacob and Esau had one thing in common. Deceit. They were good at deceiving people. As a matter of fact, their grandfather Abraham, and their father Isaac were quite good a lying as well. If you will remember, Abraham lied to Pharaoh when he said that Sarah was his sister (well she was his half-sister, but it was a lie nonetheless). Isaac did the same with Rebekah, telling Abimelech that she was his sister. Like father, like son, huh? Then Jacob, deceived his brother Esau, causing Esau to give Jacob his birth right. See the pattern here?
Exodus 20:5 tells us that ".....for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.." Considering the fact that Abraham's family had a problem telling the truth, it looks like this held true for his family and I am sure that it will hold true for mine as well.
This means that the sins that we allow to remain in our own lives can plague our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren....do you smell what I'm cookin' here? When great-great grandpa has a problem controlling his temper, it is a good likelihood that great-grandson will have anger management issues as well. When grandma is a constant complainer who is always dissatisfied, it could be that great-grandaughter will be whiny and hard to please as well. Those are just a couple of examples, we all have to fill in our own blanks. My grandmother/mother - grandfather/father had the negative behvior of ___________________ therefore I am more likely to be ______________________.
I am sure that all of us can look back at our family tree and see patterns of sin. Maybe it's lying, or negativity, maybe gambling, greed - whatever the tradition of sin is, we have to stop it in ourselves so that it isn't passed down to our children and their children.
Abraham was an idol worshipper who became a worshipper of God. Abraham is probably most remembered for obeying God when asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac on an altar. Thankfully, God spared Isaac and blessed Abraham for his faith. Isaac is probably most remembered for unintentionally giving away his fortune to the wrong child. Jacob is probably most remembered for cheating his brother out of his birth right. Regardless of their faith in God, these men will always be remembered, in part, for being deceitful. These were men of God yet their legacy is tainted by lies and deceit.
Our family history influences who we are and how we act/react. History always repeats itself until someone stops the cycle. We have to be that someone. We have be honest with ourselves in taking inventory of the negative patterns we have inherited and do whatever it takes to eliminate them in our own lives. We do not want to be responsible for causing our children and their children and their children to sin. No matter what we do for God, no matter how much we love Him, our unrepentant sins can taint our legacy of faith. And we defnitely do not want that to happen!
Check out Greg's blog - I think you will find it interesting!
Friday, March 28, 2008
*Today I went on a field trip with Lake's class to see Horton Hears a Who. It was a really good movie with several good themes. I recommend it to people of all ages. I just don't recommend seeing it in an old theater with 116 first graders. My feet were stuck to the floor the entire time. Seven year olds tend to laugh just a little too loud and at the most inappropriate times. They like to kick the back of your seat and they have to go pee - ALOT. hahahaha I am just kidding (about most of it).
*100-calorie packs of Orville Redenbacher popcorn are not nearly as good as movie popcorn no matter how much you try to convince yourself.
*My new favorite snack is Yoplait light yogurt - Boston Creme Pie flavor to be exact with Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal in it. That combination is like Twizzlers - "makes mouths happy".
*I know I have griped about this on several previous occasions, but allow me to vent yet again about the trash that IS television (with the exception of American Idol of course). Last night while my hubs watched Tennessee lose to a team that will remain unnamed here, I flipped channels and found filth of all kinds. On HGTV, there was a lesbian couple who were trying to buy a house together. On TLC, there was a transgender (what the heck is that anyway) girl/guy that looked strangely like Elvis who was getting a tatoo on her neck of some kind of skull with flowers on it. On one of the major networks (CBS? ABC? NBC? Who knows they are alike to me) there was a show that featured detectives trying to solve a gory murder that involved very strange circumstances. Do we really need to turn on our TV's and see bloody, bruised, half naked people laying in pools of blood? I can't bring myself to watch that junk. On VH1 and MTV you can guarantee there will always be nudity, cursing, freaks of nature of all kinds, and lots of drunk people in bathing suits. On MTV2 you will always see rich rappers who want to show off their cribs (or as we normal people would call them - huge mansions bought with drug money). Yes, I went there. I could go on and on but you all have cable - you know that Scott Baio and Peter Brady have their own completely insane reality shows. You know that homes are broken every week while people answer questions on Moment of Truth. The sad part is that we have made a hobby out of watching this crud.
*I lost 4 lbs this week --- I gained 8 last week ---- by my calculations I have about 15 lbs to go. I wonder what the recovery time for liposuction is. (Just kidding - kinda)
*Have you seen that the UMC has decided to turn against Israel? If I recall correctly, the Bible says that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse her will be cursed. I don't agree with all the practices of the Methodist church, but this seems very disastrous. I wonder why denominations that have mostly been considered by the majority to be mainstream (ie. Episcopal, Methodist, etc) have all of the sudden become extreme in their stance on certain issues. By that I mean I wonder why so many denominations have decided to ordain openly gay ministers, to become anti-Israel, to deny that the Bible is the divine inspired Word of God???? The Bible tells us that in the last days, there will be a great falling away of the church. Guess it's another prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes. If you are Methodist or Episcopal or one of the other denominations that seem to be falling away, please know that I am not preaching at you or condemning you, because I know the local church doesn't always agree with the umbrella association they fall under. Just because the UMC believes something does not mean that all Methodists believe it.
*I am terrified of snakes. I dont even say the word - only"S". My son came home from school with a toy snake today. I have screamed at him several times already for bringing it near me and we have only been home for an hour. Like dogs, kids smell fear and play on it. I know that my fear of snakes is irrational and I have mentioned this before but I think it is important enough to note again that I dream about them, when I sit on the toilet I worry that one might come out of said toilet, when I check the temperature of the water in the bathtub I fear that one might come out of the faucet, when I make my bed I think there might be one under it so I keep my feet at least 2 feet away from the bedskirt (at least I might have a chance to move away if one darts out unexpectedly), when I see one dead on the road I shiver endlessly and scream, my niece and nephew used to hold me in the corner with the S encyclopedia turned to the snake page when I babysat them, I would never visit the reptile house of the zoo, I could go on, but you get the point. Yes, I know I need counseling for this.
*I don't really like any of the candidates for President.
*Since when did first graders have homework?
*We have reservations at Disney for July 26th - August 5th. While we love, love, love Disney, it will be like a blazing inferno there. Since I don't think I would really look good in a tube top, I suppose I need to stock up on tank tops, huh? Any other suggestions? (other than changing our reservations to October).
*On Monday, I defrosted some pork chops in the fridge for the hubs and kids (dont eat pork, beef, fish - I know its weird) , but have not cooked them. I will be cooking them tonight in hopes that no one has to go to the ER for botulism.
*I had to get my nails done (you know the fake kind done by orientals everywhere?). I tore off 2 of my nails and couldnt stand to look at them anymore. I went to a local shop where the people are Vietnamese - they are really sweet, but ya'll I dont even speak good English much less Vietnamese. Anyway, the girl that did my nails is Sarah. Is that really a Vietnamese name? Anyway, she is a sweetheart and beautiful too. I invited her to church and she told me she is Buddhist. She said she knows who Jesus is and believes he is "for all people - Buddha not for all people". I talked to her for an hour and 45 minutes. She is a great example of how we can believe in Jesus, but not believe Jesus. She believes He is real, yet she doesnt believe what He says (well what little she knows - her English is a little worse than mine - a little). She was open to hearing the gospel.......I suppose I will see her again in 2 weeks when I need a fill-in and talk to her some more. I told her to think of questions about God and I would try to answer them for her.
*I will not complain about the heat this summer.......
*The sheet rock man told my hubs that we should be ready to move in to our house in 2 months. I think he might need a lesson in reality. We will see.
*I need my haircut, but my appointment isnt until the 4th of April. It is hard to keep big hair when it is too long to fix. Why do I need big hair you ask? I have a motto "the bigger the hair the smaller the rear". I think big hair takes attention from your behind and places it on your head. Just my own theory - test it for yourself.
*If I had a dollar for every time I hear "I'm hungry" from my kids in a day, I would be a billionare.
*I just realized that I didnt win the HGTV Dream Home ---AGAIN.
*My mom came to keep Kaden today while I went on the field trip and she washed ALL the dirty clothes in my house. That is alot of clothes washing - and I mean ALOT!!! She folded them all and laid them on my kitchen table too. Thankfully she didnt try to put them up or she would have found that many of them dont even have a place to go. Did I mention that we have outgrown our house?
Okay that is enough randomness for the whole weekend, after all I have a table full of clothes to put away.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
This week's study is about the obstacles we face while trying to live the abundant life. I know most all of you have done this study, but I wanted to put down some of my personal thoughts so maybe this will be a mini refresher course for you (or maybe this is the time you go to another blog). The first major obstacle is unbelief. Many times we say we believe God, but we do it with doubt in our hearts (I call that being a 'praying doubter'). Just like the man in Mark 9 whose son was demon possessed we say "I do believe" and in the next breath we say, "Help me overcome my unbelief". We humans are fickle people (is fickle just a southern term? not sure).
There are people who say they believe in God, yet don't believe Him. They don't believe He is who He says He is and that He will do what He says He will do. Haven't we all been there at times? There is such a huge difference in believing IN God and believing God. The liberty and freedom God speaks of in the Bible comes when we do both at the same time - believe IN Him and believe Him.
In verse 22 of Mark 9, the man says to Jesus ".....But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." How many times have you prayed with the silent "if you can do anything" attached? "God, I have this illness and I need you to heal me (if you can). God, I have a rebellious child that needs your touch (if you can). God, my marriage is in trouble and I need you to restore it (if you can)." If I had a dollar, no, a penny for every time I attached a silent "if you can" to my prayers I would be rich (filthy stinkin' rich, I tell ya). I think I have finally learned to leave the "if you cans" off. I told you this is my third time doing this study - I also told you I am a slow learner.
Something else I have been pondering lately is how we in the church are so proper and 'perfect'. Have you noticed that it is not socially acceptable in the church for saved people to admit that they have questioned God? Have you ever heard someone in the church say "I have been saved for 20 years, but I still struggle at times in believing that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God". Or, how about "I have been a Christian for years, but I still struggle with the same old sins I did before I was saved". I doubt you have -- that type of talk would insure that you would be gossipped about severely, shunned, or worse. We Christians can be judgemental. We judge people for the same sins we have committed. We judge others for the tiny speck of sawdust in their eye while we ignore the Redwood tree in our own (my paraphrase). It's easy to judge others because it keeps our mind off our own areas of captivity. When an unbeliever talks of their unbelief or struggles with sin, we are compassionate and do our best to encourage them, but when a believer does the same we rush to judgement.
Another obstacle to living the abundant life (life knowing God intimately) is pride. I have never had a problem with pride (well, not in the past few seconds anyway). The Bible tells us that God will not share His glory (even with His children). I have to admit that my eyes have recently been opened to an area of pride in my own life. See, there have been times (seasons actually) where I felt that my past sins were too many for God to forgive. In other words, I have been guilty of thinking that what I have done is too much for God to handle. I have thought MY problems were too big for God. Pride - rears its ugly head in the strangest of ways sometimes.
The Bible tells us that God hates pride, pride brings disgrace, it breeds quarrels (anyone who is married knows this first hand), it is evil, and pride deceives. The Bible also says that God humbles the proud, he lifts up the humble, and lives with the contrite in spirit. When we read those verses it all makes perfect sense, but in real day-to-day living, pride is a fierce enemy to defeat sometimes. Funny how a person who has thought their past sins were too big for God to forgive would also struggle with pride, huh? It would seem that pride wouldn't be a problem for a forgiven sinner, after all one who has been forgiven much should be willing to forgive much, right? A sinner saved by grace should be quick to extend grace, right? Right - except for pride. I am trying to commit James 4:6,10, Isaiah 57:14-15, and Isaiah 66:2 to memory so I can be ready when the enemy encourages my pride to take over (he knows my weak spots so well).
Next is the obstacle of Idolatry. Idols are anything that we use to take the place of God. Our husbands, our kids (I am guilty of this at times), stuff, jobs, people, homes, looks, reputations.....need I go on? We have all traded time with God for time doing something else. Idolatry. I bet if I polled 100 people and asked what things/people they put in God's place, I would get 100 different answers. In Bible times, people picked which idol they would carry around and worship. Some worshipped the sun god, others the fertility gods, others the gods that helped bring rain, etc, etc, etc. Today we do the same. The only difference is that today we have more 'stuff' to make idols out of (yes, I know that is an improper sentence- I never said I was an English teacher). We choose the things we can see over the One we believe in.
Another obstacle is prayerlessness. What does satan love more than anything? A Chrisitan who does not pray. He knows that without prayer we will never grow closer to God. In fact, we may just fall far enough away from the Lord that we keep others from growing closer to God or even keep someone from accepting Jesus. Do not be deceived, when you are not praying - satan is working. (As a side note every time I type satan - I end up typing stan - so if you see the word stan you will know who I am talking about;however, I mean no disrespect to men who are actually named Stan).
Last is the obstacle of legalism. Aren't we all Pharisees in disguise sometimes? Especially when it comes to the lives of others. We know the law, but forget the relationship. Don't we all know someone who lives to condemn people of their sins? Every church has one. The person who praises God with her/his lips, but can't wait to condemn their brother as soon as he fails. They are bored when things are going well in the church and have to spice things up a little by stirring the gossip pot. They place everyone else under a microscope and avoid the mirror.
Legalism comes in many forms, but the worst of which is when we are 'all talk/no action' Christians. We go through the motions, come to church every time the doors are open, pray the loudest in Sunday School, etc, yet our hearts are far from God. You see, the abundant life has nothing to do with stuff, but everything to do with relationship. You can sing in the choir, you can lead Bible study, you can preach the gospel, but if your heart is far from God and your number one desire is not for His glory, His fame, His renown (Isaiah 26:8), then your efforts are ALL in vain. The moral of this story is RELATIONSHIP IS EVERYTHING.
Now if you will all stand as we sing "Come Just As You Are"....................
Sunday, March 23, 2008
We had some awesome worship this morning - I tried to find the songs our choir/church sang on godtube so I could link them, but I must just know the words and not the correct names of the songs. So, I decided to make a video of myself singing them instead. Just kidding - the only thing worse than hearing me sing is watching me sing. I wouldnt do that to you. Our pastor preached a sermon called "There's No One Like Jesus". It's true - there is no one like Jesus. In his sermon, I was reminded of something I had forgotten about......
Back in Jesus day, when the servants would prepare the dinner table for their master, they would fold a cloth napkin neatly on the table for the master to use. When the master was finished eating, he would wad the napkin up and throw it down to show he was done. If he was not finished with his meal, the master would neatly fold the napkin and set it beside his food to show that he would be coming back to finish the meal he was eating. John 20:6-7 tells us "Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself." In this verse, handkerchief literally translates to the word 'napkin'. So by folding the handkerchief (napkin), Jesus was saying "I'm not finished - I will be back". Awesome, huh? There is so much symbolism in the Bible that the average person could never really comprehend it all, but I daresay if we knew all the customs of Jesus' day and all what all the literal translations meant, we would all be forced to our knees in worship.
So, our family spent the past week in Nashville. Hubs went there for in-service training (he works for the state) and the kids and I went there for moral support (ie. play, shop, and have fun while daddy is working - we are encouraging like that). We go every year with him so we have our favorite places to eat and shop. It's a week that the boys have my undivided attention with few distractions - I do what they want to do and we don't hurry. Being in Nashville means that we spent alot of time here and we always have to eat here at least once. We ate at alot of other places like this and this, so it is pretty safe for you to assume that I didn't really stick to any sort of diet last week. We did alot of eating---remember that 8 lbs I lost last month? I found it in Nashville. Dern my slow metabolism. And dern these crazy Easter Peeps that I keep eating! Like Paul, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do" (Romans 7:15) I wish weight was like everything else I lose - when I lose things I want to keep they STAY lost! And why does it take forever to lose weight, but a week to gain it all back?
This is the fifth year in a row that I bought an Easter frock (southern term for outfit) and had to wear something old because it was so cold outside. While we were in Nashville the temperature stayed around 73 the whole time, but the day after we get home it is 12 below (okay 53, but still too cold for this (coral) and this (mahogany) and these -- next year I am buying a wool suit for Easter!
So, this blog had somewhere in the neighborhood of 800 hits while I was gone and there were only 33 comments. There are some SHY people in this world, huh? I wonder what it would take to get them to make their presence known? A giveaway perhaps? I will be thinking about that one --- maybe I will title it "De-Lurk and Win" or something equally as tacky. Maybe soon - we shall see. It is encouraging to know that some of you would actually care if I did exit the blog world.....Don't worry, it ain't gonna happen (at least not anytime soon). Posts will be fewer and farther between in the summer months, but I have no plans of leaving for good.Anyway, I wanted to reply to a few of your comments. So, here goes:
Amie Mumpower - (we went to school together and have known each other for, well, lots of years) I am glad your family is better and I enjoy reading your blog too. It is fun for me to see the pics of your family (that little girl looks just like her mama!) The only problem is that I think you need to update it more - It was a snow day for way too long if you know what I mean! hahahahahhahaa
Cheri - Lake is better and none of the rest of us got what he had - Praise The Lord!
Greg P. - I am so glad that you commented! You are always welcome here (I do not discriminate based on gender). You actually are not the only male reader of this blog. I have two others (that I know of) - Steve , my friend from Worshipping Christian, where I also blog and my daddy, who has a blog but doesnt really know how to use it yet. So, please feel free to comment anytime and I will try to be sensitive and keep the estrogen talk to a minimum. ;-)
Melissa - that is one of my favorite Bible verse too. I hope you will be a regular here from now on! ;-)
Mari - We did have a great week - the only problem is it didnt last long enough!
Stephanie - Did you ever look at the links I left? I am anxious to read your blog and hear how your Easter service went - I am sure you were on that stage singing your heart out! I thought of you and your hubs when we passed Build a Bear in the mall the other day - I am glad my boys think its a 'girly' store! Saves us alot of money.
Carolee - I am so glad you watched my videos - I get that song "Jerusalem" in my head and it just wont quit!
Mari Fontana - Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I have to admit I read your blog often, but dont always comment. I love how you post so many pictures - gives me a glimpse into your life.
Tonya - I was so inspired by your blog and your testimony. I would love to hear more about your son's "conversations with God" - that is awesome!!!
Anonymous - I do live in JC, but I do come to Greeneville occasionally - we are practically neighbors!! :-) Feel free to comment anytime!
Earen - You know I am a fan of yours, right? For those of you reading this, you need to hop over to Earen's blog (see my sidebar - Faith in the Journey). She is a wonderful writer and she loves the Lord so much. She also has three little boys so there are lots of sweet pictures. So, Earen, when are you moving to TN?
Kelly S - So, I clicked on your name and noticed that you still dont have a blog to call your own. I am getting tired of this one sided conversation!!!! hahahahhahaa I will be glad to help you set it up - just tell me when.
Shelley - did you take care of our Daddy while I was gone? I looked at your blog earlier and it looks like you had a great time last weekend. And the banners when you got home? How sweet is that? Hope your Easter was awesome.
Mississippi Songbird - I am glad you stopped by - I hope you will come back and feel free to comment!
Bev - Thank you so much for your encouragement - you are such a sweet lady. If I lived in TX, I would want to be your next door neighbor because I know I can count on you to be a bright spot in my day!
Jennifer Partin - Everyone is all better now - hope everyone at your place is better too! I will be checking blogs later - I am sure I have a lot to catch up on in Japan!
Jenni Ritter - I am so glad you un-lurked! or de-lurked whatever the case may be. I hope you will come back and comment often! I will be visiting your blog sometime later today or tomorrow!
Sadie - I enjoy reading your blog too - it is fun to read about your life and your little one!
Tennessee Mama Duck - Well, we are practically neighbors (well if you look at the whole globe). We spend alot of time in Pigeon Forge in the fall and the summer so I am very familiar with the Smoky Mountains! Hope the flu has left your home! I have to ask --- why TN Mama Duck?
Cheryl - Glad to hear that you are one of the few people that actually would care if I quit blogging. It's nice to be appreciated ;-)
Dionna - Thanks for visiting and commenting! I wish I could have slept late while we were gone. Hubs had to get up early and the kids just naturally get up early. I would love to sleep until 8 am someday - I think I might get to do that when I am around 65. So, I just have 30 years to wait!
Fran - I am so glad that someone got to go to the beach for spring break. I hope you all had a great time and warm weather. I better be seeing lots of pics on your blog of the vacation!
Cassie - The reason that high school seems so long ago is that IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO!!!!! I just figured it up and by my calculations we are OLD! I had not realized until just now that we have been out of high school for 17 years!!!!! OMIGOSH!!! That cannot be! Please tell me it isnt so. The stress of realizing that I am old is more than I can handle! I think I need to go eat some more Peeps! Have I mentioned that I have a problem with getting older? Yeah, well, I do. You are right, we need to get together and have lunch sometime. Fun, fun, fun!
Steve - I will be back on board tomorrow if all goes well - hope you all had a wonderful Easter - I bet TX is warm unlike the arctic plains of TN.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
But only for a week.
It's Spring Break! I will be 'out of comission' for a week or so, but I WILL be back - you can't get rid of me that easily! I will be back and I am sure I will have some stories to tell.
ANYWAY, I have a request of everyone who is reading this post. This blog gets alot of hits each day. I know where you are coming from - your presence here is not a secret at all. Some of you are from countries I have never even heard of and I am sure you arrive here quite by accident - you may not even speak English (which is okay because I am from TN and we dont speak English too well either). Others are my familiar blog friends. Still others visit often, but never comment.
So, here is my request: Since I will be off the blog for a week or so, I am asking for everyone who reads this post to leave me a comment. I am declaring this DE-LURKING WEEK! (Or is that un-learking - told you my English stinks - is de/un-lurking even a word?) I know it's a lot to ask, but humor me, please. I would love to come back and see lots and lots of comments from everyone. I mean, really, the fun of blogging is in the comments, right?
So, I am asking that EVERYONE (new friend, old friend) who reads this post please leave me a comment (unless you are a total creep in which case I do not want to hear what you have to say so please keep your freak comments to yourself and I do mean that in the nicest possible way). But for the rest of you normal people, feel free to comment. You can just say "Hello" or you can tell me your favorite Bible verse or you can tell me a little-known fact about yourself, just say something. Who knows you might even have a little fun doing it!
Okay Speak to Me!!!!!!
So since I will be gone for a while, I thought I would leave you with a few of my favorites.....
Here is a website that I thought was encouraging:
OR May I suggest This, this(be sure to read the whole post), this , or maybe this ?
Oh and I have been singing this all morning (can't get this song out of my head)
AND ya'll KNOW I love this ! (watch the whole thing)
PS. Lake has a stomach virus and isn't feeling well. Please pray he gets over it ASAP and the rest of us don't get it.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
It's beyond ironic that all those lambs were killed and all that blood ran through the town for days, yet those lambs weren't enough. It would be The Lamb that would finally be enough to atone for sin - all the sins ever committed in the past, present, and future. It is so beyond our comprehension that Jesus died over 2,000 years ago for the sins we commit today. He saw our sin of today all those years ago on the cross even though we would not be born for so many years later to commit them. He knew us even then. Jesus always WAS here - He wasn't created....He just 'was'. Jesus IS here - He is here in the present time with us through His spirit and watching us from heaven. He is also in the future - He has been to a time we will never live to see. He can see lives of our great-great grandchildren today. Jesus is not bound by time and we just cannot wrap our finite minds around that fact.
Talk of Judas seems to be more prominent during Easter time than any other time of the year. Judas is not someone we really like to talk or think about very much. Maybe we don't like to talk about him because he betrayed our Jesus in such and ugly way. Can't you just picture Judas coming to Jesus in the garden with the soldiers behind him and putting his filthy, lying lips on Jesus' cheek? It's disgusting to even think about. I bet if Peter had caught on to the fact that Judas was the betrayer Jesus told them about in the upper room, he would have cut off Judas' ear instead of the soldier's.
Maybe we don't like to talk about Judas because there is really nothing positive about his story. Judas followed Jesus for the benefits he thought would come from being closely associated with a future king. He didn't realize that King Jesus would first have to be despised, rejected, and killed - He didn't realize that Jesus' kingdom would not be here on earth (at least not yet). No, Jesus wasn't the kind of king Judas expected to serve.
Maybe we don't like to talk about Judas because we see ourselves in him. By that I mean, Judas was looking to be the right hand man of a rising king - he wanted wealth and favor. After following him for a few years, Judas realized that Jesus wasn't what he expected. Can't you just hear Judas saying "Hey, this isn't what I signed on for!". Jesus wasn't good enough for Judas - He was too small for Judas. There was no pomp and circumstance - no royal treatment - no regal robes and scepter. Judas never saw the future with Jesus, only the here and now and he didn't like what he saw. Judas was close to Jesus, but he was not changed by Jesus. Judas didn't like the way things were going while following Jesus, so he decided to move on to 'bigger and better' things.
Maybe Judas got a better offer from someone who said, "Hey, Judas, forget that Jesus guy and come with me - I will make you rich". Maybe Judas thought that Jesus would ruin his reputation with the people who 'mattered'. Maybe Judas thought his gig was almost up - maybe he thought Jesus would expose him for the liar and thief he really was. After all, Judas had an image to build. You can't build your image while getting too close to Jesus, right? Why? Because He will always expose your sin. Sin does bad things for one's image.
Jesus could have chosen to tell the disciples that Judas was the weasel. He didn't tell them because He knew that would have messed up the plan. (I have a feeling they would have killed Judas themselves). When asked what he would charge to betray Jesus, Judas said "30 pieces of silver". What??? This is a man who loves money enough to steal it and he only wants 30 pieces of silver, the price of a slave??? This shows that Jesus meant nothing to him. He had followed Him, he had seen Him raise the dead and heal the sick - Judas was witness to it all. When given the opportunity to make money, he forgot all the miracles and focused on himself. What's your 30 pieces of silver? What would you betray Jesus for?
I see so much of myself in Judas. Do you see yourself? Like Judas, I am close to Jesus (He lives in my heart), yet for so long I remained seemingly unchanged. Much of the time, I choose myself over Jesus. Sometimes, I choose other things over time with Him when a better opportunity comes up. Sometimes, life with Jesus isn't what I expected -it isn't "good" enough for me - I want more. Sometimes, I am familiar with Him, but not faithful. Yes, I am a lot like Judas, but thankfully, I am more like Peter. You see, like Judas, Peter denied Jesus (not once, but three times). The difference is that Peter saw his sin and asked forgiveness. I may have some of the qualities of Judas, but I have one thing that Judas never had---forgiveness.
Judas was a false follower. Peter was a faithful follower. Isn't it better to be a follower who fails than one who fails to follow? Judas never really believed. Peter believed, but was human and failed. Judas betrayed and never repented. Peter betrayed and he asked to be restored. Judas hung himself, died a traitor and went to hell. Peter died faithful and lives in heaven.
There is a lot to be learned from the life of Judas. The biggest lesson, I think, is that no matter what we do Jesus knows the heart. Judas didn't realize that Jesus knew his thoughts and intentions. Judas tried to hide from Jesus, but there is no hiding from Jesus. Judas thought he was pulling a 'fast one' on Jesus, but that just isn't possible for any of us. Jesus knew that Judas was a traitor, Jesus knew that Judas thought He wasn't good enough or big enough, Jesus knew the dirty deals that went on behind the scenes with Judas in His betrayal - Jesus knew all there was to know about Judas, including the fact that Judas was not a true believer. Jesus knew that Judas would die and go to hell.
Jesus also knew all there was to know about Peter. He knew Peter was faithful, He knew Peter was a friend, He also knew Peter was scared when he was confronted about his relationship to Jesus. Jesus knew Peter's heart and he knew that Peter would deny him, but He also knew Peter would ask His forgiveness.
Even though I may do Judas-like things, Jesus knows my heart because I am His. He knows my mistakes even before I make them - He knows I will ask forgiveness even before I ask.
There is no hiding from Jesus - too bad Judas didn't learn that earlier. Too bad so many of us don't learn that earlier.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
As you guys know, I started leading Breaking Free this past Wednesday. The study is not new and most of us have done it at one time or another, but I think it is one study that is worth doing over! This is my third time and I am seeing it in a new way because I am at a different point in my life. I should be working on my class notes, yet for some reason I am again drawn to this blog. Here are just a few of my thoughts.....I might post my notes after they are finished.
Warning: The following thoughts may be difficult to follow:
In the first week of the study, she talks about Israel's kings from Uzziah to Hezekiah. It is funny to see how these kings were so different even though they were family. Uzziah started out to be a godly king. 2 Chronicles 26 tells us that "as long as he sought the Lord, he was blessed" and "...he was greatly helped until he became powerful". He was blessed and helped until he decided he was bigger than God. He was blessed and helped until his pride took over and he entered the temple where he was not supposed to be. The man who started out following God, put himself in place of God and became unfaithful to the God who had placed him in a position of authority. Uzziah went from blessed to cursed in a short amount of time because of pride and arrogance. Sometimes authority makes us feel that we are above the law - even God's law.
Aren't we all a little (or a lot) like Uzziah? Sometimes our pride takes over and eliminates our desire for God. God hates pride, because He knows we are prone to it and He knows it will be our eventual downfall. God hates pride because it hurts His children. Uzziah was struck with leprosy and died because of pride. I wonder how many of us will suffer because of our pride?
Next we talk about Jotham, Uzziah's son, who the Bible says 'did right before the Lord'. While Jotham walked with the Lord, the people in his kindgdom were corrupt. Even knowing how corrupt they were, Jotham refused to remove the 'high places' where the people worshipped idols. Jotham did the 'right thing' while not doing what was in his power to help others do the 'right thing'. Jotham could have come in and torn down those idol altars, but he chose to let them remain. He feared the wrath of the people more than he feared the wrath of God. He had the power to turn the people to God, but he chose to 'live and let live'. Isn't that a great lesson for us?
Moving right along to Ahaz. If I listed all the wrong Ahaz did I would have to get another blog because I would fill this one up completely! Ahaz was a bad man to say the least, but God had a plan for him. Ahaz disobeyed the very voice of the Lord (Isaiah 7:1-13). God spoke to Ahaz and Ahaz blatantly said no to the Lord. Yikes! Ahaz hear the voice of God, but didn't want to hear what God was telling him. So, Ahaz simply put his fingers in his ears and said "lallalala I cant hear you" . 2 Peter 3:9 tells us "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance". Even though Ahaz was a terrible man, God did not want him to perish. Even though he was an idol worshipper, even though he disobeyed God, even though he had led others astray, God still offered a way of redemption to Ahaz (Isaiah 7). That should be a great comfort to us. Even though we have done awful, evil, terrible things in the sight of God, He still offers salvation and redemption to us because He loves us so much He does not want us to perish.
Another thing that struck me about these kings is how their sins affected their children. When we don't remove the high places from our lives (a high place being anything we value more than God) our kids see that and our high places can eventually become our kids' high places. Our disobedience can cause our kids to stumble!
I would love to tell you why the font color changed just now, but I really have no idea.
Looking ahead we see Mannasseh, grandson of Ahaz. Manasseh was even worse than his grandfather! To make a long story short, Manasseh ended up being taken prisoner and was in fear for his life. That is when he finally called out to the Lord. Manasseh had to hit rock bottom before he would look up to the Lord. God put Manasseh through the ringer so that he would not be lost. Sometimes we have to hit the lowest low in order to realize our need for God. Don't be deceived God works that way. He will do whatever is necessary to get our attention and it may not be pretty! Again, God saved a man who was pure evil..........when you think your sins are too big and too many for God to forgive remember Manasseh.
Hezekiah is the next in line. Hezekiah must have learned from his father's failures because he walked with the Lord, he sought to restore Israel, he was the opposite of his father. Even though Hezekiah was faithful, God allowed him to be attacked by his enemy (2 Chronicles 32:1). Good lesson for us here. Satan attacks where God is being glorified. When we are walking with the Lord, satan WILL attack. (There is more to Hezekiah's story, but I think I have said enough already).
That concludes my sermon for today. Now, let's stand and sing hymn #132. ;-)
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Lake: What is Hooters?
Me: It's a restaraunt
Lake: Can we go there sometime?
Lake: Why not?
Me: Well because it isn't really a family kind of place
Lake: Why not?
Me: Because the waitresses there wear outfits that aren't pleasing to the Lord.
Lake: Oh, you mean like skeleton heads and stuff?
Me: Ummmm, yes.
How do you explaing to a 6 yr old that there are women in that place that are showing more than anyone needs to see? Remember - "judge not lest ye be judged"- you may be faced with the same question some day. Anyway, since Lake is pretty scared of skeletons, I am guessing that for many years to come, he will be scared of the restaraunt that is called Hooters.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Okay, so my friend Lysa TerKeurst is doing a little recipe swap thingie on her blog today. I thought I would play along - I have literally hundreds, nay thousands, of recipes, but don't tell my husband (he might expect me to make something new). So, I am going to post a couple of recipes that I make frequently. If you are wondering how I had time to copy all those recipes onto my blog--I have them all on my computer already (and about 50 more). Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that I heart my crock-pot so there are a few crock recipes here. If you are not here for the food - scroll down for the randomness........
4 chicken boneless chicken breast
1 block cream cheese (softened in the microwave)
1 can cream of mushroom soup1 package dry Italian Dressing (Good Seasonings)
Place chicken in crock pot. Mix together cream cheese, soup, Italian Dressing mix. Pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Can be served with rice, noodles, or potatoes
Crock Pot Stew
2 lbs. beef stew
1 large can cream of mushroom
Worcestershire sauce to taste
1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix
Packet of brown gravy mix (optional)
One small onion sliced
Brown stew meat in skillet. Mix cream of mushroom soup, Worces. sauce and soup in a bowl. Pour mixture over browned stew meat in crock pot and cook for 6-7 hours on high. Serve meat and gravy over mashed potatoes.
Beth’s Cheesy Chicken Casserole
4-6 chicken breast (cut or torn into small chunks)
¾ large block of Velveeta cheese
¾ bag No-Yolks wide egg noodles
1-2 cans Ro-Tel chilies and tomatoes (1=mild; 2=spicy)
1 green pepper finely chopped
1 small onion finely chopped
1 tube Ritz crackers
1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 375. Boil chicken until completely cooked, remove chicken from water and place noodles in same. Boil noodles until soft. Sautee peppers and onions in small pan with a small amount of butter, salt and pepper. Cut or tear chicken. Drain water from noodles and add Velveeta cheese (cut into chunks), Ro-Tel chilies and tomatoes, onions, peppers, and chicken. Leave on stove until all cheese is melted and all ingredients are mixed together. Pour mixture into a 9 x 13 pan or large aluminum baking pan (like you were making lasagna - easy clean up). Cover with crushed Ritz crackers and butter. Bake at 375 for 40 minutes or until top is brown.
Microwave Baked Beans
1 - 15 oz can baked beans
1 - 15 oz. Can kidney beans (drained)
½ cup salsa
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon bacon bits
¼ cup finely chopped onions
Mix all ingredients. Pour into 8x11 baking dish and microwave for 10 minutes.
Crock Pot Turkey
4-5 lb. Turkey Breast…..(3-4 lb. Turkey breast roast if you have a small crock pot)
1 and ½ Cup Water
1 Stick Butter
Thaw turkey in refrigerator for 24 hours if it has a giblet or gravy bag….if no bag, no need to thaw. Open turkey and remove giblet or gravy bag and slice fat off turkey. Pour water in bottom of 6 qt. Crock Pot. Cover turkey with seasoning salt and pepper (generously) and place in Crock Pot. Slice stick of butter and place pats all over top of turkey. Cook on high for 6 hours if frozen or 4 -5 hours if thawed (4 hours for small turkey).
2 cans of Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 pie crust
Chocolate Chips and nuts
Remove all labels from milk cans. Do not open the cans. Boil the cans in water for 4-5 hours. I usually lean towards 4. While boiling, continue to check water depth. Add water as it evaporates to ensure the cans are covered. Let cans cool for 20-30 minutes. Open cans and pour caramel into pie crusts. Place in fridge to cool. Do not put cool whip on top until caramel has cooled. It will melt it. Top with any toppings. I use chocolate chips only or shave a chocolate bar on top, but many people add the nuts, too.
Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
4-5 Chicken Breast (cooked in boiling salt water)
2/3 Bag of Curly Noodles
3-4 Chicken Boullion Cubes
2 cans cream of Chicken Soup
1 small tub sour cream
1 can chicken broth
Cook chicken till done. When cool cut into chunks (big or small, whichever you prefer). Cook noodles in water that you cooked chicken breasts with boullion cubes and can of chicken broth added. Add cream of chicken soup, ground pepper & chicken. After simmering and when nearly done, stir in sour cream.
Okay that's enough recipes for one day - time for randomness.................
** Can someone tell me why in the world we need verification at the comment section on blogs? If I have my blog set so that you have to type those infernal letters before you comment, I am truly sorry! What is up with that? Can someone please tell me the purpose? OR, have you tried to comment on a blog that asks for everything but blood? (and that is only because they havent come up with a sanitary way of taking your blood through the computer) The letters you have to type are in fonts that only the Chinese can read and they are so close together that I can even make them out with my nerd glasses on!
Why do you need my name, URL, AND email address --- it says you arent going to use my email address anyway.....why do you need it? I love getting email - if I have to type me email address - I want you to send me and email dern it!!! I know I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but can someone fill me in on why we cant just comment and hit enter?
***UPDATE*** Okay, so several people have commented and said that the chinese letters keep the spammers away. I wonder how this is really possible. So, assuming they are right, you may at some point see verification at the comment section of my blog. Let me say in advance "If that happens, I am deeply and truly sorry for the trauma the Chinese letters may cause you". I will pay for counseling and glasses......
** Last night was the first night of Lake's basketball tournament (well, it isn't really HIS tournament, but you know what I mean). It was Lake's teams first and last night in that tournament. Have I mentioned that kid's sports brings out the worst in people? That's all I'm going to say about that. Well, just one more thing, if someone is say.......a total idiot......is it wrong to acknowledge that fact? I suppose it is. I'll be right back after I pray for forgiveness.
** So, I said I was going to lose 10 lbs by the first week in March. Can I retract that statement? How about changing it to "I am going to lose 8 lbs by the first week in March?" Yeah, that's better........8 lbs sounds much better than 10 (especially since my scale says I have only lost 8, but whatever...)
**Have I mentioned lately that Oprah gets on my nerves? I am sick of seeing her on the campaign trail with Obamanation. I am sick of her saying that she believes in "God" while she is promoting her new age agenda. I am ready for Oprah to announce her retirement.
** Our first night of Breaking Free went very well. It is a large group, but I think we are really gonna have lots of great 'discussers'. Let me help you with that definition -
'discusser' - adj - one who is not afraid to speak out loud in a large group and share their personal testimony. Does that clarify things for you? If you haven't been reading this blog for very long, then you do not know that I am a word-maker-upper. Do you need me to define that one too? I think not.
On a similar note, when I was little and my dad would tell me something, I would say "How do you know that?" and he would say "Because I wrote the Webster's dictionary". After much explaining that he wrote it under his pen-name Webster, I believe him. I went to school and told everyone that my dad wrote the dictionary. I am not sure why they didnt' believe me. Yet another example of how we can mess our kids up unintentionally. Thanks Daddy! Took me til third grade to live that one down.
**It was 70 degrees here yesterday. Today it is cold, windy and rainy with chances of snow tonight and tomorrow...........can anyone say "PNEUMONIA"? If you check my blog and there are no new entries, you will know I have succumbed to the dreaded consumption. In lieu of flowers, send the above recipes already prepared to my husband. (on a different note, I dont know if I have ever used the word succumbed before - maybe my dad is Webster after all)
**Had to go to Wal-Mart this morning (and every morning) for a few things and Kaden asked for some candy. My son ate Reese's Pieces for breakfast. Go ahead and call Child Protective Services - I will even give you the number - I deserve to be punished.
**I am reading the "Nativity Story" and loving it.
**I packed my first boxes to move a couple of days ago. (My dad is laughing right now). Actually, it was more because my son's room is a wreck than the fact that we need to hurry and get packed up. Actually, we will just be happy if our house is finished before the return of our Dear Lord. But, now I can walk through Lake's room without hurting myself and it makes me feel productive.
** So, I am really not happy with John McCain who seems to be the only choice for Pres. He looks like Franklin the turtle, but that is another story. I just dont care for his stand on most things. I do like that he is a veteran. I guess he will grow on me if he is elected. I pray he is elected. I cannot stand to look at Obamantion or Hillary for 4 or God forbid 8 years. I like Huck, but knew he couldn't hang in there. I have to wonder how people who call themselves Christians can vote for people whose party supports abortion, gay marriage, etc. etc............I have to wonder............
Okay that is enough randomness for now........if I think of any other useless random thoughts today I will be sure to add them to this list .....I know you all will be waiting anxiously!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I will get to the meme's in a minute, but first I have something I need to get off my chest (and onto this thing we call a blog). My son plays basketball in a local youth league. Our church has Upward Basketball, but we chose to let him play with kids from school by the regular rules. We love the Upward program and he does play Upward soccer at church, but we decided a couple of years ago that he would play youth league basketball and t-ball. Anyway, I have noticed that sports brings out the worst in some parents. I mentioned Upward because I kind of feel that if we were playing at church there would be less problem with childish parents. Not that there aren't childish people in the church, but there is more pressure not to show your ignorance in a church setting.
We have seen it over and over in kid's sports --- there are adults who have never grown up. They are living their dreams through their children and the result is not always "becoming". There are men who never "made the team" when they were young and who are determined to make their child the next Shaquille O'Neal. Then there are women who are determined that their child is not getting 'equal playing time' or that someone is not treating their child fairly, so they yell - they yell loudly and obnoxiously. I have come to the conclusion that adults tend to frequently show their ignorance at children's sporting events. It is as if they are 10 year olds in 35 year old bodies.
On the way home last night, I was thinking how we Christians can be like these immature parents. We get saved, we get baptized, and then we never grow up. Oh, not all of us are like that, but don't you know some people who are? I know people who were saved at a very young age that are still as spiritually immature as they were the day they accepted Christ. People who should understand the deeper things of God, yet their actions and words show that regardless of the years they have spent as believers, they are still 'babes in Christ'. It is a sad thing to be spiritually stagnant. Not only is it sad to remain spiritually immature, it is very obvious to those around you. Just like the parents at my son's games who act like children, there are Christians who refuse to grow up in Christ.
Here is what Paul had to say about these Christians:
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Can you imagine, being the people Paul was chastising? He basically said, "I can't even talk to you like adult followers of Christ, I have to talk to you like little babies - I can't tell you the things you should know, because you are too immature to understand them - you are Christians who are way too worldly and it is costing you a close relationship with your Father". That is my paraphrase not Paul's. I know what it is to be a carnal Christian. There are a lot of instances where we could say 'Ignorance is Bliss', but your Christian walk is not one of them. The sad part is that most carnal Christians dont know they are carnal - they just dont get it! There is really no excuse for Christians not to study the Word or grow in Christ. No excuse at all.
Okay, I am off my soapbox (kind of). On to the Meme's (I used to think it was pronounced "me-me" until Jennifer Partin told in a post that it is actually Meme which rhymes with theme - who knew?). I was tagged twice yesterday. First, by Shelley, if you haven't seen her blog - go visit her soon. She is a writer and speaker and she is actually coming to speak at my church very soon. The meme she tagged me for is a Book Meme and here are the rules: 1. Pick up the nearest book of at least 123 pages.2. Open the book to page 123.3. Find the 5th sentence.4. Post the next 3 sentences.5. Tag at least 3-5 people. So, here goes:
The book is called Breaking Free by Beth Moore (some of you may have heard of her ;-).
"Satan wants to keep people from receiving Christ as Savior. Certainly, childhood victimization is an effective deterrent. Since the enemy cannot keep salvation from anyone who wants to believe, he tried to ensure that people will be either too emotionally handicapped to turn into an effective witness or too broken to avoid falling into scandalous sin. The enemy's hope for Christians is that we will either be so ineffective we have no testimony, or we'll ruin the one we have"
Okay, I know that is more than 3 sentences, but again, it's my blog and I can do what I want here. By the way, I start leading Breaking Free tomorrow night and I know that there is already a huge bunch of women who have signed up for it. I have done the study twice before and each time I came away with a better understanding of God and who I am in Him. Please pray for this group of women (a larger group than is recommended). Pray that they will feel free to share and that they will learn from one another. The subject matter of Breaking Free gets to the heart of who we are and helps us get past our pasts. It isnt always easy to share your failures and sins in a large group.
Now I am supposed to tag 3-5 people, so here goes: JennyHope, Alana, Cassie, Stephanie, and Fran
If you are thinking that I have left you out of the meme action --- just hang on - your time is coming.
Now, for the next meme. This one was sent to me by an old friend, Cassie, who I recently discovered was also a blogger. YAY! We went to high school together. I remember that she and her now husband were so cute together in school. They were truly high school sweethearts and now they have three beautiful kids who look just like them! So, the rules for Cassie's meme are as follows:
List five kind things you do or have done:
A) for yourself,
B) for your spouse, child or closest friend AND
C) for a stranger.
Then tag some other blogging buddies to do the same.
A) For Myself
5 kind things I do or have done for myself:
1. Bible study
2. I allow myself to eat Dove dark chocolate
3. I take at least 3 vacations per year
4. I go out with the girls from church about once per month
5. I get a massage once per week (okay that is a lie, but I couldnt come up with anything else!!!)
5 kind things I do or have done for my spouse and children:
1. I married him
2. I gave him 2 beautiful boys
3. I try not to nag him about things and I try not to get mad over little things
4. I cook meals
5. I wash clothes
6. I drive kids to school, church, practices, parties, etc
7. I run errands (for everyone)
8. I clean house
9. I do not spend too much money on myself(which might be why it was hard to come up with the first 5 things)
10. I pray for my hubs and kids
Do you really want me to go on? Cause I can........I can.
5 kind things I have done for strangers...
1. Prayed for them
2. Given them money
3. Bought Christmas presents for their children
4. I have helped older people carry things to their car at the store
5. Given compliments
Okay, now I tag Renee, Earen, Janel, Shelley and anyone else who would like to give us some ideas of how we can be kind to others because most of mine are pretty lame.............
Okay, if you are reading this portion of the post, I thank you for hanging in there and staying awake during my ramblings..........for the rest of you......sleep well, friend, sleep well.