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Aug

I felt a bit of regret as I looked through some mission team pictures tonight. I never finished editing the pictures and writing little blog posts for each stop. I don’t think that will happen now.

It seemed strangely appropriate that I was drawn to these two pictures of clocks. Has it really been two years since we visited Vicenza and so many other places with the Musical Mission Team? More importantly, has it really been 6 years since Tim and I got married?


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Jan

New Year’s Resolutions always tempt me. I love making goals and fresh starts. I could easily be one of those people who draws up a long list of detailed and impossible goals for each area of my life.

Ok, sometimes I succumb. But most of the time, I remember that there’s no way I’ll remember a resolution for a whole year, much less keep it.

This year, I made a January resolution. I’m calling it that because it only applies to January. February 1, it’s off (unless I decide to convert it into a February resolution). The January resolution is: get up at 6 am every morning. So far, so good. It helps that Tim is doing it with me, and that we bought a sunrise alarm clock.

A new year is a great time for new lessons, and I want to share a sermon that God is using to teach me more about living for Him. John Dodd preached “Who Lives the Christian Life?” from Romans 6 at Hampton Park on January 2, 2011. I’m still trying to understand Romans 6, but remembering that I am dead to sin and alive in Christ has been very helpful these first two weeks of January.

Jan

“But you denied the Holy and Righteous one . . . and you killed the Author of life.” Acts 3:14-15

Injustice bothers me. I’ll see people who seem to get away with terrible things, and suffer no consequences. Sometimes, my sense of injustice makes it hard for me to function. I’ll become obsessed with an unjust situation, and find it hard to think about anything else.

When I read this passage last night, I thought, “This is injustice.” We rebelled against God, and then rejected the One He sent to save us. We killed the Author of Life. Justice demands punishment. God did satisfy His own justice, but not by punishing us. God showed mercy to mankind and to me personally. He let me live and allowed me to see what Christ was really for.

We killed the Author of Life, but that didn’t stop Him from His purpose. Still, He gives us life.

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Oct

I needed to read this. It’s an article challenging us to meditate on things that please God. When the author talked about wanting to write the letter (and thinking about it all day), she could have been describing me. Ouch.

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Feb

“Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? ‘I, the LORD, am the first; and with the last I am He.'” Isaiah 41:4 (NKVJ)

God maintains perfect control over history. He has orchestrated complicated events and movements that we can’t understand, and He has done it for thousands of years. He was there before history began, and when it is over, He will still be there. Why do we ever doubt that He controls the events of our lives, too?

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Feb

Yesterday, I wrote about Colossian 3: 1-4 (What Defines Your Life?). Today I want to finish sharing what I learned from that passage.

Here’s the passage:

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1-4 ESV)

How do we seek things that are above? I’m assuming that this is talking about aligning our priorities with God’s.  Seeking things above would be pursuing things that have eternal value. It would be valuing things that God values. It would involve giving time, attention, and effort to heavenly things. (more…)

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Feb

I’m sure you’ve seen them too.

There’s the t-shirt that says, “Soccer is my life” (or chess, volleyball, music . . . you fill in the blank).

Then there’s the picture of the cat that says, “Sleeping is my life. The amount of sleep I require is one more hour.”

Want to add this piece of flair to your profile?

What defines your life?

I just looked on Facebook, and found flair stating that acting, art, ballet, basketball, gymnastics, music, softball, Twilight, volleyball and writing were all life. (more…)

Feb

I’m reading a great book called Beyond Suffering: Discovering the Message of Job by Layton Talbert.

In the preface he says,

“Here is the core of comfort in the message of Job: beyond suffering, past our pain and loss, is a God Who is not only all-knowing and omnipotent, sovereign and free to do as He chooses but also always good and just, loving and wise, purposeful and perfect in all that He chooses to do or to allow–and intimately aware of all its effects on us. In a word, God is always sovereign, God is always benevolent and ultimately God always rewards (both evil and good). But He is the center of all life, not we.” (xi-xii)

When I was a little girl, my behavior prompted my mom to remind me that I was not the center of the universe. A reminder like that seems unnecessary, even silly at first glance. Of course we’re not the center of the universe. What kind of delusional person would think that?

Yet, when I walk around thinking only of myself, what pleases me, and how the events of the universe relate to me, I am acting as though I think I’m the center, whether I give intellectual assent to that idea or not. Instead, I should be thinking about how I can align myself with the true Center (i.e., how can I obey God today?).

Feb

“But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its value, nor is it found in the land of the living. God understands its way, and He knows its place. And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.'”

Job 28:12-13, 23, 28

How often I around looking for complicated solutions to life, when God wants me to focus on the simple (though often difficult) things. Fear God. Avoid sin. How simple! Now if I could just do it.

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Feb

I got up a few minutes early this morning so that I would have time to put a roast in the Crock Pot before getting ready for church. As I prepared the meat, potatoes and carrots, I thought about how fortunate I am to be able to sit down for a nice Sunday dinner with my husband.

I started the Crock Pot on high, making a mental note to turn it to low before leaving for church.

Then I smiled, and remembered something else (or rather, someone else) to be thankful for.

I smiled because I remembered a Sunday morning approximately fifteen years ago. Fifteen, because I figure I must have been about ten, and my younger sister about five.

My mom was similarly preparing a roast for Sunday dinner, and she asked us to remind her to turn it to low before we left for church.

I’m not sure who invented the song. Maybe it was me. But my sister took it and ran with it. Or rather, sang it.

over.

and over.

and over again.

“Turn the Crock Pot to low!

Turn the Crock Pot to low-ow-ow-ow!

For if you don’t, your food will burn.

Turn the Crock Pot to low.”

After a half-dozen times through the song, I wanted some peace, so I asked the dear sister to stop singing. She didn’t.

I probably got nasty about it pretty quickly (I’m impatient like that). But my threats and attempted bodily harm were to no avail. The singing continued.

So I appealed to the higher power. Surely my Mom was getting tired of the song. I’ll never forget her answer, which is now a family classic.

“At least she’s happy!”

My sister smirked. And sang on. I seethed.

But this morning, as I started the roast, the song came back to me. And I was thankful, not only for the food, but for my sister. We’re much better friends now than we were back then! I’m thankful that God has put her (and my other two sisters, and parents) in my life.

And I have to admit, it was a catchy song.

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