Thursday, March 10, 2011

1 Corinthians 13 for Families

1 Corinthians 13 for Families 
 by John Coblentz
Though we visit much and keep up-to-date on all our family news, near and far, if we do not love one another enough to be trustworthy and respectful of one another's reputation, our relationships are shallow and empty. And though we are talented and used extensively in our local church, and though we run a successful family business and are highly looked up to in the community, if we do not have peace and harmony in our home life, we are nothing. And though we are known for the donations we have made to church projects, and though we have family members in voluntary service, and though we may have a long Christian history on both sides of the family line, if we hold grudges and build barriers between family members, our good deeds profit us nothing.

Love causes us to be patient with younger ones who are just learning and who do things slowly and imperfectly, as well as with older ones who are losing their abilities. It causes us to share our possessions, our time, and our hearts. It makes us sensitive to the feelings of other family members.

Love . . .
• Does not make messes for others to clean up.
• Does not demand to have its own way.
• Does not put others down.
• Does not tease unmercifully.
• Does not argue or beg when a wish is denied.
• Does not belittle. 
• Does not use unkind names.
• Does not compare family members unfavorably.
• Does not purposely irritate.
• Does not blame, tattle, or falsely accuse.
• Does not use others' possessions without asking.
• Does not pout.
• Does not use crude language.
• Does not say, "I told you so" when right.
• Does not make excuses when wrong.
• Is not loud, harsh, and abrasive.
• Is not boastful.
• Says, "Thank you," and "Please."

Love does not go on and on in describing how wrong a child was in misbehavior, nor does it look for faults in a companion. It finds no delight in criticism, accusation, or complaining about either the present or the past failures of family members. Rather, love delights in finding a job well done, giving a compliment, expressing gratitude. 

Love looks for opportunities to encourage. Love bears responsibilities wisely and injustices quietly. It does its share and then looks for ways to help others, rather than parking on a recliner and grumping if more is asked. 

Love trusts family members to do right rather than expecting them to do wrong. When a family member fails, love is there to help, encourage, and pray. And when failure is regular -- when a family member chooses a wrong path -- love fixes its hope-filled eyes on God to bring about change in His time, rather than attempting to force change on an unwilling heart. 

Love keeps going. It refuses to give up, quit, or turn back. Love's commitment is absolute and final. It refuses even to think of divorce or unfaithfulness. 

Love goes out to each family member freely without requiring a certain level of performance to earn it. 

There will sometimes be a shortage of money; sometimes memory will fail; at times, we may overlook trials or blessings in one another's lives. But this will be only because we live in a condition of limitation and have only limited resources. Love itself will never purposely overlook needs. Through the years, love in a family will grow, commitments will deepen, marriage bonds will strengthen. 

When I was a child, love made me feel secure, wanted, needed, and safe. When I became a man, I desired the same for my children and for my grandchildren. And as I grow older, I realize how little I know, and how much in life is out of my control -- where my children's paths will lead, what will happen when I am gone. But now I know, too, that it is not control that will make my world safe. It is love. By one thing only do I want to be known -- that is by my love, that each one of my family members can feel it, hear it, and experience it intensely. 

There is faith -- that is good. There is hope -- that is even better. And there is LOVE -- it is the greatest.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Great Thought!!!!

Heard this thought on the radio today...

"God's ultimate goal is not to make you a better you or even the best "you" you can be; His ultimate goal is to transform your life so that you become more like Christ and LESS like you.".

I love this!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Little Bean

It's offical! We are 8 weeks pregnant :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

More and Less of Me

Every day I receive a devotional from the Proverbs 31 Woman Ministries. Some days speak louder than others, and today's was no exception. I felt like God had the world's largest megaphone pointed directly into my ear when I read this. After this week's Ladies Bible Study (where we are studying Me, Myself, and Lies by Jennifer Rothschild), the truths shared in the devotion below just echoed what God has been speaking into my heart.

Nothing More and Nothing Less

Rachel Olsen
"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought." Matthew 5:5 (MSG)

Lord, how can I become content with just who I am, nothing more and nothing less?

I'm certainly prone to want to be more, or less, than I am. To be smarter, prettier, funnier, fitter. To be more productive, perky and high energy. And then also to be lower key, calmer, more level-headed and focused.

I want to have better self-awareness, and yet I want to be less concerned about what others think of me.

I want to be a better cook, to sing beautifully and to keep the house neat without so much perceived effort. And did I mention fuller, thicker hair would be nice too? I want to be a better writer – one that's both highly creative and meticulously organized. And I want fewer propensities to run late, slack off or procrastinate.

Yes, I want to be both more and less of me.

Jesus shushes my endless listing of the things I want to change about myself – to improve about myself so I can have what I'm sure would be a better life. He asks me instead to humbly make peace with it all. To lay down my notions of a better woman and a better life by letting Him be the judge of that. To simply take what I'm given and offer it back to Him, in service and surrender. Willingly assuming that I am enough – I have what it takes to live a great life. One that pleases God, others and self.

Today's key verse is among several in the Bible that fuels a core conviction I hold: When I stop striving to create a life for myself, I find the life God creates for me. This, my friend, is a powerful truth, a divine secret. His life for me begins precisely where mine ends. My life ends in my sin and striving and begins again in God's grace and power. His empowering indwelling affords me everything I truly need and nothing I truly don't.

Do you too long to be content with just who you are in Christ – nothing more and nothing less? Jesus addresses us both in Matthew 23:11-12, ""Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty." (MSG)

Amazingly, God's grace humbles a woman without degrading her, and His favor lifts her up without inflating her. The life she finds in Him makes her the proud owner of everything money can't buy – a life of contentment.

Dear Lord, help me to quiet my critical, striving spirit today and gratefully accept who I am and where I'm at in this moment. For You are here, ready to invisibly empower my life to count for plenty right where I am. Help me also to seek and hold your definition of "plenty" – nothing more and nothing less. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Way I Was Made

I just finished reading Chris Tomlin's book, "The Way I Was Made." It's one that I looked at, thumbed through, and then put back on the shelf many, many times, but never took the time to read. It is a quick read, but is so dense with truth that once I finally decided to give it a go, it took me 2 weeks to read it, as I would read a chapter, go back, re-read a page or two, think about it while I was driving or cleaning, and then go back and read some more.

There were several stories and challenges in this book that grabbed my heart, but this one far surpasses them all...

From the chapter, "Spirit Overflow"

One night before a concert, I got an interesting call from my friend Neil. In typical Neil fashion, he shot right past the pleasantries.

"Chris," he said in his raspy voice, "what would it look like if competence was not a fruit of the Spirit?"

That caught me off guard. I mentally reshuffled that well-known list of gifts in Galatians. Nope, no competence there.

"Neil, my friend," I said a little too proudly, "competence isn't a fruit of the Spirit."

Neil didn't even hesitate. "But we sure act and teach people like it is," he replied.

I've never forgotten that. I've always felt the pressure to have the right answer, to never be tired, to always be on -- platform ready. Can you relate? And yes, I desperately need the fruits of the Holy Spirit - "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control" (Galatians 5:22-23). But I think I'm one of those guys who, somewhere along the way, added "competence" to the list. And I think a lot of people in the audience can feel hindered for the same reason. They just don't feel good enough to worship God well.

The more I've lived with it, the more I believe Neil was right. You don't have to have it all together to be a worshiper of God. None of us do. Not one. By grace we all approach the throne of God. We live and breathe in the righteousness and mercy of Jesus.

I want everyone to know this truth.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

2 Songs I'm Diggin' Right Now

I keep hearing 2 songs on and everytime I hear them, I am reminded of how GOOD God is. I wanted to share them both and hopefully encourage someone with how they have impacted my life recently.

The first one is "God Gave Me You" by Dave Barnes. John is my very best friend, my teammate, my family (I love that!), and the love of my life. There is no way that I could have gone through ANY of the events of the past 4 years if I had not had John by my side. I am so thankful for God's goodness in giving me John at the PERFECT time. God keeps showing me that He has put us together in order to make a difference in the world AND in each other's lives.

This year has been personally challenging to me and has brought several things to the surface that I do not want to admit are present in my life. While I have been wrestling with these issues and asking God to do His transforming work in me, He has gently reminded me of the treasure that He has given me in my husband, and that he is worth all of the hard work of dealing with the junk in my heart.

This song reminds me of my amazing husband, John, and reminds me of the gift that he is to me. I love you, sweetheart!!

The second song is entitled, "I Have to Believe" by Rita Springer. I literally catch my breath every time I hear this song because it forces me to take a hard, honest look into my heart and really ask myself if I believe all of the things I say that I believe. Even as I have walked through the past 6 months, I am so thankful that I can say with confidence that I DO BELIEVE every word that He has spoken, every promise He has given me, and every truth He has given me in His Word. Has it been easy? Not at all. There have been lots of moments over the past 6 months that I had no other choice BUT to believe - and I cannot tell you how incredible this journey has been.

Unfortunately, the only video on YouTube of this song is horribly cheesy, so the lyrics will just have to suffice :) It's a powerful song - I hope you'll check it out!

I have to believe that He sees my darkness
I have to believe that He knows my pain
I have to lift up my hands to worship
Worship His name

I have to declare that He is my refuge
I have to deny that I am alone
I have to lift up my eyes to the mountains
It’s where my help comes from

He said that He’s forever faithful
He said that He’s forever true
He said that He can move mountains
And if He can move mountains
He can move my mountain
He can move Your mountain, too

I have to stand tall when the wind blows me over
I have to stand strong when I’m weak and afraid
I have to grab hold, hold of the garments
Garments of praise

I have to sing praise when the hour is midnight
He unlocks the chains that bind up my soul
My sin and my shame, He has forgiven, and made me whole

He said that He’s forever faithful
He said that He’s forever true
He said that He can move mountains
And if He can move mountains
He can move my mountain
He can move Your mountain, too
I have to believe...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Last 3 Months...

I'm fairly certain that the people who read this blog (or read it as a note on Facebook) already know exactly what has happened in my life over the past 3 months, but since I have lots of free time on my hands and since it's probably healthy for me to get these thoughts out of my head/heart and written/typed out, here goes...

At the end of September/beginning of October, my working-from-home job turned into the job from hell - trust me, working from home sounds great and does have a few perks, but it is not for me. Thankfully, God blessed me with the most incredible opportunity at the most perfect time, and by the second week of October, I was working in an office with a gorgeous lake view!! The job could not be more perfect for me, but more than that, my boss could not be more amazing! This is the 3rd time I have worked for him and going to work is more like going to an old friend's house for 9 hours a day. As an added bonus, John was super-excited to get his alone time back when he is home and has been relieved to not have to carry so much of the financial burden on his own anymore.

In November, John and I took our first BIG vacation and went away for about 2 weeks. We spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta and the following week, we traveled to Asheville, NC and spent 4 full days at the Biltmore Estate. We stayed at the Inn, I went to the spa, John spent a morning shooting clay pigeons, we toured the house (twice!), the Winery (3x!), plus toured the farm, did a lot of shopping and eating, and even braved the gorgeous hiking trails. It was the most amazing vacation ever! We were worried that after 2 weeks we would be sick of each other, but actually, we came back and were closer than ever! We realized that we have never spent that much time together before - crazy, huh????

On our way back from NC, we received a phone call that my grandmother was not doing very well and that we should get down to see her as soon as possible. We drove down to see her on my birthday and by then, she was in hospice. I am very close to my grandmother and she had not been sick for very long, so it was very difficult. The next morning, she went home to Heaven. Selfishly, I wanted her to stay around for a longer time, but for her sake, I am thankful that she did not have to suffer for very long and is now healed and whole.

After 4 straight week of traveling (for vacation and then for the memorial service), John and I finally started getting ready for Christmas. On December 21st, we received an early Christmas present - a positive home pregnancy test!! We have been wanting to start our family since June, and we could not have been happier! We told our families and friends and couldn't seem to talk about anything else except for "the baby." Unfortunately, our excitement was short-lived. The day after Christmas, I woke up in excruciating pain and after dealing with it off and on all day, I ended up in the ER that night and was told that I needed to have emergency surgery. I was bleeding internally due to an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and without surgery, I could lose my life. John was in Orlando on a trip (thankfully he was close) and ended up renting a car (all they had was a red Camaro - Thank You, Lord) and made it to Memorial Miramar in 2 hours. He was the first face I remember seeing when I woke up in the recovery room. After a day in the hospital and (going on) my second week of bedrest, I'm feeling better (physically). The doctor said there was no permanent damage to anything and we should be able to try again in 3-4 months. There are still a lot of tears and still an enormous sense of loss, but God has been so gracious to us. Our families have surrounded us with love and support, as well as groceries, meals, Starbucks, treats, and even a clean house! Our friends have been amazing - our small group has fed us just about every day and we have been encouraged and prayed for by so many people. And I have to say that my sweet husband has been phenomenal. No one will really know just how heartbroken he is, and that's mainly because he has been so focused on taking care of me and not worrying about himself. He's done things that I know he didn't think he'd be doing until I was 88 - and never complained once! I'm so thankful that he is the one that God chose to walk through this life with me.

So what now? Well, our new church plant launches on Sunday, January 17th at Fox Trail Elementary (on Nob Hill and 595). There's a preview service this Sunday - can't wait to start!! And there's also at least 6 baby showers in my future - yes, 6 of my friends/family members are expecting - so exciting to watch God breathe life into our new church and into the lives of 6 families that we love dearly.

As far as 2010 goes, I'm looking forward to meeting 6 little boys/girls - one all the way from Taiwan!! I'm also hoping for a trip to Disney with my hubby, improving my Wii skills and my cooking skills, watching my weight go back down, and spending more time reading my Bible instead of books about it. What are you looking forward to in 2010???