Monday, April 20, 2015

National History Day

Looks like our summer vacation it about to be booked!  We are heading to Washington, D.C., to cheer on Cade as he goes to National History Day. 



We are still a little shocked.  After Cade's interview process during Arkansas History Day last Saturday, we had to rush him away to his baseball games.  We didn't get to stay for the awards ceremony and just assumed that he wouldn't get to proceed to nationals because well, only the two top papers in the whole state get to go on.  So, color us shocked when we got an email from the teacher telling us all about the D. C. trip.

Whaaaa??

The project started last summer when Cade decided to write about Martin Luther and his influence on the Protestant Reformation.  Heavy topic for an 8th grader?  Yes!  But what a joy to have him be exposed to such significant information at such a critical age.  My prayers for his faith to grow exponentially are being answered.

I can't tell you how many hours Cade poured into his research and paper.  What I can tell you is that when I read the paper, I thought I was reading college level work.  He wouldn't let me help him one bit and so the final product caught me off guard.  This is good work. 

There is a principle that Eric is trying to instill into the boys (and me as well.)  It goes something like this:  "Don't be afraid to see just how great you can be, using the talents that God has given you.  We don't have to live in fear.  Our talents are on display for His glory and fame."

One of my favorite things about parenting right now is watching the boys' gifts and talents rise to the surface.  I am telling you, they are all so different, but they each showcase the glory of God in their own way!  It is fun to help them see their gifts and push them towards things where they will excel. 

I think about all of the teachers and judges that have read Cade's paper.  It is a paper that shouts that Jesus provided the ultimate sacrifice for sins and about how Christianity is all about grace and not works. I wonder just how many people an 8th grader has influenced for the Kingdom simply because he wasn't afraid to see just how great he could be while walking in the gifts God has given him.

You are gifted, too.  You have been invited into a story bigger than yourself.  Don't be afraid to see just how great you can be, using those talents for His glory.

Becke' Martens Stuart's photo.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Squishy.

The name has stuck.  We can't seem to stop calling him Squishy.  I can imagine him at the plate, getting ready to bat and his batty parents and brothers are saying, "Let's go, Squish!"  Poor kid.  You just never know what nicknames are going to be the right fit.  He definitely fits the bill, though.




I tried to take a few shots and I got totally cheese Asher.  The one that won't look at me or tries to blow bubbles at me.  Fun age, I tell ya.  These are the ones that make me work for my money!




He is super fun, though!  Little man starting emulating his brothers and no longer calls us Momma and Dadda.  We are now Mom and Dad, thanks a lot.  I was hoping for a couple more years of Momma, and now it is gone forever.  Sob Fest 2015.

Trying to get this kid to eat meat and eggs is killing me.  We are about to go hard core round these parts.  You eat the meat and eggs, fella, or you wait til the next meal.  There are delicious varieties of protein other than yogurt and cheese little pint sized dictator.

You guys, I have raised three other boys and I am telling you, even though I have a few tricks up my sleeve by this point, I still think toddlers are hard!  Give me a newborn any ol' day!  You should have seen the standoff at the corral today. Power struggle at its finest.  Score 1 for Daddy (I mean, Dad.)  Score 0 for Asher. 

A little couch time (one on one time between Mom and Dad where he can watch us and not be allowed to interrupt) and a little wrestling with Dad should help matters greatly.

Whew. Didn't mean to go off on the toddler tyrants, but it is the season.



Let me tell you though, this boy is so lovable!  He loves going shopping and telling everyone "bye" that he comes into contact with.  And he doesn't just whisper it, either.  He is not afraid to own his goodbyes and expresses himself with gusto!

We are trying to learn to "color" but it is more fun to taste the crayons and break them.  Yep, he's a boy.

His personality is really his own!  He is extremely observant and notices things.  He likes order and throws away trash that is laying around.  He helps pick up toys because I think he enjoys things being in the right place.  While dropping of the kids at school, he yells at them and points to their lunches to make sure they don't forget them! 

He is also pretty outgoing and personable with people.  He loves to laugh and will start laughing if anyone else is.  He LOVES those brothers!!!

He knows how to pick a basketball bracket.  He won out of our family this year by picking particular stuffed animals.

Today, I was at the doctor for a check up and I had to update some information.  I had to list all my babies' names and delivery dates. 

June...Cade
January...Eli
September...Sam
December...baby in heaven/miscarried

I had to pause and praise God that He came into the ache of that miscarriage and didn't leave me in that place.  He brought about healing and eventually, a baby born in the newness of spring that brought a restoration of joy.  The last blank was this:

April...Asher

All my five babies right there in the span of a few inches of paper. But, forever imprinted on my heart.

I am one blessed Momma

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Day Love Won

 

Good Friday.  The day love won.  It's always the day that I don't know what to do with myself.  A huge dichotomy of emotions always courses through my veins on this day.  One moment I am in the throws of grief, hardly able to contain my sorrow for my Lord.  This Creating King walked in flesh and was pierced, beaten, and hung up on dry wood only to be robbed of breath.  All for my sin.

The next moment, I am listening to music and smiling from ear to ear because I know the full redemptive story. I know He is alive and well and interceding on my behalf.  Up from the grave He arose my heart shouts!

Good Friday is always a sacred dance of grief and joy.  The best love stories always are.



I want to tell you about one simple verse and one simple Greek word today.  I hope it finds you where you are.

In Luke 22:22, we see this, "And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined but woe unto that man (Judas) by whom he is betrayed."

Jesus is in the upper room sharing a final Passover meal with his disciples. He has expressed how his body will be given for them and his blood shed for them.  He wants them to know that the old covenant will be stripped away because the new covenant is in his blood.

There must have been a dichotomy of emotions in Christ at that meal.  You know he longed for the cross because of the hope set before him: a beloved people restored to the Father.  You also know his weak human flesh was screaming against the agonizing hours that he knew were ahead.

It's this verse that has made me pause all week.

"And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined..."

Jesus is going to the cross.  It was his whole mission.  Satan didn't win by nailing him to the tree.  It was God and Jesus and me and you who won in that moment.

The Greek word for determined is "horizo" and means exactly what you are thinking because we get our word horizon from this word.  It means to mark off by boundaries, to set limits, to appoint, to determine.

Even when the triune God was marking off the boundaries of creation, setting boundaries of oceans and horizons, the triune God had already determined that the Son would be the sacrificial atonement.  Even before mankind was in place and had fallen, the plan of redemption had already been determined.

The cross didn't catch God off guard.  The cross had been determined all along.



The cross was God's majestic and holy dance of grief and joy.

Determined.

I think of all the sorrow around and I think about how nothing catches God off guard.  I reflect on His sovereignty and am reminded that He determines everything, ultimately bringing joy from grief.

I see your ache and how you swim in the uncertainty of what God has determined and allowed in your life.  He has appointed things that seem almost uncharacteristic for His nature.

Remember these three words: It is Finished.  While you swim in grief, the joy and complete picture has already been accomplished.  There is a future that goes beyond your "Friday." God is smiling when He thinks about it. He is gifting you with faith to wait for it.



"This is God's promise to us. In Christ, the not-rightness of the world is already defeated. Jesus's cry of 'It is Finished' from the cross was true and real. When things aren't all right now, take comfort in the fact that they will be, forever." Tulian Tchividjian


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Three Stories of Desire

It's the word desire that stands out this time.  While reading the Easter story and asking for a fresh perspective, this word leaps off the page three times in the span of two chapters. Perhaps it is because my word for the year is delight and desire is very similar.



I have never caught this or thought about it, but there are three main characters in this dramatic scene that all use this word.  First, Jesus.  Then, Satan.  And lastly, Herod.

We can see this word repeated throughout Luke 22 and 23.

The first mention of the word desire is from our Savior. He had entered the upper room with all twelve disciples, including the one that would soon betray him.  They sat down in order to partake of the Passover meal together.  Jesus looks them in the eyes, probably overwhelmed with his affection for each of his friends and the fact that he would soon be leaving them.  He says to them, "With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer."

Epithumeo.  He longed for this meal with his friends.  He had set his heart upon it.  He needed this last evening with them, in order to prepare their hearts for the reality of what was about to occur.

This is Clarke's commentary on this passage:

"With desire I have desired - A Hebraism for, I have desired most earnestly. Our Lord's meaning seems to be, that, having purposed to redeem a lost world by his blood, he ardently longed for the time in which he was to offer himself up. Such love did the holy Jesus bear to the human race. This eucharistic passover was celebrated once, by way of anticipation, before the bloody sacrifice of the victim of salvation, and before the deliverance it was appointed to commemorate; as the figurative passover had been likewise once celebrated before the going out of Egypt, and the deliverance of God's chosen people."



The second mention of the word desire comes from the mouth of the adversary, Satan.  Only a few verses later, as they are all still reclining at the Passover meal, Jesus turns his attention to Simon Peter.  Jesus is warning Peter about what is going to take place.  "Satan hath desired to have you (Peter) that he may sift you as wheat."  This word desire is exaiteomai which means to demand (for a trial.) It means to claim back for oneself.

But, Jesus wouldn't stand for that.  I love that Jesus has already prayed for Peter, that Peter will turn back to Christ after he has denied him three times. As believers, we can expect to be assaulted by the enemy who desires to destroy our faith.  With joy, we can have the full assurance that it is Jesus who holds us together by His mighty words.



The third mention of the word desire only one chapter over is found in Luke 23:8.  It is from King Herod. It helps to remember that this is the same Herod that paraded the head of John the Baptist on a platter during a banquet. He was an arrogant and evil man who enjoyed using his powers for unjust entertainment and amusement.

Here are Herod's words regarding desire:  "And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad; for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him."

Without any context, it looks like Herod might want to see Jesus in action so that he can believe in him.  After all, the Hebrew word for desirous here is thelo which is to will or wish.  But, as we read further, we see that Jesus denies him any display of miracles. Jesus actually refuses to speak to him at all.  The reason is because Jesus knows Herod's heart only wants to be entertained, not delivered.

Herod proves his motives by providing his own source of vile entertainment when Jesus refuses.  Herod ridicules him and mocks him by putting a royal robe on him and sending him back to Pilate.

{As a side note, the Word tells us that after that moment, Herod and Pilate (who had always hated one another) were made friends.  It was their common hatred of Jesus that gave them this bond. I can't help but think of a leader of our nation who is taking the enemy nation of Iran and making them a friend due to their common hatred of Israel.}



In the span of two chapters, we have seen the word desire used three times.  Each time it has had a different connotation as it has reflected the heart of the one using it.

Jesus desires to eat a last meal with his friends and offer himself up as the final sacrifice.

Satan desires to sift us and strip us of faith.

Herod (or anyone in power who doesn't worship Jesus) desires to ridicule the true King for his own cheap amusement.

What is it that you desire right now?

Right now, I desire a hot shower to settle stressed muscles.  I desire a weekend away with only my Bible, camera, and Redeemer.  I desire a true home that seems so far away.

C.S. Lewis talks about desire and says this:

The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, then; is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.’


What do you desire this Easter season?  Is it possible that it will only be met in your true country one day?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Post Surgery and Pre Easter

This post has the potential to be incomprehensible.  But I hope not.  We'll blame it on the leftover amnesia.  I mean anesthesia.

I don't like surgery.  There, I said it.  I really don't like taking off my clothes to put on a thin gown that is really impossible to tie by yourself.  I don't like telling my husband goodbye wondering if I will see him again.  I don't like being woken up, rushed it seemed, wondering what on earth had happened to me and clueless as to how much time had passed.  I don't like the feeling of being cold and out of control and them having to shove a giant warm air blower up my lap so I will stop shaking.  I don't like coming home and throwing up for 7 hours.  I don't like pain meds and how they make me feel.  I don't like having four stab wounds on my abdomen.  I don't like wanting to sleep all the time combined with brain fog.  I don't like referred pain and bowels that forget how to do their thing.

But, I did like my souvenir.  A gallstone the size of a small grape or an acorn, you take your pick.  It was the only one they sent home with me, and it isn't as fun as a newborn baby, but at least I now know why gallstone attacks feel so horrendous.

I am also thankful for friends who checked up on me and friends who brought meals.  I am thankful for a mother in law who was able to watch the boys during the surgery and prepare us a meal.  I am thankful for a husband who kept the household going which is never an easy task.  I am thankful for a God who was with me during surgery even though I was out cold.  I don't even remember them wheeling me back, people. I told Eli that God would be with me during the surgery.  He said, "Just like God is with you when you are eating chocolate?" Yes, Eli.  It is God alone who keeps me from overdosing on chocolate.

It's the stab wounds that have me thinking about Easter.  Aside from cellulite, stretch marks, and a couple of fat rolls, my body has been free from any major alterations like being cut on.  I see the particular wound in my side, and even though it is only about half an inch long, I can't help but think of Jesus.

While on the cross, the flesh in Jesus's side was pierced by the soldier's spear.

"But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed."
Isaiah 53:5

I reread the story of His crucifixion today and let the tears fall fresh.  I looked up the Greek word for crucify and remained stunned when I saw this definition of stauroo:

I fix to the cross.
I destroy.
I mortify.

I want to scream and tell the printers to remove the "I."  But, I know it is true.  I am the one who fixed Him there. I am the one who impaled Him and drove down the giant stake.  I am the one who put the King on a tree.

My sin did all these things.

He was pierced from head to toe really.  From the crown of thorns all the way down to the spike in his feet. He was pierced for my rebellion.

And yet, in all of my vileness, I could not extinguish his love or his passion and desire to restore me to the Father.

It's this understanding of grace that I want to grow in. Drown in.

This week before Easter, I don't want to take my sin lightly.  I want to remember what freedom cost.  I want to look on the one that I pierced.

I think one day, we will see for ourselves the wounds of Jesus.  I believe with all my heart He keeps them.  Spurgeon says they are His trophies:

"Now, Jesus Christ has scars of honor in his flesh and glory in his eyes, He has other trophies He has divided the spoil with the strong: he has taken the captive away from his tyrant master; he has redeemed for himself a host that no man can number, who are all the trophies of his victories: but these scars, these are the memorials of the fight, and these the trophies, too."

His scars are a memorial to the fight.  A testament to His love that willingly walks to the cross.  All for a vile people in need of grace.

Look to the One that you have pierced.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Surgery.

I just came home and did what every sane person does when they find out they are having a cholecystectomy the very next day.  I ate a whole avocado.  There.  Take that, cholecystectomy.

Really, my heart didn't start pounding when the doctor said he would be removing a God given organ.  It started pounding when he said I couldn't wear any makeup the day of the surgery.  Priorites, people.

I am not sure how I have made it 37 years without major surgery but I did and liked it that way.  This removal of organ business has me all up in arms and tears and palpitations.

Gallbladder. It's just a gallbladder.  And apparently, you can survive without this God given organ, it just takes some time for your body to figure out what to do without it.  Why did you have to rebel little organ?  We were getting along so nicely.

Can't I just go in and birth a ten pound baby? It sounds so much easier.  Will they wrap up my little gallbladder in a receiving blanket and place it in my arms for all my effort?  I think not.  But, it might be kind of fun to see all the angry gallstones.  (My husband swears I won't be bringing those home.)

It's been kind of emotional around here this week.  I keep thinking of Kara Tippetts and how she died with grace and dignity.  I keep thinking of Herb and how much I miss him.  I keep wondering how these people died well when I am still trying to figure out how to live well.

We take one step at a time, hearts fully surrendered, and rest in the sovereign path laid before us.  We don't panic when the word surgery is mentioned because we know it is really the best thing.  We keep waking up in the morning, almost three months after cancer strips us bare because we have a God that breathes peace into our frames on a daily basis.

It's funny how as I get older, I have a greater desperation for Jesus.  More and more, he is my everything. More and more, I am aching to be where He is.

I have a feeling I'll pull through tomorrow (wink wink), but just in case...you guys should know you are beyond loved and treasured.  I think when we get to heaven the thing that will shock us more than anything is the depth of the Father's love for us.

Swim in it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

May I Never Lose the Wonder

THIS is the best news I have heard in a long time.  Reading this article made me feel like I was immersed straight into a modern day Bible story.  All day, I have felt like a fan on the sidelines, cheering for this big God who always has his way.

I already told you that I hate politics. But, I do love a good God story.  I love to see that He is indeed moving, weaving everything together for His glory and name's sake.  Stories like the Israeli Prime Minister election help us see Him clearly. 

Netanyahu won the election and we can be thankful mainly for this:  the other leading candidate, (Herzog) was willing to give up Israeli land if elected.  God's agenda is never about surrendering over His land.  It has always been about an inheritance of land and promise.

Apparently, our own government spent our tax dollars to try and prevent Netanyahu's victory. I can't tell you how enraged I am about this.  In the end, though, it is God's plan that carries forth.  Not even the Superpower of the world could win this battle.

"He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars."   Daniel 2:21

May I never lose the wonder of a God who has a beautiful master plan in which absolutely nothing or no one can thwart.

My allegiance will always be with this God who is worthy of such wonder.




Friday, March 13, 2015

Rain and the Finished Work

The rain just won't stop and the whole morning was one mess of a panic attack.  I don't know why my body seems to be attacking itself.  One day, gallstones.  The next, a mental breakdown.

It was while driving the kids to school that the gas light came on and the words only 19 miles left screamed at me.  Who has time to stop and get gas when you are trying to get to three different schools, miles apart, all before the clock strikes 7:50?

I rush them, grab gas, head 20 minutes back home, grab the dog and realize this isn't smart.  How does one exactly take the 70 pound dog and the 2 year old pushing-the-boundaries-toddler to the vet in the pouring rain?  Why again did God only give mothers two hands?

We get there in another 20 minutes.  I get the dog out, she bolts (despite the leash) which is to be expected.  I lose her in the rain.  I find her.  I get the toddler in the door at which point he breaks free because I simply can't keep a toddler in one hand a strong Golden Retriever in the other hand. 

I find the toddler.  We get ushered into a room to wait.  I get frowned upon for not bringing in a stool sample.  From the dog, not me.  Was I supposed to go out in the pouring rain and gather up dog poo? How exactly was I supposed to carry the live animal waste inside? I can't even get a dog and kid inside without losing both for crying out loud. I already told you I don't have enough hands.

The toddler sits, screaming in my lap because I won't put him down.  Strong willed? Yes.  Reminds me of his oldest brother at this age.

I get chastised because my 11 year old dog has gained weight.  Well, welcome to the chub club, pooch.

Just give me a sticker and label me as mother of the year.

It is in that moment, as I am trying to contain the ocean about to leak from my eyes that I remind myself of one thing.

I could choose grace in this moment.

It is so hard down here and most days I don't have my act together.  Despite three loads of laundry a day, it is never finished.  Despite eating healthy, the weight won't drop.  Despite choosing to rest, I still swim in stress.

It just keeps raining.

But, I could choose grace.

What would that look like for a mother of 4 who has an overweight dog, gallstones, and a strong willed toddler?

I could read this line and believe it:  It is Finished.

If my relationship with the Father was based on my performance, then I would have been banished long ago.

I need the gospel daily because I am prone to a works kind of religion where I think my acceptance is always up to my actions.

Only grace sets me free and allows a deep breath when everything around me is going haywire.

"Because we are, right now, under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ, Christians already have an A.  The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed.  We're in--forever!  We've been set free."  Tullian Tchividjian

It is finished. Breathe it in.    





Monday, March 9, 2015

Stitch Fix #2

The snow delay turned me into a mad woman this go-round.  I was stalking my tracking number like a maniac, ready for my special delivery! I received my second "Fix" today!  Color me happy!

This time, I requested bright colors, specifically blue.  Tiffany (my stylist!) delivered beautiful shades of blue, all of which make me happy since winter is not dying.

I also requested boyfriend jeans.  I was disappointed that they didn't have my size in stock, so I guess I will have to request those at another time.

What I am really loving about Stitch Fix is that I can try on everything in the comfort of my home...mixing things with items in my closet to see if it is really worth keeping. (OK, that and I love to play dress up in a world of Under Armour clad boys.)

Here is my little box of happies!



 




1.  Coral/Peach Aztec drape cardigan in a perfect lightweight material.  Normally, I don't pick out pastels, but maybe I should branch out a little bit.  I love this color and how it happily transitions us to spring!  I think a pair of white skinny jeans would look better than my wide leg pants, so maybe I can request some of those next! Status:  keep.


2.  This little bohemian tie dye cardigan.  It is the perfect weight and such a fun piece!  I would totally keep it except it is just way too big.  Status:  Return (sniff.)
3. This gem that has a little keyhole detail and very fun for summer.  It's just too big, though.  Eric thinks it is frumpy.  Status:  Return
 
4.  Ahhh. Now we are talking!  Turquoise might be the happiest shade in the world.  Well, that and hot pink.  This little tab sleeve blouse has 3/4 length sleeves and is the perfect piece to wear with black skinny jeans.  It is very versatile...I found tons of scarves, jackets, and necklaces in my closet that will coordinate with it!  Status:  Keep!
 

 
5.  This crochet detailed blouse is just beautiful!  The same cut out detail runs across the top of the back of the shirt, too.  It is romantic and elegant, but also casual enough for everyday.  The style of the shirt is pretty similar to the turquoise, so I am sadly sending it back.  It also costs a little more than I am comfortable with for shirts. Status:  Return
 


I have to give credit to my rock star photographer.  Kudos to this cutie.  If you would like to try Stitch Fix for yourself, then here is the link.  You pay $20 as a stylist fee which includes shipping your box.  The good news is that this money goes towards anything you keep!

Delight


Delight.  I've been pondering what it really means to delight in the Lord.  It seems simple at times and at other times, profound.  True love is like that.

Spurgeon has words that make me weep, so I will let him speak today on this rich subject.  What is delight?

"If you look at the word, it is flashing with light, it sparkles like a star, no, like a bright constellation, radiant with sweet influences like the Pleiades.  It is joy, yet it is more, it is joy running over; it is rest, but such a rest as allows of the utmost activity of every passion of the soul.

Delight!

It is mirth without its froth.  Delight!  It is peace, yet it is more than that, it is peace celebrated with festivity, with all the streamers hanging in the streets, and all the music playing in the soul.

Delight!

To what shall I compare it?  It is a stray word that belongs to the language of Paradise."


Delight!

"You must take the word and spell it over, letter by letter, and then you must pray God to put your hearts into a sweet frame of mind, made up of the following ingredients--a perfect rest from all earthly care; a perfect resignation of yourself into God's hands; an intense confidence in His Love for you; a divine love to Him, so that you feel you would be anything or do anything for Him!  Then, there must be added to all this, a joy in Him; and when you have these, they must be all set a-boiling, and then, by His Grace, you have delight in the Lord your God!"


Matthew Henry says, "Desire is love in action, like a bird on the wing; delight is love in rest, like a bird on its nest."

Such beautiful words to chew on.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Blessing. A Curse. A Choice.

I just watched Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address our congress with wisdom and common sense.  He is a man for such a time as this, a man ordained to fight for the nation that he loves...that I love...that God loves.

He mentioned Purim and how tomorrow Jews will remember Esther and how God delivered the Jewish people from Haman's evil plot of annihilation. God fought for them then and He will fight for His people always.  They are His nation, the beloved nation He set apart from all the others.  They are the apple of His eye.  I am so grateful to be grafted in to such a branch. Grace for the Gentile.  Now, that is simply profound.

Netanyahu was right.  "Even if Israel has to stand alone---Israel WILL stand."  The end times battles in prophecy that might be quickly upon us all shout to one thing:  Israel wins.  You defy Israel, you defy the Living God.

It goes back to a promise that God made to Abraham and this nation that God was forming:

Genesis 12:3 New International Version (NIV)

I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.[a]
 
There you have it. Whoever curses Israel stands cursed.
 
If you appease a nation bent on evil who has called Israel "Little Satan" and has more than once declared their end goal is the destruction of this state, then you are cursing Israel.  It is simple.
 
I stand with Israel.  I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  But, what do we do when we aren't directly leading our nation?  We pray for our leaders.  We pray they are surrounded by wise and Biblical counsel.  We pray for hearts to be changed and that God might intervene.  The blessing or curse of our nation always resides in our treatment of the state of Israel.
 
This article by Rosenberg makes it all so clear.  Here is an excerpt:
 
"The first is the Islamic Republic of Iran. The second is Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL). The leaders of the former are Shia. The latter are Sunni. Both believe the End of Days has come. Both believe the Islamic messiah – known as the “Mahdi” — is coming at any moment. Both are trying to hasten the coming of the Mahdi so that he can conquer the earth and establish justice and peace. They speak often of such things.

That said, each has a different strategy to speed up the Mahdi’s arrival. ISIS wants to build a caliphate. Iran wants to build The Bomb. ISIS is committing genocide now. Iran is preparing to commit genocide later, openly stating it seeks to wipe Israel off the map and create a world without the United States, which they describe as the “Great Satan.”"
 
 

I find it so fascinating that not one but two organizations/states are doing everything they can in order to usher in "their" messiah.  It reminds me that Satan is a copycat, always twisting God's ideas in order to achieve his own glory.  Satan isn't unaware of the Bible or the signs that are upon us.  He is on a furious rampage, knowing time for him must be short.  He is using ISIS and Iran, deceiving them to believe that a Muslim messiah is coming, using evil tactics of destruction to try and usher him in. 
 
There is a Messiah coming.  His name is Jesus.  Ha Shem.  THE NAME.  He is the light in the darkness.  He will come as a Warrior, in a way we have never experienced. 
 
Come, Lord Jesus. Make your authority over your Kingdom evident to all.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Crunchy Peanut Butter

It's when I open the pantry and see that darn crunchy peanut butter that I start crying.

Grief Triggers.  You never know what they will be.  And when you start crying over peanut butter, it almost seems absurd.

Certain things attach themselves to the people you love and lost and they won't let go, proving everyday that those people mattered and meant something. Still mean something.

It was four years ago, Herb sneaking up behind me in Walmart and creeping me out.  I found this previous post and had a little laugh...

"I was at Walmart the previous day, throwing down our life's savings, it seems, on a filled buggy full of everything from toothpaste to triscuits.  I was vacillating between Heinz and Hunts when I felt an arm reach around my waist and whisper something gravelly and deep by the side of my head.

I just about came out of my tennis shoes.  Because despite how hard I tried in that span of half a second, I couldn't make out the voice to be that of my husband's.  Not that Eric was at Walmart, mind you, but who on earth else could it be?

I must have thrown a look that could kill at the person who had just whispered "Hey, you wanna go out sometime?"  Because then my father in law burst into such laughter that I had to laugh right back at him. 

I can't blame him for wanting to play a little practical joke...the man has been needing to get out of the house since he has been incessantly and selflessly taking care of his sick mom and wife (who broke her ankle.)

But, as you know, across from Hunts and Heinz lies Smuckers and Jiff.  I was so flustered that I picked up crunchy instead of smooth.

And now we all know who to blame."

I'll never look at crunchy peanut butter without thinking about Herb and now it triggers me into a mess of hot tears, missing him madly. 

I've learned that triggers can be a blessing, forcing you to joyfully remember the person you are missing.  The triggers can also remind you that your suffering is only temporary and that one day, everything will be set right.

I do know one thing, our God is a God of laughter and I am thankful for fun memories to ease the ache until we are laughing together again at that big ol' banquet.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Snow Day!

Snow beats ice!  Today was Asher's first day to play in the snow!!!  He loved it! I love a good snow day...

*Our 11 year old Golden Retriever morphs back into a puppy.  She loves snow more than anything in the world!
*I love the bright chaotic colorful mixture of snow hats and gloves and coats.
*Fires and hot chocolate.
*Snow pictures! (Although I really miss our old backyard and camellias that were always in bloom during winter!)
*Movies and slight obsessions with new shows I have never seen like "24".
*Soup, soup, soup!
*Reading!
*Not having to make my bed.
*Games!
*A sense that all is right in the world...a brief indulgence.
*Staying up late and sleeping in.
*Baked goodies like streusel cake and chocolate no bake cookies.
*No schedule or appointments or sports or pick up lines.
*Laughter!