Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Kitchen House

Have you read this book?  I thought it was amazing.  It is pretty heartwrenching, but it leaves the reader with hope.  The characters and storyline will stay with me for a long time.  If you enjoyed "The Help," then this book might appeal to you.

Any good books you have read lately?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Threads of Mercy

One thing that our new bible study (Chronological Bible Teaching) is teaching us is to start recognizing certain threads that run throughout the bible.  We are only through the chapter about Cain and Abel and I guess the thread that has been jumping out at me is the mercy of God.

Right before the fall, we see Eve engaging in a conversation with one of the created beings.  Hebrew calls the animal "nachash" which means snake.  The snake is described as "arum" which means cunning, subtle, and crafty.

Perhaps her first error was forgetting who God had created her to be.  She forgot the authority system God had in place.  She was supposed to rule over the animals and instead, she allowed an animal to rule over her.  She obeyed a creature instead of listening to her husband (who was probably the one to tell her the expectations of the Creator.)  Adam was in charge of her care (so much so that he was responsible for naming her) and yet, Eve never once went to him or God himself while the enemy was tempting her.  If she needed clarification on what was true, she certainly didn't seek it out.

The snake sought out the vulnerable and made subtle suggestions that caused her to doubt God's word.  He then stepped back while humanity spun out of control.  He wanted others to rebel just as he did.  He wanted others to stab at God's heart...just as he did.

Adam and Eve both partake of the fruit.

And then they hid.

God's mercy comes quickly into play.  He could have immediately cast them out of his presence.  He could have given them the silent treatment for the rest of their days.  Instead, he starts asking Adam (since he is the authority over his wife) questions that are meant to lead to truth and repentance.  The word "LORD" is used in these passages which references God's personal name, Yahweh, which means that God is still wanting relationship with this couple that has been created in his image.

By the way, when God asks "where are you", "you" is singular in the Hebrew.  God confronts Adam because he is holding him responsible for what has occurred.  Being the head of our home is not a job description I want! I will gladly submit!  :)

We see Adam and Eve run to hide, grabbing leaves to cover their now-known nakedness.

God is quick to tell them that leaves won't suffice.  Their sin has cost much more than that.  It will require something good, with lifeblood, that God created, to die.  I wonder what it did to God's heart to slay something that he had delighted in while creating.

His mercy towards mankind was great.  I found it interesting that what God covered them with was skins, which is "owr" in Hebrew.  It basically means the hide or the leather.  God clothed Adam and Eve in hide so they would no longer have to hide.  Later on in God's story, Jesus clothed himself in human hide (that would also be slain) so that the hiding could be cancelled forever.

Next, we see God's mercy in casting them out of the garden.  I used to think that God was just being vengeful, but now, I can see the thread of mercy.  If he had allowed them to remain, and they had eaten of the tree of life, then they would have remained alive in their sinful state forever.

God knows how miserable and unbearable that would be.  His mercy cast them out.

We still see God's mercy at play.  He allows Adam and Eve to conceive, bringing hope to the the promise that there will be a "seed" to crush the head of Satan.  Cain and Abel enter the picture, but things don't get better.  I imagine that when Eve took that bite of fruit, she had no idea of the complete ramifications of her sin.

Most of us never do.

God had established the pattern of how he was to be approached.  It was to require the life of an animal.  Abel brought such a sacrifice.  Cain did not.

Instead of shunning Cain from his presence, God decides to give Cain a second chance.  He warns him.  He graciously convicts.  In his mercy, God tells Cain that if he will do well, he will be accepted. God was offering conviction, not condemnation.

It is as if God's heart is crying out to Cain, begging him to get it right the next time, because deep down, God really wants to have relationship with Cain.

But, the spirit of bitterness, anger, and jealousy consume Cain.  He is angry at God, but takes it out on his brother.  Sin masters him and the first murder has occurred.  Sin had its consequences and Cain was driven away from the presence of the LORD.

Cain, never repentant, but always looking out for self, cries out that someone will kill him if he leaves the area.  In His mercy, yet again, God decides to mark Cain so that no one will be allowed to murder him.

We see God's mercy in a different way back with Adam and Eve.  Abel, their "good" son had been taken away.  God intervened, allowed them to have Seth, which would be a new hope for the promise of a seed that would crush Satan.  Seth means "Substitute."  He was not only the substitute for Abel, but his line (from which Jesus would come) would be the means for the substitute for our sins, as well.

 His mercy is great and knows no bounds. 

Lord, give us eyes to see it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Heart for Adoption

Adoption is nothing new to my ears.  My older brother was adopted.  So, before there was me or my three younger siblings, my parents had the heart to bring Devin into their family.

My parents rescued him around the age of one.  Even though Devin was from Arkansas, his living conditions were third world at best.  They provided him food and shelter, discipline and grace, gospel and roots.  They gave him their name.

While watching my parents nurture and raise him, I quickly realized that adoption is never the easy road.  It took a lot of understanding.  A huge dose of grace.  Patience that had to come from God Himself, and love that must have shattered their hearts a thousand times.

Adoption has to be a calling.

Eric's brother, Lee, and his wife, Kelli, feel like God is calling them to adopt a little girl from Russia.

I know they would love for you to be a part of their story as they are in the long journey of bringing her home.

Will you follow their dreams here?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sweet Baby

We got to see our sweet baby yesterday!
It's little heart was just fluttering away.  It absolutely amazes me that something the size of a kidney bean or grape has the same (but growing) heart that will carry it through all of its days. God is just too big!

Looks like we may be getting a Cinco de Mayo baby! Official due date is May 5. {This should make Bugs very happy cause I think this is one of her favorite holidays.} 

I feel pretty sick, but not hugging the grateful for that.  I shot a wedding Saturday and only about hurled on the bride's dress just once.  :)

If you need some entertainment, the vitamin show at the eight o' clock hour is sure to make you laugh for days on end.  {They usually end up spewed on the counter with whatever else I am trying to wash them down with.}

Cute story about Eli:  He got in front of his class during prayer request time.  He told them the request was for me...since I was having a baby.  Then, he quickly switched gears and said that he might be the one needing prayer if it turned out to be a girl.  love that kid.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sam's Salvation Story

Last night, we got the boys in bed.  Eric prayed.  I left the room pretty quickly, but Eric stayed for whatever reason.  Come to find out, Sam wanted to ask Jesus to be his Saviour!

Eric talked about what sin was.  Sam recognized his need for someone to come and forgive him so he could know God and go to heaven one day.  So, he took a brave step and asked the Lord to be his Lord!

"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." Luke 15:10

{Thank you Jesus for answering our prayers!  What a blessing to know our boys walk in truth.}

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Their Responses

Last Saturday was a sweet time that I will always remember.  It was the day we finally got to tell the kids we were having a baby!  They had been wanting one forever and we finally were going to share the exciting news!  By the way, keeping it a secret from them for two and a half weeks was so hard! 
We told them by allowing Sam to open his "I'm the big brother" t-shirt.  We made him sound it out and read it.  He then looked at us and said, "yeah, I am big."  As in, yep, I am a big boy for my age, I know it! 
Then we gave Eli a stab at it.  He read it and asked if that meant that Sam got to boss him around now.
Then, Cade read it.  Clueless.  Hilariously clueless.
So, we basically had to spell it out for them.
Here were their sweet facial responses:

I am still a little in shock that I will have a baby next year and then two months later, have a teenager.


Gulp again.

I think this pregnancy is going to be hilarious.  After all, the boys are older and asking a ton of fun questions.  We already got this one from Sam:  "How is that baby going to come out of mommy's tummy?"  To which Eric said God had a special way but he wasn't old enough to know more than that.  To which Sam said, "Well, I am seven now.  I am old enough."

Gulp again.

Currently, Eli is the only one holding out for a brother.  Sam is convinced it is a girl and only refers to "her" with the female pronoun. He has named her Sally.


It is going to be a fun pregnancy for sure.  Especially when I get over this wanting to hurl feeling.

Baby Stuart is the size of a pinto bean.  The ears are forming as well as the tip of its nose.  In its heart, the aortic and pulmonary valves are present and distinct.  It has elbows and the arms and legs have started to extend out.

Here's a sweet pic I stole off the internet!
Hi baby!  We love you!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

You know, the big announcement.

This first pic was Sam's favorite birthday present!

We couldn't be more thrilled!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Sam!

We love you, big guy!
You fill our days with side splitting laughter!
We are so blessed God gave you to us!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Possum

1.  Apparently, the possum didn't get carried off by an angel in the night.

2.  Apparently, the possum crawled just a few feet to die under a thick bush.

3.  I know this by the smell that makes me want to hurl every time I enter the sunroom or open the back door.

4.  I am not touching it.  Period.

5.  My son Sam is indeed a prophet.  After all, he told me the other day that possums stink.

6.  It is true.

7.  I'm ready for my man to come home from traveling all week.  It has been the longest week ever.

8.  Have a great weekend.

9.  Pray we don't die from the fumes.


***update*** We (as in Cade alone) went out with a shovel and gloves to get rid of the critter, but we (as in Cade alone) can't find him anywhere!!!  We (you get the idea) think the the stinky possum is under the concrete step (tiny hole where it could have crawled underneath.)


The end.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In the Beginning

Man, I've been enjoying our bible study!  We are doing something called Chronological Bible Teaching.  It is question driven, causing us to dig deep and think instead of just skimming over a passage and assuming we understand all the ramifications.

Yesterday, we talked about Genesis 1 & 2.  What delight God showed while creating all the things He deemed good.  He instantly set up systems of authority.  He is a God of order.  He wanted the lesser light to rule over the night, the greater light to rule over the day, man to rule over animals, and God Himself to rule over man.  He had the seed and plants in place before He ever created animals or man.

Have you ever wondered why He took His time in creation?  I mean, all He has to do is speak and it is.  He could have simply said "Let it be" and all the beautiful ideas coursing through His mind would have come to instant fruition.  Instead, He orderly did one thing at a time.  I think He enjoyed the process!

His slowness in this creation process allows us to see things about God that we may have missed had He simply done it all at once.  We wouldn't see that He had already provided (food) before there was a need (hungry mankind and animals.)  What journey are you on right now that seems slow, but is allowing you to see part of God's loving kindness and rich character towards you?

One of my favorite things to ponder was that the reason behind why God was creating the earth filled with such good things.  It wasn't so that He could create and then walk away.  His purpose for this beauty filled earth is that it would become His dwelling place.  The ESV study notes say it beautifully!

"As reflected in various ancient Near Eastern accounts, divine rest is associated with temple building.  God's purpose for the earth is that it should become his dwelling place; it is not simply made to house his creatures. The concept of the earth as a divine sanctuary runs throughout the whole Bible..."

He was creating a place where His glory would be evident.  A place where He could dwell among mankind and be worshiped by everything.  He was creating His temple.  His sanctuary.

Right after creation is finished, and He has rested, He brings us a new way to know Him.  He is not just Elohiym.  He is not just creator.  He calls himself LORD is Genesis 2:4.  Anytime we see LORD in all caps in the Bible, it is the Hebrew word Yahweh. 

It is God's most personal name. 

He wants us to know that He has come to dwell among us and be relational with us.

He doesn't create and then abandon, leaving us to go on to something else.

He creates.  And then the really fun part happens.  He personally invites us into His big plan.  He shares some responsibility with us because He wants to walk alongside of us.  He wants us to recognize  His glory in all things.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Weekly Funnies

1.  Sam and Eli will sometimes crawl in bed with me when we have a few more minutes to sleep in.  Often, we will tell stories as we are trying to wake up.  Sam's story started like this:  "The wild ass loves his momma."  I told him he better use the word donkey from here on out.

2.  Last night, I let Savannah (a RETRIEVER) out one last time for a potty break.  She took her time wanting back in.  I heard a bang at the door, went to check it out, and she had brought me a present.  A half dead possum, that is.  Right at my back door.  It was moving its mouth slowly open and shut as little cries left its mouth.  It was awful and pitiful.   An angel of God removed it from my back door while I slept.  That is all.

And a happy Wednesday to you. I pray your little wild asses love you fiercely and that God keeps the possums away.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Walking Pharisees

We are walking Pharisees.

It is our natural tendency.  We make up the rules as we go, tricking our minds into thinking we are living lives of truth simply because we obey the rules. 

As long as they are our rules.

I remember someone telling me once that I could put soap on my Pampered Chef Stone cooking sheet if I only left it on there for a few seconds at most. 

The Pampered Chef lady said to not use soap.  But, in this person's mind, she had justified using soap to wash her Stoneware.  So, she made up a time limit of how long the soap could be on there in order to justify her actions.

She made up her own rules because she didn't like the way the real rules read.

The Pharisees took simple God-given rules and changed them into rules that would make them look better to the public and to themselves.  They gave specific regulations for how to live life.  They refused to associate with sinners.  When the law said not to work on the Sabbath, they defined what was or wasn't work.  Their lives became full of empty ritual as they did their best to follow the law perfectly.

The Pharisees' spiritual disciplines such as prayer and fasting were on display for all to see.  Didn't they know that God looks at the heart?

They had one singular problem.  They sought to stand in their own righteousness instead of the righteousness of God.

I wonder, when we start making up our own rules, are we just striving to stand in our own righteousness instead of being secure in what Jesus has provided and done for us?

I caught myself just yesterday making up a rule and justifying my actions.

I wondered where this tendency has its roots.  God whispered that it began with Eve.

When Satan was tempting her in the garden, Eve tells him that they must not eat the fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor must they touch it, or they will die.

God never mentioned that they should not touch the fruit.

From the beginning, we have been making up our own rules.

Will you ask the Holy Spirit to show you areas where you have made up your own rules?

Be free in Christ.

Stand on His righteousness alone.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Have you read it this way?

There are a whole lot of awesome versions of the Bible out there.  I can't seem to pick my favorite...NIV, ESV, KJV, Message...yada yada.  I guess I love it all cause it is all the same thing!

Buuuuuut, have you ever tried reading the bible this way?

This is the One Year Chronological Bible.  Basically, it takes the Word and puts it in chronological order instead of book order.  It puts the Bible in the order that the events actually happened. 

Cool, huh?

I like how it puts related passages all together so that you can read one story in different books of the bible all at see how they complement one another. For example, when Saul is threatening David's life, it will have all these recordings (Ps. 5 and 59 and 1 Sam. 18:1-20:42) listed together.

Cool, huh?

It kind of blew my mind when I got to only day 5 and we started into Job.  Think about this.  According to Iva May, Job only had the stories of Genesis 1-11 to "build and reinforce his faith in God, which enabled him to persevere through severe trials."

All he needed was eleven chapters in order to remain faithful to the One True God.

We get the whole Word...the complete sha-bang, and Lord have mercy, we need help every single day to remain faithful.

Well, here's to knowing His story like He order.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Death Hovers

Death hovers over the city like a wool blanket in the hot summertime.  Stifling, we wish to throw it off and jump in the cold shower, praying the cool stream will remove the nightmares that have entwined with the thick oppression.

The flood waters claimed one of our own.  One not quite initiated into teenagedom.  One still viewed as his mother's forever baby boy.

Our hearts are heavy.  We are tempted to beat against the Sovereign One's chest and question whether He is good.  The boy had his whole life ahead of him.

God wants to tell us it is perfectly acceptable to beat against His chest.  He invites us into the wrestling arena.  Only then will we come away with His true character.

A character that is, indeed, always good.

I am reminded in this grief filled time that Jesus hates death.  When His friend Lazarus died, his anger is compared to the snorting of a horse. Go here for why Christ hates death.

It was why Jesus entered our sin sick world, disguised as one of us. 

So death wouldn't have the final say.

So life would win in the end.

I am the resurrection, and the life:  he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.  John 11:25

Part of me is tempted to say a gazillion spiritual platitudes but I know that none of this matters in the beginning.  In the beginning of grief, you just want the world to stop and recognize the one you achingly loved.  Will forever love.

So, Walker family, please know that in our minds, we have purposed the world to stop.  We honor your son, Drake.  We stop to pray.  We stop to surrender to God's plan.  We stop to beg for His mercy. 

Today, we refuse to let the world keep spinning. Today, we simply stop.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Calling All Decorating Divas

Remember that weepy estate sale I was telling you about?

Well, this beauty was my major find.  You all know I am diggin' turquoise right now, so when I laid eyes on this vintage metal tub, I about peed my pants.

$10.  Yes, I think I'll take twenty.

OK, OK.  One will suffice.

It is a beast.  Too tall to put on my TV entertainment center...but it fits perfectly on the floor and covers up the sun room wall breaker unit just perfectly. 

My question is this:

What should go inside?  I tried some greenery, but that was plain stupid.

So, the sky is the limit...

What say you?  What should go inside the amazing vintage turquoise Bakerite container? {Just keep in mind he is a big guy!}