Thursday, June 5, 2014

Thankfulness Thursday

I don't know if it's the weather or because I'm tired, but I am in a grumbly mood today! I literally asked God today why he had to curse me with chronic acne and constipation as well as bad hair. Now I know God didn't curse me with those things. They are a product of the fall and his tools for keeping me humble and depending on him. But I felt the need to gripe to him about it anyways.

So needless to say, I thought I should spend a little time giving thanks. I also thought maybe I should post my thanksgivings on a regular basis here to keep me accountable and to remind me of all the good things God has given and done for me. So here goes.

Today I am thankful that my husband prefers to see me in a ponytail or bun rather than with my hair down. Which begs the question, why do I spend so much time trying to style my hair the way I see it done on Youtube if my husband prefers the simple anyways? Glutton for punishment I guess. Anyways, I'm thankful that if I gave up on all that hassle with my hair, my husband would be perfectly happy.

I am also thankful that my acne is not the large cyst like pimples that I used to get but rather little bumps that most people don't even notice. I'm thankful for makeup that covers up said bumps. I'm thankful God loves me and his power is at work within me no matter what my skin (and hair) look like.

Lastly I am grateful for medicines and dietary changes that can help relieve constipation. I'm grateful I don't have to be bent over in misery every day as I deal with my digestive issues. I'm grateful for doctors who can help us when we are having health issues.

Now it's your turn. What have you found yourself complaining about today? What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

True Beauty


Proverbs 31:30 "Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised."

On a daily basis, we are constantly being bombarded with the world's view of beauty. Skinny, tanned, toned, big boobed ladies wearing next to nothing are paraded in front of us on tv, in advertisements, and magazines. It's hard not to see these images and come away feeling good about yourself.
I personally struggle a lot with feeling like I'm not good enough because I don't look like these models. My boobs are small. My stomach isn't flat. My hair isn't thick and perfectly sculpted. I tend to spend a lot more time than I should worrying about my exercise routine, what I eat, what I wear, and how my hair looks. Sometimes I'm downright obsessed with it.
The other day I was wrestling with these issues, feeling convicted for spending so much time dwelling on myself and my outer beauty, and then God brought the above verse to my mind. God, my creator, isn't concerned with how my hair looks or how flat my stomach is. He's concerned with my soul. Beauty in his eyes is a broken and contrite spirit that depends on him (Psalm 51:17). We look at the outward appearance of others, but God looks at the heart. (1Samuel 16:7)
As Proverbs 31:30 states, outward beauty is fading. It can be taken away at any moment. One of the ladies I admire most is Joni Eareckson Tada. She was injured in a diving accident as a teenager and became paralyzed from the neck down. She has been a paraplegic for 40 some years, yet despite her broken body, she is one of the most beautiful women I know. Her love for the Lord spills out into the lives of others as she has devoted her life to encouraging others and helping out paraplegics all over the world.
True beauty is giving our messy lives and imperfect bodies to God to be used for His glory. As believers in Christ, we are set free from a life devoted to making much of ourselves. We are free from seeking the applause and attention of the world. Let me repeat that: if you are a believer in Christ, you are free from seeking the applause and attention of the world. You are free from striving to make yourself beautiful and acceptable according to the world's standards and are now free and empowered to bring glory and honor to God.
Precious lady, I encourage you to stop striving to adorn your outer self and cultivate a walk with the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 3:3-4) You are precious in his sight; frizzy hair, flabby stomach, acne and all. You can stop striving to be perfect and rest in his glorious grace. (Ephesians 2:5-10)

Discussion time. How about you? Do you struggle with how you look? What things have you done to try to achieve the world's standard of beauty?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Link Love Tuesday

One of my favorite things in the blogosphere lately is when bloggers share their favorite blog posts, articles, recipes, etc... I decided to share my favorite posts with you as well. I've been reading some really good articles lately that are too good to keep to myself. I will arrange them by category so you can easily find what is of interest to you. I will even share my favorite workouts of the week. Enjoy!

Good Advice
Don't wait to be invited to your own life via Allison Vesterfelt
Cultivating Positive Body Image via Real Life RD

Biblical Wisdom
Don't Worry, Be Casting via Desiring God
When it Seems Like God Did You Wrong via Desiring God

Food
What I Learned from my Grandmother's Dishes About Portion Control via Real Mom Nutrition
Skinny Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip via A Lavender Life
Pumpkin Pancakes via Kath Eats Real Food
Homemade Grahm Crackers via Yeah...Imma Eat That
Sweet and Crunchy Chicpeas (that can even be eaten as a breakfast cereal!) via Just Making Noise

Motherhood
I'm Done Making My Kids' Childhood Magical via Huffington Post
A Perfect Mom via A Lavender Life

Workouts
800 Calorie Workout via Christine Salus on YouTube
10 Minute Abs via Melissa Bender on YouTube
Lower Body Blast: Burn, Shape, and Sculpt via Melissa Bender on YouTube

Well there you have it! Now it's your turn. What are your favorite links of the week?


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Greatest Accomplishment

Today I want to share with you all a light bulb moment I had in church last Sunday. I can't even remember what the sermon was about, but I do remember that Philippians 3:7-11 was referenced.

           "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having fa righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead."

The point the pastor made about the passage was that our greatest gain is Christ. There is nothing we can do or accomplish on this earth that can have greater value than knowing Christ. Wow, did I need to hear that! 
I have spent so much of my life discontent because I feel like I have nothing to brag about in the way of accomplishments. I have no college degree. I've never been on The Voice. I don't have some skill that people would pay to benefit from. I don't have a fancy blog that millions of people follow, etc...etc.... I've wasted a lot of time either trying to be somebody or wishing I was somebody important. But God in His mercy was kind enough to reveal to me last Sunday what I've never seen before when reading the passage from Philippians. I already have the greatest accomplishment! And it wasn't me who accomplished it. Christ accomplished my salvation on the cross. In view of that, I am to count all other things as rubbish. That means that even if I did have a popular blog, it couldn't compare to the value of knowing Christ. My worth does not come from me and what I do, but in Christ and what He did. 
Now I'm not saying all this to say that we shouldn't set out to accomplish anything. I'm just saying that what I think the point Paul was trying to make in Philippians was that it's not about us making much of ourselves but about us making much of Christ. Our purpose on this earth is not to see who can get the most trophies, but seeing to it that God gets all the glory. And He will get all the glory. Our trophies will be burned up, but our precious faith in Christ and his work on the cross will endure for all eternity. 
So whether you have accomplished all the goals you've set out to achieve, or you are "just" a wife and mom like me, let your greatest treasure be in knowing Christ. Find your worth and identity in Him and not in what you can or can't do. 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Man's rules vs. God's commands

Sorry for the lack of posts! I've been struggling to get anything out of my devotions for a while so I didn't have anything to write about. I've discovered that I don't care for read-through-your-Bible-in-a-year plans. I feel like I'm trying to just hurry up and read the 4 chapters so I can get it done rather than meditating on what I'm reading. I've discovered a lot of things about myself lately that I find myself doing because I feel that is what a good Christian does, without stopping to think about whether it is even something God Himself requires.
Last night I was reading Mark chapter 7 and Jesus was addressing the Pharisees about the very same thing. They had turned their own made up laws into God's laws. In fact, they were so caught up in their own created laws that they were neglecting to do the very things God actually required. He told them "'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men." Mark 7:6-8  Some how I got the idea that I have to read through my Bible in a year or less. It's unholy not too! But then I realized that no where in the Bible does it tell me how much I am supposed to read at one time. This is a man made rule that I had made into Biblical one.
I found myself viewing my Bible reading as a duty I must get done. Quite frankly it sucked the joy out of it. I think that is one of the fundamental ways we can detect whether we are trying follow one of God's commands or one of our own. Pslam 19:10 tells us that God's word (laws) are "more to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of honeycomb." Psalm 19:8 tells us "the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure enlightening the eyes." Obeying God's word should bring us joy if we are truly obeying him out of love. God doesn't want our duty, He wants adoration. Just like we want our loved ones to show us affection out of love, not because they have to.
So now my goal is to develop a deeper love for God and His word by picking smaller passages to really study and meditate on.  I am tossing the yearly plan aside! This is what works for me. Whatever Bible reading plan you choose, make sure it produces joy in Him. After all, that is what we were made for!
How is your time in God's word going?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mercy




It is a bitter cold day here where I live, and I am enjoying an extra day off of work because of it. However, my patience with my three children, who are also home today because of the cold, is wearing thin. Therefor I am taking a mommy time out to be in the Word. I am crying out to God as David did in Psalm 5:6 "Lead me, Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me." Not that my children are my enemies, but I desperately need God's guidance in knowing how to deal with them so that I don't give into my real enemy, sin.
This leads me to today's devotion:
                              Psalm 5:4-7 "For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. 5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. 6You destroy those who speak lies; The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.  7But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your temple in the fear of you."

We read in the first three verses about God's hatred for sin and how those who persist in it will be destroyed in His wrath. That's us apart from Christ! We are all evildoers doomed for destruction by a just and holy God. That's a hard pill for us to swallow, considering most of think of ourselves as fairly loveable and good. I know I do! All it takes though is to be trapped in a house with three crabby children on a bitterly cold day for one to realize that they aren't all that pretty on the inside after all.
 So is there any hope? Praise God there is! Read verse 7 again. Did you catch how David said he would enter God's house and worship Him? Was it because David was so sweet or clever? Nope. It was all because of God's abundant love being poured out through David. Anytime we draw near to God, it's because of His mercy and his mercy alone. It was God's mercy that drew me to His Word today when I felt like going crazy with my kids. It was His mercy that humbled me to ask my daughter for forgiveness for loosing my temper. Think about it, would you, left to yourself, be inclined to read God's word or repent of sin? Would you, apart from God's mercy in your life, apologize for loosing your temper with someone who was getting on your nerves? Probably not. Left to ourselves we can come up with a million excuses for our sin. They deserved it. I deserve better etc..
I am so thankful today for God's mercy. Without it I would have been an even bigger brute to my kids and not have even felt bad for it. Without it I would have read a book or watched TV instead of my Bible. Without God's mercy I wouldn't know I even needed mercy. I would be a lover of evil doomed to be destroyed by my own sin.

Thank you God for sending Jesus to die for me so your steadfast love could be poured out in me instead of your just deserved wrath. Help me Lord to never stop being captivated by your love and mercy for me! Please have mercy on my children and those reading this blog that they would draw near to you.



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Captivating

Wow it has been a long time since I've posted on this blog! Much has happened since then, but I haven't felt very inspired to write about it. I've been struggling to figure out the direction I want to take this blog. I feel very inadequate to be blogging about spiritual things. I feel like most of the time I am so absorbed with life that I rarely take time to sit and ponder the things of God. I don't want this blog to be full of fluff and plastic talk but real and from the heart.
Last night I was reading a post from Desiring God's blog on worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth and what that looks like. One sentence in the post captured my attention. "At bottom, it’s not what we do (or don’t do) with our hands (or what someone else is doing or not doing), but what we do with our hearts and minds — because the one who has captured our hearts and minds. Worship is in spirit and in truth." To be quite honest, it isn't God who captivates my heart and mind but rather myself. I am captivated by being fit, striving to cook or bake food others will ooh and ahh over, and making crafts that are Pinterest worthy. I want people to be captivated with me and all the wonderful things I can do. Trying to be captivating to myself and others is exhausting and unsatisfying quite frankly. For one, I am rather disappointing. I can never get my crafts to look as awesome as the ones I see on Pinterest. My body will probably never look like a Fitness magazine model, and I rarely make food that causes anyone to have a foodgasm!

Today in my Bible reading I came across these verses in Psalm 4:6-7 "There are many who say, "Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!" You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound." These people who wanted God to show them good, weren't interested in Him being their good, but rather the things of the world(abundance and prosperity). Like me, they were so captivated by the world that the only time they sought the Lord was to ask him for more stuff or make them more prosperous. I don't know about you, but I would rather say with David that God himself is my greatest joy, not the world. I am not captivating, and honestly, neither are you! We can never satisfy ourselves with ourselves. Only God can give us joy that is eternal and greater than any temporal happiness we experience here on earth.

These verses inspired me to start blogging my way through my devotions. I want to become more captivated by God and his beauty and experience the joy David was talking about in Psalm 4. So I guess the direction I am wanting to take this blog is use it to encourage myself and others to become captivated by our great and glorious God.

I am currently reading my way through the Book-at-a -Time Bible Reading Plan found at  www.discipleshipjournal.com if you would like to read along with me.