What's in a Name?

Ecstasy (n)- 2. Excessive joy; rapture; a degree of delight that arrests the whole mind; joy may rise to ecstasy. (Websters 1828 Dictionary)
Doldrums (n)- A sate of inactivity or stagnation.(Dictionary.com)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Goin' on a Little Trip

Here's one of our luggage bags...

Packing, packing, packing.... I'm actually done for now. It's amazing how long it takes one to pack a week's worth of clothing into one little suitcase! Our family will be leaving tomorrow morning for an out-of-state vacation. First we'll be going to visit our dear friends, the Johnsons, in Pennsylvania. I'm so looking forward to a visit with them!
There appears to be a stowe-away!

Ethan and I have been study the life of George Washington for the past two months and what better way to celebrate our completion than to go to his estate, Mount Vernon, in Virginia. We'll also be going to Colonial Williamsburg, which was the capital of Virginia during the Revolutionary war. I think it will really help Ethan (and myself) to cement the events of our first President's life into our minds by actually seeing where he lived!
I suppose he'll have to come with us!

The last neck of our trip will be spend in North Carolina where we'll attend the NCFIC Gospel-Centered Marriages conference. I was listening to a radio program which featured Paul David Tripp and something he said stuck out to me. On the subject of his marriage conferences, the interviewer asked him, "So, who do you think should attend your seminars?" To which he promptly replied, "Teenagers." So, though some may think it strange that a single person attend a series of sermons devoted to the topic of marriage, I would agree with Paul Tripp! It is important that we know the facts about marriage before we enter into that state. It is a reflection of the gospel, and therefore should not be entered into lightly!

Anyway, Lord willing, I will have oodles of photos to put up when we get back, as well as sharing with you the information I learn during the conference. (I've also got some photo journal catching up to do with you, so it's a date!)

God's richest blessings!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

America's Holocaust

This video has some disturbing images in it, so you may want to watch when children aren't present!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Sovereignty of God

I recently finished reading A.W. Pink's The Sovereignty of God. It is such an important book for us to read as believers, because it magnifies the character of God and reminds us of how small we are! There is a song by Francesca Battistelli that correlates well with this book. The chorus goes like this:

When I know that I know what You have down the road,
When I'm sure that I've figured You out,
Help me see that I'm small, that I can't know it all
Cause You're so unpredictable.
(From the song Unpredictable)

As John Piper points out, the happiness of the believer should be rooted in the fact that God is Sovereign. It brings such comfort and peace in times of trials. So, on that note, I thought I'd share a few quotes from this book (which you should all read!!).

"The redemption of man is not an afterthought of God, but was fore-ordained before creation." (Ephesians 3:11)

"The natural man has no desire for holiness on his own. If the Spirit does not plant His holy seed in our heart, we cannot come to God."

"The new birth is no mere turning over a new leaf, but is the inception and reception of a new life! It is radical, revolutionary and lasting!"

"In God's sovereignty, all ground for human boasting is removed!"

"God the Father purposed our salvation; God the Son had to purchase it and God the Spirit has to apply it."
"Prayer is communion with God, therefore a prayer-less life is one without communion with God."

"There could be little to no comfort in praying to a God who is like a chameleon- God's unchangeableness is what encourages us to pray."

"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness."

“Prayer is coming to God, telling Him our need (or the needs of others), committing our way unto the Lord, and then leaving Him to deal with the case as seems best to Him.”

"Happy is the soul that has been awed by a view of God's majesty, His awful greatness, His ineffible holiness, His perfect righteousness, His irresistible power and His sovereign grace."

"There is no rest for your poor heart until you learn to see the hand of God in everything."

"It is ignorance of doctrine which has rendered the professing church helpless to cope with the rising tide of infidelity."

The LORD reigns,
Let the peoples tremble!
He dwells between the cherubim,
Let the earth be moved!
Psalm 99:1

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

26 Things

After 26 years, here are 26 (of many more) things for which I am thankful....

26. God's beauty, pervasive in His creation- humans included!
25. God's provision of all of my basic needs.
24. God's gift of good books which challenge the mind and spur us on to greater godliness.
23. God's ministry of music which reaches the hearts of many.
22. God's creating people with different skills and interests that glorify Himself, further His kingdom and benefit others.
21. God's people, from past ages and generations, who have sacrificed comforts and pleasures, even their lives, for the sake of the gospel and the Word of God.
20. God's grace in choosing America to be my home country.
19. God's providence in the founding of the United states of America and the people He chose as catalysts for this free nation.
18. God's blessing of children who cause us to really think, get outside of ourselves and bring fun!
17. God's love for us that is strong enough to bring us through trials and blessings and to keep stretching and growing us.
16. God's provision of fathers-in-the-faith who exemplify true manhood, and brothers-in-Christ who walk in integrity and the strength of the Lord.
15. God's provision of beautiful, godly mothers-in-the-faith and fellow sisters-in-Christ who inspire, encourage and are constant sources of joy.
14. God's provision of a Pastor who speaks the truth of God's Word and does the hard things and for his family who supports him, loves God's people and sacrifices their time for them.
13. God's providence in bringing us to Winterbrook Fellowship, where we've been and continue to be blessed by godly brothers and sisters (every single one of you!) and true fellowship.
12. God's provision of two caring, compassionate, generous and loving grandmothers.
11. God's provision of two praying, godly, loving and generous grandfathers.
10. God's provision of two sweet nephews who delight my heart and bring such joy!
9. God's answer to prayer in a brother-in-law who loves Him, my sister and his children and seeks their good for the glory of God.
8. God's provision of a godly, loyal, faithful, giving, serving little sister whose friendship I treasure.
7. God's provision of an active, fun, compassionate little brother who teaches me patience and keeps me laughing.
6. God's provision of a loving, serving, godly mother who strives to obey Him and has been a source of wise counsel and friendship.
5. God's provision of a loving, caring and wise earthly father, who provides, protects and teaches us the ways of the Lord. (And who is also a huge source of longevity, due to his making us laugh to add years to our lives....)
4. God's Holy and Inerrant Word, the Bible, which teaches us how we may walk and please God.
3. God's sending the Holy Spirit, the Helper, to guide and direct our steps.
2. God's Sovereign rule over all His creation, coupled with His infinite wisdom and goodness!
1. God's saving grace, unworthy that I am, granting salvation through Jesus Christ!

There is so much more for which to be thankful- some of which are the wonderful people in these pictures and those whose pictures I don't have. God has richly blessed these 26 years of life and I don't deserve an ounce of the goodness He's bestowed on me, but I am truly grateful! Thank you, Heavenly Father!

Monday, October 3, 2011

24 going on 30.....

I remember being little and thinking 30 was old! Now, just days away from having four years left until that infamous three-decades, it seems a lot younger than I recall!! To tell true, I'm a bit scared of stepping beyond 25. It's as if 25 permits things that 26 won't: immaturity, goofiness, certain interests and ideas, singleness, imagination.... ect. Of course, I realize it's only one year older, but it seems as if I'm stepping into a different level altogether.
Okay, so in saying all of this, I begin to get sweaty and nervous. My pulse races and I feel queesy. Just what will 26 hold? Higher expectations? New experiences and challenges? The selling of my soul.....? So, maybe that's going a tad too far!

To answer my own questions, 26 will look different from 25 only in that it is a new year, just as each day is a new day and doesn't look exactly like yesterday. It will come with higher expectations, because each day comes with higher expectations. I don't have to pressure myself into thinking perfection must be magically and instantaneously attained (for indeed, it won't be attained at all)! However, I do want to set goals and press on toward godliness, because this glorifies God and, after all....

[A]man[da]'s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

I must step outside of me (because "me" can't do a thing) and lean into the strength of the God who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing, and let Him guide me through each day's challenges, letting His fire, hot and painful though it may be, filter out the dross and bring out the gold. As one song says,

I know I'm not strong enough to be everything that I'm supposed to be.
I give up. I'm not strong enough.
Hands of mercy, won't you cover me?
Lord, right now, I'm asking You to be strong enough..
For the both of us!

I loved being 25. It was my best year yet! I faced loneliness, heartache, change, the death of a loved one, growth and loss in our church, sojourners living in our house, hard decisions and a time of closeness to the Lord, like I've never experienced. God was so good in each of these situations. Now, it's time for a new year of adventures.
There is sin in my life that can't stay. Character flaws. Habits. Cravings. Idols. Selfishness. These things cannot stay. God is asking me to go beyond me, outside comfortable and do, daily, those things which are hard. And, in that way, 26 looks vastly different from 25. Just as your next year looks different than your last.