Saturday, March 29, 2014

A First!!!

Wow! I knew it had been a while since I've posted anything, but I didn't realize it has been almost a month! I have time each day to get on here, but with a 4 year old, a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and two 1 year olds, I don't have time to think! So, I tend to put it off even though I have tons of things I feel God is wanting me to share.

Anyway, I have a few rare moments of quiet, and I did my very first DIY project yesterday! I'm so excited that I just had to share.

Right now, CJ doesn't have a dresser for his clothes. They are just stacked on a bookshelf. That works great . . . until they're old enough to pull everything off the shelves and unfold all of the clothes! Then, it can be a pretty big mess. I knew I was going to need to do something pretty soon since he is getting mobile, but dressers can be pretty pricey. I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what to do to save myself from some unnecessary stress in the very near future.

A couple of months ago our neighbors moved out and were taking some furniture to the dumpster that they didn't want anymore. In apartment life, it is common to leave unwanted items next to the dumpster as "free game" for anyone who wants it. Before she took it down there, she asked if I wanted it (two small dressers and one large dresser). She told me they were pink, and I thought they'd look adorable in my girls' room so I told her yes. Then she brought them to me . . . YIKES!!!

She failed to mention that her daughters had colored all over them, the handles (I already removed them before taking the pic.) were broken, and the paint was peeling. I didn't want to hurt her feelings by taking them to the dumpster so I just stuck them in the corner and used them to stack stuff on. When I was looking for a resolution for CJ's room, I remembered these small dressers.

Now, I've never painted anything before . . . in my life - besides t-shirts, using fabric paint. I had no idea where to start. Thankfully, my sister is a DIYer and is full of advice. I don't know what I'd do without her. She talked me through everything I would need, while she was on a date with her husband. He's a good man for sharing her!

All of that said, here is the project:

My first task was finding a place to spray paint. If I was in my own home, I'd do it in the grass and let it wear off eventually. But I'm not. And that gets frowned on in an apartment. So, inside, by the back door was my option. I used shower curtains from Dollar Tree and packaging tape to block everything off. (I also have a baby gate between the living room and kitchen where a certain 2 year old and 1 year old stood screaming for me to let them in!)

CJ's room is done in a Texas Rangers theme so I wanted the dressers to match. These are the colors I used. It only took one can for each dresser. I got them at Wal-Mart for $3.77 a can. 

I wanted knobs that looked like baseballs, but Terrell doesn't have much to choose from, so I got these white knobs from McCoy's. They were $1.19 each. Not cheap but my only choice, and I supported my husband's store, so it's a win either way.

 With such a limited space, I had to wait for the first dresser to dry before being able to paint the second, so it was an all day project. After they were both dry enough to handle, I removed the drawers and painted the edges. A few more hours passed, and they were ready for knobs and to be put back in the dressers.

All I have to do now is carry them upstairs   :-/   and fill them with little boy clothes!!! They're not beautiful, but they're my first ever project, so I'm excited about them anyway.

Now to find something else to put in the corner by the front door to stack stuff on . . . 

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Calling

Salvation is a free gift. The Bible says so in Romans 6:23. It is a free gift. It does not depend on anything we can say, do, or think. Jesus offered His life on the cross in exchange for our salvation. That's what it took. Because of God's grace, He accepted that sacrifice. Because of God's grace, we can spend eternity with Him. Because of God's grace there is forgiveness for everything we have done. I am so thankful for God's grace. Where would I be without it? I am totally dependent on His grace.

But what if I told you that isn't the end of the story? What if I told you that His salvation isn't all there is to it? We don't just "get saved" and that's it. No. There is much more to it than that.

**God's salvation comes at a high price. Don't believe me? Check out these verses from Luke 14:
"A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, "If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison - your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters - yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
"But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, 'There's the person who started that building and couldn't afford to finish it!'
"Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can't, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.""

Jesus Himself told us to count the cost and see if the price is worth paying before committing to Him. How many of us did that before we "got saved"?

**Salvation doesn't just come at a high price. It also comes with a calling. 2 Timothy 1:9 says, "For God saved us and called us to live a holy life." What does it mean to be holy? R.C. Sproul explains it this way in his book The Holiness of God: "The primary meaning of holy is 'separate'. It comes from an ancient word that meant, 'to cut' or 'to separate'. Perhaps even more accurate would be the phrase 'a cut above something'. When we find a garment or another piece of merchandise that is outstanding, that has superior excellence, we use the expression that it is 'a cut above the rest'.

We have also been called to live like Christ. 1 John 2:6 says this exactly. "Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did."

But that's impossible. Jesus was perfect. He was sinless. I can't do that. I was born with a sin nature.

I know this is already a long post, but God showed me something today. Please stay with me as I try to explain it.The first thing He said to me was that that excuse is a lie from the pit of hell. Satan has twisted Scripture in such a way as to make us think we can't live life like Jesus.

Romans 8:12 says, "Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do."

After we receive God's salvation, through grace, because of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, we receive a new nature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 puts it this way, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; all things are become new." ALL things. That includes our sinful nature. We have been made a new creation. We have a new nature.

In our new nature we will have the desire to live as Christ lived. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there." (Galatians 5:24)

We will also have the ability to live as Christ lived. "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves."

God has offered us salvation. It is a free gift. The Christian life is not free though. It comes at a price. It has a high cost. Salvation required death, the death of Jesus. The cost of living the Christian life requires death as well. Death on our part. "So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you." (Colossians 3:5)

It is time for us to stop using excuses about our sinful nature and realize we no longer have a sinful nature. It's time for us to start living a holy, set apart life. It's time our lives start mirroring that of Jesus. It's time we begin striving for the same perfection that Jesus had. It's time we realized that because He is living in us, it is possible. It's time we realized that God offered His grace because we couldn't attain salvation on our own. It's time we realized that God requires His people to live differently instead of using His grace as an excuse to continue living like we have a sinful nature. It's time we realize that God has called us to live in freedom but to stop using that freedom as a license to sin. (Galatians 5:13).

Will you join me on this journey of living life the way Christ did? Not just reaching the lost by going to the ends of the earth, but showing them He has made a difference in our lives by living totally, completely opposite of the way the world lives? Remember, you don't have to sin. You have a new nature.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Is God Really Good?

I hear all the time "if God is so good, why do bad things happen?" I think there is a HUGE problem with our view of God. We paint Him as this loving, kind, good, gracious God. He is. God is all of these things. However, God is MUCH, MUCH more.

Did you know that God is jealous?
(Exodus 20:5, 34:14; Deuteronomy 4:24, 5:9, 6:15; Joshua 24:19)

Did you now that God gets angry?
(Isaiah 30:27-28; Exodus 32:9-10)

Did you know that God knows He is the best thing for us? Did you know that because of that, He requires that He be our number 1? Did you know that when He isn't our number 1, He will do whatever it takes to draw us back to Him, because He loves us that much?

God doesn't need us. He is self-sufficient (Acts 17:25). Just because He doesn't need us, doesn't change the fact that we need Him. Desperately. He knows that. He knows that we can't survive without Him.

God longs for us to "remain in [Him]" because He knows He is the best. He knows He is the only One. This is not egotistical. This is not a puffed up pride. This is simply because He is the only One. Because He is the only One, He knows it. Because He knows it, He would NOT be loving if He didn't do everything in His power to draw us to Him. He would be unloving if He left us to ourselves, if He didn't show us the error of our ways and require our complete and total devotion.

Why do bad things happen? Maybe, just maybe it is BECAUSE God is good and not in spite of that fact. Maybe we give Satan too much credit for the "bad" things that take place. Instead of saying, "it's just the evil world we live in", maybe we should say "Have I wandered away from God, even slightly?" Maybe the bad things that are happening are because God is trying to get our attention.

Please, please, please hear me! God does not WANT bad things to happen to us. Psalm 56:8 says, "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." God grieves when we grieve.

He doesn't WANT bad things to happen to us. He does cause them though. Lamentations 3:31-33 says, "For the Lord does not abandon anyone forever. Though He brings grief, He also shows compassion according to the greatness of His unfailing love. For He does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow." To the world, to most Christians, that doesn't sound like a good God. To me, that sounds like a great God!

The death of a child, losing a home in a fire, terminal illness . . . those are terrible, horrible, painful, life-altering things. But are they bad? Seen in and of themselves, yes. Seen in light of God trying to draw us to Himself, no. See, God knows that though the pain of these things is immense, unbearable, it is nothing compared to the pain of life and eternity without Him.

Though God grieves when we grieve, though it hurts Him to cause us pain, He is willing because He is a kind and loving God. He doesn't want to "send" anyone to hell. (Btw, God doesn't send anyone to hell, but that is another post for another day!) He causes these circumstances in our lives because He is "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).

*Sometimes bad things happen because of the evil world we live in. Sometimes they happen because God wants to remind us that He is in control of all things. Sometimes they happen so we can be a witness to someone we will come into contact with. Just because bad things happen doesn't mean we have wandered from Him. However, sometimes that is the case, and I think we've turned a bind eye to that in order to "prove" that God is good. I think it's time we looked at this side of our God. He is oh so much more!*

Yes, God is good. A thousand times, yes! It just doesn't always look the way our definition of "good" says it should.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Day by Day

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best - 
Lovingly, it's part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure",
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting, 
Till I reach the promised land.

I Sing Because

I've been singing about my Lord for many years.
I've sung when I was happy.
I've sung through lots of tears.
Some folks have even questioned if it was just a show.
Well, the reason that I'm singing, I want the world to know.

I sing because there is an empty grave.
I sing because there is a power that saves.
I sing because His grace is real to me.
I sing because I know I'm not alone.
I sing because someday I'm going home
Where I'll sing for all eternity.

I've sung to those who were walking through the fiery trial.
I've seen their saddened faces turn to happy smiles.
I've bowed my head and whispered, "Please do the same for me".
I'm glad that I can tell you, He gave me victory.

I sing because there is an empty grave.
I sing because there is a power that saves.
I sing because His grace is real to me.
I sing because I know I'm not alone.
I sing because some day I'm going home
Where I'll sing for all eternity.

I sing because I know I'm not alone.
I sing because some day I'm going home
Where I'll sing for all eternity.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

To the Men

Men. Men. Men.

We were created to be your helpmeet. We were created because "it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). God has made it clear that you need us! God is our first priority. You are our second priority. (Well, you should be. That's another topic for another day. Don't worry though. I will cover that! It's a burden that's been on my heart recently.)

We were created to be your helper. Women have taken that and used it to say that we can do everything you can do AND have babies! Women have used that as an excuse to say "I don't need a man."

Please don't believe that. We need you too. We know you go to work for MANY hours each day. We know you work hard while you're there. We know you want to unwind when you get home. We know you need some quietness. We know you need peace. We know you need some personal space. We know that. We respect that. We want nothing more than to give you that.

I'm not gonna sit here and try to convince you that we (as stay-at-home moms/women or as working moms/women) work just as hard as you. I'm not gonna try to point out our job description and everything we think and feel and do in a single day. We are not in a competition. Whether you work harder or we do does not matter. If God is our first priority, we will each be doing what He has called us to do. There is no comparison. We each follow God, and do His work.

That doesn't change the fact that just as you need us, we need you. You are our protector. I don't know what the technical definition is for that word, but as a woman, I can tell you it's not just a physical protection.

It's emotional. We need to be able to be wrapped in your arms, lean our head on your chest, and cry. We need to be able to talk to you about our fears and sorrows. We need to be able to share our joys. We don't just need to know that we can share with you. We need to know you care about what we're sharing.

It's mental. We need to know you're present and available for your family. Just because you're in the room doesn't mean you're here with us. We need you to unplug - from the TV, from the phone, from the internet, from the video games, from the books, from etc, etc, etc.

We need to know that you're willing to do things you don't particularly enjoy because you know it is something that is important to us. We need you to invest in us. There would probably be a lot fewer women complaining about having to endure sports with their husbands if there were more husband willing to "unplug" from all distractions and play a board game or go for a walk or browse antique stores.

It's spiritual. We need you to lead us closer to God. We need you to initiate Bible reading and praying together. Not just when times are tough but when they're good as well. We need you to remind us that God 1.) is in control of all things and 2.) has given us much to be thankful for.

It's financial. When we're freaking out about how we're gonna pay the bills and fix the car and take the kids to the doctor and eat dinner, we need you to remind us that it's okay, necessary even, to relax and spend a dollar to rent a movie. When we're on a spending spree, spending every penny in sight, we need you to remind us that we need to be more responsible with our money. We need you to remind us that there are things that need to be taken care of. When you're freaked out about money and how to pay the bills, etc, we need you to remember that sometimes even a 50 cent candle goes a long way to removing depression. When you're on a spending spree, we need you to remember that we are trying to figure out how to pay for school supplies and provide clothing for that child that won't stop growing.

Of course, it is physical. We need you to remember that while we were home all day and may not have taken a shower or gotten dressed until 5 minutes before you walked in the door, we weren't being lazy all day. We need you to remember that we have been working non-stop all day. When we are 8 months pregnant and weigh 1,000 pounds we need you to make us sit down and rest. (We might need you to put us on a diet too!!!) When we have 500 kids running around the house all day, we need you to read the weariness in our eyes, like we do for you, and help us fill plates or put laundry in the dryer. We need you understand that bed time goes a lot smoother for everyone involved when you help tuck kids in bed. They haven't been with you all day. They need you. We need you.

We look up to you. We honor you. We respect you. We don't talk bad about you to our friends and family. We remain faithful to you. We pray for you. We help you. Help us to help you. We need your protection. We need you. We want you. We love you.