Friday, December 28, 2012

Five Years



Five years ago today; I was home on my bed watching TV. My phone chimed and it was a friend (who I didn't talk to a lot at the time) texting me to see if I was dating anyone. I remember hesitating with my answer.

Remember... I had gotten divorced 2+ years earlier. I had been in a relationship for a year and a half that ended very emotionally. Up until a month before this, I didn't want a boyfriend. I certainly  didn't want a new husband. I didn't even want a new friend. I had taken a good chunk of time to figure out who I was, what I wanted, what my kids deserved... so had this question come even a month earlier I would have told her where to go with that question.

But I remember God healing my broken heart during those times... I remember doing some negative things, some things I am not proud of... but as I got out of that phase of my life, I remember feeling healed and whole again.  It was then that my friend send me a message... when God knew I was ready, not when I was still in a downward spiral.

Even after telling her I was ok for her to give my number to this guy she worked with... I was still pretty jaded toward the opposite sex. During that time in my life, men had hurt me and walked out on me. I had lost trust. I was used. I didn't want to go through that again, just when I felt like I was strong enough to do everything on my own. We (my kids and I) didn't need anyone...

But I agreed to text with him... and meet him for dinner... and have my friends talk me into inviting him out dancing. Then he kissed me and I knew I was done for. I felt like this could turn into a relationship and it scared me. I tried pushing him away... because that's what happens in my life. I push someone away and they go. No one has ever said "Nope, I am staying"... but in this case, he kept coming back. Which was weird to me, a foreign concept.

I remember the deal breaker situation... Valentine's Day 2008. My ex husband was supposed to have the kids and heard I had a date so decided he didn't want them that weekend. Ooo, I got mad. My anger towards him got directed to this new guy. Made me remember why I was hesitant in starting something new with someone else and that my and the kids were just fine without anyone ... so I called him. The conversation was similar to " Sorry, I am going to have to cancel our date. I will have my kids". Waiting for him to either say "Alright, whatever" or "Get a sitter, lets go out"... but I was totally not expecting "That's ok, lets take them with us". WHAT?! Really?

Yup... that's what happened. We took my kids out with us on our Valentine's Day date and that was the day I fell in love with this amazing man. Seven months later, we were in Las Vegas saying "I DO" and starting our life and family together.

I am not saying it's been perfect... we've had some bumps along the way. There have been times I've been on my face in tears and other times that I am overwhelmed with joy.  98% of the last 5 years have been wonderful... but in the 2% that haven't, I've heard God say "It's ok, I've got this... I've got a plan". It's in those times when I praised Him for this man he put in my life when He knew I was ready. For this man who I know loves me with everything in him. For this man who loves my children as his own. Never once did I feel that God wanted me to do anything different in my marriage than what I've done... and in these hard times, I felt His presence and I know my husband has too b/c now we are closer to Him than ever. We pray together, go to church together, and take communion together as husband and wife. I don't know that we'd be to this point if it weren't for the things we've been through. While I don't want to go through these rough patches again, I know there has been goodness happening because of it. God totally has made beauty from the ashes.

I love my husband, always and forever. Thank you, Jesus, for him. Amen.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas 2012

This year we had our kids for the first half of Christmas... I took off Wednesday- Friday before to get last minute things done. Mister Husband was supposed to as well, but ended up having to go to Puerto Rico for work Tuesday-Friday morning, so at least we got Friday and the rest of the holiday together.

On Christmas Eve, we went to our church around 5pm and did the Cookie Giveaway. It's a tradition. We bring in cookie the day or two before, bundle them all up nice and pretty, and then Christmas Eve we distribute them throughout the community to those who have to work. Usually we go to the hospital to give them to the nursing stations and what not, this year we went to the fire station instead. The firemen were so appreciative of the holiday treats.

Then we went back to the church for service. We sang carols and heard 3 different versions of the Christmas Story. This night, we had communion as a family for the first time. All 5 of us. We prayed together and had communion. What a wonderful thing.

We went to IHOP for dinner after service... some had dinner, some had breakfast. We got home and were in bed by 9pm. This is the first year that our youngest didnt believe in Santa (he's now 10, so we had a good run, considering Ty figured it out when she was 4.) so we didnt need to wait up for them to fall asleep. Good thing too, but we may have gone to bed at 9pm but the kids didnt go to sleep until 2ish.

Christmas morning we were up by 7. I think Mister Husband woke everyone up... me included. But considering he brought me coffee in bed to wake me up, I didnt complain too much :)

There were a lot of sport themed gifts given... of course, I got coffee which I am always happy about. After we opened our gifts and the boys played a video game and Ty curled her hair with her new curling wand, we went to my parent for breakfast with all (well, most) of my family. The kids went to their other parents for the rest of the winter break around 1pm and we went back to my parents house for the rest of the day.

I am so blessed by my family... my husband, my kids, my parents, my siblings,inlaws, aunts/uncles, and cousins. I had a wonderful day.

Friday, December 14, 2012

What are you confessing?!

 
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I Confess:
I freaked out yesterday thinking someone took a UPS package off my front porch. Only to later find that I'd already brought it in and put it in my room. Good thing I didn't call the company and tell them it was missing.
 
I Confess:
I think I have everything bought, with the exception of stocking stuffers, and plan to wrap this weekend. Now that my littlest doesn't believe in Santa I guess I can just put them under the tree ahead of time, right?
 
I Confess:
My husband may have to travel for work next week. It's a good opportunity but bad timing as we both took time off work while the kids are still in school to spend time together.
 
I Confess:
My daughter has her first fancy dress dance tonight. Doesn't seem possible... I talked with someone yesterday who was a big part of our lives when she was 5/6 years old and to talk about her going to a dance and almost being 13 was just weird. (Ok, I admit, talking to him at all was just weird)
 
I Confess:
My husband and I are going to Park City for New Years Eve. We are staying in our condo and just relaxing and playing for the most part but on NYE we are going to a ski resort, dressing up, and going dancing at a gala they are throwing. I am so stinking excited!!
 
I Confess:
On 12/28/12 it will be 5 years since I met Mister Husband... Time has flown by. I'd say that 98% of our relationship has been wonderful... that we've been tested the last couple of months, but we are overcoming the obstacles in front of us. God is definitely moving mountains. I sure love my hubby :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Book of 1 John


Life Project 1st John
Candice Roberts


 
I was first introduced to 1st John in the 80's. There is a song I
used to sing in church that went something like this:
"Beloved, let us love one another
For love is of God and everyone that loveth
Is born of God, and knoweth God
He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love Beloved, let
us love one another
First John 4:7 and 8."
It has a really catchy tune, in the vein of Kumbaya, and is taken
right out of scripture. And yes, we did sing the location of the
verse. The version is King James of course which explains all the
"eths". But this catchy song summarized my knowledge of 1st
John. And to be honest, it is a pretty good summary.
John talks a lot, and i mean A LOT about love. John basically tells
us that in order to know God and to live in him means we must
obey, and to obey is to display Christlike love. As Gary Barge
says in his commentary on the letters of John,"Love becomes a
genuine value only when it is tested, only when we must reach
beyond ourselves and love someone we do not wish to love. This
is the caliber of love John had in mind."
Now can I just tell you that it is easy to be congenial to the
unloveable. Easy to be friendly, pleasant, sociable, kind even. But
it is another thing entirely to love someone. I know what it means
to love. I love my kids. And it is work, as cute as they are. Loving
my children requires sacrifice, giving of myself, making myself
vulnerable. It requires middle of the night, wake me from a dead
sleep comforting of a scared child. It requires listening to endless
tales of injustice and responding with empathy. It requires choir
concerts in hot crowded rooms, award ceremonies in the middle
of my day, carpools, tears wiped, boo boos kissed, spelling words
practiced. Love is full time. Sometimes love hurts. Most of the
time love is inconvenient. All of the time love costs, but they are
my children so I am willing to pay the price.
But am I willing to love the unloveable? I better be. John is
reminiscent of Jesus is that he calls us to love others as
ourselves. Our Lord himself said this was the second greatest
commandment just behind loving God. So I don't see as a have a
really big choice. If I want to please God I must love others, love
my neighbor as myself, love my enemy. Uggghhhh!! Did anyone
else just realize how unlovely they were? I don't want to love my
enemy!! I don't want to love most people. I want to love who I
want to love. But that is not a Christlike kind of love. (Again we
are talking love here, not exchanging pleasantries.)
So how do I do this thing called love that is so foreign to who I
am?? It's a simple solution. Galatians 5 "the fruit of the Spirit is
love....." it is God who produces the fruit of love in us. We are not
capable of the type of love we have been called to; which does
not excuse us from any responsibility. Good fruit can only grow in
a particular type of soil. We are responsible for our soil. Are we
keeping it soft by spending time with our Lord? Are we pulling up
the weeds of sin as quickly as they grow? Are we watering the soil
with the Word and time spent in prayer? If so, then the Spirit will
cultivate fruit in our lives. And one of those fruits will be love.
Before long we will all be loving each other, arm in arm, swaying
in the breeze, and singing Kumbaya. I can't wait!!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Time To Confess

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I Confess:
I had a wonderful time serving in the DR with my daughter
 
I Confess:
I felt like the enemy knew the good works we were doing and tried to attack my marriage and husband while I was gone
 
I Confess:
After some tears, yelling, and time on my face in prayer, I know my God is bigger than all of the temptations and obstacles that came our way.
 
I Confess:
God is doing HUGE things in my marriage right now
 
I Confess:
My husband is getting involved at church, is going to classes and worship services, is spending time in prayer with me.
 
I Confess:
As hard as it is to cast anxiety and fear on Him, I know He's got this and I just need to be calm and patient. God put me and my husband together for a reason... it's part of His plan and I will trust in Him.
 
I Confess:
I love my husband :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Las Brisas- Dominican Republic

Hello! I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. I know we did... we spend the day in Las Brisas serving kids, teenagers, and their parents. We played games and taught bible lessons. We did arts and crafts and watched movies. We made jewelry and played dominos. I cannot think of a better way to spend a day of gratitude.

Ty had an amazing time as well... she instantly fell in love with the kids there, especially Estephani. This little 8 year old was her shadow the week we were there. There was a communication barrier but it didnt matter. They held hands, they laughed, they hugged. They taught each other games and when they needed, they found a translator to help them out.

Serving God's people with my daughter was life changing. She really shined while we were there. I am so proud of the little lady she has become and the love she has.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

1 and 2 Peter

Life Project: 1st and 2nd Peter Candice Roberts When I was a little girl I had the opportunity to listen to missionaries speak at my church on many occasions. I would always look forward to their visits. I lost myself in their stories of adventure and passion. They always spoke with such fervor about their mission field and I dreamed of one day going on the mission field myself. I wanted desperately to bring the Good News to the farthest corner of the earth. And here I am, in Utah. While Utah may not have been exactly what I had in mind as a child, I do believe that I am on a mission field. And furthermore, I believe my Christian brothers and sisters across all of America are on a mission field. 1st Peter 1:17 calls us Christians “foreigners”. 1st Peter 2:11 calls us “strangers and aliens”. So while I may not be surrounded by Aborigines, I am surrounded by a mission field, because I have been called to represent Christ to a world that does not know Him. God’s ultimate goal is redemption of His creation. He desires that every man, woman and child would come to Him. In fact in 2nd Peter 3, we are told that God is not slow in returning but patient as He does not “want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God desires to use our lives as witnesses to those around us. For this reason, Peter’s charge to the first century church is still compelling us today. “I urge you, friends, as strangers and aliens, to abstain from sinful desires which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day that He visits us.” 1 Peter 2:11-12. Good lives. Good deeds. That is the missionary calling that has been placed on my life. You see, it is much more than the words that come out of my mouth. The real power of my witness resides in the way I live my life. There is a name for this way of living- Lifestyle Evangelism. Matthew Crane gives this definition of Lifestyle Evangelism: “Christians living such an amazing and sin free lifestyle that it causes all the non-Christians to ponder why we are so different. As a result the non-Christian searches for the answer and realizes that God is real and living all because of an amazing lifestyle of a Christian. “ From this definition (but ultimately from God’s Word) we can identify two components of Lifestyle Evangelism. One is a sin free lifestyle. Two is an amazing lifestyle; the Bible calls it an abundant life. Our charge, should we choose to accept it, is to live in this manner. We are also called in 1st Peter 3:15 to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.” When your lifestyle causes others to stop and question what makes you so different, and it will, you tell them, JESUS!! When I think about the grace I have received and the family of faith I have inherited, I am humbled to have this calling of missionary on my life. I am sure you have felt the same way. Undeserving but inspired to be a witness for my Savior. I would like to leave you with a few quotes from some of our most respected co-laborers in this great Missionary work. “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.” DL Moody “Where one man reads the Bible, a hundred read you and me.” DL Moody “Do all the good you can, in all the ways you can, to all the souls you can, in every place you can, at all the times you can, with all the zeal you can, as long as ever you can” John Wesley “When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.” John Wesley

Book of James

The Life Project: James Candice Roberts James doesn’t pull any punches. I like this about him. James’ whole book is dedicated to putting your faith into action. His premise is that faith which does not affect our lives practically is no faith at all. James specifically targets our speech as an area in the Christian life that must come under the control of Christ if we truly have a faith in Christ. In James 1: 26 says, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless”. See? I told you James didn’t pull any punches. But the truth is the Bible has a lot to say about our speech and for good reason. James 3:2b, “Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” If we were able to tame our tongue, we would be perfect. This speaks to both the impossibility and the importance of taming the tongue. With our tongues we have the capacity to gossip, slander, tear down, discourage, lie, curse, be prideful, tell course jokes, and many more evils. We also have the ability to encourage, love, speak truth, and the hardest thing to do; be silent. So what do you choose? If you are having trouble taming your tongue, join the human race. But also consider these scriptures. · Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. · Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. · Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. · Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. · Romans 3:13 Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. · Matthew 12:34-35 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. · Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. · Psalms 39:1 I said, “I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,so long as the wicked are in my presence.” · Titus 2:8 ....and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. · James 3:6-10 How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. These scriptures do not constitute all the Bible has to say about the tongue. They are a mere sampling. Plato once said "There is no harm in repeating a good thing." We would be wise to listen. It is a simple truth; watch your mouth. Simple to understand, difficult to put into practice. I am challenged to try. And as a side note, I might add, we should watch our social media as well. I am sure that if Facebook existed in James day, he would've said, "your Facebook posts are set on fire by hell."

Book of Hebrews

Life Project: Hebrews Candice Roberts A large portion of the book of Hebrews is dedicated to the discussion of high priests, priesthood and some obscure priest named Melchizedek. To be honest the mention of priests conjures up images of medieval times with guys in long robes living in stone castles chanting hollow sounding prayers. But I guess since this discourse is in the Bible, it is probably important that I understand it. So if you, like me, have ever wondered who the heck Melchizedek was and why priests are so important, read on. In the Old Testament, high priests were a necessary part of the religious system. Priests were actually God’s idea. But what exactly did they do? In Hebrews 5, the author lays out the job description for an Old Testament priest. There are four main principles regarding the priesthood. Principle 1- the priest was to be chosen from among the people. Principle 2- the high priest was to represent the people in matters related to God, especially by offering sacrifices. Principle 3- the weakness of the high priest allows him to deal gently with the people; he is required to offer sacrifices for himself as well as for the people. Principle 4- God is the one who appoints a high priest. So basically the high priest was a guy that God chose to offer sacrifices for the people for the forgiveness of their sins. Because a high priest was human and understood weakness he was gentle with the people. But this also meant that he had to offer sacrifices for his sin before he offered them for the people. This makes a little sense. But why don’t we have priests today? We still sin right? Hebrews says we do have a high priest and his name is Jesus. Hebrew 2:17, “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 4:14-15, “ Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.” These verses mean that Jesus met all the qualifications for a high priest. He was chosen from among the people as He was made fully human. He made the ultimate sacrifice for our sin, through His death on the cross. He was gentle with the people, because even though He was without sin, He understood weakness as He was tempted in every way. And He was chosen by God. Jesus is the ultimate high priest. I think I understand this concept, but then the writer of Hebrews throws in chapter 7 about Melchizedek and I am lost again. Who is this guy? Well Melchizedek was a character mentioned in Genesis chapter 14. In this chapter we find that Abraham (then Abram) went to Sodom to rescue his nephew Lot. On his way home he meets this Melchizedek guy who was both the King of Salem and a priest of The Most High God. When Abraham meets Melchizedek, the priest blesses Abraham. Then Abraham offers Melchizedek a tenth of everything he had. There are a few interesting facts about Melchizedek that are important to know. First of all, old Mel was both a priest and a king which was very unusual. Typically men could be king or priest but not both. It was a sort of separation of church and state thing. Also Mel’s name means king of righteousness. And Salem means peace. This made him both the king of righteousness and the king of peace. He was also not a priest in the lineage of Levi. God had chosen Levi’s line to hold the priesthood, but Melchizedek was an exception. We don’t, however, know what line he came from. There is no genealogy, no birthdate, no date of death or any details listed in the Old Testament on Melchizedek. Again this is highly unusual and makes old Mel seem almost eternal. He is a pretty enigmatic character, this Melchizedek. We will never have more information on him this side of Heaven. But what we do know is that the author of Hebrews quotes Psalms in saying that Jesus is “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek”, he is using Melchizedek as a type of Christ, a foreshadowing if you will. Isn’t Christ after all both a King and a Priest? (Not to mention a Son). Isn’t he both the King of Righteousness and the King of Peace. He was not from the lineage of Levi, but wasn’t He chosen by God? And isn’t Christ eternal making our need for another priest obsolete? Hebrews 7:26-28, “Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.”

Books of Titus and Philemon

The Life Project: Titus and Philemon Candice Roberts I have been challenged lately by reading the Epistles of Paul. I have been confronted with how my faith in Christ is manifested in my attitudes and behavior. Do I merely profess a faith in Christ, or do I live it out? One of the most poignant things that occurred to me while reading the Pauline epistles is the emphasis Paul puts on relationships. It seems that our faith cannot be viable, outside of the context of relationships with other people. This is not necessarily good news for me or is it, I imagine, good news for you. I find it easy to understand the grace of God. I love contemplating the work of Atonement on Calvary. I find myself thinking often about salvation and heaven and future glory. I enjoy listening to discussions on doctrine and theology. But relationships are hard; there are so many undeserving people, aren’t there? I say this tongue in cheekkind of. Because while I don’t like to admit it, I am not nearly as good at loving others as I want people to think I am. I imagine many of you can understand my plight. Despite how difficult it is to love people, the Apostle Paul, our Savior and all of Scripture, really, put a heavy emphasis on love and relationships. The books of Titus and Philemon are no exceptions. These two short letters deal with relationships between husband and wife, parent and child, slave and master, and so on. It is as if all of our doctrines, all of our theology, all of our theorizing, aren’t really that important without love. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40 that all the law and the prophets can be summed up in two commandments; love God and love people. He said in John 13:35 that the world will know we are His disciples by our love for one another. The call to love is unquestionable and irrevocable. It is weaved through the Old Testament, shouted in the Gospels and preached in the Epistles. As Christians we must be a people of love. But saying you love someone does not necessarily mean that you do. Love, primarily, is a verb. In the books of Titus and Philemon, as well as his other epistles, Paul encourages mutual submission, kindness, and showing grace. These are some of the ways in which Christians love. To say that I love my husband is all well and good, but if I don’t submit to him, if I am not kind to him, if I don’t show him grace then do I really love him? I am reminded of Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church. 1st Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” This is the kind of love that should mark the disciples of Christ. We should have this kind of love for our spouses, our children, our neighbors, our bosses, our enemies. To love like this is faith in action.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thankful 2012

I have so much to be thankful for. A good job, a healthy family, a good relationship with my parents, a house to live in and food to eat. The list goes on and on and I thank God daily for all the blessings.

In 4 days I will be traveling with my daughter to the Dominican Republic to spend our Thanksgiving in a village, serving the community and sharing God's Word. I am so excited about this opportunity to love on the kids in this village. We are going to help in their school, teach bible studies, do arts and crafts, and purity classes. Ty and I are traveling with our kids Pastor, his wife (who is in charge of the mission trips), and their daughter... along with 8 other people from a church in Colorado.

I am looking forward to this time with my daughter. She is such a mature 12 year old, already has responsibilities in our church in our kids ministry. She has proven to be a leader and a good example with her friends. She is a good student (for the most part) and a hard worker. But... these are the times when things change. She is almost a teenager. She gets a little sassy at times. I am hoping that going on this trip with instill deep in her heart God's love so she never forgets that. When the going gets tough in life, she will lean on Him instead of worldly things. I hope this time together, serving God, will bond us as mother and daughter.

I just pray for our trip... for all those going, that we may have safe travels and good health. I pray for those we are going to meet. The teachers, the translators, the students, and families. That they all have open hearts and minds to the love of Christ we are going to bring them. I pray for our family members that we are leaving behind... that they may feel God's comfort and support while we are gone. That they make good choices and dont have any problems. I just pray for a life changing experience. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Everyone have a blessed week and Thanksgiving :)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book of 2nd Timothy

The Life Project: 2nd Timothy Candice Roberts Paul writes the second letter to Timothy while he is sitting in a Roman prison awaiting execution. He would never leave that prison; never again see his beloved son in the faith. It is from this vantage point that Paul writes. His aim is to communicate some final words of encouragement that might sustain Timothy through the difficult times after his death. We have in 2nd Timothy a beautiful letter of inspiration, wisdom and friendship that has been cherished throughout the years. A letter like this, certainly leaves me wondering what I will spend my final days on earth doing. I wonder who I will be investing in. I wonder what words of wisdom, or folly, I might be imparting to those I love. If I could plan it out, I would be sure to visit each of my children and grandchildren, if I have them by then. I would tell them of the immense love that I have for them and the immeasurable love that their Father in Heaven has for them. I would admonish them to not be afraid to ask questions, but to not let questions get in the way of faith. I would remind them that because they have been shown such great Love and Mercy, that they have a responsibility to show others love and mercy and to help those less fortunate then themselves. If I had it to plan out, I would also encourage my husband and tell him that the joy of my life had been to walk alongside him. I would encourage him to not grow weary in doing good because there are rewards waiting for him in heaven. I would urge him to take an occasional break because it is necessary and will help rejuvenate his spirit. I would remind him that the only opinion that matters is our Lord’s and so he shouldn’t worry too much when people get mad at him. I would certainly remind him that if you wash the dishes right away, food doesn’t get caked on them and they are much easier to clean. To the precious people God has put in my path, I would exhort them to keep pursuing God and His Holiness. I would counsel them that the Kingdom of Heaven is now, and they can live in the freedom Christ purchased for them now. I would plead with them to not get bogged down in the cares of this world, but to keep their eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. If I had it to plan out, this is how I would spend my last days. But life does not work that way. I am not promised tomorrow. In fact today may be my last day. It could in a year. It could be 10 years, 20 years, 50 years from now. But more than likely, I will not have the luxury of knowing when my last day will be. This is a sobering fact. Because if I died today, that would make my last day yesterday and it fell so far short of my plan. Instead of encouraging my children, I got onto them for keeping a messy room. Instead of spending time with my boys, I watched a TV show. Instead of encouraging my husband, I just sat beside him in our house and didn’t pay much attention to him at all. I didn’t reach out to friends. I didn’t serve the less fortunate. I just went through the motions at work, not stopping to thank God for the people He had put in my path. The fact is my life was kind of pointless yesterday. So here is my November 5th resolution. I am going to, in the words of the great Tim McGraw, live like I was dying. I am going to cut down on the wasted moments. I am going to turn off the mindless chatter and become more intentional with my words. I am going to serve more, forgive more, love more. I am going to take a deep breath, and pray to our Father before I step foot out of bed each morning. I am going to do this not because the morning is more holy than other parts of the day, but because as soon as I get up I could be screaming at my kids that they are making me late, rushing past my husband in the hallway and ignoring phone calls from a friend in need. I need a “first thing” reminder to focus on the things of God, the important, lasting things and to just let the trivial stuff go. One of my favorite poems is called The Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I have included it here. Not as perfect as God’s Word, but still a beautiful reminder to seize the day. Tell me not, in mournful numbers, "Life is but an empty dream!" For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem. Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; "Dust thou art, to dust returnest," Was not spoken of the soul. Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Finds us farther than to-day. Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave. In the world's broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife! Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,--act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o'erhead! Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time; Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again. Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing Learn to labor and to wait.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Confessions 11-2-12 and 11-9-12

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I Confess... I had a much better week. All around.

I Confess... work is going well. I have been recognized for my hard work, which has been nice. On top of it, my name was pulled for a drawing and I won some money. Yay!

I Confess... home is going better too. The communication and the affection between me and Mister Husband has improved a million times in the past two weeks.

I Confess... I've always thought we had a good relationship... but we ran into a mountain a little bit back and my world felt like it was spinning. But my God is big enough to move mountains and He is... I cant wait to share our Message out of the mess that we've been going through.

I Confess... I love my husband more today than I ever have.

I Confess... my dear friend is going through the same thing as what I've been and it breaks my heart. I spent some time with her last night and seeing her pain brought tears to my eyes.

I Confess.. I leave for the mission trip with my daughter in 2 wks and I am not ready at all. My head needs to get in the right place... I need to get packed... I need to get my focus where it belongs so God can use me. Please pray for me!!

11/9/12 Confessions since I didnt post them "officially" last week...

I Confess... there's been some changes at work. While I hope they are for the best, I am still nervous but so far so good.

I Confess... I am still feeling unprepared for my trip next week. I havent packed a dang thing yet. Better get on that this weekend.

I Confess... I am going to miss my husband and son more than I expected I would. Good thing for FaceTime. Praying my wifi in the hotel works.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book of 1 Timothy



The Life Project: 1 Timothy
Candice Roberts

Paul writes to Timothy as a father would write to a son. He has invested much in young Timothy and wants nothing more than to encourage him as a minister to the church in Ephesus. Paul’s desire is to give him important practical advice for leading a church as well as for Godly Christian living. In 1st Timothy 4:14, Paul encourages Timothy to “not neglect {his} gift, which was given through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on {him}.” Paul is very concerned that Timothy realizes his God-given destiny despite the tremendous obstacles that are in his way. In 1st Timothy 4:12 Paul has this to say, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” Though it is found in the middle of the letter, this verse could well be the sum and substance of the letter. All the other verses lend themselves to understanding this one passage. The epistle is brimming with practical advice for Timothy and is fitting for every Christ-follower who desires to live a Godly life and leave a Godly destiny.

Paul’s first charge to Timothy is to be an example in speech. This is more than a charge to “no swearing”, though clean language is certainly a part of it. Paul’s charge goes deeper and becomes more uncomfortable to those of us who think our speech is above reproach. Paul deals a lot in this letter about the sin of slander and mindless chatter. Paul warns against malicious talk and busybody nonsense. The sin of speech is so easy to fall into. We may consider it to be a lesser sin. After all, who is harmed by a little gossip? It’s innocent, right? Wrong. Gossip, malicious talk, slander all cause division amongst the body. They also create in us a critical spirit and keep us from doing the Lord’s work. Instead of mindless chatter, we should be engaging in a powerful prayer life. Paul’s challenge is for every believer; instead of gossip about people we should be praying for people. Instead of speaking their name to another, we should speak their name to our Heavenly Father.

Along with speech, Paul charges Timothy to be blameless in conduct. How we conduct ourselves is the most visible evidence of our commitment to Christ. In Paul’s letter to Timothy he warned of drunkenness, violence, and sexual immorality. Instead Paul encourages lives of temperance and modesty. These attributes stand in stark contrast to our world today. In America we glorify the outlandish and excessive lifestyles of celebrities. We celebrate the brazen and bold. We call the modest and temperate prude. Prude or not, this is how God calls us to live. In this letter Paul challenges women, but ultimately men as well, to be adorned with only good deeds. If we allowed this purity of conduct to permeate our hearts and take shape in our lives, imagine how different we would look to the world around us. Imagine the power of our witness if we really were to give our conduct over to the Lord.

Timothy is also encouraged to be an example to the believers in the way that he loves. Paul talks about two types of love in this letter. The first is love for people and the second is love of money. Paul encourages the believers to treat each other like family. 1st Timothy 5:1 says, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

And while we should love people, Paul tells us to resist the temptation to love money. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, he says. He encourages the believers not to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God. I have always found it interesting to watch what people are in love with. You can certainly tell a lot about a person by what they love. As followers of Christ we should love the things that Christ did; people; and not waste our time on things that have no lasting significance.

Paul says that Timothy should be an example of faith. The faith that Paul points Timothy to is a simple one. It is a faith that says, I am the chief of all sinners but God in His great mercy saved me and wants to save everyone. Paul actually discourages meaningless arguments over doctrine and instead encourages focus to be put on God and Jesus the ransom for our sin. Finally 1st Timothy encourages this young pastor to be an example of purity. I love the different definitions of purity; all adding a nuance to what it means to be pure. The first definition is freedom from contaminants or anything that is harmful. Imagine being free of those things which harm you today. What more could you accomplish with your life? Definition number two is virtue and innocence like that of a child. Didn’t Christ call us to have childlike faith? Surely Paul had this in mind when he called Timothy to a life of purity. The final definition of purity is the degree of saturation of a color. We are to be so saturated with Christ that nothing else can be seen. This is purity.

As we look at the charges that Paul set forth for Timothy, we should be inspired to live a life worthy of our calling. Our utmost desire should be to please our Father and to represent Christ well to those around us. If we can follow the directives of 1st Timothy we will be well on our way.

Book of 1 & 2 Thessolonians

The Life Project: 1 and 2 Thessalonians Matt Roberts

In the Book of Acts chapter 17 we read that during his 1st missionary journey the Apostle Paul, along with his colleagues Silas and Timothy, came to the Greek capital of Thessalonica. Their visit to this town would prove to be much different than many of their previous stops. If you follow Paul’s ministry you will find the heart of a church planter. Every town he moved into he did with focus, vision and determination; preaching the Gospel of Jesus, establishing churches, raising up leaders and then handing the church over as he prepared to move on to the next city. But things did not go as planned in Thessalonica. Acts 17 tells us that things started normal enough. Paul, as he had done numerous times before, went into the Jewish Synagogue and began to tell of the wondrous story of Jesus. We read that this happened for 3 weeks and during that time many put their faith in Christ. This infant church was a ragtag group made up of Jews, devout Greeks, and prominent women in the city. All indications showed that there was a lot of work to be done here before this church could ever stand on it’s own. In a perfect world Paul would have the time to invest and disciple these believers to full Christian maturity.

But the 1st century Roman empire wasn’t perfect by any means, especially for those preaching Christ. There was a mob that formed in the middle of the city. They went into the homes where the Christian missionaries were reported to be staying. When their search for Paul turned up empty they drug a small group of believers to the city courthouse where they were scolded and warned that there would be no more talk of this Jesus in Thessalonica. That night Paul, Silas and Timothy where whisked out of town for their own safety. I am sure they wondered if their three week investment in this baby church would have any staying power with the odds stacked so mightily against her. The book of Acts charges forward leaving us with the same question, what will come of the believers in Thessalonica? That question is answered in the opening of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, check it out! “6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 8 The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, 9 for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” How is it that a church with so much stacked against it thrived in this way? Popular thinking in the church today tells us that if we are going to make an impact in our world, our community, or even our own church we must first be in a deliberate discipleship process with “mature Christians”.

We need to learn from people who have been around the block a time or two, attended enough Bible studies, served on a Deacon board; you know the kind of people the church needs to move forward. Although this is a great model for development, what do we do when there is no one there? Do we just sit and wait for someone to come along? Do we resign ourselves to thinking I can’t get where God is calling me if there is no one here to show me the way? Paul commends the Thessalonians for refusing to believe this. In these 2 Epistles we see a church that heard the Message, responded with joy and then allowed the Holy Spirit to take it from there. In a world that is constantly looking for the next guru, the next book, the next “it” church, what a beautiful simplicity! I know I am guilty at times of allowing my pursuit of God to warp into a pursuit of men. The Thessalonians allowed the Holy Spirit to become the teacher and guide for their church. When they had no one to lean on, they dove into scripture and allowed God’s Spirit to do a work in them. Maybe this “handicapped” church had a distinct advantage in never learning to look to an Apostle, a Pastor or an Evangelist. They learned that true maturity came through a living relationship with God, His Word and His Spirit. We are so lucky at the Genesis Project to have many mature Christians who give their lives to God and to discipling other believers. But with this great treasure, we need to be cautious that we are ultimately not looking to a person but to God.

Each of us, whether we have been a Christian for 20 years or 20 days, has a responsibility to pursue God on our own. We have the opportunity to know God intimately through His Word and through His Spirit. Those who come along beside us are just icing on the cake. I am reminded of the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” We are promised to find God when we seek HIM. I am so thankful that this was the promise to the church of Thessalonica. I am so thankful that this is the promise for us today.

Friday, October 26, 2012

I Confess

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I confess... it's been a hard week. Changes at work and home.
 
I confess... as much time as I've spent crying, hyperventalating, and feeling like I was going to puke; I've survived.
 
I confess... I've had some really good conversations with a couple of influencial people. Conversations that were ever long over due or I didnt realize they needed to be had.
 
I confess... I've been very blessed by 4 special friends this week. Thank you God for putting them in my path.
 
I confess... although my confessions are very cryptic this week, I am OK. I am not wonderful, but I will be again someday. My God is bigger than all thats going on and I trust and believe that good things are going to happen in all aspects of my life.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave


Seems like all I could see was the struggle
Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past
Bound up in shackles of all my failures
Wondering how long is this gonna last
Then You look at this prisoner and say to me "son
Stop fighting a fight it's already been won"

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I'm redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy
Named by the voice of my shame and regret
But when I hear You whisper, "Child lift up your head"
I remember, oh God, You're not done with me yet

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I'm not who I used to be

Because I don't have to be the old man inside of me
'Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because I've got a new name, a new life, I'm not the same
And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, 'cause I'm not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I'll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe every stain, yeah, I'm not who I used to be
Oh, God, I'm not who I used to be
Jesus, I'm not who I used to be
'Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

Friday, October 19, 2012

I Confess... 10/19/12

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I Confess- That I really like my new Ford C-Max car. I've had it for 2 wks and just filled up for the first time. It cost me $20 less than before, and that was weekly, so really I saved about $85. I was able to go 550 miles before my warning came on saying I only had 35 miles until empty. Not too shabby!

I Confess- My husband has lost 30 lbs and looks amazing. Check him out!!



















I Confess- I worry that now his 30 days is done, he may not feel committed to keeping it off. I am trying to overcome that worry with belief in my husband.

I Confess- My sweet husband has planned a get away for us this weekend. He doesnt normally plan things like this so I am shocked. We are going to stay at the Anniversary Inn tomorrow night. I am super excited.

I Confess- My wonderful friend Mary is keeping my kids for the night :)


I Confess- Drew's team lost their quarter final game. It was heartbreaking. All the boys were sobbing. Parents were crying (Drew's dad included, shocker!). It was rough. I miss it already... I loved the parents I got to know throughout the season and being with them daily. I may have to plan a reunion!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book of Colossians

The Life Project: Colossians Candice Roberts Cluttering the message of Christ; this is what the Christians in Colosse were guilty of. They had been given the simple Gospel message of Christ crucified, Christ resurrected, Christ as salvation. But they had allowed other ideas and philosophies to creep in. Two of the primary philosophies of the age were that of Gnosticism and Asceticism. The Gnostics as well as the Ascetics called themselves Christians, but believed they had been given special knowledge and that through this knowledge salvation was available. This sounded appealing to the Colossians. Who wouldn’t want in on “special knowledge”? That sounds like something you don’t want to be left out of. One of the Gnostics primary beliefs was that this world, and all matter was evil. They went so far as to say that it was not God who created our earth, but an evil demigod. This is why Paul emphatically states in Colossians 15-20 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Clearly, it is Christ who created the heavens and the EARTH!! Christ was preeminent. Paul was adamant that the Colossian church hold to this teaching. The Ascetics also believed that matter was evil, and participated in rituals, holding fast to religious rules that served to subdue their flesh. There was a great deal of legalism and pride that went into these rituals. Though Paul does not specifically mention what the rituals were, as surely the Colossians already knew, he does say in chapter 2:20-23 “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Now Paul was not saying that we should live lives of debauchery and do whatever the heck we want. In fact he spends a large part of chapter 3 describing how those made alive in Christ should behave. He was saying that the Gospel of Christ does not need anything added to it. The Gospel of Christ is complete. Any attempts by man to add rules, regulations, rituals, only serve to cheapen the work of salvation through Jesus Christ. I wish we could see a different world in 21st century America than was alive in 1st century Colosse. Sadly the same sorts of things that plagued the Colossians, plague Christians today. We still are being bombarded with forces trying to clutter the message of Christ. There are still some who claim to have the corner on salvation. They believe they have been given a special revelation and without it, we are doomed. There are still those who try and tell us that maybe Jesus is not God. Maybe in fact there are many Gods. Maybe there are many ways to salvation. Then there are those who cheapen grace by adding legalism; prideful man trying to earn salvation instead of realizing that it is a Gift from Christ Jesus. But before we start pointing fingers at other people, perhaps we should examine our own lives. Are there times when we think our knowledge of God will be our salvation? Are there times when we are tempted to work our way to salvation? Are there times when we would like to embrace other gods as a means to salvation? Are there times when we add to the work of Christ? Let’s stick to the simplicity of the Gospel and remember the words from 1st John 2:24-25. “Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father. This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life, real life!”

Book of Philippians

The Life Project: Philippians Matt Roberts Do you remember the seagulls in the movie “Finding Nemo”? Their role in the movie was insignificant to say the least but their high pitched cry of “MINE...MINE...MINE...” will probably be stuck in my brain forever. I believe the reason why those crazy cartoon seagulls made such a big impact in me was the fact that I could see myself, others and even the church in those annoying, self centered birds. As much as I hate it, there are a lot of times that I am all about me. What I want, what I feel, where I am hurt, where I am annoyed, what I think is important or what I think is trivial. The truth is if I am not careful, I have the tendency to allow my life revolve around ME. To mindlessly shout out “MINE” in every circumstance of life. This selfishness is a dangerous and lonely place to exist. If we operate this way it will not be long until we are surrounded by one fight after another. We will have nothing that resembles a real relationship. The Apostle Paul writes to a church in Philippi that has caught a case of the “mines”. Philippi was a small, struggling church that faced the constant threat of persecution and had lost much for the the sake of the Gospel. At some point they became tired of one another, tired at looking at the same faces, dealing with the same issues over and over again. At first I am sure it was minor annoyances but soon there was full scale chaos within the church. Men holding grudges. Women spreading rumors and gossip. Families divided by petty rivalries and disagreements. All in the name of “MINE!!!” The ApostlePaul hears of the trouble from a jail cell in Rome awaiting a verdict in his trial. He sits in a darkened cell and writes directly to the issues of the “me centered” church in Philippi. In the first two chapters of his letter he is very clear and severe. If the church is going to survive they MUST come together. We hear the words of Jesus echoing throughout the Apostles words, “a house divided against itself WILL fall. The church could no longer afford to ignore her fatal flaw. Changes were in order. The book of Philippians has a lot to say about Christian unity. The Apostle Paul very clearly tells this small struggling church that unity is key for them to withstand the onslaught of forces hostile to the gospel of Christ, for the church to maintain a credible witness to an unbelieving world and above all to be found blameless and pure when we stand before Christ. Let’s take a look at these three truths. First, when the church fails to stand united it takes it’s focus off of the calling of the great commission and begins to focus on petty, small, “me” things. We must look like sitting ducks to the enemy when we respond this way. Bickering and fighting instead of praying and contending for a hurting and lost world. Gossiping and tearing down others instead of speaking words of life and encouragement. The moment we divide ourselves, the moment we begin defending the things we believe are “mine” is the very moment we stop being the church and become a useless, dysfunctional mess! The only way we can accomplish the calling and purposes of God among us is together. Period. Second, Paul tells the Philippians that their bickering and selfishness have completely ruined any witness they might have in their community, among their families and even within the church. How many times have you heard someone look at the people inside a church and say, “if this is how they act I want nothing to do with the church”? A church united is a church with a powerful witness of community. When the church is divided we are a poor reflection of Christ to the desperate world around us. Third, Paul warns the Philippians that one day they will stand before God and account for the lives they lived and the way they treated one another. One of the most basic commands of Christ to the church was to love one another with the love of God. How are we doing with that command? What will Jesus say about our relationships with one another inside our church? Will we hear “well done!” or “you could have done so much more!”? The way we treat one another is an act of worship to God. What are you offering to him? Philippians challenges us to be a church united, to put away selfish thinking and serve the church around us. My prayer today is that my life will be a little less marked by the word “mine” and a lot more empowered to love and serve the family of Christ that I have been given. As Paul says in chapter 2 verse 14 and 15 “Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.” Amen.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Time to Confess!

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I Confess:
My finger is healing better from my spiderbite than I ever imagined it would. It's still peeling, but I didnt lose all that much skin. Yay, Praise God!
 
I Confess:
We are going car shopping this weekend. My brother no longer needs the car we loaned to him, we aquired another car from a family member, and Bryan's car is getting up there on miles and starting to make weird sounds. I am going to trust and believe that it is all going to work out b/c stuff like this stresses me out.
 
I Confess:
I feel like I need a shower after dealing with our car salesman. My family has gone to him for years and he works his magic and always gets us what we need, but he is a slicked back carsales man. Ugh.
 
I Confess:
Drew made it to the playoffs. His team is thrilled. This is the first year any of them were old/big enough to go. I am proud of them and super excited and crazy anxious for their game tomorrow.
 
I Confess:
I am so glad that Drew played football this year. He's made some awesome friends... in fact he has shown a couple of them the love of Jesus and they are now coming to Rangers with him at church on Wednesday nights.
 
I Confess:
I am officially down 20+ pounds... and the nurse at the Dr's office yesterday commented on it. That was cool to hear. My hubby is doing a 30 day program with Isogenix and has lost 20 pounds as well.
 
I Confess:
The words "By the way mom, I have a boyfriend. His name is Morgan and he's Christian" would sound great.... if they weren't coming out of my 12 year old's mouth. I am not really sure what a boyfriend means in the mind of my little girl, but I met this boy the other day and he seems very nice anyhow.
 
I Confess:
We are like 6 wks from our mission trip to the DR and things are crazy busy at work. I feel a little overwhelmed and just pray that I can focus on what I am doing when I am doing it so when the time comes for my trip I can focus 100% on God and my daugther and serve this community.
 
Also... October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Have you had your mammogram done? My mom is  2x survivor and I am high risk. 1 in 8 women will get diagnosed, but early detection saves lives. I just went in yesterday and found out my breast MRI is clear... no signs of breast cancer. Have you been checked yet??

Monday, October 1, 2012

Book of Ephesians


The Life Project: Ephesians
Candice Roberts


My very favorite passage of scripture is found in Ephesians. It brings me to tears nearly
every time I read it; such is the power of God’s Word. I wanted to share it with you
today.
 
Ephesians 3:14-21
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the
Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious,
unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And
I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in him.
May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love. And may you have
the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high
and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so
great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life
and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work
within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or
hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through
the endless ages. Amen.
 
I think this passage of scripture means so much to me because it speaks of the
hugeness of God, of His plan, of His love. Scripture tells me the love of Christ is too
great for me to understand. God is too great for me to understand. I was talking with
a friend the other day at work. He is not a believer, and was a little put o

ff by some
arrogant Christians he had met. These Christians seemed to have a quick answer for
everything. They acted as if they had God all figured out. I told him that the God I
serve does not fit inside my intellect, and if He did, He wouldn’t be a God I would want
to serve. He wouldn’t be big enough. But Ephesians reminds us that God is infinite,
beyond human comprehension. Our only response to this God is to fall to our knees.
God’s plans for us are tremendous. I think one of the biggest lies Satan tells today is
that you have no purpose. This could not be further from what Scripture says.
Ephesians tells us that God can accomplish more through you than you even dare to
dream. Psalm 139 says that God knew each of your days before you were even formed
in your mother’s womb. It sure sounds like you were created on purpose for a
purpose. And that purpose is huge!! It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you
come from, where you have been, what you have done. God can do amazing things
through you because God Himself is amazing! God can do huge things through you,
because God Himself is huge!!
And if God’s plans are big, God’s love is even greater! It is wide, long, high and deep.
Some Bible versions of Ephesians say that God’s love is measureless! Measureless!!
God holds the expanses of the heavens and the depths of the sea in His hands, and yet
He calls His love for you measureless! That’s BIG. That’s extraordinary love. Romans
8:38 says, “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death
can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our
worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away.
Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will
ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our
Lord.” To be loved with a love so big, changes me, doesn’t it you? How could we be
the same after being recipients of that kind of love? And though Satan would like to
tell you that you are unlovable, Scripture clearly says that NOTHING, NO THING, can
separate you from God’s love. Not your past, not your addictions, not your pride, not
your sins, not your failures, not your lack of faith, I could go on and on and on. God’s
love is bigger than anything.
I am hoping this week we can allow our roots to go down deep into God’s love for us. I
pray that we will begin to dream of the plans that God can accomplish through us,
while realizing He can do even more than that. I pray that we can begin to understand
the fact that we will never be able to fathom how big our God is. And I pray that Christ
will be more and more at home in our hearts as we seek to trust in Him.


Life Group Questions



1. Do you feel sometimes feel
inadequate because you do not
understand God? When Paul says it
is impossible to understand God’s
love, His plans, what emotional
response do you have?
2. Have you ever felt like you have no
purpose? How do you discover
God’s purpose for your life? Is it a
great mystery to figure out or is it
simple? Or is it both?
3. What do you think about the
measureless love of God? How does
it change you?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hit by a Bus? Bit by a Spider? Same thing, really.

So... a week ago Saturday I was at my son's football game... sitting in the grass, enjoying the beautiful day and cheering them on to victory.

Little did I know, a icky, creepy, crawly, venomous Brown Recluse Spider sank its fangs into my right pointer finger. Ugh!

Sunday morning I woke up with a little red spot on the inside of my finger. It itched a bit but I didnt think too much about it... but as the day went on the spot got bigger and bigger and before bedtime it looked like a blood blister. Weird... but whatever. If its worse, I'll go to the Dr on Monday. I am not going to the ER for this...

Didn't sleep well that night... my finger was throbbing. I got up Monday morning and my finger was huge...and oozing... and had a pulse of its own... with a lovely red line from the spot to my wrist. I went to work... waiting for the Dr's office to open to make an appointment. I luckily was able to get in for the first appointment of the day.

They did some blood work... yup, I have an infection. They gave me 2 different kinds of medication, a shot in the butt, a sling to wear to help with the swelling and told me to return Tuesday. That red line I mentioned? Well, it went up my arm, took a turn at my elbow and was making it's way up to my armpit. Ended up with swollen lymph nodes as well.

The day went on... was feeling yucky, but waiting on the medicine to kick in.

Tuesday I woke up and felt like I was hit by a bus. My body HURT. Joints were throbbing, my calves were cramping, I was nauseaus and dizzy, and have a terrible headache. I went back to the Dr who said I should have gotten better, not worse... so she called a specialist within the same office and and infectious disease doctor at the U.

I went to the specialist right away and they were amazed at my nasty finger. He brought 6 other people in to look at it, take pictures, do cultures, etc. Only to later find out that little sucker caused me to get Strep too! New medications... which later resulted in healing (along with all the prayers I had).

I am thankful for this Dr... b/c of him I didnt have to stay in the hospital and I kept my finger. Many others with Brown Recluse bites arent so lucky.

As of today, my finger is peeling... almost like it was burned. My hand is a little achy and puffy at the knuckles but nothing like it was. What an ordeal!

Monday, September 24, 2012

The book of 2nd Corinthians

The Life Project: 2nd Corinthians
Candice Roberts




Have you ever had affliction? Have you ever thought your suffering was too much to

bare? Ever thought you weren’t spiritual enough or else you wouldn’t be having these

thoughts? Well, you should know you are in good company. The Apostle Paul begins

his second letter to the Corinthians telling them about the suffering he has

encountered. He says that he had even “despaired of life.” There is no spiritualizing

this; no making this sound better than it was. Paul wanted to die. He felt too weak to

fight, too weak to face the sufferings that God had allowed in his path. Ever been

there?

Why is it that we Christians don’t like to talk about our sufferings? Why do we pretend

to have things all together? Why are we so ashamed that we too have had thoughts of

death? Paul was honest. He wanted the Corinthians to know that whatever suffering

they had faced, he had faced too. And in retrospect Paul was able to understand the

good that was worked through his suffering. My prayer for you is that when your

suffering has come to an end, or maybe while you are in the middle of the storm, you

will be able to see the good that God has worked in you.

The first gift of suffering is the gift of comfort. I remember as a child, nothing felt so

good as my dad rubbing my back, telling me it would be okay, that he loved me. Even

now, when I am upset, I relish the comfort that comes from my loved ones. Last time I

was sick, my two year old put his “blankey” on my back, rubbed my leg and said “it’ll

be okay.” There is something about times of suffering that make us crave relationship.

And God knows this. It is through these difficult times, that we can feel His presence

most in our lives. If we allow God to comfort us, it is a precious gift that will forever

strengthen our relationship with Him.

The second gift of suffering is that we will understand how to comfort others. Have

you ever had someone tell you, “I know how you feel”, when you know very well that

they don’t? That is extremely annoying. When we are suffering, we want someone

who really understands, not someone who pretends. In the first chapter of 2nd

Corinthians, Paul says, “[God] who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can

comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” This is

no small gift. There are countless times, someone comes to me when they are feeling

depressed or lonely. I thank God that I have been where they stand, so I can tell them

with assurance that they will get through this.

The final gift of suffering I believe that Paul had obtained is the Glory of God. One of

my favorite passages of Scripture is found in 2nd Corinthians 4:6-7. “For God, who

said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the

light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this

treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not

from us.” Have you ever seen a jar of clay? I used to make pottery in college. And I

am not a master potter. My pots had cracks, they were misshapen, they were so weak.

I actually have only one piece left from my time at the potter’s wheel. The rest of them

have broken due to their fragile nature. That does sound like me; weak, fragile. I am

so thankful that God’s glory can shine through my weakness and through my suffering.

2nd Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power

is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my

weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” Amen to that!!

So next time you are tempted to conceal your suffering, to hide your weaknesses, think

of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. There are so many great spiritual gifts that

God can give you through your afflictions. Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all

things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according

to his purpose.”