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?!

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

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.