hot bliggity blog 267

Monday, December 13, 2010

snapshots of my life: no-shave november

You must be my friend if.....you have a birthday between November 2 and December 20. Everyone I know has a birthday during this six week period of the year. Seriously! As if these two months weren’t filled up enough with holidays and celebrations. What were your Momma’s thinkin'?! Ha!


For Will’s birthday we went to a Mexican restaurant, Guadalajara...lots of chips, salsa and quesadillas to go around! I’m not sure what kind of birthday dessert he got but I am sure that I didn’t get any :( Happy Birthday, Will!

Leslie’s Birthday Party was low-key and very fun! A few people met and had dinner at a local restaurant that has a great outdoor atmosphere. Afterwards, several of us girls packed up our blankets and beverages for an outdoor movie at Discovery Green. I had never been there but decided that it is one of the coolest (and free!) things we have here in the city! Showing on the blow-up screen was Shall We Dance? Have you ever observed people after watching a dance movie? I think it is so funny to see everyone get up and dance out to the ending credits! (Myself included)

I was born to shop. And I LOVE pretty things. Unfortunately my shrinking wallet does not allow me to do much shopping right now but that still doesn’t stop me from window shopping. My ‘Want’ list has grown so much that, if Santa had a ‘Longest List’ Contest, it would be definitely be a contender.

I found this chair in World Market. I love that store :) I decided that when I move into my own place and if I have need for a new chair in my new place this will be the one! It goes with my current furniture theme and colors, textures and styles. A true winner!

Moving on to not so pretty things-may I welcome you into our home and introduce you to our kitchen floor!? A few weeks ago (during Will’s party, actually) my mom text me saying ‘Don’t try to walk through the kitchen in the dark when you get home tonight’ accompanied with a picture of what resembled our kitchen floor. Mom and Dad were home, thankfully, when the ceramic tiles started snapping and flying 3 feet into the air. Who knows what type of investigation we would have had had they not been there. The aftermath looked like what I would imagine your kitchen floor would look like if you took a jackhammer to it in search of Atlantis. Or buried treasure. Or a letter to Juliet. The possibilities are endless. Anyways, because we are amidst the holiday season and times are BuSY, the Tetris-like plywood cut-out will have to suffice until the new year! For those of you who obtain a more engineering brain my dad would be happy to discuss with you his theories and education opinion as to what really happened; the explanation involves various atmospheric pressures, compressions, and other variables. All of these words sound familiar and I would tell you what they mean but I don’t like to show-off :) Ha!



So, from the counter-level and up we had a Happy Turkey-(less) Thanksgiving! Every member of our family LOVES our Grandmother’s Chicken-and-Dressing so much that the turkey is often left uneaten. So this year my mom decided to forget the turkey all together by not even putting one on the menu! Instead, 2 pans of dressing joined us for dinner and let’s just stay they didn’t linger too long through the holidays.

Our spread probably looks pretty small compared to most peoples’. But we are a small family (all 5 of us were here!) and this was PLENTY for us to eat on for several days. Not surprisingly, the dressing was one of the first things to be finished off!

The whole family laughed at me (myself included) when we sat down at the table to eat and I told my brother and sister “It’s nice to have ya’ll home with us for the holidays” Ha! I said this with all sincerity, too. I have felt like the mini-mommy this year.


Sisters out for another friend’s birthday! A bunch of friends got together for yet another birthday party! It was fun to celebrate Simon’s, ahem, 21st birthday with him :) 2-stepping; not my forte!


My church has this fabulous event/outreach ministry during the Christmas Season called Angels of Light. It is an entire operation that takes many months to prepare for, the participation of every Sunday School class, and hundreds of volunteers. Every night for the week after Thanksgiving, about 1000 local people and families are bussed in from around the city for an evening of food, Gospel presentation, and people to love on them. Every family is handed a bag of groceries when they taken back to their homes and each child receives a wrapped Christmas present.

As you can imagine this takes months to prepare for: collection of food, clothes, wrapped children’s gifts, etc. Every Sunday School class is responsible for collecting and wrapping toys for specific a specific age and gender and 2 work days/nights. Our class had a work night doing grocery distribution. It was such a blessing. As our pastor said, we did not have the glamorous job of the operation, not even a visible one for that matter. But it counted just the same and I can imagine the parents’ faces when they were handed that bag of food as they stepped off the bus. For some reason I am tearing up right now just thinking about it. I am so blessed!

Being around all of these buses reminded several of us of the week(s) we spent this summer with 1000 high school kids!


This part of the operation looks much like what I would imagine Santa’s Prep-Room must look like. You can’t really tell by the picture, but there were 1000s of toys wrapped and stacked in all of the pews and more being wrapped at the work bench!


As always, it is so much more fun to work and serve alongside friends and brothers and sisters in Christ! I don’t remember it being as cold as we make it look, but living in south of I-10 we don’t get much use out of our long-sleeve winter-wear.


And for the record, I DID shave during the month of November. My blog title is dedicated to ‘male-parts’ cancer awareness. If you want more information on this subject, Google it :) While in undergrad, one of our campus organizations designed a T-shirt to raise awareness for No Shave November. I thought the design was super cute, ahem, manly, and simple (that is manly, right...simple?!). According to the scripture reference it’s Biblical, too!



Leviticus 19:27: “Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.”

Saturday, December 11, 2010

B90X wk 10: The Minors

Text covered: Daniel 9, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habbakuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew 26

Memory verse: Nahum 1:7: ‘The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.’

As you can tell, the bulk of this week’s reading was in the Minor Prophets. My goal for this post is to create a clear overview or study guide; one that clearly points out the purpose and themes of each book. I will quote a lot from the Life Application Study Bible (all denoted with an *), summarizing what is in each of these books and sharing some of my favorite verses. There is some great stuff in here; all of these books I want to go back and study at some point in the future.


HOSEA


Summary: The book of Hosea is a love story-real, tragic, and true. Transcending the tale of young man and wife, it tells of God’s love for his people and the response of his “bride.” A covenant had been made, and God had been faithful. His love was steadfast, and his commitment unbroken. But Israel, like Gomer [Hosea’s wife], was adulterous and unfaithful, spurning God’s love and turning instead to false gods. the after warning of judgment, God reaffirmed his love and offered reconciliation. His love and mercy were overflowing, but justice would be served.*

Main message: The people of Israel had sinned against God, as an adulterous woman sins against her husband. Judgment was sure to come for living in total disregard for God and fellow humans.*

Importance of message: When we sin, we sever our relationship with God, breaking our commitment to him. While all must answer to God for their sins, those who seek God’s forgiveness are spared eternal judgment.*

Hosea 3:1
“The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.’”


JOEL

Summary: Joel begins by describing a terrible plague of locusts that covers the land and devours the crops. The devastation wrought by these creatures is but a foretaste of the coming judgment of God, the “day of the Lord.” Joel, therefore, urges the people to turn from their sin and turn back to God. Woven into this message of judgment and the need for repentance is an affirmation of God’s kindness and the blessings he promises for all who follow him.*

Main message: A plague of locusts had come to discipline the nation. Joel called the people to turn back to God before an even greater judgment occurred.*

Importance of message: God judges all people for their sins, but he is merciful to those who turn to him and offers them eternal salvation.*

Joel 2:13
“Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord you God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.”
Joel 3:16b
“But the Lord will be a refuge for his people,
a stronghold for the people of Israel.”

AMOS

Summary: Amos begins with a humble shepherd watching his sheep. God then gave him a vision of what was about to happen to the nation of Israel. God condemned all the nations who had sinned against him and harmed his people. Beginning with Aram, he moved quickly through Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. All were condemned. And then, even Judah, Amos’s homeland, was included in God’s scathing denunciation. Suddenly, however, Amos turned to the people of Israel and pronounced God’s judgment on them. Then, after all the chapters on judgment, the book concludes with a message of hope. Eventually God will restore his people and make them great again.*

Main message: Amos spoke against those who exploited or ignored the needy.*

Importance of message: Believing in God is more than a matter of individual faith. God calls all believers to work against injustices in society and to aid those less fortunate.*


OBADIAH

Summary: Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament, is a dramatic example of God’s response to anyone who would harm his children. The book begins with the announcement that disaster was coming to Edom. Despite their “impregnable” cliffs and mountains, they would not be able to escape God’s judgment. Obadiah then gave the reasons for their destruction-their blatant arrogance toward God and their persecution of God’s children. This concise prophecy ends with a description of the “day of the Lord,” when judgment will fall on all who have harmed God’s people.*

Main message: God will judge Edom for its evil actions toward God’s people.*

Importance of message: Just as Edom was destroyed and disappeared as a nation, so God will destroy proud and wicked people.*


JONAH


Summary: Jonah was a reluctant prophet given a mission he found distasteful. He chose to run away from God rather than obey him. Like Jonah, we may have to do things in life that we don’t want to do. Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to turn and run. But it is better to obey God than to defy him or run away. Often, in spite of our defiance, God in his mercy will give us another chance to serve him when we return to him.*

Main message: Jonah, who hated the powerful and wicked Assyrians, was called by God to warn the Assyrians that they would receive judgment if they did not repent.*

Importance of message: Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh, so he tried to run from God. But God has ways of teaching us to obey and follow him. When Jonah preached, the city repented and God withheld his judgment. Even the most wicked will be saved if they truly repent of their sins and turn to God.*


MICAH

Purpose: To warn God’s people that judgment is coming and to offer pardon to all who repent.*

Main message: Prediction of the fall of both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. This was God’s discipline upon the people, actually showing how much he cared for them. Hezekiah’s good reign helped postpone Judah’s punishment.*

Importance of message: Choosing to live a life apart from God is making a commitment to sin. Sin leads to judgment and death. God alone shows us the way to eternal peace. His discipline often keeps us on the right path.*

Micah 5:4 & 5
“He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.
And he will be their peace.”

Micah 7:18 & 19
“Who is a God like you
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.
You will again have compassion on us;
you will tread our sins underfoot
and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”


NAHUM


Purpose: To pronounce God’s judgment on Assyria and to comfort Judah with this truth.*

Main message: The mighty empire of Assyria that oppressed God’s people would soon tumble.*

Importance of message: Those who do evil and oppress others will one day meet a bitter end.*

Nahum 1:3,7
"The Lord is slow to anger and great in power;
the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished."

"The Lord is good
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him."


HABBAKUK

Purpose: To show that God is still in control of the world despite the apparent triumph of evil.*

Main message: Habakkuk couldn’t understand why God seemed to do nothing about the wickedness in society. Then he realized that faith in God alone would supply the answers to his questions.*

Importance of message: Instead of questioning the ways of God, we should realize that he is totally just and we should have faith that he is in control and that one day evil will be utterly destroyed.*

Habakkuk
3:2, 19

“Lord, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.”

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.”


ZEPHANIAH

Purpose: To shake the people of Judah out of their complacency and urge them to return to God*

Main message: A day will come when God, as judge, will severely punish all nations. But after judgment, he will show mercy to all who have been faithful to him.*

Importance of message: We will all be judged for our disobedience to God; but if we remain faithful to him, he will show us mercy.*

Zephaniah 2:3
“Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land,’
you who do what he commands.
Seek righteousness, seek humility;
perhaps you will be sheltered
on the day of the Lord’s anger.”

Zephaniah 3:17
“The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.”


HAGGAI

Purpose: To call the people to complete the rebuilding of the temple*

Main message: The people returned to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding the temple, but they hadn’t finished. Haggai’s message encouraged the people to finish rebuilding God’s temple.*

Importance of message: The temple lay half-finished while the people lived in beautiful homes. Haggai warned them against putting their possessions and jobs ahead of God. We must put God first in our lives.*

Haggai 2:4b
“Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”


ZECHARIAH

Purpose: To give hope to God’s people by revealing God’s future deliverance through the Messiah*

Main message: Zechariah, like Haggai, encouraged the people to finish rebuilding the temple. His visions gave the people hope. He told the people of a future king who would one day establish an eternal kingdom.*

Importance of message: Even in times of discouragement and despair, God is working out his plan. God protects and guides us; we must trust and follow him.*

Zechariah 9:16 & 17
“The Lord their God will save them on that day
as the flock of his people.
They will sparkle in his land
like jewels in a crown.
How attractive and beautiful they will be!
Grain will make the young men thrive,
and new wine the young women.”


MALACHI


Purpose: To confront the people with their sins and to restore their relationship with God*

Main message: The people’s relationship with God was broken because of their sin, and they would soon be punished. But the few who repented would receive God’s blessing, highlighted in his promise to send a Messiah.*

Importance of message: Hypocrisy, neglecting God, and careless living have devastating consequences. Serving and worshiping God must be the primary focus of our life, both now and in eternity.*

Malachi 3:6a, 10
“I the Lord do not change.”

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

See ya next time for some New Testament action :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

B90X wk 9: walk with me

Text covered: Jeremiah 33:23, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel 8:27

Memory verse: Jeremiah 42:3: ‘Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.’

Ezekiel 34:11 & 12: ‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.’

Reading Status: ‘Red’ :0

Lamentations 3:22-27, 32-33, 39-41a
Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the on who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.

...

Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to the children of men.

...

Why should any living man complain
when punished for his sins?

Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the Lord.
Let us lift up our hears and our hands
to God in heaven

Ezekiel 34:16, 31
I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock of justice.

...

You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and i am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.

I was so excited to get to the Book of Daniel! While I have enjoyed every minute of my opportunity to read the Bible through, only so much excitement can be had while reading the dimensions of every aspect of the temple (and I'm an architect!)

Enter Daniel, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego. Wow! These 4 young men had such undescribable and unwavering faith. Reading through their story made me wish for more background on these guys. How did they come to such a strong faith in the Lord? Did they grow up together? Meet for prayer breakfast on Friday mornings? Experience a series of lesser tests that assured them of God's faithfulness? I just wonder.

What I do know is that none of them folded when the going got rough and were tested. I long to have the same faith that these young men did.

Daniel 3:16-18, 28
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from you hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.

...

then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who as sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

Do you ever feel like the world we live in is one big giant furnace, lashing flames toward us from every direction? The Bible says that when Nebuchadnezzar looked in the furnace where they had thrown Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego a fourth man-who looked like the son of God-was seen in the furnace with them. I think that this very happens when Satan looks at believers; Jesus walking beside you and me everywhere we go. How awesome is that? It reminds me of the incredible poem Footprints in the Sand by Mary Stevenson and would like to end this blog on these beautiful truths:

One night I had a dream.

I dreamed I was walking along the beach
with the Lord.

Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand,
one belonging to me, and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.

This really bothered me
and I questioned the Lord about it:
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why
when I need you most you would leave me."

The Lord replied:
"My precious child, I love you and would
never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints, it was then
that I carried you."
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