"We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. WeAll this is possible because of the motivation of our hope and salvation! It gives us the endurance to become the servants that Christ so desires for us to be.
continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus
Friday, September 28, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you have had toThe speaker further illuminated this by telling the metaphor of a pearl. Irritants applied to oyster shells create valuable pearls. One reason God applies trials to our lives is to reveal the value and strength of our faith--to us and others (He already knows!). What struck me as most poignant was the fact that, for each individual, God knows exactly how hard and how long a trial we require. He gives us no less and no more. Some of us will have gigantic pearls! That is comforting when we are pressed on all sides!
suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of
greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be
proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is
Monday, September 24, 2007
Sunday started with an early morning, as we all met in Fashion Island to walk in the Susan Komen walk for breastcancer awareness. This disease runs in my family, affecting my aunt, Ryan's aunt, and my sister. Both my aunt and sister are blessed survivors, and it was a joy to celebrate God's healing and provision for them as we walked the course. After the walk, Ryan, Susan--my mother-in-law--, Carter and I went to the Corner Bakery for breakfast before heading to church.
That afternoon, we celebrated my birthday with my family at my parents' home. You can see some of my nieces and nephews in the pictures above. I'm 33 now! I pray I can have a great year ahead, serving God and others and growing closer to my Heavenly Father.
Ryan and I celebrated my birthday a day early, on Saturday, by going to see the Dead Sea Scrolls in San Diego and eating at Jake's in Del Mar. It was a beautiful day, and it was fun being together without Carter and spending precious time laughing and just talking. Of course my very thoughtful husband also decorated the house with birthday decorations, had a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me and had some fun presents to open. It was a very blessed birthday, with the best gifts being time spent with those I love!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
"There can be no doubt that this possessive clinging to things is one of the mostI am reading A. W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God. My wise husband encouraged me to read it, and I have found many powerful and important nuggets of information about our relationship with our Heavenly Father. I am only now on chapter 4, but each chapter is short and deeper than many lengthy and wordy books that cross my path. I find myself rereading each chapter before I can move on to the next.
harmful habits in life. Because it is so natural, it is rarely recognized
for the evil that it is. But its outworkings are tragic." (20)
Tozer states, "Things have become necessary to us, a development neverWe have all failed miserably at the first commandment. There is the constant struggle to not put "idols" before the Lord our God. We fail miserably.
originally intended. God's gifts now take the place of God, and the whole
course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution." (16)
"We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear forAs Christ says in Matthew 16:24-25, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it."
their safety. This is especially true when those treasures are loved
relatives or friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came
not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and
nothing is really safe which is not so committed." (20)
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." I Thessalonians 5:11
It is time for a I Thessalonians 5:11 visit! This post is such a joy for me to write, because it is the culmination of YEARS of prayer and supplication on this couple's behalf. I am so happy to rejoice with them, and I hope you do too as I tell their story . . .
Dan and Beth Lauder have been close friends of ours for about five years now. We met them at a marriage Bible study, where they were our small group leaders. Their biblical dependence and caring hearts set them apart immediately. We knew we had found a couple who loved the Lord and others.
Through the years, I have been in accountability, along with numerous Bible studies, with Beth. We both have similar job experiences, teaching in the same school district. I count her as a dear friend and sister-in-Christ. She and Dan have ALWAYS had servants' hearts, continually serving others in small group leadership, in sending cards of encouragement to people who are in need of support, in helping with youth ministries and in taking the time to really listen to and know those around them.
Over the years, we have been praying for the most wonderful blessing for their family--a baby. Knowing both of them well, we knew that they would be incredible, godly parents. Through the years, Beth and Dan have clung to Christ and come back to Him over and over again with open hands, giving all their desires and dreams to Him. They relied on His good timing, His direction and His path for them. Their faith remained strong. In fact, their Christian walks flourished and their boldness was sharpened. They embodied the promise of Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
He said "no" for awhile. Though this has HURT tremendously at times, through the tears, they always saw the cross and the hope that God has given them in their salvation. They knew His choice was the best for them. Romans 8:18, "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."
Well, I am so pleased to say that God's choice was to give them a baby this week. A sweet, beautiful baby girl is blessing their socks off, and I am moved to tears with joy and thankfulness to our precious, precious Savior. I know that if God had continued to say "no" to a baby, they would have followed Him in their faith all the way, knowing His plan was best. This is the wonderful example they are to all of us.
Joy in all circumstances--that is the Lauders. His grace is sufficient, but He allows us even more because He loves us! What a wonderful, gracious Savior.
Friday, September 7, 2007
I have been reading Feminine Appeal, by Carolyn Mahaney. In reading the sixth chapter, entitled The Honor of Working at Home, I found that her book exposed feelings that I wasn't aware I had. I truly recognize the error of feminism and the fundamental problem of denying the biblical mandate for submission from women. I understand that being at home with Carter is a wonderful honor, but a selfish side of me has secretly missed the prideful recognition I got at work.
I'm an achievement driven individual. In school I aimed for straight A's. At work, I was concerned with accolades, awards and my reputation at the school at which I taught. Even with my need for these trivialities, I understand that pride is the sin that yearns for such things.
Carolyn reminded me of whom I ought to please through my job as a homemaker. First and foremost, I am to please God. I am doing all things for His glory, and I should know His grace is sufficient for me. (II Corinthians 12:9) No matter what my circumstances, I am to be obedient and loving. Kindly and graciously, God has given us earthly benefits for our service too. All the wonderful blessings that come with working at home are often foggy in the middle of a tough day. Here is a little reminder if you are finding today a particularly difficult leg of your race. I hope the following quote blesses you and gives you joy if you are facing a particularly hard day.
This excerpt is a little long, but it certainly is worth the read. On pages 114-115, she says,
"When I reflect upon my past twenty-nine years as a homemaker, a virtual
collage of memories floods my mind: Family Night every Monday.
Reading with my husband by the fire. Tucking my children into bed at
night with a song and a prayer. Waking them up for a surprise "pajama
ride" to Dunkin' Donuts. Reading Little House on the Prairie to my
daughters or Paddington Bear to my little boy.
Counseling a newly wed couple through their first disagreement.
Evenings of fellowship, food, and laughter with friends. Throwing a baby
shower for my unsaved neighbor. Extending hospitatlity to overnight
guests. Praying with other women in my living room.
Long talks with C.J. over a cup of coffee. Enjoying sweet forgiveness
after resolving a family conflict. Extending family dinnertime
conversations. Sharing with our children the good news of Jesus
And I'll never forget this memory: I was standing at my kitchen sink,
washing the breakfast dishes, when Chad entered the room. He was only four
years old at the time, and he began running in little-boy circles in front of the
refrigerator. He was singing a song he'd made up, and it went like
this: "You're the best mommy in the whole world! You're the best
mommy in the whole world!"
Though his song had only this one refrain, he continued for a full five
minutes. I stood there with the dirty dishes, watching my son and
thinking, I have the BEST JOB in the whole world!
My hope for this chapter is that as a fellow homemaker, you too will
I weep when I read these words, because I know how true they are in my home. There is nothing better than Carter, in his one and a half year old manner, running his crooked gallop straight to me, hugging my legs tightly, looking right up to me and smilingly and joyfully exclaiming, "Momma!" This is how he says, "I love you," and it is better than any teaching award or perfect report card I could ever receive.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slavesThese verses describe a high calling, but one that God so graciously provides in model to us. As we become closer and closer to Him, our sanctification should create MORE unity and MORE love in our marriages. Our desire to serve and encourage in love should outweigh our need to be served and loved.
to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women
to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at
home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not
"I believe that Scripture's specific commands to husbands and wives regardingThis is so true for me! I can easily make dinner, clean house and tend to Carter with a bad heart or attitude. What is harder for me is to be joyful, loving and affectionate as I serve!
their duties in marriage attest to our respective weaknesses. Men may be
weaker in showing sacrificial love and are therefore exhorted to undertake
it. But I believe women are generally weaker in exhibiting an affectionate
love--thus the instructions given to us in Titus 2. In fact, women will
often continue to sacrifice and serve their husbands even if all tender feelings
for them have subsided." (pg. 34)
"He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does notWe need to see our husbands in the same light we see ourselves--fallen sinners in need of a gracious and merciful Savior. Our patience will vastly improve when we recall how much we need forgiveness and understanding for our own flaws!
expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten
thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in
his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and,
therefore, he is not disppointed when he does not find it."
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
It's time for our I Thessalonians 5:11 Wednesday! In the spirit of that verse, each week I pick a person who has obediently blessed others in some way and encourage him or her in these actions. Many of you will immediately recognize the name of my person this week: George Igawa. Romans 15: 17 best summarizes George's perspective on serving others.
"Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God."I picked George Igawa because he is an obedient and willing vessel for the Lord, yet he flies under the radar for many people. You can find George doing anything from preparing and giving a sermon to blowing leaves off the parking lot early before church services. On Thursday evenings, you might spot a glimpse of George as he runs from room to room trouble shooting and happily setting up the requests for all the ministries that night. In fact, if there is a need, you will often find George filling that need with his mostly unrecognized service.
In co-leading the Thrive ministry, we often have requests for the church, and George, being the adult Bible studies director, gets to hear about our emergencies and requests the most often. He has graciously stepped in at Thrive and blessed us with teachings on numerous occasions. Last year, we had a last minute cancellation, and George had to prepare and give a teaching to the group with only one day of preparation. This weekend, as always, George had a ministry table elegantly set up for our group sign-ups, and even moved us to a different location (upon request) with nary a word.
What I most appreciate about George is his intense love for the Lord and the humility that results from his thankfulness to his Savior. He is beyond bold in his accolades for Jesus Christ and the spotlight is never on himself. In fact, this post will most likely be uncomfortable for him. I know he is merely being obedient as a child and servant of God, but I want to encourage George that he is doing an outstanding job and is a positive example to many of the flock. I am thankful for all he does to serve Christ's church, and I am happy to acknowledge such a humble and active soldier in God's army!
John 13 :15 "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done