Monday, January 30, 2012

One Thousand Gifts (Continued)

"'You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD" (Jeremiah 29:12-14).

"Let Me Rediscover You"- those were the words sung Saturday night at the concert we went to by the group, "Downhere". I love the reminder that even though I am constantly reminded of God's glory, His grace and His faithfulness, I need to continually seek my Lord and "rediscover" Him!!

Lyrics to "Let Me Rediscover You":

Your spirit hovers over my waters
Your love burns longer than the sun
The skies of thunder echo you wonder
Your praises can't be over - sung

The whole Universe is witness
To only a part of what you've done
So let me rediscover you
And breathe in me your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
Oh, let me rediscover you

You see my weakness, my pride, my blindness
You wield your power through them all
Of all the mysteries, still, the greatest to me
Is that you're faithful when I fall

How can I say I know you
When what I know is still so small?
Let me rediscover you and breathe in me your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
Oh, let me rediscover you

Let me cry "holy, holy, holy"
Let me awaken to your majesty
And see a glimmer of your glory
Let me abide in you

let me rediscover you
and by your grace I'll follow through
reveal to me the God I thought I knew

let me rediscover you
And breathe in me your life anew
Tell me of the God I never knew
And let me rediscover you

Oh, let me rediscover you
Tell me of the God I never knew
Jesus, let me rediscover you.

"Downhere"s lead singer, Marc Martel's audition (which he won) for lead singer of the Queen tribute band


Continuing to give thanks...


-a GREAT concert and evening on Saturday night
-inspiring, Christian lyrics
-a husband who inspires me to broaden my musical repertoire and has introduced me to many great Christian bands
-a full gas tank (thanks, Hon)
-a fun, date night
-50% off at Dairy Queen
-Deborah excited to play with the babies who came to visit; waiting by the window, "Babies are coming!"
-visits with church family

-more yummy treats from Jesse's baking winter enrichments
-taking pride in his baking skills

-our helper

-working hard on her project
-great results (and a great mark) on her hard worked project

-pulling the children on the sled and hearing the word, "Again"?

-playing in the snow

-love and protection for his baby sister

Monday, January 23, 2012

One Thousand Thanks con't

"[God] saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5).

In awe...
I've been living in the "country" for 17.5 years (it's "country" living compared to the city living that I grew up in), and I am still in awe of its beauty and charm. We love where we live! We walk across the road and we are able to go cross country skiing in the winter, biking in the spring, soccer in the summer, etc. This past weekend, we received a bit of snow (at last, but unfortunately it has now all melted away), so we went sledding out in the back fields, skating in the woods, and cross country skiing at the park! I am in awe of the beauty that surrounds me every day.

I was reminded yesterday in church of how often I am NOT in awe of God's grace and mercy that He bestows upon me every day. He initiated a relationship with me, and He chose me. He became the sacrificial lamb for me. Now, that's something to be in awe of!!

Continuing to give thanks...

-God's mercy
-God becoming the sacrificial lamb for me
-God chose me
-the beautiful rainbow today that God put in the sky

-hiking through the back fields

-willing to try new things
-safety and a great day being goalie at the grade school tournament

-overcoming fears

-siblings having fun together
-wipe outs

-winter hikes

-siblings excited about each other's birthdays

-puzzle time with Aunt Trish
-black dolls and grandparents who buy them (they bought 1 and we bought 2)
-celebrating birthdays with grandparents

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday!

"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD"
(Psalm 150:6).

-the cake BEFORE she reached into it!

-she loved her balloons (perhaps her best gift)!

This past week our precious baby girl turned two (can I still call her our "baby"?). I can't believe she's two already! It has been such a joy and pleasure to watch her grow and develop into such a fun, loving little girl. She had LOTS of fun celebrating with some of her cousins and other relatives. She adores her cousins and had so much fun running wild in the basement with her cousins and siblings. She also enjoyed zipping down the slides at McDonald's. Yet, while we celebrated another birthday with our precious daughter, there was another mommy half way around the world, grieving the loss of her daughter. We are eternally grateful of the sacrifice that Deborah's birth mom made and we are so thankful to God for bringing Deborah into our family forever!

Monday, January 16, 2012

One Thousand Gifts (Continued)

"May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word"
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
Continuing to give thanks...
#2275- #2289
-encouraging words from blogger friends and family
-God's Words- the most encouraging words of all
-money raised for the school
-Christian movies encouraging us to be men/women of integrity as we groom the next generation
-friends who help clean-up
-our amazing, very capable babysitter, our nephew
-Deborah making me laugh as she goes crazy on the slippery trampoline
-laughing when reading books
-sharing and learning together in Bible study
-Nicole's piano playing

-our busy, precious, little girl (who turns 2 tomorrow)

-homework time

-dressing up (even if it's with boxers)

-painting with just water
-learning to love crafts

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Do not be discouraged"

"...do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go"
(Joshua 1:9).

It's so hard not to be discouraged when...

-no children were sponsored

-fewer people than we expected came to our movie fundraiser that we were so passionate and excited about

-when fruit from kingdom work takes a long time to appear.

I can't imagine how Joshua must have felt, knowing that he would be taking over Moses' job as leader. However, God promised him His very own presence and He promises that to us too.

"Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him,my Saviour and my God" (Psalm 42:5,6a).

Forgive me Lord, for not trusting in your work- that seeds may have been planted and that you have a plan and a reason for those who were at our movie event. Forgive me, Lord for being judgemental and for being downcast. Forgive me Lord for not praising you for the your many blessings and for the money that was raised for the school. Thank-you for the encouraging words from friends/spiritual mentors. Thank-you for my sister- my biggest supporter and encourager. Lord, help us not to get discouraged, to trust in you, and to continue to do your work for YOUR glory.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wifey Wednesday

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8

This week's Wifey Wednesday is about pornography.
A topic that hits so close to home.

First of all, I agree with everything that Shiela Wray Gregoire says, so you'll have to read her blog first! http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/

When we spoke at our church's marriage conference about purity in marriage, these are some things that we said:

So, what does sexual purity mean for the married man and woman? Shannon Ethridge writes in her book, “Every Woman’s Battle”, “For a married woman [or man], sexual integrity equates to intimately connecting physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (in all ways, not just some) with her [his] husband [wife] and no other man [woman] outside of her [his] marriage. Any compromise whatsoever (physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual) affects her [his] sexual integrity as a whole. One infected part will eventually infect all of its corresponding parts or, at the very least, rob her [him] of the sexual wholeness and fulfillment that God longs for her [him] to have.”

Just as the dictionary definitions uses the words “freedom from…”, in the context of marriage, sexual purity includes the freedom from many things such as pornography, secrets, impure thoughts, and emotional connections with the opposite gender. Sexual purity also includes the freedom to many things such as a guilt free marriage, complete openness, and spiritual growth.

It is imperative to strive for purity in marriage. God commands that we live pure and holy lives as He says in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God…For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God who gives you His Holy Spirit”. In Ephesians 5:3-4 God commands that there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity…because these are improper for God’s holy people.

On our website, www.parentsforpurity.org, we have listed 10 reasons for living lives of purity based on the book, “Think Before You Look” by Daniel Henderson. We would like to highlight a few of those reasons in respect to marriage. First, by living lives of purity, you as a married couple, strive to live a life of complete honesty and clear conscience. Psalm 32:2 says, “Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty”. Most of our sexual impure lifestyle is done in secrecy, which is full of lies and deception, leading to a guilty conscience. When we reveal ourselves from behind the mask of sin, we are set free to truly be ourselves to God, to our spouse, and to others. When you are struggling with something, confess it to God, asking for his help and forgiveness, then confess it to your spouse. Don’t let Satan have power of your struggles and don’t let it grow in the darkness. This is comparable to a mushroom which grows and thrives in the dark. We need to bring our struggles and sins in the light, so that they won’t grow and so that we can live in “complete honesty”. We experienced this in our own lives; as soon as the sin is exposed to the light of God’s Word it is not able to grow anymore. James 5:16 tells us the truth about this: “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other, so that you may be healed.” (not a physical healing, but spiritually). When Paul and I bring our sins and struggles out in the open (and that’s not an easy thing to do, but the benefits are huge), we are able to take steps to specifically address those struggles and safeguard our marriage from future damage.

Another reason for couples to live lives of purity is to honour your marriage vows of purity, faithfulness, and trust. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage should be honoured by all and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Avoid putting yourself in compromising situations in order to maintain purity within the bonds of marriage out of respect and love for your spouse and for God. Sexual purity is not a line- how far can I go, but rather a lifestyle to be maintained throughout our lives.

By living lives of purity, we are able to experience the joy and blessing that result in living a life that is Christ-centered, not self-centered. Psalm 97:11 says, “Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.” Self-indulgence (or self gratification, which sexual sin is) prevents us from experiencing REAL JOY from loving first Jesus, then Others (specifically our spouses), then Yourself.

Lastly, by living lives of purity, as a couple we develop a close relationship with God. Ephesians 4:7 says, “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.” When our minds are cluttered with sinful thoughts and impurity, we are unable to clearly focus on God due to hardness in our hearts caused by sin. Conversely, when we allow Christ to transform our hearts from sin, our love relationship with Him and our marriages will flourish. In our marriages, we need to help each other become as much like the Lord Jesus Christ as possible. Martha Peace in her book, “The Excellent Wife” calls this “mutual sanctification”. She describes this as a process that includes confession, forgiveness, and giving and receiving Biblical correction with the intent to restore the other person to a right relationship with God.

Sexual purity will help protect the bonds of your marriage. It will help prevent marriage breakdown. It will promote relational intimacy and spiritual health.

I remember so clearly the pain and hurt that pornography caused me and our marriage. However, I will always remember and be forever grateful to God for the healing and restoration that took place afterwards. It is my prayer for all marriages to live open, honest, pure lives that seek to glorify our heavenly Father.

Monday, January 9, 2012

One Thousand Gifts (Continued)

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God's people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work"
(2 Timothy 3:16-17 TNIV).

Continuing to give thanks...

-fond memories from my pastor when I was young
-our guest pastor- my pastor from growing up!
-the reminder from our guest pastor of why it's so important to read God's Word
-God's Word- thoroughly equipping us
-praying for my spouse every day challenge http://31daystopray.com/31dbbs-challenge//

-getting in a few days of skating
-a big sister eager to take her little sister skating for the first time

-Deborah's movie buddy

-Nicole's love for crafts and her great crochet creations
-determination to finish her elephant
-skating with cousins
-back to school routines
-our "date" afternoon
-fun at the indoor water park
-Curtis' ear infection getting better
-an overdue visit with a friend and feeling like time never past

Monday, January 2, 2012

One Thousand Gifts (con't)

"Know therefore that the LORD you God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands"
(Deuteronomy 7:9)


I'm not one for making New Year's Resolutions, because it's rather discouraging when I don't keep them (not intentionally, though). However, I would like to make it my resolution to read the book, "The Resolution for Women" (which is already sitting on my night table).

Written in partnership with the film, COURAGEOUS, The Resolution for Women focuses on joyfully honoring God as a wife, mother, and family member while resolving to live with the grace that leaves a godly legacy.

In the movie, COURAGEOUS, I'm very inspired by the conversation that takes place with the group of men and one says, "You've been a good enough father", and the other man responds with, "But, I don't want to be just good enough".

I too don't want to be just a good enough Mom, or wife, or daughter, or friend, etc. As parents, we are molding our children for the next generation, and the next generation after that. I want to be intentional about embracing and thriving in God's beautiful and eternal calling on my life.

This year, I have continued to see God's never ending love, and His great faithfulness. I have been blessed beyond words.

My cup runneth over.

Continuing to give thanks for my many blessings...

-skiing and bonding with my daughter
-enjoying the snow while we could

-enjoying her birthday cake (a bit too much, perhaps)!

-sibling team spirit
-playing games with family on New Year's Eve

-rock, paper scissors tournament (the tie breaker in which our family lost)

-patience with his long list of projects
-having him home for a few days during the holidays
-his jogging group

-colder weather for a few days

-enjoying God's creatures- both great and small and in all weather climates
-base heaters to get ourselves warm
-cozy fire places

-skiing and play dates with cousins (since when did she start fitting into my shoes and boots?)

-a year full of many blessings
-milestone birthdays
-good health
-family vacations and outings
-resting in the knowledge that God has all things in His control