Monday, January 25, 2010

Testing and Truth- Building Strong Believers

"Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you." Deuteronomy 8:2-4

I've been going through some testing of my own this last week. And through it all I have tried to cling to the rock of truth. The same truth that sets you free. In the midst of my emotions that often lead to wrong thoughts, I return to His truth. Faith is not built upon emotion, but upon the reality of the One who made the world and all that is in it; the One who created us and spoke to us; the One who really did come to this earth, lived among us, died for us, and rose again. No, our faith is built upon the reality of God and His truth claims. "Jesus answered, 'You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." John 18:37

Truth is not a feeling. Truth is not an idea. The truth is found in the Bible. Praise God for the tests in my life; may I learn to love and lean on you more!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dinner Improv

I didn't know being a newly married couple was going to make life so much busier! I used to be able to come home, leisurely make a nice meal & then enjoy it. Now it feels like I am running through the door only to continue to rush around to get me and my husband fed before it is time to go to bed and start it all over again in the morning!

In these often rushed moments, I have not been able to make the fancy meals I used to. I have begun to make 'experimental' dinners that surprisingly turn out great!

Just last week I was trying to figure out what to make with the ingredients we already had in the house. Flipping through the recipe books I stopped on scalloped potatoes. Only problem is we only had a few red potatoes left. We did, however, have a bunch of sweet potatoes. As you might have guessed, I used both red potatoes and sweet potatoes and added heavy whipping cream instead of the milk that it called for. A substitution here, switch there, and it turned into one of our favorite dishes!

Through the years I have learned the basics and now feel comfortable adding ingredients or omitting them if it sounds better to do so. Be brave and try it yourself. You may end up with a family favorite like we did!

Monday, January 18, 2010

My Public Declaration

To my friends and family: I love you and would never dream of doing anything to hurt you, but I love the LORD and seek to do His will.

Within the last couple of years, He has done a work in me. He has changed my heart and my way of thinking. Looking back, it is amazing to see the woman I was and the woman I am today. And it is by no means by my own powers, but of His.

I have discovered that God does exist and He lives. I have discovered that He came to earth and died for you and me. Jesus Christ came to live a sinless life, the life I could NEVER live, to save my wretched soul.

"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Romans 7:24-25

Again, I am not here to condemn anyone, but I come here in humble prayer that those who read this come to know the God I know. The God of Abraham, the God of the bible. I am so blessed to have His love. I don't know why He calls me, but i humbly accept His word.

Galatians 1

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— and all the brothers with me,
To the churches in Galatia:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.

Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord's brother. I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. Later I went to Syria and Cilicia. I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: 'The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.' And they praised God because of me."

I have found that God has taken me from where I was, in an awful depraved state to where I am today. I am by no means perfect, but I have been born a Child of God. He has called me and made me one of His own.

I am but a humble servant of the Lord. I want only to do His will and further His Kingdom. I have been blessed to have come to this point in my life. I have many family and friends who have lead me here. I come not to condemn you or your beliefs but to share with you the love I have received from Christ himself.

Again, my upbringing has lead me to this point and for that I am eternally grateful, but I move forward with the love of Christ and move past false doctrines and forward onto the perfect and correct Word of God.

"Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him." Proverbs 30:5

" The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. " Psalm 19:7

"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust. " Psalm 18:2

On Sunday, I was baptized into the family of Christ. What a glorious day it was!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mourn with those who mourn

I take comfort in knowing that God is in control of everything, including what is happening in Haiti. Although we may not understand it, He IS in control.

It feels as if we are worlds away. I can't even imagine the pain the Haitian people are going through. This morning I read a blog of a woman in Haiti with her adoptive son. It all became real reading her experience. The cries of people in the streets and the houses that have just crumbled to the ground. One thing she said gave me a glimmer of hope. In the hillside near her home, that is still structurally sound, came the noise of women singing praise songs and reading their bibles. The best thing I can do to help these grieving people is to grieve alongside them, get down on my knees and pray & donate to organizations in the country giving aid.

Romans 11:33-36
'Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord?Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Taste and see...

... that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

God is SO good! Even when things get rough at it feels like he isn't there, he comes and shows me that he IS. God, help me to never forget that. May I finally overcome my 'spiritual amnesia'.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Too much to do in too little time

Another day, another hundred things on the 'to do' list. Well, not really that many, but a lot needs to be done. And to add to my list, there are about a dozen different crafts I want to start and/or finish.

Who can resist these photos?

My dear husband bought me a new sewing machine for Christmas so I have jumped into a few projects. My first attempt at sewing, a patchwork baby blanket, is coming along nicely. I guess I am going to have to buckle down, get through my 'to do' list and get the blanket done so I can start on something new like these adorable booties, or else I will end up with a lot of unfinished projects!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Just the beginning

Hello cyberspace, my name is Nicole!

This blog has been long in the making. There are so many things in life that I want to celebrate and share with you. I am going to be sharing with you my faith and love I have from the Lord Jesus Christ, my newlywed stories, crafting fun & of course swapping recipes with my reading audience.

Ultimately this blog is about striving to be a virtuous woman, the woman that God calls me to be. I am not perfect but every day I strive to be like the woman described in Proverbs 31; that is what Living 31 is all about.

30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

I look forward to sharing with you and hopefully offering a little bit of encouragement too!

In Christ, Nicole