Thursday, April 28, 2011

Defeating Apathy

Ever feel like there are people around you who just don't seem to care? People are starving in other countries, even in our own backyards, yet nothing is done about it. I am not trying to point a finger, because I know there are times when I am just too "busy" with my own worries to help others, but I want to address a real problem plaguing America and plaguing the church; apathy.

What brought this subject to my attention are some recent fundraisers I've been working on. The latest one in particular is for victims of human trafficking / global sex trade. Believe it or not but slavery is still alive and active throughout the world and World Concern is doing something about it.

My experience in fundraising has been an up hill battle. I call and e-mail and facebook about a cause and then wait. And wait. And wait. It always seems to end up being me (and Jeremy of course) and my in-laws who donate or give any support. Why is this? I know that times are hard and money is tight. I know that we are all busy doing our own things and serving our own passions. I know that adding one more thing to our list of things to do or support may be too much for some.

What saddens me is that I thought people would want to help. In a world full of suffering and genuine need, but here in America we care more about what is happening with the latest celebrity couple or tv show the night before.

What I want to see is people embracing their God given duty to give to the orphan and widow. To care for the foreigner and downtrodden. When He was here that is exactly what He did and if He was here on earth today, that is what He would do now.

I am reminded of the story that Jesus told about the two sons, one who said he would not do as his father asked but then later did it and the other son who said he would do the task and didn't. How often is that us? We listen to a sermon on Sunday, say we'll help God's people as He has asked and then it slips right out our ears as we drive away.
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." -James 1:22
One of my favorite gospel songs has lyrics that inspire me to Get up in Jesus' name.
In the day which we live in, there's evil everywhere
The body seems discouraged and overcome with fear
Well God is needing soldiers, to get out of the pews
And take hold of the power that John and Peter used
My prayer is that God's people get out of the pews and live for Him. Love for Him. Serve and give for Him. We are the church and we are His hands and feet on earth. Let it not be said that we are hearers and not doers. Lord, help us to see the need in the world and take action in Jesus' precious and holy name. Amen.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Just finishing up the best weekend ever. Seattle had the hottest day of the year on Saturday and Jerm and I enjoy it with my Mom booting around town. Today we got to spend Easter with my wonderful in-laws. Favorite moment of the day was singing hymns at their home while my father-in-law played the guitar. It was a very special moment. And of course, we praised our precious Savior and His resurrection all weekend long. Truly blessed! Thank you, Jesus, for your unfailing and merciful love!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

{Empty Tomb Easter Treat}

It is the day before Resurrection Sunday and I have an awesome little treat to share with you. I thought these were a neat way to share the story of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection, however, I have a new idea that I knew I had to share with you!

This is super easy and cute, not to mention tasty! You will need:

* graham crackers
* chocolate donettes
* mini oreos
* peanut butter (or frosting if food allergy)
* shredded coconut and green food coloring

The first step is to put some of the coconut in a ziplock bag with a few drops of green food dye. Mix the coconut around until it is evenly coated to look like grass.

Next, spread a thin layer of peanut butter or frosting on the graham cracker.

Cut a small part of the donut off on one side so it will sit flat on the graham cracker.

Now it is time to assemble the treat! With the graham covered in PB, place the donut cut side down on one side of the graham. Place your 'grass' in front of the donut tomb and pat it down. Take one side of a mini oreo cookie off and place the cookie slightly to the side of the donut, resembling the stone that had been rolled away.

And the final step is to add a sign which exclaims, 'He is risen, because He did indeed rise!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In Remembrance of Me...

We are just about through the Passion Week and I am reminded that today is the day that the Lord instituted the Holy Communion, or Lord's Supper.
"I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty." - John 6:35

"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me'." -Luke 22:19
It was on this day over 2,000 years ago that Jesus and His disciples partook of the Passover. But this Passover wasn't like any of the other Passovers, this one was special. It was there that Jesus commanded His disciples and His other called and chosen followers to remember His coming death and suffering for us. The way we remember that is by eating of the unleavened bread.

To understand the significance of the unleavened bread you have to look at how it is referenced through ought scripture. At the time of the first Passover in Egypt, the Children of Israel were in such a hurry to get out, that they just grabbed the bare essentials. That meant no yeast. God instructed them to observe that day each year to remember the great work He did for His children in redeeming them from the evils of Pharaoh and Egypt. Fast forward to Jesus' time when He told them to remember another day, when He would redeem them, once and for all, with His blood.

Still, there are other references to leaven or yeast in scripture that should be noted. "Whenever leaven is mentioned in the bible, 22 times in the Old Testament and 17 times in the New Testament, it always or almost always, represents sin or evil." The unleavened bread was without leaven or yeast which represents sin and Jesus, our 'bread of life', was without sin.

And still further, in the practice of a traditional Jewish Seder, the matzoh, or unleavened bread, is kept in a matzoh bag. Three pieces are kept in 3 different compartments of the bag. The middle bread is broken in two, and half of that will be hidden. After the meal, the children are sent out to find it. Then, every member of the family eats a small piece. I don't know about you, but everything about that and all of the other practices from a traditional seder meal, scream out to me, "This is all about Jesus!":

*The 3 different matzohs represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
*The middle matzoh being broken in two represents the Messiah; broken, striped and pierced for us all,
*And, the half of the middle matzoh that is hidden represents the body of Christ which was gone from the tomb

The bible is FULL of symbolism and I have to tell you, I love it! To understand the Jewish customs and know what meaning they had then, can add that much more meaning to your experience of Jesus now, because all scripture was written for our learning to teach us endurance and give us hope. And that hope we have when we take the time to remember Him and the sacrifice He made at His death on the cross.
"I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever. The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." -John 6:51

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Love Letters

When Jeremy and I first started courting, he would send me love letters. Throughout the time that we were getting to know each other, these letters would arrive in my inbox (dating is so high tech these days :P) and with each sweetly written note, I could see the genuine feelings that were growing between us.

So it is with our relationships with others. I have been reminded of the verse in 2 Corinthians that says:

As I live my life and share my 'letter' with others, what message am I sending? How many times has my letter been spam, junk mail, or heaven forbid, hate mail.

I love the way this verse sounds from the Message: "Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it."

I want my letter to resound with the love of Jesus Christ. In a world full of all sorts of messages, I choose Christ as the letter and message I want to share. I want to BE a love letter for Him!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Perfect Timing

All things happen in God's perfect timing. Loving the time in my life that God has given me! Feeling so blessed!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fresh Perspectives

Interested in world events? Love to watch silly youtube videos? Well thanks to my husband (my supplier of funny and often times ridiculous videos) you can have both!

Jeremy said that the little girl, Morgan, reminds him of me. I hope you learn as much as I did; kids = too cute!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

His Holy Temple

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? -1 Corinthians 3:16
How many of us actually treat our bodies like they are a temple of God? Do we watch what we eat or do we carelessly put in whatever happens to be around? (Chocolate why must you do this to me!?) Or how many of us have would rather lounge around than get up and use our bodies to serve Christ and His kingdom? I have to admit to neglecting the temple I have been given these ways before. But still others will end up fanatical about their bodies and work out too much or engage in yo-yo diets just to get the "perfect body". I have put my body through that treatment as well. Both of these extremes are not healthy and are not good for the body or soul. It is only when we align our thoughts and ways with God's where we find balance and the correct way to handle the gift we've been given.

In her book, Greater Health God's Way by Stormie Omartian, she says, 'Your body is a tool of ministry. Do you think you can serve the Lord better in sickness than you can in health? Do you want to serve Him for a couple of decent years, or would you rather have ten, twenty, or thirty more great ones? Our physical condition can influence our spiritual lives far more than we often realize. If we are disciplined in the care of our physical bodies, we are far more likely to be disciplined in our spiritual lives, too.' Her book has opened my eyes to a lot of different ways we can care for our bodies the way God meant us to with proper exercise, healthy eating, fresh air, plenty of water and rest.

Along with Stormie's book, I have recently taken up something called Holy Yoga which is yoga without all the eastern mysticism thrown in. In exchange, christian meditation replaces that spot. Consider it a work out and devotional all in one. I have really enjoyed myself in this class. Besides the fellowship and teaching I've received, when I practice at home by myself, the quiet time in prayer has been very sweet. The different poses can be somewhat challenging but start with the easier ones and as you get comfortable you can move onto the ones where you twist yourself up like a pretzel. Just kidding, but not really!

Ultimately, the most important thing we can do with our bodies is to glorify God with them in how we treat them physically (with good exercise, healthy food, fresh air and rest) and spiritually (with His Word, quiet time and prayer). It has taken nearly 25 years for me to come to have right thinking when it comes to my body and how I should treat it. And like David I will say, "I praise You because I was fearfully and wonderfully made" and because of that I will give my body to the Lord as "a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God."

Monday, April 4, 2011

Abide in My Word

Do you ever sit through a sermon and have an 'aha!' moment, when something finally clicks, or when a verse just comes alive with wisdom? I had that experience during yesterdays sermon. The verse our pastor referenced was John 8:32, about knowing the truth and the truth setting us free. The sentence just before it is the one that caught my eye, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The key phrase being, abide in my word. In order to know what exactly His truth is, we need to be in His word. According to the definition, abide means to:

That means Jesus wants us to continually stay in His word. If we don't, we are bound to end up walking our own way only thinking we are walking in truth, but we are not. I know that is the case for me. If ever I go a few days without His Word guiding me, I face this world on my own and the results are disastrous. And honestly, I'm glad they are, because I never want to think I can handle life without Him and His guidance.

This last week I shared some precious time with my Lord, in His word. It is in those moments when I can learn more about the character of God and His truth, because His Word IS truth. There is nothing more precious to me than this special time I have with Him and as a spring cleaning measure in my life, I am 'cleaning out' all the junk that has entered in. The envy, the laziness, the too much TV habit, it's all gotta go because He means more to me than those things and I want to abide in Him! What spring cleaning do you need to do in order to more fully abide in Him?