Saturday, March 30, 2013

Destruction or prosperity

Deuteronomy chapter 28 has an entire, lengthy, section on curses God would bestow upon the Israelites who were disobedient to him.

Those curses included sudden ruin, plague, drought, defeat by enemies, kidnapped family and stolen goods.

However, later God told his people that if they changed their ways and came back to him, "The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul."

We all hear, "Why me?" When events in life are tragic, we all wonder why it has happened to us. When it's a Christian, God always has a reason for the bad. However, many people who aren't Christians don't understand why their lives just don't seem to work out, no matter how hard they try.

It's because they are rebelling against God. He can't bless them when they aren't following their creator. The biggest problem is people don't want to give up doing what they want to do, even if it comes with horrible consequences. However, it's just not an option to go our own way and still be blessed.

"When such a person hears the words of this oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, 'I will be safe even though I persist in going my own way.' This will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. The Lord will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall upon him..."

Everyone has a choice between destruction or prosperity. Some might think that doesn't make sense. There are non-Christians our there who are very wealthy - but they are never satisfied, and they still have problems. They don't have peace at heart. There are also Christians out there who are very poor, but they are always prosperous in their hearts. They have peace and joy and wealth that is beyond monetary value.

Destruction or prosperity? Your life or God's life for you? It's as simple as that.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The fab five getting closer again

God always amazes me.

I have mentioned my four best friends from college several times before. When we graduated, we all went to different places. Two of us stayed in Iowa, one went to South Dakota and two followed their husbands to seminary in Chicago.

We have gotten together for weddings and bridal showers, but other than that we haven't seen each other much - at least as a five-some.

We expected that it would get worse, that once our two friends' husbands graduated from seminary that they would move to even farther away places. We have talked about how we would get together maybe once a year and eventually for baby showers and such.

However, a week ago we learned that one friend's husband got a job in Iowa and would be moving closer. Then today we learned that the other friend's husband got a job not half an hour away from me.

Now, the farthest of us is going to be four hours away from each other, and the closest of us within 20 minutes.

It wasn't what we expected, this coming back together. So much could have been different. What if they hadn't gotten those jobs? What if Nate and I had moved to Colorado like we talked about?

Yet, I have to think that this is God's work. We were brought together for a reason in college, and we've stayed friends for a reason once we all graduated and spread out. Now we're moving closer for a reason.

I am so thankful for these four ladies, and I am beyond ecstatic that Krystal is going to be in the next town over and that we can all get together much more often now.

I think God has big plans for us all in the future, and I can't wait to see what it is. Because if the past is any clue, we have no idea where we're going to end up! I kind of love that.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Materialism is so rampant in the U.S. today.

I started packing yesterday for our move in a week, and right now there are five suitcases and two backpacks full of my shoes and clothes sitting in the living room.

And that's not all of them. I only packed what I knew I could live without for the next week or two.

I don't spend a ton of money on clothes or shoes, because some of the items in those bags I have had since high school. However, I still could go for months without doing laundry and I'd have enough clothes. That is sad.

We have some much stuff shoved in our duplex right now, because we don't have any storage for all of Nate's hunting and fishing gear, and yet once we move we will hardly fill up our house.

It seems like the goal when you buy a house is to fill it up. You're supposed to buy furniture, vases, lamps, rugs, pillows, art for the walls, and do-dads to set on shelves. There are so many stores that base their entire businesses on selling items that we don't need but want to fill up our homes with.

I think that's something I'll need to keep in mind after we move. It's not about filling the house up with stuff. It's about making memories and providing a place for my family to want to come home to, to want to relax in. I'll have to be careful about the materialism part of having a home.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Our darkest secrets

What have you thought about lately that you wouldn't want people to know about?

This morning, our pastor asked what we would do if the entire congregation got to watch a movie reel of all our worst thoughts before service. Would we stay home? Would we ever show our face in public again?

Probably not.

However, he pointed out, God knows more about us than anyone. He knows our deepest darkest secrets.

And he still loves us.

In fact, he loves us enough that he died for us.

He took on our sins when he didn't deserve it. None of us would want people to think we did something horrible that we didn't do. But Jesus took on or guilt in front of the Father, and he gave everything up for us.

We are a bunch of stupid sheep that don't learn our lessons, but God continues to rescue us day after day, moment after moment.

What a great God we have!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

God demands ALL

Deuteronomy 6 is called "Love the Lord Your God."

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength," the fifth verse says.

It goes on to say the 10 commandments are so important that we should "impress them on your children. Talk about then when you sit at home and when you walk down the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

When I am at home, I talk about work and food and friends. Walking down the road, I talk about what's going on and plans for the future. Lying down I talk about what's on TV and what time I need to get up the next day. Getting up, I don't talk about much of anything - still not a morning person.

If my conversations were more God-centered and my thoughts on his Word more I bet I would be much better off and my relationship with God much stronger.

What does it mean to love God with ALL our hearts, souls and strengths? ALL is quite the word.

I love God with part of each, but he doesn't ask for that. He doesn't ask for anything actually. He demands everything.

God wants ALL of us so much that he said we should write his commands I the door frames of our houses.

What do I need to change to give all of myself to God? What do you?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Kids are more important

I listed to a comedian on Sirius/XM today, and the sketch was a reminder to me for how I want to be when Nate and I have children.

I don't remember the exact words, but the premise was he was yelling at his kid for messing up the paint on the walls in their home.

He told his son to stop and then realized what he was doing - he was placing the paint in front of the joy in his kid's heart.

It's good to teach children about the importance of taking care of what they have. However, it's also important to remember that we should allow kids to have fun.

Childhood isn't about perfection, it's about making memories, learning and growing. They should be able to be creative and have fun in crazy, expressive and sometimes messy ways.

I don't know how I'll feel when I see my kids messing up the room I just cleaned, but I want to make sure my kids are more important than those little things.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A messy life

I passed a local church sign today, and it flashed a message: "Have you made a mess of your life?"

I looked at my wedding ring and thought how I'm married, am about to buy a house and thought - "I think I've done pretty well. I'm where I always imagined I would be."

Then I added, "Thank the Lord."

I guess that's what the sign was suggesting. Without my faith, without having a reason to do what's right, where would I be?

If I did everything I wanted and that sounded fun, I probably would have made a mess of my life. Thank the lord that when he is in control life is just how it should be.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Homemade pillows

I love to be crafty.

I showed my friends the two pillows I made for another friend's bridal shower that I'm throwing and they laughed and said I was ridiculous.

That's because I made a felt flower on one out of petals I stenciled, cut out, traced onto felt, cut out and sewed I a fat quarter. I then made the pillows and stuffed them. Although it saved me about $60, it took about four hours.

I don't care when crafts take time. Right now I'm also working on a rug that I'm crocheting out of yarn made from old T-shirts. It's time consuming but worth it.

I like to craft because it allows me to be frugal, and it makes me feel so accomplished.

It's so much more rewarding for me to give a gift or walk into a room and go, "I made that" rather than "I bought that."

I'm so looking forward to creating a semi homemade new home with Nate. And we get to start in less than a month!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Patience, Patience

Whew, Sunday was a lesson in patience.

Nate and I went out of town to watch his cousins' band perform, and the next day we woke up to a rain storm that had turned into almost blizzard conditions.

We hurriedly packed and set out for the three-hour drive home, but within about five minutes we realized that wasn't intelligent. We ended up staying at his cousin's house and watched the road conditions closely.

The road that we were supposed to take home ended closing completely because an accident blocked it, and then it was listed as "travel not advised" until 6:30 a.m. yesterday.

I was worried as I realized that I wouldn't make it home on time for work, and I started biting my nails as I realized I had made mistakes in preparing my girls for dance pictures tonight. I started getting nervous they wouldn't bring the right costumes and I would get in trouble at work.

I had to keep telling myself there was nothing I could do about the weather and to sit back and just the events one moment at a time.

I ended up working from my iPhone and using the Internet on that for e-mails, research and I did an interview in the car while Nate drove. I actually was quite productive today, even though I wasn't sitting at home on my computer.

Patience has never been my strong suit, but it seems like God is constantly teaching me lessons about the need to be patient. Whether it's patience at work, patience with family and friends, patience about money, patience about being late. We are almost always waiting for something.

I created a wall-hanging a few years ago that says, "One day at a time." I still have to constantly tell myself that, adding sometimes "One moment at a time." Not everything can be done this instant, so patience is definitely a key to survive everyday life.

End note: This is funny. I wrote and posted this blog yesterday, but it didn't go through for some reason. When I noticed I had to write some of it again I thought it was ironic that I had to have patience about a blog about patience.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The great debate

Money versus fun. Money versus fun. Money versus fun.

It seems like this is a constant battle inside my head.

We're in the process of buying a house. We have a car payment. We have school loans. We need to save money, and each time it comes up to go have some fun that costs money I immediately think about the fact we should stay home and save instead.

We took an hour's drive to a nearby city last week, and it was a spur of the moment thing. Nate said, "Yay, we're doing something fun and spontaneous."

I guess other than going to Florida, we haven't done much lately. We haven't eaten out, because I've been trying to save money by making good food at home. We haven't seen a movie or gone shopping. I've tried to put away every penny possible so we can make a nice down payment and buy the necessary things for when we move in.

We do need to not hole ourselves up just because we have bills to pay. Everyone does. I want my marriage to be fun and spontaneous. I want to create memories, not just leave behind a bank account.

I want to have fun, but I guess I'm just a penny pincher. I would rather have too much in the bank account than just enough. But that also doesn't always lead to the quality of life that spending money allows sometimes.

There's a fine line between being a good steward of what God has given you and hoarding away what you have and not living the life God has given you to the fullest.

Money versus fun. Money versus fun. Money versus fun.

I don't think that debate will ever lessen in my mind!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"The Bible" show

Have you watched "The Bible" on the History channel?

Nate and I stayed up late the other night and watched the new biblically-based show on the channel. I was excited that people in Hollywood had decided that attention should be paid to the most important book in the world.

Although there were a few inaccuracies that made me a little nervous, all in all, I have to agree with a friend of mine who said that the show isn't perfect but it is a great evangelical tool. Not only might it reach people who don't know stories from the Bible, but it is also a way for us Christians to start conversations about the Bible. People might be more willing to watch TV than to sit down and read the Bible on their own.

It's great when Hollywood realizes the importance of putting on biblically-centered entertainment. It's up to Christians to watch these shows and movies in order to show movie-makers that we support their endeavors. If they're not making money off of it, they're not going to do it.

Hollywood puts its money into movies that talk about witches, vampires and sexual encounters, because that's what sells. Industry leaders know that shows about food, style and "real-life" drama will draw viewers, so that's what they film.

Even though "The Bible" doesn't quite perfectly compact Bible stories, it does bring in a biblical standard to television, and I do think it's important that we watch and show we appreciate when pop culture includes God.