Monday, March 24, 2008
We had a delightful weekend, despite another car accident. Think fender bender minus the fender...well, there is a bungee holding up what's left. :o) Praise God for His protection. No additional damage that wasn't already under orders to repair from previous crash. Car will be good as new in a couple of weeks. Yeah!
Giggled our way through Horton Hears a Who with Uncle Bob and retreated back to his pad for Easter surprises and a bit of Tylenol for my nose-lash. :o)
Wonderful worship & celebration of Easter at CLC. Joined friends Nate & Steph for more spring fun with egg hunts, games & a delicious meal. More Easter blessings & sweet gifts for the Gracie girl that had me weeping. Giving thanks for those loving deposits into my Gracie girl. God places the lonely in families...He's just like that.
Out of the mouth of babes:
Grace gleefully opened a colored egg to find a bracelet (the wrist kind) that said, "God Rocks" to which she matter of factly replied "That's odd."
Sunday, March 23, 2008
“If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins”—1 Corinthians 15:17
Islam and Judaism swear the resurrection of Jesus Christ never happened. Jehovah’s Witnesses claim Jesus’ physical body was discarded, destroyed, or dissolved into gasses. Jesus Seminar fellows laugh it off as mere wishful thinking. What if they are right? What if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead?
If that’s the case, there is no Christianity…no hope…no future. But if Christianity is factually reliable, then Jesus’ resurrection is the greatest feat in human history. There is no middle ground.
So how can we know today what actually happened 2,000 years ago?
For one, there were witnesses.
Jesus gave his disciples many convincing proofs that he had risen from the dead. Luke wrote in Acts 1:3, “He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God .” Likewise, the apostle Peter made a powerful proclamation confidently stating that many credible eyewitnesses could confirm the fact of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances: “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact”
(Acts 2:32 ). The apostle Paul also points out that Christ “died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day….and after that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:3–6).
It would have been one thing for Paul to attribute these supernatural experiences to people who had already died. It was quite another to attribute them to multitudes who were still alive. As the famed New Testament scholar of Cambridge University C. H. Dodd points out, “There can hardly be any purpose in mentioning the fact that most of the five hundred are still alive, unless Paul is saying in effect, ‘The witnesses are there to be questioned.’”
Point two…the effect.
What happened as a result of the resurrection is unprecedented in human history. In the span of a few hundred years, a small band of seemingly insignificant believers succeeded in turning an entire empire upside down. While it is conceivable that they would have faced torture, vilification, and even cruel deaths for what they fervently believed to be true, it is inconceivable that they would have been willing to die for what they knew to be a lie. As Dr. Simon Greenleaf, the famous Royall Professor of Law at Harvard, put it:
“If it were morally possible for them to have been deceived in this matter, every human motive operated to lead them to discover and avow their error….
If then their testimony was not true, there was no possible motive for this fabrication.” Peter, who was once afraid of being exposed as a follower of Christ, after the resurrection was transformed into a lion of the faith and suffered a martyr’s death. James, the half-brother of Jesus, who once hated everything his brother stood for, after the resurrection calls himself “a bond-servant… of the Lord Jesus Christ”
(James 1:1 nasb). He not only became the leader of the Jerusalem church but in a.d. 62 was martyred for his faith. The apostle Paul, likewise, was transformed. Once a ceaseless persecutor of the growing church, Paul became the chief proselytizer of the Gentiles. And these men were not alone. Within weeks of the resurrection, not just one, but an entire community of at least ten thousand Jews gave up the very traditions of their national and religious identity.
So, what about you?
Each day, people of every tongue and tribe and nation are baptized in the name of the risen Christ. They have come to realize that Christ cloaked himself in human flesh to restore the relationship with God broken by our sin, that Christ lived the perfect life we could never live, and that he died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose again from the dead. When they believe that this is no mere fantasy, but a well-attested fact of ancient history, they take the final step and personally experience the resurrected Christ.
Recognizing that they are sinners, they repent of their sins and receive Jesus Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives. Today Christians everywhere not only know Christ evidentially but experientially as well. Christ is more real to them than the very flesh on their bones.
Are you ready to embrace the truth of the Resurrection?
In essence, becoming a follower of Jesus Christ involves realizing that you are a sinner, being willing to repent of your sins, and then receiving Christ as the Savior and Lord of your life.
Realize that you are a sinner.
Sin is not just murder, rape, or robbery. Sin is failing to do the things you should and doing those things you should not. In short, sin is a word that describes anything that fails to meet God’s standard of moral perfection. As such, sin is the barrier between you and a satisfying relationship with God. As the Bible puts it, “Your iniquities [sins] have separated you from your God” (Isaiah 59:2) and “God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 5:6).
Repent of your sin.
Repentance is an old English word that describes a willingness to turn away from sin and turn toward Jesus Christ. It literally means a complete U-turn on the road of life—a change of heart and a change of mind. It means a willingness to follow Jesus Christ and receive Him as Savior and Lord. In the words of Christ, “The time has come….The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15 ).
Receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
True saving faith entails not only knowledge and agreement, but trust. You can know about Jesus Christ and you can agree that he has saved others, but until you personally place your trust in Him, you will not be saved. As the Lord Jesus proclaims, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). Put another way, “Whoever believes in [Jesus Christ] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).
Even now you can receive the resurrected Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. One way to do so is simply to pray a prayer like this one—and remember, there is no magic in the words; God is looking at the intent of your heart.
I thank You that You have provided a way for me to have a relationship with You; I realize that I am a sinner; I thank You that You are my perfect Father; I thank You for sending Jesus to be my Savior and Lord; I repent and receive His perfection in exchange for my sin. Amen.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate. Germain Greer
When Christ said: ''I was hungry and you fed me,'' he didn't mean only the hunger for bread and for food; he also meant the hunger to be loved. Jesus himself experienced this loneliness. He came amongst his own and his own received him not, and it hurt him then and it has kept on hurting him. The same hunger, the same loneliness, the same having no one to be accepted by and to be loved and wanted by. Every human being in that case resembles Christ in his loneliness; and that is the hardest part, that's real hunger. Mother Teresa
Maybe I'm just hungry. Maybe I need to be bread for another.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
"I am writing to ask for you all to pray for a beautiful 2 year old boy named Jake Schied. Jake is my brother-in-law Pete's 2 year old cousin. Jake is an adorable, blond haired, vibrant little boy who was diagnosed with tumors on both of his retina's in November. Since then he has had about 5 rounds of chemo. He as undergone all his chemo treatments for both eyes and the cancer persists in his left eye. His mom informed everyone today that the doctors are recommending they remove his left eye as soon as possible. This will most likely be done very soon and we need to keep praying for his successful recovery. Thank you all in advance for keeping Jake and his family in your prayers - they most definitely need them."
On behalf of my colleague, heartfelt thanks for bringing this need before the throne. The following prayer is adapted from an awesome prayer resource, Prayers That Avail Much, by Germaine Copeland Word Ministries, Inc.
Father, in the name of Jesus, we confess Your Word concerning healing for Jake Sheid. As we do this, we believe and say that your Word will not returned to You void, but will accomplish what it says it will. Therefore, we believe in the name of Jesus that Jake is healed, according to 1 Peter 2:24. It is written in Your Word that Jesus himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. Therefore, with great boldness and confidence we say on the authority of that written Word that Jake is redeemed from the curse of sickness, and we refuse to tolerate its symptoms.
Satan, we speak to you in the name of Jesus and say that your principalities, powers, your spirits who rule the present darkness and your spiritual wickedness in heavenly places are bound from operating against our children, even Jake, in any way. Our children are the property of Almighty God, and we give you no place in them. They dwell in the secret place of the Most High God. Our children abide, remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty, whose power no foe can withstand.
Now, Father, because we reverence and worship You, we have the assurance of Your Word that the angel of the Lord encamps around about Jake and delivers him from every evil work. No evil shall befall him; no plague or calamity shall come near his dwelling. We confess the Word of God abides in Jake and delivers to him perfect soundness of mind and wholeness in body and spirit from the deepest parts of his nature in his immortal spirit even to the joints and marrow of his bones. That Word is medication and life to Jake's flesh, for the law of the Spirit of life operates in Jake and makes him free from the law of sin and death.
We declare that Jake is clothed with the whole armor of God, and the shield of faith protects him from all the fiery darts of the wicked. Jesus is the High Priest of our confession, and we hold fast to our confession of faith in Your Word. We stand immovable and fixed in full assurance that Jake has health and healing now in the name of Jesus!
Scripture references: Isaiah 55:11, 1 Peter 2:24, Matthew 8:17, Galatians 3;13, James 4:7, Ephesians 6:12, 2 Cor 10:4, Psalm 91:1, Psalm 91:10, Psalm 34:7, 2 Timothy 1:7, Hebrews 4:12 & 14, Proverbs 4:22, Romans 8:2, Ephesians 6:11 & 16, Psalm 112:7
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
It's been quite a week already & I'm looking forward to the weekend. I probably blew my A in Speech/Hearing Science in yesterday's exam - bummer! Had a minor fender bender on Monday after ballet. It's bent & between both ends of the Saturn, this is the 4th new bumper. So sad & quite the sign of distraction, both on the surface (cute ice cream cone comment from the backseat) and underlying (finances, school, single mom stuff). I'd crab more, but we have company visiting from the party!
Hey hey...don't forget to hop over to the Vicks CaringTributes & vote for our GraceFULL Heart entry. We are 1 of 8 finalists vying for a $10,000 prize package including an amazing comfort getaway & a bunch of other awesome stuff! Only 3 more days of voting...yeah!! Big thanks in advance for helping out this bloggy mom! As Grace would say, "You're the BESTEST!"
Captured by the title, Field of the Fatherless by C. Thomas Davis, I pursued the link & found a book worthy of reading & sharing. See the moving review below & check out Davis' blog for heartful reading.
No more blinders!, June 15, 2006 By Drew B. Moser (Archbold, OH USA) - See all my reviews
"In this world you are an orphan; eagerly anticipating your adoption as God's child. In this world you are a widow; longing for reunion with your Bridegroom. In this world you are a stranger; a pilgrim waiting to become a citizen of heaven. And in this world, God has called you to care for the orphan, the stranger, and the widow."
So starts Tom Davis' short, but powerful book on compassion to the orphan, the stranger, and the widow in Fields of the Fatherless. I'd highly recommend this book to all followers of Jesus, regardless of your call to adopt. It's applicable to the entire body of Christ.
Utilizing the metaphor of the Old Testament practice of leaving a portion of your field for the 'stranger, the fatherless, and the widow' (Deut. 24:19f), Davis offers a passionate plea for living a life of compassion to the less fortunate.
These less fortunate (strangers, widows, orphans) are mentioned over 60 times in Scripture! Yet we tend to have blinders on when reading our Bibles. Studies show that Christians give less than non Christians to AIDS related causes (the leprosy of our day).
But in ignoring the orphans, the widows, and the strangers, we are missing out on an incredible, joy that can only come with sacrifice. For in the eyes of the orphan, we catch a glimpse of God.
Davis writes: "To feed, clothe, and treat the fatherless as members of one's own family is to live out the call of Christ." (55) This book is a great advocacy tool in raising up the church to live out its call to the fatherless. I will be passing it out to my senior pastor, and our mission board to read and (I hope) inspire. We'd encourage you to do the same. It's a quick read, consisting of over 6 chapters, and refrains from using technical adoption jargon. Rather, it simply and passionate pleads the case for the downtrodden in our world.
"But whoever has this world's gods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?"--I John 3-16-17
Sunday, March 09, 2008
I found a great giveaway PLUS an opportunity to support a breast cancer awareness! Check out La Vie de Lauri!
AND please don't forget to hop over to Vicks Caring Tributes contest to vote for my Gracie cakes TLC story. We're 1 of 8 finalists vying for a $10,000 prize package! Thanks in advance for helping out a fellow blogger mom!
Hey...one more thing. I shared the Lion Chaser's Manifesto last year on my blog & it might even be in my layout somewhere, but with all of you AMAZING women visiting my blog...I wanted to share it with you. Written by pastor Mark Batterson, author of "In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day." It's well worth sharing, posting, shouting & embracing:
Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set
God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshipping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion!
Have lots of fun in all your bloggy party play!
Friday, March 07, 2008
To my new friends: Hi, I'm Carmen...blogger blogger now for a couple of years. What started as a means of capturing moments in our GraceFULL life so I wouldn't forget has become therapeutic AND celebratory of every day graces. It's a means of connecting with friends, family & others both near & far. To my delight, it's introduced me to some pretty fantastic folks to whom I say "Welcome"! Peek in on us now & then...leave a hello before you go~
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
I've got a delightful little crew of kids at present. Little A is working to increase her expressive language. Our last visit I suggested mom find a couple of fun songs to incorporate into the daily routine. My favorite is Hokey Pokey to use with getting dressed. Thus, at least two times a day to sing the song, incoporating some fun actions. Many more opportunities are presented if you're diapering or working on toileting with all the up & down of pants & so forth. So, working on body parts & building that expressive language with fun, simple repetitive lines. A's mom told me today she's using the Hokey Pokey & her daughter is singing sounds along with the melody & trying to repeat some of the words. Yeahhhhh! Works like a charm. It's still a favorite of Miss Grace. That's what it's all about!
AND the voting is going well! Thanks to so many of you who've registered & supported us in the Vicks caring tributes as a finalist! I'll share my cough drops or vapor rub if I win! :o)
It smelled like Spring today & we saw cardinals in the trees this weekend! That's a good sign~ Happy sunny day!