Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sweet Little Valentines Weekend

So my husband and I decided that Valentines Day in the years to come will probably remain very simple. When you have an anniversary in January and both birthdays in April, you just have to pick your all-out celebrations, right? But, he does know how to please! Not only did I get exquisite roses and chocolate (enough to please me!), but he also made us French toast with strawberries and powdered sugar for dinner...mmm, good times.
On Sunday evening, we took part in the first annual Valentines Day banquet at our church. Not only was it all done on a small budget, but the decorations were beautiful, the food was scrumptuous, and the fellowship was great.

I think there was more dessert than actual dinner - sounds reasonable to me!

That is our pastor and his wife on the right side of me (and my silly husband on the left just in case you missed him, hehe). I actually had not met the others at the table yet, so it was a great time of getting to know them as well. We talked about school, sheep, and cake balls~

This is the sign I made for the (Not-So) Newlywed Game we played after dinner. Four couples were asked to serve as contestants, and we happened to be one of the lucky couples to sit in the hot seat~

The competition~

One of our first questions: "What does your wife love to make for dinner that you hate to eat?"
This one was good: "What does your wife do that annoys you the most?"
As silly as the game was, I was reminded of how blessed I am by all of the couples at church. There is a range of history represented, couples who have come from and met in very different circumstances, and they are all just so very encouraging. My prayer of late is that we will continue to grow in unity, and not for the sake of growing in number, but that we might as one body yearn for and draw near to the Lord. We have Him to praise for where He has brought us, and we have Him to praise for whatever the future has in store!

Friday, February 13, 2009


To what extent is forgiveness possible between individuals removed from a Christian mindset?

My mind is been reeling over this for the better part of two weeks now...what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Night with Nali

"The man who has faith..."

“The man who has faith is the man who is no longer looking at himself, and no longer looking to himself. He no longer looks at anything he once was. He does not look at what he is now. He does not [even] look at what he hopes to be as the result of his own efforts. He looks entirely to the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work, and he rests on that alone. He has ceased to say, ‘Ah yes, I have committed terrible sins but I have done this and that…’ He stops saying that. If he goes on saying that, he has not got faith… Faith speaks in an entirely different manner and makes a man say, ‘Yes, I have sinned grievously, I have lived a life of sin… yet I know that I am a child of God because I am not resting on any righteousness of my own; my righteousness is in Jesus Christ, and God has put that to my account.’”
(Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones as quoted by Timothy Keller in The Message of Romans (Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2003), 59.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

"Of First Importance"

Are you an individual who likes the idea of journaling, of having hours to spend in meditation, reading and prayer? However, although the idea is nice, you just don't see it as possible with your hectic schedule... The desired three hours has to be squeezed into five minutes, and the pouring over a book ends up being two pages skimmed prior to crashing for the night. Is that you? If you are anything like me, time for quiet devotion is a daily struggle. I want to have at least an hour before the day begins, but I so often give in to my sleepy self and I confess that I have not committed to such a spiritual discipline in quite some time. However, I have discovered what originally seemed like a very minor, small help. This little help was found while browsing one evening, and it has truly spurred me on each morning. Even if I don't get that desired time prior to the start of the day's routine (still confessing that I need to do so!), something like this can at least shape my thinking and motivation for the hours ahead.
The site is entitled Of First Importance and provides daily quotes from great men of faith, some current and some whom we recognize as the great Church fathers who have gone before us. Not only does it provide the quote and name of the individual, but also provides a link to the source (great idea if you are in need of solid, Christ-exalting, Scripture-saturated reading material). The site gives you the option of having them emailed which is why I'm able to read a new one at the start of each day. Here is just a sampling of some of the quotes thus far:

“The majesty of God’s forgiveness is lost entirely when we lose what has to be forgiven. What has to be forgiven is not just what we do but who we are, not just our sinning but our sinfulness, not just our choices but what we have chosen in place of God. . . . When we miss the biblical teaching, we also miss the nature of God’s grace in all its height and depth. In biblical faith it is God’s grace through Christ that does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.” ~ David F. Wells
“The message of the gospel is that you are saved by grace through Christ’s work and nothing else at all. As soon as you add anything to it, you have lost it entirely.” ~ Timothy Keller
“The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian: when a non-Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with his sin. When a Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with God, against himself.” ~ Mark Dever
Are you in need of spurring on at the start of the day? Are you searching for solid, biblical reading material? Are you in need of something to help start you off in establishing and making spiritual discipline a priority? This is just one example of the fact that you are not alone. If you don't even know where to begin, here is one simple resource that can be of great encouragement.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Moments of Stillness

The power outage last week triggered something I wasn't anticipating. Our lives and daily schedules as we know them came to an abrupt halt, and my husband and I found ourselves sitting together in our dark townhome wondering what to do with our time. From Wednesday morning forward, two things occurred; my husband and I spent sweet, valuable time together, and we both experienced much needed rest and even silence. The break in routine gave us both extensive time to stop and reflect on a variety of things. For him, it was sweet time spent with the Lord, seeking Him on how he can minister to others during this season of our lives. We have been blessed with my job allowing my husband the time to focus on school and ministry through the church, so this was a good week of prayer and reflection for him. For me, it was simply stopping. Removed from work for a day, television and internet, I found myself wondering what to do with the quiet. In those quiet moments and days, the best way to describe the time is to simply echo the psalmist's plea, "Restore to me the joy of Your salvation..." The Lord showed me that I needed that silence more than I realized in order to be alone with Him. I realized how easy it became to rely on the safety net of seminary, how little I was spending time in personal study and prayer, and how I am always in need and dependent upon Him. So not only has it been good for me to only work during this season, rather than working and attending classes, but I apparently needed my entire routine to pause if even for a few days. And because of that, I have writer's overload rather than writer's block, which I have learned is another reason to go for an extensive period of time without writing anything. There are so many things that have been on my mind that I haven't really known where to begin.
As a sweet addition to this respite, my husband mentioned to me on Thursday that there was a worship concert on campus scheduled for that evening. When I told him I was up for going if he was, on the inside I was thrilled and very much looking forward to the experience. Keith and Kristyn Getty have become some of my favorite worship leaders and modern hymnwriters, and we have never had the opportunity to see them live. We arrived at the seminary chapel on Thursday evening a full thirty minutes early, and the place was already packed. Even this thrilled my soul because of the wonder it is when fellow believers join together, all crammed in one space, to unashamedly and in one accord lift our voices to the Lord. The Gettys have been gifted by the Lord in their ability to write timeless, modern hymns anyone can sing. Not only are the lyrics rich with Scriptural truth and doctrine, but they are written in a way that the small country church with a sorely out of tune piano can sing just as easily as the large well-equipped church in the city. Some of the songs they introduced us to on Thursday evening were new, and even then I was moved by the audience's willingness to dive in and sing with full abandon. During some of the more familiar hymns, I found myself sitting in the chapel pew with tears in my eyes, praising the Lord for how sweet He has been to us in recent days and weeks. There was also an overwhelming sense of unity and passion for declaring such truths, and I was moved to pray these things for our own small body of believers. It was one of those moments wherein I didn't have the words to express my deep sense of thanks, so I simply allowed the music to fill up what I could not articulate on my own.

Every Promise

From the breaking of the dawn to the setting of the sun,
I will stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
Words of power, strong to save, that will never pass away,
I will stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
For Your covenant is sure, and on this I am secure—I can stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
When I stumble and I sin, condemnation pressing in,
I will stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
You are faithful to forgive that in freedom I might live,
So I stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
Guilt to innocence restored,You remember sins no more—
So I'll stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
When I'm faced with anguished choice, I will listen for Your voice,
And I'll stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
Through this dark and troubled land You will guide me with Your hand
As I stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
And You've promised to complete ev'ry work begun in me—
So I'll stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
Hope that lifts me from despair, love that casts out ev'ry fear,
As I stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
Not forsaken, not alone, for the Comforter has come,
And I stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.
Grace sufficient, grace for me, Grace for all who will believe—
We will stand on ev'ry promise of Your Word.