Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reflections On Follow Me by David Platt Intro & Chapter 1

I got Follow Me today and started reading it! I just finished the introduction and the first chapter.
I gotta say, Platt makes a lot of points that I agree with and have thought of in the past. Our culture has a bad taste for Christians because so many people claim to be Christians when they have no idea what they mean!
It's challenging though, I mean, I agree that faith and works are intertwined, hand in hand, and/or build off of one another. Our beliefs create action and action leads to a deeper love/knowledge of God & Christ which effects or beliefs, and they cycle repeats!
Now, I agree with it and have said that I agree with it, so I must allow God and others to show me my inconsistencies and change. OUCH

The Great Commission Matthew 28:18-20 NIV

'Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The "What do you want me to do with my life?" question we've asked time and time again, waiting and praying for an answer Jesus answered quite clearly after he rose from the dead, and no it isn't an option, it is a command."THEREFORE GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEN IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND TEACHING THEM TO OBEY EVERYTHING I HAVE COMMANDED YOU."

Feel overwhelmed?  Keep reading! "AND SURELY I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS TO THE VERY END OF THE AGE." We are not in this alone, and we cannot do this alone. We died to ourselves and repented of our old life (which means to turn and go the opposite direction), we do not live for ourselves once we've declared Christ as our savior, our actions have to go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. That'd be like saying saying you were on an all meat diet and never eating meat; you'd be saying it, but not living it. Like I said earlier, it's a circle.

No where in the bible does it say pray a prayer and you are saved, but it does say in Matthew 16:24-25 NIV "Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants 
 to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."

When it was said in John 3:16 that "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Jesus is talking to Nicodemus and calling him to a new way of life, a new way of living, it isn't just words we say it's truth we live with our entire being.

David Platt says this on pages 23-24 "Ultimately, our reason for living changes. Possessions and position are no longer our priorities. Comfort and security are no longer our god. We now want God's glory more than we want our own lives."

Platt, David. Follow Me: A Call to Die. a Call to Live. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2013. Print.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Mountain Tops and Valleys

"There is still work to do, and that work is down the mountain." (Ackley, Curtis S. "March 8." The Upper Room Disciplines 2009. Nashville, TN: Upper Room, 2009. 79. Print.)

The summer I spent in Zambia was ended with a week long debriefing during which we worked through a book entitled "Miraculous Mountains to Victorious Valleys." The title has stuck with me since then and I've referred to it many times in conversations. While as Christians these "mountain top" experiences we have, the times when we are filled with joy, laughter, and/or in awe of what we are seeing and experiencing, are fantastic and encouraging, we do not stay on the mountain tops forever. Our life changes, we hit rough points, death, stress, sickness, world events, and so much more can leave us in a dark valley.

I've come to know that these dark valleys can be places that I see, experience, and trust God more fully then the mountain top places. One such experience would have been the sudden passing of my 16 year old brother Shaun when I was 8 years old. God was the one who understood how my 8 year old self was feeling and doing, and it was God who stayed each moment with me, cried with me, and understood me. God carried me through that dark valley. I came out stronger and more confident in God and over time as I have experienced many ups and downs my faith has grown and desire more to know God and to share God with those around me.

Today I was spending some time reading Mark 9: 2-10 a passage about Jesus' transfiguration on a mountaintop with 2 disciples (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark%209:2-10&version=NIV). As I was reading the coinciding devotional referenced above the author wrote about how the disciples must have wanted to stay on the mountain top to soak up, understand, and mark this event (the passage says they wanted to set up tents), but the event ends and they go back down the mountain. The author writes "There is still work to do, and that work is down the mountain," while the author was referencing the rest of Jesus' time on this earth, I cannot help but see how applicable this sentence is to our lives. While we desire to stay on the high mountaintop moments of life, Jesus knows that we have more growing to do and more of God to share with others so that all may experience the Mountain Tops with God, and grow  in the Victorious Valleys. So that together we can encourage one another, know God more, and journey the valleys and mountain tops together.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

 "A universe that contains much that is obviously bad and apparently meaningless, but containing creatures like ourselves who know that it is bad and meaningless." 

(pg 42)

The fact that we know the world is meaningless reveals that there is a God because we know that there is more to life than just a daily routine, of eating and sleeping, there is a God to love!

Lewis, C. S. Mere Christianity: A Revised and Amplified Edition, with a New Introduction, of the Three Books, Broadcast Talks, Christian Behaviour, and Beyond Personality. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. Print.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

At the Sound of the Alarm Clock

my life today: Heard the alarm, felt tired and not ready to face the day mumbled to Nathaniel "hit snooze." 

10 minutes later alarm sounds again. Reluctantly I got up to shower & ask Nathaniel to take Moses out & feed him.

After my shower I open to door & Nathaniel is STILL IN BED! Unhappy and harboring anger that he was still snoozing said  "What are you doing, why aren't you up yet?" 

My wonderful, groggy, and confused husband replied  "What? It is 3:00 AM." 

me "Nu-uh, I did not just shower at 3 AM."

The alarm had gone off to wake me up to take the puppy outside to pee as he is not yet able to hold his bladder all night.

Fail, well at least my shower for the day was done and we got a great laugh out of it later.

Monday, October 1, 2012

1 year Anniversary

Today is Nathaniel & my anniversary.

What did we do this past weekend to celebrate?

Well nothing for our anniversary, but as we are youth sponsors for the high school youth group at church we did go white water rafting on the Youghiogheny River in Western, PA! We drove the late crew who had sports Friday night and arrived at our camp sight around 3:00am Saturday Morning. We were up at 8ish had breakfast (thanks to camp hebron who supplied the tents, food, and had 5 persons who joined) and went to the river to wetsuits & prep.
 That day we were out on the river having a grand ol' time. We had 3 rafts & a ducky (looks like a kayack, but inflatable like a raft). We had the youth pastor who was the guide on the duck and  2 experieced captins, so the captin of our raft had been rafting once or twice but never been a guide. We did not have any youth in our raft (3 sponsors & 2 persons from Camp Hebron). For the least experienced raft we did great! Making it through all rapids & challenges but one with laughter, conversation, and enjoyment.

Unfortunately our raft did "kiss" dimple rock, the hardest & most dangerous rapid on our stretch. We hit a hard knocking 4 of the 5 of us out of the raft and tumbling through the rest of the rapid.

Here is a video on youtube I found of a guy sucessfully going through (a different raft type, but you get the idea). It is longer rapid, and imagine being IN the white waters without a raft in the current and capping water.

3 of the 4 of us manged to hold onto the raft when we dumped (the 1st big rock is dimple rock). Nathaniel stayed on, we got held up on a rock and the other 2 could not hold on at this point as while the raft was stopped we swimmers were in the middle of a strong current (the other 2 swimmers eyes were HUGE at this point). As they floated on Nathaniel was able to maneuver the raft around the rock it was stuck on to a better point and get me in. We then did our best to follow the other 2 and get them in, it took a bit as we could not get the raft still enough to grab the swimmer or swimmers close enough for them to grab on to a paddle. The 4th who dumped was not able to hold on at all & after falling & splashing through much of the rapid (& passing other rafts who offered her no help) was picked up by a raft with a family from Baltimore.

Quite the experience, while the fall was dangerous & NOT a great time it made a good story for us all to talk about around the fire that night. We all said we would go rafting again which says a lot about the experience of white water rafting as a whole.

A good adventure & a line to cross out on my bucket list (looking forward to next years trip & a successful run through dimple rapid)

What else for our anniversary? Well, meet Moses our new puppy our gift to one another. He was 2.5 months old when we got him from a rescue. He is a basset hound/beagle mix (although we think he may have more in him then that).  Right now he is 10 pounds, quiet, and loves to cuddle.


We are quite happy to have him as we've both wanted to have a dog before we were married and were plesently surprised to get our landlords permission to do so a several weeks ago. Keeping a clean house gets the credit as they said they knew we would not let it ruin the apartment. We are thankful for their trust.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sleepy Dreams

The night before last I was snoozing away.

As I was dreaming, I wanted to move this bundle of whatever to a different place.

I carried it out of the bedroom and dropped it in the music room.
Back in bed sometime later I woke up chilled and sleeply sat up reaching for the foot of the bed where my sheet and quilt must have been. Up not easily finding them I reached further and began waking up a little more.

It was then that I recalled the bundle I was dreaming about early was real. I vaguely remembered stepping over the box fan in the doorway and deciding the the music room was far enough for the sheet and quilt as I wanted to be back in bed.

While I am not sure what caused me to wake up enough to remember having the sheet and quilt in my arms, yet not enough to know that they belonged back in the bedroom, I am thankful that I did wake up enough to remember. As when I was groggily searching for the blankets later in the night it would have been much more of an ordeal and I would have woken up Nathaniel in my searching, lights would have been turned on, and an all out confused search would have begun. Still, I think about what a funny conversation my husband and I would have had over  which one of us was the culprit who had carried the blankets out of the room!

I am wondering if  I woke up a bit while stepping over the box fan, maybe it took a little more conscious effort alerting me enough to step over it, but not enough to fully wake up as I do not remember leaving the bed, or getting back into to, only dropping the armful of bedding. Although while I woke up enough that later in the evening I knew where the blankets where, I did not wake up enough to realize that my sheet and quilt belonged on the bed, not in a different room.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Today is Nathaniel's Birthday

Today is Nathaniel's birthday! His schedule for the day: work, Softball practice immediately following, and home around 8-8:30 tonight. So no birthday meal today, I hope to make a appetizer or something else light for him to have when he gets home from practice. We celebrated his birthday on Saturday going to the Phillies vs Braves game in the evening, and while we lost we had a great time! Nathaniel is the best and so while I wont see him until late tonight he does enjoy playing softball with the church so he will have a good birthday!

On another note, it has been not, humid, and dry here. That seems to be the pattern for most areas in the country right now so that may not be news. We have gotten a few light showers along with lots of wind and heat lightening; however, like many places the rainfall does more to increasing the humidity and not enough rainfall to feed the ground. Here is to hoping for rain for the crops.