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April 29, 2010

Brothers

I saw this picture Brad took of the boys at the soccer field and thought....
......Behold, how good and pleasant
it is when brothers dwell in unity!
Psalm 133:1
Thank God this morning for my boys. Praying for their unity and that they will always see what a blessing it is to have each other's company.
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April 28, 2010

A Legacy of Truth

This week I had the honor to sing at a memorial service for a family in our church. It was great blessing to me to hear the children of this father who went with the Lord speak of their love for their dad and what they will remember most about him.

I couldn't help but thank God for father's who take their responsibility of being there for their kids very seriously.

I couldn't help to also praise God for my husband and the wonderful dad he is to our children. He works hard to provide for our family and comes home very tired but he still takes the time to play sports with the boys, ride bikes with them, include them in the yard work, hear their stories, hold them accountable with their schooling (I love this part! hehe) and just being silly with them.

When I think about their future and what they will remember most about their dad, I pray they will remember most how they saw Christ in his life. I think there is no greater legacy we can leave our children than them seeing how we lived our faith sincerely.
1 Timothy 1:5 says:
"The goal of our instruction is love that flows from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith."
We pray this can be said of us as we bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

I think Brad is a great example to our family and to others around him of this. He not only loves God and His Word but he is on fire for it and seeks to live authentic faith in all areas. He is always quick to admit when he is wrong, to seek forgiveness, to ask for accountability, to be obendient to God's Word.

He started having a consistent Bible time with the boys a few years ago, and it's amazing how the Lord is working in all of our lives by being faithful in doing this. We've seen the living Word of God convict our children of their need for him and even when they are still young, they are growing to love scriptures and look forward to this very special time with dad.


One thing that we love to do with the boys is to have them use scripture we just read as a focus point in their prayers as well as seeing what we can learn from God's attributes on each passage. This has been so good, not just for them but for us too! I'm planning on blogging more about how we do this in the future.


Psalm 119:97
"O, how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day."

April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Caleb!


Yesterday, our firstborn, Caleb turned 7 years old! It's amazing how fast the years go by. Seven sounds so old to me! I spent some time this morning looking through pictures and videos of Caleb since he was born. My heart was so full of joy...(and my face full of tears). How blessed we are to have him as our son. He is such a fun, smart, creative young boy. Many here know that we've had our challenges with Caleb in the past. But I can rejoice at seeing how the Lord is at work in his life.

When Caleb was born we gave chose Colossian 1:9-10 to be our blessing over his life:

"And so from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. So as to walk in a matter worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God".

This has been our prayer for his life and we will continue to instruct him in wisdom, knowing that he belongs to Christ.

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April 21, 2010

About Parenting: Learning From Scriptures

I've been reflecting this week on the gift of parenting.

I became a mom seven years ago this week and although it's only been for a short time, the Lord is teaching me so much during this season. I've made many mistakes for sure. But I'm comforted this week in knowing that God is with me and Brad as we seek Him to raise our children in a way that brings glory to His name.

Our children are a work in progress and there is still a lot of work to be done but I rejoice at the blessing of seeing them grow and mature in what they know about Jesus and the change that He is bringing to their lives.

Parenting is an incredible blessing and privilege from the Lord but at times it can be a challenge. When I am having a difficult day, I've tried to make it a habit to always go to the Lord first.

Instead of grabbing one of the parenting books we have at home, I pray asking for wisdom and open God's Word first. There are so many wonderful parenting resources out there and I've been blessed and mentored by reading some great parenting books. But I want to cultivate in my heart my need for God first...always Him first.


This has been a good discipline for me. I want to show the Lord that I will seek Him first for my every day needs. He is the one who called me to be a mom and gave me these children and He is the perfect Father so I know I can trust Him to guide me when I feel like giving up or loose hope.


He has given me His very words to illuminate and is able to give me grace and strength where I am lacking in my parenting.


I LOVE this verse on 2 Peter 1:


His divine power has granted to us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises.


I LOVE THAT!!! I'm amazed at the providence of God in my life...in your life too!


We are blessed to be in a church that takes very seriously the responsibility to raise our children in the Lord. You can learn more about our church strategy at Legacy Milestones Site.

Remember Deuteronomy 6:6-7?

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

You shall teach them

diligently

to your children,

and shall talk of them

when you sit in your house,

and when you walk by the way,

and when you lie down,

and when you rise.


I was reminded of this verse, while reading Proverbs this morning, where this same command is presented but this time directed to the children. I thought this was a neat insight the Lord showed me so wanted to share it here.

Proverbs 1:8-9 says:

Hear, my son, your father's instructions,

and forsake not your mother's teaching,

for they are a graceful garland for your head

and pendants for your neck.

Listening and obeying parents bring beauty to the life of a child. Graceful garlands and pendants are things to adorn the body. Children who will not despise wisdom from their parents will display that beauty in their words and actions.

Also, notice how it is BOTH the job of Dad and Mom to impart this wisdom. It talks about the father's instructions and the mother's teaching.

It is not one spouse alone doing all the job. The way God intended it, was to be a partnership. This same truth is found in Proverbs 6,

v. 20 My son, keep your father's commandment (or teaching)

and forsake not your mother's teaching.

God's model is for the father to impart the God prescribed mandates or law. If you believe the father is the head of the household as we do, then this makes complete sense. The father provides a framework, the moral law, the standard that the rest of the family will follow.

Then,in this model, the mother will provide the teaching, the explanation of every day things. I'm not saying that one spouse cannot do what the other spouse is supposed to do, but just found it interesting how the "roles of a christian household" are actually defined on these verses. This is the ideal standard even if many families don't follow it because of choice or circumstances out of their control.

I was raised by a single mom so I'm not saying if you don't follow this you won't be blessed, etc. I saw how the Lord gave my mom grace to impart both things to us. But I can honestly say I saw how void of not having a godly father to raise me had a negative effect in my life.

I rejoice at my children's future and thank God for blessing them with both a dad and mom who love Him and always pray we will remain faithful to each other and to our children.

Alright, back to the verses....

In the following verses the benefits are explained:

v.21-22 Bind them on your neck.

When you walk they will lead you,

when you lie down, they will watch over you,

when you awake, they will talk with you.

Here's that command from Deuteronomy 6: 7 is mentioned but here it add how it will benefit the child. The wisdom and instruction that parents give their children becomes like a shield around their lives. It goes with them no matter where they find themselves.

v. 23 For the commandment (from God and given by the father on v. 20)

is a lamp (the source)

and the teaching (from the mother on v. 20)

a light (what emanates from the source. Once again showing the distinct roles given to parents)

and the reproof of discipline are the way of life.

We know, in the end, our children will be responsible to God for their lives but for now I want to make sure we are being obedient to God and His Word and do whatever we can to be that light of Christ to them that will show the way they should go.

Only by God's grace we will be able to do this and like Deuteronomy 6 says: the Word of God must be in my heart first! I cannot give what I don't have...just as simple as that.

April 18, 2010

Noah's Week Of First Times

The week after Easter was a big week for our son Noah.
He got a chance to do two things he's been wanting to do for a while time for the very first time.

#1 He got to sing at church with the Preschool WAM Choir (our church's music ministry for kids) in the "Sing For Spring" mini musical. Noah LOVES to sing and he's been waiting for this day since January. He got a bit nervous on stage but we are very proud of him for holding back tears and singing all the songs...he did forget the hand motions. : )


#2 He got to play soccer for the first time and even scored a goal for his team! Unfortunately, Brad was assisting the coach and I was keeping an eye on Sarah who wanted to get the ball from the field, so we couldn't take pictures of him playing but here is one of him waiting for his turn to play and one with dad during half-time break.

It's so bittersweet to see my little boy grow. He is such a joy to our family with his happy heart, bundle of energy and caring hands always ready to help and comfort.
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April 14, 2010

I love Spring: in our home

This past few weeks, the weather has been so mild that every day we are taking time to be outside for a long time and enjoy each other's company. Last week I asked Brad to take pictures of me and the kids. I realized I don't have many pictures of me and the kids together. I much rather take pictures of them but when they grow old I want to be able to look back and see a few of me with them too. : )

These are some of my favorites. I had fun tuning and fixing them. Which one looks best?




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April 08, 2010

On My Mind: Power of God's Word

For You have exalted above all things Your Name and Your Word
Psalm 138:2

Our Pastor recently talked about the importance of praying for boldness in witnessing. The verse above was one that he quoted during the sermon. I was very encouraged that day because at times I get the same, even from believers that we need to "tone it down a bit". That the world doesn't come to church because we are always talking about the Bible, etc.

A few months ago, Brad and I were visiting a Sunday school class at church and there was a conversation about sharing our faith with other's with courage. The passage being studied was Acts chapter 4, where Peter and John are before the council for preaching at the temple.


One lady commented on how many times when she is sharing her faith, she gets the common response of "how do you know all of that is true"; to which she replies "well the Bible says that....". Then she gets the response: "well I don't believe the Bible, so that takes care of that". She went on to say how this discouraged her from sharing or quoting God's Word because if they don't believe in the Bible then what's the point. She would rather just live her life in a way that it was a witness to them.

After she spoke, I could see many people nodding their heads in agreement with what she was saying.

I understand where she is coming from. Both Brad and I have experienced this same direct rejection to God's Word. The Bible speaks of that in many passages.

We know that there will be many people who will harden their hearts towards God's Word. But that is not reason enough to doubt the power that quoting scripture can have or to stop sharing it with others. I can't find any verse that tells us not to speak the Word. God's Word is living and active! Exposes the condition of the heart!


This lady, I believe, was sincerely grieved in her heart because of the people around them rejecting the Lord. What she failed to see in the same passage of Acts 4 that we were studying was that there were those who were annoyed by their teachings but also many who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand!

Ultimately, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict a person. Yes, many reject it but many believe too!

Just recently Brad had an example of how God can be at work through His Word around us. As most here know, both Brad and I are on Facebook and love connecting with friends and family both far an near. Brad has been using his Facebook status space to post Bible verses that he loves or convict him.


Now, some people might think this is weird, or arrogant, or too much, or that he is a fanatic, etc. but recently a women who used to work with him in Chicago (and is not a believer) sent him a message saying (paraphrasing here) " I noticed how you've been posting all these verses in your Facebook page and I found myself reading them and it made want to come back and keep reading them. And just started thinking about my life and how it's been a mess the last few years and I how much I should be seeking God right now".

Praise God for that! This wasn't even a direct quoting to someone but yet God was still at work in that woman's life through those verse Brad was typing. This story really encouraged me to be bold about my faith and when a verse comes to mind to quote it and not hold back. Some will not care but I would still be obedient to the Lord at that moment.

April 07, 2010

True Story

Last Monday, the boys and I were learning about immigration since this is something we have seen in many of our Five in a Row books this is how the dialogue went...

Me: Alright boys after hearing what immigration is, can you think of someone in our family that is an immigrant?
(I was looking for "dad" or "grandpa" answer)

Noah: I know, ME! Remember we were from Chicago and migrated aaaaaaaaaall the way to Texas! We are immigrants too!

Me: Well, that's a little different. Remember Noah, we are still in the same country, just a different state.

Noah: WHAT?!?!? (pause) Texas is the United States too?!?! Are you sure is not a different country?

Me: I know what you mean, dear son.

April 01, 2010

Memory Challenge and Easter

A few months ago I joined a challenge to memorize a chapter of the Bible every month. It has been an incredible blessing to my life to meditate on a same passage over and over again for an entire month.

You can find out more about the challenge here and join! There's a simpler challenge of memorizing a verse per week.
In March we memorized Isaiah 53. I found this clip of the Gettys singing my favorite Easter song and at the beginning she reads portions from Isaiah 53!
If you have five minutes listen and read along the words of this powerful hymn as we prepare to remember the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What a love! What a cost! We stand forgiven at the cross.
The Power of the Cross
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
Oh, to see the dawn
Of the darkest day:
Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men,
Torn and beaten, then
Nailed to a cross of wood.
CHORUS:This, the pow'r of the cross:
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath—
We stand forgiven at the cross.
Oh, to see the pain
Written on Your face,
Bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought,
Ev'ry evil deed
Crowning Your bloodstained brow.
Now the daylight flees;
Now the ground beneath
Quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two,
Dead are raised to life;
"Finished!" the vict'ry cry.
Oh, to see my name
Written in the wounds,
For through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death;
Life is mine to live,
Won through Your selfless love.
This, the pow'r of the cross:
Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost!
We stand forgiven at the cross