Made me think. . .

8 09 2008

Go here www.kyolsens.wordpress.com  and read the post written about Haiti and Hurricanes.

Erika, the author writes,

“It was more than a little surreal to stand in church this morning and sing about God’s mercy sitting on cushioned seats under auditorium lights.  His mercy is nonetheless real…but how little it costs me to proclaim its truth.”

I’ve been so tempted to question God’s mercy in my own life and judge His wisdom and sovereignty over my circumstances.  I am silenced and humbled at truly how great a cost His mercy came to be in my life through Jesus death on a cross.  And then as Erika shares, how little it costs me to proclaim this truth.  Surely I’ve yet to truly count the cost.





Church- The Dearest Place On Earth

27 04 2008

Today I was reminded how fortunate I am to be a member of our church.  Today 3 pastors on our staff were ordained.  These men are living lives that honor God, and how greatly many have benefited from their faithful service.  As worship began and the service continued with testimonies of changed lives due to the influence of these men I was overwhelmed by how blessed I was to be a part of a body of believers that truly cared for one another.  A part of a church lead by men of character, and men of the word. 

Joshua and I were greatly blessed today by those in our church.  Back at Christmas someone anonymously gave us a monetary gift and it appears that the same giver has blessed us again! (the gift came via the same individual).  Today’s gift came with the following note:

Dear Josh and Bethany, We trust that God will use this gift as a gracious reminder of His good Lordship over your lives, and to strengthen your faith that, because Jesus Christ stood in your place at the cross, your Heavenly Father will never leave you nor forsake you.  Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” 

How timely this gift comes.  With approaching adoption expenses we are reminded that God is most certainly watching over us and that His plans are for our good and for the good of our children in Ethiopia. How can we say thank you?  We are so grateful to God for the people who have generously given to us.  It is an overwhelming and humbling expression of God’s grace and loving-kindness to us.  Thank you! 

And then. . . we were given a tv today too!  Since we’ve been married we’ve had a $75 18 inch square tv we purchased at walmart (yes, really now, who still has a square tv?) You know the kind that won’t work next year, and has exactly only 2 inputs for a video and audio cord on the front of the set.  =)  Well today we were given a nice used, rectangular 27 inch tv.  What an upgrade! 

We’ve also started receiving some donations for our adoption fundraising garage sale! (time still to be determined)

All of these blessings are gracious gifts from our loving Heavenly Father.  None of which we deserve and certainly never would have received if God had not drawn us into His family.  Today, I am humbly reminded of the wonderful gospel that makes all this possible and all the sweeter to me.  This kindness has so greatly affected me and I do not have the words to express my gratitude to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who allow God to dwell in them and work through them to display the gospel to me.  Thank you.





It’s going to be alright. . .

10 04 2008

Spurgeon reminds us, “Beloved, remember everything that happens to you comes in the course of divine providence.  Your loving heavenly Father has foreseen, foreknown, and, I venture to say, foreordained it all.  The medicine that you have to drink is bitter, but the unerring Physician has measured the ingredients drop by drop and mixed them in a way that will best work for your highest good.”

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 

**Edit**

Guess I should have added a personal note to this post.  This is something I read in my devotional time this morning.  Something that Joshua actually pointed me to.  I needed to be reminded that no matter what I face day-to-day God is with me. 





Life these days. . .

25 01 2008

“Though the Christian life is regularly marked more by suffering than by triumph, our hope is sure and our mood should be one of unquenchable confidence: we are on the winning side.”  -J.I. Packer

Elisabeth Elliot asks us, “Is your hope an anchor for your soul?  Has your wishful hope been converted at the foot of the cross to true hope?” 

“To hope means to look forward expectantly for God’s future activity.  The ground of hope is God’s past activity in Jesus Christ, who points the way to God’s purposes for his creation.”  -New Dictionary of Theology

What is the ground, the foundation, the solid rock for my hope?  God’s past activity in Jesus Christ.  The sacrifice of Christ on the cross, his atonement for my sin, his adoption of me.  This is what allows me to look forward in faith, expectantly for God’s continued activity in my life.  And this hope is not merely a desire, a comfort, a position, a wish.  No, far greater then any desire is a hope that anchors my soul.  Far to often I hope for things (idols) which I determine in my mind to be satisfying, only to see them fail and leave my heart devasted, fearful, and anxious.  Therefore I must remember, “when my sin begins to tell me, all is lost my guilt displayed.  I will look and see my Savior, Jesus Christ who bore my blame!”  And then, I can say with unquenchable confidence: I am on the winning side!  May our hope be found in our Great God.

Note:  This post was inspired by an excellent message given by Janis Shank at our church’s women’s meeting this evening. 

Also, check out our adoption blog for an exciting update





Meeting with God

9 01 2008

The Sunday before Christmas one of the career singles at our church handed Joshua an envelope and said, this is an anonymous gift someone wanted to give you and Bethany.  Please enjoy it! 

Josh and I had driven separately to church since he had to arrive early for worship team so I wasn’t there upon the receiving of the gift.  Joshua thanked the man who’d given him the envelope and proceeded to open it to find a generous cash gift. 

This year we had decided not to purchase gifts for one another in an effort to save money.  But Joshua thought it would be best to use some of this gift on me!  Part of what he used it for was a handful of books to enhance my spiritual growth.  I am so thankful! (The other portion went directly into our adoption fund!)

This morning I was reading “Shopping for Time” written by the girltalk bloggers (one of the books Joshua purchased for me), and I came across this quote from John Piper. 

“The human heart does not replenish itself with sleep.  The body does, but not the heart. . . We replenish our hearts not with sleep, but with the Word of God and prayer.” 

How true!  Far to many times I convince myself its an extra 30 minutes or an hour of sleep that I need to be refreshed.  When oh how contrare!  Daily, early we must rise to replenish and refresh our hearts in the Word of God – Something no amount of sleep could ever accomplish. 

Thank you anonymous gift-giver!





Ransomed

5 10 2007

Here is a song we sang last Sunday at church.  It’s been rolling around in my head all week.  May it remind you of the glorious gospel today! 

By Jordan Kauflin

When my sin begins to tell me, all is lost, my guilt displayed.  I will look and see my Savior, Jesus Christ who bore my blame.

And neither death, nor life, nor anything, could ever keep me from His love!

Hallelujah, grace shall reign eternally.  None shall take me, from the ranks of God’s redeemed.  His blood has forever ransomed me!

What from Christ my soul shall sever?  Bound by everlasting bands.  Once in Him, in Him forever, His eternal covenant stands.

And neither death, nor life, nor anything, could ever keep me from His love!

Hallelujah, grace shall reign eternally.  None shall take me, from the ranks of God’s redeemed.  His blood has forever ransomed me!

On such love, my soul will ponder.  Love so great, so rich, so free!  I say while I’m lost in wonder, Why oh Lord such love to me?

And neither death, nor life, nor anything, could ever keep me from His love!

Hallelujah, grace shall reign eternally.  None shall take me, from the ranks of God’s redeemed.  His blood has forever ransomed me!





Virginity, Purity Pledges, and Stupid TV

1 10 2007

It isn’t often that I watch any kind of criminal investigation shows.  You know all the CSI’s, Criminal Minds, Cold Case. . . shows like these.  I don’t like watching the horrendous things that happen to people.  But, last night I did end up watching Cold Case with Joshua, and perhaps we should have turned it off, but I just couldn’t believe what I was watching.  CBS managed to make a complete mockery of abstinence before marriage, purity pledges, and promise rings.  I found myself rather enraged!

You could go to the CBS website and watch the show, but here is the summary:

The show opens with a teacher handing out a paper with contraceptive suggestions to students and reminding them of the importance of “safe sex.”  A girl in the back raises her hand and mentions abstinence and she is essentially mocked as unrealistic and stupid.  The show progresses as we meet Carrie (the school tramp) and see her immodest dress and sexual habits.  We also meet the students who have formed a “Waiting Hearts Club” which is lead by a 22 year old local youth pastor.  Carrie decides that she is tired of being trampy and wants to give “Second Virginity” a try, so she joins the club.  As she joins, all the internal struggles in the club become unveiled.  A dating couple has recently slipped up and fear pregnancy, one guy in the group is having gay thoughts, and another girl has been going to the youth pastor and confessing her sexual sin to him.  And it is infered that the youth pastor is masturbating.  All of these “christian” kids are worrying about God hating them, while Carrie is portrayed as a well adjusted teen who sees herself as worth something.  She also counsels her struggling peers with advice like, “its okay if you have sex, God’s not going to hate you.”  Or to the boy struggling with gay thoughts, “God understands, why don’t you tell the others in the group about these thoughts.”  In the end the christian kids can’t live with Carrie knowing their inner struggles so they decide to kill her.  One student quotes a passage from Deuteronomy about stoning the immoral and so these kids surround Carrie and stone her to death. 

When the show ended Joshua turned to me and said, “So who’s the hero?  And who’s the bad guy?”  Isn’t it awful how the media is portraying Christianity and morality?  I was angry, upset, and then really saddened by what I had viewed.  Is this how the world see’s Christian teens- hypocritical and messed up? 

I am thankful for God’s faithfulness in my life and the lives of those I see around me.  There are many evidences of His grace abounding to help us in our temptations to sin.  There are many who have commited to remain pure before marriage, and even though it can be difficult it can be done!!!  God is able to help us in our weaknesses.  I’ve talked with people who have been like Carrie and are trying to change, and others who are confessing Christians struggling to remain pure.  Thank God it doesn’t end up like the show and that we have a wonderful gospel that is true!!!