Thursday, August 31, 2006

One Lonesome Picture

I have an innumerable amount of pictures that I would like to post. Alas, our wireless is currently disabled and we are functioning off of dial-up. Do you remember when dial-up was the only option and we all thought it was high-speed?

Here is one lonesome picture Scott took on Sunday:

Ben, Jaclyn Victoria and Timothy. Oh, and say hello to Phil looking at us in the background. Phil and his family moved to Colorado from England last year. They have a real, functioning, RED, double decker bus that Phil's dad bought on Ebay. No lie. You should see the garage for the thing... narrow, tall and huge!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pride, Prejudice and Piano

The movie was good. The soundtrack is absolutely AMAZING.

Sophia has raved about this soundtrack for a while, so I finally ordered it through my account. The sonnets have a classical piano sensation with a modern orchestral edge. A stunningly gorgeous combonation! There are light compositions, fun ballads and serious anthems.

I wish I played the piano. I guess playing the CD player will have to do for now...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Women Who Work and the Men Who Live with Them

This morning I read an article linked at Ladies Against Feminism called Don't Marry Career Women. I found the information fascinating and quite accurate from what I have seen displayed in the lives of people I know. I would be curious to hear any thoughts or disagreements about the article.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Commands of Christ

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments,"
Jesus proclaimed in John chapter 14.

Several years ago my dad obtained a copy of the little book, Commands of Christ. It outlines forty-nine commands given directly from Jesus. It gives you a command, Scripture that supports the command, names of God to pray, questions of reflection and a definition to ponder.

Command Three: Rejoice

Matthew 5:11-12, Luke 10:20
I Peter 4:12-14
I Thessalonians 5:16-19
2 Corinthians 12:9
Philippians 4:4, 6

Praying the Names of God
Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord Your Banner
Exodus 17:8-16, Deuteronomy 20:4
Jesus Christ is Life
John 14:6, 10:10

Examining My Heart
- Do I see trials as God's means of brining me to spiritual maturity?
- Have I found Scriptures to strengthen me in trials?
- How have I overcome reviling with good works?
- Have I thanked God for tirals and persecution?
- Do I keep my eyes on eternity when trials come into my life?
- Am I willing to join in the sufferings of Christ?
- Have I identified benefits in the trials I am facing?
- What qualities are my trials building in me?

Developing Character
Joyfulness vs. Self-Pity
Joyfulness is the bright spirit and radiant countenance that comes by being in full fellowship with the Lord.


There is a complacent tendancy inside me to skim verses that are familiar, scanning the words and skipping true meaning. They are verses and sections that I have read hundreds of times. I memorized them as a child. They are lingos, cliches, token words and pat answers.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

Or maybe Philippians 4:4 is just a catchy song I sing:

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.

Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.

Rejoice, rejoice and again I say rejoice!

Through words and actions do I exemplify that there must be external performances of happiness, whether the happiness is real or perceived, in order to be a Christian? So many times I reduce rejoicing in my life to a plastered smile and fake laugh. Maybe to hide inner termoil. Maybe I fear vulnerability.

Or maybe we just don't feel like rejoicing.

We think that life is hard. Time and energy is foolishly spent chasing bigger houses, more money, better possessions and higher status. Bitterness weaves its clever fingers of unforgiveness through our heart suffocating any hint of joy.

We do not know how to rejoice. And we don't know why we would anyway.

We do not know why we would rejoice when evil attacks, disappointment surrounds, pressure weighs and stress creeps into our lives. We thought being a Christian would fix all of these feelings, didn't we? Sunday school teachers told us that "if you believe in Jesus you will be happy and go to heaven when you die."

Maybe we do not know how to rejoice because the object of our affection is self. Woah, harsh statement, I know. Think about it. How do you view your life? How do you view your relationship with God? What is the basis of your theology? Why did you become a Christian in the first place? To escape hell or because God is the only One worthy of worship?

One is self-centered and the other is God-centered. And this affects why and how we rejoice.

But first, what does it mean to rejoice? Truly? I am not talking about pat answers here. What IS hardcore rejoicing? The Greek word for 'rejoice' (used above in Philippians 4) is the primary verb chairo (khah'-ee-ro). It means, well, to rejoice. Webster's dictionary defines rejoice as: to be joyful. The prefix "re" means: to do again, anew. Put them together as rejoice, therefore, and we are commanded to be joyful again. In the context of Philippians 4:4, Paul is exhorting us to be joyful always! We had joy, we have it again- now keep it!

Easier said than done sometimes, right? I do not know about you, but I have a hard time with the commands of Christ because they ALL shatter my comfortable, plastic Christianity that is so easy to display on Sunday morning. But it is a command, directly from the mouth of Jesus and through His servant, Paul. If I love Him, I will obey His commands (John 14) and His commands are not burdensome (1 John 5) because He has given us all we need for godliness (2 Peter 1).

This morning I read Luke 10. Here Jesus sends out 72 disciples and they return eagerly reporting to Jesus (verse 10) that, "even the demons submit to us in Your name." Obviously they were excited for Jesus admonishes them by replying:

"I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Jesus is communicating: "Of course they sumbit to my name, I cast Satan out of heaven for goodness sake! I have given you my authority and power, but this is not why you should rejoice. Rejoice that you have received my salvation!"

Sigh. Isn't it just like us humans? We try to boast and brag to Power Itself (Jesus!) that we are doing wonderful things for Him. We get busy serving Him that we loose much of who He is and what He has done for us. Jesus did not question how many demons they cast out; He did not let them chatter on and on about their "success." He brought their attention back where it needed to be.

On Him. On His position above the enemy, on His power that He gave the disciples and on the salvation that He had given them. The foundation for rejoicing is Him.

There is a sense of happiness that comes from knowing we have been saved from eternal condemnation in hell. It is not joy, though, but relief. Relief is self-focused and a mere feeling. Joy, on the other hand, flows from a heart that has found a treasure outside of self. Would you sell all you have for a glass of water? You may be extremely thirsty, but unless your life depended on that drink, I would guess most might wait for a drink. But, what if you found hidden treasure that was worth more than money could ever buy? Wouldn't you do anything to buy that land? What rejoicing would happen when you finally uncovered the treasure and realized it was yours.! That is the difference between relief and joy.

Jesus is the treasure. In Him is all joy because He is God. In Him is all joy because He took my condemnation and placed it upon Himself. In Him is all joy because I am free. In Him is my joy because He is Good.

So let us rejoice, not because we are "saved from hell," but because we have been given the Treasure of Jesus Christ. Let us teach our children to believe in the Messiah, not because they are miserable little sinners who need a Savior to go to heaven (and they are and do), but because Jesus is the only One worthy of worship, which shows us our sin and need for a Savior. Let us remember that heaven is not a reward for "accepting Jesus as our Savior," but a response of God's grace so that we can praise Him for eternity.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

"...rejoice that your names are written in heaven." Luke 10:20


Friday, August 11, 2006

A Piece of Me: Aged 23

Now listen, you who say,
"Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city,
spend a year there, carry on business and make money."
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
What is your life?
You are a mist that appears for a little while
and then vanishes.
Instead, you ought to say,
"If it is the Lord's will,
we will live and do this or that."
As it is, you boast and brag.
All such boasting is evil.
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do
and doesn't do it, sins.
James 4:13-17

No one is guaranteed tomorrow. It is arrogant of me to say that tomorrow I will do this or that or go here or there. No one knows what tomorrow will bring.

What is my life?

It is a vapor, a mist, a fleeting mark on humanity. My life is another birth certificate in a massive filing cabinet among thousands, millions and billions of people who have walked Earth. The rich. The poor. The famous. The outcast. Me.

In my self-centered arrogance I plan my schedule. I plan events for tomorrow, next week, the month and new years. Is it wrong to plan things for the future? Of course not- that was not the point James was presenting when he wrote the above encouragement. Instead of planning my life as if everything is certain, I must constantly redirect my focus to God and His sovereign plan.

Tomorrow might not exist for me.

And today, well, is my twenty-third birthday.

The years pass so quickly. They are gone before you realize it. Before you realize that you should have loved more, cared more, spent more, traveled more, spent less, been angry less, cleaned less. Laughed more with the people you love. Taken the time to watch sunsets. Worshipped God more. Served God more.

Sacrificed more for the gospel.

Life IS a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. Yet, I have been given God's grace. Grace that compels me to share that grace with a world lost in hopelessness. There is no purpose for my life other than that. So this next year is going to be more focused on my passion for making God known to all people. I am tired of sitting back and doing nothing, or not enough, or too little. I am scared to death and more alive than ever at the same time!

Happy Birthday to me! Thank You, God, for every breath and each new day. May I make You known to all peoples, near and far. May I have more of You. At the end of the day, that is all I want, more, more, MORE of Jesus.

For You ARE life.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A Piece of Me: Aged 10

Friday I will celebrate my birthday. Some have informed me that this year I will officially be in my mid-twenties. Personally, I think I have one more year before that...

I can tend to get quite retrospective on two days: my birthday and January 1. I love to look back at the year behind me and ask questions like: How have I become more like Jesus this year? Am I more like Jesus this time this year than I was at this time last year? What new struggles am I facing? How have I matured? What do I need to work on in the new year? What would I like to learn spiritually and academically? Am I fulfilling my callings as a daughter, sister and follower of Jesus to the best of my ability?

This year, though, I have thought about the last year as well as the last ten years.

Can you remember where you were 10 years ago? Can you remember who you were, what stage of life you were in and who were your friends? What was your maturity level spiritually, emotionally and physically?

Ten years is a long time. So much can change. So much can happen. I have lived in the same town the last 10 years. I did not know how to drive ten years ago. Ten years ago my dad was graduating Seminary. Ten years ago I did not have a job. I had not been overseas ten years ago. Ten years ago I was a little girl.

The last 10 years of my life, since I am only in my twenties, have proved to be the maturing, growing and developing years. I have passed from childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood. I have experienced more trials than I would like to recount. I have accomplished many things. I have laughed. I have cried. I have pondered. I have wept.

Many people dread the reality of getting older. There are so many methods that promote youth and postpone the aging process. But I am enjoying getting older. It comes with a new set of struggles and trials that I did not have to experience as a child. Yet, it also has its joys that a child cannot understand. I am learning that no stage of life has all of the benefits.

Except one: knowing God.

And this is what I love about watching another year of my life pass. I know Christ better than I did at this time last year. As I read my journal from July and August of 2005 I see how I have grown. CS Lewis in his book, Prince Caspian, describes it perfectly when Aslan seems bigger to Lucy, not because he (Aslan) has grown, but because she is older and is able to comprehend more of his character.

As each year passes I am able to see more and more of who God is... and at the same time realize with age that I have only scratched the surface of who He is!

It is a beautiful paradox.

I would not trade the painful trials I have faced the last 10 years. I know Him more as a result. I would not trade the joys with which He has blessed me. I know Him more as a result.

How long will I live? 75 years? 80 years? Not long enough to know Him as much as He can be known on earth. I guess that is what eternity is for....

The last fews years Isaiah 43:10 has been my life verse. It sums up who I am and what my purpose on earth should be:

"You are My witnesses," declares the LORD,
"and My servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know and believe Me
and understand that I am He.
Before Me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after Me.
Isaiah 43:10

Readers Block

You have heard of "writers block," right? Writers block is when a writer has difficulty with ideas, creativity or motivation. Well, what about readers block?

Galant gave me what I will title "Readers Block" today when he tagged me with this questionnaire. It is practically impossible for me to give you only one book for each question. I have read so much and many excellent books that to name one does injustice to the ten others I could put too!

Still, I gave it my best...

1. One book that changed your life.
Ha! ONE? (Other than the Bible) You have got to be kidding me… I look at my life in eras and for every stage I could name a book that changed me in some way or another. Most Recently I would declare The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis as an influence of perspective change. Also, several years ago God used My Life for Yours by Douglas Wilson to remind me of who I am and what I want to be. I am not sure if it was life changing, but I know it redirected my focus at that time.

2. One book you've read more than once.
Mommy, I have to go potty! by an author whose name I cannot remember. I am sure that I read this a dozen times in a row during the beginning stages of potty training Samuel!

Seriously, now: I have read The Great Divorce several times. I tend to skim books for a refresher, reading what I highlighted, not always taking the time to read the whole book through again.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island.
The Bible, of course, and My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers (or anything by John Piper).

4. One book that made you laugh.
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis (the title always makes me giggle!)

5. One book that made you cry.
Mind Siege by Tim LaHaye and Dr. David Noebel.

6. One book you wish had been written.
I may write this book myself someday- Between the Pulpit and Politics. It would give the lay church member an in-depth look at the pastor and his family, their struggles and the expectations that people place on them.

7. One book you wish had never been written.
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. The ideas he presented in this work, as well as his other writings, were by no means “new” ideas. His influence though, coupled with the current political and social events of that era, threw his perspective into the lime light. It was definitely a book that changed the course of history and society.

8. One book you're currently reading.
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
(and if I can do two… So Much More by Elizabeth and Anna Sofia Botkin)

9. One book you've been meaning to read.
I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist by Norm Geisler

10. Now tag 5 people.
Ben, Vince, Ann Marie, Sophia and Katie (links to their blogs on the sidebar)

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Blazing Center

Say hello to the sun.
It is a simple star, really.
Basic. Small. Ordinary.
Tiny when compared to other stars.

And yes, that is Earth pictured next to it. Tiny star called the sun next to speck of dirt known as Earth.

My home. My world.

And the Rocky Mountains seem gigantic to me.

Incomprehensible Sun Facts:

Distance: 93 million miles from your home.
Size: About 33,000 times the size of the earth.
Equatorial Circumference: 2,715,0000 miles (the earth is 24,000 miles around)
Surface Temperature: Approx. 10,000 degrees F.
Discovery Date: Ancient Times :-P
Creator, Designer and Engineer: God Himself

Thursday, August 03, 2006


In December 2004, a neutron star flared up so brightly, it temporarily blinded all the x-ray satellites in space, and lit up the Earth's upper atmosphere. This tremendous blast of energy was from a giant flare created by the neutron star's twisting magnetic field. Objects like this are called magnetars, and they produce magnetic fields trillions of time more powerful than those here on Earth. These fields are so strong they can actually buckle the surface of the neutron star causing these powerful star quakes. (From Nasa's website)

Our entire physical structure was designed to be staggered by God's infinite character. God created our mind with the ability to TRY to comprehend Him, yet, we are too small to even begin understanding. It is good for our brain to suffer from mind boggling God-centered thoughts. We spend far too much time thinking about mindless tasks, problems and entertainments. Day by day we move about on this ball of dirt called Earth doing our ant like bustling and scurrying.

In order to keep perspective, visit these sites regularly or buy some space books that detail the stars, nebulas, solar systems and galaxies. Allow your mind to be stunned by the compexity of creation and the simplicity of its Creator. We are small, really, really, REALLY small.

And that's good.

Astronomy Picture of the Day


Hubble Telescope

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Just in case you thought you were something!

Who has measured the waters
in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand
marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust
of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains
on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Isaiah 40:12

Happy Sweet Sixteen Galaxy (M82)

The galaxy is remarkable for its bright blue disk, webs of shredded clouds, and fiery-looking plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out of its central regions.

Throughout the galaxy's center, young stars are being born 10 times faster than they are inside our entire Milky Way Galaxy. The resulting huge concentration of young stars carved into the gas and dust at the galaxy's center. The fierce galactic superwind generated from these stars compresses enough gas to make millions of more stars.

In M82, young stars are crammed into tiny but massive star clusters. These, in turn, congregate by the dozens to make the bright patches, or "starburst clumps," in the central parts of M82. The clusters in the clumps can only be distinguished in the sharp Hubble images. Most of the pale, white objects sprinkled around the body of M82 that look like fuzzy stars are actually individual star clusters about 20 light-years across and contain up to a million stars.

The rapid rate of star formation in this galaxy eventually will be self-limiting. When star formation becomes too vigorous, it will consume or destroy the material needed to make more stars. The starburst then will subside, probably in a few tens of millions of years.

Located 12 million light-years away, M82 appears high in the northern spring sky in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear. It is also called the "Cigar Galaxy" because of the elliptical shape produced by the oblique tilt of its starry disk relative to our line of sight.

This galaxy is also 28,000 light years wide.

If you have not studied your science lately, here are some facts:

Light year: A unit of measurement for the distance that light travels in one year, which is 5,878,786,100,000 miles. (If you do not understand- that is almost 6 TRILLION miles!)

That galaxy pictured above is 12 million miles x 6 billion miles away! That is a lot of zeros... if I did my math right it would be:

74,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 MILES from little earth to Happy Sweet Sixteen Galaxy!

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

Who has measured the waters
in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand
marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust
of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains
on the scales
and the hills in a balance?
Isaiah 40:12

And I bet you thought your problems were big!

God, in the form of a human, Jesus, stepped INTO His creation, a teeny tiny speck of dust called Earth, and DIED to redeem humanity. Jesus, Creator of the universe, displayed the glory of God in His death and proclaimed God majestic in His resurrection!

1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. Hebrews 1:1-4

Never again doubt God's love for you. God spoke and the galaxies, trillions of them, appeared. Never doubt God's power. Our sun is a speck in our galaxy and nothing in comparison to other stars. Never worry. The heavens tell of the glory of God. Never fret over evil on earth. God is in control of the universe. Lay aside fears.

You are but a vapor.

Instead, stand to your feet OR fall flat on your face in reverence, awe and praise before the God who alone is worthy. Instead, shout to the nations that He alone is God. Tell the people that their foolish ideas, philosophies, worries, cares and good works are NOTHING, literally, in relation to the stars, nebulas, black holes, solar systems and galaxies. And NOTHING in perpective to their Creator, who with the WORD of His mouth said, "Let there BE!"

And there was.