Friday, February 26, 2010

fostering gratitude

I don't know about you all, but I tend to waste a lot of time thinking about the things I don't have and wish I could change in my life, instead of focusing on my blessings and the simple things that God has given me out of His kindness and grace. This just leaves me discontent and unhappy with my circumstances and the things I don't like about life instead of grateful for all the things I do have. In an effort to foster a heart flowing with gratitude and to acknowledge and praise the Lord for His kindness in providing for me, I am going to start making a weekly post of things that I'm thankful for that week.

Philippians 4:8- Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This week I am thankful for:

-the joy of making Mark and I's first home our own
-friends who care about my soul
-a new last name! :)
-Christ's righteousness counted as my own despite my sinful heart
-the hill I jog on that has the perfect amount of slope to make a jog challenging but not killer
-the quietness of mornings (having a husband who gets up at 4:40 makes the mornings seem a lot longer these days!)
-Mark, who makes me laugh more than I ever have before
-other bloggers who share knowledge and insight into a vast array of topics
-a new washer and dryer making life a lot easier these days!
-Mallory Peckels and her note-writing tendencies that always make me laugh
-remembering that every good and perfect gift is from above- our heavenly Father loves us!

Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."
Hosea 6:3

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Few pastor's words and sermons have influenced my view of the gospel and its daily relevance to the extent of Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church in Texas. Podcasting his sermons has deepened my understanding and application of the Bible in monumental ways. He's also freaking funny and his messages are challenging and steeped in the truth of God's love and grace to us in Christ despite our sinfulness and failings. The Lord's done such a powerful work through Matt's ministry at the Village, especially recently as he battles Anaplastic oligodendroglioma, a form of brain cancer. Here's some writing from Chandler's blog that reflect his eternal view of life here on earth. Reading his words made me think of Colossians 3:1&3, exhorting us to "Set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." What comfort in knowing that our journey here on earth is so temporary yet bearing eternal implications for our souls. May we seek and pursue that which is "success" according to the Lord and not the wasted aims of a fallen and passing world. Please pray for Matt Chandler and his family as well as the Village Church. To God be the glory.

From Matt Chandler's blog:

All of my life I have wanted to be successful. The idea of success has driven me most of my days and the fear of not being successful has kept me on course as well. As I reflect on this, I find it interesting that not much has changed for me personally. I still desire success, but my definition of “success” has shifted drastically. Growing up in the thriving and prosperous suburb of Plano the mantra and allure of success was all around me.

Success equated to the various status symbols of the “American Dream”: expensive cars, expansive homes, exotic vacations and exclusive lives. The greater cultural system reinforced what most families modeled, and we were all competing for ways to get a slice of pie. The proverbial “Jones’” kept everyone running at breakneck speed and leaving carnage in our wake; people became a means to an end as “success” was the idol we chased. This is not isolated to Plano or the Dallas metroplex per se; rather, this ethos permeates the ghetto as much as Rodeo Drive. It is American to the core.

A biblically informed definition of success has almost nothing to do with the acquisition of material things or the achievement of personal comfort. Success for the believer is defined in relationship to Jesus Christ and His mission. Christ came to seek and save that which was lost; He calls a people unto Himself. We were once far off and have now been brought near through the blood of Christ. He creates a new humanity with transformed perspectives and ambitions.

The death and resurrection of Christ and the overall mission of God in the world now defines what success looks like for the believer and the Church. Simplistically, a believer’s desire for success should be in accordance with Romans 12:1-2. Do I look like the Savior? Have I been transformed by His grace to love radically, give generously, suffer willingly, walk humbly and engage missionally? Is the fruit of God’s Spirit evident in my heart: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).

The hope in my life is that I would be successful, but success has been redefined as I have been transformed. Now, a prosperous life means an endowment of Christ-saturated thoughts, relationships and actions; not a certain tax bracket or health. Conformity to the image of Christ compels me rather than the creaturely comforts of a fading glory (2 Corinthians 5:14). The success I am now pursuing is not elusive; rather, it is eternally mine because it has been purchased by the sufficient blood of Christ and secured by the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:7,14). The “American Dream” is a cheap substitute compared to the rich treasure of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7-10). The gospel reality awakens us to pleasures evermore and causes us to abandon our prior delusions of grandeur to readily accept the inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for those who believe. (1 Peter 1:3-5).

Can I really be called a “success” if I waste my life chasing the wind? Maybe, but then I would also have to be called a “fool” as well.

Also, read Matt Chandler's wife, Lauren's blog, at

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We're hitched!

This picture brings me great joy- Mark and I are so blessed by our wonderful friends! They're so full of life! The Lord's woven our paths together in ways that only HE, in all His sovereignty and wisdom, could make possible. To Him be the glory! Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17

Monday, February 22, 2010

martin luther speaks truth

“Be of good courage and cast these dreadful thoughts out of your mind. Whenever the devil pesters you with these thoughts, at once seek out the company of men, drink more, joke and jest, or engage in some other form of merriment. . . . When the devil throws our sins up to us and declares that we deserve death and hell, we ought to speak thus: ‘I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? Does this mean that I shall be sentenced to eternal damnation? By no means. For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also.’”

Martin Luther, in Theodore G. Tappert, editor, Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel (Philadelphia, 1955), pages 86-87.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

He loves us because He is God

I think we all have moments where we are left asking and wondering, "why does God love me?" What can make a perfect and pure, sinless, holy God love a sinful, wandering and weak person like me? For me, the more I see my sin and how deeply seeded it lies in my soul, I grow in my wonder of my God whose love will not let me go, no matter how far I stray. It is an indescribable and incomprehensible love that continues despite wrongdoing, that does not require any action in order to receive its bountiful riches. God's love for His people is beyond what we can understand; it has been declared to us in the common graces of life around us: the beauty of creation, the joy of relationships, the enjoyment of tangible things in the world such as food and adventure and experiences. Yet the pinnacle of God's love is displayed in the death of His Son for us who are undeserving of mercy and grace. What a love He has for us. Before Christ and after Christ, the Lord has loved us with an everlasting love. He loves us because He is God and God is love.

"This free love was not produced or purchased by Christ’s death. That love existed before in all its largeness and freeness. Christ’s death did not increase that love. It was wide as the heart of God, and could not be increased. Christ’s death did not make the sinner a more suitable object for that love. The sinner was loved before; and it was love to the sinner that made the Father send the Son: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” That love rested on the sinner before. His circumstances as a sinner, so far from quenching God’s love to him as a creature, increased it; for they added all the amount of misery, and gloom, and exposure to eternal ruin, which called up that profound and unutterable compassion which a father feels toward a prodigal child that has ruined himself. Nothing in us, nothing in the world, nothing in heaven or earth, nothing in man or angel produced the love of God. It was uncreated, unbought, undeserved, and unfathomable. God loved the sinner because He was God, and because the sinner was a sinner. That is the end of the matter." -Horatius Bonar

Monday, February 1, 2010

morning glory

ok, so i'm a morning person, so it might seem a bit biased that i'd be preaching the gloriousness of mornings...but seriously, i have found mornings to be some of the most profitable and rich times in my life. time with the Lord, exercise, breakfast, studying, reflection are consistently enriched when i do these things in the morning hours. i am definitely not consistent in waking up early every morning, and i do have lapses where i struggle out of bed after 8 and feel like i could sleep for another 2-3 hours... i was encouraged by a fellow blogger's posting about establishing a morning routine. this woman encourages me in lots of ways; i think we would be friends if this was the real world :)

Click here to check out her wise words.