P31 Wannabe

Have you buried it? April 22, 2014

Filed under: God thoughts — Lacey @ 1:54 am

Tonight while reading my devotion a few things came to mind that I wanted to flesh out for myself and share with you at the same time.

I’m reading through the NLT daily New Testament in a year Bible with my hubby. We’re a few days behind so I ended up reading a couple extra days worth of reading together. I read (out loud to Seth) Luke 18:18-19:48. By reading these passages together I found a few things that I had never noticed before (disclaimer I didn’t pull out any deep study books to double check my thoughts, so if I’m wrong feel free to correct me and again read it for yourself, don’t just take my word for it).

First, on his way into Jericho, Jesus heals a blind man who happens to be sitting beside the road where He and the crowd are traveling. After this quick healing, the formally blind man “followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too.” (18:43).

Next, Jesus, the excited crowd and presumedly the still rejoicing blind man make their way into Jericho where they now meet Zacchaeus in the infamous sycamore tree. See, I never connected these two event together before. I can imagine how excited and rowdy this crowd must have been. The buzz must have been contagious. No wonder Zacchaeus was anxious to see what was going on. To see what this miracle working Jesus was going to do next.

After Zacchaeus has his life changing encounter with Christ (and a meal I assume, at his house), Jesus and the crowd and maybe still the blind man and Zacchaeus continue on their journey to Jerusalem. Do you think the previously blind man ate dinner with Zacchaeus and was a recipient of Zacchaeus’ new found generosity to the poor?

After all this talk about money with Zacchaeus and to “correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away” (19:11), Jesus tells the parable of the 10 Mina or elsewhere described as talents. I’ll come back to this in a minute.

After all of these events that took place between the edges of Jericho into the border of Jerusalem, now comes the triumphal entry. Did Jesus still have the same excited crowd following Him that saw the healing of the blind man? Scripture says that the people “were displeased” and “grumbled” when Jesus stopped to fellowship with Zacchaeus at his home (19:7). Did they stick around afterwards to see this triumphal entry? Did they get over their bitterness toward Jesus’ new found friend? Was Zacchaeus and the healed blind man in the crowd at the triumphal entry too? What happened to them during the following week and what was their reaction when Jesus was betrayed and crucified? Did they hide like the disciples? Did they give up hope? We’re they among the people that Jesus later appeared to?

And then Jesus went from the triumphal entry to clearing out the temple again. That’s quite an exciting and exhausting day. What a roller coaster of emotions for the crowd, let alone Jesus’ disciples. No wonder they didn’t understand it all. I’d be lost and confused, too.

Ok, with all that now being said (a lot to take in, I know) but I really want to go back to is the parable of the Mina. I find it interesting that Jesus used a parable about money right after an infamous tax collector repented and promised to give away his corruptly earned riches.

I also found it interesting that 1 Mina was worth 3 months’ wages. And the nobleman gave away 10 of them. So he divided up 30 months worth of wages among 3 of his servants. Let’s assume a person make $500 a week. Just one Mina was worth 500×4 (weeks)x3 (months)= $6,000. So this nobleman gave his 3 servants a total of $60,000 to invest for him. We don’t know if he divided the Mina equally or not, but if we assume he did (I know you can’t exactly divide 10 by 3 equally but let’s just pretend to make it easier), the first servant made his master a profit of $200,000! (60,000/3 then x10) The second servant made $100,000. And the third servant gave his master back his original $20,000. All those amounts sure make the Mina and their profits sounds much more impressive, huh?

The main thing that stuck out to me is what happens when we apply the three servants to ourselves, especially the last one. I’ve heard people relate the Mina or talents to us and how we use the talents that God’s given us. I see how this applies. But let’s make it even simpler. What is the basic gift that God has given all of us Christians? Well, actually He’s given it to EVERYONE but it doesn’t apply unless we actually take the gift. So, like the servants in the parable, Christians have accepted the gift of salvation (aka Mina) and all that it entails (forgiveness, eternal life, hope, purpose, grace, etc). But what have you done with this gift? What have I done with it? When Jesus comes back is He going to find that you’ve made $200,000 worth on his investment in your life? Of course I’m not trying to put a price on salvation. I’m not trying to actually say that I expect God to be looking for a financial profit from the Gospel. I hope you understand what I’m meaning here. Are you making your salvation count? Does it just count for you or are you truly sharing the Gospel and investing it in others?

Have you buried your Mina and kept it to yourself? Do the people around you even know you’re a Christian? Have you gone beyond labeling yourself a Christian and actually planted the seeds in other’s lives? Have you made the Gospel real for those around you?

Or are you sitting nice and comfortably upon your buried treasure? It’s not enough to keep your salvation untarnished and intact.

The scary truth comes next ” ‘You wicked servant!’ The king roared ‘your own words condemn you…take the money from this servant and give it to the others…to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away…'” (Luke 19:22, 24, 26).

 

Maybe there’s something to this Amish thing… February 15, 2014

Filed under: God thoughts,Homeschooling,Life — Lacey @ 10:16 pm

This week on H’s school, we were learning about Ohio. In a couple of the books we looked at, there were pictures of the Amish and their buggies since there is a large Amish population in Ohio (at least according to the books, I’ve never been there).

I was explaining to H what Amish people are like and what they believe. H declared that she doesn’t want us to ever become Amish because she likes colorful clothes too much! Lol.

In one of the books we read, America the Beautiful: Ohio, I found a number of facts about the Amish interesting and it made me start to wonder if maybe they do a lot more right then we realize.

  • They base their lifestyles on Romans 12:2 “Be not conformed to the world.”
  • Simplicity is more important than convenience.
  • Amish men stop shaving their beards after they’re married (I never knew this.  This explains the long beards! And I’m glad we don’t follow this tradition, although it might cut down on infidelity.  No just slipping a ring off, you’d have to shave your beard off and that would be a bit more obvious! Although pity the man who can’t grow a beard…)
  • Self-reliance and neighborly assistance are valued strongly. (I like this a lot!)
    • They believe if they are faithful to their religious values, their needs will be met.
    • They don’t expect the government to take care of them.  They don’t collect social security, medicare or medicaid benefits.  They take care of their own elderly and needy members of their community.
    • They still seek modern medical care, but they don’t have health insurance.  Instead, they pay members’ medical expenses out of a community fund (sounds a lot like the sharing ministry we’re a part of).
    • They help each other build their houses (think barn raising!) and harvest their crops.

I really like their values with taking care of each other, not relying on the government for handouts (or anything else!), and their simple way of life.  While I am super thankful for modern technology and conveniences (hello grocery stores, hot water and electricity), I can also understand the reasons that they choose to live without those things.

I don’t really believe that those things are sinful in and of themselves, though.  Preaching that they are isn’t truthful and is in essence putting extra hedges around God’s Word.  Hedges that while meant to protect, also ends up limiting the freedom that God’s grace provides.  All that being said, I don’t think that God intended for us to live life in such a fast pace either.

The American way of life leaves a lot to be desired.  The fast paced, always busy, mom-is-a-taxi way of life isn’t best.  I am personally so glad that I get to stay home with my kids. I am glad that we aren’t both working although having two paychecks would be nice, its not worth it to be so busy and stressed and never spending enough time with the kids.  Who am I kidding? I don’t feel like I spend enough time with them when I’m home all day with them.  How in the world would I get to spend any time with them if I worked outside the home? But that’s a whole other discussion.

Seth and I have talked on multiple occasions about whether we should have our kids (obviously just H at this point, K is way too young) in outside activities like sports, dance or music lessons.  We’ve both agreed that we honestly don’t think its ideal at least in this stage of life.  We feel like we’re busy enough as it is.  We don’t want to commit to any more time spent outside the home.  Our budget can’t really afford it either.

I say all this to express that I think the Amish get a number of things right.  They band together and help support each other.  Isn’t that what the Body of Christ is meant to do? How much more could we get accomplished if we lived in unity, selflessness and generosity? Wouldn’t we have much more time to serve each other and to spend with our families if we lived simpler lifestyles?  Just a thought.

 

Books 3-5 (Empty Shelf Challenge) February 6, 2014

Filed under: Books,God thoughts,Life — Lacey @ 8:40 pm

I’m behind on posting my informal reviews for the books I’ve read as part of Jon Acuff’s empty shelf challenge. So here’s the next 3 I read:

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This one is the second in the Seasons series by Janette Oke. And it was a great one! One of my favorites of the four. There was a lot of interesting dialogue between the main character and his new atheist friend. The main character did a lot of questioning of his faith, which led to a number of great observations that relate to real life:

“Either God was God–or He wasn’t. There was no moving Him in and out if my life with the mood I happened to be in.”

“Things didn’t just accidentally fall into being, that there is a Creator. Things didn’t just evolve. And because God was really God, He has the right to ask His creation to walk in His ways.”

“Did a person have to turn over everything–every part of life when he asked God to direct his ways? Wasn’t there some way I could still choose some areas where I could still be in control?”

The next book I read (in only a day!), is the third in the series:

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This one was another great read and probably my favorite of all four. There was more soul searching by the main character that led to more good applicable truths. The author made a good point that sometimes we wait for God to call us to big and great things but that we are serving him the way he wants right where we are. That he can use us in the seemingly mundane and ordinary things.

My next book was the fourth and final book in the Seasons series.

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Of all four, this one was my least favorite. It was still good, but it was a bit slower and more drawn out than necessary and then when it finally got more exciting at the end, the author rushed the conclusion (at least in my humble opinion). However, I’d still highly recommend this book and the entire series (of course!). I’m looking forward to reading Janette Oke’s other two series sometime this year.

 

Dressember December 3, 2013

Filed under: God thoughts,Life — Lacey @ 8:58 am

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you have probably been wondering, what’s up with your dresses and the pictures each day?

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Well…here’s why my girls and I are wearing a dress everyday in December…

On the last day of November, I saw a Facebook post about the Dressember challenge that a friend was taking. I was curious so I read the links she posted and researched a little further.

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Here’s the official Dressember page:
http://www.dressember.net/

I thought it would be fun to join in too, but the thought of wearing a dress everyday was a bit daunting. I didn’t have many dresses, especially not very many casual ones. And did I really want to wear a dress even when I was staying home? I was kinda afraid my nice dresses would get all messed up and stained up from household chores, having a toddler, cooking and cleaning. And honestly, I’m not very ladylike. I like to sit cross legged and obviously you can’t do that in a dress! Even at home!

But it’s for a good cause! I was shocked to find out that there are more people held in slavery today than over the course of the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade? We hear so much about the history of slavery in the US but barely anything about those that are suffering today! There are millions being held against their will and made to work for their masters’ profit. And many of these individuals are children who are being abused in incomprehensible ways. Because this is happening in many third world counties, those who are supposed to defend and bring justice typically turn a blind eye or are even part of the problem!

The purpose of Dressember is to bring awareness to these faceless victims and to raise money to defend and save them. Dressember is partnering with International Justice Mission and asking that those participating get sponsors to help raise support to further IJM’s work. I’m asking that any of you interested, feel free to sponsor me during Dressember and support IJM. Here’s my sponsor link: https://www.ijmfreedommaker.org/campaign/2445/Dressember-for-IJM/

However, I am also going to tweak the sponsorship opportunity. I am very happy with all the work that IJM does in freeing those trapped in slavery, persecuting the abusers and working to change the laws in the affecting countries. But I am also a big fan of Rapha house’s ministry. They do work closely with IJM and other international groups, but they take it even further. They rescue victims, provide safe houses for them, help them to heal, train them vocationally to be able to earn a living in healthy ways and most importantly they do it all in Jesus’ name. They don’t just rescue them in this life, but also for the life beyond. It’s great to rescue slaves here and now, but it’s so vital to give them hope beyond this life! Here is Rapha house’s website if you want more information: http://www.raphahouse.org/
If you’d like to donate to Rapha house instead, you can send me a check made out to Rapha house and ill send any checks I get together at the end of the month (email me for my address p31jewelry@gmail.com). Or you can make a donation directly to Rapha house on their website: https://www.raphahouse.org/take-action/donate
If you do make a donation online to Rapha, would you kindly let me know how much, so I can keep track? (Comment on this post or email me p31jewelry@gmail.com)

Ill be posting more about our dress adventure later. Stay tuned!

 

The Isolation of Blood October 6, 2012

Filed under: Books,God thoughts — Lacey @ 4:23 pm

Ok, if you’re a guy you may not want to read this.  This is nothing personal, its actually Biblical.  So I won’t be embarrassed if you read it, but some guys may feel awkward all the same.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had been reading from Liz Curtis Higgs’ “Really Bad Girls of the Bible,” for my devo times.  In the last chapter, about the woman with the issue of blood (Mark 5:25).  I learned a lot from this chapter, and I wanted to share some of the interesting things Liz brought up.

You, like me, might be wondering why, the bleeding woman was included in the “really bad girls.”  Well, according to Liz,

“Though no evidence suggests she was a Bad Girl, morally speaking, the fact is, her community would have seen her as very bad. Dangerous to be around. A terrible role model for young girls.  And deserving of her ailment because of her supposedly sinful life.”

 

I figured that the bleeding woman was miserable.  After all, she had been bleeding for 12 years!  But I never really knew how exactly she was bleeding.  Internally?  Externally?  Where?  Well, according to Liz, you can guess where,

“Five days each month does me in.

Think about 4,380 days in a row…

She had nonstop “hemorrhage” (NLT) of “flow of blood” (NKJV), what we would delicately call a “female problem”….

What was this woman’s medical dilemma do you suppose? Her constant bleeding could have been “fibroid tumors, or an endocrine gland disturbance…or a tear in the cervix, or it could have been a polyp”…

Today’s surgical procedures might have made her right as rain in no time.  Thousand years ago, though a woman suffered in silence–and shame–since the list of restrictions for a bleeding woman was lengthy and tedious, quickly turning her into a social outcast…

When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period…she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge.” Leviticus 15:25

A dozen years of being unclean.

A dozen years of no houseguests, no public events, no potlucks.

A dozen years of no husband, no children, no visits from family.

A dozen years of never being touched by anyone.  Ever.

To be considered “unclean” was to be unwelcome and unwanted. Not only was her body unclean, but so was the bed she slept in and the chairs she sat on.  And it wasn’t just inanimate objects she threatened with her low hygiene rating.  If other people touched those things, they, too, were “unclean” and had to wash their clothes and bathe with water and wouldn’t be considered clean again until sundown, the start of the next day…

What a good way to lose friends.  What a horrid way to live.”

 

I have never before considered the isolation and despair (besides the physical problems of bleeding) that she must have experienced.  She wouldn’t have been able to worship in the temple or attend the religious feasts.  I wonder if she had to cover her mouth and yell “unclean, unclean” like the lepers did.  People probably treated her like a leper, if they knew about her disorder.

 

And to think, she was brave enough to seek after Jesus.  Brave enough to face the crowd and the rejection or stares she might have received.  And imagine how her joy at being healed must have turned to horror and panic when Jesus asked “who touched me?”  Oh, no, maybe her healing would be taken away.  Maybe he would punish her or embarrass her in front of all those people.  But no.  Not Jesus.  Instead he publicly affirmed and praised her.  He wasn’t grossed out by her touch.  He wasn’t angry.  He loved her and restored her.  What an amazing God we have.  I’m so glad that he’s still concerned about each and everyone of us personally.  He still answers prayers and He still cares for our hurts, pains and distress.  He still comforts us.  Praise God.

 

Wash Me Clean

Filed under: Books,God thoughts — Lacey @ 3:50 pm

I’ve been reading from the book, “Really Bad Girls of the Bible: More Lessons from Less-Than-Perfect Women,” by Liz Curtis Higgs, recently for my devo times.  If you’ve never read any of her books, I’d highly recommend them.  In fact, she has more than I realized, both fiction and non.  The library actually has a ton of them and I’m excited to check a couple out soon.  Anyways, I digress.

This book studies a number of the “bad women” in the Bible and goes verse-by-verse through their stories.  You’d think this would be boring, but the author does an amazing job making their stories come alive and really supplying a ton of applicable background information.

When reading the chapter on Bathsheba, I came across a few paragraphs of awesomeness that I wanted to share.  I think it will hit home for so many people and the analogies make so much sense.

First, here’s a few background verses:

“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” (Psalm 51:2)

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Both of these verses were written by David after the incident with Bathsheba and all that was involved.

Here’s what Liz Curtis Higgs had to say about it:

“David understood repentance.  Do you, beloved?

When we turn back to embrace the One who loves and forgives us, we are made new.  The old sin is washed away and gone for good, like that sudsy water from your shower that disappears down the drain, never to be seen again.

Some of us put in a drain stopper, though, and insist on bathing in that same polluted water every day, beating ourselves up for last week’s dirt still swirling around us rather than letting God wash it off us for good.

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This isn’t about deserving forgiveness.  It’s about accepting it.

When your skin is covered with sweat, dust, and grime, you take a bath, yes? You don’t say, “I’m too filthy to get in this tub.  I’ll just have to stay grungy.”  No way. You get in and get clean.

How Satan blinds us to this truth! We think we have to be “good” to deserve God’s grace.  That’s like saying you have to be clean to take a bath!  Dear one, the more grimy our lives are, the more we need Jesus.  The dirtier your body, the better the bath feels.

The sensation you have in the physical realm when you step out of that cleansing hot shower–“Ahh!”–is exactly what happens in the spiritual realm when you bathe in the living water of God’s grace. And the Lord’s forgiveness is every bit as available as that shower in your bathroom, sister.  Reach for the faucet!

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God forgave David for killing a man after stealing his wife.  Think about that!

Whatever sins you need to confess, it’s clear God can handle them.

 

Starting Easter Traditions April 2, 2012

Filed under: God thoughts,Life — Lacey @ 2:46 pm

I really enjoyed doing the Advent calendar with Haddie during the Christmas season. So when I saw some activities on Pinterest to help celebrate the real reason for Easter, I was excited and knew that I wanted to start these this year. Of course I’m starting a little late for some of them (12 day countdown…we only have 7 counting today), but I figured better late than never. Theres still time, so go ahead and start some of these activities this week!

I made this 12 day countdown for us:
12 days of Easter

Here’s our basket:

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And here are a few of the eggs:

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Each egg has a short scripture to read and an object inside for Haddie to hold while we read so that she can better understand each aspect of the Easter story. I also added a small egg filled with candy for us to enjoy each night.

Here’s another site with some neat Easter activities:
Easter Story Craft a Day

I think I’ll try these next year when I have more time to plan ahead and she’ll enjoy them better. (Maybe we’ll have another addition to our family by then too! By adoption, that is!).

And I really want to make these Resurrection Rolls this year: Resurrection Rolls

And of course we’ll be doing the traditional coloring of Easter eggs and I already have our Easter baskets filled (and hidden). I can’t believe Resurrection Sunday is this week! It snuck up on me way too fast! But it’s guaranteed to be a lot of fun and hopefully be filled with good meaningful moments, too.