Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Celebrating Honor & Heroism

Honor & Heroism - that is what we talked about on September 11th around our house. I wrestled a lot with what to tell the boys about 9/11. John and I didn't talk too much about the events from a decade past with the boys, they are still so little its very hard to explain all that went on that frightful day. We didn't watch any of the 9/11 tributes until that evening after the boys went to bed - hatred and death are subjects that I know will be talked about, but I just didn't feel that they were ready to hear about it yet. Their hearts are still innocent and I didn't like the idea of all the "why" and "how" questions I knew I'd get from our big 6 year old Drew. So.....

Instead we focused  on the heroism and honoring the firemen and women who sacrificed their lives for people they did not know. We talked about how Christ sacrificed his life for ours so we could be saved from our sins. The firemen on 9/11 scrificed their lives to help strangers get out of a burning building alive. A hero is defined as: A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life. We discussed how God wants us to be courageous and always stand up for what is right - like for orphans and widows or for our family.  Joshua 1:9 says to. "Be strong and courageous..." so we practiced that verse a lot last week. Today at the park Gabe was being picked on by a little boy, Drew proudly stood up and protected his little brother. It was so encouraging as a mother to see that even when I don't know if they are comprehending what I'm saying, those same repeated message do come out eventually in their lives.

To honor the  firemen and women we went to the firehouse and delivered cookies and Drew made them a beautiful card of thanks. We saw how hard the firemen work and watched them  get in their gear and then were able to touch them with all their protection on. Then we saw where they sleep and were able to tour the ambulance. It was such a great field trip! I planned it thinking a  few friends would want to join, but ended up having 35+ people in attendance.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nature Journal Study: Sticker the Lizard

(No squamate reptiles were harmed while studying about lizards!)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Revelation of Jesus

I am in awe - I've been reading through the first 3 chapters of Revelation over the past month, diving head first into my next Precept course. I have been humbled by the sheer amount of perfection written in just the first chapter. Seriously - I have 10 pages of notes on just chapter 1. There is so much in Revelation 1 - so many thematic elements, analogies, simile's, metaphors and descriptive words bringing to light the magnificence to Jesus and His divine marriage to the Father. I sit in awe trying to  grapple with my God/Jesus box and trying to allow my thoughts to encompass the whole divinity of Jesus and God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

I've been meditating this week on  who Jesus is. In all the old testament books Jesus was foreshadowed, He is made known through dreams, visions, revelations. It is written that Jesus was present with God at Creation and followed the Israelites through the desert, Jesus protected Shadrack, Meshack and Abendago from being burned in the fiery furnace.  Jesus was present, yet he was still veiled.

The Jesus of the New Testament epistles is the baby born in human flesh, He took on human likeness to reveal to mankind the Father and to sacrifice Himself for our sin so we can see the greatness of the Father.  Jesus was fully man and fully God. 1 Timothy 2:5-6 says, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time."  Jesus gave himself as ransom to unveil the gap between God and His people. Only through Jesus is that gap made possible - what a sacrifice and an act of obedience on behalf of Jesus.

In Hebrews it is said, " But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone."(2:9) That tasting of death is for everyone, but is only made available through Jesus - Jesus is the only way to the Father as expressed throughout the book of John - that very same John who was beloved of Jesus and who wrote the book of Revelation. John is our best descriptor of Jesus because he was the closest person on earth to truly know Jesus.  What a sad day it will be to stand before God and confess that you never believed Jesus was God.  Jesus is equal in value to God.

Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!" Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?"8

Then in Revelation Jesus is revealed in power. We finally see the Jesus clothed in glory and Majesty - He is fully God - ruling and reigning on earth. The kingdom has finally come and justice is brought upon the entire world.

I will never fully understand the sacrifice that Jesus gave on my behalf. I have been grappling all week with just what Jesus gave up for me. There truly are not words to express this, maybe that is why Jesus gave John visions. These visions were so great that even John couldn't express the magnificence and holiness of God.

If you struggle with comprehending the complex relationship between Jesus and God  I urge you to read the New Testament book of Revelation - has a great option to view Strongs definitions as you go to make it easier to understand context.

I wouldn't necessarily read Revelation for prophetic understanding, like I always had. But instead, read the book looking for the relationship of God the  Father and His Son Jesus. I have always read  Revelation to understand what "is to come" but as I'm diving into this very long expository study I'm beginning to realize that there is far more to this book than prophecy. This whole book is written by the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit vs 4), which  God gave to to show church, what will soon take place, so that we the church will read it and obey - just as Jesus obeyed the Father to  bridge the Gap which was veiled by our sin.

Consider that the purpose of Revelation is to
  • Exalts Jesus Christ 
  • Reveal the power and wisdom of God 
  • Manifest the plan and purpose of God

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

.11 Cent Lesson on Mercy (From The Archives)

A Cricket, A Lesson, & 11 cents - Originally Posted 9/25/2010 - I was re-reading last years post and remembered how much I loved this lesson! To this day when we talk about grace, Drew always reminds me of our .11 cent cricket!

Today as a  family we cleaned out our frog tank, we do that every time we buy a new round of crickets for the frogs to devour. For those who haven't visited, we have three frogs; their names are: Riley, Wilbur, and Rosco. They are Fire Belly Toads and they love to eat crickets. We usually buy them 15-20 crickets every few weeks - they are very inexpensive, just .11 cents a cricket. Our frogs can go up to two weeks without eating, so its fun to add a new batch of crickets because we sit and watch them hunt down their prey for endless hours of fun. What wonderful lessons we're teaching on the life cycle ... right?  Toads are quite fun to have around, they sing, interact with each other and eat tons of crickets for our viewing pleasure! At night the crickets all get together and sing so the frogs won't know where the crickets are at. It sounds like we live in a camp ground some evenings!

So as we were watching the frogs to eat the new crickets this afternoon,  Drew noticed a cricket that was missing a leg. John made some funny remarks about  calling PETA and having them come pick it up. Drew asked if we could save the little cricket since he  was weak and couldn't hop like the others.

I looked at Drew and said, "You know Drew, that is a very compassionate idea. You want to show that cricket mercy. Do you know what Mercy is?"

Drew asked if it was like grace (unmerited favor) - yep, bingo!
 So daddy, taking advantage of this teachable moment,  scooped the small, .11 cent crippled cricket and the boys went outside and let him go free in our garden.

When  they returned I asked Drew,
"What did that cricket do to deserve your grace?"
Drew replied, "Well, nothing?"
I asked, "Why did you pick that one cricket over the others?"
Drew said, "I felt sorry for the cricket because he was broken."
I asked,  "Drew who do  you think showed us mercy because we are broken? Who shows us undeserved favor and was compelled to save us from death?"

Drew looked over at me and said, "God?"

"Yes Drew, just like you showed that cricket mercy; so God offers to everyone mercy, through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.  We only must choose to jump into His hand and live with our Savior the rest of our life."

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."   
~ I Peter 1:3~

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago

My how things have changed over the last decade of my life.  I remember waking up, 21 years young and alone, in my Wilsonville Oregon apartment on that September 11th morning. I awoke to a call from my boyfriend John telling me that something was going on and I needed to turn on the news. I walked into my living room, snuggled my Siamese cat, turned on the big screen TV and could not believe my eyes. I sat and watched the twin towers fall - then I decided I wasn't going to work, classes were soon cancelled for that evening. I spent the rest of the day in a state of depressed shock, I think I met John sometime that  afternoon. I just remember thinking - I wonder what my life will look like in a decade? At this point in my life I was a Christian, but was going through a rebellious time - if you would call it that. I was questioning why I believed what I believed, I was asking tough questions and dealing with anger and bitterness that had haunted me for the last 2-3 years. Looking back, it was a low point in my life, but a necessary trial that later produced great fruit and healing.

I was struggling with grown up things like:
Growing up is hard.
Emotions are hard.
Deciding what to do with my life  was hard.
Dealing with the question - "Why do bad things happen to innocent people" was a hard question I didn't know the answer to.
What is my purpose here?
Does God really hear me when I pray?
Does God love me less when I'm not perfect?
Why does God seem so distant? 
Is God real?

But - Life went on and slowly over the last decade God has dealt with all those questions and doubts through the pages of life. I dove into getting to know the Lord - not who I believed Him to be, but what the Bible said He was. I searched and prayed and studied and waited. Over the last decade life matured me and my relationship with God matured too.  I married sweet John, moved 1500 miles away to another country called Texas, birthed 3 children, and somehow grew up. The questions and fog from decade past shaped who I am today. The very fact that I asked those questions, delt with sin and pain and trials and questioning was not intimidating to God - it was a blessing He allowed into my life.  I believe every person in this world struggled with growing up - I just didn't know that because no one told me!

I would not be the woman I am today without the last decade of hardships. That Tuesday morning of September 11th will always stand out in my mind. That day represents the pain and depression I was walking around with, trying to deal with the big questions of life. When I saw our country unite, it gave me hope to keep pressing on. God used the experience of 9/11 to push me forward and helped me to not get discouraged. One year later I was engaged and 18 months later I was married and on my way to Texas - that lonely and painful chapter of my life was about to give birth to different challenges and trials.

I am so blessed that God is Sovereign - He knows everything I need to make me into the woman I want to become.

Long Enough



Yes! Our little girl's hair is finally long enough for braids!

She is getting to look like a big girl ~ Attitude and All!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Our Magical Fall Blanket

Over labor day I grabbed all the Fall boxes and decorated the house while sipping a Pumpkin Spice Latte - one of my many traditions centered around thanks and cooler weather! I snapped a few pictures today and noticed that our Fall blanket has a magical effect - it causes pets and humans to fall asleep! 
See for yourself!
The dog was caught on camera early this morning, how did she cover herself up?

So much for not being tired! We had settled down for our quiet reading time and I found Gabe like this when the timer went off.

I love fall!!!! This cold weather is just delighting me to tears, all I want to do is play outside!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun Friday - Lego Style

"Lets fly!"

I guess Fun Friday also includes not getting dressed until 11 am?

Can you see it is an air and space museum?

Drew's version of a church!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

See Through Chicken Egg Lesson

This week we learned about things we can't see - we did a science experiment and studied the inside of an egg - what is in there, where do chickens come from, are they mammals or birds? Would you like to live inside that egg? Do you think it is soft or hard? Will it feel soft like a pillow or hard like a rock? Did God design a world where things change even though you can't see it with your eyes? If a chicken were growing in there, could you see its body form with your eyes? How long does it take for the chicken to form? What do you think will happen when we put the vinegar in with the egg? (Drew said a baby chick would come out, Gabe said egg plant would grow!) These were the science questions we asked and discussed. Drew, then drew a picture in his journal and wrote about what he saw."

I found the experiment here. The kids LOVED it, they especially enjoyed watching the reaction between the vinegar and the egg shell. I actually used this experiment for our Bible and Science lesson - how do you relate this to the Bible you might ask? Here is what I shared with them.

Day 1

"Boys - this egg represents your body, inside your body lives your soul or heart which is represented by this yolk. What color is the egg yolk? Yes, that is right, the yolk is yellow just like the sun. What does the sun give us? Yes, light. Who is our light? Yes, that is  correct, it is Jesus! There is also something in this egg called the membranes. The membrane you can't see right now, but in a few days you will see just how necessary it is to protecting that yolk. Now lets put the egg into the vinegar. The vinegar is sin - what is sin? Good - sin is when we miss the mark (or in kid language - make wrong choices).

Look at that reaction? What is the sin (vinegar) doing to the body (egg shell)? Yes, it is eating away at it. What do you think will happen to the body (egg shell)? What will  be revealed? Will we see it happen  quickly or slowly? Yes, we won't see anything big happen right now, sin always takes its time, it is slow and methodical. Now lets leave the egg and vinegar in the fridge for a night and check on it tomorrow.

Romans 6:23
"For the wages of sin is death, 
but the free gift of God 
is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Day 2

The following morning the boys rushed to the fridge to see what had happened to the egg. The only thing they noticed was that the egg was floating, instead of being on the bottom of the glass container, it had become lighter and floated to the top. The shell was still present and the vinegar was still reacting.  I shared with them that sin seems pleasant for a time, sin can be fun and sometimes you don't get punished for that sin. It is easy to believe that its not effecting you and that you are happy in your sin.

Proverbs 9:17
Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 
Day 2 Evening 

Finally that evening we opened the fridge and the egg was yellow. I took the body (egg) out of the sin (vinegar), then washed the stinky, smelly, slimy egg and dried it off. Drew didn't want to touch it at all, but Gabe was bold enough to hold it. I then shared that sin (vinegar) eats away at our body (egg shell), it can sometimes be hard to spot - like a small little fib, or a selfish attitude, or not sharing with a sibling. Over time these little sins grow into bigger and bigger sins -it is hard to ever go back to the form you were before. That is where Jesus comes in, He knew that sin would eat away at our body and prevent us from the life God intended when He created us. Jesus saw that yucky, slimy, sinful body and died on a cross so that we wouldn't be left unprotected and alone.
God sent his Son Jesus to free us from that slavery to sin - Jesus died to take away that sin so we could be with Father God. Father God is sinless and so perfectly spectacular that it is impossible to be around such glory and power and might unless we too are perfect. If we went into His presence all smelly and sticky, like vinegar, we would die and go to Hell. God didn't want that at all, He wants to be with us forever! So, God loved us so much and He used our sin for good - to show us that we are sad, lonely, stinky, slimy sinners and need a Savior to unite us with that wonderfully majestic God. 

See that membrane in there - that membrane is Jesus - see how the heart/soul (yolk) is protected and safe inside there? That is what Jesus does to us when we ask Him to rule and reign in our lives. Do you know what it means to have Jesus rule and reign? "No" - well it means that Jesus takes over the way you think, act, talk, and speak. It means you want so much to be with Jesus that you ask Him to take over your life - instead of you obeying sin, you obey Jesus. In your case as little children, that means you obey mommy and daddy and listen for God's voice. Like when you gave money to the Makeover last year, or gave your sword balloon to that little girl when her's broke. Those times of kindness came from Jesus and you heard His voice and instantly obeyed. You are in training and He is molding you into the likeness of Jesus - you are getting ready to meet God the Father one day. Jesus took away your stinky, smelly, sinful heart and is getting your heart ready to meet God! 

Remember back to Day 1 when we talked about the sun being yellow? We also said that Jesus was the Light of this World, well, when Jesus comes to protect you ( like the membrane in the egg), He takes that light and places it within you - that is called the Holy Spirit. Remember Him?  That light is what shines in this dark world. That light is what other people see when they meet you. You are called to share that light with others, not hide it way. We want God's glorious light to brightly shine in you and then you share that light with others. Who are some people you could share that light with? Maybe you could tell them about the egg experiment and then talk to them about Jesus?

Romans 6:15-17
What then, shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be. Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves to the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed. And having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.