Thursday, January 31, 2013

Karen Kingsbury 3-in-1 Review

I love Karen Kingsbury. She's one of my favorite authors. I just finished three of her novels which were put into one large book and I was not disappointed.

"Where Yesterday Lives" was a story of a broken family who has to rebuild when the father dies. The characters, to me, were a little more irritating than Kingsbury characters usually are. But it was still well-written and interesting, and kept piquing my curiosity.

"When Joy Came to Stay" was my favorite of the three books. It touches on adoption, depression, suicidal thoughts, broken marriage, and love that can overcome anything. So if you like a happy ending, of course you will like this one.

"On Every Side" to me was the least believable Kingsbury book I have ever read. It was a great story but seemed more like every other inspirational romance book I've ever read.

These are older books of Karen Kingsbury's, unrelated, put into a set together. I still recommend them if you like her writing but I don't think these are her best books. Of course, a worst book written by Karen Kingsbury is still twice as good as most other authors, in my opinion.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sisters of Faith KJV Bible Review

I can't even tell you how excited I was to find the new Sisters of Faith KJV Bible on Booksneeze to review. I've been wanting a new Bible for a long time and here was my chance! I love this Bible and highly recommend it to everyone. Although it does plainly say on the front "Encouraging and Empowering African-American Women with God's Truth" it obviously does not limit itself to just that category of person.

There are several really nice features of this Bible. The "She Speaks" section has stories from the point of view of women in the Bible, such as Noah's wife, Rebekah, Tirzah, etc.

Throughout the Bible are sections (like "righteousness", "fear", "extended family") where a verse is taken and expounded upon. This includes a practical application to life and a prayer.

Each book of the Bible begins with a brief overview and how it relates to sisters in faith. There are nice maps in the back of the Bible, and a section for note-taking. There is a pretty lengthy concordance and a feature index included.

I have read a lot of this Bible since receiving it, but there are still some parts I have not even gotten to yet - apparently there are poems hidden in some of the pages, motivational articles, and even lessons of faith through modern-time women. These are supposed to be short snippets, like one of the items labeled "Note to self" which reads, "God has you here for a reason. Be excited for each new day. Jeremiah 29:11. As I grow older, I grow wiser... Rejoice in the new day!"

The Bible has thick pages which are easy to write on and the columns are wide enough to take some notes on, although you will have to write pretty small. This is a great devotional/study Bible, especially for women, and add the fact that it's KJV (which I actually do like), it's definitely a Bible I highly recommend!

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January 22, 2013

Okay, I think I am starting to irritate people because I am CONSTANTLY referring to this video but I haven't posted it yet. Here it is - Brianna talking to Natalie (a baby at church) in the nursery. This video was taken the first week of December so I think Natalie was about 3 months old then. Cutest video ever!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

January 21, 2013 - Christmas Party January

2013-01-21 18.31.522013-01-21 18.35.552013-01-21 18.36.042013-01-21 18.37.492013-01-21 16.00.292013-01-21 17.32.53
2013-01-21 17.33.182013-01-21 18.08.59

Christmas Party January, a set on Flickr.
Tonight was our Christmas party for our family and Gail, Jeff and Joy. We usually push the Christmas gathering with them until January because December is such a busy month! It's awesome because it's a great excuse to get together. Here are my measly pictures from tonight - I didn't get many, and some were blurry. I'm trying to upload these from Flickr so we'll see if it actually works...

Oh yeah, the blurry picture of Grandpa, Hunter, Evan and Claire was taken by Bri.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

January 20, 2013 - What a Weekend

This has been a crazy-busy, fun-filled weekend! We had family come in town - Leila and Jennifer - and our time was spent very well I'd say. The last two nights were pretty consumed with our impact services at church. Our days were spent relaxing and just playing with our family.

Today we had a nice surprise. After church we came home and are lunch as usual. Hunter went upstairs for his nap and Bri went upstairs for her "relaxation" time. I told her I would come check on her in 20 minutes. I was actually shocked at what I found twenty minutes later. If you're on Facebook you probably know what I found... a little girl, fast sleep on the floor, covered by her blanket, with her toy food from a picnic right beside her. Most precious girl ever! Bri doesn't take naps anymore so I was surprised to see this. Since Hunter was sleeping too that meant I got to relax, read my Bible in bed, read a little of my David Platt book, and even doze for a good 20 minutes. Then Stephen's family came back over and his mom cooked a delicious meal! We took the kids to Dairy Queen for dessert, and then I spent way too much time talking crafts with Leila. She has this awful way about her that makes me feel like I can craft anything I set my mind to, and I think we all know that's not the case. But, hey, I can be a good assistant to her!

 Even though we missed church tonight it was a great weekend and tomorrow will be great too - we're having a belated Christmas party with family and friends tomorrow night! I can't wait!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 19, 2013 - First World Problem

When it's really late and I want to blog, but I want to blog from bed, I have to do it from my phone or my kindle. which means I can't upload the pictures I want to upload.

First world problem.

Two days ago Hunter woke up and promptly threw up three times, but by the end of the day it was Brianna who was being taken to the doctor's office. Awful ear infection, apparently. I've not seen her that miserable EVER probably. It was pitiful. She's still not 100% but man an I thankful it's just a measly little ear infection.

I hate it when my kids are sick.

Friday, January 18, 2013

January 18, 2013 - Getting Ready

Spent this evening with some of our family in town, and preparing for Impact tomorrow night! I can't WAIT - the speaker is Tommy Wilson from our church and this man is ON FIRE for God. I am super excited to hear him.

Faith Baptist Church
2180 Carthage Rd, West End NC 27376
6:30pm - Meet & Greet
7pm - Service starts

Come on out!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

January 17, 2013 - Look What I Can Do

Look, it turns out I can even blog from my kindle! The only thing this baby can't do is take pictures!

Everyone is talking about snow tonight. My friends in Robbins got snow. Everyone else is anxiously awaiting the arrival of snow.

I hate cold weather. But snow? Loooooove snow. I think it goes back to a childhood filled with hot chocolate, bundles of winter clothes, snow cream, sledding (only one ER trip ever and it was my DAD and he was... 45ish? That story never gets old), sledding illegally (again, never gets old), and I think the main thing is my mom gets so darn excited when she is anticipating snow!! I love it! So when I hear chances of snow, I don't get hopeful. But I would be lying if I told you I didn't check the weather every hour after about 6pm... or if I said I didn't look out the window a good handful of times. There is just something fun about that "what if?" of snow. Stephen got a two hour delay but in military code that doesn't really mean anything.

So, anyone besides Robbins see anything?

Okay, so right after I posted this I checked Facebook and my friend Candy said it was snowing, then another friend and another, all around my house, so I opened my blinds and voila! Snow! Won't stick but it will excite Brianna when I tell her in the morning!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

January 16, 2013 - Why is Our Bible the Way It Is? Part 1

One question that was posed to me recently was about the "creation" of the Bible. There are lots of questions that can be raised, such as how do we know the Bible is the true writings of God, since it was put together by men, and why were some books left out of the final Bible? A friend at church, Jim, who I trust implicitly, gave me an awesome book to look at to try to answer some of these questions. It is really interesting to know this history and it may come in handy for you one day, as it has for me!

This is me paraphrasing this awesome book, Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem.

This is part 1 - The Old Testament 

The canon of Scripture is the list of all the books that belong in the Bible. This is serious for us to try to get right, because adding to or subtracting from God's words would either prevent God's people from fully obeying him, or it would require people to do things which God had not commanded.

So, in the Bible, we see times where God wanted his word written down (such as the ten commandments). You can also see in Deuteronomy 4:2 that God said, "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." So Grudem asserts that God himself was authorizing the writings that were added on after this time, which would include Joshua's writings and many others such as the prophets. You can even see in Jeremiah 30:2 that God explicitly tells Jeremiah write down the things he tells him.

Grudem shows by historical dates that after about 435 B.C. there were no more additions to the Old Testament. There are other historical writings during this time period, but not scripture. The Maccabees (a Jewish rebel army) kept historical writings and one thing they write is that that prophets had stopped appearing among the people, and they were waiting for someone else to show up with that gift. Josephus, another historian, also wrote that there were no more words of God added to scripture after 435 B.C., and he also stated there had not been a prophet since then. Even rabbinic literature makes a similar statement, saying that after Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi had died (the last prophets), the Holy Spirit departed from Israel, which I would take to mean God was not speaking to any particular person as a prophet during that time period. The Qumran community (a Jewish sect) agreed in their writings that any writings after 435 B.C. were not equal to the writings in scripture that had been recorded thus far.

As for the New Testament writings, there is not any record of dispute between Jesus and the Jews over the canon. Jesus and the authors of the New Testament quote the Old Testament scriptures as divinely authoritative over 295 times, but not once do they quote any other historical writings as having authority.

So then you have the Apocrypha. This is the collection of books included in the canon by the Roman Catholic church but not by Protestants. These books were never accepted by the Jews either. In A.D. 404, Jerome completed a Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible, and did add these books but noted that they were not books of the canon,just books of the church that were helpful for believers. There are many early writings where people actually listed the scriptures, and never were the books of Apocrypha added to that list, and sometimes they were explicitly said to be outside of the canon.

One historian, E.J. Young, states that Judith and Tobit (part of the Apocrypha) contain historical, chronological and geographical errors. Several of the books, including those and Ecclesiasticus and the Wisdom of Solomon repeat over and over a faith based on works. Wisdom of Solomon teaches the creation of the world out of a pre-existent matter. Ecclesiasticus teaches that the giving of alms makes atonement for sin. Baruch says that God hears prayers of dead men and in the Maccabees there are historical and geographical errors.

In 1546, at the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic church officially declared the Apocrypha to be part of the canon (well... MOST of the Apocrypha). The books of Apocrypha that were added contain support for the Catholic teaching of prayers for the dead and justification by faith PLUS WORKS (not by faith alone). Roman Catholics also hold that the church has the authority to constitute any literary works as "scripture", while Protestants hold that the church cannot make something to be scripture, but can only recognize what God has already caused to be written as his own words. 

Here is the final say about the Apocrypha - these books do not claim for themselves the same authority as the Old Testament writings, they weren't regarded as God's words by the Jewish people from whom they originated, they weren't considered to be scripture by Jesus or the New Testament authors, and they contain teachings inconsistent with the rest of the Bible. They are human words, not God-breathed words. They are valuable for their content but they should have no authority over the lives of Christians today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January 15, 2013 - It's the Little Things

Today we had a closing for a mortgage refinance. It's a pretty big deal because it's going to save us a ton of money in the long run, like almost enough to pay for our groceries alone for the next two years! Wow, that puts it in perspective...

Anyway, we got to the closing today and were under the assumption that we were coming out even - we weren't bringing any money out of pocket to the closing, but we weren't taking any money home either. That was fine with us. But then the closing agent admitted a small error on her part - she had forgotten to give us a particular form. It didn't mean much to us, but it meant a lot to her employer, who said that because we never saw that form, we weren't going to be expected to pay a particular fee.

In other words, the credit union was going to pay us this fee. This fee of almost $1500.

Our jaws kind of dropped. We both asked at the same time if she was going to get in trouble for dropping the ball and she rushed to tell us not to worry about it, that in the five years she's been doing mortgages this has never happened before. In fact, she couldn't understand how in the world she could have overlooked it. Well, I understand completely. My sister put it the best way - "Hello, God!"

God knew we could use that $1500. To the bank, that's a drop in the bucket. To us, that's money that will sustain my bank account alone for probably four months.

So a mistake? I don't think so. Thank you God, for always providing for us! We love these little surprises and really appreciate them!!

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013 - Brianna's Birthday Cake

Okay, since it's only four months until Brianna's birthday, I figured I should probably blog about the birthday cake I did for her birthday last April. Boy, it's amazing how many things I forget to blog about...

So, one day I was scouring the internet and came across this cake:

If you don't want to check out the link, it's a rainbow birthday cake with fondant that you can draw on. Well of COURSE I knew this would be perfect for Brianna who is into all things girlie. It was actually very simple to create.

To Make the White Cake:
2 sticks (226 g) butter, room temp
2 1/3 c (466 g) sugar
5 egg whites, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 c (375 g) all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 1/2 c (355 g) milk, warmed for 30 sec in microwave to bring to room temp
Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple GEL food coloring. Liquid will not be vibrant enough!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil and line how ever many 9" cake pans you have. I only used three, and just washed them in between colors.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Cream the sugar and butter, then add the egg whites and add them a little at a time. Add the vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Then, alternating between wet and dry, add the milk and flour mixture in two parts.

Divide the batter amongst 6 bowls and then whisk a fair amount of the appropriate food color into each bowl. Keep in mind that the color of the unbaked batter will be the color of the baked batter. Pour into the pans and bake for 15 minutes each.

2012-04-12 10.49.53
2012-04-12 11.31.24

When you remove them from the oven, let them rest on the cooling rack, in the pan, for ten minutes. Then flip, cover, and stash them in the fridge to cool quickly.

There is a really good buttercream icing recipe on the page for the cake. The pictures I have here actually don't have any icing at all between layers because it was a test run.

2012-04-12 12.59.56

I then bought fondant (from Walmart/Michaels/Hobby Lobby in the cake decorating section) and fondant markers (same section). I let Brianna decorate by coloring on the cake... again, this was the test run.

2012-04-12 16.33.21
2012-04-12 16.33.45
2012-04-12 16.34.13
2012-04-12 16.35.49

2012-04-12 19.21.23
2012-04-12 19.23.02

My pictures from the party turned out quite blurry so I didn't get a great picture of the inside of the "real" cake.

All in all this was a pretty simple cake that looks pretty awesome to a little girl!

This is the "real" cake from the outside - like I said, all the other pictures turned out quite blurry. But she loved it and I definitely would make this again if she asked me to!

2012-04-21 13.26.55

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

January 12, 2013

Spotted at a consignment store today.

 2013-01-12 11.04.15

Just in case you are curious, I didn't buy it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

January 11, 2013 - Cleaning the Coffee Pot

Stephen has been gone all day to Chicago and is on his way home now. Since he wasn't going to be home all night I had to find a way to entertain myself. I'm such a wild girl that I cleaned our coffee pot.

Stephen keeps complaining about my "rank" coffee. I don't know what his problem is! Just because I drink the Dollar Tree coffee to keep our grocery budget down... and then Mom and Dad supplied me with an abundance of chocolate, vanilla, and hazelnut coffee for my birthday! The point is, he keeps saying how bad it smells and that it affects the flavor of his coffee. I realized today that I'm not quite sure when we last cleaned our coffee pot. So I got to it tonight.

This is a super easy task and should be done about once a month.

Step 1 - Pull out your carafe. Take a picture and try to figure out if it really is too dank to post a picture on your blog.

2013-01-11 16.29.58

Throw out the coffee filter (if you have one in there already). Rinse your carafe (i.e. the glass container that holds the finished product). Put a clean filter in the machine.

Step 2 - Fill the pot with one part white vinegar to two parts water. In our 12-cup coffee maker I filled it up to 4 cups with vinegar and the rest of the way with water. Pour this into the coffee maker's reservoir.

Step 3 - Brew it. Once it's done, shut off the coffee maker. Let it sit in the coffee pot for about 20 minutes. This will loosen those hard deposits.

Step 4 - Throw out the vinegar and water. Rinse the pot and put it through the entire cycle two more times with nothing but clean water. Let it sit for about 15 minutes in between each cycle. This will rinse out the vinegar and any other residue.

Step 5 - Wash everything with warm water and dish soap to remove any residual staining.

2013-01-11 21.19.01

Step 6 - Cringe when you really start to think about how long ago it was that you cleaned this coffee pot. Never again!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

January 10, 2013

Lately it's been gorgeous weather outside. High 60's for the past few days, which means plenty of:

Extreme cuteness:

2013-01-10 11.57.21

Extreme bike-riding:

2013-01-07 13.19.44

Extreme socks with sandals:

2013-01-10 11.57.07

Here is a 23 second video showing how Hunter rides a bike - he never pedals, he just Flintstones it!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

January 8, 2013 - Tough Question, Tough Answer

After I blogged about Psalm 1 the other day, I got this question:

Hi Amanda,
I enjoy reading your blog. A question arose while I was reading this post. Do you interpret this scripture to mean that kind and gentle men, women, and children of other religions are "wicked"? 

First of all, let me say I am really grateful to this person for not immediately bashing me for what I said, and for taking the time to ask this question. To this person I say:

The question you asked may not have the answer you like, but I hope I can answer your question in a way that you feel is respectful. Remember, this is totally my opinion, although I am basing my answer off scripture. I certainly don’t claim to know everything or be correct in everything; I am still learning. If I answer your question and you disagree with the answer I would simply say you will have to do some digging in scripture yourself to come to your own conclusion. 

Short answer (and probably unpopular): Yes, kind and gentle men, women, and children of other religions are "wicked".

More explained answer:
Romans 3:23 says that we are all sinners. 1 John 1:8 says that if we say that we aren’t sinners we are deceiving ourselves. Simply by being a sinner we are deemed wicked. When we are born, we are born into sin and wickedness. At some point in our lives we will gain knowledge of God. At that point each individual makes a decision – do you want to acknowledge that you are a sinner, confess those sins to God, turn from them, and begin to live for Him? Or do you continue to believe that you’re not a sinner and therefore make the decision to reject God? To me, this means that atheists and agnostics are wicked in the eyes of God because they have heard of Him and choose not to believe in Him.

John 14:6 has Jesus saying, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.” What this means to me is that no one will come to true salvation unless they believe in God and have a relationship with Him. But we can’t do that on our own. We have to believe that Jesus came to earth as God’s son in a human form, that He died on a cross, and by doing so, bore all of our sins on Himself, that He rose from the dead, and then ascended to heaven. Here is the reason that is important – 1 John 4:10 says “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Basically we were not lovers of God. Like I said, we were born sinners. But even while we were sinners and not loving him, he loved us first and sent Jesus to be a sacrifice for us, to bridge the gap between us and God. (You see, back in the old days, B.C., you had to pay for your sins by sacrificing animals to God… it was supposed to make you realize the consequences of your sin. Once Jesus died for all sin, his blood covered everything, so we no longer have to make those physical sacrifices.)

Now the reason that is important is because many religions other than Christianity don’t believe in Jesus, or that Jesus was the Son of God. Certain sects of Mormons believe that Jesus was simply a prophet. A Christian Scientist doesn’t even believe in sin or death. A Jehovah Witness believes that Jesus was just a man. Now, if you don’t believe in sin, or believe in the fact that Jesus was God’s Son who died for your sins, then you are not saved, and therefore in God’s eyes you are still wicked.

Do I personally know people who are atheist, agnostic and Mormon? Yes. Do I think they are good people? Absolutely. They are brilliant, creative, loving, hilarious people. Are they wicked in God’s eyes? Yes. Because they have made a choice not to believe in him. Heck, in Matthew 7, the Bible says that there are people who profess to be Christians who will die and Jesus will say to them, “I never knew you; depart from me.” People aren’t exempt from rejecting God just because they label themselves as Christians. When we get to heaven, God will judge us all. He will separate us. The “godly” aren’t better people than the “wicked”. They don’t sin less. They aren’t more beautiful. They aren’t smarter. They aren’t more financially well off. But they trust in God and have an intimate relationship with him, and they believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for them and covered their sins. The “wicked” will be deemed wicked simply for their rejection of God and a relationship with him.

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013

Quotes I don't want to forget:

Brianna: "Mom, did you know that when Kaleb gets mad, he turns green!?"
Me: "Really??"
Brianna: "Yes, that's what Scott told me!"
Me: "Is that because he's the Hulk?"
Brianna: "Uh.... no."

If you're friends with me on Facebook, you saw the video I posted the other day of the Bible verse Bri memorized. She's been saying it to everyone she comes across, except she begins by telling people, "I got a new Bible purse!" This causes people to act excited for her, while they are looking around for a Bible purse, which would probably be made out of an animal hide and have red letters all over the outside. I have to clarify she has a new verse. That tricky letter V.

The day Bri learned that verse, I was so excited! She said it once or twice by herself and I hugged her and said, "Bri, you are so awesome!"  She said, "No, Mom, you are awesome, because you taught me that verse!"  Thanks, God, for the reminder of how I should spend my time here on earth!

And because I'm still trying to get stuff off my camera/computer... Here is a video from early October. Joy sent Brianna and Hunter cards for Halloween, and when Bri got hers and opened it, she proceeded to read it to me:

"I love you very much. I love you so much. I love you never (indecipherable). I love you from Grandma and Grandpa's to Georgia to Opa's house to Oma's house. I love you everybody and everybody loves me. Very, very much." And apparently, the mailman has sent this to her.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

January 6, 2013

"Okay kids, you look so cute! Let's take a picture before church."

"Okay... not such a frightened look..."

2013-01-06 09.25.40

 "Okay, Bri, try to just look normal. Don't make ANY faces. Just smile."

2013-01-06 09.26.05

 "Hunter, bring my shoes back!"

2013-01-06 09.26.28

 "Yay! You guys are the cutest!"

2013-01-06 09.26.42

This morning at church we had a special singing by Rick Strickland. He has come to our church before and he is awesome. When you hear him sing you can't help but sing along, and clap, and praise God! And also - laugh! He is a lot of fun and he has a beautiful voice, so I really enjoy seeing him in person.

2013-01-06 11.23.11
2013-01-06 11.20.24
2013-01-06 11.32.47

2013-01-06 11.32.38
2013-01-06 11.32.31
2013-01-06 11.44.45

I got three videos from church this morning.

This one is just over a minute. Just a sample of his singing - I love this song.


This one is one that I LOVE! The video is shaky because I was giggling so much. I bought the CD that has this song on it because it just makes me smile! (Almost 3 minutes)


And this is a gospel train he did with the kids. Really cute! About 35 seconds long.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Psalm 8

2013-01-05 17.47.41
What God has done or will do (actions):
  • Set his glory above the heavens (v. 1)
  • Created all things (v. 3)
  • Crowned us with honor and glory and gave us dominion over the created things here on earth (v. 5, 6)
Commands to me:
Consider all that he has created and all that he has given to us (v. 3)

Characteristics of God:
His name is excellent, He is creator, one who stops my enemies, loves me enough to give me responsibilities

What to take away from this:
God created all things. But he also cared enough about me to give me responsibilities over the earth. What am I doing with that? God gets all the glory but we must be his hands and feet on earth.

I would love to know if you have any thoughts to add to this beautiful scripture! Something I missed? Something I misinterpreted? Something I should take note of?

This scripture reminded me of my #1 favorite worship song. It's called "Beautiful" and it's by Shawn McDonald. I would love for you to take the time to listen to it. My favorite lyrics that are in the song are (in no particular order):

  • How you hold them [the stars] in your hand, and still you know this man.
  • What am I, that I might be called your child?
  • What am I, that you might know me, my King?
  • The same hands that created all of this, they created you and I.
  • What am I, that you might die that I might live?
  • What a beautiful God!


Psalm 1

2013-01-05 17.47.23

Actions of God:
  • He will make the righteous prosper (v. 3) 
  • He will know the way of the righteous (v. 6)
Commands to me:
  • Do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful (v. 1)
  • Delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on that law day and night (v. 2)
  • Bring forth fruit, do not wither (v. 3)
Take away:
This is some great scripture that is very blunt about the fact that there are godly people, and there are wicked people. As much as people don't want to believe it, you are one or the other. Although you may be a very good person in my eyes, if you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ you are wicked in God's eyes. Plain and simple.

So a person who walks in God's ways is blessed. This person won't take advice from an unbeliever, or stand in the same path as an unbeliever, or sit down beside an unbeliever and cozy up to them. Matthew Henry has a great commentary about this (here) that spells out verse one.

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful."

The ungodly simply neglect God. They have no use for him. The sinners are in open rebellion against God, basically choosing Satan over God. The more sin that takes hold hardens a person's heart and then they become scornful, which means they openly defy religion and joke about sin.

Basically we don't need to mess around with people who we know will bring sin into our lives. Verse two says that we are supposed to delight in God's law and learn more about it day and night. Studying scripture and talking with God isn't a chore. It's something we should desire and delight in and if we skip a day of devotions we should crave it.

If we are in God's word, in that relationship with him, we will be like a tree. I just think of these huge, thick tree trunks that are totally immoveable. That's what I want to be. Solid, unwavering, so thick and sturdy and so sure of myself because God has just taken root in me. What gorgeous scripture!! And then if I am a sturdy tree that is thriving, I will show fruit. If I am a Christian, and if I am affected by what God is doing in my life, I will show fruit, which means I will show these characteristics of Christ. I will make others want to grow closer to Him. I will be humble and meek and think before I speak and help the needy and be selfless and most importantly, lead others to a relationship with God. These are fruits that we want to bear. So God is planting us like trees, and in verse 3, it says that God will prosper whatever we do. I believe whatever we do in His name will prosper. It will affect someone.

The ungodly are not like that. They are not like sturdy trees by a beautiful river, with plump fruit. They are like chaff. You know what chaff makes me think of? Little dust bunnies... little bits of nothing... that are just blown away by the wind. Pretty meaningless. Just get tossed around because there's nothing to stand on.

And someday that will blow up in the face of the ungodly. Those who have rejected God will not stand in the judgment or sit in the congregation of the righteous (verse 5). I believe there will be two judgments at the end of time. One will be to judge if you are saved or lost. The lost, those who rejected God, will ultimately end up in hell. Revelation 20:15 pretty plainly says "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Then a judgment will take place for those who are saved, and at that time we will be judged for our works. I believe this verse is saying that the ungodly won't stand in that judgment and they won't be allowed to stand in the literal congregation of the righteous. I think there will come a time when all those who are saved will stand together, in the biggest congregation you will ever see, and the lost will watch all of us enter into God's Kingdom, and they will be forever separated from God.

I would love to know if you have any thoughts to add to this beautiful scripture! Something I missed? Something I misinterpreted? Something I should take note of?

January 5, 2013

I've been wanting to do this for a while with the kids and finally sat down and did it today. I got this craft from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

You will need:
  • Contact paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie
  • Tape
Step 1: Take the backing off the contact paper and lay it sticky side up. Secure to your work place with tape.

2013-01-05 11.53.13

Step 2: Place small pieces of tissue paper all over the sticky side of the contact paper.

2013-01-05 11.58.57
2013-01-05 12.06.04

Step 3: Cut another piece of contact paper that's the same size and place it sticky side down on top of your contact paper that's covered in tissue paper. Draw shapes with a marker, and cut out those objects.

2013-01-05 12.08.29

Step 4: Hang on window to display! I used tape to stick the shapes where the kids told me. These are so cute and it was the perfect time limit for the kids... not too long to get bored but long enough to give them something creative to do!

2013-01-05 12.19.04
2013-01-05 12.19.12

2013-01-05 12.19.26

Brianna said, "Now take a picture of me in front of the decorations."

2013-01-05 12.19.36

I definitely recommend this craft! It was super easy but it wasn't boring to either kid (2 year old and 3 year old).

And because I need to get some of these videos uploaded, here is a video from last September that I've not had time to put on the blog. Just the kids being silly. :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

January 4, 2013

Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa, for one of our new favorite games - Zoofari!!

2013-01-04 11.41.56

Don't forget to break for some silliness.