Happy New Year

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We are amazed at how fast the year has gone by! There have been some big things going on in our world this year. The election of President-elect Obama, the Beijing Olympic games, changes in the economy, and the list goes on and on.

I know for some of you it is a yearly tradition to set goals for the new year. We just want to encourage you to not just set goals that will please yourself. Set goals that will bring glory to God and please him! Happy New Year!


Becca, Bronte, and Grace

Waiting For Love

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“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” -Romans 8:25 (ESV)

One of the biggest things that I have been struggling with lately, is contentment with where God has me right now. I have to trust that God is wholly sovereign over my future (whether that includes and husband or not). The bigger issue at stake is His glory! When I am thinking so much about the future, I am not glorifying God with were I am now. I desire to glorify God and so I need to trust Him with my future. His plan for me will be greater than I could imagine!

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”- 1 Corinthians 10:31 (ESV)

In all that we do, it should be for the glory of God. We should watch movies in a way that glorifies God. We should use our money in a way that glorifies God. We should be patient in a way that glorifies God. We should live in a way that glorifies God!

God is glorified when we trust in His glorious plan for our lives. God is glorified when we surrender our life to Him and submit our will for our life to him.

Ask God to give you a trust in him. Meditate on Scripture. I really like the Psalms. They give great reminders that God is our refuge at all times. Psalm 62 and Psalm 46 have helped me. At our church on Sunday, there was a song that is based on Psalm 62.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.- Psalm 62: 5-9 (ESV)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.- Psalm 46: 1-3 (ESV)

Whether God chooses to have me get married someday or not, I need to glorify him at all times. So right now I need to make the most of what stage of life I am at. God has a purpose for everything and want to submit to His will because it will be the best for me.

One last thing that a friend reminded me about is remembering the great things that God has done in the past for you. God is always faithful! We can trust in His great faithfulness!

Post Christmas Blues

I’m going to cut into Becca’s series for a second and post a link to the Desiring God blog. Jon Bloom wrote a great post about the hope we have in Jesus Christ. Click HERE

Bronte, for the Innominables

Finding True Love

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But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.-Romans 5:8 (ESV)

God showed us true love over 2,000 years ago. When God sent his one and only son to die for us on the cross, this was a act of love. Imagine someone that is totally against you and doesn’t acknowledge you. But you love them so much that you give your very life for them! We don’t see this example of love very often. This world is made of sinners. Every single person on the face of this world is a sinner and in need of forgiveness. God is the ONLY one that has been perfect in love! We now know that we will NEVER find a greater love then the one that God demonstrated for us on the cross!

Most people search for true love in another person. They will be disappointed because only God is perfect. God has such love that when we were against him and even hated him, he sent Jesus to die for us. We also get the righteous life of Jesus and escape the flames of hell! This is the glorious news of the gospel and we will never find a greater love!

“Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” -Romans 10:9 (ESV)

Merry Christmas!

nativity-story-1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. -Luke 2:1-7 (ESV)

Merry Christmas! It is so wonderful to have snow on the ground, family, food, and gifts on this Christmas day but, it is even more wonderful to be able to celebrate the birth of our Savior! Jesus Christ was born as a baby into the world to save sinners! What joyful news this is to us! God had a plan from the beginning! He is sovereign over all!

So remember this Christmas day that Christmas is about more than gifts, it is about the ultimate gift that was given to us!

Merry Christmas!

Becca, Bronte, and Grace

Before The Throne Of God Above

I wanted to share with you, the lyrics to my favorite song. Covenant Life Church made a cd called: How Sweet The Sound: Remembering The Great Hymns Of Faith. It is a great cd! I have it in my car and I listen to it almost everytime I go somewhere! This song had great lyrics! To view the webpage for How Sweet The Sound, click here.

Before the Throne

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea,
A great High Priest whose name is love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart;
I know that while in heav’n He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart,
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free,
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me,
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there! the risen Lamb,
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of Glory and of Grace.
One with Himself I cannot die;
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God,
With Christ my Savior and my God.

I Once Was Dead, But Now I’m ALIVE!!!

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

-Colossians 1:21-23 (ESV)

I have grown up in a Christian home all of my life. I have known who Jesus was for as long as I can remember. At age four, I prayed to receive Christ into my life. I understood that Jesus died but, I didn’t really understand why I needed a Savior because I was blinded to my sin.

My parents had no reason to doubt that I was a Christian because I knew the answers to simple biblical questions, yet I didn’t believe what I preached to those around me.

Sinful patterns of rebellion where beginning to be planted into my heart during the very early teen years. I did not show it outwardly because I didn’t what people to think badly of me. In my heart I rejected God. I had no desire at all to attend church and would even volunteer to do nursery very often to skip the sermon. I was sinning and being content to live in my sin.

At age 13 (2005), God was beginning to draw my heart, yet I was not ready to follow Him. In early 2006, my eyes were slowly being opened to my sin. I didn’t talk to my parents about it because of my sin and my pride! I did whisper a prayer to God to change my life. Little did I know that I was in for a shock.

During this time God was working drastically in my parents. My Dad was feeling God calling Him to leave his 13 year job as a pastor in Iowa and be evaluated to become a pastor under Sovereign Grace. We as kids were somewhat aware of this and the possibility. On May 6th 2006 when my parents shared that we were moving to Minnesota, we were all in shock.

God continued to work in my life and in the life of our family during our last 4 months in Iowa. On September 3rd 2006, we headed up to Bloomington , Minnesota to move the first truck full of things into our new house. That Sunday was my first week visiting what would be our new church. I was amazed by how everyone cared for our family. That next weekend, we moved the rest of the stuff up. During our first months, we were blessed with gifts, prayers, meals, and God’s grace was very evident and continues to be!

God used the kindness of of our church, the faith of my parents, the passionate worshipping at church, and the convicting sermons to finally draw me to my knees in Fall of 2006. I was broken over my sin and finally was open to my need for a Savior.

That Savior is Jesus Christ. Even when I was against God he chose me and drew me close to Him. We as sinners are under the JUST wrath of God, but He sent Jesus to die for our sins in our place. We also get Jesus’ righteousness! So when God looks at us, He sees Jesus’ perfection! We will always struggle with our sin but, God has conqered it and it no longer has any hold on us. We are FORGIVEN! Praise God! If you trust in Jesus’ work on the cross and that it is enough to save you from your sin, you can be forgiven! As Christians we await Heaven!

God has worked in my life in so many ways. I have the grace I need to get through the day. God has convicted me of a particular sin that I struggle with and with His grace, and accountibility, I am being healed! This work is by God’s grace alone and without Him I would still be dead and blinded to sin!

My Dad is now a pastor at our church! I can’t express how thankful I am for God’s great faithfulness to us. Even though we often don’t trust Him, he is faithful and does everything for our good!

So remember that when Jesus was born, it was not a small thing! He has purchased our salvation and that is something to be joyful about this Christmas season!

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

– Ephesians 2:1-5 (ESV)

Self-Control: With My Mouth

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

This is something I’m constantly struggling with. Already today I have lost my temper with my siblings. My tendency is to speak harshly and rudely to them. This is wrong, I know, but this is really hard for me. Here are some verses I found while “researching” for this post. I hope you find some encouragement in them too.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” How encouraging! God has given us self-control!

Also, (again), Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” So, when I feel condemnation for my lack of self-control I can remember, God will give me all the grace I need. He is infinitely powerful and sovereign and He is working in me. Praise God!

Self Control: Thoughts

“Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.” -Ephesians 4:26-27 (ESV)

Oh, you’re just nervous, it’s normal. You were angry, but THEY provoked you, anyone would have gotten angry. Have any of these thoughts or ones like it ever raced through your mind? Has anyone ever told you that it is “normal” to struggle with sin?

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We live in a culture where anxiety, anger, lust, selfishness, and envy are considered “ok”. It IS normal to struggle with these things in the sense that everyone struggles with them. What is not made known in our culture is that all of these thoughts are not ok! They are sinful! A rebellion against what God has commended us to flee!

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” -James 4:7 (ESV)

I must learn self control with my thoughts! At the recent Contentment seminar at our church, Mrs. Kim Erickson was talking about taking your thoughts captive. Catch them and get them out of your head! Your mind and thoughts are a battleground. The truth of God vs. the lies of the devil. Oh, how easily we fall into the lies of the devil!

How do we fight the lies of the devil? Read carefully through these verses.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” -Ephesians 6:10-20 (ESV)

We must put on the belt of truth:

Fill your mind with the truth that is in the Bible. God’s word is true and we can always trust in the truth in the Bible.

We must put on the breastplate of righteousness:

Remember what God has done for us through Jesus’ death on the cross. He has forever purchased us and we can NEVER be taken out of His hand once we are truly saved! We now have the righteousness of Jesus!! What a Savior we serve!

We must put on the shoes of peace:

Again, we are at peace because God’s wrath is no longer one us! We have the peace that comes through the Gospel.

We must take up the shield of faith:

We must have faith that God works ALL things out for our good whether that involves pain or not! God is wholly Sovereign!

We must put on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit:

As said before, we must remember the truth of the Bible. When we are in the word, we grow in godliness! Memorize Scripture and fight the lies with truth from the Bible!

AND PRAY IN THE SPIRIT AT ALL TIMES!!

We must pray for everything. The prayer of a believer is powerful! God will answer our cries according to HIS will for our life. Remember that he works ALL things for OUR GOOD!!!!

May God be Glorified!


Encouragement

Being content is really hard. I, personally, have been struggling with this a lot lately. It can be so hard to be satisfied with what I have, who I am, and where I am.

 But God is a helper and encourager. This morning in my devotions I was reading in Philippians. I read the following verses.

 Philippians 4:11b: “…For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”

 This is the apostle Paul talking. He went through so much for the gospel. He went through more pain than I have ever experienced and he said this? How can this be? The answer is in verse 13:

 “I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me.”

 So, no matter what we’re struggling with, be it contentment, anger, self-control, or whatever, we can do ALL THINGS through Christ. We can even have victory over the hardest sins to overcome. Praise God for His everlasting grace!