Sunday, May 11, 2008

Our Trip in Pictures

We just got back from a great weekend away. We were able to spend a lot of time enjoying God's creation. Here are some pictures from our Olive Garden meal (compliments of Arlen's parents), a trip to Parrot Mountain and a visit to the Smokey Mountain National park.

Olive Garden





Parrot Mountain



















Smokey Mountain National Park













Thursday, May 08, 2008

Vacation Time

Woo Hoo! In just a couple of hours Arlen and I are leaving for a long weekend getaway. Our anniversary is coming up (2 years on the 14th) and it's about time we get a little R&R.

We were planning on backpacking (due to free lodging costs), but my parents were able to get us a really nice 2 bedroom suite (complete with kitchen and all) at a resort near Gatlinburg. They have timeshare on a point system and aren't going to be able to use up all their points, so they're sharing with us! Thanks guys! The place looks great!

We are looking forward to a weekend with no computers, no work, no nothing - just me, Arlen and God! Yay.

I'll post pictures when we get back!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Why so many rules?

Image by: Ian Britton at freefoto.com

I know one thing our society today struggles with: rules and authority.

It seems we are always trying to find ways to bend the rules, or we'll push things as far as we can without getting in trouble. "If I only drive 5mph over the speed limit I won't be pulled over." "Everyone else is doing it and they're not getting in trouble, so that must not be a rule they enforce."

I am typically a rule-follower, but I tend to do it with much griping and complaining if I don't understand the rule or if I don't agree with the decisions made by those in authority. I sometimes even take the attitude - If I were in charge, I would do it this way.

While I do need to learn to respect authority and rules that do not contradict God's laws (Romans 13:1). I can rest in the strength of God's laws. Don't get me wrong I still struggle with these sometimes. As I was reading in Deuteronomy 6 this morning I learned a few things though.

I know so many people who see God as this mean authoritarian, but that's not at all true. So, why does God give us so many laws and commands?

The first answer is because He wants us to do them (v 1). This may seem kind of obvious, but I know that so many times I read God's word and think about what He's calling me to do . . . and it ends there. He wants us to be doers of the word and not merely hearers (James 1:22). Of course, we must remember that it is only by His strength that we can do this, but He longs for us to do His commands.

The second reason God wants us to keep His commands is so that all "may be well with you" (v 3). God gives us His rules for our good. Think of it this way. Why do you tell your 3 year old not to put her hand on the stove? Probably because it could be hot and by putting her hand on it she could burn herself very badly. This is a rule or law that you've given her out of love - to protect her. If she puts her hand on the burner will you love her any less? No, but she will have a pretty serious burn, and possibly some scars from her choices. That's just the way it is with God. His rules are for our happiness and continual growth in Him.

It is my prayer today that I may not be grouchy and skimp on God's rules, but that I may follow them with a joyful heart!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Faithful in the BIG - Faithful in the little

This is one of the ways I'm learning to be faithful in the little things.

I'm really excited about all of the things God is teaching me. I've been eagerly working on Joshua's House a lot this week. As I've been working, I realize that so much more is possible than I ever thought.

You see, I have this problem. I get this big, huge, massive idea in my mind and then I go for it. Sometimes these are high ideals to live up to, sometimes they are programs I want to start, or projects I get myself into. The problem is that I push myself so hard and am not content with anything less than the finished product.

For example. I am excited about producing a Christian website for kids with all sorts of usability worked out, an awesome design, lots of features, the whole nine yards. I have all of these great resources I've been sitting on, waiting for a large sum of money, or a kind volunteer who would be willing to make the website a reality. Why? Why am I just sitting there? I can make a website now. It may not be ideal, but I must be faithful in the little things, right? Does this mean my dream should die? No! But it means I should be more willing to take tiny steps to get there rather than taking one giant leap.

I often do this in my Spiritual life as well. I expect to be transformed all at once, and I forget that it's the work of a lifetime. Just like the story of the servants who were give talents when the master left, I want to be faithful with what I have now - big or small.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

"Be Thou Thyself the Answer to All My Questionings"

Questions. Many, many questions. My mind has been flooded with nothing but questions. I am at a place of being quite unsure in life. What is my role? Where should my time be invested? What does it mean to be a good wife? Of all the needs I recognize in this world, which ones should I pursue, and what roles is God calling others to, and asking that I simply pray for? How do I relate to people? What should an average day look like? How should I relate to others? When should I be solitary, and when should I be social? And the questions continue to flow from my mind in a meandering stream.

It seems like nothing is quite sure right now. Even my relationship with God. I know there is something missing. There is a broken link in the connection, but what? How do I fix it? Where is it broken? What is my next step? Where do I go from here? Am I doing too much? Am I doing enough?

One of my favorite passages, Proverbs 3:5-6 says this:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."


Does my problem lie with a lack of trust? Do I lean on my own understanding? If so, how do I trust more? How do I silence my own understanding?

Where do I go from here?

Title taken from lyrics of the hymn "Live Out Thy Life Within Me"