100 Little Gratitudes

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 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

Thank you.  Two simple words which can have a significant  impact not only on the receiver but on the giver of the words as well.  The one who is thankful is choosing to shift his focus from that which  he does not have or cannot change to what he has, is blessed with, and enjoying.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.- Phillipians 4:6

When I pause to reflect on my present and past blessings from God, the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17), my mind is more clearly focused on that which I should truly petition and request in prayer. I am more apt to see life in the proper perspective.

I was challenged several years ago to write a list of 100 things that I was thankful for.  It was truly a sweet time of reflection to think on at least 100 people, circumstances, and experiences for which I was thankful.  I hope that this simple exercise in gratitude will spur you to do likewise.

Graciousness is caught in addition to being taught.  I realize more and more that my actions speak so much louder than my words.  I want to live out a life that is authentically gracious and obedient to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, so that I am modeling a life that I want my children to pursue.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time out of your full day to read this blog.

Here is my list in no particular order.

  1. for life
  2. my husband and best friend, Ron
  3. our children
  4. my parents
  5. my wonderful sister and her husband
  6. all of  my in laws
  7. my nieces and nephews
  8. our family’s collective health
  9. salvation in Jesus Christ
  10. forgiveness
  11. the ability to read
  12. access to almost any book in the world
  13. my Bible
  14. a good nights sleep
  15. our home
  16. two cars (yes, we now are a two car family once again)
  17. fresh fruit and vegetables
  18. my church
  19. friends
  20. furniture
  21. our ministry together
  22. my gym
  23. Emily’s artwork
  24. quiet time in prayer and Bible study
  25. throwing the football with Joshua
  26. toothpaste and a toothbrush
  27. water and warm showers
  28. access to good healthcare
  29. Target, Walmart, Ross, and Michael’s
  30. mercy
  31. hope
  32. a future
  33. my grandparents and extended family
  34. autumn (my favorite time of year)
  35. mentors in the faith
  36. a baby boy on the way for friends who have tried for seven years to have a baby
  37. hiking
  38. kayaking
  39. camping
  40. mail and packages from Nana…and Amazon
  41. God’s provision!
  42. education and the ability to learn
  43. soy vanilla lattes
  44. Costco
  45. time to spend with those we love
  46. freedom
  47. missions
  48. road trips
  49. Jesus’ unending pursuit of my heart
  50. Jefri and Jasmine (our Compassion children)
  51. a camera and photographs of memories
  52. a dining room table to eat at with my family and friends
  53. a bed
  54. clothes and shoes that fit
  55. writing opportunities
  56. a purpose
  57. good music
  58. vegan mayonnaise
  59. dancing
  60. chiropractic care
  61. naps
  62. holidays
  63. protein powder
  64. Auburn University and my experience there
  65. University of South Florida and all that I learned
  66. Pinterest
  67. groceries and money to pay for them
  68. a washer and dryer
  69. wifi and a computer
  70. the Grand Canyon- hiked it four times and it never gets old
  71. science
  72. Classical Conversations
  73. homeschooling
  74. organization
  75. Emily learning to read!!!
  76. electricty and indoor plumbing
  77. travel
  78. children’s books
  79. my memory
  80. thrift stores and consignment shops
  81. my weaknesses because when I am weak then He is strong
  82. Chick Fila, Chipolte, and Olive Garden
  83. second chances and lessons learned the first time
  84. that first impressions aren’t always accurate (Amen?)
  85. laughter
  86. the beach
  87. the moutains
  88. my coffee maker
  89. Christian apologetics resources
  90. funny YouTube videos
  91. my workout playlist
  92. Colorado Pinion Pine Cones (pictured above)
  93. mom’s red velvet cake
  94. Christmas movies
  95. Christmas tree farms
  96. flowers
  97. the sun and moon
  98. Easter
  99. free will
  100. love

 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name. ~1 Chronicles 29:13

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To Honor and Remember

Rice has become a mainstay in our home the last 6 months with our new diet restrictions. Thursday as I was preparing our rice for lunch, a few cooked grains fell to the counter. As I retrieved the three stray grains, my mind wandered to the story of Louis Zamperini as documented by Laura Hillenbrand in her brilliantly crafted book, Unbroken. Shortly after reading his biography I recall telling a friend, “I’ll never look at rice the same way again.”

You see, for Louis and his fellow Pacific POWs, rice had become a symbol of the horrors they endured. Curious about the connection? Read the book and find out why.

The Pacific POWs who went home in 1945 were torn-down men. They had an intimate understanding of man’s vast capacity to experience suffering, as well as his equally vast capacity, and hungry willingness, to inflict it. They carried unspeakable memories of torture and humiliation, and an acute sense of vulnerability that attended the knowledge of how readily they could be disarmed and dehumanized. Many felt lonely and isolated, having endured abuses that ordinary people couldn’t understand. (Unbroken, Hillenbrand, p. 349)

The story of Louis Zamperini is one of God’s amazing grace and restorative power in the midst of life’s pain, the forces of evil, our insufficient coping mechanisms, and His unfailing pursuit of human hearts.

Louis Zamperini went on to be with the Lord this week. How fitting that a man who sacrificed years of his life as a POW drew his final breaths so close to the day we celebrate America’s Freedom.
This weekend as we remember those who have sacrificed life, limb and certainly peace of mind in the wake of all that they are witnesses to, I would like to pause and remember the life of Louis Zamperini. He endured the unimaginable and went on to live a life grounded in Christ Jesus. Thank you Louis for your service  to our country and for sharing your story of faith with the world. I look forward to meeting you in heaven and telling you, thank you face to face.
May America turn in repentance to Jesus Christ and return to the shining city on a hill that we were founded to be. One that was founded on religious freedom and the quest to spread the gospel. May we recognize and honor the sacrifices valiant men and women make today to secure our liberty and protect our land.  My sincerest thanks to them and their families.
I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life, but I don’t know if I ever quite communicated what I saw when I said it. But in my mind it was a tall proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace, a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity, and if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it and see it still ~Ronald Reagan, 1984
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My Children’s Dad

Happy Father's Day

He’s the kind of man you want on your team, in your court, and beside you in battle.

He’s loyal, fun, and intentional.

He lives to please his Father.

He takes time to stoop low and teach, play on the floor, and read God’s Word.

He encourages dreams.

He works hard until the job is done then looks for ways to complete the same job better the next time around.

He makes pancakes almost every Thursday night and plays hide-and-seek like he gets paid for it.

For all of these reasons and more I am so grateful that when I married a great man, I also married a wonderful father.

Happy Father’s Day, Ron! And Happy Father’s Day to all the readers of This Temporary Home that have the honor and responsibility of being called Dad.

If you would join me in praying for Ron and his mission team this week as they are on mission in a communist country then I would be very grateful.

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A Memorial Day Prayer

 Memorial Day

Father, thank you for all our armed service men and women. Thank you for the scores of men and women who have served on our country’s behalf. For those who have stood guard, charged ahead, and kept the peace in turbulent times. Today, we honor their sacrifice and that of their families.

Thank you for bravery in the face of fear, for fortitude when retreat seems logical, and for sacrifice of self for the good of fellow man and soldiers. No one can fathom the face of war unless they have looked into its dark eyes themselves. Likewise, none know the pain of heroism like the widows, children, and parents of the fallen.

Thank you for our freedom in America and for those who served and are serving. May we not give up what they fought so hard to provide and maintain.

Please forgive us our sins as a country and as the Body of Christ. Help us to turn from the bondage of sinful living and turn to the freedom found in obedience to your life-giving commands.  May we remember and spread the good news of your Son, Jesus, who also laid down His sinless life so that we might live in your presence in total forgiveness of sin.

In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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Happy Mother’s Day

Mothers Day

Dear Moms,

Happy Mother’s Day.

For the dishes that never clean themselves, the dinners that do not cook themselves, and the laundry that never washes and puts itself back in its place.

Your work makes a difference.

For the times you cuddle, caress, and hug. The times you pick up, encourage, and kneel in prayer. For the thousand reminders you give each day.

You are instrumental in shaping a life and future generations.

For the sacrifices you make. The instruction that you give. The books you read and the trips you take your children on.

You are impacting the people your children are becoming.

For the early mornings and the late nights. For the doing without so that your children may have. For the life on mission you live and not simply preach about.

You are laying a path for little feet turning man and woman to follow.

For the cheers and clapping over accomplishments big and small.

You are cherishing champions and reflecting the Father who loves when His children walk in obedience and give their best offerings to Him.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms who frequent This Temporary Home. A mother’s work is never done and the mundane feels as if it may not make a difference most days. But…

Your faithfulness in the great and the small will be rewarded and you are living as a sacrifice like Jesus–the King who came to serve.

God has entrusted you with His highest creations. You are indeed blessed.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalm 127:3)

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Suffering Servant, Resurrected Lamb

Jesus Messiah

The Redeemer came to reunify the created to the Creator. Like the Good Shepherd that goes after the one lost lamb, He came so that all the lost have freedom to choose life. Life not given at first breath, but by means of faith in the One who died in our place.

But is there proof for our belief that Jesus is the Messiah and that he was resurrected from the dead?

Today, I hope to strengthen the minds of those of you who answered yes, and guide those who would answer no to the question above. We will look at one aspect of the proof of Jesus being the Messiah via the Old Testament prophecies and another for the proof of His resurrection from an eyewitness account.

First, in Isaiah 53, the prophet, Isaiah, prophesied about Jesus, the Messiah, 700 years before His birth and 733 years before His cruel death on the cross.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)

Today, the response to Isaiah 53 for the Jewish and rabbinical theologians is that the Suffering Servant described in Isaiah 53 was not referring to the coming Messiah, but to the nation of Israel.  The first Jew to propose that Isaiah 53 is referring to the nation of Israel was Shlomo Yitzchaki, more familiarly known as Rashi (c. 1040-1105). According to Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek in their book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (2004),  there are at least three reasons why Isaiah 53 cannot be referring to the nation of Israel:

  • First, unlike Israel, the Servant is sinless. (53:9) If Israel is sinless, then why did God give the Jews a sacrificial system? Why did they have a Day of Atonement? Why did they constantly need prophets to warn them to stop sinning and to come back to God?
  • Second, unlike Israel, the Suffering Servant is a lamb who submits without any resistance whatsoever (53:7) History show us that Israel certainly is not a lamb–she lies down for no one.
  • Third, unlike Israel, the Suffering Servant dies as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of others (53:4-6, 8, 10-12) But Israel has not died, nor is she paying for the sins of others. No one is redeemed on account of what the nation of Israel does. Nations, and the individuals that comprise them, are punished for their own sins.

(Geisler and Turek, 2004, pp. 333-334)

Who alone in all of human history can match the description of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53? None but Christ alone.

Secondly, as we consider the claims of the disciples and apostles that Christ indeed rose from the dead, let us look at Paul. Paul is one of the primary proofs of the resurrection of Jesus. Let’s consider Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. Acts 9.

 Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (Acts 9:4)

It is imperative that we distinguish this is Jesus addressing Paul for two reasons (verse 5). 

First, this is pertinent in the revelation that when a Christ-follower is suffering, Christ Himself suffers too. What is done to the Body of Christ, the church, is done unto Jesus Himself. The Bible clearly tells us that persecution of Christ-followers is to be expected and that we should rejoice in our suffering. Saul of Tarsus, later called Paul, was a persecutor of the early church “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.” (Acts 9:1)

Secondly, it is imperative that we note this is in fact Jesus talking with Paul because he is another eyewitness of the risen Savior. More specifically, an eyewitness by a professing enemy of the gospel following the ascension of Jesus into heaven. (See Acts 26) Paul’s conversion is significant in this fact as he was a primary witness of Jesus. Paul did not come to be a Christ-follower from a secondary retelling of the gospel; rather, he encountered the risen Savior himself.

The Old Testament prepares the way, and the New Testament documents the prophecies fulfilled. Now we who remain are looking to the clouds and eagerly awaiting His second coming.

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Proving the Resurrection of Christ

 Ready to Defend

During a time of year when bunnies, flowers and chocolates abound, Christians are tempted to believe that everyone will accept on faith what we preach as fact. What skeptics scoff at as a fictional fairy tale for the weak of intellect, the resurrection of Jesus Christ can be proven historically and logically concluded.

All salvation commences on an confession of faith in the final act of redemption that Jesus fulfilled on the cross. However, some converts will take more than merely the Bible’s word or that of a concerned friend or loved one to convince them of the truth of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What about you? Was your conversion experience one of a skeptic convinced? Was it more with child-like faith? Was yours a conversion of the mind and emotions?

I came to know and accept Christ as the Lord and Savior of my life at eight years of age. I was one with a child-like faith that instantly responded to the pressing of the Holy Spirit on my heart to confess my sins and walk the isle of my baptist church to make my faith commitment to Jesus. I didn’t even consult with my parents before making the decision. One minute my family was standing in our pew singing Just as I  Am and the next minute my parents reacted by following me as I started crying and walking down the isle to meet the pastor waiting at the end.

Mine was not a conversion of a doubters mind. However, it is my job as a disciple maker to equip myself and the others who read my writing or listen to me teach with the ability to defend the faith. Further, to have ready answers for honest questions of seekers of the truth. Moreover, to equip the minds of children, teens, and adults God has blessed our paths with.

In the weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, we will address a few questions concerning the reliability of the scriptures and the proof of the resurrection. Today I want to highlight a few resources that have guided me in my studies and which will answer the questions that you or someone you know may face surrounding Easter and all that is celebrated within it.

Here are some questions you can look forward to answering with these resources:

    • Did the resurrection really happen?
    • How can we know that God’s Word, the Bible is accurate?
    • How did we get the Bible that we hold in our hand today?

 

Time to buckle the belt of truth and put on the helmet of salvation as we take up our shield of faith and carry the Sword of the Spirit walking in our feet ready with gospel shoes. (Ephesians 6)

Be ready,

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Making Easter Memories

easter memories

Every Easter Sunday we would gather at Mama’s to celebrate our Risen Savior. Just outside her carport to the right was the most beautiful blue hydrangea bush brimming with blossoms. All the little boy and girl cousins would quickly run by them in a game of chase or hide-and-seek. Yet, every time I pass hydrangeas in the supermarket my mind is flooded with visions of the beautiful blue flowers of childhood Easters many years ago.

My own mother, perhaps remembering the women traveling early to anoint the Savior, would spend many hours sewing my sister and I beautiful smocked Easter dresses. Her loving stitches graced many smocked dresses that my little girl wears as she grows and as my sweet niece and her soon to be little sister will wear in like fashion.

What Easter memories are we sowing into our children and heritage? When they are grown and making a new home of their own, what will they remember of their childhood Easter’s?

As Easter is quickly approaching and your preparations are underway, here are a few posts to help you plan the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection:

No matter the color of hydrangeas on my table this Easter, in my heart are forever memories of blue.

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In Green Pastures

 St. Patrick's Day

I’ve grown up believing St. Patrick’s Day to be a holiday giving every adult in America (and anywhere else the world over) an excuse to drink beer and celebrate life fully donned in Irish green. I mostly dismissed the holiday with the small exception of wearing green so as not to get pinched along with the annual viewing of Darby O’Gill and the Little People. However, little did I know about the man, St. Patrick, missionary to Ireland.

In his autobiography, The Confession of St. Patrick, Patrick outlines his history and conversion to Christianity.  Enslaved in Ireland and working in green Irish pastures as a shepherd, Patrick recalled the truths of the Gospel which had been taught to him during his childhood in Great Britain. Patrick then put his faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save him from his sins. From that point forward, Patrick was a new man in Christ and would live with a new purpose:

Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favors and graces the Lord designed to bestow on me in the land of my captivity. For after chastisement from God, and recognizing him, our way to repay him is to exalt him and confess his wonders before every nation under heaven. (The Confession of St. Patrick)

Once more, green pastures were the home of a man who would lead people to the One True God. Like the young shepherd, David, another disciple was being made to walk in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Surely goodness and mercy had followed a young man unaware of the future stretching out before him.

Six years Patrick worked as a shepherd, slave in Ireland before receiving a message from God in a vision to escape back to his homeland. Once safely reunited with family, Patrick dreamed another message from God to return to Ireland as a missionary spreading the good news of the Gospel. Patrick’s life work was revealed. He would later take the oath of a priest and return to the land of his slavery to set people free in the name of Jesus Christ.

Behold over and over again I would briefly set out the words of my confession. I
testify in truthfulness and gladness of heart before God and his holy angels that I never had
any reason, except the Gospel and his promises, ever to have returned to that nation from
which I had previously escaped with difficulty. (The Confession of St. Patrick)

This year as you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, remember the missionary behind the man we know as St. Patrick and the mission which continues.

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You are Lavished With Love

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I have never really been a fan of Valentine’s Day. Sure, I love pink and red color combinations, beautiful bouquets of flowers, and chocolate as much as the next female, but a mandatory day to show love via purchases and swipes of the credit card just have never been appealing.

I remember every February 14th from elementary to high school as the flowers and teddy bears would flood the offices. Parents and grandparents sending their love one red rose at a time. My parents loved me and showed me in a multitude of other ways. I was never jealous that my name wasn’t on one of the bouquets, but I just didn’t get it. What was the big deal?

Two years ago I read about St. Valentinus of Rome. He is the priest, born 200 years after Christ, whose martyrdom we remember every February 14th. It seems that Valentinus disobeyed the ruling of Emperor Claudius the Cruel to cease all marriages within the Roman Empire and to worship the Roman gods. Claudius needed more men for battle and believed that unmarried men would make better and more willing soldiers. Valentinus knew this was against the law of God and chose to secretly marry couples under the blanket of night so that men could depart for battle having married their loves.

Valentinus was soon found out and taken prisoner of Claudius the Cruel. He was beheaded on the 14th of February for his crimes of love and loyalty to the One True God and His commandment for men and women to join together in holy matrimony.

The faithfulness of Valentinus is a day that I can recognize with deepest respect and gratefulness for the many people held prisoner around the world for their faithfulness to the gospel and for those that have died in the name of Christ Jesus. Sure, I gave small gifts as tokens of my love for the kids and Ron this morning, but Christ’s love was lavished on us that we may become sons and daughters of God. Valentinus, and all Christian martyrs like him, died for their faith in Jesus and are presently being lavished with the love of their Savior in eternity.

Perhaps today you are suffering with a broken heart like those of the many Roman citizens who were told they could not marry their love because of battle and Roman decrees?

Does this February 14th hold heartache and pain because of the loss of a loved one, a relationship severed, or some other relational disappointment in life? Can I honestly say, we are lavished even still in our love by Christ?

I am saddened today as well. This last month has been hard for this former foster-mom’s heart. My foster son, Little E, was reunited with his birth dad in November. This month he turned three the same week our daughter turned six. While we celebrate birthdays and Valentine’s Day as a family, it is with a twinge of sadness for the son that I cannot see. I pray continuously for him and his spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being. In some ways, I know what it is to have loved and lost.

This Valentine’s Day, may your hearts be comforted by the lavishing love of Christ. May you find moments to rejoice and be glad and may you find beauty in the everyday gifts of the One who died in your place. There is still much for which to be grateful.

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