Temptation

I was remembering a time about 12 years ago where I was tempted, fell into temptation, and reaped the punishment when I was caught. I was a junior in high school taking honors British literature. My parents had a rule; we could exempt finals if we had an A in the class. When I asked the teacher what my grade was she informed me it was an 89.5. Oh the temptation… take the final or not? The teacher told me if I bombed the final she wouldn’t put it in and I would keep my current grade. I don’t know what I thought would happen…maybe that the teacher would have a heart and round my grade up, but I decided to lie to my mom and tell her I had an A, not take the final, and wait to see what the report card said three weeks later. Temptation means a desire to do something, especially wrong or unwise. It was so wrong to lie to my mom. It was wrong to not take the final. Everything about this situation was wrong.

Jesus was tempted. He withstood temptation. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” (Matthew 4:1-11)

WWJD…did you have a bracelet with those four letters? I did. What Would Jesus Do? When Jesus was tempted he quoted scripture and clung to God’s word in order to withstand temptation. It may be hard to believe, but the Bible has scripture for everything. In my situation I probably should have considered, “You shall not give false testimony…” (Exodus 20:16) or “Honor your father and your mother…” (Exodus 20:12), and definitely “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” (Colossians 3:23).

temptation

Whatever you do, gah that’s a lot of stuff…brushing my teeth, writing a blog post, teaching children, taking a test, playing a sport…WHATEVER YOU DO. Work at it with all your heart. I did not work at Brit. Lit. with all my heart. I just wanted to get out of that class. So many times we do things half way. God’s word calls us to do things with our whole heart. As working for the Lord. For the adults here…when your boss is around do you work harder? Imagine if God was in the room with you…😳 I would want to do my very best!

When my report card made it to my parents I had a B in Brit. Lit. and I was grounded. Not for the B but for lying to my parents and not doing my best. I guess the teacher had a heart change at some point though because on my transcripts I have an A in the class. Temptation is a tricky thing. Every time we meet temptation we should WWJD and use God’s word to help us fight it.

Mary Again

Our church had their Christmas cantata this past weekend and I was Mary again. This means that Kyle was Joseph of course, and for the first time we had our baby be Jesus (I’ve had the honor of holding other babies for the past few years). 


Weeks ago I was asked to sing a song while holding my baby. I listened to the song and cried. I knew if I was going to sing this song with my daughter that I would have to get over the lyrics. Give Me This Night is a beautiful song about Mary asking to just be Jesus’ mother and he be just her son for the night. Let him be just my son, not the savior, for just a night. The bridge of the song is what got me:

God you gave him to me, And I gave him life. Now with him in my arms, And me in his eyes, This is much more than I ever could wish, You can have his tomorrows, But please grant me this. Give me this night, to just be his mother. Give him this moment to just be my child. He has the rest of his life to be Savior, but so little time, to simply be mine. So give me, please give me this night.


Being a new mom I have a whole new look on Christmas (as well as other things). For the first time I identify with Mary as a mother. She carried him for 9 months, endured the pain of child birth, and has the overwhelming feeling of being the mother of the Savior. This song may seem selfish on Mary’s part, and scripture doesn’t say that she asked God for this, but singing this song with Hannah got me. Even after practicing with her several hundred times, I cried. I cried with joy! Just like Mary must of recognized she wouldn’t have much time with her son (because time flies!), I realized I don’t have much time with Hannah. I cannot slow down time and keep her longer. She will grow up, and she will move out one day (a LONG time from now), and I will look back and cherish these moments I have now. It won’t be long before she won’t want to be rocked to sleep, or want to be carried everywhere. I know if I blink she’ll be headed to school or driving. This weekend was special, and I will cherish it forever. 

My Victory

For those of you who haven’t picked up on it yet, music is a love of mine. As a former dancer, I was moved by music, physically and emotionally. As a so-so singer, I am drawn to music, especially the lyrics. It’s no surprise that Hannah loves music with how much I listen to music. She was stuck with it the entire time she was in the womb. Music leads me into worship and a time of prayer. Music prepares my heart to hear from God. Music is my introduction to God’s sermon.

My Victory by David Crowder has a line that moves me, but it also grabbed Kyle’s attention (as a non-music person, it’s a big deal when he notices a song). “A cross meant to kill is my victory.” Think about that line.

cross at sunset

Today the cross is everywhere. We wear it as beautiful jewelry. We polish it in the church sanctuary. We wrap purple fabric around it at Easter. But when Jesus was crucified the cross was a sign of certain death. It was the form of capital punishment for its day. It was a rough cut timber meant to kill whomever was nailed to it. The cross was meant to kill.
I know as a young girl my parents bought me a beautiful necklace with a cross on it. My Grandma Betty gave me a golden cross to hang in my bedroom. My view of the cross was skewed. I knew Jesus died on the cross for my sins. I had accepted him as Lord and Savior of my life at the age of nine, but my view of the cross was beautiful. The first time I think I realized how gruesome it actually was is when The Passion came out. I was 13 and saw it in theaters. I cried and cried. They treated my Savior like a criminal, and he had done nothing to deserve it. Before that moment I had Book knowledge about it, but it didn’t really register until I saw the Hollywood version. And how much worse the actual moment must have been.

The cross was meant to kill. It isn’t polished jewelry. It isn’t beautiful home decor. It is a sign of certain death. But that certain death that Jesus bore is my victory. Jesus died on the cross so that I didn’t have to. The cost of my sins, my wrongs, my disobedience to God is death, eternal separation from Him. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for all of the sins ever committed, or that will ever be committed. Because I have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life I have overcome sin and death.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well. This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:1-5‬)

So this song is just beautiful. As it celebrates the cross, but also recognizes that the cross meant to kill is my victory.

img_2634

Forgiven

Have you ever heard a song that moves you? Not your hips or feet, but your soul? This song makes my salvation from sin seem so much more unbelievable. Why would Jesus, who lived a perfect life, die for me, a sinner? 

David Crowder sings this beautiful song and it brings me to tears almost every time I hear it. The part that grips my heart is when it says, “God, I fall down to my knees, with a hammer in my hand, You look at me, arms open, Forgiven!”

So many times we think of Jesus’ sacrifice as one done by the Roman soldiers. After all they are the ones who actually nailed him to the cross. Or maybe we blame the Jewish leaders. Because they are the ones who yelled “Crucify him!” But really, my sin put him there. He died for me. He wouldn’t have to if we hadn’t been sinners. We nailed him to the cross and he laid there willingly. He could have saved himself and not have gone through the suffering. But he chose to die for me, for you, for all mankind. I am so thankful he has forgiven me.

img_2634

What does Jesus say?

Hannah is 3 months old!!! Where has the time gone?


She loves to swing, kick, laugh and smile. But more than anything she loves to have a nice warm bottle of milk. Since I have gone back to work I have been pumping non-stop to keep up with her. Each day as I sit alone in my room at school to get Hannah’s food I pray. I pray a selfish prayer. God, please release me from pumping. Lord, give me peace about not breast feeding anymore. Jesus, can I quit? The pressure to produce enough, the loneliness at work, the time restraints of having to get back to my pump in time…I pray to no longer have to do this. Then I feel guilty because so many moms want to breastfeed and can’t for whatever reason. I am blessed to have a way to feed my baby without the expense of formula. I have a baby whose tummy loves what I can give her. 

Every time I bring this up to Kyle he simply asks me, “What does Jesus say?” He knows I pray about it and he knows Jesus hasn’t released me from this motherly task yet. So until he does I will continue to provide for my sweet girl. Until I am freed I will thank Him for giving me this ability that so many mommies want. While I continue to provide for my baby I will pray and try to be less selfish. 

Loving Others

From birth all of us love ourselves. We think of our own needs before others. We want what will make us happy with very little concern for the people around us or the situational circumstances. We love ourselves. So when Jesus tells us that the second greatest command is to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (‭‭Mark‬ ‭12:31‬), we are in for trouble. 


I can’t help but think of my almost 12 week old daughter when reading this passage. When she is hungry she doesn’t care that the bottle needs to be warmed, her diaper needs to be changed, or the fact that mommy can’t drive and feed her at the same time. She loves herself (even though she hasn’t been taught to do this) and could careless about the circumstances. 

So if we are to love our neighbors as if they are ourselves, we are to care for them as if they are us. This isn’t natural for us. We want to take care of me, myself, and I before anything. Becoming a wife taught me that my husband and his needs had to be placed before mine. This was hard at first and I have to consciencely decide to put Kyle first daily. Becoming a mom taught me about this even further because my daughter can do nothing for herself, unlike my husband. I must feed her before myself, bath her before myself, dress, soothe, and care for her before me. Even as I have been writing this I have stopped several times to love and care for Hannah. 

Jesus says we should love our neighbors as ourselves. The word neighbor does not mean the people who live on either side of you or in your neighborhood only. Neighbor pretty much means any person you encounter during the day. We are to love others, not just our next door neighbors, the way we love ourselves. Think about it! Love everyone the way you love yourself! That’s crazy hard!!!

So today, and each day moving forward, I want God to teach me how to love others the way I naturally love myself. Putting them before myself. Caring for their needs, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, before my own. 

Loving God

God has used these past 11 weeks to transform my definition of love. I think he is going to use the rest of my life to teach me about love to be honest. Each day my love for Kyle grows, my love for Hannah deepens, and my love for God is abundantly changed. Jesus tells us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” in ‭‭Mark‬ ‭12:30‬. I do not think I will ever be able to complete this command. If you really think about what Jesus is asking of you…it is overwhelming. 


Heart- my heart is so emotional (people tell me it’s the hormones) lately and seems to be on a rollercoaster of a ride. But my heart should be loving God with its entirety. The scripture doesn’t say Love the Lord your God with a piece of your heart or most of your heart. It says with ALL of your heart

Soul- your soul is a weird thing to think about. Dictionary.com defines soul in these ways:

  • the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.
  • the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect, or as believed to survive death and be subject to happiness or misery in a life to come

Jesus is asking us to love God with the spiritual part of our beings, not just the physical. Our physical bodies with die, but our souls will live on. I think Jesus is pointing out that our love for God is something that should continue on forever, not just in our physical beings, but in our eternal souls. 

Mind- can anyone control their minds? I’m sure there are some who can or think they can, but I struggle to control my thoughts. My sinful nature thinks judgmentally before I even realize what is going on. Jesus commands us to love God with all of our mind. This includes our thoughts and knowledge. They are to be God loving focused. That is so hard!

Strength- when I think of strength I think of my physical being. Although lately I have prayed more for emotional and mental strength (leaving Hannah each morning is only by strength from the Lord mentally and emotionally). We are supposed to love God with our strength, all of it, physical, mental, and emotional . 

When Jesus is answering the question “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” He gives us this one. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (‭‭Mark‬ ‭12:30‬). Each morning I pray that God would teach me how to love him this way. Each day I hope to be able to love God this way. Each night I know I have failed, but strive to be able to love God the way Jesus commanded. I hope that God will continue to teach me about love and how to love him for the rest of my physical life and spiritual life. 

A Trip Around the Sun

I finished a great book yesterday by Mark Batterson and Richard Foth called A Trip Around the Sun


This book was a collection of stories and godly wisdom on how to live a more adventurous life. I didn’t want to put it down but often had to with a 1 month old baby to enjoy and care for. 

One of my big take aways from the book has to do with taking chances (anyone who knows me understands that I am not a risk taker). Mark wrote something along the lines of you will never walk on water if you don’t step out of the boat. (I don’t know the exact quote because it’s hard to hold a sleeping baby, read, and underline passages that you love.) I love the boat, the safe spot, my comfort zone. I don’t like the unknown, unplanned, or risks outside of the boat. Mark is referencing Jesus’ and Peter’s story of walking on the water. 

“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:22-33‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I would never have the courage to step out of the boat but as I have thought about Mark’s reference this week I realized I have in certain ways. Kyle and I stepped out of the boat when we left our home church to take a ministry job at ATCO. We stepped out when we both answered the call to go to St. Vincent on mission not knowing how it would be financed. We stepped out when we realized God was leading us to do fertility treatments. Our boat has been left more times than I realized until God showed me how often Jesus had told us to come

I highly recommend this book and would encourage you to think about how Jesus has called you to come onto the waters, step out of the boat, leave your comfort zone. 

The Best Example of Love

While God is teaching me about love I can’t help but read about love in the Bible. I want to know how I can best love Hannah, my husband, God, the church… If God is love, then we have the greatest example of how to love.

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬). 

I have an entirely new outlook on this verse since August 10th. My Sunday school teacher even asked me if I would give my daughter back in order to save someone else’s life. I couldn’t help but cry later that night at the thought of giving her up. I would never. And yet God did just that. He sacrificed his son for the lives of sinners. For me. That is how much God loves you and me. Enough to give up Jesus for the chance of a relationship with me. I say chance because of the “whoever believes” part of the verse. We have to believe in order for what Jesus did on the cross to count. God made the sacrifice but we still have a decision to make. The decision to believe in Jesus.  

Do you believe in Jesus? Do you know that he is the son of God? Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” So today I’m learning just how God loves me. He loves me enough to save me through sacrificing his son. I chose to believe when I was a child, but have you made that choice?

Giving

Give up material wealth if necessary to give spiritual wealth. One of the points in our pastor’s sermon this week was worded something similar to that (pregnancy brain 😕). It brought me to tears thinking about his point. I’m not sure I heard too much after that because I was stuck on this point. Give up material wealth if necessary to give spiritual wealth. 
We all have money issues. We either don’t have money and that is the issue, or we do have money and it becomes an issue. I’ll admit that I am in the first category. No money here, and yes it is an issue many times. But our lack of material wealth doesn’t mean that we lack in spiritual wealth. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t called to give. And honestly, if I had to pick one type of wealth over the other I would chose spiritual wealth everyday of the week. 

But how many times am I called to give material wealth in order to affect someone else’s spiritual wealth? How many times does my flesh stop me from giving as I should? I couldn’t help but think about the woman who poured perfume on Jesus’ feet. She had so little to give, but gave it all in an act of worship. Her reward? A huge spiritual wealth gain!

“A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:37-50‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I am a sinful woman who needs Jesus and should be willing to pour out what little I have on His feet. My sin debt is beyond anything I could pay back and Jesus has forgiven it in full. So yes, I have little to give, but I want to give it all in order to further the kingdom, in order for others to learn about having their sins forgiven. I want to give my material wealth in order to influence other’s spiritual wealth.