Friday, September 30, 2011

Moving to a Different Neighborhood!

So, I have made the switch. I now have a WordPress blog. I have been feeling a little trapped in the world of blogger; like a myspace-to-facebook transition needed to happen. So off I go. If you are still interested in following the life and thoughts that I choose to share, head over here and follow along! The new blog has all my old posts from here. It's been real. Adios!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Free Stuff Alert

Hey Party People!

So, this is just a quick post to let you know about some free stuff I've run across lately. Nobody is paying me and there actually is still free stuff out there, so I thought I'd share!

1) Go to and sign up for e-mails! (Yes, that does mean you have to not mind getting e-mails from people. Hey, it's free stuff!) You will get offers from them and basically you can just scroll through and find the stuff that interests you and then follow the instructions! It will be stuff like "liking" a certain page on Fb or little things like that. Then they will send you a coupon for whatever you chose. You'll get the idea as you look at it. Later in this post I mention a CVS coupon for a free drink or candy and I found that through e-mails I receive from this website.

2) Here are blockbuster blue box codes that are good for a free 1-night movie rental.
Codes expiring this Friday, 9/23:
Code that expires 9/25: LAS993
Code that expires 10/9: ROCKNROLL

3) Kindle for PCs, Macs, iPads, etc. Basically you can download a computer version of Kindle, the eReader and Amazon always has some free eBooks for Kindles to pick from, so you can even start out with some free books. Obviously, you could eventually start purchasing books for your computer Kindle as well. But you can potentially load Kindle on your computer and download a few books all FREE. If for some reason these links stop working go to and search for Kindle Apps and download the app for whatever your electronic best friend is. (Don't lie, you know you're a little too attached to your computer, phone, iPad, etc.)

Click here if you have a PC. (You must have Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, or Windows Vista or Windows 7 to take advantage of this.)
Click here if you have a Mac. (You must have Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or 10.7 (Lion) to take advantage of this. I only have Mac OS X 10.5 right now so I cannot currently take advantage of this.)
Click here if you have an iPad. *Technically this just tells you that Kindle is available through your iPad apps store.
Finally, here is the link to the free eBooks through

4) Check my Facebook for a coupon to CVS if you have a CVS card for a free drink or candy bar up to a $2 value through 9/22.

I will try to do posts periodically with other free stuff I am finding! Enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I want to offer some encouragement. But first, it has recently been brought to my attention what encouragement really is. In one dictionary, "to encourage is to give active help or to raise confidence to the point where one dares to do what is difficult." We have lost that definition. I think oftentimes we mistake flattery for encouragement and the Bible speaks against flattery. The definition of flattery is "excessive and insincere praise, especially that given to further one's own interests."

Proverbs 29:5 says, "A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet."

Psalm 5:9 says, "For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is destruction; their throat is an open tomb; they flatter with their tongue."

That is pretty strong language. So, we are not called to offer each other meaningless fluff in order to manipulate ourselves into good standing or just say what people want to hear. We are called to literally place courage in each other to do difficult things.

God has always been in the business of restoration and reconciliation. He desires relationship with us and that is why we were created.

But things got screwed up starting way back in the garden of Eden. Ever since then, God has been patient with us, slowly drawing us to himself to restore us to a right relationship. We inherited a sin nature from our ultimate parents, Adam and Eve. There is no one who comes from the womb loving God. We are born basically hating God and He begins the work of restoring us to that right relationship.

As we come to realize this more and more, we are sometimes crippled by shame due to our pasts. This is where we get to the meat. God is bigger than my past and your past, no matter what is contains. I have personally been wrestling lately against feeling hopeless and eternally chained to my past.

We have to understand that the whole point of this life is glorifying God and living in appreciation because God wants us despite our pasts. He rescued us while we were still sinners. He did not wait for us to clean up our act. My favorite verse lately has been Joel 2:25.

God says, "I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you."

God can restore anything. By ourselves, it is true that we are worthless and lost in sin. But when we are washed in the blood of Christ, God can look at us and call us beautiful.

To fully benefit from this, we must come to terms with the last part of that verse: "...My great army which I sent among you." You see, what God is restoring is destruction that He Himself sent. That army was one sent by God because His people were disobeying Him. So what was the point of that process? When we are disobedient, God disciplines us because that is what a loving Father should do.

After God disciplines us, he waits for us to be brokenhearted over our sin and repent. Repent means to turn away from sin or change our mind about our sin.

Psalm 51:17 says, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart--These, O God, You will not despise."

So the restoration comes when we are brokenhearted over our sin and have a heart that desires to change. Salvation comes by the grace of God through faith. Restoration comes through a broken heart. The purpose of our lives is the good works God has planned for us in order to glorify Himself.

Ephesians 2:8-10 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

God saves us by no merit of our own. That is clear. But once you become a child of God, he treats you accordingly which includes instructing and disciplining us. Proverbs 12:1 says, “whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. “

When we try to avoid admitting mistakes due to pride or to protect ourselves, we block God’s work in our lives. God desires intimacy in our relationship with Him just like we desire it in our human relationships. Nakedness before God is scary but it is where restoration takes place.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Once you have confessed and accepted God’s forgiveness, repent. Repair. Take back what you can take back. If you don’t know where to start, start with thoughts and move to actions. Don't use human logic and emotion to determine what can or can't be fixed. When Adam and Eve fell into sin in the garden of Eden, their minds went with them. We cannot trust our minds when they are left to their own devices. They will lead us to sin. We have to learn to actively replace our own thought patterns with God's promises and commands. Start with the thoughts that creep in and whisper lies to you; lies about how your past has ruined everything and made you unlovable and the situation beyond repair. Start with the lies that God's commands are life-sucking, outdated, nonsensical. Start with the lies that you can do whatever you want because God will forgive you and ultimately following Him is too hard.

Isaiah 55:9
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

2 Corinthians 10:5
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Jeremiah 17:9
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;
Who can know it?

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

When God does reveal our sin to us, we should not condemn ourselves. Rather, we should repent, rejoice that He is working on us, and obey Him. When Jesus says, "if you love me you will obey my commands" in John, it is not a manipulative command. He is saying that when we truly enter into a relationship with Him and experience His love we can't help but want to please Him. Obedience leads to a fulfilled life.

Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Romans 6:1-3
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so that you are able to bear it.

Micah 7:19
He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

John 16:33
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Full Gospel

So, today is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter. Just thought I'd share something I read lately. I typed up a little intro of my own thoughts but then I deleted it. I'll just leave it with the excerpt from the book.

This is part of a chapter from David Platt's book, Radical.

"This is the gospel. As long as you and I understand salvation as checking off a box to get to God, we will find ourselves in the meaningless sea of world religions that actually condemn the human race by exalting our supposed ability to get to God. On the other hand, when you and I realize that we are morally evil, dead in sin, and deserving of God's wrath with no way out on our own, we begin to discover our desperate need for Christ.
Our understanding of who God is and who we are drastically affects our understanding of who Christ is and why we need him. For example, if God is only a loving Father who wants to help his people, then we will see Christ as a mere example of that love. We will view the Cross as just a demonstration of God's love in which he allowed Roman soldiers to crucify his Son so that sinful man would know how much he loves us.
But this picture of Christ and the Cross is woefully inadequate, missing the entire point of the gospel. We are not saved from our sins because Jesus was falsely tried by Jewish and Roman officials and sentenced by Pilate to die. Neither are we saved because Roman persecutors thrust nails into the hands and feet of Christ and hung him on a cross.
Do we really think that the false judgment of men heaped upon Christ would pay the debt for all of humankind's sin? Do we really think that a crown of thorns and whips and nails and a wooden cross and all the other facets of the crucifixion that we glamorize are powerful enough to save us?
Picture Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. As he kneels before his Father, drops of sweat and blood fall together from his head. Why is he in such agony and pain? The answer is not because he is afraid of crucifixion. He is not trembling because of what the Roman soldiers are about to do to him.
Since that day countless men and women in the history of Christianity have died for their faith. Some of them were not just hung on crosses; they were burned there. Many of them went to their crosses singing.
One Christian in India, while being skinned alive, looked at his persecutors and said, 'I thank you for this. Tear off my old garment, for I will soon put on Christ's garment of righteousness.'
As he prepared to head to his execution, Christopher Love wrote a note to his wife, saying, 'Today they will sever me from my physical head, but they cannot sever me from my spiritual head, Christ.' As he walked to his death, his wife applauded while he sang of glory.
Did these men and women in Christian history have more courage than Christ himself? Why was he trembling in that garden, weeping and full of anguish? We can rest assured that he was not a coward about to face Roman soldiers. Instead he was a Savior about to endure divine wrath.
Listen to his words: 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.' The 'cup' is not a reference to a wooden cross; it is a reference to divine judgment. It is the cup of God's wrath. (Footnote here references Matthew 26:39, Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:22, Jeremiah 25:15, Revelation 14:10)
This is what Jesus is recoiling from in the garden. All God's holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on him, and he is sweating blood at the thought of it.
What happened at the Cross was not primarily about nails being thrust into Jesus' hands and feet but about the wrath due your sin and my sin being thrust upon his soul. In that holy moment, all the righteous wrath and justice of God due us came rushing down like a torrent on Christ himself. Some say, 'God looked down and could not bear to see the suffering that the soldiers were inflicting on Jesus, so he turned away.' But this is not true. God turned away because he could not bear to see your sin and my sin on his Son.
One preacher described it as if you and I were standing a short hundred yards away from a dam of water ten thousand miles high and ten thousand miles wide. All of a sudden that dam was breached, and a torrential flood of water came crashing toward us. Right before it reached our feet, the ground in front of us opened up and swallowed it all. At the Cross, Christ drank the last drop, he turned the cup over and cried out, 'It is finished.'
This is the gospel. The just and loving Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful people and sent his Son, God in the flesh, to bear his wrath against sin on the cross and to show his power over sin in the Resurrection so that all who trust in him will be reconciled to God forever."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Metro Ministries and Bill Wilson

I did not write this. I am just reposting it on my blog! :o)

Click here if you want to see more of the website.

Abandoned As A Child
As a child, Pastor Bill experienced the pain and hopelessness of abandonment. One day, as he walked down a street with his mother, they stopped to sit for a while. She instructed him to sit there and wait for her to return. He sat and waited for three days straight. She never returned. A Christian gentleman who had seen Bill stranded and alone stopped and picked him up. It was here that Bill's relationship with God began.

Mission to Help Hurting Children
Out of the pain, impoverishment and isolation of his own abandonment, Bill developed a heart of compassion for suffering children everywhere. From the ghettos of America to the garbage dumps of Manila, Bill has sought to rescue hurting children.

Founding of Metro Ministries
Pastor Bill established Metro Ministries in 1980 in what was one of Brooklyn's roughest neighborhoods, the Bushwick community, most commonly known for its history of gang violence, crime, drugs, and poverty.

Here, violence is a way of life and a constant threat. Pastor Bill has been beaten, stabbed and shot in the face. Yet, he perseveres and refuses to leave the area or give up on the children growing up in such an environment. Because of that, his efforts have made a difference, not only in the lives of children but in the community as well.

Due to the success of Metro's programs, President George Bush, Sr. appointed Pastor Bill to serve on the National Commission on America's Urban Families in 1991. Metro's influence was also identified as a factor in the noticeable reduction of crime in the Bushwick community and the organization was featured on ABC's Nightline.
Today, Pastor Bill travels widely, speaking in churches nationally and internationally each week. He is frequently featured on Christian television networks throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. And his programs, curriculum and techniques are being duplicated in cities all over the world. However one thing remains the same. Every Saturday, Pastor Bill is there in the heart of the urban jungle in Brooklyn, driving the school bus to pick up boys and girls for Sunday School.

Friday, January 28, 2011

God And

I know I did a recent post about idols but I can't get this out of my head lately...

For most of us, without even realizing it, we worship God and _____ or think we need God and ______. What comes after and for you?

The disciples left job security/income, homes, wives and children, knowing when their next meal would come.

Abraham came within moments of KILLING the son he had waited for decades to receive to ensure that God truly came first.

And we won't even go into how much Jesus had to sacrifice. We forget sometimes He was fully human when He went through everything He went through.

I think in this country it is difficult for us to really love and trust God because we'll never know what it means to rely on Him. We have the ability to earn or borrow our way to anything we could ever want. When we're not happy we just change something. Change churches, change jobs, change relationships, change locations.

Follow Me.

“Okay, God, I just need to finish out the week to make sure I can pay this bill.”

“Well, that sounds exciting God but can you promise to pay me as much as I make now?”

“Ok God! Yes, let’s go! In fact, I’ll even take a huge pay cut to follow you! Oh, nothing? Well you can’t expect me to follow you for nothing. That’s not how this world works. This isn’t heaven yet!”

“Is there a retirement plan for following you, God? I really want to serve you but it’s smart to get my future figured out! I can’t just go off the deep end and think that you’ll provide for me in other ways.”

“I can’t do that! I need to be relevant. I don’t want to look legalistic. I don’t want to look weird. I need to be able to reach people!”

“Oh, I gave my children to God a long time ago. I love them dearly but I know God comes first. What? Our home and land? Well, we worked hard for it! That's ours to keep!"

“Oh, I clip coupons and shop garage sales and thrift stores! I don't need that designer stuff. Move away from my grandchildren? No, I don’t really think that’s fair to bring up. They need me and I help out a lot.”

"Well, aren't you coming God? I'm going over here now to serve you! You just adjust your plans for me around where I choose to go right? Oh. I guess I didn't really ask you. But this is what I want."

“Oh we’ve really been working on this lately! We’re giving away more money, we’re cutting back, we’re scaling down. A stranger? We can't have a stranger living with us. Eh, that’s not for our family. We need our space. Plus, you can’t trust people these days."

"You STILL want me here? I'm kind of bored. It's become mundane. When do I get to be the missionary?"

"I really have learned you don't need much in life. I am more about people than stuff. I want to show Christ's love. My ex-wife? No, I've moved on from that. I'm all about the here and now. The current people in my life. The past is the past."

"I'm the pastor of the church! We have ministries to keep up with and people to serve. We're already established. I don't understand. Why are you asking me to leave?"

“Oh, okay, I think I could do that just let me run home and get one more kiss from my husband/wife.”

“God what do you expect from me? I’ve struggled my whole life to provide for my family. We haven’t had a vacation in years, we’re always at church, nobody is doing drugs, I don’t beat my wife, we’ve figured out how to keep my wife home and home school the kids all off my income. Now you’re asking for something else?”

"Them? I don't associate with those people. Can't I just keep loving my wife and kids and leave it at that? I've been a good leader."

“Right now? Well let me call my daughter and talk to her one more time!”

“But God, look at all these people I’m leaving that need to be witnessed to right here. This is where I wanted to be used by you.”

“Can you give me until 6:30pm? I need to swing by and pick up my son from daycare and drop him off at my mom’s.”

"Sell everything... that was just for that one guy in the bible, right?"

“I… I don’t know if I really want to do that God. I mean, I talk to you 3 times a day and I think we have a pretty good relationship. I am nice to the people around me. I have even talked to them about you and given out a few bibles. But you can’t expect everyone to LITERALLY follow you. That’s just for certain people.”

“That is so awesome my husband and I have been talking about traveling with our boys and getting them out in the world and serving… Uh, I don’t understand. My ministry is my family. You want me to come alone?”

“I am totally up for this. Yes. Let’s go. Let me just tell my boss so hopefully I don’t get fired.”

“Okay, let’s go! Wait, following you means stay here? With them? I am really done with this place God. They don’t treat me well. I am ready to serve you somewhere else! Let’s go! I’ll go anywhere! No, I can’t stay here. I am miserable. Doesn’t the bible say something about making me happy?”

“Yes, God! I have been waiting for this moment! Let me go get my fiance and we will meet you by the gas station! Oh… what? You want me to come alone? But we’re just getting started. We have big plans together.”

“Yes, I always wanted a real adventure with God! And then when we come back I’ll be able to show you to all my friends! Wait, we’re not coming back? What about all my hobbies that take up all my time but I try to make them about you so I feel better about it? I get back to those at some point, right? I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to turn things I enjoy into serving you. I can't COMPLETELY follow you and give up all that.”

“I mean, I would totally be up for it. But I don’t think I can live THERE forever. What about somewhere else? You know I’m more of a mountains kind of person.”

“Well, wait a minute. Doesn’t following you mean I have to stop having sex with my boyfriend? I’ve heard that. I don’t really see why it’s wrong, but I guess it does make me squirm thinking about doing that with you around.”

“Awesome! Where is the limo?”

“God I would be miserable doing that. I know you only call me to do things that make me happy, so that must be for someone else. Remember, this is what I need to change in order to follow you. I have been talking to you about these things a lot lately so I know you’re going to change them really soon. You wouldn’t ask me to suffer. ”

“Well where are we going? Where are we going to stay? What will we eat? I mean, let me see this plan of yours before I go signing up for anything. Planning is the smart thing to do!”

“I can’t go there. Those people are weird. They eat weird stuff. You put me in America for a reason.”

“You want me to go where? That’s right down the street. Those people should be helping themselves. They’re a bunch of freeloaders. The bible says to work hard.”

“God, I can’t follow you until I finish my degree. You know I can’t make it in much of anything without a degree.”

“I will follow you if we go to somewhere cool and trendy that is in the news. But you said something about… Canada?! That really doesn’t make for a good story later, God. Let me know when another offer comes along.”

God And…

We all have hang ups in this world. Some of these are definitely mine. I don't know which ones you relate to. Some of them even seem well intentioned. Some people will say this is too extreme. What are you not willing to give up?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Exercise – Obsession, Dirty Word, or Moderation

My last blog post was about idols and the first two on the list were “good health” and “physical appearance”. See that blog post if you want some insight as to how to know if you have made these things an idol.

Also before I start, some (not all) pictures I included *should* be linked to other blog posts about exercise. They are not mine and I haven't read them fully to make sure they're not crazy, but they could provide more resources for you!

Next, here is my confession: I really struggle to exercise regularly, and this struggle comes from my lack of self-discipline! A few things have happened over the last 5-6 years:
1) I graduated from high school where I was constantly involved in at least one and often multiple sports that kept me active. I didn’t even have to think about exercising because there were practices, sometimes mandatory time in the weight room, and then obviously the games. I never fully jumped on the gym bandwagon in college.
2) I hate, hate, HATE, how many girls and women in our country have body image issues! I saw how many people were getting sucked into exercise, counting calories, eating disorders as a means of control and to make themselves feel better and it really made me sad. So what did I do? Made sure I did the exact opposite, which is almost never the way to handle a situation, I have to say. I think there is a time and place for extreme measures, especially when we know our weaknesses. (I think I will do a post later about “personal legalism”.) But so often we react to things by hopping clear across the spectrum to the other extreme when that isn’t necessary or even productive.
3) I join in with the rest of the world in trying to convince myself, “There’s no time!” This is a lie. We make plenty of time for other activities that are not necessary. I do not always manage my time well and do not choose the activities that matter over the ones that are more fun or convenient.
4) I am lazy. ‘Nuff said.
So there is my struggle in a nutshell. Up until recently, I have chosen to not spend the time and energy it would take to start working through this area in my life.

I will now insert a disclaimer:
1) I know I am skinny. (People who are overweight are judged so openly that it is just accepted and “funny” and they are assumed to be lazy. People who are thin are also judged and not taken seriously and despised… None of these are biblical attitudes. Just food for thought.)
2) I know I may not struggle with the same exact things that you do.

But I also know a few more things:
1) We tend to dismiss advice when it comes from someone who isn’t exactly like us or hasn’t had the same experiences. Prov 1:5 says, “let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance”
2) Physical training is valuable to God. 1 Tim 4:8 says, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” Physical training is in fact of some value for many reasons but it is not the most important thing and should not be made an idol.
3) The First Lady launched a campaign to decrease obesity for a reason… it is a problem in our country!
4) My husband and I have just recently discussed how technology and our overall attitude of get more results for less work has slowly affected our society. I will be the first to stand up and say I love technology and my dishwasher, but really, we are a bunch of lazy, unmotivated, undisciplined, selfish individuals! Seriously. I say that in love. Who wants to be those things? Prov. 14:23 says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

And here is a list of reasons to exercise from the Mayo Clinic website. They can be found with more details about each one here.
1) Exercise improves your mood. (see website for details) My cousin, Jena, over at Life is Beachy Keen often mentions how her evening runs help her recover from a stressful day at work.
2) Exercise combats chronic diseases. (see website for details)
3) Exercise helps you manage your weight. (see website for details)
4) Exercise boosts your energy level. (see website for details)
5) Exercise promotes better sleep. (see website for details)
6) Exercise can put the spark back in your sex life. (see website for details… at your own risk!)
7) Exercise can be – gasp – fun!

I think everyone can find at least one thing on that list that they could benefit from.

I alternate between trips to our apartment complex gym and doing these YouTube videos from home. I am attempting to work out at least 3 days a week for 30-60 minutes. I recommend these videos because they leave me little room for excuses. Even with the apartment gym sometimes I have to traipse through the snow to get over there. There’s my excuse! With these videos, I can do one in between loads of laundry right in my home. Everyone has what works best for them and yours may not be YouTube videos. All I’m sayin’ is find what works for you instead of finding excuses!

Like I pointed out at the beginning, I have really struggled in this area in my very recent past. However, I would go so far as to say it is a sin to not care for the bodies God has entrusted to us for this short period of time (compared to eternity). When something is a part of God’s will for us and/or His commands to all of us, I believe that is when we apply this verse:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13

I want to take care of the body God has given me, I want to look good for my husband, and I want to have more energy to do my other tasks well throughout the day and get more done! If my motivation is to please God and make His priorities my priorities, I fully believe He will give me everything I need to accomplish what I set out to accomplish. I do NOT think this verse means I can expect God to help me do anything my selfish motives cause me to pursue. I may achieve them, but outside of God's will. Different post, different time! :o) I just hate when that verse is abused!

I am hoping to discuss discipline and time management in upcoming posts so check back in for some encouragement and especially to hold me accountable!

I am linking up to Living Well Wednesdays!