Archive for August, 2010

a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench…

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

In his post entitled “My Love For Jesus Stinks”, Stephen Altrogge gives hope for Christians who are experiencing a “dry spell” in their spiritual life.  I am so thankful I stumbled upon this blog post… this encouragement came at the perfect time.

It’s time for a little heart-to-heart, Stephen to [insert your name, address, and credit card #] confession: my love for Jesus stinks. Honestly, that’s how it feels right now. For the past month-and-a-half my devotional times have stunk. I sit down to read my Bible, and within minutes I’m distracted. I’m thinking about March Madness (my bracket is a mess), about this blog, about projects at work, and about my little girl Charis, who I can hear stirring in her crib. I look up to the ceiling and I can actually see my prayers bouncing back at me. At least that’s what it feels like. It’s really frustrating. Can you relate to me?

But honestly, I’m not discouraged. Why? Because I see desire in my heart. I really do want to love Jesus. I really do want to treasure his word, and delight in prayer, and love the Lord with all my heart. And that brings me great comfort. Sure my love for Jesus stinks right now, but there’s a spark of love, and that’s not from me. Sparks come from God.

Jesus doesn’t blow out sparks of love. That’s sweet news to this smoldering heart. Matthew 12:20 says:

a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench…

Right now it feels like my love for Jesus is nothing more than a smoldering wick. Jesus is the one who breathes new flame into a smoldering wick. He was the one who lit the flame of love in my heart, and he’s the one who will keep it alive. Sweet news for faint-hearted folks like me.

So here’s my prayer: Jesus set my heart aflame with love for You! I want to love you with all my heart, but right now I’m cold. Change me, cleanse me, and renew me. Renew again the joy of my salvation. Thank you that you promise to do this.

“The Unexpected Justice of God”

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

This post (at The Blazing Center) by Stephen Altrogge is a beautiful reminder of the what the Gospel means for those who accept God’s gift.

Putting my daughter to bed can be a trying experience.  Charis is three years old, and like most young children, going to bed is on her “least favorite things” list. As bedtime approaches she starts pulling all sorts of tricks and stall tactics out of the bag in an attempt to delay the inevitable. She wants me to put socks on her, take the socks off, adjust the socks so that the seam on the toe is perfectly flat, tell her a second story, pray for her a third time, and on and on.

It doesn’t take long before I can feel impatience beginning to simmer and then boil within me. I want some peace, and I want some quiet, and I want to put Charis to bed without a thirty minute epic battle.

Many times I sin in impatience against my little three year old girl.

Because God is kind, he won’t let me get away with my impatience, and it’s not long before I feel his gentle hand pressing against my conscience and leading me to repentance.

When I repent I’m often aware of God’s mercy. I know that God is merciful, and that mercy ripples out from the gospel to sinners like me, but I don’t usually connect repentance with the justice of God. 1 John 1:9 makes that connection:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This seems backward or something, doesn’t it? God’s justice is displayed in my forgiveness. His perfect, holy, righteous, never flinching, never failing justice is put on display when he forgives my sin. How is that possible?

It’s possible because justice was already executed upon Jesus Christ. Jesus really has received the justice that I should have received. At the cross, God treated Jesus like the impatient father. My sentence has already been fulfilled, and God’s justice has been completely satisfied.

If God didn’t forgive my sins, that would be unjust. It would be double jeopardy, making me atone for a crime that has already been resolved. The just, right, good, wonderful thing for God to do is forgive my sins.

Sometimes the gospel just takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

Our 2nd Anniversary

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

On August 16th we celebrated 2 years of wedded bliss!  In honor of that special day we had a couples photo session with my friend Heather.  She did an awesome job capturing some great shots! View the whole album here.

These are a few of my favorites:

Cheryl & CO Cookies: review and deals

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Cheryl’s cookies are the BEST!!! Not only are they pretty to look at but they are SUPER YUMMY! They make a beautiful gift for any occasion.  Or if you are like me, you can just order them for yourself to enjoy!  I have a dozen heading my way as I type!!

Just looking at the pictures makes my mouth water!!

Here are two deals that are available:

FREE SHIPPING with coupon code SMSHIP10 but hurry, the code expires 8/29/10

$10 OFF your order with coupon code SHOPBAKESALE which expires 9/1/10

I don’t think the codes can be combined, but try it and let me know if it works!

Marty Acrobatics

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

View in HD here

“Not by Might nor by Power”

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Daily devotions by Oswald Chambers. This particular devotion is from December 3rd in My Utmost for His Highest.

My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power . . .1 Corinthians 2:4

If in preaching the gospel you substitute your knowledge of the way of salvation for confidence in the power of the gospel, you hinder people from getting to reality. Take care to see while you proclaim your knowledge of the way of salvation, that you yourself are rooted and grounded by faith in God. Never rely on the clearness of your presentation, but as you give your explanation make sure that you are relying on the Holy Spirit. Rely on the certainty of God’s redemptive power, and He will create His own life in people.

Once you are rooted in reality, nothing can shake you. If your faith is in experiences, anything that happens is likely to upset that faith. But nothing can ever change God or the reality of redemption. Base your faith on that, and you are as eternally secure as God Himself. Once you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you will never be moved again. That is the meaning of sanctification. God disapproves of our human efforts to cling to the concept that sanctification is merely an experience, while forgetting that even our sanctification must also be sanctified (see John 17:19 ). I must deliberately give my sanctified life to God for His service, so that He can use me as His hands and His feet.