Birthday Boy!

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(Brad and his girlfriend Jessica ūüôā )

What an exciting day! My brother turned 22 today, so celebrated with a wonderful breakfast. But where have all the years gone?! I can hardly believe that we are getting ready to graduate and that he’s looking for “big boy jobs”…

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(brother and proud, little sister! ūüôā )

As I was doing my morning reading in Proverbs, I kept my eyes open in particular for words of wisdom on this special day for him. What do you know? Proverbs 22 is the passage that I saw fit to share in his regard this morning…

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver and gold. The rich and poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all. The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. ” Proverbs 22:1-6

Especially in that last verse, this passage is just as much of a tribute to our parents, the wonderful mom and dad that raised us. Thanks, Mom and Dad, and we love you very much!

Happy Birthday to my older brother and best friend, Brad! What a blessing he is in my life, and I hope that those verses in Proverbs will give us all something to be thinking and praying about as we go through yet another gift of a day.

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah

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Encountering God in this Season of Lent

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The sun was shining brightly. ¬†Even after the long bike ride back to my apartment, a smile still found it’s way across my glistening face. ¬†In the mood to cook, I opened up the cookbook she gave me. ¬†Like a ton of bricks, it hit me. ¬†I missed my mammaw, and there was nothing that could keep the tears from flowing. ¬†Leaving the kitchen to sit outside in the sunshine, I felt the rays warming my face. ¬†But just as I felt that warmth on my skin, I felt His warmth in my soul. ¬†In the whisper of the wind in the trees, it was as if I heard Him saying also, “Come to me, My child… I am all that you need…”

***

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.’

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

***

Even though we are just a few days into this Lenten season, this is the question that I’m asking myself: “Isn’t this what Lent is really about?” ¬†In times like today, I’m learning that Lent–and every other day, for that matter–is all about deeply relying on God. ¬†It’s to share in his sufferings. ¬†It’s to rejoice that we are the children of the God that KNOWS what it’s like to lose a loved one. ¬†Not only does He know this pain though, but He CHOSE to experience this pain. ¬†Even as His own son cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” it was the remembrance of His love for US that kept Him from sparing Jesus. ¬†Instead, He poured out His wrath on His perfect and beloved son… ¬†All so that he would be called Christ, the Lord and Savior…

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“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection,

and may share his sufferings,¬†becoming like him in his death.” ¬†

Philippians 3:10

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I have a challenge for us this Lenten season: let’s meet God in our weakness. ¬†It’s not about having enough will-power to give up french fries or chocolate or coffee. ¬†It’s not about “self-power”; it’s all about “Spirit-power!” ¬†Jesus’ anxiety shown in the drops of sweated blood is as real as the worries that trouble your soul. But Jesus’ resounding cry, shouting, “It is finished!” is as sure as the hope that we have. ¬†Jesus paid it all. ¬†May we know this power, the power of his resurrection.

Everyday, I pray that we will be brought to a point at which we say, “Father, I cannot be stretched any further; I cannot go any longer. ¬†I need you…” ¬†No matter what that point may be–whether craving the food item we gave up or feeling as though we cannot wash a single dish more after such a long day. ¬†May we welcome that time of weakness, and¬†I pray we will encounter Him there.

Warmest blessings to you this Lent season,

Sarah ūüôā

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“And after you have suffered a little while,

the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,

will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

1 Peter 5:10

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“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with

weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:10

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Marks of the True Christian

“Marks of the True Christian”

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited.
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’
To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

– Romans 12:9-21-

Certainty in the everyday moments of the journey

Do you ever wish that you could have certainty?

Pretty easy question, isn’t it? ¬†Of course, we wish that we could be more certain of this life and where our next steps will take us. ¬†There are so many variables, though. ¬†There are so many things that could change in an instant, so how could we ever be sure of anything? ¬†The apostle Paul and Luke have some special words for us…

“I became a minister (to Christ’s body, the church) according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.” ¬†Colossians 1:25-26, ESV

“It seemed good to me…to write an orderly account for you…that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” ¬†Luke 1:3-4, paraphrased ESV

As I think about all of the times in my life when I have begged God to tell me why things are happening the way that they are or what the future will hold, I now imagine a certain scene…

A father and daughter are walking walking down a trail to a surprise destination. ¬†The little girl asks, “Where are we going, Daddy?” and he replies with patience, “You’ll see when we get there. ¬†I promise you though, you are going to love it…” ¬†They continue walking, but the little girl is so excited, anxious, and even a little nervous. ¬†After all, she’s starting to imagine what the surprise is. ¬†What if it doesn’t meet her expectations? ¬†Her doubts could even lead her to questioning her dad and whether or not he has the best in store for her. ¬†But then again, what if the surprise is even better than she could even imagine? ¬†Trying her best to figure it out, she continues daydreaming of what it could be, not even paying attention to the scenery around her. ¬†She’s even so busy questioning that she neglects the precious moments that she has right then and there, walking hand-in-hand with her daddy…

There are many details of our lives that we do not know; however, there is one thing of which we can be certain:  God and His goodness.  He has given us His Word to teach us His truths.  He even shows His indescribable love and mercy for His children through sending His son to die on the cross for our sins.   What greater act must we see to be able to put our full trust in God?

Today as you go through this day, pray that God would secure you in the certainty of His promises, in the certainty of His Word. ¬†No, we may not know the exact details and destination of our journey, but God does. ¬†If we’re walking hand-in-hand with Him, what do we have to be anxious about? ¬†After all, maybe it’s not ¬†just about “getting there.” ¬†Maybe it’s all about living closely in His presence, even here and now in the everyday moments of the journey…

Happy Birthday, Mom!

This past weekend, we had the wonderful pleasure of celebrating my mom’s birthday on Friday. ¬†Although I could never say enough words to express just how amazing of a woman that she is, well, I’ll try…

The giver of encouragement, sharer of great quotes, healer through music, “mover and a shaker”, listener with enduring patience, speaker of words of wisdom, an example of a godly wife, an angel sent from heaven: she’s my best friend and my role model. ¬†She’s my mom. ūüôā

 

Even our puppy dogs say, “Happy Birthday, Mom!”

 

I love you, Mom, and happy birthday!