Thursday, June 27, 2013

Acts is such an incredible book of the Bible! I mean, they're all good, but at this moment in time God is using the book of Acts to teach me so much. I was reading in chapter 27 today and it just amazes me to read about Paul's faith. He believed God. He believed not just in God, like so many of us do, but he believed God. If God told or revealed something to Paul, he believed. Paul didn't question why it would be safer to stay on a ship in the middle of a storm rather than go ashore. He simply believed God and obeyed.
I had to ask myself, "How does one have faith as strong as Paul's?" What was it about this man that just caused him to trust every word that God said? I struggle with trust issues a lot and even though in my head I know that God is in control, all powerful, sovereign and everything else that He is, I have a hard time getting what's in my head down to my heart. Paul fully and completely trusted God. No doubts, no worries, not a hint of mistrust. He placed his life in God's hands and he was secure.
So here is the answer that I came up with through studying the life of Paul:
Paul was the chief of sinners. We are all sinners, but Paul knew his sin better than anyone else and he believed himself to be the chief of sinners. He recognized that God had radically changed his life. Paul never once, that I have found, tried to take credit for any of the change that God did in his life. He knew that his salvation was all from Christ and if God can radically change the life of the "chief of sinners" then there is no reason for doubt or mistrust.  If God is powerful enough to take the life of a man who persecuted Christians, and turn that life into one that spreads the Gospel and becomes a follower of Christ, then I have no reason to doubt that He can do the same for me.
When I look at my life and see all that the Lord has saved me from, I realize that my mistrust is ridiculous. If God is powerful enough to save me from the sins in my life, then I have no reason to doubt His power and love. He already displayed the ultimate act of power and love for me when He saved me...everything else is just a bonus! When we understand the power of the Gospel and the depths of what Christ did for us on the cross, suddenly trusting God doesn't seem like such a mind-bogglingly difficult thing. It actually seems quite normal.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

I Choose Joy!!!

At the beginning of the year it seemed that everyone was picking their "word" for the year. I thought about it....."One word! No way can I find one word to work with for an entire year! With all the glorious words in the English language, how on earth can a person choose just one?"
So I went half of the year without a word, which ended up being okay because it took those first five months to show me that I did in fact need a word. And that word was JOY.

One of the things that the Lord has taught me about joy this year is that it is a choice. Of course there is the feeling of joy and happiness, but joy is sometimes almost a verb. It is something that you have to choose to be. Even the disciples had times when they experienced great persecution and chose to have joy. When I wake up in the morning, God offers me His gift of joy. I can choose to take that gift and find my joy and solace in Him, or I can shun His gift and wonder why I feel so crabby. It seems like a no brainer, but I find that more often than not I ignore this gift. 

Another thing I have learned about joy is that in order to live a life of joy, you have to be serving the Lord, which in turn leads to serving others. I never feel more joyful than when I am serving someone else - with the right heart attitude. ;)  When I spend my time and days serving myself it is virtually impossible to be joyful....why? Well because I am a very selfish, sinful human being that is never satisfied no matter how much I serve myself. However, when I set my heart and focus on serving others, there is fulfillment beyond imagination. Even the most monotonous day is suddenly a spring bubbling forth with activity and adventure.

But the biggest thing the Lord has taught me about joy is that no matter what my circumstances are, now matter how busy or boring life may be, His salvation (the gospel) is the number one reason that I should choose joy! Even if there was nothing else good in my life, the fact that the Lord loves me and has saved me is enough to find joy every single day of my life!!!!!! I can rejoice in His salvation. No matter how difficult the situation or circumstance may be, I have the assurance of my salvation because of Jesus' sacrifice for me. That is the GREATEST NEWS EVER!!!!!

Jesus Christ is my joy!
He is my strength,
He is my song,
He is the reason I have life and breath.
HE IS MY JOY!!!!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Just A Happy Day

Today my beautiful, older, sister Leah got married. 
I am so thankful to the Lord for restoring my relationship with Leah. We did not always get along very well because we had this older-sibling rivalry when we were growing up, but as life has gone on and we have grown up, the Lord has helped us grow closer together. 
These are just a couple photos a took from their wedding.

Mr. & Mrs. Moshe Samuels

And then when we got home from the wedding I went on facebook and saw this amazing picture of a cake from this blog: Confessions of a Cookaholic
So, Rachel and I constructed a cake, (from scratch I might add) which was delicious to say the least.
I also finished an incredible book today called "Gospel" by: J. D. Greear. It is one of the most life impacting books I have read in a long time. I would highly recommend it!!!
I hope y'all had a wonderful day savoring each moment that the Lord has given. Each day that I live I know that His mercies are new and His grace  is overabundant. 
Don't waste this beautiful life He has given!!!
And to finish off this post, here is a song that I can't get out of my head lately. It is so powerful!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some more Colorado Pictures

Colorado is an amazing place. That's all I can say.
I wanted so badly to go to Europe and see the sights and visit some castles, but I never imagined there would be a castle right in the middle of nowhere in Colorado.
Bishop's Castle was an awesome adventure!  I loved it, but I will admit it was extraordinarily unsafe.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Colorado Adventures

 A few years ago our family attended the Reformation Day Faire, down in Morton, IL, and we met this wonderful family. Well, they moved far away a couple of years ago and we really don't get to see them much anymore. So, when everything worked out for them to pick me up and spend a day hiking and having fun at the Colorado Sand Dunes I was THRILLED!!!! It was a great day and I am just so thankful to God that it all worked out.
We went to Zapata Falls first, which is a stunning waterfall back in a groove in the mountain. You have to climb pretty far back through the ice cold water to get there. 

I love climbing all the way up next to the waterfall. It is so beautiful and so loud that you can't hear anything but the roar of the water. If it weren't so painfully cold, I could spend a whole day there.

The only waterfall selfie that worked. Haha

This little river is under the sand for most of the year, but in the spring it makes an appearance and boy is it refreshing and fun to play in!

The adventurers getting ready to hike up the dunes.

I absolutely love this picture because it is so deceptive! It looks like he's flying down the dune, when in all reality he's hardly even moving. :-)

The four of us that made it to the top of a very large dune! I was dehydrated and ready to pass out, but it was so worth the work climbing up.  

And some of us decided to bury our legs in the sand at the top. I wonder which pair of shoes are mine?????

Sand beard. Haha I just can't get over the Alaskan hat.

Playing in the river.
Photo credit: Gloria Bringe
And because I just couldn't resist......I had to prove that I could slide down faster without a sled than with one. For some reason this picture just cracks me up so bad! :-)
It was a great day. I am so happy that it worked out.
 More pictures to come....

An Excellent Article

Here is an excellent article written by Jasmine Baucham that I just had to share!

"On Loving Well Before Love Comes"

This is great for both guys and gals!

And, I did arrive safely home and there will be more pictures from my Colorado trip. I just have work out a little time to write up a post. :-)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

"He calls to us on a new spring day, or on a tawny autumn afternoon with a voice so sorrowful, so sweet, that everything hushes, only briefly, until the wind rises and the leaves start dancing as He sweeps us off our feet. Is that alluring enough, I wonder again, for a young woman to be willing to give up her pitiful lovers and to hope?"
~from "Unseduced and Unshaken" by: Rosalie De Rosset

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Basking in Glory

I just love the mountains. A couple of days ago, Grandpa took me through the Wolf Creek Pass in Colorado, and it was like nothing I have ever seen before. It was so stunningly beautiful I just kept saying over and over, "Wow, everything is so beautiful here." I can't help but be amazed when I see God's glorious creation. When mountains surround me on every side, I start to feel a little small in insignificant. They are so big and great. Then I consider how great God is. How mighty and powerful He is. Psalm 36:6 says, "Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast" God's righteousness is like the mountains. Greater and deeper than my own righteousness could ever be. His love reaches to heights and plummets to depths that I could never face.
Not only is God's righteousness greater than even mountains, but He was there before the mountains were even formed. Psalm 90:2 says "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." It's hard to imagine those mountains not existing, or to picture them crumbling away. God was God before there were mountains. Why, He created the mountains! And even when the mountains crumble away, He will still be God. My mind cannot fathom how incredible and awesome God is!

This is why I love mountains; they remind me of the greatness of my God!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Colorado Pictures Part 1

Well hello from Colorado - my most favorite place besides Wisconsin!
I thought I might share some photos from the last couple of days.  Unfortunately, Mr. Gateway here is no cooperating with me and Mr. Blogger decided to also make things more difficult. Anyhoo, here are some pictures, scrambled though they may be. I hope you enjoy! 
Treasure Falls
We went through the Wolf Creek Pass. Talk about amazingness!!!

Some ancient Indian Petroglyphs

At one point on the Wolf Creek Pass we got out and this was my view looking straight down. Lucky for me I do not have a fear of heights. If you fall. A. Long. Way. Down.

I just so amazed at God's incredible creation. Pictures just don't do it justice.

Grandpa's first Starbucks Frappuccino. The first time I had one was when I came to Colorado almost 4 years ago, so it only seemed appropriate that Gramps should have his first one with me. :-)

And my very own White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino with an extra shot of raspberry. I get one of these babies maybe once or twice a year. Definitely a treat!.

The cowboys

Chimney Rock! I just thought this was the coolest thing ever!!! I took a ton of pictures of it, but this was my favorite.

Treasure Falls

And this is another petroglyph that I saw on Monday.

Oh my goodness, I just about fell in love with these chipmunks that were at the falls. They were the friendliest, funnest little guys ever!!!

This guy was literally 2 inches from my knee.  He just sat there, eating his nuts and watching me.

This little girl was just too cute.

Just a random waterfall on the side of the road.

Santa Fe Trail Memorial

More petroglyphs. I call this one "Crabby."


Well there will be more, but that's all for now folks! More adventures soon to come!