Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thankful Thursday - Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year's Eve :)!!!

As I look back at the past year, it's been so very full. Late January, Tori agreed to join choir with me, and that has been such a joy! My Aunt got married in March, and, during our trip to TN for the wedding, several of the little ones came down with the flu, which made for a very interesting wedding rehearsal. But, despite how miserable they were, they lived through it, and the wedding was *beautiful*, and while in the state we got to visit a historic site and tour a cave, which was wonderful :)!

Our summer was *bus-y*! My very bestest ever friend and her sister came for a week long visit! I truly can't tell you how much of a blessing that was. It was the first time we had actually met in person, so you can imagine how exciting that was! We got to go to Jamestown while they were here, which created mannnnny memories... haha :).

Right after the girls left, we headed down to SC to visit family. It is always a treat to go down there! On our way back home, my parents surprised me by picking up two of our friends to stay with us a few days :). While they were here, Mama announced that she was expecting :D! The new baby should arrive in March, and I am so very thankful for another sibling <3.

I started up an Etsy shop, Under The Tapestry, in August, and in September I turned 18... no, I don't feel like an adult. I actually don't think I ever will, haha. My Gramma, Granny, Aunt Donna, Aunt Jane, Aunt Bobby, Aunt Heather, and Uncle Greg all drove many hours to come here for my birthday. It was such an awesome surprise!

A few more birthdays, a few more trips for Daddy, the opportunity to give the message for children's church, and daily life filled our time until the holidays, when we enjoyed celebrating Thanksgiving, Advent, St. Nicholas Day, and Christmas. I love this time of year, but it just went by too fast this year! The Sunday after Christmas, we said goodbye to our Pastor, and now we are enjoying having Daddy home for a week, after how busy he was at the store during Christmas :). 

For me, some of my favorite posts on my blog this year were these...
An Afternoon... -To be quite honest, there wasn't much "to" this post. But I loved that morning, and as the last Hidden Treasures auction that we got to work on, I am so thankful that we got to work together for it :).
While I was a Sinner -This one. I wrote it as I was going through a rough time. This year has seemed full of fear and doubt for me. I'm not going to say it was over when I shared that post. But it did help to be honest about the fact that that is a struggle for me, and it is one of my favorite posts, no matter how raw.
For We Ourselves -This post was actually written during the time I was going through at the time of writing that last post, but I waited months to actually share it, because I wasn't sure I wanted to actually put it out there. But after I made the plunge, I had no regrets, haha :).
No Worthless Task -This one was written on a whim after my devotions one morning :).
Contributing to the Needs of the Saints, Part 3  -I enjoyed writing the entire Romans 12 series, haha! But if I had to choose a favorite, it would be this post. And that is probably because, again, the issue has been very close to me the past several months.
Trust -This one was only a few days ago, so I feel redundant sharing it again, haha :). But it is what is on my heart as I look at the coming year, and I had to include it.

Now here it is New Year's Eve -and the day has been interesting. Broken dryer, broken picture frame, marker on the wall, parts missing to the grill Daddy bought that we're planning on using tonight, a whole maple twist thrown on the floor right before it was supposed to go in the oven... one of those days. Daddy mentioned hoping it's just all getting out of the way at once, rather than being a preview to 2016. But, in all truthfulness, I am looking forward to the next year. I'm kind of apprehensive, as I have a feeling that it will probably bring more changes then pretty much any other year of my life so far. But I am excited, as well. I am hopeful that this year will be a year of growth, in many ways.

But before we head into the New Year, I want to share with you some of the things that I have been thankful for lately :)! I also want to let you know that this will be the last "regular" Thankful Thursday. It took me a long time to make this decision. My blog title came from my Thankful Thursday lists, and I do, somehow, feel that it is wrong to stop them. But I think it's time to let them drop. I'm not saying my Thankful posts are done -I promise you, I will still have the desire to share one once in a while, because I do love writing these posts! But they're not going to be a given every week anymore, and they'll not even be restricted to a certain day. The reason I started these posts was to make sure I took time in my life to remind myself of all that the Lord was doing for me, and I have actually started doing that, on paper, every night (at least, more every-night-ish than I've posted every Thursday, haha!). To be honest, I miss writing descriptive-heavy "fun" posts about our life, and they are hard to fit in with Thankful Thursdays each week (when I'm actually blogging and that happens ;) ), along with my other more "thoughtful" posts. I just wanted to share that with you, because I feel like, as the reader, you should hear about big changes ;). Haha :). Now, this Thankful list :)!...

~Snuggling little ones all ready for bed in comfy PJs from some friends :).
~Josiah enjoying picture books. He has fallen in love with them this past month!
~Josiah's adorable little "Here! Here!", as he tries to climb up you... I'm not sure if he means "Here I am, I want you", or "Here's the best thing you'll find in the house, pick me up immediately". I have my suspisions. But nevertheless, it's cute :).
~Wrapping presents with Tori Christmas Eve. Might have been the highlight of my Christmas, hahaha! She's awesome...
~That Christ came to earth to pay for our transgressions, to redeem us. How incredible!
~That he took part in our trails so that he might be our Righteous Judge.
~Cable sweaters.
~Our Pastor and his family, and the blessing they have been to us in our church.
~The sock monkeys he gave out to all the little ones in church before he left. If you don't know, our "church mascot" of sorts was a one legged sock monkey by the name of Peg Leg Pete. So, when our Pastor left (and took it with him), he gave some to the children to remember him by :).
~All the projects I got accomplished last week. Including a new skirt made out of scraps from some I made a couple years ago, haha :).
~Homemade caramels and other treats ;).
~The grace of the Lord.
~2015, and the new year full of anticipation :)!

Happy New Year and blessings in our Savior,

Bri <3

Sunday, December 27, 2015

There is a Time

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Life is full of changes. We go about our lives, and in the midst there come changes that we notice right away, and other changes that happen so gradually, that it takes us a while to realize that they are even taking place. Some changes are for the better; some we aren't sure about. There are some people who can get excited about the thought of change; but for some of us, even a change that we look forward to can often seem terrifying. But however we react to changes, they are sure come all throughout life.

After we moved to VA, we  spent several months visiting churches. To be perfectly honest, I cried many weeks. It had taken us so many years to find the church that we were attending in SC before we moved. I sometimes wondered why we had to leave just a couple years later and start all over again, possibly taking another several years to belong anywhere. While we were searching, we heard many good sermons, and I was thankful for those, especially one about keeping our eyes on God's plans for the future instead of on what we missed from the past. With the changes that we had been going through, I needed that lesson, and I don't think I'll ever forget it, though I have a feeling that I'll have to work hard to follow through on it many more times. But no matter how much the sermon blessed me, after it was over and people I had never seen before started coming up, it was so hard for me. We were all constantly answering the same questions to dozens of people that I knew we probably wouldn't talk to more than 3 or 4 times. "Are you all siblings? How many boys versus girls? Grades? Ages? Names? Are these two twins?" I desperately missed having people around us who cared for us each as individuals, and not just as the biggest family they'd ever seen.

We eventually ended up at the church that we have been going to for about a year and a half now. And every time I think about the first Sunday we were there, I remember 2 things. 1. I was told Happy Mother's Day by a lady who thought that Abbi was my daughter, heeheehee... and 2., there were several people there that day who asked all the same questions that we are always asked when we go to a new church. But several of those people asked the questions individually. Not, "What are all the names and ages?" to a single person like it was a trivia game, but "What is your name? How old are you?", like they were really connecting with the person. `

No church is going to be perfect. A church is made up of sinful human beings, and as such, we are constantly being worked on by the Lord, and the body of believers will not be a perfect church until that day that the church is gathered at the throne of Christ. But so many of the people here at FBC welcomed us with open hearts (and open arms), and I've been so thankful for the blessings and fellowship we have been given there.

Today our church said goodbye to our Pastor, as he moves to be with family. God is calling him on, and it is going to change many things, for him and his family, of course, but also for us as a church body. We will miss them. And things will be uncertain for a while. But I am also thankful for the example they set of following the Lord into the unknown. And as Pastor Todd challenged this morning, how can we make our time count? This new "time" is ours to use for the kingdom.

Our family knows that we will not be staying in VA for the long haul. We don't know when or where we will move eventually. It will probably be sooner rather than later. And, at times, I still continue to doubt. Why were we sent here for a short time? Why learn to love something to say good bye? But then I remember, in the words of A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh (I get my words of wisdom from only the best sources ;)...), "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

We were sent here to learn, and grow. To form relationships with the people who will forever be part of what makes me look back at our time here as a blessing, no matter where we end up. And when we move next, we will have more lessons, and grow more through God's grace. And we will have many precious people who will still be part of our lives, even if it's over long distance. And the Lord will give us opportunities that we may glorify Him in, looking forward to his glory, rather than being discontent for the past. No matter where we are. No matter what "time" we are walking through. Joy or sorrow, feasting or fasting, silence or speech, planting or harvesting.

"'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I," said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'" ~J. R. R. Tolkien, "The Fellowship of the Ring"

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thankful Thursday. 12/17/15

~That each day is "a new day with no mistakes in it"... yet ;).
~The forgiveness of the Lord.
~Abbi's diligence and delight in making Christmas gifts :).
~Getting our room cleaned. I mean, it gets cleaned up often... but I didn't realize until I was dusting, how long it had been since I'd done stuff like said dusting ;). Lol!
~Our St. Nicholas Day celebrations :).
~Josiah's utter delight over a new toothbrush :). He is so cute!
~Pretty cups and cozy sock, and good books to read while drinking coffee. You know... the things that make an afternoon perfect :).
~All the gift buying and gift making we've been doing the past couple weeks! I love planning Christmas! It's coming a little too quickly, though... I really need to get moving along, lol...
~The tacky light drive here where we live :). It's given us something to replace the trip we used to take to the "Lights before Christmas" at Riverbanks zoo. We did that last week, and fully enjoyed it :)!
~Being alive in Christ.
~The stars in the sky.
~Our Christmas cantata :)! I think it went really well, and I was so happy to get to be a part of it :)!!!
~Getting my glasses tightened up.
~And Daddy fixed our lamp in our room :).
~Crochet tutorials.
~Peter's learning to sign his own name :). His R looks a little bit like an A... which I love, because people say his name "Peeta" all the time, because he's so sophisticated, heehee :).
~That our Lord intercedes for us.

I pray you each have a wonderful week :). Merry Christmas :)!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


"And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff- no bread, no bag, no money in their belts- but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. And he said to them, 'Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.' So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. And he cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them." Mark 6:7-13

Can you imagine the trust that the disciples must have had to go out into the world, with nothing but what others provided for their needs? Of course, Christ knew that they would be cared for and given the grace to go through whatever was put in their journey... but they had to trust him. And, by all accounts that we are given, they did just that. They passed the test, and they ministered to others, and they came back and they shared all they had done and seen with Jesus. I can not even begin to imagine the different stories that they had to tell, and how they interrupted each other to slip in little details. Maybe some hung back at moments, not wanting to share the moment that touched  them most with a crowd, but wanted to simply hold onto it as something precious. Possibly there were some who waited until the general excitement was over and they were in the boat to slip apart and ask Jesus' opinion on something that had happened, with no interruptions so that they could be completely open and honest. There were surely some, like Peter, who just could not stop exclaiming about how wonderful it was when God provided in such-and-such a way, or when this person finally got God's truths. But not matter how it worked out, we know that they were given a taste of how the Lord would provide and work through them, and wanted to share it with Christ. And now, Jesus noticed their need for a quiet supper, and they headed for a desolate place.

But the crowds, followed, and Jesus had compassion on them. They were lost, and they needed a shepherd. And so, he immediately stepped in and taught them "many things". It went on, and nobody wanted to leave- this time of listening to Jesus teach was too precious. So they stayed, getting hungrier and hungrier, but still not hungry enough to abandon the Word of God.

And Jesus had compassion on them again, and told the disciples to feed them.

And the disciples doubted.

"Shall we go and buy 200 denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?", they asked. Should we go buy bread that would cost 7 months worth of wages to feed these people? Would it be enough? Where would we find that sort of money?

How soon they forgot the trust that they had just learned. Forgot the moments of need that God had given supply for, that they had just been so eager to share.

He doesn't reprove them. 'For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." Psalm 103:14. He could have rebuked them- and does, often. But right now, he simple goes about providing for them again.

"And he said to them, 'How many loaves do you have? Go and see.' And when they had found out, they said, 'Five, and two fish.' Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men."

And once again, the disciples were given a proof of his love, of his care for them, of the utter trust that they could have in their Savior. It wasn't the last they would need. Hours later, Peter would be told to walk across the water, and would do so... until he sunk in doubt of his Maker. But again, the Lord raised him up, proving that His grace was sufficient for him.

And no matter how often we doubt him, how many times we are given a clear sign that he knows all and he knows best, how often we lose trust, he holds us in his hand, as well. He is patient with his children. And we can trust him, even when the way he is going to work in may not be seen by us.

It will be a never ending lesson. But the Lord is patient towards us.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thankful Thursday, 12/03/15

~How Mama and Daddy use our Christmas decorations to point to Christ :).
~Sitting in the living room enjoying being with my family.
~And cooking in the kitchen laughing with them :).
~A clean oven (I don’t know what happened during Thanksgiving baking, but it became obvious it needed done before we cooked again, hahaha… it was a bit smoky in the kitchen… haha!).
~Leftovers ;).
~Rags to clean with.
~Planning out Christmas surprises :)!
~Cute baskets :).
~The anticipation we have of Christ’s second coming, as we look back to his first coming! Do any of the rest of you celebrate Advent :)?
~Encouraging and edifying relationships with other believers.
~That nothing -nothing!- can separate us from the love of God!!!! How wonderful!!!!
~For the way that the Lord uses others to build us up.
~For the many reminders that the Lord has given us to praise Him! We have so much to praise him for throughout the entire year… “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) Blessings all ours, with ten thousands besides!”
~For this quote I found on the above verses… “Observe what God has done for us, on which our hopes are built: He spared not his own Son. When he was to undertake our salvation, the Father was willing to part with him, did not think him too precious a gift to bestow for the salvation of poor souls; now we may know that he loves us, in that he hath not withheld his Son, his own Son, his only Son.”
~This Christmas season and all the excitement and planning and joy and additional reflection on Christ’s gift of His life to us that it will hold :).
~Watching Josiah delighting over a picture book about a mouse. He is sooo sweet!
~Getting to read through the New Testament with an awesome group of dear friends :).
~The prophecies that have been fulfilled.
~And the promises we can trust him to keep :).
~Pinecones and red berries :). Literally my favorite Christmas decorations set against greenery, heehee :).
Bri :)

Friday, November 27, 2015

Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha!

♫ I went into the coffee shop, to get myself a mocha... ♫

That song has a strange place in our Christmas. It has no merit aside for memories of one goofy night at 3 a.m. Haha :). Anyway...

We loooove the Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks, haha :). Daddy had it while on a business trip last year, came home, and ordered some for us to try the first time he went shopping after that, haha! It's now our favorite fall coffee. Mama was hoping it would be out when she and I stopped at Starbucks for my birthday in September, but it wasn't, so she settled for second best. No kidding, ten minutes later they started switching out their signage to the fall menu, Salted Caramel Mocha having the predominate spot of honor. It was too funny!

I made one in our own kitchen this morning, and thought I'd share it with you :).

You'll need to mix together

1 & 1/2 TBLS cocoa powder
1 & 1/2 TBLS Sweetner
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
and 1/16 tsp salt

Make sure you mix it before adding liquid, because if you don't, the xanthan gum is just little pieces of gel in your drink instead of helping make it creamy :P.

Then add

1/2 cup coffee
1/2 cup milk (warm it before adding)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
and 1/2 teaspoon caramel extract.

Stir it well, and voila :)!!! Drink it... or, whipped cream on top makes it even better :)!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!!! Thankful Thursday, 11/26/15

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!” -Psalm 100:4

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all :)! This week I am thankful for...

~Getting to hold tiny babies at church :D. A couple of people walked by and asked me if I “didn’t have enough children around me at home without “stealing” other families'”, and, of course, the answer is, um, NO! Haha :). Besides, we don’t have ANY that small currently , heehee ;). ~My water tumblers. I enjoy having cups with lids that I can take wherever and not have to worry about, haha :).
~Todd Agnew’s “Do You Hear What I Hear” Christmas CD. It’s a tradition in our family to listen to it while decorating for Christmas :).
~For getting all the decorations out and the lights on the tree :). ~And our pizza party afterwards :).
~My Aunt Heather, who celebrated her birthday this week!
~Daddy changing the light bulb in our closet, yay! It’s so much easier to function when you can see ;).
~Getting my yarn chest cleaned out :). It’s been bothering me for a couple months, and I decided on a whim that enough was enough, haha.
~I’m also thankful to have found five of my missing crochet hooks. Apparently Abbi likes to stick them in her leftover ball of yarn and then just through it in the chest, instead of replacing them in the cup. Nice to know where to look, and to have found them before I start on Christmas presents :).
~Commentaries on God’s Word :).
~The Christmas stocking tree Daddy made a few years ago :). It’s got pegs for each of us, and they are long enough to double them up, so it should work for many years, haha :).
~A homemade Salted Caramel Mocha :)!
~My morning routine :).
~New tree lights. Because, no kidding, some of ours have burnt out in the two days we’ve had them up. I’m also thankful the burnt out BEFORE we got all the ornaments added to the tree, haha!
~“Pardon for sin, and a peace that endureth, blessings all mine, with ten thousands, besides.”
~A good deal on some layering shirts yesterday.
~The special crocheted blanket that my great-grandma passed on to me :).
~My baby brothers little arms around my neck :).
~Lavender essential oil.
~That the fundraiser that I shared the other day had made their goal in two days :)!!!! Any extra money will buy formula for the smallest children :).
~Kleenexes, haha :).
~Paper plates.
~A dishwasher! While we are doing so much baking, that is a very great blessing, haha!
~But, I am also thankful for the time spent washing the dishes that out dishwasher might not be able to handle. Because, though, I might not have time to do them all, I do love washing dishes :).
~For the Pilgrims and the example they set as they put nothing before the word of God. Not comfort, friends, family, safety. They gave all to set an example to others of how God would work through those who followed Him without withholding anything.
~A national day set aside to dwell on all that God has done for us. When we think of how full of mercies our life here has been, and then remember that we have yet before us the blessing of dwelling with God for eternity, how thankful we should be!
~The family gathered around me today, and the loved ones too far away to be here, but who I am thinking of and thankful for.
~Historical documents, and for historians who have put together informative documentaries based on God’s Hand in history, to teach us about the past.
~The wonderful food we will be eating today ;).
~And Salvation, God’s greatest gift to me of all!!!!!

Blessings to you all,

Bri :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PJ Party for Pleven!

We've been working on Thanksgiving cooking this afternoon, and the cranberry sauce, which I will absolutely not be eating ;), is making the kitchen smell wonderfully delicious and Christmas-y. Too bad it's taste does not appeal to me...

But, while I am waiting for the maple twist to finish rising, I wanted to share this with you :).

In a few weeks, one of the ladies who has adopted from Pleven (for those of you who remember me talking about Penny, this is her Mama) is getting a chance to go back to Pleven. There is a need for 90 pairs of pajamas in the orphanage, and her family is raising the money to provide those. They need it quickly, though, if she is going to be able to take them with her, which would be best. You can read more about what is going on here. Prayers and donations would be so helpful to them! You can also join their FB group to keep an eye on their progress.

While she is there, she will be getting to interact with several of the little ones there... several sweet little ones, 3 and under, who have recently been listed, and others among the older ones, including adorable Owen and precious Tiya. These two have been on Reece's Rainbow for several years now. I can not wait for their families to see them! During this holiday season, they have no family to celebrate with. How thankful we can be that we are blessed with people we love being around us!

I need to be finishing up my maple twist now :). I hope you each have a blessed Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Spurgeon on Prayer

I was reading an article by Spurgeon on Romans 8:26; "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words", and I wanted to share this paragraph from it...
"I think, dear friends, you will all admit that if a man can pray, his trouble is at once lightened. When we feel that we have power with God and can obtain anything we ask for at his hands, then our difficulties cease to oppress us. We take our burden to our heavenly Father and tell it out in the accents of childlike confidence, and we come away quite content to bear whatever his holy will may lay upon us. Prayer is a great outlet for grief; it draws up the sluices, and abates the swelling flood, which else might be too strong for us. We bathe our wound in the lotion of prayer, and the pain is lulled, the fever is removed. We may be brought into such perturbation of mind, and perplexity of heart, that we do not know how to pray. We see the mercy-seat, and we perceive that God will hear us: we have no doubt about that, for we know that we are his own favoured children, and yet we hardly know what to desire. We fall into such heaviness of spirit, and entanglement of thought, that the one remedy of prayer, which we have always found to be unfailing, appears to be taken from us. Here, then, in the nick of time, as a very present help in time of trouble, comes in the Holy Spirit. He draws near to teach us how to pray, and in this way he helps our infirmity, relieves our suffering, and enables us to bear the heavy burden without fainting under the load."
 The rest of the commentary can be found here if you're interested :).

Now I'm off to help prepare for some Thanksgiving prep shopping :). I hope you each have a wonderful day :)!


Bri :).

Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Blessings We have been Given in the Holy Spirit

"The Spirit helps us in our weakness. for we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit." (Romans 8)

Mama invited me to join her in studying Romans 8 with her this month through an online study she joined, and I have been enjoying it so much! The assignment I worked through today was to find all the things that the Spirit does for believers to be found in the chapter, and I thought that I'd share the list here, just because I thought it was a wonderful reminder of the blessings we have been given as the children of God :).

The Spirit
-Set us free from sin and death.
-Fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law in and for us.
-Set our minds on the things of the Spirit.
-Gives us life and peace.
-Dwells in us.
-Gives Christ ownership of our life.
-Puts to death the deeds of the flesh.
-Leads us as a Father leads a son.
-Bears witness with the Father that we are His children.
-Gives fruit in the life of the believer.
-Helps us in our weakness.
-Intercedes for us.
-Searches the heart.

This last point reminds me of another passage that I enjoyed another more-in-depth study of this summer, Psalm 139, where David cries out, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my thoughts! And see if there is any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!"

"The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God," (Romans 8, verse 26-27).

Among all that Christ does through His Spirit in our behalf, I think one of the most precious is that one point, "He intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words". When our hearts are heavy, He is there, pleading for us with a heart full of love to us who are so undeserving. Matthew Henry states that "though we may be losers for Him, we shall not, we cannot, be losers by Him, in the end." He repays all we may suffer, for a time, in this world. Though we may not even know ourselves what it is we need, He sees the most confused or hurting thought behind our cries for help, and comes before the Father to plead for us!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thankful Thoughts, 11/21/15

I know it's not Thursday, but I didn't want to totally skip sharing my list this week, haha :). Truth be told, I've been writing my list down daily. Online. And still can't get it copied to the blog on time.  No, I don't get it either. But I've been thankful for...
~The many ways we have to keep up with long distance friends and family.
~That the “Lord’s strength is made perfect in my weakness”. Praise Him!
~The sweet relationship I have with my Great-Grandma :). We don’t live too close, but we keep up through mail, and it is a blessing to me :).
~Our car.
~The mercy of God.
~Licorice jelly beans :).
~That we don’t have to be a pro at something to enjoy doing it. That would apply to a lot of things, haha, but at the moment I’m thinking of playing piano ;).
~That our Christmas pictures are done for the year!
~Great books to read.
~ Hair ties, bobby pins, clips, brushes… all that fun stuff :). 
~Sewing up a skirt :).
3. The song “Where No One Stands Alone”. And all the wonderful songs that I have learned since joining my churches choir that have become a part of my daily life. I love to sing! And for music. Lots of it :). ~That “As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:13)
~My bible. The written Word of God is a remarkable gift in itself, but my own personal copy holds so many memories of times that I have spent in that word, during joys, trials, and learning God’s law alone and with friends, as well.
~Looking back at a day was satisfaction :).
~For Josiah coming up and asking for snuggles :). LOVE!
~That “Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth”.
~The use of my hands. I can not imagine not being able to do things like pick stuff up or braid my hair, but there are those who do have to rely on other for that!
~Wall art and pictures :).
~Running family jokes :).
~Birds :).
~And glass windows to see them threw :)! So much more pleasant then the clothes over the window, that let in light but not scenery, talked about in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books :).
~Colored pencils for bible study :).
~My Gramma and how she is always giving thoughtful gifts to those she knows :).
~Paisley designs… even if Tori doesn’t agree, heehee :).
~That we did not “receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but… have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
~And are now “children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” (Romans 8)
~The dear elderly man in our choir who is constantly encouraging Tori and I :).
~Our pianist and director who drive such a long way each week so that we can practice our songs.
~Sitting on the couch snuggling my widdle brother, listening to music and reading interesting blogs :). Little random moments can be so sweet :).
~Peter’s “chocolate” eyes :). He has the sweetest, most expressive little face!
~The Lord’s blessing in opening my parents’ eyes to His truths, and their commitment to train us in the way we should go.
~Our dinner table :).
~All the many colors we have around us :).
~The things we can learn about the Holy Spirit from Romans 8. (Romans 8 in general -I am loving this study through it my Mama and I are doing :).)
~Reminders that we are not to grumble! We can thank God for His blessings every day, but if we are still grumbling in between whiles, we are still cultivating an unthankful spirit! I know I certainly need to work in this area.
~No- bake cookies. Yum :)!
~Protractors, compasses, rulers, and other things needed to finish up my math.
~Pots and pans.
Blessing to you all :). I pray your Sunday and the coming week is a blessing :)!!!!

~Bri :)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thankful Thursday, 10/12/15

 I am especially thankful this week...
~That “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
~That though “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” we “are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
~Josiah giving me sweet little kisses while he was bored trying to go to sleep a couple nights ago... haha :). <3!
~That Daddy had a safe trip to a convention several hours away.
~The ability to crochet, and free information online to help me figure out how to do certain things :). It gives me something to do in my free time, and it’s such a joy to be able to give handmade gifts to others :).
~The sweet little girls Tori and I babysat last week :). Side story, though, that is just hilarious, though I feel terrible about it… when Mama's friends left, their two youngest babies were down for a nap… and when I heard noises from their room, I went to check on them… and girl #1 let out a scream of terror at this stranger (she’s only seen me twice before, and she’s still super little!) walking into her bedroom, and howled for Mama… the yell woke up girl #2, who took one look at me and cried!!! Haha. I had to let big sisters handle it, lol!
~Peanut Butter Fudge Core ice cream.
~The sweet bag that my best friend made me :). I’ve had it for a couple years, but every time I use it, it warms my heart as I think of her precious, encouraging spirit :).
~And, on that note, I am realizing again how thankful I am for Katie, and I am soooo grateful that we FINALLY! got to meet in person this summer :D!!! That was an answer to both our prayers! The only downfall to our friendship is that we are so far away from each other, but, at the same time, I have seen how that has been used by the Lord to bless us, as well, such as when my family made the move here a couple years ago, and my friendship with Katie was one of the few things that wasn’t changed in the least. That was a blessing to me when all I wanted was a sense of *something* familiar! She is constantly an encouragement in my walk with the Lord!
~And I am also grateful for bible study helps :)!
~ For the current sermon series on grace that our Pastor is doing. It has been sooo interesting, and I am looking forward to the rest of it!
~To be talking to a Mama at church and hear that her little girl has been pouring over her catechism all week <3. Even a child is known by his (or her) actions, and this little one is setting a precious example!
~The Brunswick stew that we were given by church friends (two years in VA, and it was the first time we had tried this dish, which seems to be VA's #1 owned recipe, haha).
~And water. Where would we be without water?! Haha :).
~Josiah's new found love for snow globes :).
~That Mama was able to find an ornament she has been looking for ever since her old one was broken last year :).
~The song “Already There”, by Casting Crowns.
~Tea. Nice, warm, tea… haha :).
~Little notes from friends that mean a lot to me :).
~A warm, dry house, with comfortable beds!
~All our fall decorations :). Fall is my favorite time of the year!
~Chairs :)!
~Drawing with my Tori. Even if it was against my will ;). And she is waaaaaaay better than me, hahaha :).
~The forgiveness God has given us!!!
~That we can come before the Lord in prayer at any time!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thankful Thursday, 11/05/15

~The privilege to read and study the Bible in our own homes! Reformation Day is always a very good reminder of just how much we take this ability for granted!!!
~The Psalms! They are so full of encouragement!
~The Lord’s blessing and guidance last Sunday. I was asked to share the children’s message at church, and I was nervous about it, but I was given plenty of help and encouragement :)!

~And I am also thankful for how invested the children were while I shared. The smile that lit up one little girl’s face as I handed her a catechism and mentioned that they had bible verses that the children could study to learn the answer to some of their questions was one of the most precious things ever!
~Sweet new lives. We had a family introduce their tiny, perfect little newborn baby to our church family this week :)!!!
~John MacArther’s writings. I have been reading some of his books lately, and they have been a wonderful encouragement!
~Pastor Todd and Miss Lisa, and the rest of our church family. We have been so blessed through various people in our church over the past year!

~The pears that a friend gifted us with off of the tree in his yard.
~The GiveThanks! challenge :). I'm enjoying it so much!
~The pansy plant a lady from church gifted my Mama with Sunday :).
~Making a sale in my Etsy shop! That is exciting, haha :).

~My black sweater with all the knit designs all over it.. it’s one of my favorite cold weather garments, haha :).
~Gingersnap cookies! I think Josiah liked them, too… I just thought I had too many, then I discovered he fit just as many in his tiny tummy, haha!
~Mama inviting me to join her in a bible study of Romans chapter 8 :).

~Abbi’s help unloading the dishwasher :)!
~The story of William Wilberforce, and how he worked tirelessly for God to abolish the slave trade.
~The adorable little grin Josiah gives as he sits down in the seat you just left and hollers after you, ” ‘pot!!!!”, hahaha :). He’s so cute :)!

~A Mama who kindly drives me around for all my errands, since I won't drive... and she complains about it less then Bethi does, haha! But really, this is a blessing :).
~Learning new things… did you know that the real colors of leaves are the colors we see in fall? The reason we think leaves are green is because the chlorophyll is so predominate in the spring/summer that it dyes the leaves. But when it becomes less strong as the leaves are dying in fall, we get to see the real colors! Isn’t God’s design amazing :)?
~Working in the yard with my family.(We were raking/mowing all the leaves. A little funny for your rabbit-trail-reading pleasure; Abbi woke up this morning and looked out the window, and then I hear, "Oh, why does God let it do that?!". Apparently she isn't all that thrilled with how many leaves are already in the yard, haha!)

~Cameras. I am so glad we live in a time where we can capture precious little faces and moments :). Pictures in post taken while on break from raking yesterday afternoon, haha :).
~My notebooks and mechanical pencils, in matching sets with fun designs :). My family knows what makes me happy, haha :)!
~Stamps. I’m not even going to try to explain how quickly I can go through a sheet of stamps… haha! But, as they are needed to send my letters to all the sweet people I write, I am thankful to have some :).
~And handwritten letters. I love pulling a letter out of the mail box and knowing who it is before I even look at the name. People’s handwriting is like their “brand”, and I love the diversity :). Plus, today, it takes more thought to send a card then a text, and I think that even the shortest notes sent by “old snail mail’ are a treasure :).

 ~Christ's mercy and love for me (“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions”, Psalm 51:1).
~Music :)! Such a delightful addition to add to so many tasks :).
~The box of sweet little personalized Christmas ornaments we received from our Gramma yesterday :).
~One of the ladies who works with Daddy (and also goes to our church) bringing a pound cake to work for Daddy yesterday, just because she wanted to bless him and knew how much he loved it :). She is a special lady, always encouraging and doing for others!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Final Thoughts on Romans 12

I really can't believe that October is just about over. And I'm even more amazed that I managed to post every day. Nobody could have been more sure than I was that I was going to end up skipping a day or two... or every day past the first week or two, haha :). Some of these posts, such as "Contribute to the Saints", and "Showing Hospitality" were things I have been thinking of sharing for months, but hadn't made the time for. Some, like with the case of the post "Coals of Fire", I learned something myself because I was reading on the chapter while planning my evening's post. But I really enjoyed sharing through these posts this month :).

Tonight happens to be the 498th anniversary of the day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door at Wittenburg. The Reformation that he was a predominate leader in led to the bible being placed in the hands of the people. Finally, people were able to study the word for themselves, and the burdens that had been placed on them and the lies they had been told were finally discovered as they were able to let God's word become a part of their lives.

That is exactly what Romans 2:2 is commanding us. Our mind is "renewed" through our time in the Word of God, and as we hear the believes of others, we are to always be measuring them against the standard that God has given us. We are given an example of this by the Bereans in acts 17;

"The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so."

Though they were "eager" to hear Paul and Silas proclaiming the word of God, they were not content to be entertained and then move on. They went back to the Word, and examined whether the things were true.

We have been given a great blessing to be able to study the Bible without fear of arrest of death. It is up to us to take advantage of this gift, and to share it with others, to be used through Christ for his own glory.


Bri :)

Friday, October 30, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; Genuine Love

The word love has been used for so many things that it can be hard to realize just how much weight the word really holds. But I think that these verses of 1 Corinthians 13 will help remind us:

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
 That looks like an abbreviated version of the list of virtues in Romans 12... because, it is. Romans 12 talks of the way a heart surrendered to the Lord will show obvious qualities outwardly in the way we live, and love is the very virtue from which all others flow. It was love that caused Christ to die for us. It is love for Him that causes us to want to obey His commandments. And that love spills over into all the other areas of our life. Through Christ's love -the only genuine love- flowing through us, we can forgive those who wrong us. We can serve others, we can be compassionate.

One of my favorite examples of love is Boaz' care for Ruth. He loved her enough to tell her, "I'm going to make sure that you get the very best God has for you. And if that doesn't involve me in the big picture, than I will  step back for your sake."

Love is putting others first. Just as Christ did when He said, "Not my will, but thine be done", and took the road to Calvary to satisfy God's righteous decree for the ransom for our sins.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; Forgiveness

"Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart". Corrie ten Boom.

Corrie ten Boom and the story she has shared is such a blessing of a godly example to us today. Coming from a family who, for generations, had cared for Jews in various ways, she and her family hide dozens of Jews from the Nazis, and found homes for many more before they were arrested and experienced all the tortures that the Nazis could find to inflict on their victims. Corrie's father, and eventually her sister, died during this time, and Corrie's discharge before death was only because of a mix-up of paperwork on the Nazis' part.

Corrie spent the rest of her life after her release, sharing her story, and the hope she had in Christ that had gotten her through the times of hopelessness. While at one of the meetings she was speaking at, there came to her one of the guards who had done so much to her and her sister years before. In that moment, Corrie knew that she hadn't forgiven those who had done so much harm as she had thought she had. She could not bring herself to shake the hand that this man held out towards her.

Realizing this, she did not simply turn away. She prayed. For Christ's love and forgiveness to be shown to this man even when she could not show him her own, and she reached out to shake the guard's hand. And the Lord gave her that strength to finally forgive. Telling the story later, she would say "When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself."

"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."

Forgiveness is the very essence of the gospel message. Christ died that our offenses might be forgiven, and through Him we can forgive others, sharing His grace with others. Whether we feel like the person deserves our forgiveness or not, that forgiveness is one of the strongest witnesses that we have been given to point others to Jesus!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Short Thoughts on Romans 12:6-8

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them". We are all given gifts. Some more, some less, some that are noticed, others that can go by without others ever really knowing how much they bless them. Sometimes, even, some that are so natural to us that it doesn't really seem like a "gift", it's just a part of life, but that others may recognize as the biggest part of what makes us us. We must use them. These are our "talents" as spoken of in Matthew 25, and we must be faithful in what we have been given!

"If prophecy, in proportion to our faith". The definition of prophecy, though mostly looked on as those in the Old Testament who told of the future coming of Christ, is also known as sharing a "message of divine truth revealing God's will", including pastors in this passage.

"If service, in our serving". We are to "serve the Lord", not "slothful in zeal", but "fervent in spirit" (Romans 12:11). In whatever way we are given, not matter how small, loving the work for His sake.

"The one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation". I was struck by the verse in James 3:1 lately, that states, "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness." That is a sobering thing even as I think about this blogging series itself. As I am examining these truths and writing them out for you to view here, I am proving that I have read, learned, and agree with them -and that does mean that I am doubly responsible to "act what I preach"!

"The one who contributes, in generosity; he one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness." Not stingily, not grudgingly, not hesitantly, but full of delight in our Savior and love for our fellowmen.

The list here of the gifts given to believers differs from the one given in 1 Corinthians 12. It is not an all-inclusive list, but simply examples of ways the Lord has blessed us to be able to bless others! We are responsible to use them wisely through His grace!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; "Do Not be Haughty"


Jesus said, in His sermon on the mount, "“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." And we are told that, "For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar." (Psalm 138:6)

Once again, we are given an example in the Lord as to how we are to think and act. Christ Himself "regards" ("to look upon or think of with a particular feeling", "to think highly of; esteem.", "to take into account; consider.") those who are lowly among His children. The thought here is that He shows Himself close and personal and close to those who are humble, while those who are filled with pride are only known from afar. This is clear when we realize that the gift of salvation can only be excepted when we come to a point where we realize that we are not enough, that we will never be perfect, fulfilled, or complete, of our own work. 

The word "associate" means to "unite". We are to unite with the lowly. We are not just to accept them, but we are to become like them. And once again, we must come to realize that the command is not something we can fake and fool others that we have accomplished. Even if we look like we are humble to those around us, we could simply be "being humble" outwardly as a form of pride inwardly. But Psalm 139 tells us, "You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether."

Man may look on the outward appearance, but God sees the heart.

Pride may be the very hardest thing for us to fight against. I heard somewhere that humility is interesting in the fact that, "as soon as you realize you have it, you lose it!"

It is encouraging, though, to realize that the Lord is not finished with us yet. Though we are full of our own pride and desires, he is constantly changing His own to be a clearer and more beautiful image of Himself. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; Avenge Not Yourselves

Can I just say, it is a concerning moment when you can't remember your own blog title? And then once you remember your blog title, you get to your blog and go to start typing a post... and can't remember your series title for a minute either. I actually don't know if I should be writing tonight. Haha!

In my post yesterday, I shared Matthew 5:39, which tells us, "But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

This goes right along with the final verses of Romans 12, verses 19-21. "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."

A beautiful picture of this was given to us by Jesus at the Mount of Olives, as the crowd came to bear Him to what would eventually be His crucifixion as the payment of our sins. "And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him."

Christ became man so that He could join us in all our pains, all our sorrows, all our temptations, and we can be sure that in Him we have the strongest sympathy. But as God Himself, He did not succumb to the temptations of life, which is how His precious blood had the power to be the redemption for us.

Christ definitely could have left the injured man to suffer. After all, it was his choice to be wrapped up in this business, even though Christ had done nothing that they could find fault with. He did not deserve a miracle. But Christ repayed evil with good, nevertheless.

And we are called to do the same. It is hard. We want to repay others in the same coin that we have been given. But when we think that all we deserve is hell, and what we have been given is the free gift of heaven with Christ instead, can we not joyfully surrender to His will that all should be shown like mercy? "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; Verse 18

There will be times when we have to take a stand on our convictions no matter the fuss and hard feelings it may cause between some that do not hold to our beliefs. We are not called to agree with the unbeliever that there is no God, just for the sake of keeping things "pleasant" between us. But always, we are to stand firm even in those areas that we differ, with love and a peaceful purpose, rather than to push our own desires.

Are the things we differ about of eternal consequence? Or are we simply wanting things the way we think is more pleasing? Proverbs 17:1 says, "Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife." People who constantly point out the faults and differences in others are draining. But on the other hand, those who choose to overlook matters of small importance, and encourage and care about others, can do so much good just by their example of thinking of others first!

If the issue is truly a biblical matter, than we can trust the Lord to work in the heart of the other. That doesn't mean we won't be a part of the way he breaks them. Following Christ's leading often times takes us to a point where we have to encourage each other in good doing- or maybe even outright rebuking wrong doing. But if we are truly concerned about the well-being of a soul, than we will be able to deal peaceably with others. They may not take it peaceably, but if they show anger at your concern, Christ says in Matthew 5:39, "But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

If the matter does not hold eternal weight, than, in the words of Philippians 2, "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." This is hard. Our flesh wants what we want. And it may be something "good". But that does not mean that it is better than all other opinions. It just means that, as individual people, we have individual ideas. And the Lord has made us that way to give us a wider array of gifts- to use for furthering His kingdom :)!


Bri :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; Working Together

"Two are better than one", Ecclesiastes tells us. "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness," expounds Romans 12:3-8.

Each of us has our own unique talents and gifts, as well as our own particular faults and struggles. Alone, the Lord can use us. But when we work together, we are able to stand firmer and accomplish more.

In a family, and in the body of Christ, we have been given others around us to join forces with. Some of us might pick up all the "front line" details, while others of us might prefer to stand on the sidelines, picking up the needs that are often forgot. Some of us are problem solvers, others are wonderful at keeping things calm when a couple of personalities clash during a project. Some are able to be active and take up the physically hard aspects of a job, while others may be staying inside cooking the meal that will be given when those who are working need a break. Some have the means to support those who are struggling financially, some love to mentor those younger then they, some make it a point to draw out the lonely or bring a smile to the weary. At our old church, we cleaned the church twice a week; the church doesn't know how often Daddy made repairs on their vacuums, for free and without mentioning it, that would have cost them quite a bit if he hadn't taken the initiative to take it home and use the tools he already had from his own household repair jobs. Mama delights in serving those we know with a fresh, homemade meal whenever a need for one is brought to her attention. There are countless other ways that we can use the abilities the Lord has handpicked for us to contribute to those around us.

It doesn't matter what our gift is, it only matters that we share it with those around us. We cannot hide it, from selfishness or fear. And whatever our faults, we cannot be upset when others try to help us in conquering them. And we can not be jealous of the gifts that others have been given. The Lord has specifically planned the days "that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them," Psalm 139. "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12:15

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." ~Romans 12:15, ESV

Jesus himself wept when His friend Lazarus died. He knew that Lazarus could be raised again. But he still wept. Wept over the pain the two woman were going through, wept over the hearts that did not believe that things could be made right. Over and over in the gospels, we are told that Jesus had compassion on the people who crowded around Him, "because they were like sheep without a shepherd".

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ," Galatians 6:2 commands us. Compassion is one of those mercies that the Lord has given, filling our journey through this fallen, sinful world with constant undeserved blessings. A friend who truly cares about what is important to us, laughs with us, cries with us, praises and prays with us, is a true joy. 

Excitement without jealousy when something delightful happens to another; tender sympathy when they are going through a hard time; simply calling someone up to check on them and pray for them when they have something coming up that they are nervous about; complimenting the project that your sibling has worked on all day. It takes almost nothing from us to offer these things, but it can seem so meaningful when we receive them. To know that we're not alone in something, to know that there is always someone eager to be a part of our joys, those are things that warm the heart. To look for those who need that compassion should be a joy to us. and what an even better joy to know that "there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Christ has "breathed our air and walked our sod", and He knows the trails and pain of life, as well it's joys. His compassion is untouched by flesh, and he forever stands to "make intersession for us to the Father"!


Bri :)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; By the Mercies of God

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them. The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure. Bless the Lord, all His works, In all places of His dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul!" ~Psalm 103

 I considered not sharing this post, because it doesn't involve much "writing" by me. But no matter what  writing challenge this series may by connected to, my first and foremost goal was to share the Lord through this series. And I just couldn't go through my "Thoughts on Romans 12" without pointing out that little phrase, in Romans 12:1, "by the mercies of God". It grabs my attention every time. It can be passed over lightly at first... but it holds so much meaning. It is the Lord's mercies -not our work, not our will, not our anything- but the Lord's mercies that have given us every blessing we have, and that uphold us as we seek to follow Him, after, by His mercy, He has broken our hearts of stone and replaced them with saving faith in Him. Nothing we could do could let us earn the mercy of the Lord. But He is a merciful God, giving us even what we don't deserve. 

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
                                  ~ Thomas O. Chisholm

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; Ways to Serve Hospitably in the Home

While we young ladies are still living in our parent's homes, it is true that a lot of the load of having guests over will fall on them. But we can be preparing for that role now, and cultivating a spirit of hospitality.

Some of the ways that we can help would include...

  • Help clean up the house beforehand. In our house, my parents have done a good job dividing up the work, but there is always more to do when company is coming over. Help out with those jobs! And, whether you are hosting or being hosted, help reclaim the living room and kitchen after the visit is over!
  • Help with supper- or, better yet, offer to make supper. Maybe your friends would even like to help. Some of my favorite memories with friends involve making pizza and bread together :).
  • Help keep an eye on the little ones -your families and your guests- so the parents have more time to connect. There can be a lot happening when you get 10 people 10 and under get together, and your Mom can't be everywhere at once and still have time to enjoy the visit with her friend.
  • Stay involved! It makes people feel special for your time to be put aside to simple enjoy being with them :). Smile, ask questions, invite them to do something with you. It can be a game -it can be the dishes. It really doesn't matter as long as they know that you are asking because you value their company!
  • Listen. This happens to be the one that I probably have the most trouble with. Lol! It can be hard, when we think of something exciting to share, to be wholeheartedly listening to what the other person is trying to relate, but it means soooo much to people when you really take an interest in the things that are important to them :).
Did you notice that every single one of those things could also be done for your family when other people aren't even in the picture? And  lot of it could also be done when you are at another person's house. Again, hospitality is having the heart of Christ to put others needs before our own, not who or when we do certain things :).

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; Showing Hospitality

The picture above was taken two years ago, when Tori decided that she would like to throw a little tea party. She spent an entire morning as head chef for her luncheon. I'm smiling remembering that afternoon... and reminding myself that we have yet to throw one for our Aunt... haha.

Hospitality does not solely mean entertaining people outside of our home, and it doesn't have to happen in our house. I realized this through a passing remark my Dad made one time, and it has stuck with me since then.

We had been looking for a house for months. Every couple weeks, Daddy's day off would be spent house hunting for something close to where we lived, but a little more permanent than the rental we were in. Eventually, they started paperwork for what has become known as "the yellow house". We would bring crayons and paper and books for the youngest three (realizing that Bethi was included in that number makes it feel likes forever ago, haha!), and they would sit and draw or read while Mama and Daddy were talking with the realtors and going over their papers.

One afternoon, while we were sitting in our realtor's office, one of the other realtors in the building popped in to ask if her grandson, who had heard other children in the building and was bored waiting for her to get done, could stay and play. He was 5... and about as tall as I was, at 11, haha... ya, I've always been short. The little ones shared their papers and crayons with him, and he seemed to enjoy himself. Later, during bible study, Daddy mentioned that he was pleased with how they had shown hospitality, and I realized that hospitality doesn't mean hosting a get together at your house, but it's a heart matter. It isn't throwing the best party, but making the person feel at home :).

You can have the biggest house, the best dinner, and everything go off perfectly, but without genuine love for the people -including your family- around you, it's not hospitality, it's just a show. But some of the times I have seen the best display of hospitality have been gathered on my Great-Grandma's porch, because her house is too small to hold everyone comfortably, talking with those who love having us there. That kind of hospitality means more than any attention to the details of napkin rings :).

Monday, October 19, 2015

Thoughts on Romans 12; Outdo One Another

"Outdo one another in showing honor."

To outdo is to "surpass in execution or performance". Honor is described as "honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions".

 "Let your light shine"... not make your light shine. Yes, this comes to mind again as we look at this verse. Outdo -doesn't that mean that we'll have to be comparing ourselves to others? Might this mean that we are to strive to be best? How does this work out anyway?

"I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned." "Never be wise in your own sight."

We are not to be pridefully satisfied if we think we are "doing better", or settle back because, we might think we've passed a few others by. And we are not to simply take a more seasoned fellow traveler's guide without a careful look at the road map we've been given. With our eyes focused on Christ, we're not being told to sneak glances at our neighbor to make sure we are one step above them. We aren't out to beat each other. We are to be watching for ways to serve one another with no thought of what we can get out of it. Eager to do for others, and not willing to take anything from them without paying our debts. Not waiting for others to make the first move, but eagerly looking, not at who isn't doing, but at what we can do. Keeping our focus on Christ's glory, and doing what he sends without thought of self.

"Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Matthew 10:43-45