Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The Refiner's Fire
"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Malachi 3:3
This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group the next week. That week the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flame was hottest, as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left only a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment, then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy - when I see my image in it."
If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you. Be reminded of this each time this week you see or use something silver - jewelry, eating utensils, pocket change, etc.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Bobby and I were talking about how before we really read the Bible through front to back...we thought that these characters were going to be "perfect" for some reason - God's chosen ones...perfect, right? And as we have read the Bible through, you realize and it's almost surprising (and maybe at first disappointing)...that the characters, whether it is King David, Moses, or Israel as God's chosen nation...that they are soooo far from perfect! They have so many weaknesses and those weaknesses are proof to us - thousands of years later - that we need God to make us perfect (duh!). It is also proof to others that there is hope. For example, I look at Israel time and time (and time!) again turn their backs on God. It is crazy to me that these people have God telling them that they are His chosen people and all they have to do is follow His commands and He will make great things out of them. Pretty simple, right? Crazy enough...they don't obey! It baffles me as I read through the Old Testament....then I realize...uh oh..."Israel" and "Dani" and can be interchanged! How dare I judge the people of Israel, when I realize this is God's communication to me to show that I am God's chosen one too...and all I have to do is obey His commands, and yet I fail as well. In fact, I know now that the whole story in the Old Testament, especially the big picture of the entire story, is for me to see that Israel is there to show me how I interact with God. And that is bad and good. Bad, because that means I am a screw up! Good, though, because that means God has hope for me if I just believe in Him. So, as much as God is so angry at Israel time and again throughout the OT (whew...and especially in Jeremiah, dang, He is MAD...just reading that now!), He never fails to offer hope for the nation. Which includes huge amounts of forgiveness, when they don't deserve that at all. So, because I have weaknesses (I sin!), God still offers hope to me after being REALLY mad at me, and I don't deserve it at all. And if Israel is a powerful story to me and the hope I still have in the Lord no matter how "bad" I have been, imagine our story to non-believers (or even other believers!)....I guess, my challenge, is to rise up in your weaknesses, your sins...and use those as perfect examples of how God has still promised His HOPE to you...and always will! I wonder how many people think that all believers (in the Bible and beyond) are perfect and it was easy for them...and how encouraged they could be by Israel, David's....and your story!
Here's my old blog from about a year ago....a little different twist to the "being made perfect in our weakness" thought...but still the same theme throughout.
August 20, 2008
If you know me, you know that every so often I have little thoughts/sayings that make a ton of sense to me and seem to piece together, slowly or quickly, and then I probably use these epiphanies every so often...especially if you have a issue or problem that you are talking to me about. Bobby's probably sick of my epiphanies by now. =)
Anyway...here's something that I just thought through and thought I would share.I stumbled on this verse and thought of myself, then thought of others in this world as well that deal with this same thought. Many times with humans, it is difficult for us to admit our weaknesses...or that we have them in general even. But, as this verse explains, we have them to bring glory to God, believe it or not. And I love that. God gave me weaknesses and pain for many reasons, 1) to show/make me admit that I need God - why would I come to God if he didn't prove my lowliness every so often? and 2) so that His Glory can be "advertised" through me. I LOVE that last one! I HAVE to have imperfections and pain in order to show the rest of the world that there is a God.
2 Corinthians 12:7-107 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
For example...say that you have people that you hang around with that aren't Christ followers, but you hang out with and interact with them on a consistent basis. They get to know you, obviously, and get to know your character and really admire and respect you. Then one day you happen to be talking about a touchy subject. Defenses raise, you and others are all trying to prove your points, and it gets ugly. You yell, maybe even name call, and act completely out of character. In fact...you - the Christ follower - are the nastiest one of the bunch. Nobody likes to admit this, but even with the most Godly individuals, this happens. So..your friends think, where did this come from? I thought he/she was "perfect" in a sense...if I respect them so much other times, where'd this ugliness come from? How can they be just like me, yet the majority of times they seem so great and put together?
This right here, this is a testimony to bring glory to God. God makes us the "great" and the "put together", we don't have anything to do with it....and God is truly the one they are respecting when they respect us and our actions, not us. Without God...we'd be nasty all of the time...and what a blessing it is for God to choose us for this! He made us great, we did nothing to deserve that...but He did anyway.Many times people ask why there is pain, suffering, weakness...and I think I just had an epiphany why it's with us....believe it or not...it's to exalt GOD! All of this said, I wanted to send this along and post this, because at times I know we are all ashamed of your weakness. And as we should try to grow and learn from weaknesses and mistakes...I still think this is a lesson for us. We will never fully get rid of our nastiness....we must try to "better" what we can...and then leave the rest for the God to use for His glory. It's a great advertisement for what God can do, who He truly is, and this brings glory to God! Over the last year, I've realized that my purpose in this life is to affect others for God's glory. What's your purpose?
Friday, June 19, 2009
Bobby and I flew to IL a couple weeks ago and had about five days with family and friends and it was wonderful. It was a huge treat to walk off the plane and be greeted by Mom, Nikki, Kiara and Vera. There is almost nothing better than seeing them all waiting there and having Kiara run at top speed into my arms. It was awesome. The only thing better that I have ever had like that is when Bobby and I used to fly back and forth...and seeing his face after a long flying day. Now, he never ran up and jumped into my arms like Kiara did...but still sweet just the same. =)
We had lots of time with Kiara and Vera and my sister, and Mom and Dad of course too. It's so nice to just "be around" and have time with everyone. We had several afternoons that Nikki had the girls over at Mom and Dad's and just hung out in the living room. That was so nice to have and appreciate her carting around the girls back and forth from Morton to make it easier for us. Bobby and Dad got to try out Dad's new guns (yes guns). Bobby and him went shooting a couple times and really enjoyed all that boy stuff together. We also timed the trip just right, as my cousins little girls were having a birthday party one night that we were home. Lexi and Brooke turned 3 and 1 respectively. That day was filled with lots of family on both my Mom and Dad's side. My Grandpa Bud, who is an amazing duck carver, blessed Bobby and I with our own set of ducks to take back with us...and we even got them back to AZ alive, so to speak (no damage!). Kiara also had a performance for her singing/dancing group...so not only did I get to go to that and watch the performance, but we even got a dress rehearsal the day before at Mom's house (video below). We also got to see Vera's somersault in person too (video below)! The weather was a bit chilly to swim, but we did get to swim a little with Kiara in the new salt water pool at my parent's house.
Also, I was FINALLY able to meet little Alex...my best friend Jen's baby. Since moving across the country, the things like this - having a baby and being there - aren't as easy anymore. These are the things I truly miss living so far away...but the wait was well worth it. He is the most adorable little guy in the whole world! He is a great mix of Brad (her hubby) and her side of the family...I see both sides in his little face. Also, Jen has been raising a strong little boy (he's only three months!) as he is already rolling over - both ways! And...as you hold him up, he is using his legs to walk too! Probably not so much fun for Jen in a few more months when Alex is getting everywhere on his own! I went over one afternoon and got to meet him for the first time, go on a walk with them, and just catch up with Jen...and then Bobby and I hung out one night too so he could meet the little guy. He was putting on a pretty good show for us being a great baby...all smiles and contentment. I think he is a weeeee bit naughtier on a regular basis. =)
Again, Bobby and I had so much fun on this trip. My parents, as usual, are just amazing to be around and talk with. Bobby and I love them so much and appreciate everything they've done for us...as well as the wonderful example they continue to set for us.
These pictures are in opposite order...so our final day in IL is first and first day is last...Blogspot is not easy to manipulate and will have to remember next time to upload them in the opposite order! Also, a bunch more pictures at the link below too from my Facebook page.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Hopefully we will see you all when we are in IL!
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Daddy and his little girl before the ceremony
Kyndall and her principal, getting her certfiicate
All of us, after the ceremony
Bobby's brother and family all came for the event too - left to right - Brenda, Ray, Keely, Kyndall, Jenni, Nate, Stefan, Tyler
The limo - pretty sweet ride- they had a blast
Just this past weekend we had three of Ray and Brenda's kids for the weekend. Unfortunately, Brenda's grandpa passed away and Ray and her went to Pennsylvania for the memorial service. We took care of Stefan, Nate and Keely. A while back, once we knew that they would be staying with us, Bobby and I decided that we should head north for a night to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. We found a house to rent in Flagstaff and headed up mid-day last Friday. We got there in the early afternoon and enjoyed the COOL temperatures. The house was perfect for a us...had a trampoline, outside deck, basketball hoop, and even a Wii. We all hung around and enjoyed the house and nice weather and then had a little cook out too. After that, we found out that in downtown Flagstaff they have a movie every Friday night in the square. It was fun to go down there and just walk around, grabbed a coffee at a cute shop and waited for the movie to start in the square. We actually didn't stay long at all once the movie started - too cold for us Phoenicians! Regardless, it was fun to spend a little time out and about in Flagstaff.
The next day, we went got up, I went on a walk with a wonderful view and awesome temperature outside...then we packed up and headed further north another hour and a half to the Grand Canyon. It looked stormy on the drive up, and once we got to the park entrance, it looked a little better. But...it figured, once we drove all the way to the rim, it was raining big time. We had packed a lunch, so we had a closterphobic lunch in the car with seven people...not exactly the picnic at the Grand Canyon we envisioned, but we tried to kill a little time and hoped that it would clear up by the time we were done. After it didn't...we decided to brave it and just go in the rain. It was freezing - I think the temp was in low 40's and rainy, of course. The view wasn't the best with all the foggy/cloudiness, but it is still the Grand Canyon and pretty amazing! I still can't believe I have one of the seven wonders of world practically in my backyard! At one point, Stefan was making fun of Megan's hair because it was frizzy from the rain and some pieces were standing straight up...and that made something click in Bobby's head (yeah, not mine...I still can't believe it didn't click with me!)..if Megan's hair is standing up...there is definitely some electricity in the air...and we need to get away from the rim and openess and get back to the car PRONTO. So we did...nothing hurt...and didn't really think about it again until we were leaving the park and I started reading this newsletter that the Grand Canyon people put out and give to you when you enter the park. In the middle of the paper was a warning to visitors that with stormy seasons in May and June, watch for anyone's hair that is standing up due to lightning around. And it said, if that happens it means that a lightning strike is highly possible and everyone should quickly get away from the rim and get into a house or car! Yikes!
We took a few pictures and admired the canyon a bit more and then we were too chilly and it just kept raining and raining....so we decided to head home. We made the 3.5 hour trek back to Phoenix, travelling through horrible torrential rains the first 2 hours. Finally, as we headed back down into the valley, the skies miraculously cleared and we were back to the sunshine and warmth that we know and love in the valley. The temperature outside literally went from 41 degrees up at the Grand Canyon to 95 degrees once we were back home.
Today we got up and Stefan and I went on a walk...then we all went to church, swam in our pool a bit, and then Kyndall and Stefan went to youth group. All in all, this weekend has been wonderful. Our nephews and niece are kids that you love to have around. I can't believe there have been five kids with us since Thursday, because it doesn't feel like that at all! Seriously, Ray and Brenda's kids have been such a treat to have....Stefan has even willingly been my exercise partner a couple of the days, which is cool because it's a great chance to talk and hear about what a sophomore/junior in high school is doing and thinking. All three of them are the kind of kids that just make everything more fun - and they thoroughly enjoy themselves with everything we have done...and appreciate it all too. I can't tell you how many times they have said thank you or that they have had so much fun with us this weekend and/or the best weekend of their lives (wow!) - and without Bobby or I prompting them to say anything at all! We will miss them when they leave tomorrow, but luckily they only live 20-30 minutes from us!
Here are a few pictures of the weekend, and then a link to my Facebook page with more pictures and even a video.
Bobby and the house we stayed in in Flagstaff. He's so cute. =)
Nate and Keely on the trampoline - Keely loved that thing!
The neighborhood view at the house we were at
How cute are they? Stefan, Nate, Keely, Kyndall and Megan at the coffee shop in downtown Flagstaff
The clan again on our walk back to the car - acting a little crazy
One good shot of the Grand Canyon - many of the pics were foggy - this was the best one!
All of us freezing our butts off! =)
Click on the links below to see more pictures and also a video of the kids.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
The next few days were filled with Cubs games (yes, my family schedules trips to see us when the Cubbies are playing the D-backs!), horse riding (Kiara got to ride her white horse - by herself!), mini-golf, hiking, shopping and more swimming. Lots of great restaurants too...since Central Illinois doesn't have the widest selection of restaurants, it's always an opportunity to catch some good meals here. Pei Wei was a new one - the more casual version of PF Changs. And it's pronounced Pay Way, not Pee Wee, by the way Ryan! =)
My sister and family left the next Friday and my parents stuck around for another weekend. It was great to have them here for a little extra time - plus the girls were with us for the weekend, so it was great for them too....especially since Kyndall and Megan scored a little shopping time with Mom! =)
This is a extremely shortened version of everything that happened, but I think I waited way too long to write I guess! There are several pictures below...the entire set is on my Facebook page...the link is below. Even if you don't have a Facebook account, you will still be able to view them, by the way.
I love this picture...the next one is from a year and a half ago...my other favorite picture of them!
How they've changed since 2007!
What a great picture - Bobby and I's little buddy!