5.31.2011

the dog of discontentment


How often I find myself wishing I lived in Portland, San Diego, or Costa Rica.  How often I find that immediately after buying new clothing I am looking for the next sale.  Too often I wish for this decorative item or that patio furniture, this make-up brand or that hair straightener.  Yeah yeah yeah, we all deal with it.  It's a daily ritual, almost, to dwell upon the "what-if's" and the "when I save up's"...  

Why?

Media is constantly pushing "DISCONTENT" into our faces, via billboards, commercials, magazine ADs, un-realistic Urban Outfitters models who advertise their unhealthily skinny bodies more than the shreds of clothing barely covering them (whoa cynicism), iPhone4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6 I CAN HARDLY KEEP UP!, Acura 2012 is advertised starting in February of 2011, leaving the 2011 owners confused and discontent....

They're good at that.  That's what keeps our economy moving, I would say.  Discontentment with this leads to the purchasing of that.

Besides the material, content-ness can be a state-of-mind.  The Bible's teachings offer a 'learned' content, one that is practiced no matter where or what the situation.  If we learn to be content in every situation, true discontentment will come from the Lord.  What?  If we are always content, the Lord will show us when He wants us to be somewhere else by placing a strong feeling of "need-to-move-on-now" inside of us, allowing us to decipher between our own desires and the plans of our Heavenly Father.  

"TODAY I CHOOSE JOY".  A friend of mine shared that statement with me this morning, and I couldn't help but share.  How great is it that we can CHOOSE to be content vs. discontent, every single day?


So for now.  I am so content with the way things are.  Aren't you?  

summer dish.  so delicious.


Also, a great weekend in Vancouver BC with my hubby.











Pin It!

5.27.2011

halal

In Hebrew, 'halal' is one of the many words translated 'praise'.  Its specific meaning is, "to laud, to celebrate, or to boast".

'Yadah' is another form of the word praise, coming from the Hebrew root 'yad' or 'hand'.  Yadah means, literally, "to worship with extended hands".  (Sidenote.  Parents - - think of the first time your child reached their arms for you.  That wonderful feeling is the same God gets when His children reach for Him, except of course, exponentially more for us than we as earthly parents could feel for our earthly children.  Lifting our hands shows our friendship, surrender, and need.)

'Barak' (not Obama) means "to declare God as the origin of power for success, prosperity, and victory."  Aka.... Acknowledge that God is the reason for our successes.

'Shabach' means "to shout or commend loudly."  Think of football games.  Baseball games.  World cups.  People shout and yell, rooting for a bunch of guys in jerseys who professionally hurt other people.  If we can get excited about that, we can sure as heck get excited about the Creator of the freakin' UNIVERSE!  Can I get an Amen!!! (Seriously.  Out loud.  Shabach.)

'Gil' means "to circle in joy".  To accompany your loud Amen, how about some movement of those hips.....



Sometimes I wonder how to praise God.  My bible study this morning was such a great reminder that we have the perfect workbook on praise -- the Psalms.  All of these versions of "praise" are mentioned in ONE PSALM ALONE!  Psalm 150 is a beautiful depiction of what it is to worship God.

Why worship?  Why give praise?  Why cry out with thanksgiving and adoration?

1) "God loves to work with the background music of praise and worship."  - John Courson's Bible Commentary.  Job 38:4-7

2) The world was created to praise God!  Revelation 4:11

3)  The world will climax with the crescendo of praise.  All creation is waiting (romans 8:22), and will break out in praise eventually at the return of Jesus Christ (every knee shall bow...)

4)  God Himself dwells in a place of praise.  We inhabit where we are most comfortable.... like our homes..... God's comfortable place is in praise.  Psalm 22:3

5)  Praise = entryway to God's presence.  Psalm 100:4.

6)  Praise is prescription from divine Physicial to help us overcome despair and depression.  Isaiah 61:3.  Instead of complaining or analyzing, spend an hour honoring and worshiping.

7)  Praise is a powerful weapon in overcoming the wickedness of Satan.  After the fall of "Lucifer" or Satan and 1/3 of the heavenly hosts, when we praise, it reminds them of what they once were and can never be again.  Thus, they flee.

8)  Praise brings about liberation.  When we praise, we are set free from sin and selfishness.  Acts 16:25,26 and Jonah 2:9,10.



I often find myself leaning on the need to spend hours upon hours in the Word in order to know God, to study Him and read commentaries and listen to various sermons.  While all of these things, I believe, are good things, the gateway to God's presence is through adoration, praise, lifting our eyes, the thanksgiving that comes with remembering the cross.  I myself lack in doing these things.  My prayers consist of "help so and so" or "God if it is your will...".  What about "THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR A, B, AND C?!?"  What about "God I PRAISE you!"  These prayers are where we should be starting when seeking after God - when drawing closer to Him.

I was really encouraged by this study this morning and hope somebody somewhere has been encouraged as well.

Sources

Holy Bible: Psalm 150
John Courson Commentary Bible:  A Topical Study of Psalm 150 (for pretty much this entire post.  Thanks John.)


Amen!
Pin It!

5.24.2011

Ruby Tuesday

Due to the sad fact that I won't be having children of my own for several years.... I became a nanny and opt now to spend my afternoons with this little ball of sunshine: Ruby.


















Pin It!

5.23.2011

seniors...... I know you know what time of the year it is......

Thank you Rachel Culpovich for modeling.  If anyone knows seniors in need of senior pictures, I charge $150-$200 for an entire disc.

Here are some samples....
















Pin It!

5.20.2011

friday. or should I say SUNNYday.

So grateful for days like these.

-Awaken at 9am.
-Slowly roll out of bed for some honey nut chex cereal.
-Change into new H&M swimsuit that cost me a grand total of $8.90
-Lay out on BRAND NEW PATIO!!!! and read "The Shadow of the Wind" for a solid 2 hours.



-Return indoors halfway through reading sesh for an iced soy chai - of the Oregon variety.
-Fling all windows and doors open as wide as possible, listen to "She's Only Happen in the Sun", Ben Harper, "Ain't No Reason", Brett Dennen, "Strawberry Swing", Coldplay, and an assortment of other SunnyDay songs.
-Clean house for husband's arrival which is not too far off!!!!!!!! Hooray!!!!
-Photo shoot with my beautiful friend Rachel out on River Road in the sunshine.
-Surprise date/dinner night with Matt as it is our one year anniversary of meeting each other.  AWESOME.


Yesterday was equally beautiful.  Thanks to my best friend for making the voyage to Portland with me!



Now what should I make for lunch???? :)
Pin It!

5.18.2011

darkness and light

Here's something I have been working on for quite a while now.  Accompanied by tonight's dinner!
sauteed cabbage and chicken sausage in coconut oil, along with brown rice and "yumm! sauce" from cafe yumm!


As summer approaches, I have been thinking more and more about darkness and light in anticipation of the summer’s ability to lengthen days.  What a miraculous thing – light – so persistent and beckoning, so warm and good.  1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you:  God is LIGHT; in Him there is no darkness at all.” 

None.  Pure light.  PURELY good.  How incredible is this fact!!!

Biblically we know that God is light (without sin) and evil, Satan, and sin, are darkness.  Compare these things to the physical and literal observation of light and darkness and you find something remarkable.  When light and dark are placed in the same space, light always overcomes.  It is impossible, based on the world’s definition of ‘possible’ and ‘impossible’, based on the world’s restrictions and laws, based on worldly physics and science, for dark to overcome light if both are in the same place.  What a perfectly designed metaphor for God’s Reign over all things dark and sinful.  If God is light, what can overcome Him?  No darkness can do such a thing. In fact, the only times we EVER see light removed, allowing for darkness to fill a void, (notice the darkness does not REPLACE the light or overcome it, rather the light is removed) One example is found in Exodus when God strips Egypt of its sunlight.  Not only is this an example of God’s ability to overcome worldly restrictions, but also a representation of God as the God of all gods.  To clarify, the Egyptians worshiped many gods, one of whom was the god of the sun.  By removing light only over Egypt and Egypt alone, God demonstrates His omnipotence and rule over all other gods, and His singular ability to remove light and replace it with darkness.  A powerful God He is indeed – one of a kind. 

As believers, we ask God into our hearts, and thus are seen as righteous and pure, cleansed by Jesus’ blood alone.  If God is light, Jesus is God, and we are in Jesus, we are seen as light.  Hebrews 1:3 says, “The son is the radiance of God’s glory and the EXACT REPRESENTATION of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” For example, if my physical body is Jesus and you are a cracker that I have just eaten, God sees you (the cracker) only through Jesus (my physical body) and no other way.  You are no longer outside the body of Christ, but contained within Him.  Jesus is perfect, and therefore when God views you (us), He sees us in Jesus alone.  That is our one identity, and it is the highest calling on our life.  Our identity is not found in the things we love, do, spend money on, spend time on, etc.  While these things make us individuals, our sole identity is found in Christ alone. 

Now, because we are seen in Jesus alone, we are seen as light, and not darkness.  2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”  While we are to pray for those who do not know Christ and are not saved, we ourselves must choose to live only in the light, not associating with activities of darkness.  Darkness and light, physically, can have no fellowship.  Where one is present the other is not.  Thus, we are to live in the light, as it is impossible for us as we call ourselves believers to associate with darkness.   Although it may feel at times like the dark has overpowered the light in our lives, if we have Christ alive inside of us, truly He will always triumph.  2 Samuel 22:29 says “You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.”    Even from the beginning God has had control.  In Genesis 1:4 we read, “God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.”  He is in control, and He is purely light.  What more could we ask for in having one to guide us through life?

More than this, we cannot live in both light and darkness.  Which, while a challenging and provocative truth is beautiful and freeing.  Luke 16:13 says, “No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  In Matthew 6:24 we find the same line, “No one can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”  We cannot live both in purity and in sin.  Sound impossible?  It is – but remember, we are washed by His blood alone, seen as pure.  This fact alone gives us a reason to rejoice and live our lives as an act of worship!  Our bodies as a living sacrifice for the one true God!

Another example from Scripture of the lack of fellowship between light and darkness is found in James 3:10, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” 
Be encouraged – rid yourselves of all impurities and remember who it is who has saved you.  It is beautiful, not designed for punishment but rather for the fullest kind of life. 

If our God is so great, why wouldn’t everyone be a believer???  After all, John 12:46 says, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”  Isaiah 45:7a “I form the light and create darkness…”.  If the Lord desires, He brings about darkness into one’s life by removing the light (Himself) and only God can do these things.  God blindfolds those who do not believe.  People are literally blindfolded from His light.  2 Corinthians 4:3-6 says, “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the LIGHT of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.  For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” 

 Isaiah 42:16 “I will lead the blind by ways they have no known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.  These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” 

So friends, be encouraged.  For “…you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”  -1 Peter 2:9
Pin It!

5.17.2011

years, in terms of outfits.

I was thinking about my high school years today.  Each year I associate with a different "look" I had going, how much I weighed, or which boy I was dating.  One of my best friends confided the same thought process to me not long ago.

Is it a shame that I define my past self by THESE things instead of by things like "how was I serving? How was God moving in my heart?  What was I working on?  How much did I care about others?  Who was I looking out for or after?"

I challenge you to think back to prior years of your life - how do you remember them best?  Maybe we can make this year one we remember by how much we communicated with God, how we let Him take over our heart entirely, how we gave more money away than He even asks us to, how God allowed us to be the most sacrificial for our spouse that we had been yet, and/or how big we loved.

Just a thought..

Natalie

sophmore in high school.

senior in high school.

freshman in college/year off.

actual freshman in college.  without dropping out this time.

sophmore in college.

ta-da
Pin It!