Monday, August 29, 2011

melodious monday:bless the Lord

Happy Monday!! Take the time to listen to this inspirational song and ponder the lyrics. I pray it blesses you as you take on a new week!!

Bless the Lord
by
Matt Redman


[Chorus]
Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

[Chorus]

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

[Chorus]

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

[Chorus x2]

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
Lord, I'll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
I'll worship Your holy name
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Friday, August 26, 2011

older

This week I am taking the challenge of a friend and linking up with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday. 

This is a chance to write without barriers, no editing or over thinking. We are given a prompt and a 5 minute limit.

Today's Prompt: Older

and GO!


Last night we celebrated my husband, Ryan and his brother, David's birthday. We always have one party together with the family! 
As we were chatting it up with the family, a phone call came in from a close family friend who spoke with Ryan for a few minutes to wish him a "happy birthday". I am sure she asked him how old he was, because sometimes that number just slips the minds of others, especially as we get older. I heard my husband speak,  
"40? isn't that over the hill?" 
Is is? I will be 40 this October....my husband is 9 years younger than me, so over the hill is SO far away for him. I was a bit upset when I heard it at first, but then I realized that Ryan, for the most part forgets how much older I am...."I am young at heart", he says...or is it that he is old and can't remember....hehehe.

STOP!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

growing in love

As Barbie from My Freshly Brewed Life finishes up chapter 6 of the Song of Solomon study, I would like to take this week to summarize our journey to this point. We have seen the relationship between the bride and her Lover grow, deepen, strengthen and mature. This journey took much determination, dedication and desire to reach this level of love. 

The journey begins when they "fall in love". As a new Christian, we are overwhelmed by this new found love, but we lack maturity. We want to "do" godly things, however it is not always with the right mind set that we choose to serve. God calls us to serve Him from a humble, yet joyful heart, because we want to, because we love Him not out of guilt or because we think we have to. 
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 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Psalm 100:2


In our desire to draw nearer to Him, we spend more time in praise and prayer, we begin reading and meditating on His word. This will grow us spiritually, helping us strive towards a deeper more mature relationship. God is very gentle with us. He doesn't force us to obey Him, He wants us to obey Him because we love him but He allows us to make that choice. There are times when the bride, the church, we may refuse to allow God to work in our lives. God will allow us to do our own things and He will still love us, encouraging us to trust Him. 
Even in our desire to love God, we sometimes fail to follow. Sometimes it is out of our own selfish desires, sometimes out of fear and because we have refused to obey we feel distant from God. It is this testing that will draw us back to Him...this test of our faith, of our hearts true desire. This leads us to the next part of the relationship between the bride and her groom, where they become "united in love". As we set our eyes on Him, we begin to see how much He truly loves us. This love is described through eight metaphors in chapter 3 of the beauty of His bride's graces. God loves our hearts...our inner beauty! As the unity of this love develops, we see the call of God served with a promise. He asks us to set ourselves apart from the rest of the world and promises to deliver us from the persecutors. He will create a "hedge of protection" around us as we continue  to grow, learn, love, obey and be filled by His Holy spirit.
{ photo credit }
As the newness of our relationship wears off we see how the bride now "struggles in love". The bride, the church, we become complacent. We become lazy and begin to coast on past fulfillment. It is so easy to do once we have had our cup filled, our own needs met, to just ignore the call of our God and pursuing a deeper relationship with Him. We make excuses as to why we remain in a comfortable place. We are called to come out of our comfort zone and begin putting God first in everything we do. As we ponder this as a reality, He simply leaves the decision in our hands and allows the truth of our hearts to be revealed, expressing our faith, love and dedication to Him. This test gives us the strength to endure the persecution and slander of those who choose not to believe this love...a love filled with grace (getting something we don't deserve-life everlasting) and mercy (not getting something we do deserve-death because of sin). 
As the bride's faith grows and she is no longer a bench warmer, as she begins to serve with a thankful, joyous and humble heart, we can now see her "maturity in love". This is where the journey will continue as we finish the remaining two chapters of the Song of Solomon.
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

wlw: my big picture

A few weeks ago, I talked about setting small goals to stay on track! When we have small goals that we try to attain, it sometimes makes getting to the big goal a lot easier. But have you ever thought about the "Big Goal", the big picture?...what does that look like for you? Is it a dress size you are aiming for, is it a number on the scale, is it a certain distance you walk daily/weekly? There are so many things to aim for! For me, I do have a weight in mind....not a specific number per se, but I desire to be at a healthy BMI...mid range based on my height and I would also like to see single digits in my clothing. 
More importantly, I see the big picture more like this:
  1. Well rested
  2. More energetic
  3. The ability to PLAY with my kids
  4. The ability to ride my bike (with a kid trailer in tow) 6km(3.5miles)
  5. A smaller dose of meds to keep my thyroid in check
I would also like to include things like this:
  1. Growing a vegetable/herb garden
  2. Creating more fantastic, healthy meals(to eliminate boredom)
  3. Begin meal planning a week at a time(rather than a day at a time)
  4. Eating breakfast on a daily basis
For me, it is more than just weight loss....it is a journey of becoming healthy...healthy in every aspect of my life but my weight is the main contributing factor for the rest of my life being unhealthy and so it is with that as my motivation and so my journey continues!! (BTW, I am down another 1.2lbs, a total of 20.2lbs)
This week WLW is being hosted by Chelle from Chasing the Divine 
I will be linking up on Wednesday!!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

religion or relationship

Last week we made the declaration "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine". We, the church, through trial and tribulation, through probation and persecution, have continued to strive towards a deeper, more intimate relationship with God, even if there were times it was a 2 step forward, 1 step back progression, the bride still pressed forward and this encourages us to also press forward. We become faithful enough to give full control allowing Him to work in us, through us and around us...and this pleases Him. Finish reading chapter 6 to see the delight that God has when His people are obedient to His call and become one with Him!
4 You are as beautiful as Tirzah, my darling,
   as lovely as Jerusalem,
   as majestic as troops with banners.
5 Turn your eyes from me;
   they overwhelm me.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
   descending from Gilead.
 

Photobucket6 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep
   coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin,
   not one of them is missing.
7 Your temples behind your veil
   are like the halves of a pomegranate.

8 Sixty queens there may be,
   and eighty concubines,
   and virgins beyond number; 

9 but my dove, my perfect one, is unique,
   the only daughter of her mother,
   the favorite of the one who bore her.
The young women saw her and called her blessed;
   the queens and concubines praised her.
 
 10 Who is this that appears like the dawn,
   fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
   majestic as the stars in procession?

 11 I went down to the grove of nut trees
   to look at the new growth in the valley,
to see if the vines had budded
   or the pomegranates were in bloom.
12 Before I realized it,
   my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people.

13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite;
   come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!

   Why would you gaze on the Shulammite
   as on the dance of Mahanaim?
When the church is in complete submission to God's calling, faithfully following His commandments, it is a beautiful sight to Him. The bride has grown in faith, she has matured in dedication and desire for her groom and these verse describe how much He loves that desire in us!
4 You are...beautiful...my darling,
   ...lovely...majestic...
5 Turn your eyes from me;
   they overwhelm me.

This declaration of such high regard is followed by a poetical expression (vs 5a), affirming how beautiful the church is in His eyes! To be so beautiful that even our groom has a hard time looking at us...not an outer beauty, but an inner beauty. Beauty that is our heart, filled with the desire to grow in Him and continuing to increase our faith. A heart that longs to be fed with His word and is consistently desiring to be more like Him! As I continued to read through the chapter (vs5b-7), it's so apparent how much God truly loves His bride, His church....me! The metaphors of chapter 4 describing His bride, are repeated as confirmation of His affection for her, even though there were times where the bride was not in full pursuit, His love did not waver, He did not alienate her...he remained and remains constant! There is no one comparable to His bride..."my dove, my perfect one", (vs 8) for by the grace of God, the sacrifice of His son, we are made holy...if we believe!
 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:10
It is with this belief that we share our love of Him, that we profess our faith and that we take action. We can not sit on the side lines, be bench warmers, ride the fence. God calls us to step up, to step out in faith and to "grow" His church....what will He see?
 11 I went down to the grove of nut trees
   to look at the new growth in the valley,
to see if the vines had budded
   or the pomegranates were in bloom.
The daughters of Jerusalem have been so intrigued by this man, the groom, requesting details on His greatness. That same intrigue now has them asking about the bride. These struggling Christians now see the devotion of the bride to her groom and desire to know more, maybe even to have more. The invitation to "come back, come back" so that they may "see" her in action, humbly doing the work of the Lord. The repeat of these words reinforces the modesty and humility of the bride.
10 Who is this that appears like the dawn, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, majestic as the stars in procession?
13 Come back, come back, O Shulammite; come back, come back, that we may gaze on you!
Now the bride is referred to as Shulammite, not just from the daughters but also from her groom. This word is derived from the Hebrew word shalom, which is commonly translated as PEACE. It is also thought that this word is the feminine form of Solomon. In either case, the church is now identified as perfection and peace, not of itself but in Him. We are complete, through His righteousness and we have peace which He made for us through the shedding of His blood, which He gives us through His Spirit. With this unity formed, Christ now asks the onlookers a question.
Why would you gaze on the Shulammite
   as on the dance of Mahanaim?
When I read this last line of chapter 6, I interpreted it like this: "why are you looking at my church like it is some religion?" I think the question is posed in such a fashion because they, the struggling Christians, the bench warmers, the fence riders, the side liners, they still don't understand the depth, the intimacy, the relationship of  the groom and His bride, God and His church, His people. It is not religion....it is relationship! Such a difference!

Take this opportunity to share in the Song of Solomon study by visiting my friend Barbie at My Freshly Brewed Life to see what God has placed on her heart!

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Monday, August 15, 2011

melodious monday:Great is Thy Faithfulness

May the words of this song bless you as you begin your week! The background pictures and verses within the video are absolutely breath taking and so inspiring! Have a blessed week!
Great Is Thy Faithfulness

I love this line: 
"Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow!"

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

"big loser day":more than weight loss

The journey of weight loss is a lot more than just losing weight, it is about becoming healthy...and I have failed a piece of the journey.....temporarily! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (2006) and because of that diagnosis I am to take medication DAILY! The meds I am on need to be taken at least a half hour before I eat or have milk products. If I eat first or have my coffee(with cream), then I need to wait 2 hours before I can take them. For me, this was quite routine, however in the last few weeks, I had forgotten to take them and fell out of the routine. Needless to say, I am now feeling the repercussions of being off the meds. I am suffering from some of the symptoms and side effects such as: insomnia, extreme fatigue, lethargy, forgetfulness, and even bits of depression. It wasn't until this week that I put it all together.....silly me! I have been back on the meds now for 3 days and although I am suffering headaches as my numbers drop back into line, I know that this will only be temporary and I will be feeling much better by the end of the week!! 
So I guess this week, I just want to encourage you, that this journey is more than weight loss! Each step of this process is to become healthy....choosing better foods, adding in some exercise, getting proper rest, taking medications/vitamins. It is all part of the journey and each of these elements are important to the success of the journey!! The nice thing is, even though I failed at taking my meds for a few weeks, I am still not giving up the fight, the journey, the desire to become healthy! Each day is a new day, I am taking it one day at a time...I am not quitting!
I will be linking up with Alicia, the Snowflake on Wednesday!  BTW, I am down the 1.2 I gained last week!

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

what a feeling

As our love for God grows and we continue to grow in our dedication and faith, even through times of trial and persecution, Jesus will begin to radiate in our every day lives and activities. This can be quite a witness to those who are struggling in their own faith, those who desire to have a closer, more intimate relationship with Him. Let's continue to read Song of Solomon, chapter 6 so see how our relationship can affect those around us.
Photobucket 1 Where has your beloved gone,
   most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
   that we may look for him with you?
 2 My beloved has gone down to his garden,
   to the beds of spices,
to browse in the gardens
   and to gather lilies.
3 I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine;
   he browses among the lilies.

 In the latter part of chapter 5, the bride makes a vocalized declaration of love for her bridegroom. She comes out of her comfort zone and begins sharing, witnessing, speaking her adoration for her beloved, her friend! Her dedication and faith during times of testing, has grown and this intrigues the daughters of Jerusalem. They long to have such a relationship and implore the bride of His whereabouts. 
 1 Where has your beloved gone,
   most beautiful of women?
Which way did your beloved turn,
   that we may look for him with you?
I love how the bride responds to the daughter's of Jerusalem. She knows that this love she has with her bridegroom is the most amazing love ever and she is so willing to share it. Our relationship with our God is one to be shared! We are called to be witnesses for Him...to share His love with the world!
Then Jesus came to them and said...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Matthew 28:18-20
She proceeds to explain that He can be found "in the garden". He can be found amongst His church, in His word, in the prayers and praises of His people. He is everywhere, we just need to call on Him, meet with Him and continually pursue Him. He is constant..."He will never leave us, nor forsake us" Hebrews 13:5, we must strive to "remain in Him" John 15:4
 2 My beloved has gone down to his garden,

   to the beds of spices,

to browse in the gardens

   and to gather lilies.
When we realize that our God will always be with us....no matter what, we can then make this awesome declaration:
I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine
{photo credit}
Oh, what a feeling!
Please pop over to My Freshly Brewed Life to see what God has placed on Barbie's heart regarding these first 3 verses. I know you will be blessed.
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happy birthday

To my husband on his birthday:


In case I haven't told you lately....I love you!
In case I haven't shown you enough....I care!
In case I haven't shared with you recently....you mean the world to me!

You are everything I could have ever asked for, everything I need, everything I want and so much more.
It amazes me when I think about how God just knew to place you in my life when He did, even when God was not a part of my daily life when we met. His plan is always bigger and better than anything I could imagine and He truly had it all figured out long before either of us were willing to except Him.
I thank God for you daily and on this special day I just want you to know how much you mean to me, how much I care for you, how much I love you!
Happy Birthday, my husband, my soul mate, 
my best friend, (my little "geek" boy) !!

Your Princess Always,

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Monday, August 8, 2011

"big loser day":sluggish

It was a bit of a sluggish week. I seemed to be dragging my feet....seemed extremely tired...seemed to gravitate to the wrong kind of foods. It seemed to be a circle pattern of poor choices. When I am not feeling "up to par", I head straight for comfort food....CARBS. When I eat too many carbs, I feel sluggish and tired, which leads me to craving more comfort food....hence the circle of destruction. Also, when I fall of the track like this I tend not to track, find excuses not to exercise...etc. This pattern also led to a gain this week. (+1.2). Anyway, this week, although I am still not feeling 100%, I am tracking again and I WILL be getting out for some exercise this week....because I know it will make me feel better!!!
And because
"Quitting is not an Option!"

...thanks Alicia, the Snowflake (who I will be linking with) for that motto.


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Thursday, August 4, 2011

love worth sharing

Last week we were called to come out of our comfort zone to answer the call of our Bridegroom. This week we will discover how highly regarded He is to His bride. Over at My Freshly Brewed Life, Barbie's friend Patrick is also wrapping up chapter 5 of the Song of Solomon study, be sure to check it out for some additional insight.
8 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
   if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
   Tell him I am faint with love.
 9 How is your beloved better than others,
   most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
   that you so charge us?

Photobucket 10 My beloved is radiant and ruddy,
   outstanding among ten thousand.
11 His head is purest gold;
   his hair is wavy
   and black as a raven.
12 His eyes are like doves
   by the water streams,
washed in milk,
   mounted like jewels.
13 His cheeks are like beds of spice
   yielding perfume.
His lips are like lilies
   dripping with myrrh.
14 His arms are rods of gold
   set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
   decorated with lapis lazuli.
15 His legs are pillars of marble
   set on bases of pure gold.
His appearance is like Lebanon,
   choice as its cedars.
16 His mouth is sweetness itself;
   he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
   daughters of Jerusalem.
The bride has been tested of her faith, her love and her dedication to Him, the bridegroom...her Lover. She calls upon other Christians, who may also be struggling in their own walk, to prayer for her. Her desire is to be close to Him again. She craves the closeness of her bridegroom which intrigues the other believers, as they asked to be informed of how great He truly is!
8 Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you—
   if you find my beloved,
what will you tell him?
   Tell him I am faint with love.
 9 How is your beloved better than others,
   most beautiful of women?
How is your beloved better than others,
   that you so charge us?
We have seen in previous chapters how she feels about Him, but now the bride goes one step further to tell of all the wonderful qualities of her bridegroom. She shares with all who will listen to her of the appreciation she has for Him. She speaks of how true, how dignified and gracious, how honest and virtuous and how beautiful and wonderful He is. She shares her praises of Him and her adoration for Him. She has come out of her comfort zone and has begun sharing her faith, love and dedication for her beloved, her friend! 
This is my beloved, this is my friend,
   daughters of Jerusalem.
When we take time to read, study, ponder and live all of the excellent and praiseworthy qualities of our God, how can we NOT share them with others. 
Are you the bride....the one who is finally ready to share her love of God with the world or are you a daughter of Jerusalem, still searching, asking questions of who this great man is? If you are the latter, keep searching and praying....He will reveal Himself to you and then you will feel a love and adoration that you will want to share with others as well.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

lose the weight of self-doubt


Do you want to join me in losing the weight of discouragement and self-doubt? Renee Swope, from Proverbs 31 Ministries is offering a FREE “7-day Doubt Diet.” Just click here to enter your information in her sidebar, and you’ll receive a week’s worth of devotions from her upcoming book, A Confident Heart. And be sure to let me know so we encourage one another along the way.



"This is not a diet book. It’s about replacing our lack of self-confidence with lasting God-confidence as we learn how to live in the power of His promises every day."            ~Renee Swope

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Monday, August 1, 2011

melodious monday:healing is in your hands

"Healing Is In Your Hands"
by
Christy Nockels


 
How deep? How deep is your love?
How strong? How strong is your love?
Now by your grace I stand
Healing is in Your hands

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