Princess.

Looking at all of this wedding stuff and watching all these wedding shows I’ve found one common theme among most brides: they want to feel like a princess.

Now, this may sound a little cynical and grumpy, but I hate that phrase. I hate hearing a bride say she wants to feel like a queen or a princess.

Reason #1: The wedding day is not about you. It’s about a sacred union between you and your husband. Yes, we brides probably spend countless hours pouring over dresses, centerpieces, venues, bands, food etc. But the truth is, that stuff will last about four hours. Shouldn’t we spend more time pouring over making our marriage last?

Reason #2: Maybe we aren’t thinking about the word “princess” as it should be thought of. Most people probably think “princess” is synonymous with selfish, spoiled, waited-on-hand-and-foot etc etc. When I think of “princess”, I think of being highly prized. God highly prizes his princesses. His daughters.

He doesn’t spoil us or wait on our every need. He prizes us as we are and longs for us to fall at His feet and give up our preconceived ideas of what we think a princess should be and take on His.

When Shel and I were little, we played the board game “Pretty Pretty Princess” a lot… A lot. You know what the grand prize was? A crown. A plastic crown painted silver. But in our four and five year old eyes it was beautiful. It was a silver crown encrusted with jewels. We both highly prized that fake crown.

God sees us that way. We see ourselves as worthless pieces of plastic. The world tells us we should change everything about our body so more people will like us and prize us. Should we really trust ourselves to change what God has made, in His eyes, perfect? (Notice the media never encourages us to change our insides for the better. Only our outsides. Because if we changed the insides we might actually see ourselves as worth something!) Though no matter how we choose to view our wonderfully made bodies, God still sees us as precious in His sight. He crafted us in our mothers’ wombs. He knew exactly what we were going to look like and He made us that way. On purpose. God does not make mistakes, ladies. Humans, yes. God, no.

So, for you soon-to-be brides out there, try and take a step back from your wedding plans for a bit and study your place in the wedding itself. You’re a beautiful bride. You are committing to a sacred union with your husband. No dress, centerpiece, band or meal could ever surmount that.

πŸ™‚

2012? Please.

Not too long ago, some of my co-workers were panicking about the whole theory that the world is going to end May 2012. Because the Mayans’ calendar ends. I didn’t really have a response for it. Until last night.

Every Monday we have college Bible study at our house and our (very wise) pastor comes and teaches a lesson about what God has put on his heart. Last night it was about the second coming. The first thing he asked us was if the phrase “second coming” was in the Bible or if it was something we just made up. After some examination, we found several verses referencing Jesus’ second coming.

“So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”
-Hebrews 9:28

This means that the first time Jesus came it was to bear the sins of the world. This time, He’s coming to redeem us. πŸ™‚

In regards to when this will happen?
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Mark 13:32

“Now,” Brother Bruce asked us, “it says here that not even the Son knows when it is. But isn’t the Son God? If God knows all then does this mean that the Son isn’t God?”

Then, Holley says, “Jesus’ human part doesn’t know. Jesus was fully God and fully man.” His humanness wasn’t God. It was separate.

So then, we looked at what the second coming would look like.

The disciples were asking Jesus what The End will look like..

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. (How scary is that?!) You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes (Seen any earthquakes lately?) in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains…Β Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (Ouch.) but he who stand firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and THEN the end will come!”

Matthew 24:4-14 NIV

Whew!! At least there’s a good ending!

As soon as we started reading that verse I was overwhelmed with joy and comfort. I myself had started to contemplate the possibility of the world coming to an end in 2012. There are earthquakes, tsunamis, floods etc. etc. It’s possible, I thought. And then I found myself a little afraid. Last night’s study gave me such peace. There will be earthquakes and famines. But Jesus himself said “do not be alarmed!” People will come in His precious and holy name claiming to be Him!! PEOPLE WILL BELIEVE THEM!!!! That is so chilling.

I keep coming back to those visions of the Left Behind movies about the rapture and the end. It doesn’t seem like something glorious to me. It seems scary and crazy. But in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 says that Jesus will come in the sky like lightning with all of those who have fallen asleep with him and those who are still alive will go to meet him in the clouds. Now THAT, my friends, is something glorious and beautiful! Our loved ones who have died have only fallen asleep! Jesus will come back with those who accepted God’s gift of love and forgiveness and we will go to meet them in the clouds in glorified bodies! (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

So friends, don’t be deceived by the lies the movie industry and the media vomit up to us and try to polish it as gold and silver. It’s lies. NOBODY KNOWS when the end will be! Not the angels, not the disciples, not even the godliest of men here on earth. Only the FATHER knows. Be comforted in that! Do not be alarmed! Christ will come and we will go to meet Him in the sky!

Mel.

Patience

Goodmorning! I’m thankful for this day because I had 2 hours off from school so I visited our local coffee shop and got coffee and yogurt. Yumm. Very rarely do I eat breakfast, so this was awesome.

Since Jason and I got engaged last October I’ve been struggling with my lack of knowledge. Ever since I was little I’ve always wanted to be in the middle of it all. If we had company over I’d stay up as late as I could listening to the conversations because I didn’t want to miss anything. (My parents can testify!) I’m still that way. I have no patience. So needless to say, I have a longing for knowledge of the future. I need to have a plan. I want some direction. I long to know where I will be in the next few months and years. When I pray for something and don’t receive what I want, I stop praying. (I know. It’s awful. It gets better.) I’m selfish and impatient. I cry because I have no idea where Jason and I will be in a year from now. I’ll be leaving KC but to go where? I feel lost and so uncertain. I feel unplanned and unprepared.

But Sunday morning in our Sunday school class, Dad was talking about the importance of prayer. He read this verse:

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

If we diligently pray to Him and call out His name He will answer us and reveal His plan to us. GREAT things that we don’t know! GREAT! –Side note: What’s funny is that our great and God’s great are two TOTALLY different things. We can’t even begin to imagine what those Great things are!– When Dad started talking about that, I was convicted. Wholeheartedly. I can’t remember a time when I’ve prayed diligently for anything. Much less had patience for the answer. I wanted to cry. Once again, God was tugging at my heart for me to pay attention to Him. To pray to Him for the things I desire of His.

I need to wait. To just be still. But my heart says, “But, GOD! Do you realize how hard that is for me?! Do you know my schedule every week!? I have zero free time.” And then I’m convicted again.

I’ve let myself become so overwhelmed I put God on the back burner. He became of less importance to me. After all He has done for me.

I need to pray for patience. For my heart to become still. For my life in general to become still. It’s difficult. And I’ll be honest, I haven’t done a great job so far this week. But it’s on my heart.

Join me in praying for stillness!

Melody

He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed.

Happy Easter all!

I love my church because:
We are a huge family.
Our pastor is fulfilling his amazing calling to lead us.
Our music minister is so incredibly gifted by God.
God never fails to show His shining, glorious face each service.

For some reason, this Easter seemed fresh and new to me. Like I’d never been to an Easter service at our church before. Maybe it’s because I’m forgetful, or maybe because I experience the same things each year only I’m in a different season of life. I stayed up with mom until about 2.00 am last night while she finished up a cake she had to do and I cleaned up some and washed dishes. The chat time and aloneness was so great to have after having spent ALL day yesterday shopping and being busy. And when I woke up this morning, I was fully rested. (even though I took Nyquil last night and only got 7 hours of sleep!)

Waking up this morning I was full of energy. I’m usually NEVER full of energy on any given morning but something was happening. Excitement was buzzing in the air. Christ rose on this day so many thousands of years ago. This very day is the reason we Christians even believe what we believe: that Christ is our living Savior. He conquered death and won the victory. For ALL of us. If Jesus didn’t truly physically die and come fully back to life (and never die again) then we have NO reason to believe in Him and to follow His word. We have no hope. We should just continue living however we want. But if we believe God’s holy Word to be true, then Jesus did conquer that tomb and He did come back to life only to ascend into the heavens to be seated at the right hand of God’s throne. We have hope. We have a reason to follow God’s holy Word. We have a Savior who LIVES inside of us from the moment we accept Him into our hearts to rule and reign over our lives.

WE HAVE VICTORY.

But there is also a sadness. For those who choose not to accept God’s gift of love and of forgiveness and grace, there isn’t a happy ending.

I’m an avid Tweeter. I follow many celebrities. I follow lots of local people, pastors, worship leaders etc. There is a SIGNIFICANT difference between their tweets. It’s odd. Though some of these celebrities went to church, they claim no attachment to any of it. They probably don’t know why Christians celebrate this day. (I didn’t for a long time!) Yes, they gather their families with love and spend precious time together and that’s great! But there isn’t true meaning in that. Families are truly a gift from God, but shouldn’t we raise them to know the true Creator and the One that created these families? Shouldn’t we say goodbye to the silly tradition of hunting eggs and passing out candy and truly celebrate the glorious splendor this day is?

Maybe it’s the pessimist in me, but I am saddened reading those tweets. How can a person only gather with other believers once or twice a year on the most significant days of Christian beliefs and not believe themselves?

What do you think? Am I being too harsh? Am I right? Wrong? Let me know your thoughts.

ps. my favorite song quote of the morning.. “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives.” πŸ™‚

Melody

Jews for Jesus

Today is Palm Sunday. I’m barely getting this post in on this day, but I did it! πŸ™‚

I’ve been excited for this Palm Sunday service for a week ever since Bro. Bruce talked about it in our college bible study last Monday night. I got up this morning and in Sunday school this morning Mom reminded us we had nursery duty. Well, dang. But of course, God never disappoints. πŸ™‚ We had 2 year olds, and frankly, they aren’t very well behaved most of the time. Trying to corral a herd of them is like trying to herd a bunch of flies and make them sit still for five minutes. But, this morning was different. We had eight kids and one of them was a girl. Besides the usual “don’t do that”, “don’t touch that” and the occasional “don’t put that in your mouth”, they were quite good. We got them to actually (and quickly, mind you) sit down and do their craft for the morning without struggle! Amazing! (I still don’t want twins, though.)

At home a roast lunch was waiting for us. Yum! Great family fellowship time and nap time on the couch. πŸ™‚ Jason watched basketball all afternoon. I love love love Sunday afternoons. Sports on the TV, mom drawing in the chair by the window, short naps on the couch, and just a relaxed atmosphere. πŸ™‚ My sister once said that research showed that one’s heartbeat actually beats slower on Sundays. How neat!

Karol Joseph, the leader of the Brooklyn, NY branch of Jews for Jesus, came and spoke like she does every year. She is an incredibly smart woman and SUCH an inspiration. She was born Jewish and raised that way only to become a Christian in 1988. But, I’ll leave the link to tell you the rest. πŸ™‚ After church, we were invited to fellowship with here at a church family’s home. I never really knew what Β Jew was or what they believed. I didn’t know how complicated all of it was. How being converted from Judaism to Christianity pretty much expelled you from the synagogue, family, jobs and your livelihood. It was mind-boggling to me. I couldn’t imagine being separated from my family.

Needless to say I totally learned so much that I’ve longed to know but really had no one to ask. (the internet isn’t always reliable. am I right?! :)) She’s going to be at the college tomorrow during my 9.00 am class in a New Testament class on the other side of campus. I wish I could be there to soak up some more knowledge! If you know nothing about Jews for Jesus, you should really check out that site and support them in what they are doing! Incredibly ministry. Pray for Karol also because she leaves for Israel in three weeks and she says it’s a very hostile environment there and they aren’t afraid to get violent with her and her missionary team.

Have a great week! πŸ™‚

Melody

Insignificant

Have you ever felt insignificant? Like God didn’t pay any attention to you? Join the club.

(First off, let me say, sometimes I get downhearted looking at other blogs. They always have something profound to say or something extremely theological. So, here is my attempt at making my meager life encourage you or make you think.)

I dislike using my upcoming marriage in so many blogs but it’s surfacing all kinds of decisions and thoughts I just have to use it. πŸ™‚

70% of my daily thoughts are consumed with wedding plans. The rest is consumed with what I will do once I’m married. I have to go somewhere to finish school, but we hate to move because of our incredible setup we have. (Jason works for a small school as their IT director and they gave him a gorgeous FREE house. I know!) Stephen F. Austin University is only 25 minutes away from our home but I’ve never wanted to go there and from what I’ve heard about their music staff, they aren’t very kind to commuting students. If we do move, we will both have to find jobs to support us and our new rent and all of our other monthly bills. I know this sort of sounds crazy, but our wedding is less than nine months away, so I can’t help but freak when I think about these sorts of things. I feel like God has sort of left me out of the loop in my life plans. But who am I to say that about our One True God? He knows all and IS all. He doesn’t have to tell me what in the world is going on in my life if He chooses not to. (And most of the time He does. ;))

I guess in a word, I am impatient. I always have been with things concerning my life and my future. I have never wanted to be right where I am. I’ve always wanted to fast-forward into the future so I could have that knowledge. When I was little, I would never go to sleep before anyone else because I didn’t want to miss anything. I’m still the same way. I have a need to know all. That is a conflict in my relationship with Christ. I often throw my Bible and prayer life aside and just ask God for answers without having studied or seriously prayed to Him. I’ve always been like that. It’s funny how God put me with Jason knowing full well he was perfect for me. God knew Jason would reveal things about myself I knew were there essentially but didn’t really Β know how to explain or to fix. I guess I’m still in the revealing stage because I haven’t really “fixed” a whole lot of things. πŸ˜›

God, I know, is somehow weaving all of my insecurities and doubts into this giant, incredible big picture that I can’t see right now. I long for the day I can quit the library for GOOD and never go back. I long for the day I can live in peace with my husband and sing for a living. I long for the day I feel right, for the first time in my life, with Christ. I long for the day I have a consistent quiet time and prayer time with God and feel comfortable sharing the Gospel with someone else.

But for now, I need to work on my impatience.

Thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

Melody.