Monday, August 31, 2009

Verse of the Week

"Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, for behold, I come and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people. And I will dwell in your midst, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem." Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

~Zechariah 2:10-13

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

When life gives you lemons...

Just add maple syrup and cayenne pepper!

Today is the second day, for my mom and I, to brave through what is most commonly known as the Lemonade Diet. Basically, you drink a lemonade concoction (consisting of fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup) six-twelve times a day for ten days. The purpose in doing this is to cleanse the body of all toxins, stabilize weight, and other things . The reason we're doing it is for the cleansing aspect. As a result of that, my mom and I both had headaches the first day (yesterday) from not having the usual caffeine in the morning and our tongues have developed a white coating. According to the book, this is completely normal. I plan to write more later on this week about the benefits of this cleanse and how it is going for us. For now, all I can say is that I haven't been hungry, I dislike cayenne pepper, and I feel a little more energetic.
In Christ,

Verse of the Week

"I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry."

~2 Timothy 4:1-5

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Beware of false prophets"

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits."

Our church has been going through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) for over five months now. Three weeks ago Pastor Voddie preached through this particular passage. After he was done, I had a new definition of false prophets, how to identify them, and what to do about them.

I used to think false prophets were pretty easy to spot (Jim Jones, who I will mention later, Adolph Hitler, and Saddam Hussein come to mind) and any believer pretty much ignored them for the most part. However, Jesus identifies that there are false prophets and they're not always so easy to spot. He told us to look carefully, because they are often disguised, and beware.
Pastor Voddie made two points about why, in our culture today, it's hard to identify and judge false prophets. First, because of Biblical and theological illiteracy. Second, of the prevalence of syncronism ("Why can't we all just get along?"). Our culture has conditioned us to be tolerant, "not judge", "get along", and that truth is not absolute but relative. Jesus, on the contrary, told us to beware and not "just get along". Titus 1:9 states that elders of the church are to know and teach sound doctrine and to rebuke those who contradict it. That's a command!

Recognizing false prophets is fairly simple; they will bear bad fruit: bad teaching and bad living. Jesus tells us to examine the fruit. Our test of examination for anything is, "does this line up with God's word?" (Heb. 1:1-3, 1 John 4:1-3, Acts 17:10-11). We must expose false prophets for who they are (Eph. 5:6-14; Jude 1:3-4).

I watched the end of a PBS special on Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple. As I watched and listened, I was amazed and saddened by what had happened in 1978. I had never previously heard of Jim Jones or People's Temple and so it shocked me to hear how many people committed suicide in the name of Jim Jones. Nine hundred and eighteen people died on the command of one man. One false prophet. He was a known Marxist and communist yet he was pastor of a church. These people heard what he preached and never thought to test what they had heard.
Finally, remember that we are not above being tricked and deceived by false prophets. We need to be aware and careful of that danger. Develop the habit of testing what you hear; trust the Word. Test what you hear by God's truth.
In Christ,

Verse of the Week

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor the fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places.

~Habakkuk 3:17-19

Monday, August 17, 2009

HOTM ~August

In Thy wrath and hot displeasure,
chasten not Thy servant, Lord;
let Thy mercy, without measure,
help and peace to me afford.

Heavy is my tribulation,
sore my punishment has been;
broken by Thine indignation,
I am troubled by my sin.

With my burden of transgression
heavy laden, overborne,
humbled low I make confession,
for my folly now I mourn.

Weak and wounded, I implore Thee;
Lord, to me Thy mercy show;
all my prayer is now before Thee,
all my trouble Thou dost know.

I am prone to halt and stumble,
grief and sorrow dwelt within,
shame and guilt my spirit humble,
I am sorry for my sin.

Lord, my God, do not forsake me,
let me know that Thou are near,
under Thy protection take me,
as my Savior now appear.

In Thy Wrath and Hot Displeasure was written by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry. He lived from February 17, 1848 until October 7, 1918. The son of an artist, he grew up in England and went to school at Oxford University. He became the professor of music at Oxford. He became a composer and married Lady Elizabeth Maude Herbert; they had two daughters together. This hymn is based on Psalm 38 which says,

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath! For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me. There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart. O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me. My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off. Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long. But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth. I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes. But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. For I said, "Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!" For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully. Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good. Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!

In Christ,

Monday, August 10, 2009

My sister, my friend

I am very thankful for the relationships that I have with my sisters. Often times they are the ones who know me best; the ones who make me truly laugh; and they tell me of my faults. So, in this post I would like to share with you a bit about the three special people in my family.

I'll start with Nicole. We have known each other for nearly nineteen years and I can honestly say that it's not until the past eight years that our relationship has taken on a deeper level. I trust her with my thoughts and emotions because I know that she will tell me when I am being unreasonable or simply over dramatic. With that being said, I am ever grateful for her understanding me and taking most everything I have to say seriously. She will never laugh at me or tell me I am stupid or ridiculous. She is so witty and hilarious, I love and respect her so much-and one of the best things is that she thinks I am pretty funny too :)

One of the things I am loving the most about her is her incredible example of a God-fearing wife and mother. Each day she dedicates to the tasks the Lord has placed before her: to care for her blessings and love, respect her husband. Continually she pleads her grievances or concerns before the Lord and not man; she is finding her satisfaction and joy in Him, even in a day when feminism, "Me time", and "the plight of children" can so easily get in her way. She sets the Lord before her and follows Him alone. I pray that when I am married, God would see fit to bless me with the same dedication, devotion, patience, and joy that I see in her.

Mica has become my partner in crime, best friend, nertz champion, sleeping and movie buddy. Even when we were seven and five, she has let me go on my own creative, slightly disturbing imaginations. She even let me nickname her "Charis" not because it means "grace" but because it was the closest word to "carrot" that I could think of; I allowed myself the far more dignified name, "Jenny". But on a more serious note, the relationship Mica and I have has grown significantly in the past five years. When we were living in California we shared a room about the size of most peoples bathroom and a closet the size of a pantry, so we came to know each other very well after that. In the beginning it was a bit of an adjustment, I'll admit, later on though, we came to learn so much about each other. The sort of thing that can only take place in a shoebox of a room I suppose :) Now we can talk about most anything or stay completely silent. We have developed a sort of wordless communications: a look from her and I know it's time to clear the room or...well, just give her some time alone. Likewise, a few hours together on a certain morning and she knows not to ask me a certain question until later...much later. After having a deep, in-depth conversation about marriage and courtship, I asked her if we could just stay single and become old spinsters in a cottage by the sea instead of getting into the intricacy's of marriage and going our separate ways. She said no.

Caro is just very funny; we are so similar in pretty much everything. Neither of us are good in arithmetic and lean heavily on the creative side. As the baby of the family she has gone through quite a lot: four mothers for most of her life, suddenly being displaced by a certain green-eyed girl, then getting compost duty and learning the art of cleaning the kitchen after supper. It's been difficult but since we are so much alike, I've been ableto help her adjust to her new lot in life. We have been through a lot together and it has been so wonderful to talk more with her and spend more time together, as she is now thirteen. Although we still talk about the times when she would be locked in the bathroom on the train-five minutes before our stop. But that is another story, of which you will have to ask her.

So, I hope you don't have the impression that I am saying my last goodbyes or anything like that :) This post was merely to share a bit about three of the people that I cherish the most.

Summer Days...

This past week Nicole came down with the girls and Dominic, followed by the Apodaca's and the Grandmas.
Here are some pictures of how Jacob, Sophia, Noah, Mia, and Abby spent the days...

Verse of the Week

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the seas. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.

~Micah 7:18-20

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Verse of the Week

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

~James 1:19-27

Monday, August 3, 2009

Recent inspiring, encouraging quotes

"I would go to the deep a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit.
It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary."

~Charles H. Spurgeon
"If their lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and earnestly to home for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I submit that this notion has crept from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
We are far too easily pleased."
~C.S. Lewis


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