Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My Erin Condren Planner......I succumbed to the peer pressure!

This post contains affiliate links. I purchased an Erin Condren planner with my own money on my own accord. If you want one of your own, feel free to use my link and I'll get $10 for referring you, my friend!! Don't forget to create your own account for $10 off your first order!

I caved.

I've been hearing all about Erin Condren Planners for years. Seriously, every photographer and her mother has one. Any good mother that is. {insert shameless guilt trip} So I figure if I'm going to be a REAL homeschooler, (and a good mother at that!), I should probably start getting my ducks in a row and being a little more intentional...a little more organized. Or else we'll all be pulling out our hair two weeks in!

I know my family. We can make a mess and it doesn't really drive us crazy, but we thrive best when there's order and routine. I'm really hoping that my new planner will be the miracle that everyone says they are.

Maybe it'll even wash the dishes or scrub toilets.

But if not, at least I'll know when I need to do those things instead of just guessing that it was Monday, three weeks ago. We will be real grown-ups.

There are so so so many pretty planners.

I had a hard time choosing but I didn't labor over it. I went with my gut and actually hit "complete purchase" before I gave it a second thought. Shocker. Yes, I know.

I got the purdy little watercolor ditty below. It's no secret I love watercolor art!


 Isn't it pretty?! I love the quote....

"Nothing can dim the light that shines from within."

That might be my new motto for the rest of the year, I love it that much. I'm committing it to memory and something that I'll remind myself of daily. I almost can't believe how everything has transpired...but God is faithful to those that trust Him. I will continue to let the light of Jesus shine and be witness to the goodness that is Him. I'll continue to pray for God to guide, lead, direct, prod, push, pull, show me. I'm so excited!!!

But back to the planner....The price tag on it is a tad hefty; however, I hear that they are worth every single solitary dime. I'm sure I'll love it. I love to plan and organize. Hopefully I will use this baby to it's full potential.

I also got one of their snap-in meal planner accessories. I think I'll love this because it wipes off, it can move from one week to the next and I won't have to use my daily spots for meals. I like that. And I love lists so this makes my eyes happy!

My planner should ship sometime in the next week. Once it arrives, I'll take some pretty pictures and do a quick initial "first impression" review! Can't wait!! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Battle of Truth and Love

Let me just go ahead and preface this post with the admission that:

  • Yes, I'm a sinner. Saved by grace not because of my works but only by the power of Christ Jesus, who now lives in me.
  • I do not know it all. I don't claim to know it all.
  • I'm well aware that I'm pretty much talking to myself here (no one reads my blog! ha!). 
  • And that I know, fully, that not everyone will agree with me and if someone does read this blog who doesn't agree with me, they could leave nasty comments. So be it. 

Every blogger and their mother has an opinion over the whole Bruch Jenner drama. Some opinions are more loud. Some are never spoken. Some speak but back down at the first bit of opposition.

I don't even want to hash out my opinions over his choices. That's not the point of this post.

What I want to say is this...

To my Believer friends,
Have you slowed down enough in your defense and prosecution on the case at hand, to pray for the person in the spotlight or your friend with whom you don't agree? Have you prayed for our nation when the stuff of life (ie. media drama) hits the fan? Have you given yourself over to be fully used for the Kingdom of Christ so that your words and actions are bringing Him glory? Please don't get me wrong, I have an opinion and thought and "prosecution" about this matter. I want to defend the cross and scripture, and I have. But I want to talk about something that's going on behind the scenes.

In the midst of the hash-tagging, name-slinging, comment-posting, scripture-quoting, article-sharing, is a very real, very fierce battle for the hearts and minds of believers on all corners of the earth, and I dare say, especially the United States. Y'all, do you see that this is a spiritual war?  And not just between believers and unbelievers. This is among Christians, "believers".

I know some people who don't believe in spiritual warfare. Then again, I know people who don't believe in the Holy Spirit, yet believe in demons...and I know people who don't believe in either. I know Christians who don't believe that this is a very real thing. So I know the concept of warfare is lost on them. But folks, there is a war going on and we aren't equipped with the right armor. Our battle cry is weak and muted. We aren't even using the right weapons for this war.

Over the past few days, I've seen lots of comments, read many articles. I've watched "Christians" tell "Christians" to watch what we say and how we say it. I've seen progressives tell conservatives to get a grip on reality and embrace the ever-changing tide of "normal". Truly you can see it all. What bothers me the most is that the devil is tricking and luring people away from the true principles of the Word of God WITH the Word of God. He's using what is our best defense as his own weapon because he knows that we don't know the true meaning, we've not prayed for our eyes and ears and hearts to be open to the truth, we've not spent time in study so that we are correctly using the Sword as it was intended.

Do you see the war? The war is for your soul. If you are a believer, there is a war going on to win you back over to the devil. If you are an unbeliever, I guess you could say you are "lucky" because they don't have to fight so hard for you....but luck isn't what I'd hang my victory flag on.

This isn't just about one man's choices and whether we can "love him enough" to accept him because in reality, the ONLY love that can satisfy and accept him (us) fully, for whoever you are, is the love of Christ. This is about the devil weaseling into our lives and captivating the hearts of those who are not so strong in their faith to take a stand against right and wrong and to DEFEND faith and morals.

This is about people second-guessing their beliefs because they don't want to come across as "unloving".
This is about Christians standing down because they are scared what someone (even other Christians!) might think.
This is about Believers being afraid of "offending" or that they might lose a Facebook "friend".

(lots of " " " " going on here if you catch my drift!)

Dear Sister, I can promise, the amount of Facebook friends you have doesn't matter one iota to Jesus. I can promise that Jesus wasn't sent here for us to throw his teachings around as if he were nothing but a good man who gave fist bumps and tossed around the word "love" as if it were just an emotion and something you do just because it makes people feel good.

First of all, let me say... Jesus is God is the Holy Spirit is the Word is the Life is the Truth.
You cannot separate them.
They were in the beginning. They are now. They are the end.
All of this has already been set in motion.
He was. He is. He is to come.

Our desire to please the hearts of man, to make people happy and feel loved, is far from the idea of what the Bible teaches about love. Jesus is agape love. Jesus is intimate, deep, compassionate love. He IS Agape and the Way to wash us clean and remove all stains. His love is agape because it isn't a superficial, just doing it to make you feel good, give you warm-fuzzies, kind of love. Don't hear me wrong, that sort of love isn't necessarily evil or bad. It isn't wrong to love someone, ever. But a passive love without action and truth is just stale and empty and without Jesus. Jesus didn't ever once portray himself as a passive lover of mankind. He was active in His corrections and teachings.

You see, Jesus is God. And God is Truth. And God didn't speak truth and give us the rest of the Bible just for it to be tossed to the side and be considered less important than love, just because He said it was "greatest". You miss the point. Love needs Truth needs Hope needs Faith. They can't exist without the other.

As such, without truth, you can not truly love.
Without love, you can not truly know truth.
Without hope, you can not fully have faith.
And without faith, you can not fully have hope.

You guys! Don't you see??

The battle isn't just about "loving your neighbor" and it surely isn't just about the battle of sin (although that is battle, don't get me wrong). This isn't about a man's sinful nature because we all have that. The commenters are quick to point out how "sinful" we are, how judgmental we are, how wrong we've got it, how unloving we are, how holier-than-thou we are. But believe me, we know our sin. We know our shortcomings. We also know redemption and turning from sin. We know that Grace is the only permanent eraser. We know that we can't know someone's heart and "judge" where they are on their walk with the Lord. But we do see the fruits; or lack thereof, of men because of the gift of discernment. This is a battle of hearts and minds of Christians and our example, our witness to the world.

So don't sit back, Christians, giving no credence to the Truth. And don't you dare reduce Jesus to a character like Barney who walked around singing "I love you, you love me...". If "love is all you need" was Jesus' theme song, then man, where's the beef?!? Don't tell other Christians that the truth of Christ is not as important as love and that we are "not being very Christian" because we want to stand for truth just as much as we want to stand for love. Dear heavens to betsy, don't belittle the entire purpose of His existence and the purpose of our creation!!

He is everything love and truth and MORE. 

He is our protector. Even on Facebook.

He is also....
   Our Deliverer, even in the worst of sin.
   Our Refuge, even in trial.
   Our Defender, even in times of assault.
   Our Liberator, even in times of war.
He is our Redeemer, our Rescuer.

He gives the Word so that we could personally know Him and know what He intended for us. So that we would have the "weapon" of knowledge to discern good and evil. So that we could, with His power vested around us, we could fight and help win souls to Christ. He loves us and He has given us the tools. I earnestly challenge anyone who wants to use scripture as their defense to read the full context of the verses being used. Don't just regurgitate what's been tossed around so carelessly and used erroneously. Be prepared for battle. Defend what is good in the eyes of God...not just what feels good. Because there is, indeed, a difference.

God did give us so many good things to enjoy!! He isn't a party-pooper! So surely he finds pleasure in our happiness, right? Yes, I believe He does, our happiness is important to Him. But happiness to us does not equal happiness to God. And it is by far, not the most important reason for our existence and that's where "Christians" need to be getting it right. Our purpose on this earth has been completely forgotten...lost to the bright lights and fancy entrapment's of this world. Our purpose is to worship God. God, who, created us perfect, each of us. God is not a creator of mistakes. He made all things "good". Man succumbing to evil is what made the ills of this world, the hardships, the inability to come together as one faith, under one God, one Truth. We are to worship Him. Bring Him glory in all that we do. So hear this, both sides, there's a great responsibility that we have and we can't be dividing and hoping to conquer souls for Christ. We can not be shifting in the wind, changing the Word to fit this world, to fit what makes us happy and feel good.

There are no amount of blog posts that can say any better, any more clearly or concisely what the bible tells us. I dare you to spend time in prayer and be nose-down in His word for clarification and conviction for how to respond to the battle. Is He calling you to risk some "friendships" for the sake of the cross? is He asking you to be brave and honest and wave that flag of surrender to His truth?

It might not feel good. I warn you.
It might not be popular. So what?
It might make someone upset. I'm sorry.
And yes, it might turn someone away from Christ. But He's able.

Just like he loved, loves and will continue to love Bruce...yes, He calls us to love, be loveable, and to continue to love in spite of. But He yearns for us all to come to Him for the protection, deliverance, refuge, liberation, redemption and rescue because ONLY HE can do those things to the full extent of their definitions and allow you to BE loving, loveable and loved by others.

Know Christ in all of His full glory. If your toes aren't getting stepped on from time to time with what comes out of your study and by what other Christians are saying, chances are, you might be missing some life-saving, faith-changing, amazing sanctifying Gospel Truth.

Paul said it best....

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."  - Ephesians 6:11-20

Be ready.
Go bravely. 
Speak boldly.
Love unconditionally.
Follow Him closely.
Be alert.
Pray incessantly.
Put on the armor of God.

And always,

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