A real hero is worth waiting for <3

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A few weeks ago Russ and I went to see the movie 1917. If you are unfamiliar with the story, it is about a mission that two British soldiers were sent on that was basically “mission impossible.”

It is a very good movie and in this day of internet communication and cyber war, it was a stark reminder of the generation my parents were born into. Action packed from the get-go, it never let up for a moment and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. 

Thankfully for Russ, the plot was not very complex so I didn’t pepper him with questions throughout the story line, but I was wincing and dodging bullets and pretty exhausted by the end of it. 

These two young men had to cross No Man’s Land, still firmly held by the Germans, and were in constant danger and so early on in the movie, I was convinced they would die quickly.

Rather than mention this thought to Russ, I tried to keep my heart rate down to a healthy beat and pondered the likelihood of their certain demise but then I did what I always do in this kind of situation. 

I talked myself down from the ledge of despair. My rational voice spoke up amidst all the other clamor going on in my head and reminded me that they couldn’t both die right out of the gate because the movie would be over and it wouldn’t be much of a story. 

I relaxed a little on that panic track and prepared myself emotionally for all the horrid things that could happen for the next hour and 55 minutes.

I am a blast to take the movies, in case you haven’t figured that out. 

I do this in most movies unless it is one of those romantic comedies in which I know how it will end and it’s just a matter of watching all the shenanigans transpire to get us to the point where the two protagonists find true love. Kind of. 

I am always watching the action with the tension that the “good guy” won’t win. 

So this morning as I read from Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, I realized how easy it is to live a life of faith with this same mind set. And it is so very wrong to do so, because in the entertainment industry, the good guys are sometimes actually rather not so good and sometimes the thrill of the story is that no one wins or evil does or however the script is written.

And the story of Redemption is not written for entertainment or out of the capricious mind of someone’s fantasy world. 

Please note that I read a day ahead because of travel, so I am referring to the February 22nd writing in his collection of devotions, but Oswald is speaking about the Discipline of Spiritual Perseverance in this writing and he bases it on the familiar passage “Be still, and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

He talks about how perseverance in the matters of our spiritual life is not just a hanging on out of fear of letting go. Perseverance in our faith is overcoming the fear that somehow God will not win. 

He points out that we think of perseverance as endurance: plugging away and hanging in there. He words it so beautifully:

“It (perseverance) is endurance combined with an absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.” 

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; February 22. Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. 1992

I want to point out that sometimes we have placed our “hope” for what we are looking for in something we have fashioned for ourselves as a “promise” of God.  

An example would be that everything will turn out right in this life and if we play by the rules and do all the things, it will be smooth sailing. 

This would be a false hope and is not even biblical. 

Jesus told us, “In this world, you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

So in this case, perseverance would not be with an eye set on avoiding trouble but with a strong faith that in the midst of trouble, He still is Sovereign and He still wins. Every time. 

We will face disappointments and setbacks and unfulfilled hopes and dreams that seemed good and right and from God.

But it is in those that He is refining us and shaping us more into the image of His Son and what He does will be good for us and for others, as we … endure…and persevere…and wait…in expectation and hope.

 It is hard work and one we will need to call upon God to help us with, exercising that dynamite power of the Holy Spirit so we can wait well. 

As Oswald Chambers says,

“Perseverance is our supreme effort of refusing to believe that our hero is going to be conquered.”

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest; February 22. Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. 1992

So sit tight.

Hold fast to your faith. 

He is able to do more than we could ever think to ask or imagine. 

He is worth, and worthy of, the wait <3

From the girl who loved book report day <3

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Anybody else love doing book reports in school? 

I loved all of it. The reading, the writing and if we had a project assignment from the book, even better. 

As nervous as I am about speaking, I even liked getting to read my report to the class. 

I still remember the tribute to Homer Price and the Donut Machine where I used construction paper, yarn, copious amounts of glue and assorted things from around the house to fashion a mobile from two wire coat hangers taped together. 

It was epic. 

Books have always been my weakness…too many to read, too little time to do it. Reading as an adult has become a luxury and I have kept collecting books, but then put off reading because there are more important tasks to be done. 

So this year, I am striving to make time to read and have been hitting the well stocked shelves to see if I can eliminate any that I don’t need and glean what I can from the collection. 

One I read in just a few short weeks was picked up when the local Christian school library was doing a book purge. It is a biography by James R. Adair on the life and ministry of M. R. DeHaan. 

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If you have ever read Our Daily Bread, the name M. R. DeHaan has to mean something to you. A successful physician in the early 1900’s, DeHaan had a life changing encounter with the living Christ in his 30’s and while he had always been a church attender and basically a good man, he experienced a new birth through the Holy Spirit and eventually left his practice to attend seminary and become a pastor. 

He was the founder of the Radio Bible Class which was the springboard for the devotionals called Our Daily Bread. He wrote a large number of books and booklets. 

The book by Adair is easy to read and even aside from the accounts of the life of DeHaan, it holds interesting descriptions of life in the Midwest during that time. The narrative is engaging and paints pictures with words of that part of the country as well as what medicine and daily life was like during this time in America. 

I was impressed by the way DeHaan took God at face value, and just studied and prayed and asked God to show Himself in simple ways. 

As someone who can point to Our Daily Bread as one of the resources that has helped me grow spiritually in my journey of faith, I think of how many times a devotion would speak to my heart and when I looked to see who the author was, it was Martin DeHaan. 

He had a gift to see God in the every day of nature, human condition, relationships and then tell in simple ways that I could understand of the love and mercy and grace of God. 

I will share in closing one of the quotes I copied into a notebook from my reading:

“Everywhere he looked, the teacher of the Radio Bible Class saw hidden Bible truths. ‘He could look at anything in nature and come up with a story that had to do with redemption,’ recalls Clarence Carlson. ‘Whether it was a fish, a tree, or an animal, he could see the handwriting of God and its relationship to the Word of God.’”

M.R. DeHaan; the Man and his Ministry by James R. Adair, Zondervan Publishing House 1969 pg. 137

Adair uses accounts from people who knew him and worked with him and gives us a full picture of an imperfect man who was transformed by God to serve Him faithfully throughout his ministry. He was one who understood that we are saved once and yet daily we are works in progress being conformed to the image of Christ.

DeHaan was genuine and straightforward in his approach to his calling, refusing to use gimmicks to gain support but instead relying on prayer for God to grow his ministry to reach as many as he could for Christ. 

I am one of those he reached. 

I am so grateful for those who have answered the call to share the Gospel in truth and to remind me constantly that it is only by grace that we are saved, not by works. 

The only way to salvation is through work of Christ on the cross. Nothing we do can be added to it or taken away. 

Praise Him!

Field trip to the Lou <3

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We took advantage of the school holiday on Monday so the band of brothers could collect on their Christmas gift from Tia.

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Which in reality, just seeing her seemed to be enough joy to float their boats but…

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she wanted to take them to the new aquarium and ferris wheel in St Louis.

So…

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we got to slip in on the fun.

It was basically a boy’s dream trip…

fish nibbling your hands…

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a skink right up close and personal, blue tongue and all…

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more sticking your hands in water and touching critters…

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not having to share Tia with Caroline…

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a shark or two…

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and then…

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we climbed in the ferris wheel and saw the whole city from the sky…

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even Lola was a brave little toaster…

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After that we went for pizza on the Hill…

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Drove by Tia’s so we could hug Rocco…

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said goodbye and many thanks and plans made for another trip soon, soon, soon!!!

and basically…

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crashed…except for Emmett…who managed to keep his energy up for the entire trip home.

All in all…

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Best. Day. Ever. <3

<3 Love is....Bonus day

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I know..I know…Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but since my quote for the week included six signs of love in a person and February has given us an extra day this Leap Year, you get a bonus Saturday post. 

And I couldn’t miss talking about encouragement because we all need it just about every day. 

I am so thankful for the voices that speak words of encouragement to me on a regular basis and there is such a joy in my heart when someone tells me something I said encouraged them. 

Basic cheerleading doesn’t do it for me. 

There are plenty of stranger’s voices out there who post random things like “You’ve got this!” and “You are a rock star!” and other such generic messages of positivity. 

And yes, sometimes those come at just the right time and keep us from throwing in the towel, but the most effective forms of encouragement are from people who stopped and thought about me personally and weighed my trial and weariness or were listening to God and He gave them a thought to pass along to me. 

It’s the spontaneous responses of people who know me and have relationship with me. 

And that is where this all sums up what we have talked about this week. 

When we walk side by side with people and truly love them with a Christ like love, we cannot help but share words that build them up and strengthen them along the way. 

I believe the best ways we can encourage others is to set aside time to pray for them and ask God for His heart for them and out of that will flow the words He would say to spur them on. And then follow through and speak the words, send the note, type the text…meet for the coffee…sit with the friend in the waiting…whatever it takes.

The most important encouragement as a follower of Christ is to keep each other on track in remembering the great gift of salvation we have been given and the promises of God regarding our justification and sanctification; the covering over us with the Blood of Christ and the process He is using to make us more like Him. 

The author of 1 Thessalonians records God’s direction for us in this important aspect of loving well:

[Since we are alive with Him] So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11  MSG

We get weary and beat down out there. 

Out of the love that has been poured into us by the Father, let’s make it a habit to ask how we can encourage our fellow travelers each and every day < 3

<3 Love is....Day 5

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As I continue working through the signs of love, today my eyes fall on the word “acceptance.” 

My eyes also fall on the clock and I see where if I don’t get my giddy-up on I will have to accept another race against time to get to work with a measure of punctuality, so I will not be overthinking this one today. 

I often remind myself that I have the capacity to love because God first loved me. 

Let me tell you, I am not the easiest person to love. 

I am quirky and stubborn and prone to selfishness. 

My enneagram is a solid four…with close ties to other numbers that are polar opposite to that. 

Every single personality test I take is about a 50-50 split between two completely divergent types. 

And none of that was weighed into why God loves me. 

He loves me because He IS love. 

He is perfect love and love perfected. 

He couldn’t love me more if I was the person I long to be and He doesn’t love me less for the person I have regretted being. 

His perfect love casts out my fear. 

His perfect love overcomes my doubt. 

His perfect love eradicated my sin problem. 

His perfect love enables me to love others and myself. 

Happy Valentine’s Day. 

You are loved <3

………………………………..

“Give them obvious signs of love — such as mercy, forgiveness, patience, generosity of heart, acceptance, and encouragement…” page 36; Stormie Omartian, Power of a Praying Grandparent. Harvest House Publishers, 2016.