Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Hand ! *WARNING! This is gross and tacky!

Hubby went grocery shopping last night (he is much better at it than I am), so when he brought all the bags home, I started unpacking them on the kitchen counter.
And then I pulled THIS out of the bag!



Actually, it's a gummy candy hand!

After I calmed down, I laughed my head off!
And I hope you didn't miss the note on the package about "...with crunchy candy bones inside"! I mean, what's a gummy hand without the bones? Seriously?
Hubby thought this was cool and bought it for James -I think it's a guy-thing. I think it is just gross and tacky...????
So, what is your gross and tacky gag purchase story? (Keep 'em clean, ok?!)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fall Colors at Cloudland Canyon

Last weekend Rachel and I went on a hike with some friends to Cloudland Canyon, which is located on top of Lookout Mtn, south of Chattanooga. Although it was cold and windy, there wasn't any rain, so it was a lovely day for a hike amongst the beautiful canyon and gorgeous fall colors. Here are the girls at the start of our hike!

Here's the view from the top of the trail...

And looking across the canyon at all the fall colors...

zooming in for a closer look!

The maples are a really vibrant red color this year. Absolutely gorgeous!

We hiked about 0.8 miles down to the bottom of the canyon...

One of the trees in the bottom of the canyon had some weird scale-like growth on the trunk. When I took a closer look, I saw they were actually mushrooms growing on the trunk of the tree!

After our easy hike down, we were rewarded with this lovely waterfall and pool in the bottom of the canyon...

The water from the pool flows out down a sweet little stream...

Here are the happy hikers after the hike!

All in all, it was a lovely place to see Fall in all its splendor!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Memphis LPL - Part II

Recap - The Key Scripture was Exodus 34:6-7, which is God’s disclosure to us, His description of what He is like.

God tells us 7 things about Himself that we will like and one that we won’t:

Seven Things We Will Like

· Compassionate
· Gracious
· Slow to anger
· Abounding in love
· Abounding in faithfulness
· Maintaining love
· Forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin

One Thing We Won’t Like
· Does not leave the guilty unpunished, punishing the children and their children to the third and fourth generation

I covered the point about not leaving the guilty unpunished here.

Now, let's move on to the things we will like!

1. God abounds in love

God’s Word tells us over and over again that He loves us, far beyond what we can imagine or understand. John 3:16 is the classic verse. And in Ephesians 2:4-5 we read that “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” And in 1 John 3:1 we see ”How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

The Hebrew word used in Exodus (for abounding?) is ‘Hesed’ (I think I probably spelled this wrong) which means “steadfast, loyal” love. God is fiercely loyal. Beth reminded us that one of the very first things most of us learned in Sunday School as a young child was “Jesus loves me, this I know”. And when we struggle and suffer, when times are difficult, we so often lose sight of this simple truth.

2. God maintains His love

The word ‘maintains’ means to guard, protect, keep watch. It is the same word that is used in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Beth talked about we are so careful to guard our hearts against things – heartbreak, loss, rejection, etc. But God guards his heart for something, not against something. God maintains His love means that He does not let His love for us diminish, change, or fade; He maintains His zeal and passion for us. Romans 8:38-39 tells us “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Beth asked “Do we guard our love in the same way?” Sadly, no. I am guilty of this – of letting my love lose strength and passion, not maintaining my love. Love is a choice, a willing to do good, as well as the emotional feelings. Beth challenged us to open ourselves up to loving with that zeal and passion again, both the emotion and the active choices we make.

Beth gave an outstanding example of how we mess this up. She talked about parenting teenagers, especially those who may become rebellious or sullen, and how we can easily become a victim to our kids. God guards His love for us (He always loves us passionately) but He gives or withdraws blessings, based on our obedience to Him. As parents, we often keep blessing our sullen, disobedient kids, by lavishing them with cars, clothes, food, money, stuff, but we withdraw our love, the passion and emotional part. Beth said we are essentially “…funding our kids’ rebellion!” We think that blessings = love; this is backwards from God! He always loves, but withdraws the blessing; we always bless, but withdraw our love. When our kids are being rebellious we need to stop blessing them but keep loving them. This point was huge to me, as Rachel and then James will be hitting those teen years very soon. I know it is my personality type to fall into this trap of blessing them but not loving them.

Beth closed on Friday by reminding us that Moses asked and pleaded with God for His Presence to go with them. God was present with Adam in the Garden of Eden, but somewhere along the way, the presence of God became something that would “…flat out kill us!” But people were still desperate to experience it, to see the presence of God. The revelation of God became something worth risking everything for. And we should seek it for ourselves with that longing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Memphis LPL Notes - Part I

Living Proof Live – Memphis, TN Oct 9th-10th, 2009

Friday Night Session:

Luke 8:22-25 tells the story of Jesus and his disciples on a boat. Jesus fell asleep and the disciples were afraid during a storm that threatened to overcome the boat. They woke Jesus up and he rebuked the storm, to which they said “Who is this?” Despite the time they had spent with him, all they had seen him do and heard him say, they did not really know him at all… In Matthew 13, Jesus told his disciples that the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven was given to them, but yet they really didn’t know him.

The theme for this LPL event: Let’s go on wild God chase, a journey where God will reveal Himself to us, to me. In John 14:15-21 Jesus promises that he will send his Spirit, and that “…you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” The word translated “show” here means “to reveal, disclose, exhibit, manifest”. So it is the promise of Jesus that he will show himself, reveal himself, and exhibit himself to those of us who love him and obey him. See also Jeremiah 29:13 that tells us “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Beth asked the question, “Why was John chosen to receive the Revelation?” She believes that it was because of all Christ’s disciples, John was the one who was altered, fundamentally changed, by every fresh disclosure of Jesus. John was present with Jesus at his transfiguration, with him at the Garden of Gethsemane. Beth challenged us to ask ourselves, “…when was the last time you were altered and changed when Jesus showed you something new about himself?”

Key scripture passage for this weekend was Exodus 34:1-7 First, some context: In Exodus 31-33, Moses is on Mt. Sinai, and God gives him the two stone tablets, inscribed by the finger of God with God’s commandments. Meanwhile, the Israelites are growing impatient waiting for Moses to come down the mountain, so they tell Aaron “come, let us make gods who will go before us”, and they form the golden calf. Moses descends from the mountain, and in his anger (that is putting it mildly), he breaks the stone tablets, grinds the golden calf up into powder and makes them drink it. This is followed by a purging where 3000 of them are killed. God then tells Moses to get them together and leave the land, and Moses pleads for God’s Presence to go with them.

There is a great passage here in Exodus 33:14-17 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Aside - Moses must not have been listening because he goes on to say, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” (NOTE – this is the thing that distinguishes us today from all the other people on the earth – the Presence of the Living God in us!) God (instead of telling Moses, weren’t you listening???) says “I will do the very thing you have asked because I am pleased with you and know you by name.” Then Moses (in a display of amazing boldness) tells God “Now show me your glory.”

God tells Moses that he, Moses, cannot see God’s face, so God will hide him in the cleft of the rock and Moses can see his back. Now we go on to Exodus 34.

1 The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke.
2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain.
3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain."
4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands.
5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD.
6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

This passage, Exodus 34:6-7 is God’s disclosure to us, His description of what He is like. God wouldn't (couldn't) showMoses His glory, so instead, He tells Moses what He is like, revealing himself through HIs words. In God's words we find 7 things here we will like, and one that we won’t like:

Seven Things We Will Like:

· Compassionate
· Gracious
· Slow to anger
· Abounding in love
· Abounding in faithfulness
· Maintaining love
· Forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin

One Thing We Won’t Like
· Does not leave the guilty unpunished, punishing the children and their children to the third and fourth generation

We will cover each of these, starting with the last:

“Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

The Hebrew word used here for “punishes” in the phrase “…punishes the children and their children…” is used 119 times in the OT to mean “visits”, and 31 times for “punish”. Beth pointed us to Ezekiel 18, which describes a righteous man (A) who has a wicked son (B), who in turn has a son (C) who sees the evil his father has done and does NOT commit these sins. This chapter tells us very clearly that the wicked man (B) will “surely be put to death and his blood will be on his own head”, but the wicked man’s son (C) “will not die for his father’s sin; he will surely live.” Ezekiel 18:20 says “The souls who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him and the wickedness of the wicked man will be charged to him.”

So God doesn’t literally mean that children and grandchildren are punished for the sins of the fathers. Beth explained that what this passage in Exodus 34 is really saying is that the effects, meaning impacts, and consequences, results of sin are visited on the following generations. Also, 3-4 generations are the most that could possibly live together, and probably did live together as extended families at that time. So the impacts of sin would be felt and shared by the whole family, which would span 3-4 generations and include children and grandchildren.

See also Exodus 20:4-6, where God punishes sin to the third and fourth generation, but shows love to 1000 generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. be continued...