Consider the Lilies..   

Sep 14, 2018

It's Friday..

Clay will be home in 7 days..
He has to stay an extra week again. 
I think that's gonna be a thing until his time in Baku is up.

He sent me books for my birthday.
All 10 volumes of Charles Spurgeon's sermons.
I'm super happy!

All of the stores have fall decorations and halloween stuff.
It makes me really want fall weather.
I want fall weather ALL the time.
But it's mid-September so it should feel like fall.
Except it's still hot.  :(
But seriously, who doesn't love fall?
Comfy sweaters, boots instead of flip flops, stopping at Scooters every time you leave the house, scarves and pumpkin spice everything!!
Plus fire pits, Vala's, the zoo..
Yeah people can go to the zoo year round, but when you absolutely HATE the heat and your medication makes the heat even worse, walking around the zoo isn't an enjoyable experience.
But soon there will be cooler weather and we can go a few times a week, plus the zoo is a great way to  do a bunch of walking without feeling like you're actually exercising.
I wish we were allowed to bring the dogs though.

I have to go to church two hours early this Sunday to talk to the guy in charge of the bookstore.
One of the bookstore people approached me and asked me if I could serve first shift.
I don't want to, but I can't really pray for God to make me aware of a place to serve in my church if it's something I'm supposed to do and then say no when it happens.
It's pretty perfect for me though.  I mean, if I am supposed to do something at my church the first shift at the bookstore is it.  Hardly anyone ever comes in that early so I won't really have to talk to anyone, I'll get to see what new books we get before anyone else does, and I'll get to sit in a room full of books and read whatever I want.
So I'm going to go in and talk to the guy.  If he says "yes, I'd like you to do this." great.
If he says "I got someone else to do it," great.

According to my weather app (that lies to me all the time) there won't be ay lightning on Sunday.
I hope it stays that way.  I'm gonna risk it if it doesn't.
Aside from having to be there to talk to the bookstore guy, it's our pastor's 20th anniversary pastoring our church and his brother Mike Abendroth will be preaching.
He does NoCo Radio and has written a couple books. Evangelical White Lies is a good one.  He also fills in for Todd Friel sometimes on Wretched Radio.
He's a lot like his brother when it comes to preaching.  All Bible, no nonsense, doesn't pull any punches.  
I'm bummed that Clay is going to miss it :(

Well, I have a bunch of laundry to do..
Happy Friday!

Aug 31, 2018

One Thing..

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about Christians who no longer attend church because they have been swindled, hurt, and flat out lied to by church leadership.
It got me thinking..

They spent years believing what they were told.
They invested hours and hours of their lives serving a church, making friends and giving their money.
They've invited these leaders into their homes and into their lives.  They watched these leaders baptize their children, they poured their heart out to them during counseling sessions, and they trusted them to guide, teach, and protect them like any good shepherd would.
And then one day they discover that they had been lied to.
It hurts.
I get it.
It makes it difficult to trust.
I get that too.
Believe me I do.

The thoughts that go through your head when you realize how deep the deception really was can be overwhelming.
There's a lot of anger, humiliation, confusion and definitely feelings of betrayal.
You feel stupid because you think that you allowed yourself to be deceived. You feel dumb because even though you know that you were lied to for so long you don't really know what the truth is and you think you are going to look even dumber by asking someone else. Plus even if you do want to ask someone else, you don't know who to trust to give you the right answers.
So then you either become really angry and lash out at every pastor or who ever lied to you, every pastor who ever lied to anyone else, and every Christian (or professing Christian) who ever told you anything that that wasn't true (even if they really did believe what they were saying) like I did, or you just decide to stop attending church at all because you don't know exactly what the truth is or who is going to tell it to you.

It's confusing at first.  There are a bazillion people with a bazillion different opinions.
There are a bazillion denominations, a bazillion different doctrines, a bazillion different versions of the Bible, a bazillion different authors of a bazillion different books teaching a bazillion different things.
OK, maybe not a bazillion but you get what I'm saying.
Plus when you come out of a church like I did where they teach you that discernment is some magical gift that only certain believers receive from God and that if you aren't one of those recipients then it's going to be even harder for you to know what is true and what isn't.

But here's the thing.
You have to go to church.  The Bible says so.  God commands us to be part of a church.  If you are physically able to attend church but you chose not to, you are being disobedient.
That's just the way it is.
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." - John 14:15

So what do you do?  How do you know a good church from a bad one?
Well, there are lots of different things you can look for.  I can list at least a dozen, probably more (and believe me I am more happy to do that) but I want to make this super simple.
So I'm just going to give you one.

Expository preaching:
This is when the pastor preaches from the Bible verse by verse.  When he starts at the beginning of a book of the Bible and teaches all the way to the end of the book, verse by verse.
Now I'm not saying that a good pastor will only preach this way and that if he doesn't, he's a liar.  I'm not saying that a topical sermon is a bad thing either.  
But when you are vulnerable and don't know who to trust, a church that focuses mainly on expository preaching is the one to look for.
The reason is simple.  
It's practically impossible to preach the Bible verse by verse week after week and twist it into meaning whatever you want it to mean because you have to make every verse coincide with the one before it and the one after it. And, if the pastor ever teaches that book again, his teachings will have to line up with how he taught it the first time.
This is why false teachers don't use this method when preaching.  This is why false teachers like Andy Stanley tell their congregation that pastors who use the expository method are lazy; because they don't want you to know what the Bible really says.  
God never changes and neither does his word.  
Pastors who preach using the expository method can't just pick and chose verses taken from the Bible and twist them to fit whatever theme, topic, or point they are trying to make.  They have to use to the verses in their proper context.  

So there you go. 
Get online, go to church websites, email them and ask them if the pastor preaches using the expository method. 
One easy thing.   
Happy Friday :)

Aug 18, 2018

Favorite things..

My sister's church is collecting handmade scarfs for the elderly so I put my needlepoint aside and bought new yarn.
I got 5 different colors with weird names like Wizard, Gnome, and Unicorn. 
I think this one is called Spirit.
It's striping yarn so the color changes aren't gradual like variegated. I don't usually like striping yarn but the scarves are coming out kind of pretty.
I liked one so much that I kept it :)

I had to get prescription glasses.
I don't know why but it never occurred to me that frames would cost much or that they all weren't priced the same..
Maybe it's because reading glasses are cheap and they all generally do cost the same?
Anyway, the doctor dilated my eyes before I went to chose the frames that I wanted, so I couldn't see very well.  I certainly didn't see the signs above the frames like Gucci and Dior and Ralph Lauren.
So I picked a pair that I liked, or thought I liked because my eyes were dilated and I couldn't really see them.
But Clay said they didn't look weird.
Once my eyes went back to normal I looked at the receipt and saw the letters DVF.
Diane Von Furstenberg..
Ok first I really do like her designs, but dang!  Do people really spend this much for glasses?
Thank GOD for insurance!
Now I'm afraid to take them off my face.
What if I lose them?  What if Gunner steals them?  
He's eaten a couple pairs of reading glasses so it really is something I think about..  :)
Ok, so aside from freaking out over the price that I would have paid without insurance, I was surprised by how much I could see when I first put them on.
 I knew that I couldn't read at all without reading glasses but I didn't realize that I was struggling to see everything else too.

 Ok, moving on..
I got plastic flamingos for the yard!
I know, how lame right?
That's sorta what I was going for..
Turns out they are really cute.
They even have googley eyes!

We had to get a new robot vacuum.
Well we didn't HAVE to, but Fernando stopped working after only a year.
We went for a better model this time and purchased an extended warranty.
This one works way better.
And it talks when there's a problem; like if it gets stuck or the dust bin needs to be emptied.
It's really cool, except when you are all alone and you hear a voice from the bedroom.  ;) 

Pink Sand gloss.
I love this stuff.

Dionis hand cream.
I found it at Cracker Barrel.
I wasn't really looking for hand cream when I got it but we went there for breakfast and while Clay was paying I was wandering around looking at stuff like everyone who goes to Cracker Barrel does.
There was a tester bottle so I tried some.
It works really well, I love the scent (Sea Treasures) and it's only $2.99.

Moleskine journals.
I've mentioned before that I like Moleskine journals, but I didn't know they made large ones.
I have a couple of the regular size journals (ok, I have 9 but who's counting?) and I have 3 miniature ones, but now I have large ones too!
I found a package of six at Costco.
Oh, and check this out..
Clay found this at Office Depot.
It's a journal without binding
So it lays flat no matter what page you open it to.
 Pretty cool huh?
I think I might have enough journals to last a while.

Death is coming.
I know, that sounds pretty foreboding doesn't it?
It's the Free Grace Broadcaster by Chapel Library.
Chapel Library is amazing.  They give out Christian Literature for free.
Yeah.  Free.
You don't even pay shipping.
You can download lots of stuff for free, and you can subscribe to the Free Grace Broadcaster too.
I ordered 25 copies of this one so I can hand them out with the Bibles and tracts.
*you can order up to 10 things for free once a month and then pay for anything over that amount.*
They work on donations only so it's a good charity to donate to if you're looking for something.
You won't get anything in the mail or your email asking for money.
Seriously, I wanted to pay for all 25 Broadcasters and I actually had to argue with the guy to do it.  He was determined to give me 10 of them for free.
So, check them out if you wanna..

"Our purpose is to humble the pride of man, exalt the grace of God in salvation, and promote real holiness in heart and life by distributing material from Spurgeon, Bonar, Ryle, Pink, and the Puritans to churches, missions, schools, prisons, and individuals. Chapel Library sends Christ-centered literature worldwide, relying entirely upon God’s faithfulness. We therefore do not solicit donations, but we gratefully receive support from those who freely desire to give."

Aug 12, 2018

Lotsa Stuff..

Last week my pastor's friend R. Scott Clark visited my church.
He's a super brilliant Reformed Christian author. He wrote my favorite book about the Westminster Confession of Faith, Recovering The Confession.
Anyway, I saw him sitting at the back of the church and sorta geeked out (he drives a Jeep too!). I was so tempted to grab one of his books after the service and ask him to sign it, but then I felt like it would be sort of tacky for me to do that since he's kind of a celebrity (at least in Theology-Nerdland) and I didn't want to be a nuisance. 
But then today during the singing this guy walks up to me and says "you are wanted in the bookstore".
Clay had just bought a book (I'll get to that one later) and I was thinking that maybe there was a problem with the debt card that he paid with, but guess what?
R. Scott Clark had walked in, grabbed two of his books off the shelf and signed them.
And I got them both!
I have a friend in Mississippi and Clark is his favorite teacher so I am going to send one of the books to him.  

The men's theology group is going to start studying this book in September.
Clay is going to miss the first couple of classes since he leaves for work tomorrow.
I got a copy on my Kindle.  I can't go to the class because it's just for men (dang it) but Clay gets all the notes from the pastor so I can learn everything at home.
I have an odd view on eschatology, at least an odd one for a Reformed Christian so this book is going to be really interesting!

We did more yard work while Clay was home..
The dogs were trampling the hydrangeas.  We planted them by the back fence hoping they would keep the dogs from running back and forth barking every time the lawn guys came to mow the lawn on the other side of the fence.  
Didn't work.  They just ran over them. 
So we put up little fences and put down mulch..
When I say 'we' I really mean Clay..
Gunner and I just sat in chairs and watched.
Ok, well Gunner didn't really do much actual sitting.

Oh! Speaking of yard stuff; in Omaha we have this stuff (milkweed) growing all over everything.
It's sort of a nuisance (I've used that word twice in one blog, weird) because it really does grow over everything.  Flowers, bushes, trees, fences, you name it.  Even if you just set something down in the yard, chances are this stuff is going to grow over it.  
Most of the time people just grab it when they see it and pull it off whatever it's clinging to because they don't know how important this stuff really is..
So if you live in an area where milkweed grows, take some extra care when pulling it up because they house monarch caterpillars, which turn into monarch butterflies.
The females lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves, then as the caterpillar hatches from the egg, it eats the egg until it's big enough to eat the leaves.
And then it grows up, builds it's cocoon on the stem and then becomes a butterfly and so on and so on.
Circle of life you know..
Anyway, this is a monarch caterpillar,
Most of the time you don't see them because they mostly live under the leaves so when you pull them up, you usually end up killing them.  No milkweed means no caterpillars and that means no butterflies and we need butterflies to pollinate stuff.
I'm not saying that you should let the stuff overtake your yard, but if you do have milkweed in your yard, maybe leave some of it. And then if you find any on the stuff you do pull up you can move them to the stuff you didn't (it's ok, they don't bite).  
Besides, who doesn't want a yard full of butterflies?

Aug 9, 2018

Weight lifted..

So, about me and my comfort zone..
After listening to another sermon where phrases like "come alongside each other" and "building relationships" and "church family" were mentioned, my conscience got the better of me and I went to talk to my pastor.
I was not looking forward to the conversation at all because I knew what he was going to say.  I've heard it before.  A lot. 
But I had told him that I was coming and I told Clay that I was going to go. So I went. 

I was blunt (imagine that) and said something like "You know how the bible talks about all that relationship, friendship, being together stuff? Well I find the very idea of it distasteful.  In fact I dread it.  Am I being willfully disobedient?  Am I sinning?  And if I am, what do I do about it?".
First he asked me to be more specific, so even though I knew that he was going to think that I was mean, cold-hearted, selfish and a total snob, I pushed on.

I explained that I didn't want people to come to my home, I didn't want to make friends because friends want to confide in you; which is perfectly ok but when friends confide in you, they sort of expect you to reciprocate, which is not ok with me.
*That doesn't mean to say that there aren't people in my life who know I can I talk to if I need to. There are.  
Two of them (although one of them lives in Florida).
But I don't completely confide in them.  
Except for Clay.  He is literally the only person on earth that I fully confide in.
I don't tell anyone anything that begins with "no one else knows this" and I never wish that I had a friend I could really talk to.*
I told him that I don't want to join anything at church.  Not bible-studies, not a small group, I don't want to go to retreats, potlucks, women's conferences, or even Sunday-school classes.  I told him why I sit in the very back row of the sanctuary, that I don't go hang out with people in the fellowship hall before or after the sermon and that I don't stop to talk to anyone on my way out.
I told him that I never get lonely or bored by myself and I don't wish that people would try to include me or invite me to stuff (even though they know I won't go).  I even told him that there are really only two people here in Omaha that I actually meet with socially (although rarely) and that's because these two people know me and even though we aren't together often, there is still that -I'm comfortable and don't have to pretend like I want to be here- feeling. 
And then I braced myself for what I was pretty sure was coming.
-Keep trying
-Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do just because it's the right thing to do
- You should join a small-group and the women's bible study because there could be someone there who might benefit from something you have to say
-Everyone needs friends
-Women need to be with other women so they can share their burdens and build each other up
And so on.. 

But he didn't!

First he said "If I asked for your help, would give it?"
I said yes.
Then he asked me a few more questions..
-If I knew that someone needed help would I help them?
-Do I want to see people saved? Even people I don't like?
-Do I share the gospel with others?
-Do I attend church regularly?
-Do I share the Lord's Supper with a gathering of believers?
-Do I read scripture and pray often for myself and others?
I said yes (and I meant it).
He told me that had I answered 'no' to any of his questions that I would need to repent and turn my 'no' answers into 'yes' answers.
Then he said "some people need to be with lots of other people and be part of things.  Some people don't. Neither way is wrong."
He also mentioned that there are people who come out of megachurches that have the same mentality that I do; that we are supposed to want to be part of everything, "do life together" join everything and serve everywhere as much as we can and that if we don't, that we need to do it anyway until we do.
He assured me that it's just not true.
And then he gave me a word study to work on and said "Keep doing whatever it is that you do. If you want to share what you do with others, do so.  If you don't, don't."

I feel better already.

P.S.  I really do love my church.
Honest :)

Jul 19, 2018

Are you SURE?

I can absolutely relate to this..
Some of the things she says, I have thought myself.
Almost word for word..
I know how it feels to believe you are saved when you aren't.

Jul 12, 2018

Thought Bubbles

I am tired of crocheting so I have switched to needlepoint. 
I am working on a Cross stitch quilt right now. 
I didn’t know that it was a quilt when I ordered it so I decided that I am going to learn how to quilt and this can be my practice piece. 

I’m going to start hand-sewing a hoodoo quilt pretty soon. I have no idea why it’s called a hoodoo quilt but it’s the easiest pattern I could find. 
Since I have no idea how to quilt, I figured I should start with the easiest one. 

Clay is going to stay an extra week in Baku. 

So far peppermint is my favorite scent to use in the diffuser. 

I started listening to The Excellent Wife audio book again. I’ve listened to few couple times before.  
It’s sort of odd but this time I find myself not agreeing with several of the things the author talks about in the book. 
Maybe I don’t completely disagree with some stuff in the book but I agree with less of it than I used to. 

Hawkeye on M*A*S*H is a knitter. 

This is what my dogs do when I don’t go to bed at the usual time. 

I reserved our room in Atlanta for the G3 Conference.  Got a discount, $214.00 off!

I have a cold.
How the heck can I have a cold?
I've gone to one place in the last week and I didn't touch anyone.
Dang it.
But now I have a reason to use eucalyptus in my diffusers!
(as if I actually needed one)

Yesterday I got a bunch of embroidery thread in the mail and I had to organize it.
It took me 3 hours.

Did you know that Hawkeye on M*A*S*H was a knitter?

So I stopped listening to The Excellent Wife and started listening to Dracula.
But I'm reading the Disciplines of a Godly Woman on my kindle and I'm reading this too.
It's really good!  John Bunyan always is.

Have I mentioned this lately?
For reals, if you don't have this book, GET IT!
If you're struggling with prayer, your identity in Christ, how to truly worship, or just looking for a daily devotional, this is THE BOOK. 
I got mine at my church but you can get it on Amazon or pretty much any bookstore online.
If you're in Omaha don't go looking for it at Parable, they won't have it.  
Aside from Bibles, they don't sell real Christian books anyway.
You can get it on paperback too.
Not kidding.  
I think it's so good and so important that I'll buy it for you..