Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Forgetting What Is Behind...

Well, it's about to happen again! Another new year!

I suppose this year I will resolve to:

  • Study my Bible more.
  • Pray more for my family and friends.
  • Excercise regularly.
  • Lose weight.
  • Get completely out of debt.
  • Be a better wife and mother.
  • Be a better daughter, daughter-in-law and sister.
  • Reach out to and disciple more "younger" women.

Oh, wait a minute, that was last year's list! Oh, and the year before that, and the year before that... you get the picture!

Does it never get easier? Am I destined to continue trying to reach the same goals every year? Probably!

Oh well, it's a good thing I love January's!

If you haven't read the information about me, this would be a good time to stop by that spot. You'll find it here just pan down to "the juicy stuff".

I do love me a good January and Mondays!

One funny story I must share -

Today a friend was telling me that her son has become so much more well-behaved recently, that a friend commented on it while they were together, and wanted to know what had changed. I asked her if she'd told her friend that it was likely because she was homeschooling him now. (I know that may sound biased, but it's amazing how that does make a change - I know, I speak from experience.) Instead she tells me that I am so brilliant at helping others with "discipline issues" (she's called me a few times to ask advice) that I should "teach a class!" Seriously, I was hysterical! Are you kidding me?!?!?

I told her she should have been in my house around
10 a.m. the day before - I could have used a class myself!

"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you." (Philippians 3:12-15)

Abiding in His grace, and vowing to do better this year - AGAIN!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Home for the Holidays... ugh!

When you hear the sentiment, "Home for the Holidays" it should conjure up wonderful memories of holidays spent at home with the ones you love, right?

Well, here's what that looks like in the McGuire home this week...
  1. The 3 year old is sick, running as high as 102 fever, and coughing all over everything. We're desperately trying to learn the concept of covering your mouth (with something besides your hand). Since her birthday, she's also turned into a bit of a tyrant. At least she occasionally ends her demands with a really sweet, "Please." I've always said that the person who coined the phrase, "The Terrible Twos" just had a child who hadn't made it to 3! The 3s have always been worse for us than the 2s.
  2. My mom has strep and pnemonia in one of her lungs, but still plans to try to cook like normal on Wednesday/Thursday for our small family gathering.
  3. Our dog ate all of a rawhide chewy on Sunday night and then spent all night throwing it back up! Yuck! Then yesterday she started acting weird and wouldn't eat or drink. So Anna, my mom and I spent the night lastnight in the doggie ER (until about 1 a.m.) having her x-rayed and checked out. We think she's fine, but no rawhides in her stocking this year, or next, or the year after that. You get the picture.
  4. Todd is "buried up" in work. Praises be to our amazing Lord for that! So many other plumbing companies no longer exist thanks to the downturn in the housing market over the last 2 and a half years, but that's meant alot of that work has now come our way. The flip side of that coin however is that I have a VERY stressed out husband!
  5. All the shopping is done and gifts are wrapped, now it's just a matter of keeping Sarah Beth out of them. Thank God we got rid of the cat years ago (due to my allergies) she'd be climbing the tree right about now!
  6. Thankfully, Todd, Anna and I are still holding out - untouched by the sickness, so please pray that we remain that way!

Would love to hear how your holidays are going...

Abiding In His grace,


Monday, December 7, 2009

It Is More Blessed to Give than to Recieve...

My Bible study today has given me a number of things to write about. I am reading several books at one time (I always do) and I am filled with things that the Lord has pointed out to me about my own life as I read His precious Word and Bible studies.

The scripture passages and the books I've read from this morning have brought me to post about a few things, so I'm just going to lump them all into this one post, that might turn out to be rather long. :o)

The first book I read today is called Your Whole Life (The 3D Plan for *Eating Right *Living Well and *Loving God) by Carol Showalter and Maggie Davis. This is what I would call a "personal" book, one that really just addresses the needs in my own personal life and areas of growth I need personally. In this particular book, each day is started with a scripture reading. Today's reading was John 14:15-31. This passage is so familiar to me that I almost didn't bother looking it up and reading it, but knowing that God speaks to us most clearly through the reading of His Word and prompting from the Holy Spirit led me to change my mind. I am so thankful! I encourage you to read this rich passage of scripture today too.

Here are some of the things I underlined as I read the passage in the book written by the author's - "Obedience is the unmistakable sign of allegiance to and love for Jesus Christ." I am continually saddened by professing believers who claim to love Christ, but who openly refuse to obey Him. The Word says they are not His followers at all, but they have decieved themselves into believing that they are. The next passage I underlined, in reference to the scripture passage in John, says, "We need this sort of intense and direct word from time to time. Self-love is such a strong and sometimes hidden force that, unless something comes along to bring us up short, it can easily take over our hearts and crowd out our love for Jesus. Like the weeds in the parable of the sower, 'the cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful' Mark 4:19."

In our Western culture, this is something that believers have to deal with regularly. Wealth and things are delivered up on a platter to us daily - on television, through media, advertising, magazines and newspapers, at the grocery store, Wal-mart, and more. Wherever we go we are bombarded with stuff constantly! Companies spend millions of dollars on advertising every year to make you think that you can't do without all of the stuff that is available. Worst of all there is a false gospel that has spread like wildfire that teaches that the proportion of God's blessing for you is equal to the amount of money you make or the stuff you have. That is a lie! It is a disgusting misrepresentation of what it means to be a follower of Christ! It is shameful!

The next passage I noted says this, "Loving Jesus, and therefore, doing His will, is not something that we have the power to do in and of ourselves. That is His gift to us. With the apostle Paul, we can admit that without the help of the Holy Spirit within us, we are bound by the natural inclination to love ourselves above all else. The promise of the Gospel is that we can learn to have our lives directed by a new love, that we can actually become more interested in having God's will done than our own."

During my initial reading of the passage from John 14, I was struck by verse 18 in which Jesus says, "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you." As the hands and feet of Christ (which we - the Church - are as the body of Christ), what about the orphans throughout the World? I am so grateful that we adopted Sarah Beth, that she is no longer fatherless, and that she has the opportunity to know that God does not leave us nor forsake us. But, what about the millions of other children throughout the World who don't have the basic necessity of a father and a mother? As the church, we should be ashamed that we are not doing more. Instead we wish for flat screen t.v.s, sports, clothes, cell phones, cars, and more useless things. Absolutely shameful! We will answer for this. God uses the prompting of the Holy Spirit to lead us to do as we should. How many times have you had a prompting that you suppressed? I can tell you that mine is countless. I am ashamed.

The other book I'm reading is about Nehemiah's rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. It is Building Your Financial Fortress in 52 Days: The Lessons of Nehemiah by Kevin Cross, CPA. These are sobering thoughts and statistics: "There are more needs today than at any other time in history. There is also an unprecedented amount of wealth being wasted. Hitting closer to home, those who say they are 'Christ-followers' throughout the world control more wealth today than at any other time in history, to the tune of 16.4 trillion dollars in 2007.

Yet The 10/40 Window reveals 70 percent of the population in this area of the world does not know Jesus Christ. Half of the population lives on two dollars a day or less. We in America spend more each year on ice cream than what it would take to provide clean water, health care, and sanitation to the entire world. (!!! exclamation points added by me for emphasis) We will spend forty billion dollars this year on our pets. That comes out to $1,200 per year for each pet owner. The average giving family will contribute only $300 a year to send the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to those who are lost."

I can tell you from my own experience that it is indeed more of a blessing to give to those who are truly in need than it is to add one more thing to my already stuffed with stuff house.

What will you do this holiday season? Give your children a bunch of things they don't need, while others fight to stay alive because of starvation or diseased drinking water? Just think about it, that's all I'm asking you to do.

I have been the one who was doing without, not starving, but in need. I remember well how that feels. I'm now currently living a very comfortable life - because of a lot of hard work and sacrifice along the way by Todd and myself. We are now giving more than I ever imagined we would be able to. I am not most excited about the fact that I have more money to spend on things that moth and rust will destroy, or that thieves will break in and steal, but that I am able to give more to those in true need. We (and I'm including myself) no longer know what need is. It isn't a house, a new car, namebrand clothing, larger t.v.s, etc... At its very core what we need is to be obedient to Christ, and He doesn't call us to buy more stuff for ourselves, but to give - and to give until it hurts.

I've lived in a mobile home and I now live in a fairly nice home, I would go back to the mobile home in a minute if need be. It's a roof over my head, and one that is much nicer than what most people live in throughout the rest of the world. Todd and I have discussed building a new house sometime in the future. The house plan I'd picked was a nice comfortable 2800 square feet with a bonus area for Todd's office that added another 400 feet. That would be more than twice the size of the house we have now! Because of the equity in our home it would not cost us anymore than the mortgage we currently have. But, the more we discussed the prospect, we pondered the scripture that refers to "tearing down our barns to build bigger barns to store all of the stuff we've heaped up for ourselves" and we know we just can't do it! It would be nice and I could talk myself into believing that it would be a great place to have Bible studies and people over to minister to them. BULL!!! It would just be a bigger house to store more stuff, and to show off when people came over!!! We can't do it! So we are now reevaluating what is suitable to meet our needs, not our wants, so that we can continue to give liberally, which is what we are CALLED to do.

Whew, the Lord's shown me alot through a couple of verses and some commentary in a few books today. Perhaps He is speaking to you through this too. Whenever I write, I am "preaching" hardest of all to myself. I hope that my tone does not take on the sound of one who "has it all figured out" because that is not at all what I think.

Abiding in His grace, and continually growing,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Blue Moon Studios - Mt. Laurel

Hi Everyone:

Recently we had some pictures taken of the girls out at Mt. Laurel by Blue Moon Studios. You can view some of the shots taken here...

Hoping you all are gearing up for an enjoyable holiday season with your families,