Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ABC of the Word - I

I am catching up on my ABC's of the Word. Only a mere 3 weeks behind, remember to go check out our hostess Pat at Grey Like Snuffie
I will walk amoung you: I will be your God, and you will be my people."
Leviticus 26:12 NLT
This verse is of great comfort to me, it reminds me that God is always walking with me through all my days filled with peace and my days filled with trials. That the Almighty God sees me as His.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Family Matters - Chapter 5

I'm slowly catching up on my posts for Tuesday's Yes to God Book Study. I'm actually in the same week as the chapter. Next week I will hopefully be closer to on time. So if this is your first visit to my blog. Welcome. Yes to God is hosted by Lelia at Write From the Heart, you can cruise over to her blog and see other's thoughts on the book too. The book you may have guessed is An Untroubled Heart by Micca Campbell you can stop by her sight as well.

So let's start this chapter addressed our fears as it relates to our family. Okay I know I say I find tons in every chapter, but this one I think Micca wrote it for me. In the beginning she shares a prayer she wrote in her journal asking God to care and protect her children, and she expresses her great love for her children, a love she didn't know was possible to have. I remember when Brinn was a new born in the hospital with me. I had to stay 4 nights how I would just stare at her in wonder and amazement of how much I loved her. I was content to just hold her and watch her sleep. I was a one month old Christian, and I remember praying for God to protect us, provide for us, and to show me how to be the mother that would please him.

Micca shared a quote from Bible teacher Adrian Rogers that just completely soothed my fearful heart. "The Holy Spirit finds the desire of God and puts that desire in our hearts. When we pray for what's been laid on our hearts, it goes right back to heaven in agreement with God's will." When Brinn was born, I was a new mom, and as I've shared before about to become a single mom, and a newborn myself in Christ. I didn't know really how to pray, but I knew my desire was to raise Brinn to know Jesus and to raise her in according to how God would want me to. I only knew one scripture verse by heart. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. This was what I would repeat over and over, and I've clung to this verse ever since. God is constantly answering my prayer, the same prayer I still pray today. Teach me to be the mother (and now wife) you want me to be, so people will see you in me and in my family.

Micca asks us do we parent out of fear or faith? I thought about this for a long time. I will be honest most of the time it's been fear, but I'm learning more and more how to parent on faith. Micca said (and I can't phrase it better than this) "A mom's most precious treasure is her family. I know. I'm a wife and a mother. I can't think of anything in this world that I love more or would fight for more than my family." Speak the truth sister. "The battle is on" Micca says as we go up against the many outside influences that seek to steal our children's hearts and minds. This world is scary and dangerous and with out a firm foundation for our children a place of safety and comfort from the evil ruler in this world who wants to succeed in pulling our children away from us and Jesus.

God though is our "Master Builder" Psalm 127 "provides us with the tools we need to build a home that is protected, peaceful, prosperous, and pleasing to the Lord: Unless the Lord builds the house it's builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain."
We need to give our families and our home to the Lord, so that we don't get in God's way with our ideas of how to build a secure and safe home. Without God what we build is really just a facade like on the back of an old movie lot. Looks great from the outside, but when you walk through the door, there is no house just a false front put up to look good. "We let our anxieties about family get in the way of God's building work." There is no safety from the storms, no walls to keep the things that you want to stay out away, just a false sense of a home. "When we let fear get in the way, it's like trying to build without the correct materials. It's only when we place our rusty hammers and saws in God's hands that He is able to do what we fail to do in our best human efforts."
I remember when Brinn was small I had fears. Those fears were easily removed because she was little and she fully dependent on me. You are their protector and their comfort. Everything you say is right, their opinions are minimal mostly to their foods, and they love to hug you. Brinn would give me these hugs with her whole little body. She'd wrap her legs around my rib cage, her arms around my neck and squeeze with all her might. It was such a sweet loving way of expressing how much she loved me. At this age it was so much easier to keep the ugly of the world out.
(she was a little chunk of love)
Now though she's headed for preteen. Brinn will be 10 in June, and is full of questions, opinions, and even though she goes to a small private Christian School is still exposed to the draws of the worlds. She also is a great observer, she watches and listens to everyone around her, including us. Brinn has experienced much in her short 10 years, she's sees her mama go through extreme health issues, she's lost to divorce first a father, then a step mom, 1/2 brother, and step sister, who she misses. I got remarried, and we went from the two of us to the three of us. She went through Brett's addiction as well as his recovery and watched his redemption, and then her adoption by Brett. Through this whole time she was watching me and Brett and how we handle things, what did we teach her?
"We teach our children fear instead of faith when we try to live in our own strength instead of depending on God's ability." Honestly through most of the last 10 years I believe that she has seen more faith than fear. I find it easier to give my problems and desperate times over to God, but when it comes to giving control over to my Heavenly Father of Brinn I falter.
Where my fear comes in that God has been working on is wanting to protect Brinn from the pain I felt as a child and mistakes I made growing up. I Fear Junior High School, and all the changes that come with it. Let's face it she's not my little chunky monkey she was in the picture above. This is Brinn just a few weeks ago.

She picks her own clothes (she has full leggins on though) has her own taste in music, and her own ideas and intrests. I see a lot of me in her, and that SCARES me. This is where I must turn all of my fears over to the Lord, and God is teaching me that He will walk with my daughter. Remember those bodyguards from the last chapter Goodness and Mercy, well God's given Brinn those bodyguards to.

Paul writes "If God is for us, who can be against us? -- Romans 8:31, then Micca reminds us if we claim this verse we must live it out, in all things. "Our children shouldn't see fear in us. We can't say with our mouths that we trust God and contradict that trust with our actions."

So now I'm adding to my simple prayer, asking God to teach me when "to guard and not to guard, when to protect and not to protect, and when to trade fear for faith" and to continue to help me teach her in your ways. I love Micca's advice about teaching our children "how to use God's Word as a handbook for decision making." Teaching Brinn Philippians 4:8 is already been set in motion.

It was a hard for me when I realized that going to public school in Jr. High was part of God's plan for Brinn. I had wanted her to go to a private Christian Jr. High and High school. I pushed that on her which put a lot of pressure on her regarding school, and on us financially. I was afraid of the environment, afraid of the agendas being pushed out here. Then God reminded me "Carol I'm bigger than the public school agendas and systems" oh yes, my God is Big, and Goodness and Mercy are with my Brinn. Yes Brinn , will feel lonely the first few weeks of school, because she won't know anyone then she'll have fights with her friends, and encounter "sandpaper people". I won't know every teacher in the school or every child that she spends her day with, but God will and I know He loves Brinn more deeply than I ever can imagine. She will come home with ideas and wants that we'll disagree over, but that's part of her growing and part of me learning to let her become the person God needs her to be.

Lord I love you, and I'm grateful for the way you live with us in our home everyday. I know that you walk with us, and ahead of us wherever we go and wherever we are headed. Lord give the strength and courage not to try and take control of your work. I want you as my Master Builder, you as the rock our family and faith is built upon. I know that you have a plan for each member of my family, and your plans are always for your glory, and what is right for us. Thank you Father. Amen



Friday, April 24, 2009

Back on a roll for the Friday In

Well after being out of the blog routine, I thought I do something on time and start my weekend off with a Friday Fill In. And...here we go!

1. Apparently there's some sort of confusion from my residents that cleaning your apartment when you move out is not their responsibility. That we should clean 6 years worth of dirt, grease, and tub scum. Hmmm I wonder if Mike Roe from Dirty Jobs wants to come for this one.

2. Today is a sunny day, but thankfully it's not 98 degrees like it was two days ago.

3. 2009 has been a blessed year for my family so far. God is Good!!!!

4. Ever eaten one of those 100 calorie pack snacks like the Twinkies or the cookies and think that was it.

5. For too long I've been worrying about what others would think of me, now I realize it only matters what God thinks of me, and He thinks I'm beautifully and wonderfully made. Want to know a secret He thinks you are too. :)

6. I am not obsessed with blogging or scrapbooking; I am not! I mean really just because I have signed up so I could mobile blog, and can check my email from my phone, and cruising my scrapbook sites while I sit in my scraproom at home with it does not mean I'm obsessed.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a little blogging and a little scrap time (not obsessed), tomorrow my plans include ww meeting hoping to meet my 10% goal, my niece coming over to scrap (really not obsessed) and Sunday, I want to go to church, and then hang at home maybe scrap some more. I'm not obsessed!

Hugs my friends have blessed weekend.


Monday, April 20, 2009

The Pressure's On -- Chapter 4

Well it's back to the routine almost, I'm posting tonight on Chapter 4 in our Yes to God study hosted by Lelia. We are in the book An Untroubled Heart, by Micca Campbell. Once again Micca's book has given me much to reflect on in my life. I can say that I've been under the pressure and stress before and God has always pulled me through. What do they say, as believers we are either in the midst of a trial, just coming through one, or getting ready to enter one.

I can't say that my life is pressure free, but I don't feel like I'm in a trial at this point, as some of my friends. I'd say we are more on the just coming through one stage. So I was struggling with how to share with you all. I think my favorite part of this whole chapter was all the reference to:

Psalm 23.

A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd,

I shall not want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside the still waters,

3 He restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness

for His name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil, for You are with me;

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever. (NKJV)

(bold emphasis mine)

Goodness and Mercy, Micca introduces them as our bodyguards. What a visual that is, since reading that I picture these two mighty angles with me all the time. These bodyguards represent God's promise to us. No matter what we face they are with us, God is with us.

So what does Goodness as a bodyguard look like? Micca shares this,"The biblical concept on concrete experience of what God has done and is doing in the lives of His people. The goodness of God is experienced in His creative work, saving acts personal deliverance, and freedom from captivity of things such as fear, anxiety, pride, malice, and sin. God's goodness is extended in His name, His promises, His gifts, His provisions, and His providence in shaping personal and world events."

What about Mercy? "According to the dictionary, mercy means kindness or forgiveness to somebody you have power over or the easing of distress or pain. The biblical concept of the word mercy always involves helping those who are in need or distress. It's clear from the descriptions that Goodness and Mercy are God's aids that rush to our rescue when we are full of anxiety and in need."

Powerful stuff isn't it? There is so much more in this chapter, but tonight I feel the leading of sharing a story as discreetly as possible of a family we know, who we found out today is going through a trial that just left me in thought and pondering all through the day.

A family that we have grown to love and care for very much for the last 5 years is in what the world would call a rock and a hard place. They are a family strong in faith, and we have watched as God has lead them through many places that to people who don't know God would just give up on. So as I share this I also ask your prayers over this family. I can't give names, but we know God already knows who you are praying for.

We spoke with our friend and asked him how he was. Frustrated, mad, and stressed. You see he cares for and loves deeply his wife and family. He lovingly and diligently cares for his wife who suffers from an illness that has declined her health to the point of being wheel chair bound and needing care givers. He is not a wealthy man financially, but works hard to keep his family in a loving and safe home and fully intact. The children are smarter beyond their years and have also learned to lean heavily on God.

In order for our friend to work he must have caregivers for his wife while he's not there. In California state aid is available, and has been helping up until today. Today we found out that the state feels that he makes to much money to continue to provide her the assistance they need. He has at this point two choices quit his job, so he can be the caregiver, or divorce his wife so that she can be considered unable to provide for herself. The amount needed to cover the expenses is the equivalent to another entry level full time job, but of course that can't happen because they's need another caretaker for that.

As we talked with our friend today, we could see the great burden he feels. My husband and I walked with him arm and arm as we talked, listening. Our friend said two things, that made my heart leap, "I don't know how it'll turn out, but God always wins." Then he said, "even if God moves us to a one room shack, it'll be where God wants us to be and He will take care of us." I had to hold my tears. We talked more about the roads God has brought him down, but this one he said is the first one he just can't see past today. He can't figure out where the money will come from, but God does. We prayed and hugged. We prayed for his strength, his health, his wife's health, for their children's peace. Our friend is also having deep chest pains from this stress. We told him we will help in anyway we can, and we'll pray for others to step out in faith and help them as well. I wish you could meet his wife, she always shines God's love and faith in her smile.

I honestly don't know how this will turn out, I just kept reminding myself all day that God see's the picture much bigger than I do, and nothing is beyond Him. I know one thing those bodyguards Goodness and Mercy are encamped around my friends home. Micca reminds us that " What we can count on are His agents of Goodness and Mercy for deliverance and provision. Sometimes they show up in unexpected ways."

Today as my thoughts would stray back to my friends, I went through a wave of emotions. I'm the first to admit that as far as California goes, it's system is messed up. Money goes in all the wrong places, but I can't focus on that. It's a world system created by fallen man, and let's face it it's not getting any better. No I must take the anger and frustration that Satan so longs to feed, and turn it into praise and worship for my Mighty King, and Soverign Lord over All. Praise and worship because I have faith that God will take this situation and do glorious things for not only my friends family, but will be used to show His glory to so many people.

There is so much more to this chapter but I'm going to leave you with this, that no matter what pressure we are under, when we can't see past the pain, and fear and we don't know how this will work out, God does. We must lean into God during the times, this is when God refines us into the person we are suppose to be. This is the time when we need to ask people to pray for us and pray for us without ceasing. As my friend said today we must remember that "God always wins." He has gone before us and prepared the way.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Fear Factor -- Fashioned for Faith -- Not Fear

First a big Woo Hoo and thank you to my Sweet Sister Paula, I was one of the lucky winners of her blogaversary drawings. I'm so excited, and will post pics on my blog when my beautiful journal arrives. Make sure you visit Paula Sweet Pea at her blog His Ways are Not Our Ways.

I don't know about you all but it's been a busy month for the Lueckfeld's so far. Though they are joyful things that distract me from keeping me up to date on my Yes to God study, I have to tell you I miss my peeps, and getting to read and keep up on my friends. That is one of the cool things about blogs though we can be behind and still get to get in on the conversation.

I'm playing catch up the last couple weeks, so I'm going to share my thoughts on Chapter 2 The Fear Factor and Chapter 3 Fashioned for Faith Not Fear. Our book is by Micca Campbell, An Untroubled Heart, and to get some more insight into what the others are reading head over to Lelia's blog Write From the Heart. Forgive me if I ramble there was so much in these 2 chapters my thoughts were full.
"Fear not" it's a simple statement it's all over the Bible. When God appeared to Moses, when the angels appeared to the prophets, and when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, all of them said "Fear not". Jesus told us to "Fear not", and so do the apostles in their letters. In fact Mica tells us that " 'fear not' is stated in the Bible 366 times. That's one 'fear not' for every day of the year, with one extra left over for those really hard days." How amazing is that, God is in all the details. We can wake up each morning and tell ourselves straight from scripture "Fear Not". My verse for this year to pray on was the one Micca shared.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline" 2Timothy 1:7." Micca reminds that "You and I were created to live by faith, and in God, we have all the power we need for a faith that is stronger than all our fears."
Let's face it there are a lot of things going on that bring fear and worry to our hearts. I hear it and see it all the time at work. I have people who are afraid of loosing their jobs, afraid of the schools their children will be in, they fear for their safety in a neighborhood that is very low crime, they fear war and many other things. The recent events in our world have created so much fear, anxiety and worry. "fear is a faith problem rather than a psychological problem." Who wouldn't, shoot just watching the nightly news is enough to give you a sleepless night. As children of God though we must have faith, "It takes faith to battle fear and put to death our anxieties as we learn to live with assurance in a God we can bank on. Without faith fear robs us of our peace, our abilities, our hopes, and our dreams."

I know that when fear and worries hit me, I can really let it take over, I can run with it and feed right into Satan's lies. Fear after all is his favorite tool, he knows right how to feed our fear. He wants us to think that God isn't interested in our petty thoughts, or the details of our life, or that our faith in God isn't enough, that we must take matters into our own hands, not give them to God. I love this acrostic and it's been rolling around in my head since I read it:

How do you know what your Fearing is real. Fear can be good when it warns us of something harmful, painful, the unexpected, and disaster. We can also have a healthy Fear of God. A fear that drives us to want to please Him and not disappoint Him. The unhealthy fear we experience comes from Satan; "He's good at making our fears based on lies look real when they are not." "It's important for you and me to determine if our fears are real or simply Satan's hocus-pocus."

In the end of Chapter 2 Jennifer sent us to different scriptures. One set to show us who Satan was, and the other set was to show us who Jesus is and the drastic contrast between them.
Satan: Deceitful, cunning and prays on the weak and vulnerable. The Father of Lies, and murderer (he successfully killed the spiritual life of Adam & Eve and introduced fear into the world) He blinds man to God's truth so they will sink deeper into their own depravity. He looks for every opportunity to overwhelm us temptation, persecution and discouragement. He will do whatever he can to drag the believer from fellowship and service with Christ. He deceives the whole world but his time is limited. Devil is a Greek verb meaning to slander or to falsely accuse.

He is not my idea of someone I want to listen to or even have near me.
Now my Jesus: will have all governments rest on His shoulders. He's a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. He is the Light of the world and the Light of Life, he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for us. Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life, No one comes to Father but through me. Lord of Lord, Kings of Kings and will overcome all those who war against Him. Those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.

Jesus how can we not love someone who is described in this way. He's the perfect friend, father, husband, protector, counselor and He laid down His life for us. I'm choosing to follow Jesus, and listen to Him.

In chapter 3 once again I have so much highlighted that it's hard for me to post all the things that went through my head. So I'm going to share things that stuck with me all week.

God's shelters us from the storms. We are never promised a trouble free life, in fact we are told that trials will come our way. We will loose people we love to circumstances and death, we will suffer from illness, we will suffer financial stresses and loss, but through it all God will provide us the strength to endure, and give us a rest and peace to weather the storm. God sees the big picture, He knows how our trials will shape us

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust' Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart" Psalm 91:1-4

Casting our Cares. I don't know about you but I think that's one of those Christanese terms that gets thrown around. I know it's one my husband use to hear when we first started going to church together, that one and "just give it to God" what does that mean he'd say. I heard it all the time too, but how many of us really understand what that means. I know I didn't, and I certainly couldn't explain it to Brett. For along time I had the same thought Micca did, if I cast my cares upon Him, as Peter said in 1 Peter 5:7 "cast all our cares upon God for he cares for you" that all my troubles would some how just go away. That didn't happen, and that's not what Peter meant. Micca explains it better than I here; "The point is that when you and I cast our cares on God, we are recognizing that it's His responsibility to care for us-not ours." We still have to endure the trial, but God will grow us through it, and provide for our needs as we endure. "We only see what's happening to us at the moment. God may allow events to come into our lives--good things and bad things, things that make sense and things that don't. Every one of these incidents serves as part of His plan for our lives. What you and I may think is harmful, God is using for our good--to bring us to completion in godly conduct and character." I know very well that it's hard to see in the midst of the trial, but it's true. We must continue to have faith, and assurance that God is with us in it.

Genuine Faith, this one I really a wow moment. This past 2 1/2 years I have spent more time in the scriptures than I have since I first came to know the Lord. I read, and listen to teachings, and discuss faith with all my blog ladies, and friends here and in the non cyber land. I have noticed the change in my ability to recall His promises, changes in my heart, and a much more unshakable strength in my faith. I hadn't really put my finger on it until I read this "My faith in God didn't begin to grow until I started studying the Bible and discovering who He really is. In fact, I had misconceptions about God and about faith, and those ideas fed my fears." I have friends and family that are not followers of Christ, and when Brett and I went through our marriage trial, I had fears of his relapse back into painkillers and pornography, many of people would say just have faith that he won't. Huh how can I faith in my husband when I don't have trust in him. No the only thing that relieved my fears was knowing that it wasn't me that was in control it was Jesus, and if Brett did relapse Jesus would be with me to bring me through it.
I heard a lot about people putting their faith in their "Higher Power". But their "Higher Power" were things like the ocean, and some unseen unknown entity, or even the "program" itself, it was really faith in nothing. Well folks their is now higher power other than Jesus, and many of the people I met who didn't know Jesus lived in fear, and could find no peace. It was sad. We must get to know God so that we know who our faith is in, and to know Him you must "spend time with God in His Word". This is not the "god of my own understanding", after all that's a god I make up to suit my needs, this is the God of the Bible, the One True God.

Live like you believe. In the last few months, I will not say I have not feared with all the uncertainty that plagues our country. I will tell you that the fear I felt, I was quickly able to let go of as I found strength in God's word, and the promises of his protection and provision. Now more than ever I find living out my faith and letting people know where my strength comes from is essential. People need to see the Hope that comes from living with Faith in the One True God, the Hope that came with Jesus' death and resurrection. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1 NKJV. Brett and I don't know if we will keep our jobs, if will keep our house, or if my liver will relapse or even fail again, those are scary things. We do know one thing though our God, and our Savior Jesus will never leave us, He will provide for us, and He will give us the strength and peace to rest in Him knowing that it's His responsibility, not ours to take care of us, it's our responsibility to trust in Him and be obedient to His Word.

Next up Chapter 4, when I'm not sure. We are going up to my father in laws for a few days. So it maybe another combined post. We'd covet your prayers for a safe journey, and to be able to live our Faith to it's fullest while there.

In Him my friends,


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mobile Bloggin here we go

Wanted to check this out. Here's a picture of Brinn to make you all smile.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Celebrate!!!!! He is Risen!

1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "
8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
9When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.
12Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
15He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
19After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16
Death did not overtake Jesus, Jesus over took death. May you find freedom in know the Savior Jesus. He's taken the punishment of our sins, so that we can have eternal life.
Happy Easter

Friday, April 10, 2009

TETELESTAI - It Is Finished!

Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews."
Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."
When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. "Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."So this is what the soldiers did.
John 19:20-24

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19 28-30

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:7-8 NIV

Why do we celebrate Good Friday why is it called Good Friday? It's the day we remember the sacrifice that God poured out, by sacrificing His one and only Son, our blessed savior Jesus. Jesus took upon himself our sins so that we may have a relationship with our Great and Loving God. Jesus cried out Tetelestai (Greek for It is finished). Jesus finished the work that God sent Him to do here to be the ultimate sacrifice.
"The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." John 1:29
Yes Jesus died a hideous and cruel earthly death, but the story doesn't end there.
Some may see this as a day of mourning, but it's really a day a hope and redemption, and a reminder of what we would suffer if we don't believe in Jesus as the Messiah. It's the day we as followers of Jesus look on and fall to our knees speechless by what God has done because of His great mercy, love, and kindness for the ones He created. For that reason we celebrate. Don't forget the story doesn't end here Sunday's Coming.
My Most Heavenly Father, there are no words that I can use to express the way you've changed my life. I did nothing to deserve your love or the forgiveness you gave, in fact I did everything that would cause you sorrow, I've been shameful and prideful, selfish and cruel, and I ran from you for so so long. But you never left me you pursued me and protected me even when I wasn't willing to see it. You waited for me ever so patiently, quietly hinting and revealing yourself to me until I at long last my eyes and heart were opened to you. I love you my Father, my Jesus, my Savior, my Redeemer. Amen.
Painting by Thomas Blackshear 11

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Brett The Big 30!

Today is my darling husband Brett's birthday. Yes my friends my hubs turned 30 today!. Brinn made (with a bit of assistance from mom) dad his favorite cake. White cake,and white frosting.

She lovingly put the candles in the shape of the numbers 30. And then sang him happy birthday. Brett of course took video of this on his phone. So what did Brett want to do for his birthday. Well as some of you may know Brett has 5 loves in his life. God, His Wife, Brinn, Home Theater, and Star Wars. For those of you didn't know this, the Home Theater is a passion. In fact I have a whole scrapbook dedicated to his home theater as it developed in our life together.
When we moved into our home one of Brett's big things was he wanted a Theater room. So here's one of the pages that shows Brett's theater room in our house. The problem with this was it was small and we could never have more than 3 people over the house. So we rarely had anyone over to watch movies. From a wife's point of view it was ugly. Yes the walls are all padded and it's entirely black.
Recently as God has grown and change Brett's heart so has the way Brett spends his time, and the movies he watches has changed. So now sitting alone away watching a movie is something he doesn't enjoy much. So Sunday night he said "I was thinking about moving the Theater equipment into the living room, what do you think?" My first response was "we won't be putting any black foam on the walls will we?" "No hun" was Brett's answer. Actually I thought it'd be cool, and besides now I've got Brett into the idea of painting the walls in the room so it was a bonus.
So last night the project went underway. This is Brett's idea of a good time, resetting up his theater. He couldn't sleep he was so excited.

So as it stands our "big tv" is now moved out of the living romm and will find a new space in the old theater room. Which will become a tv/game room. (Brett and I don't watch much tv.) Last night by this time all of the theater equipment had taken over the kitchen, and Brett had the screen on the wall.
Today he took the day off work, and pulled 5 speaker cables under the house, mounted speakers, and was coming up with a way to hang his projector from the ceiling. (that was my idea thanks to all those decorating budget shows). We also had to put up a new light fixture in the living room too.

So as it stands right now my darling husband is exhausted, and is taking tomorrow off. The projector is hung, the system plays, and we sampled the first viewing of what else Star Wars Episode 4. I now have a 92" screen on my wall, and the new house projects are mounting. But my darling hubs is happy, and it's pretty cool. Of course I'll post some pictures after everything is done. And for those of you whose hubbies are saying wow honey can we do that, I'm sorry. And in answer to the other man questions, yes he has Blue Ray. Yes we could watch the Super Bowl or the World Series on it, and yes we can even hook up our Wii on it.
So Happy Birthday Honey. I love you!.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Go Visit my Sweet Friend Paula

Okay so my very dear friend Paula, or Sweet Pea as many of us know her is celebrating her 1 year Blogaversary for her blog His Ways...are not our ways. With that she's having a very cool give away. Really though just by visiting her blog you will be blessed. She has a wonderful way of sharing God's word while sharing her heart.

So pop by and say hi.

In Him,

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Fill Ins #118

The only post I seem to be able to do on the same day it's suppose to be done. Click on the picture to see what other people share too.

And...here we go!
1. Angel or not, I will brave the crowds of Costco tonight so I don't miss out on my coupons.
2. The words my husband loves to hear on date night (wink wink) "any way you want me".
3. As my mother used to say, you're full of bull.
4. I'm always thirsty and hungry after I'm done working out or doing something strenuous.
5. Even in the most crowded of rooms I sometimes can't find someone to talk too, besides crowds make me uncomfortable, probably why I never enjoyed going night clubin.
6. A day I'm not covered in my spiritual armour is a day fraught with peril.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going to Costco (not really) and watching Bolt on DVD with my family, tomorrow my plans include W.W. meeting getting closer to that first 10% goal, getting a second facial treatment, and then off to mom in laws to have dinner to celebrate hubbies birthday and Sunday, I want to go to church and then do nothing the rest of the day!
Happy Friday Everyone!!!

ABC's of the Word - H

Seems I'm a bit behind on all my posts. God's word is always timely though.

For more ABC's of the Word make sure to stop by and visit our gracious host Pam at Grey Like Snuffie. She has inspired many of us to search through God's word in a new way. Make sure to stop and visit some of the other ladies who share their letter each week too.

This weeks Letter is H.

One for all of us ladies.

Proverbs 31:27-31 (NASB)
27She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
29"Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all."
30Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.
Reading through this verse reminds me that being a wife who respects and loves her husband, and who loves her child, is beautiful in the eyes of the Lord. When we love our family by caring for them our of our reverence and love for our Lord, we are pleasing in His sight.
In Him,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Brett's Letter

I also wanted to share this letter that Brett wrote to the courts on why he wanted to adopt Brinn. (I couldn't find it this morning) Brett read this letter on a special Father's Day Dedication at our church, where Brett dedicated Brinn to the Lord and promised to raise her in the Truth of God's Word. This is a letter that expresses Brett's heart, and a little window into Brett himself.

Why I want to adopt my daughter Brinn Shemwell

Where do you begin a letter that involves one of the most important decisions and commitments that I will ever make in my life? If there is one thing I’ve learned in my 28 years of life on this planet it is to do all things in love. That’s what this letter is about my love for my most precious gift that God my father has given me the opportunity to do and that’s to adopt Brinn.

I will start with my own childhood experience which is similar to Brinn’s and that is my biological father left my mother, sister, and I the day before my ninth birthday. In actuality he hadn’t been there for several years before because he was devoting himself to another woman. The result of this was a lack of a father in my life, my sister’s life and my mom without a husband. I along with my family are still suffering from this loss today.

Over the years I have had low self esteem as a result of my fathers’ disappearance and had turned to the world for comfort. I found comfort in food, spending money and drugs to drown out my pain for many years.

I thank God that the story does not end there. Almost 6 years ago on March 4th I had my first date with my wife Carol and my daughter Brinn who was about 2 ¾ years old at the time. On our first date Brinn let me know she wasn’t going to share her mother very easily, because all night she would say to me “my mommy” in the most loving and serious tone. I look back now and I laugh because I can see God was telling me in the most simple way that if you want one you have to want both and I very much did. Six months later while out for ice cream Brinn asked me to be her Daddy and I tearfully agreed! On December 24th I asked Brinn if it would be okay if I married her mommy and she said yes, and Carol and I were engaged that evening. The three of us were married on May 16th 2003.

Over the next few years our pastor at the time would call us the perfect family in some ways we were, but in many other ways we were not, but what family is. Even though I still have issues from my past and current life to deal with I have always tried to be the best father for Brinn that she needs in her life.

I have talked about adopting Brinn for about 3 years now while learning what it means to be a parent who loves their child with his whole heart, a husband who loves his wife with his whole heart, and to love myself for who God created me to be and to love God. That being said I believe I am ready and fit to move forward in this adoption process. I have been given a new life as I have reached over 1 year of sobriety and turned all areas of my life over to God and he has blessed me more that I can tell you over the last year. I believe that God directs our steps and God has finally brought me on this journey and to the adoption of Brinn.

I want to adopt Brinn because she’s my daughter, the one who God has given to me. She’s my daughter in everyway but in a legal sense. Not only is she my daughter but she’s my friend, we have been through tough times together as a family, as a father daughter, and personal hurts and sadness. I have watched her grow since she was 2 ¾ years old to right now at the age of 8, we have laughed together, played together, run together, swam together, done homework together, been places together, and cried together, we have been a father and a daughter together. I try to give Brinn what every little girl needs from a father. I give her love, direction, purpose and security of knowing that this father won’t leave her. I would love to give her a father recognized through the legal system in order to give her a legal commitment in which she would be secure if something were to happen to her mother, (which is a possibility due to her illness of Autoimmune Hepatitis) that she wouldn’t loose the only father that’s cared for her. The adoption is also a statement of my commitment to her that I want the responsibility of being her legal father and I can only imagine the security she will get from that later in life.

The future is not promised to any of us, everyday we wake every breath we take is a gift from God. My wife and daughter are my 2 greatest gifts I’ve been given from God along with his saving grace. I Brett Lueckfeld pray that I will be granted the privilege of adopting Brinn, and being her father in everyway possible, in order to provide her a safe loving Godly upbringing that my wife and I want her to have.

Respectfully yours,

Brett Carl Lueckfeld

Happy Adoption Anniversary

It's hard to believe it's been 1 year since Brett's adoption of our daughter Brinn was finalized by the judge. Yes 1 year ago today on April 1st, 2008 Brinn was legally recognized by the government law as Brinn's Father. (No Foolin) A position that God had actually given and granted him 5 years earlier. I wanted to share pictures of that moment with you.
This is us in the judges chambers. She did all the adoptions. Brett's mom was there along with my friend Cynde, and Kim. Kim's two daughters went to school with Brinn and were adopted by Kim and her husband 2 years earlier, so she took them out of school that morning so they could be there to support Brinn. How sweet is that.

Here we are signing the papers. The judge asked Brinn if she wanted to have Brett adopt her and she said yes, he's already my daddy anyway.

Kim gave this bear to Brinn with a little shirt that says Happy Adoption Day, Brinn, and the date, the bears name is April. The judge had a bookshelf full of stuffed animals and little toys. When the adoption was complete and Brett was all signed up as official daddy. The judge let the 3 girls each pick a toy from the shelf.

Here we are with the judge. The stuffy Brinn picked is her monkey Momo. He's been her best bud this last year. Tonight we are off to Chili's Brinn's favorite restaurant to celebrate. I imagine Momo will come too. God has blessed us greatly.
When Brinn and I were on our own, I had accepted that it would probably be just her and I. I knew that God would be our husband and father. But God went beyond that. He answered my prayer that Brinn wouldn't have to endure a life of going back and forth between me and her bio father. He provided Brinn a whole family, and when Brett turned his life over to the Lord allowed him the sealing of our family through an earthly venue, and showed us His blessing over our family.
One of the hardest things we faced when we started the adoption process was telling Brinn that Pat had released his rights as her father. She hadn't seen him in almost 3 years, but the words that came from her broke my heart. She said with tears welling up in her eyes "He gave me away". At only 7 years old she figured out. Brinn was hurt and just didn't understand how come Pat didn't want to be with me and her. "Why didn't he want to be with us Mommy." Not an easy question to answere.
Through the adoption the Lord also provided something else that Brinn needed. That was a commitment to her that Brett loved her just for her, not because she came as part of the deal when he married me. It showed her that he would not leave her, that he choose her to be his daughter. Just as God our Father chooses us to be His children. Since that day Brinn's attachment and love for her daddy has changed. She grew to love Brett, but now she's different with him. She doesn't keep a distance between them, she's learning to trust her dad, that his commitment to her is real. I pray that she gives that same trust to her Heavenly Father.
Thank you Lord for your blessing of love upon my family.
I'm going to double up on my Yes to God posts. Things have been busy here. So I'll be by in the next few days to read your posts.