I am the oldest of five. So there was rarely a quiet moment in my house. But if you were to walk into my house, knowing that the whole family was home, and you didn’t hear basketball’s bouncing off the walls or music blaring it would be safe to assume that we were eating some of my dad’s homemade peanut butter cookies.
My dad would make these cookies all the time because the recipe was so simple. He would start with the flour as the base, and then just add three ingredients: peanut butter, sugar, and eggs. Then he would put the little peanut butter balls in the oven and let the magic happen.
I have been thinking a lot about when Jesus gives The Greatest Commandment in Matthew 22 when He says, “Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, Soul, and Mind.”
God is the flour. He is the base. God is the foundation and the starting place of every thing we do. In Matthew 22 Jesus says that the Greatest Commandment has three parts that work flawlessly with each other: Love God with our Hearts, Souls, and Minds. In order to Love God this way we have to make the choice to do it. And when we do this we supply the ingredients necessary to fulfill the goal.
Our Love for God with our Heart becomes the sugar. Our Love for God with our Soul becomes the eggs. And our Love for God with our Mind becomes the peanut butter. When all three of these ingredients are working together with the perfect base, the outcome is guaranteed.
Soli Deo gloria
This is the second part of the two part series recapping a retreat that my fiancé and I attended a few weeks ago. The first part was about how to cultivate REAL Love and how to communicate better. You can read part one here: Growing a Healthy Relationship (Part 1)
Today, I’m going to give a brief overview of the second half of the seminar. The third session was all about listening. One of the main definitions of listening is “listening means that when another person is speaking you are not thinking about what your are going to say when the other person stops talking.” This is a tough one for me, because my brain is constantly thinking of how I am going to react. But when I’m doing this I am not truly listening to my fiancé. And that’s not okay.
The last section was all about choosing a Christ-Centered relationship. There are differences between a marriage between two Christians and a Christ-Centered marriage. In a marriage with two Christians Jesus is valued, we seek to be understood, we want to be served and we pray “Lord, change him/her.” But in a Christ-Centered marriage Jesus is Lord, we choose to understand our spouse, we seek opportunities to serve, and we pray “Lord, change me.”
This is just a brief overview of all that was learned at this amazing retreat. If you ever have an opportunity to attend this retreat I would encourage you to clear your schedule, because it will change the way you communicate with your spouse or future spouse. I pray that you all will continue Growing a Healthy Relationship.
Soli Deo gloria
“Don’t you cry for the lost. Smile for the living. Get what you need and give what you’re given. Life’s for the living, so live it, or you’re better off dead.”
These are the lyrics to a very catchy song that I heard this week. I’ve been wrestling with that last line ever since I first heard it. “Life’s for the living, so live it, or you’re better off dead.”
I understand that it is a carpe diem, you only live once kind of saying. I get that. But I am uncomfortable saying that someone is “better off dead.”
This is where I have landed so far: I believe in the all-powerful, forgiving God of the universe. Since I believe the Bible to be true, I believe that no matter how far away from God someone has been, they can still repent and turn their heart to God and He will forgive them.
This being said, I agree that life is definitely for the living. We don’t have much time on this Earth so we need to live the life we’ve been given. However, if you are not grateful for your life at his present moment I do not agree that you’re better off dead. Because there is still time for you to turn to Jesus and live.
What are your thoughts?
Soli Deo gloria
This past weekend my fiancé and I had the opportunity to participate in the Growing a Healthy Relationship retreat. The emphasis was communication.
Let me start by saying the retreat was phenomenal. The material was practical. The speakers, Nathan and Amy Oliver, were intelligent, genuine and easy to approach. And the outcome has already been a positive one.
The retreat was divided into four sessions. The first session focused on cultivating REAL Love. Real Love: is God’s idea, is difficult, involves pain, is a decision, is a verb, and focuses on how much you are being Loving rather than how much you are being Loved.
Next, we were taught about communication. We learned practical material such as how we need to teach ourselves how to respond rather than react. When we react we are letting our emotions control our conversations. Also, we need to cultivate the habit of assuming the best about our partner and their motives.
This is just a satellite’s view of the entire retreat. The retreat itself went into so much detail and the speakers were available to answer any questions we had. Next week I will share a bit about the second half of the seminar. But in the meantime here is their website if you would like any additional information: Growing a Healthy Relationship Retreat
Soli Deo gloria
As I sit down to write the post for this week I have no idea what I am going to share. After discarding several options the phrase, “Keep Going” comes to mind.
Keep Going. Do not lose Hope in God.
There is someone out there that needs to read this post on pushing through. Keep the faith. Push through.
We’ve all heard the clichés “Keep on keepin on” or “If you’re going through hell keep on going.” These clichés are helpful, but they assure that good times will soon follow if you are persistent. I’m here to say keep going, no matter if it gets better or not.
I cannot assure you that you will have a great (or even good) life on this Earth. But I can assure you that if you Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and make Him the Lord of your life that the eternal condition of your soul will be better than you can imagine.
So I leave you with this motto that I have tried to apply to everyday of my life:
Stay Strong and Obey God.
Soli Deo gloria
Seek wisdom. From people who are wise.
Learn from people who have been there before.
Don’t share all your memories with social media, save some for yourself.
You can control your feelings. Really.
Seek friends that have little in common with you.
Use deodorant. Daily.
Be nice to people who are not attractive to you.
Read. Anything. Think of something you like, then find something to read about it.
Care too much.
You aren’t as tired as you think you are.
Write books. Paint. Make music. Poems. Doodle. Create.
Beware of going through the motions.
There is enough hours in the day.
Pet a puppy.
Enjoy a doughnut.
New Year’s Resolutions stink. I mean the new year is a definite incentive to start your “new way of living,” and I have seen people who have faithfully stuck with their resolution. However, I have to admit that I have never stuck with my New Year’s Resolution. Yes, you may judge me. For instance, Christian and I both decided that we weren’t going to drink soda for a year. Well, we spent New Year’s Eve with about 350 middle schoolers so all we wanted was caffeine! At around 12:01, Christian, without a thought in a head about our resolution, came up to me with a coke asking me if I was thirsty. We both sat there and chugged the thing down. FAIL. We both decided instead of just starting it a few minutes late we’d do what every wise person does… Maybe next year.
On that note of my failed resolution I want to tell you about the resolution that I have faithfully kept. Kind of. My resolution was to read the Bible every single day for a whole entire year. So, I decided to use a Bible that had reading planned out for me every single day. Now I don’t even have to think about what to read I have a Bible that just tells me what to read every day. I must admit, I started a few days late into the year (I was still heart broken over the soda resolution). But, I spent one day catching up to where I needed to be and continued to read on.
This post isn’t to make you see how good of a Christian I am because I decided to read my Bible for a year. My main purpose is to remind you of the power that the Word of God has on our lives. Because too often Christian’s try to read the Bible for a year and stop because it’s too difficult or boring. I must admit there have been days where I was too “busy” to do my reading so, I had to read twice as much the next day. But, I have noticed something quite different in myself when I am constantly in the Word. I become hungry for it and desire to read it everyday. But, one thing that astonishes me is my attitude. When I am reading the word faithfully I can see the change in my life in how I think, speak, and act.
The Bible itself tells us that the word of God is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). Which means that this isn’t just some old book saying old things. Scripture reveals to us that the Bible is still changing people today and sharing truth into our lives. The Bible is one of the only things in this world speaking truth into our lives. The world feeds us lie after lie each and every day about ourselves. So, I urge you to get into the word. Begin a late New Year’s Resolution (which is okay by the way) or pick up one that you started a long time ago but never finished. Let the Word of God speak truth into your life and watch God transform you.
Soli Deo gloriq