Monday, December 24, 2007

Say Hello to Sammy

Sammy is the latest edition to my family! I had to say goodbye to Fred (the Ford Taurus) because of a gracious gift from my parents. I got Sammy after thanksgiving and he is such a cute little thing.

Some things I'm learning - I do have better parking abilities with Sammy than with Fred. Good pick up, smaller gas tank and it doesn't get as good of gas mileage, but oh, well.

Sammy looks much better now that it has a Gator sticker on the side of it.

This was taken after our first snow last weekend. As you can see not much - but some! Sammy's first taste of snow.

Oh, Sammy - official introduction - is a 2006 PT Cruiser (the S is from his color - silver). Lisa gave me some guidelines to naming our cars many years ago! (thanks!)

Books, Books and More Books

When I moved into the apt here I just wanted to get the boxes out of my living room - so I just through my books onto bookshelves in no particular order. Today - since I had some time (smelling citrus bread in the bread maker) - I organized my books. Now I can find them. I have a resource section, Piper and Lewis have their own sections (surprise). I have one for women, Christian Living, Missions and evangelism, fiction, Literature, church, family and home, theology, youth, culture/apologetics - and I think that is it.
As I was going through them I came across some that I hadn't read in a while. So, I wanted to create a Top 10 list of sorts. These are ones that I have read and completed - ones that have definitely made a serious impact in my walk with God. I'm thankful to these authors - how God has used them in my life.
Some of you will be surprised by these (not all are Piper, shock, I know!)

These are really in no particular order except that they all made the list:
1. Feminine Appeal - Carolyn Mahaney. I've read this one three times and it has given me much insight into marriage and how to counsel women who are married - and how I want to be married.
2. Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God - Noel Piper. Best book on amazing women and how God used them to change their worlds!
3. Swans are Not Silent Series - John Piper. Ok - so far there are 4 in this series, the best of which is number 2 - Hidden Smile of God. Amazing biographies (which is my fave type of book outside of cookbooks).
4. Humility - CJ Mahaney. If I could even have an ounce of the humility of this guy. He was on campus a week ago. One of my co-workers said, he opened the door for me. That is the type of simple humility this guy has!
5. Cost of Discipleship - Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I read this in college - and it totally changed my view of following Jesus back then. I'm so thankful that I had to read it. I still use many of his quotes.
6. Shadow of the Almighty and Through Gates of Splendor - Elisabeth Elliot. I put these two together because one is much a part of the other. The story of Jim, his journals (book in themselves) have deepened my faith and the love of Jesus and been used to convict me mightily of the inadequacies of my own personal walk with Jesus.
7. Pursuit of Holiness - Jerry Bridges. He is quickly becoming one of my fave authors. Such convicting books. I'm reading Trusting God right now and want to get Respectable Sins, one of his newest.
8. Mortification of Sin - John Owen. This book probably was the hardest to read because it was so convicting - the Word is so powerful and he used much of it. But, warning. I'll tell you what my pastor told me when I finished it - go read a book on grace. That is what we all need - GRACE!
9. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Piccoult. Duke made their incoming freshman last year read this and discuss it on orientation day. I picked it up. I cried, yelled, was frustrated - all these emotions. But, this book - probably more than any other - gave me an insight into many cultural thoughts and questions that we as Christians need an answer for. How are you engaging the world on these levels?
10. Valley of Vision - Multiple. This is a book of prayers written by Puritans. I use it as a supplement to my personal worship. I have shared with many of my girls as several people read it before me and shared it with me. Be prepared to be convicted on how light we view sin.
Enjoy them - if you have any thoughts on them, I'd love to hear them! Keep reading! Make it a discipline - I definitely know I need to read more! But, never forsake the perfect Book - the BIBLE!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Yay, Lord We Greet Thee...

Christmas songs. Most radio stations start playing them the day after Thanksgiving to get everyone in the mood to spend some money on black Friday. Well, radio stations up here in L-ville started playing them before T-day. I love normal music - I want it back!
But, I try to listen to some of the words - hear the Biblical truth in some of them, like the harmonies.
One line I heard traveling the other day stuck with me:
"Yay, Lord we greet Thee, born this happy morning. Jesus to Thee be all glory given. Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing...o come let us adore Him."
I know Christmas morning (Dec 25) was probably not the day that Jesus was born. But, so often Christmas morning is a time of opening presents and playing with new toys, eating. In FL growing up Dad would get up first, then Mom (her one day a year getting up early), then me, then Alan would eventually get out of bed. We would open gifts in about 10 minutes, each taking turns. Then the day would be over - we would walk usually in shorts and a t-shirt to Granny and Papa's to eat, watch football, go to a movie, etc.
But, have I ever opened my eyes on Christmas morning and said "Jesus - I greet you, born this happy morning."? Nope - maybe that will be a new tradition for me this year...
Happy almost Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

3 Jobs, 2 Moves, and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

This is from some emails I sent out to some this week:

Everybody sing!
I'm saving money this year again by sending out my yearly letter via email (or blog) - since that is how most of us communicate anyway - since stamps keep going up every year. I think that is good money management! :)
This year has definitely been one of changes for me. I started out the year working for Duke, living in Durham, attending the Summit church, loving Carolina. The Gators won the national championship, I went to my first Tarheel bball game, and then the Gators won another national championship.
The end of February I decided to move back home to Lakeland, FL to live with my parents for a while, not knowing how long it would be. I was working for my dad, helping out with the errands and shopping/crafting with my Mom. I loved getting to hang out with my friends in Orlando, Orange City, and St. Augustine. I loved getting to spend some time with my sister-in-law. I found a church in Orange City and plugged in there with the college ministry. I did some ministry with my former church in St. Augustine and got to know those high school girls more - they are great. Financially, it was a smart move as I was able to (graciously) delete some debt.
Orange City is about 90 minutes from Lakeland, so I started to look for a job near there. There was nothing full time - and I didn't want to take a p/t job and get in debt again. So, in early August we (my family and I) decided that I had to find a job and I sent out an email saying "I must have a job - I'll go anywhere and do anything!" - mostly out of desperation. One of my friends received the email and asked me for my resume. The rest is history.
I am now working for in Louisville for an SBC Seminary. I love the people I work for - it is great environment. I have a church up here that is full of very friendly people and am in a great SS class.
I only knew 4 people coming up here. It is great getting to be around them more, I'm grateful for their friendship. I do know other people in other places in KY - so it will be great to see them next semester.
When I first moved here I lived in a dorm. Thankfully - an apt on campus opened so I now have my own place with my own stuff and my own kitchen. I think I got out of the practice of cooking for 3 months - but I love it!
God has been very gracious to me this year - in many ways. It has been extremely hard, but through it all He has remained faithful - to Himself and to His glory - which is the main priority.
Two sets of verses have kept coming to me over the past year:
Ps 84.8-12
O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed! For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you."

Acts 3.19-20
Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus."

As I've listened to Christmas songs recently (who hasn't), one line stood out to me in Mercy Me's "Little Drummer Boy" - "Then he smiled at me" - may we bring a smile to the face of our incarnate Savior this Christmas and pleasure to our Gracious and Faithful Father.

must love to you all - 2008 will be a year of more change for me, but we'll see the outcome of that come 2009.

blessings - kd

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Hospitality of Jesus

I heard a song this morning while sitting in my living room that made me think of this. The blood of Christ welcomes me as a friend. Right now is Jenn Pappalardo's fave song, Friend of God. I am a friend of God - you call me friend. What a concept.
But then I started thinking about it. Often times we will let friends into our homes or we will call people to us who are like us or can offer us something in return. We couldn't offer anything to Christ - we were enemy's of God - backs turned toward Him in sin.
Yet - He came to earth. This time of year we celebrate the incarnation of Jesus - Him coming to earth as a little baby.
Now, with his blood we can be friends of God. The price for us: as the book of John says: You are my friend if you obey my commands. One of those commands is to be hospitable to others.
I've learned a lot about hospitality from others. My friend Lindsay is always reading a book on hospitality - I think she and Elizabeth have it down.
Hospitality isn't about making sure your house is clean or cooking the best food and presenting it the best or anything like that. It is comforting the people who walk into your house - offering them grace. Bringing warmth into their lives by them being in your home. I can say that for every time I walk into some people's homes.
May we be hospitable to others all because Jesus called us friends.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thirst, Dehydration, and the Goodness of God

Life can be exhausting. But, as long as I try to survive independently of the One who made me, I will fail. But, if I live by grace alone and in HIS Strength, then He will live through me.
I read Ps 42 last night. I then wanted to follow that up with a study of thirst and dehydration. This is what I found online:
Fluid loss may even be severe enough to become life-threatening.
Basic fluid intake serves to replace the fluids which are required to perform our normal bodily functions.
Dehydration can be defined as "the excessive loss of water from the body."
Ps 42.1-2a says "As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."
I remember my trip to the PacRim. We reclaimed wells for the tsunami victims. Their water was filled with black sludge. If we wanted to drink any water, we first had to boil it then refrigerate it. We took a bath in the water - pre-boiling stage. We have all the opportunities in the world in this country to have clean and purified water. But, yet often we don't drink enough.
Put that in Spiritual terms - God has given us unlimited gracious opportunities for us to know and commune with Him. Why don't we? Why don't we continually drink so we never get parched?
Ps 42.4 : These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
I can remember good growing times in the Word and in fellowship with my God. But, why don't I let that remembrance of His goodness compel me to meet with Him everyday. I get so independent from Him.
I love the focus on these next two verses: (5, 11)
"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God."
so often I think who I am is determined by what I do or my position or relationships. I am only possessed and bought by God - that is where my position comes from. I am bought with a price.
Therefore, I shouldn't place my hope in any other thing - only in God and His goodness, mercies, and wonders that He works in my life - and more importantly what He did for me on the cross.
As I continued to read, I also picked up These Strange Ashes again and Valley of Vision:
"I come to thee as a sinner with cares and sorrows, to leave every concern entirely with thee, every sin calling for Christ's precious blood. Revive deep spirituality in my heart. Let me live near to the great Shepherd, hear his voice, know its tons, follow its calls. See Jesus as the essence of the Gospel. Sin makes me forget thee. Grant me to know that I truly live only when I live to thee, that all else is trifling. Abide in me, gracious God."

Monday, December 03, 2007

These Strange Ashes

Finally got all of my books unpacked yesterday. A friend was over and saw this book by Elisabeth Elliot and said it was really good. I hadn't read it - so I said sure, give me something new to read.
I read the preface last night. That was enough to convict me of some thoughts of entitlement and ungratefulness for even the hard times in my life. As JD preached this past week - we need to be so overwhelmed by God's grace - not by anything else. We should be astounded that we got grace and His goodness - not His wrath which we deserve.
So often in life I think I should be entitled to something: but I am not entitled to anything except an eternity in hell. But, apart from the salvific meaning of this...I think I'm entitled to a lot of things in life - then when others get something that I don't, I often don't like that. Not at all. But, why should I even get them...
Does the Bible really say - Kim, you will be married? No it doesn't? So, why do I dislike it sometimes (however brief or long) when others get marriage and I don't? Am I more deserving than they are - no, we both don't deserve it - it is just a means of sanctification that some people get and some people don't - all in God's perfect plan.
This is from the Preface to her book: (from a time in her life from the 50s)
"Nearly every time I have told it and tried to explain what I think God wanted to teach me in it of absolute commitment and trust, someone has asked, 'but why did God let it happen?' Someday they and I will be satisfied with His answer. Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God's story never ends with ashes."