Afraid to be a Real Man

I’m excited to share with you a guest post from blogger Andrew Beck. Andrew blogs at b4Him.com, a site meant to encourage, challenge, and inspire you on your walk with Christ. He is married to Gina, and they have two daughters Lia and Ariana. In the last 5 years, he and his family have immersed themselves in church and the Bible and seen their lives transformed.

null (1)Today he shares how daily choices are opportunities to define ourselves…and even when we make the wrong choice, we have a God who chose to be a real man for us and offer us forgiveness and eternity! 

Afraid to be a Real Man
Andrew Beck

Now I am sure you are wondering what I mean “afraid to be a real man”.  I am talking about being a man who under all circumstances will follow Jesus. He doesn’t succumb to the pressure of this world to tone it down when around certain people or in certain situations.

This doesn’t mean you go around quoting scripture to people all the time, but your actions need to show it. We cannot have different actions based on the people we are with; this isn’t how we are called to live. Continue reading

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Do Your Worries Stem From Insecurity?

I woke up the other night and I couldn’t breathe. My chest was tight, my heart was thumping, and my mind was in shock. It felt like a panic attack.

All because of a dream.

I’ve had bad dreams before, about death and other awful things, but this was by far the worst. I dreamed that Jim had an affair, had no desire to reconcile, and actually thought very poorly of me. It was a nightmare.

My dear husband has never given me any reason to have this dream. He is faithful, committed, and one of the greatest blessings in my life.

When I finally woke from this hellish dream, he was there to hold me, calm my sobs and process the happenings of this facade.

At 4 a.m. I realized that I still have a couple of insecurities lodged in my heart. Again, not because of Jim’s actions; it stems from my own self-doubt.

Am I loved?

Am I accepted?

Am I intelligent? Continue reading

3 Ways to Find Jesus in the Bible

It has been a fun couple of weeks. Two weeks ago was my birthday/10th wedding anniversary EXTRAVAGANZA!!

Pretty  much, my favorite parts of my birthday involved food!

Pretty much, my favorite parts of my birthday involved food!

My sharp shooter doesn't even need eyes to win a stuffed dolphin for his honey!

My sharp shooter doesn’t even need eyes to win a stuffed dolphin for his honey!

This last week we took the kids to St. Louis. Ten years ago, Jim and I met in STL at Concordia Seminary where he was studying to be a pastor and I was working on my Masters in Theology (although I also earned my Mrs.).

We have a ton of great memories there and were pumped to show the kids. We visited the City Museum, Grant’s Farm, and the Seminary. Another highlight was lunch from Penn Station subs…so delicious!!!

We had engagement photos taken almost in this exact spot. A special courtyard for us ;)

We had engagement photos taken almost in this exact spot. A special courtyard for us 😉

 

10 story slides and open aired tunnels...LOVE the City Museum!

10 story slides and open aired tunnels…LOVE the City Museum!

It was sweet to reminisce about our time at the Seminary. It was also helpful to get back to the roots of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. St. Louis is the North American motherland for the LCMS.

In my opinion, Jesus is the main emphasis in Lutheran theology. All doctrine flows out of and relates to Jesus. This is not something Lutherans created; nor is it something only Lutherans believe…it’s biblical!

Jesus said it Himself in Luke 24:27 on the road to Emmaus. He was walking with some of His disciples (unbeknownst to them!) as they recollected the events of Easter week. The disciples were confused by Jesus’ death and empty tomb. Then Jesus blessed them with incredible insight in verse 27:

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Basically Jesus was saying, “It’s all about me!” Continue reading

This is Why I’m Possible

I’ve seen this phrase floating around the web these last couple of weeks, especially on pinterest:

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible’!”

I imagine this quote from Aubrey Hepburn isn’t wildly popular because of cool graphics. It’s catching steam because it taps into our desire to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and be who we want to be. It prompts us to believe we are the variable in our lives that make the difference.

It’s funny how seemingly inspiring quotes can sink into our mentality, yet be contrary to Scripture.

If I’ve learned anything in my struggle with worry, it’s that it is impossible for me to figure it out all by myself.

I cannot will myself to stop worrying. I haven’t discovered how to force myself to not lose my patience. I am unable with my own strength to stop my mind from racing around thoughts of death. I still have anxiety when Jim takes all of the kids to the park.

I can’t do this life on my own. 

I need strength, help, courage, love, and support from Someone outside of me. 

I’m possible, but only with the One who makes me possible.

 i'm possible Continue reading

How to find God in the Bible

Many times when I’m worrying, I hear

Read your bible.

I just heard it the other day from my mother-in-law, a woman who cries when she thinks about Jesus giving up His life for us. This lady has a soft heart of faith. She shared that when she doesn’t know what to do about a situation, she reads the Bible before she goes to bed and when she wakes up. Through prayer and in time, she comes to an understanding of how to handle the issue.

I believe her because

God’s Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edge sword.
Hebrews 4:12

I believe the best place to find God is in His Word. But when we go to read, it’s important to think about what question we’re asking as we read. Too often I have asked,

Who am I in this story?  Continue reading

What No Mother Can Do

It’s the week after Mother’s Day and I’m still riding the waves of chocolates and the promise of a new-athletic-wear-shopping trip. I’m still exercising in my old college t-shirts. It’s about time for some new gear!

Our local Christian station is also coming off a Mother’s Day high. I feel like I’ve heard the Plumb song “In My Arms” enough to perform it for Plumb…in other words, a lot! If you haven’t heard it, give it a listen when you get a free moment.

As I listened to the song for the 8th time in 2 days I realized Plumb and I could be besties. The song is a melancholy lullaby inspired by her son Solomon. She describes his baby beauty, his growth, and that someday

clouds will rage and storms will race in but you will be safe in my arms.

rains will pour down, waves will crash all around but you will be safe in my arms.

Continue reading

I Never Knew This About the Plagues

I’ve heard the story of the 10 plagues a gazillion times. I’ve seen the movie Prince of Egypt about a million times.  If I thumb through the 3 or 4 kids Bibles we have at the house, the Exodus account takes up about half of the Old Testament stories.  The account of the 10 plagues is a well-worn story.

 But God’s Word is living and active.

Embrace_Words

And I learned something new about the plagues…rather, something new about God through the plagues.

See, whenever I heard the plagues story, I thought about the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart and that God is super-duper powerful.

The aforementioned are still true.  But there is so much more to learn about our God.

So here are 2 things I learned:

1. God used the plagues to set His people apart.
In the 4th plague, the one with pestering flies, God mentions in Exodus 8 verse 22-24 that

On that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people.

flies_no

And again with the plague on livestock, God tells Pharaoh in Exodus 9:4 that

But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.

God’s distinct, chosen Israelites were also protected from the plague of hail, the plague of darkness, and the plague on the firstborn.

God wanted Pharaoh, the Egyptians and the Israelites to know that He was not only powerful enough to choose on whom the plagues would land, but that He also had chosen a people to be distinct and separate from other peoples.  A people that He loves enough to come in and rescue from 400 years of oppression.

This theme continues all throughout the Israelites story.  As they wandered for 40 years in the desert, God set them apart with the 10 commandments…with the unique ways of winning battles…with circumcision…with His peculiar provisions…and just think – their identity as set apart started when no flies swarmed their houses.

This identity is not reserved for the Israelites.

We as modern-day disciples have been adopted into the royal priesthood of believers.  1 Peter 2:9 proclaims that

You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We are set apart just as the Israelites were set apart from the Egyptians.  And just as God flexed His muscles in choosing the geography of the plagues, He reveals His supreme power in choosing to adopt us, little ole’ you and me.

It is like curling up with a cup of hot chocolate (with whipped cream) to know that I am God’s special possession, distinct and set apart.

Hot_chocolate_(2)

Nice and cozy-like

2. Our God is so so so so so so patient.

Pharaoh pulled a bait and switch 4 times on Moses and God.  Four times Pharaoh said he would let God’s people go if Moses would just ask God to remove the plague.  Four times Moses went to God and prayed for the plagues to subside…and four times God dispelled the plague.  And, you remember, four times Pharaoh hardened his heart and changed his mind.

If I were Moses, or God, I would have gone bananas on Pharaoh for repeatedly lying.  I’m a total rule keeper, and if we make a deal, I expect you to keep up your end of the bargain especially if I’ve kept mine.

Let's shake on it!  By the way, neither of these is my hairy hand.

Let’s shake on it. By the way, neither of these hairy arms are mine.

But our perfect and holy God is extremely patient with Pharaoh.  He relents each time Pharaoh lies.  In Exodus 9:15 God notes His restraint

…by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth.

God knows Pharaoh is jerking Him around.  But He doesn’t destroy him.  He’s patient.  He’s long-suffering.

This same God who’s restrained with the Egyptian ruler is also patient with me.

This awesome characteristic of God is described in 2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Sometimes I fear that God is going to give up on me – get tired of me apologizing for my worry and my lack of self-discipline.  I wonder when my forgiveness is going to run out.  But if God is so so so patient with Pharaoh (who consistently hardened his heart), how much more patient will He be with me who’s heart is weak and pliable?

I can’t wait to read the Exodus account again and discover something new about God.  I believe that when we know God more intimately through His Word, our trust in Him grows.  

So I challenge you this week to revisit a familiar story.  Read with new eyes and ask yourself

What does this story teach me about God?

Leave a comment sharing what you’ve learned!

Happily linked with:
The Time Warp Wife
Raising Homemakers
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home

 

 

 

 

The Best Way to be Overwhelmed

Where were you one year ago?

I was 3 months pregnant and suffering through some awful all-day-long sickness.  It was so bad that even water repulsed me. Water.

A lot has changed in the past year.  I can enjoy water again.  We have our 4th child, a healthy little boy, who I affectionately call Mister Mister.  And we have completely changed our state, community, church, and house.  In fact, most of these changes happened in the last 4 months.

Now I wish I was one of those bloggers who chronicle through life’s transitions.  A blogger who is organized and sane enough to jot down some witty insights in the midst of the muck.  But I’m not.  Truth is I’ve barely kept my head above water.  By all appearances life should be good.  Mister Mister is a healthy easy baby, our new community is bursting with opportunities to connect, our church is eager and vibrant, and our house is a country escape. Continue reading

God Spoke to Me Through a Song

I sat at my desk terrified.  Sharp pains ran through my hips and across my belly.  It was the same pain I had experienced 2 and a half years earlier.  This same pain that landed me in my OB’s office for an ultrasound.  This pain that revealed a lifeless baby floating in my uterus.  Just a week prior we had heard the heartbeat for the first time.  At 10 weeks we lost our first baby.  And it all started with the same pain. Continue reading