Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

3.25.2014

Good Girl = Good Life?


 Good Girl Equals Good Life

Cause and effect is a truism in the heart of man. We put 100 cents into a vending machine and cry “scam” if nothing comes out. We live an upright life and anticipate a good name and reputation. We work hard and spend and save money wisely and expect to stay out of poverty.

Sometimes, we think that if we were homeschooled, then we are entitled to “superior” spiritual and educational status. We subconsciously act as if when we minister to others then they will love us. And at times, we think that if we set the right boundaries, then we won’t fall prey to sin, or if we love children that we will have lots, or if we cross every t and dot every i of courtship, that we won’t have a broken heart, or if we dress modestly then everyone will treat us like ladies, or if we read our Bible every day then we’ll know God’s answers to everything, or if we don’t go into debt, then we’ll succeed financially, or if we live at home then we won’t have an independent spirit, or if we raise our children the right way then they’ll never rebel.

Have you ever echoed Jeremiah's thoughts on the wicked? I know I have. There are times when I’ve felt—without even realizing it—that I am being a good girl, so why doesn’t the world just cooperate and allow me a good life! When things get tough, I brood, wondering if I’m really in God’s will. Why is it working out so well for everyone else, but not for me? What have they done right that I have done wrong? My sense of entitlement burned a crater within me.

Good God Equals Glorifying Life

God Himself has put this understanding of cause and effect in our hearts because it is a part of His own character (Galatians 6:7). The world calls it karma or imagines an afterlife scale of good works versus bad or reincarnation based upon one’s righteousness. But the true effect for every cause won’t be made manifest until the end of this age at the ultimate reckoning when God judges the world.

We understand that life isn’t a vending machine, that man is inherently sinful, that the ultimate reward of eternal life isn’t based on what we did (good works) but what we received (salvation). Tribulation is a promise (John 16:33) for those who follow God and do good!

If you’ve examined yourself in the suffering and found that you are not suffering for wrongdoing (a cause and effect everyone can support!) then do not be surprised (I Peter 4:12-13). Yours may not be a “good” life right now—but there is a good God Who asks you to glorify Him anyways. Don’t waver. Don’t think that hardship only befalls the evil, or that you must have shorted the cosmic vending machine somewhere along the way. God has covered you with His good, and you’re in the midst of a cause and effect much greater than you. This cause and effect spans centuries and transcends your mortal life. This cause and effect reaches all the way into an eternity that commences with “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” and continues with worshiping God. The grievous cause is ephemeral. And the effect? It never ceases.



Photo Credit

3.18.2014

Quixotic


The Miniature Schnauzer tramps along with head held high and nose quivering with stimulation. He spies a Great Dane approaching and without a moment's consideration, he strains at his leash, barking and jumping wildly to announce his jurisdiction in the presence of this imposter. The respective Masters exchange amused glances to see such a small, precocious dog challenge an animal three times his size. The Schnauzer doesn't see their condescension, nor is he aware of the size difference. He has never looked in a mirror, stepped on a scale, or realized that his name is Miniature Schnauzer. In his mind, he is every bit the Great Dane's equal--and more--and so he barks with all the bravado of a German Shepherd.

 


People may see miniature before your name; they may laugh at your naivete; they may hand you a mirror and remind you of what you look like; they may pull out a calendar and recall your past. Our God does not do this, for He has chosen the weak and the foolish to confound the strong and the wise. Submit to Him wholly and then throw away your mirror and your measuring stick, for He may very well replace the practical with the quixotic, calling you to defeat a giant with a sling-shot, or to witness to a gruff man, or to raise 17 children.

"Therefore [it is] of faith that [it might be] according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written, "I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed--God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be." And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."" {Romans 4:16-22 NKJV}


God has called you—isn’t that enough? 




Photo Credit: Reuben Yau
Photo Credit: dailyinvention
Photo Credit: Renee
New King James Version, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

3.11.2014

Birth Announcement



He may have already stopped hoping by the time Hope was born.

Over 400 years of silence from God overshadowed this man’s ancestors.  It was a silence that rivaled the 430 years of Jewish slavery in Egypt.  And this Jew, born in the Egypt that had enslaved his ancestors, thought he may as well have been hoping for a resurrected Moses liberator as for a Messiah after all that silence. 

The way this man Philo saw it, it was time for God to step out from behind His curtain and once again declare “I AM.”  But Philo Judaeus wasn’t seeing even a rustling of the curtain, so he decided to yank it aside himself.  Moses was lost up on Mt. Sinai, and Philo took his cue from an impatient Aaron, building his own Messiah in one Greek word: logos.  


This is just the beginning of a guest post I had the honor of writing for my friend Sarah's blog anniversary.  It goes up on Friday, but in the meantime, check out the other guest posters who will challenge your mindset and inspire your thinking.  The post today on Peter Pan is unmissable, and Sarah's even giving away two books that I've been longing to read!  

So what are you waiting for?  Sarah's door is just down the street from this corner, and if I know her, she's waiting with open arms and tea! 


Photo Credit: Chimpr

3.04.2014

All Because Two People Fell in Love

 A dear lady planted the seed of an idea in my brain five years ago: "Have you thought about giving your parents a 25th anniversary party?"  It didn't work out at the time, but ever since I have known that in 2014, for Mama and Papa's 30th wedding anniversary, we were going to throw a party!  Not just any party, but a bash with all their friends, their favorite foods, and romantic decorations.  It would have to be an occasion worthy of their commitment and faithfulness to one another for 30 years! 

All six siblings pitched in to help.  Susanna made the red velvet cupcakes using the same recipe Mama and Papa's wedding cake was made with.  Mikaela took care of the balloons (we used over 100!), and together we did the shopping for the Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo dinner we served.  Micah worked on games while Melanie blew up all those balloons and Jonah did the menus.  

The  red velvet cupcake bar turned out beautifully! 

 Susanna put together a memorabilia table with photo albums, pictures, and mementos.  

The first event of the evening was a hilarious game that Mikaela led, involving all the guests doing simultaneous charades.  Every person's action had a match in the crowd of charade actors, and each player was trying to find the person doing the same thing as them.  This resulted in a lot noise, priceless photos, and great memories!


 Next all the couples sat down for dinner, which we served them along with the helping hands of some wonderful friends!  
One of the best parts of the whole event was keeping everything under wraps from Mama and Papa.  We handed them an invitation after they were all sent out, but all that they knew was what was written on the invitation.  Unbeknownst to my parents, Mama's brother and sister-in-law drove several hours to surprise them on Saturday morning, and it was a thorough, wonderful surprise!  On top of that, some old friends drove across the state and arrived at our house on Saturday afternoon.  Although I was at the church decorating when they made their entrance, I heard later there were screams of delight when they surprised my parents!  So many other people made long trips as well, and there were couples from every stage of my parents' life there!

After dinner, I gave a tribute to Mama and Papa in the form of  a list: Top Ten Things Our Parents Have Taught Us About Marriage

Later in the evening, Susanna and Micah hosted a few rounds of the Newlywed Game, which had everyone in stitches!  They asked the wives questions like: "Which would your husband rather lose: his hair or his job?" The wives wrote down their answers, and then the husbands announced their choice.  Only then did the wives reveal their answers, and the couple gained points for matching answers.  After a few questions, the husbands and wives switched, with the husbands now writing answers and the wives announcing them.


The women respond to the question: "What character or sound is your husband known for imitating well?"

The husbands respond in classic fashion.

 The lovebirds themselves: still going strong!

 After everyone was partied out, there was still plenty of clean-up to do, so everyone pitched in to help. (Well, at least everyone who wasn't mourning the death of all the balloons!)
This is our fabulous cast and crew!  These people were crazy enough to agree to dish salad for 30 people, wash 30 china plates, take out garbage, and do whatever needed doing.  In fact, Sarah took all these beautiful photos for us!  Believe me, the basement kitchen of the church was never as busy or as laughter-filled as it was that night, even with a stack of dirty dishes in the sink!  

It was an evening to be remembered, and although pearls are still scattered in our car and our dishwasher is still full, I am so glad that we were able to honor our parents in this way.  Serving them dinner was but a tiny repayment of all they have done for each of us.  Surprising them with moments of joy that they were not expecting will give us harvests of memories and joy for years to come. 

With the party over, I woke up yesterday morning to an email from my uncle: "So, what are you going to do for their 50th?"  Thankfully, we have a few years!
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