Yearly Archives

2012

Uncategorized

Late Have I Loved You…

August 28, 2012

Today is the feast day of St. Augustine of Hippo, an awesome man of God who has a wild conversion story! If you ever are tempted to think that you are too far from Jesus to actually come to Him, think again and read this man’s story. Whoa! I was reading from Confessions this morning in prayer and ran across a sweet quote I wanted to share on the blog. Enjoy!

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.” St. Augustine


There are two great songs I love listening to that is based on parts of this quote-

Alive Again
Late Have I loved You

I enjoy reading this quote from St. Augustine so much because I find myself being able to relate with certain aspects of it. For much of my life I was going through the motions with God…I knew God was with me but I didn’t care to respond to Him, since I was so distracted by everything else in my life…that existed because He willed it into being! How backwards! God came crashing into my life with a blast of grace towards the end of my high school time and really began to grab my attention in college. I found that everything was beginning to leave me unsatifsfied except for God. He was the only one who gave contentment and lasting joy to my heart. I was hungry to know Him more and more. Sometimes I wonder why it took so long for me to truly “see” God for who He is…or why it took so long in St. Augustine’s life. I don’t think I will ever fully know the reasons but I thank God for His grace and the gift of faith that now resides in my heart. I pray to always respond to His grace and stay in His love…because I know that if I ever  wander from Him I will never find what my (any every person’s) heart desires and is ultimately looking for.Trying to live my life without acknowledging Him is like a car engine trying to run on water instead of gas. It doesn’t work.

St. Augustine also said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” I pray that anyone who is reading this will see this truth for what it is. Place your heart at rest in God and you will never want to look back. Nothing and no one else satisfies. Look at the life of St. Augustine or any of the saints for that matter.  We all will wander aimlessly from one thing to the next, seeking fulfillment but never quite grasping it, unless we surrender to the One who can fill us with everlasting peace.

Catholicism

New Drawing – The Night is Far Gone

August 20, 2012

The night is far gone; the day is at hand.

 

Verses 11-14 of the 13th chapter of Romans:

Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Money

WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!

August 15, 2012

WOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!  This blog is an update from our last post about Our Total Money Makeover. We are so thrilled to announce that we are 100% debt free! In the past 8 months we paid off $3,500 in CC debt and nearly $21,000 in student loans…which adds up to over $24,000. We were sick and tired of our money working for the bank instead of for our family. Proverbs 22:7 says, “the borrower is the slave of the lender” and we wanted to begin handling our money the way God recommends, not society! I knew the principles that Dave Ramsey taught before Jonathan and I got married…but there is something about being single that had me messed up in my thinking about finances. I thought all my money was disposable income to travel, go out to eat, shop, do fun things with friends, etc. (after tithing and taking care of basic necessities of course!) I didn’t think about living on a tight budget to get all my student loans paid off before getting married. They were one of those things I would get around to dealing with. I wish I knew then what I know now and we would not have been in as big of a mess!

We cancelled our credit cards and cut them up. My credit score dropped (since I wasn’t playing kissy face with the bank anymore) and I had one heck of a time renting a car a few months into this journey! I had pre-paid the rental, had plenty of money for them to “hold” in my debit  account, and even had cash in my wallet. The company rejected me and said I can’t rent the car without a credit card in my wallet. Well, I found another company and did business with them instead just fine. It baffled me that I would get punished for actually having REAL MONEY instead of plastic. They would rent a car to some guy on plastic who may not in reality be able to afford it but not to me…how backwards is that!?!?

I will say that the toughest thing about this entire process was learning how to say “no!” mostly to ourselves. We didn’t buy one another birthday gifts…never went our for a nice dinner…had date nights at home….we ate the same sandwich for nearly every meal…we sold a vehicle and became a one car family…the only clothes we bought were $3.00 jeans for Jonathan at The Good Will.  Yes, we were “gazelle-intense” but we knew that if we lived like no one else now, we could live like no one else later. I happily wore the same clothes and never went out to eat, knowing that later I could  go shopping whenever I needed to or out to eat whenever I don’t feel like cooking…without any bills following me home or a feeling of guilt that I could have spent the money on debt. I also look forward to being more generous in giving of our income to supporting our Church and organizations we want to sponsor.

We’re out of debt, yes, but we will continue working the “babysteps” as recommended by Dave Ramsey. Now we are on the next goal – still living on our budget, completing our emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses and then we will begin to save 15% of our income towards retirement. I am so excited to continue on this journey, glorifying God with this area of our lives.

Anyone else who has done this journey and is living debt free, please post below on your success story! Anyone who is reading this and still in debt, I pray this post gives you the HOPE and COURAGE to begin a new journey towards financial freedom! Some people’s reaction to finding out about our journey has been, “well that is good for you but not for me…I could never do that…you must be superhuman.” That is a lie from hell. Anyone can do this!!! It’s a matter of choice, discipline, and living on a budget. If you can do simple math, you can do this! Read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey or consider going through Financial Peace University. Details can be found on his website.

How will we celebrate? Well, right now Jonathan is making “debt-free donuts”  upstairs from scratch with our friend David. Our big celebration though, is a trip to Rome in October with FOCUS, the organization we work for. We land in Rome on our one year wedding anniversary and couldn’t be more excited. The trip will be cash-flowed and what happens in Rome will stay in Rome, not coming back to the USA on my credit card statement! 🙂

THANK YOU JESUS for giving us the strength to go down this journey! It was hard but worth every sacrifice!

 

Mission

Earthly Life is the Time for Bloodshed, War, and Danger

August 7, 2012

This is a quote from St. John Chrysostom. It’s from a sermon he gave about Matthew 20:20-28, when James and John ask Jesus to sit at his right and left in Heaven. It’s the reading on the feast day of St. James, which was on July 25th. This homily is in the Office of Readings for the feast. You’ll find it below the picture.

 

From a homily on Matthew by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop
Sharers in the suffering of Christ

The sons of Zebedee press Christ: Promise that one may sit at your right side and the other at your left. What does he do? He wants to show them that it is not a spiritual gift for which they are asking, and that if they knew what their request involved, they would never dare make it. So he says: You do not know what you are asking, that is, what a great and splendid thing it is and how much beyond the reach even of the heavenly powers. Then he continues: Can you drink the cup which I must drink and be baptized with the baptism which I must undergo? He is saying: “You talk of sharing honors and rewards with me, but I must talk of struggle and toil. Now is not the time for rewards or the time for my glory to be revealed. Earthly life is the time for bloodshed, war and danger.”

Consider how by his manner of questioning he exhorts and draws them. He does not say: “Can you face being slaughtered? Can you shed your blood?” How does he put his question? Can you drink the cup? Then he makes it attractive by adding: which I must drink, so that the prospect of sharing it with him may make them more eager. He also calls his suffering a baptism, to show that it will effect a great cleansing of the entire world. The disciples answer him: We can! Fervor makes them answer promptly, though they really do not know what they are saying but still think they will receive what they ask for.

How does Christ reply? You will indeed drink my cup and be baptized with my baptism. He is really prophesying a great blessing for them, since he is telling them: “You will be found worthy of martyrdom; you will suffer what I suffer and end your life with a violent death, thus sharing all with me. But seats at my right and left are not mine to give; they belong to those for whom the Father has prepared them.” Thus, after lifting their minds to higher goals and preparing them to meet and overcome all that will make them desolate, he sets them straight on their request.

Then the other ten became angry at the two brothers. See how imperfect they all are: the two who tried to get ahead of the other ten, and the ten who were jealous of the two! But, as I said before, show them to me at a later date in their lives, and you will see that all these impulses and feelings have disappeared. Read how John, the very man who here asks for the first place, will always yield to Peter when it comes to preaching and performing miracles in the Acts of the Apostles. James, for his part, was not to live very much longer; for from the beginning he was inspired by great fervor and, setting aside all purely human goals, rose to such splendid heights that he straightway suffered martyrdom.

Mission

Fellowship of the Unashamed

July 12, 2012

I have heard this mission statement/poem several times over the years. It’s very encouraging and inspiring. Sometimes it brings a tear to my eyes, fire to my heart, or even a desire to jump around with excitement…just depends on the day. This version is adapted by a Catholic author. Enjoy!

 

I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.


The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands. I am finished and done with low living, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Catholic. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid

Boom. Nothing more to say than that.

What do these words speak to you? How did you find them relevant in your life? Please share! 🙂

Uncategorized

What’s in it For Me?

July 3, 2012

Part 2 of a series on the Field of Dreams

Check out the clip* here

*You’ll have to watch the clip, let the next one load, and watch some of that one, too.

This is a great scene. Let’s look at it with this angle: Shoeless Joe is God, Ray is us, and Terry is anyone other than ourselves.

We’ll address this scene in two parts: The Gift and What’s in it For Me?

I’ll present each section with a transcript of the scene, with some translations in italics.

Section 1. The Gift:
Shoeless Joe:
Hey, do you want to come with us? I have something special for you. Would you like it?
Ray: You mean it?
Shoeless Joe: No not you, [points to Terry] him. It’s not for you. It’s for him.
Ray: Him? Him? That guy? Seriously? You’re giving him something?
Terry: Come with you? You want to give me something special?
Ray: Him? Seriously!? Him?
Shoeless Joe: Out there. Yes, something very special. Would you like it?
Terry: What is out there? What is it?
Shoeless Joe: Come and find out. It’s good. And it’s for you. Come find out.

This is one of the coolest parts of God. He loves us and wants to shower us with gifts. Jesus tells us about the goodness of God in Luke 11:What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” God only wants what is good for us. He is not out to “get us,” but only out to get us the very best, and most of the time, he knows so much better than us what we need, what will truly bring us joy. He is offering us these good gifts all the time, we only need to say yes and accept them, even when we don’t know exactly what they will be, knowing that if God’s giving them to us, they will be good.

Section 2: What’s in it for Me?
Ray:
Wait a second! Wait a second! Why him? I built this field! You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for me. well you wouldn’t be here if it weren’t- He’s getting a gift? What did he ever do for you? Look at all I’ve done!
Terry: I’m unattached, you have a family. This gift is for me and my unique situation. You can’t have it. I wouldn’t be good for you.
Ray: I know, but I want to know what’s out there. I wanna see it. I know, but I don’t care. I want it!
Shoeless Joe: But you’re not invited. But it’s not for you.
Ray: Not invited? What do you mean “not invited?” That’s my corn out there! You guys are guests in my corn! Not for me! Not for me! Alright then, even what I’ve given you, I want back!
Terry: Ray-
Ray: No, wait. I have done everything I’ve been asked to do. I didn’t understand it, but I’ve done it. And i haven’t once asked what’s in it for me.
Shoeless Joe: What are you saying, Ray?
Ray: I’m saying, what’s in it for me?
Shoeless Joe: Is that why you did this? For you? [long pause] I think you better stay here, Ray.
Ray: Why?

The prodigal son‘s older brother comes in from the fields and his name is Ray. Check it out: a man has two sons. The younger demands his inheritance early, sells everything, leaves town, and wastes it all on prostitutes and “loose living.” Broke, working for a hog farmer, and jealous of what the pigs are eating, he comes back home, repents, and is accepted by his father. He pop is so glad he’s back, he throws a huge party. The older brother, coming back from working in the fields all day, sees the party. When he finds out it’s for his brother, he turns into a world-class grump. His father comes out to talk to him. He tells his father. “Lo, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command; yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your living with harlots, you killed for him the fatted calf!’ And [his father] said to him, `Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.”

The older brother/Ray/us from time to time, is pooping his diaper because he can’t understand the love of the father. Wait, your love for me isn’t based on what I do for you? Just who I am as your son?  Just like we can’t work our way into Heaven, we can’t work our way into God’s heart. We’re already loved by him. Instead of seeing Shoeless Joe’s invitation to Terry as a gift, Ray views it as a payment, a privilege given for services rendered. And Ray reveals his own dried-up, selfish heart when he admits he wants to know what’s in it for me?  He didn’t build the field because the voice asked him to. He didn’t drive to Boston and take Terry to a game because the voice asked him to. He didn’t go to Minnesota and pick up Doc Graham because he thought it was a good idea. He did it because he thought it would pay off for him in the end. 

He’s so desperate to get something out of his labor, that he wants to take anything that’s being given out, even if it’s not for him. We find him snatching at Terry’s gift, knowing that it’s not only not for him, but he can’t even take it! An invitation beyond the corn, into the unknown. Terry makes a wonderful point when he says, “I’m unattached, you have a family.” He might as well be saying, “We don’t know what’s going to happen when one of us non-ghosts goes out there. Who knows if I’ll live? If I’ll ever come back? You’ve been given the gift of a family. It’s your job to stay here to provide for and to protect them.” And Ray says, “I know, but I want to see what’s out there. I wanna see it.” It’s like he’s saying, “That’s a great point, Terry, but frankly, I don’t care. I’d rather satiate my curiosity than be prudent and think about others for a change.”

Shoeless Joe confronts him about it. Asks him point-blank. “Is that why you did this? For you?” And if we approach God is prayer honestly, he’ll sometimes slap us upside the head like that, too. And then Shoeless Joe tells Ray, “I think you better stay here, Ray.” Not so much as a correction, not so much as a punishment for his selfishness in wanting to go beyond the corn, but rather as an encouragement. Like he’s saying, “Ray, be patient. If you leave, you’ll never receive what I have in store for you.” That’s a message we need to hear, because sometimes right before the blessings rain down, it seems like all hope is lost. Like the dark before the dawn, the silence before a concert starts, the pain before a birth, all are necessary, all are little reminders that all hope is never lost, we are always just waiting for the next time our heavenly father showers his gifts on us. And that gift Ray receives? That’s the subject of my next post…