Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Faith Like Potatoes...

Michael and I watched this movie this past Saturday as we were celebrating his birthday. I was just gearing up to watch the typical *trite feel good* Christian film that seems to infiltrate our society today. But I was very surprised by the message of this film (beside the fact that I personally thought it was well acted and well made, though a little slow paced at times).

Here is a brief synopsis from imdb:
Angus Buchan, a Zambian farmer of Scottish heritage, leaves his farm in the midst of political unrest and racially charged land reclaims and travels south with his family to start a better life in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. With nothing more than a caravan on a patch of land, and help from his foreman, Simeon Bhengu, the Buchan family struggle to settle in a new country. Faced with ever mounting challenges, hardships and personal turmoil, Angus quickly spirals down into a life consumed by anger, fear and destruction. Based on the inspiring true story by Angus Buchan the book was adapted for the big screen by Regardt van den Bergh and weaves together the moving life journey of a man who, like his potatoes, grows his faith, unseen until the harvest.

There is a moment in the movie, after Angus has come to Christ, where he is burning some brush on his land. The fire spirals out of control and starts heading towards his crops. He looks at Simeon (his right hand man) and says "we must pray for rain" Simeon responds "it will not rain" and Angus repeats "we must pray for rain". Simeon again says that it will not rain because it is not the rain season. Moments later, it starts pouring and puts out the fire. That is faith.

What is faith?
Faith is the confident belief in something unseen.
I believe in Jesus, even though I can't see Him.
I believe He can heal.
I believe He can provide for my every need.

How do I know this? Because He has done both of these in my life. Many fires have come into my life lately, but God has brought cooling rain and put them out every single time. I sat there watching this and realized how little my faith really is and how He is helping it to grow constantly. God has shown His power over and over since we were married. Every month when the bills need to be paid and groceries need to be bought, I worry... and then I remember His goodness and His mercy.

I want faith like Angus. I want faith like George Mueller. I want faith like Hudson Taylor.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Preservation of Life...

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” Isaiah 43:2

As most of you know, we walked through a certain fire in mid March when Hudson became very sick. It was the scariest moment of my life when, while nursing him, he choked on his congestion and stopped breathing. Michael had left for work only five minutes previously, so I was all alone. For a brief second I just did not know what to do and just stared at his ashy grey-blue and limp body and all I could do was scream “Jesus: help!” It was then that God said to me “Call 911: Now.” I did just that, and the lady told me to lay him on the floor or a table so I put him on Michael’s desk and she walked me through Infant CPR. I had done First Aid stuff in EXCEL but it was almost 10 years ago. He was steadily breathing again when the ambulance arrived.

We arrived at the hospital about 15 min. later. They struggled to get an IV in him because he was so dehydrated. They put it in one hand and the vein collapsed. They finally got it in the other hand, and the nurse tripped on the IV cord and ripped it out of his hand! That was very scary! The IV team had to come in and put it in his arm and thankfully that worked so they didn’t have to put it in his head. We finally got into our room around 2:00 am. Michael left to go back to the apartment about 2:45 and at 3:00 they decided to deep suction him because he had such bad congestion. I was sitting on the chair/bed and all of a sudden I heard the one nurse tell the other nurse to push the code button. A bunch of doctors and nurses rushed in and got him breathing again. God is so amazing… right as this was going on the chaplain walked in to see how I was doing. What timing!

His visit last a total of 10 ½ days after more coughing and blue episodes. He finally was released after being able to do good without the oxygen! It was so nice to finally leave the hospital. One nice perk is that because I was breastfeeding, I got all my meals free.

Thank you everyone who prayed, sent gifts, called and prayed with us, came and visited in the hospital, came over after we got out of the hospital and helped me around the house or just held Hudson so I could catch up on some needed sleep, and brought meals. Between our church and the church Michael works at, we had dinner every night for a month! That is so amazing! We also were very happy that my in law's came down. It was sad that the first time they got to meet their first grandchild was when he had oxygen tube in his nose and wires all over the place. But we loved seeing them!

I honestly do not know how people get through trials and tribulations without Jesus Christ in their lives. Without Him, I know that I wouldn’t have had the clarity of mind to call 911 or even the ability to perform CPR on my own child. I look at Hudson every single day and as I kiss his chubby cheeks or watch his beautiful smile, I thank God for preserving his life. I know this child, like the man he was named after, has a great purpose in his life and I know that God will direct Michael and I in every step as we raise him. I pray that Hudson will learn to love God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and that he will serve Him all the days of his life!

Praise reports:
*We have been getting random gifts from people in the mail and that has been used for bills and food. We appreciate it so much. We are overwhelmed by God’s goodness to us!
*We are feeling much better, in regard to the whooping cough!
*Hudson is doing well and is 11 lbs 1 ounce as of this past Monday. That is a four pound gain since the hospital. :-) He is also 25 inches long. I think this is going to be one tall skinny kiddo. :-)

Prayer Requests:
*Hudson and I both have Thrush. I am unable to nurse him at this point because the pain is unbearable for me, so I am pumping and using a bottle. I really want to nurse and refuse to give up easily. Thankfully my milk supply has only increased from pumping. I am on an anti-fungal med (as is Hudson), as well as an antibiotic for a bacterial infection.
*That it would work out for us to get away for a couple of days in June for our first anniversary. I think we just need a break!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Defining Legalism...

By Charles R. Swindoll

Galatians 2:19 NLT

In contrast to yesterday’s thoughts on liberty, what does it mean to say that legalism puts people under bondage? Legalism is an attitude, a mentality based on pride. It is an obsessive conformity to an artificial standard for the purpose of exalting oneself. A legalist assumes the place of authority and pushes it to unwarranted extremes.

In so many words, legalism says, "I do this or I don't do that, and therefore I am pleasing God." Or, "If only I could do this or not do that, I would be pleasing to God." Or perhaps, "These things that I'm doing or not doing are the things I perform to win God's favor." They aren't spelled out in Scripture, you understand. They've been passed down or they have been dictated to the legalist and have become an obsession to him or her. Legalism is rigid, grim, exacting, and lawlike in nature. Pride, which is at the heart of legalism, works in sync with other motivating factors. Like guilt. And fear. And shame. It leads to an emphasis on what one should not be and what one should not do. It flourishes in a drab context of negativism.

Let's get specific. The one place on earth where we would most expect to be set free is, in fact, the very place we are most likely to be placed into slavery: the church. What happened in the first century can surely happen in the twenty-first. Paul writes to the Galatians of his surprise: "You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?" [5:7].

Allow me to amplify his thought---"When I was with you, some of you were into the 100-meter dash, others were doing the 440 with ease. Still others were into much longer distances . . . you were marathoners. The truth freed you, and I distinctly recall how well you were running as well as how much joy you demonstrated. Who cut in on your stride? Who took away your track shoes? Who told you that you shouldn't be running or enjoying the race? Some of you have stopped running altogether" (Swindoll paraphrase).

How many Christians do you know who exercise the joy and freedom to be a person full of life, living on tiptoe, enjoying spontaneous living---as opposed to the numberless hundreds of thousands who take their cues from the legalists and live life accordingly? Isn't it surprising to anyone who has been set free that anybody would ever want to return to bondage? Surely, that must grieve our God.

Adapted by permission. The Grace Awakening Devotional, Charles R. Swindoll, © 2003, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Copying or using this material without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited and in direct violation of copyright law.

About Me

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My name is Stephanie and I grew up in Florida. I have been drawing since I could hold a crayon. Even though I never had any formal training, I am well known for my vibrant style. I enjoy painting murals, drawing wall art, colorful stationary & invitations, and many other artistic projects. I am currently working on writing and illustrating my first book.