August 16, 2013

Outdoor Table Painted

I finally got my outdoor table painted. This is the table that my husband built out of pallet wood to go with the two chairs he had built for me earlier this summer.

My husband painting it white and I got busy with a stencil I had purchased earlier this year from Cutting Edge Stencils. They have the most awesome stencils for DIYing your furniture and home.

I used orange and red paint for the stenciled paisleys, but wasn't real happy with the placement. It just seems a bit off balance to me. But I guess overall it looks okay and goes well with the chairs.

Here is a before pic.

And here is the table with the chairs.

August 15, 2013

Review: The Trial of Vanessa Anderson

The Trial of Vanessa Anderson is one of those books that makes you think and makes you question. It is a book that takes the climate of the times and speculates as to what could happen in the future. As a nation that has valued freedom of religion and speech, political correctness is poised to muzzle the freedoms that we love. And this is the basis for this speculative/near-future book by Thomas Williams.

Back Cover Copy: Under a newly passed civil rights law, single young schoolteacher Vanessa Anderson is charged with a hate crime for counseling a troubled student who wants to abandon her lesbianism. At first Vanessa, a committed Christian, is strongly supported by her church, friends, and others close to her. But as media sensationalism heats up and brands her as a bigoted fundamentalist homophobe, her supporters abandon her to protect themselves. With the full weight of the state against her, Vanessa’s case seems hopeless until highly successful attorney Brandon Locke, an ex-boyfriend from college days, offers to defend her. The only problem: he’s agnostic.

In spite of his agnosticism, Locke, who still loves Vanessa, mounts a brilliant defense in a trial reminiscent of the infamous Scopes “Monkey Trial.” With the help of the underground Christians, Locke uncovers suppressed evidence that leads to the surprising conclusion of the trial.

My Thoughts:  I'll admit that I was nervous about the subject matter, because so often Christians are portrayed as bigoted people who don't love as Christ does, but deeper into the book Williams shows that kind of love. Sin is sin, whether is it homosexuality or gossip or stealing or lying. We love the sinner no matter what the sin, and I'm so glad that Williams let this kind of love come through. 

This book is about the government having the power to take away the freedom of religion and speech.  A new law had just been passed making it illegal to try to change or counsel was deemed a hate crime to do so. Vanessa was counseling a student who came to her for help. She was teaching her biblical truths about homosexuality and was turned in for it.

Throughout the book, Vanessa is hit time and time again with hardship and obstacles from the very people she thought would have supported her 100 percent. At first I questioned the author in making the people close to her abandon her so thoroughly, but then I remembered that Jesus' disciples abandoned him and denied him when he was arrested and put on trial.

Vanessa's agnostic lawyer did a brilliant job in the courtroom and the surprising facts that he uncovers near the end of the trial made the book a page turner toward the end. I won't share all the twists and turns of the ending, because those surprising tidbits make for a great read.

In closing, I want to reiterate that this book is not a slam against homosexuality. Yes, it is a Christian book and is firm in following biblical truth and declaring sin as sin. But this book is really a warning of what could happen if Christian speech and actions are repressed by government. In the author's words..."I do not at all claim that the specific issues or events depicted in this novel predict the exact shape of the future. The issues may not be the stifling of speech against homosexuality. It could be gay marriage, abortion, taxation of churches, banning Christians from serving in elected office, or any number of issues being currently pushed by political statists."

Times are changing and persecution of Christians could be in our future...our near future. Have you thought about how you would hold up during times of persecution? Would you be like Jesus' disciples and deny Him? Or will you stand firm for Jesus?

You can purchase The Trial of Vanessa Anderson HERE for $3.99. It is sold as an ebook through Amazon.

August 12, 2013

Weakness and Faith

Photo by luigi diamanti
I'm weak. I fully admit it. I don't measure up as a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I've been selfish. I've participated in gossip. I've neglected people I love. My mouth needs a muzzle at times. Sometimes I am just a mess and I'm sure my witness for Christ has suffered for it. And this makes my heart hurt.

John's sermon Sunday was on Hebrews 11, the great chapter on faith, and it was a message I so needed to hear. This chapter lists great heroes of the Bible who were heroes because of their faith...their belief in God. Faith was the foundation of their lives -  no matter how often they failed. You see, these great heroes of faith were not perfect.

Abraham doubted God's ability to give him a son. He lied about his relationship with his wife. 
Jacob deceived his father and also played favorites with his children. 
Moses killed a man.
David committed adultery and murder.

All of these were commended for their faith...and they were sinners. And this gives me such hope, because I am a sinner whose sins are covered by faith in God and belief in His Son, Jesus. Though I fail at every turn, I still have faith in God and that is my foundation for life. Yes, I need to learn to live in the presence of Jesus and muzzle my mouth and learn to serve in love, but I am covered with God's love because of my faith in Him.

"Know that I love you. Accept my love," he whispers.

There is a peace that passes understanding in knowing His love and accepting His love.

I promise to try to live a life worthy of the calling God has place on my life, but I know this...I will continue to mess up. So please forgive me if you are at the receiving end of my mistakes. Know that I love you and never want to cause you hurt or harm.

And then just slap me upside the head and tell me to get over myself!

August 05, 2013

Hearing God

Photo by graurraznationut
I miss God. I mean, I know He is with me all the time, but I miss feeling His presence. I miss hearing from Him. What happened to shut that off? What have I done to hinder that feeling?

There was a time when I reveled in God's presence. I could feel Him close. I could see Him at work around me. Every day was an adventure in what He might do. I felt I was part of His kingdom, doing His work...the most fruitful and fulfilling work there is. And now....nothing.

In Amos 8, the Lord says He will send a famine through the land - a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. People would stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it. People were running away, turning away, pushing away from God. And so God let them be.

A famine of His presence...His word.

What can we do to fix that? What can we do to stop the famine and hear Him again?

PRAY. In one of Beth Moore's studies, she said that God would grant every prayer that was in line with His will. And would could be more in line with His will than loving Him more? Pray that you would desire Him above all else. Pray that you would want to read His word daily. Pray that God would give you a passionate desire for Him. Pray that you would hear Him daily. How could he not grant such a request?

READ. Be in the word. The Bible is God's words to us and it reveals His nature, His power, and His love. We must know God in order to love like Him and be like Him. So read it daily. Spend time with Him.

SIMPLIFY. We are bombarded daily with materialism. Commercials trying to get you to buy more stuff. New gadgets and technology. Entertainment abounds. Just so much STUFF that woos us away from what is really important....God and His kingdom. We get so busy and the world gets so loud that we cannot hear God anymore. Tune out the world and listen. He is whispering to you.

What are you doing to hear God more? 

*This post was inspired by John Ketchersid's sermon on July 21, 2013.

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