This semester has been one of survival! Andrew's schedule has been his toughest and busiest so far, with the least amount of sleep as well. The good news is - 8 weeks left in the semester, and yes, I am counting them down! But God has been good and given encouragement when needed the most!
Some ways God has encouraged us....
1. Andrew's very good friend gave him a new ipod nano! He was thrilled! 2. God has given us several months with absolutely no car repairs! For us, that's a big deal! 3. Our church is continuing to grow and continues to be such a source of encouragement to us. 4. Andrew was able to get his week of vacation after the semester is over! We are planning a trip to NYC for a few days and can't believe the way God is orchestrating events in this trip...
> get to attend an urban church planting conference while there with Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney, Tim Keller, & Ed Stetzger.
>several of our good friends from church are attending as well.
> grandma is buying us tickets to see a show on broadway!
Some ways to pray for us...
1. That God would keep Andrew in good health and continue to give him strength for all the projects, reading, and papers that he has to complete. Also, time to prepare for his teaching at church. 2. Our cars started making some funny noises this last week, pray that repairs would be minimal. 3. That we would priortize well in juggling school, our jobs, church, and our own time spent together.
Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your Name
And blessed be Your name when I'm found in the desert place
As I have been thinking through different ways to make Valentine's week special, my mind keeps being drawn back to the thought of God's perfect love for us.
I may have some good qualities that draws Andrew to love me, but in the sight of God I am completely unloveable and incapable of doing anything to deserve His love. But yet, He sent Christ to take that wrath for me, that I might stand in His sight BLAMELESS.
1) And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2) in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3) among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4) But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7) so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
As we celebrate love this week, may we not forget the Lover of our Souls.
How Deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure
that He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss. The Father turns His face away
as wounds which mar the Chosen One, bring many sons to glory.
I am excited for Valentine's Week! (hence the new color & music!) We are beginning our celebration on Friday night with our church's Valentine Banquet!
The Gift of Love: Giving Valentine’s Day gifts to loved ones is a time-honored tradition that goes back to the holiday’s humble beginnings as an ancient Roman celebration of romance on February 14. Valentine’s Day remains the most romantic holiday, and we love to celebrate it in a big way. Over $13 billion is spent each year on Valentine’s Day gifts and cards, a figure that continues to grow.
Why we Blush: Heartfelt expressions of love can cause blushing, that sudden flushed feeling and reddening of our face and neck. A uniquely human trait, blushing is an involuntary action that can be triggered by embarrassment, happiness or surprise. Expanding capillaries send a rush of blood to the surface of our face and neck, producing that reddish ‘glow.’
Straight to My Heart: Ancient Egyptians and Romans wore rings symbolizing love on the same finger we wear them on today because they believed the vena amoris (vein of love) ran from the fourth finger on the left hand directly to the heart. Valentine’s Day is also among the most popular days for marriage proposals.
Roses are Red: Red roses have sparked romance since ancient Greeks and Romans identified the fragrant flower with Aphrodite and Venus, their goddesses of love. The romance with roses is stronger than ever with more than 189 million of them given as expressions of love on Valentine’s Day each year, making it the leading holiday for fresh cut flowers. Long stem, red roses are most popular because they symbolize passion and true romance.
Baby’s Breath: Baby’s Breath, the delicate white flower widely used in Valentine’s Day flower arrangements, is actually considered a weed. It was first introduced in North America as a garden ornamental plant in the late 1800s.
Love Struck: Love is always in the air when Cupid’s arrows fly, but especially on Valentine’s Day. Legend has it that anyone pierced by an arrow shot from this chubby cherub’s bow will fall madly in love. Cupid’s arrows are said to be tipped with diamonds, enhancing the precious stone’s popularity among couples.
Forget-Me-Not: Frilly lace and ribbon that we often see decorating cards and Valentine gifts today are romantic symbols from the days of King Arthur. Love-struck maidens were known to give gifts of ribbons and frills to knights so love would stay in their hearts as they traveled far away to defend their country.
Romantically Decadent: Chocolate is a sensual treat that’s been associated with romance since Spanish explorers brought it to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century. This favorite indulgence now rivals flowers as the most popular Valentine’s Day gift. It’s heart-healthy, too. Recent research has revealed that a small amount of dark chocolate may help reduce blood pressure because it contains a variety of healthy antioxidants.
Sweetheart, Sweet Tooth: Remember when your heart fluttered back in grade school after getting a few Conversation Hearts from a secret admirer on Valentine’s Day? That first brush with romance continues today, as the tiny heart-shaped candies stamped with romantic messages remain the most popular Valentine’s Day candy. Over 8 billion of the sugary love notes are produced every year with new sayings like ‘Email Me’ to help keep messages current.
Love Takes Flight: The term ‘love birds’ sometimes used to describe newlyweds or a couple deeply in love comes from the discovery that some birds like doves mate for life and often serve as symbols of virtue and true love.
Bear Hug: The tradition of the lovable stuffed teddy bear is said to have started when U.S. President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt rescued a bear cub in 1902. Today, millions of cuddly teddy bears are sold worldwide for all occasions, but Valentine’s Day bears remain the most popular.
Be my Valentine: We enjoy expressing our love on Valentine’s Day with elaborate cards and simple notes, a tradition that became popular in England some 500 years ago. The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that Valentine’s Day is now the second largest card-sending holiday with one billion cards sent worldwide each year (the winter holiday is the first).
Young at Heart: Valentine’s Day cards are most commonly associated with romantic couples, but children under 11 years old exchange 600 million Valentine’s cards each year with family members, classmates and teachers.
The following CD's are our favs - Songs for the Cross-Centered Life & The Valley of Vision. In the V of V CD, each song is written from a prayer in a book of Puritan prayers. You can listen to each song and always buy individual songs on i-tunes if you don't like the complete CD. The words to the songs are powerful and right from Scripture. We sing a lot of these songs in our church and they been such a great aid in our worship. Here is an example of one of the songs (How Deep from V of V).
You were broken that I might be healed
You were cast off that I might draw near
You were thirsty that I might come drink
Cried out in anguish that I might sing
How deep is Your love
How high and how wide is Your mercy
How deep is Your grace
Our hearts overflow with praise to You
You knew darkness that I might know light
Wept great tears that mine might be dried
Stripped of glory that I might be clothed
Crushed by Your Father to call me Your own
How deep is Your love How high and how wide is Your mercy How deep is Your grace Our hearts overflow with praise to You