Friday, January 25, 2008

"Friends, Romans, Countrymen...."

First of all I want to let y'all know how much I appreciate all y'all waiting so patiently for me to return to cyberspace! I am truly blessed in my friendships. And secondly...

Typing this blog post feels strange - so much has happened in the past three months! There are many things to report from Providence Church, as well as events in my own family. But before I fill you in with the happenings, I wanted to get your attention for a moment - or as Shakespeare so finely put it, "Sit a moment and let me sway you with my council..."

First of all, these past few months have been so rewarding for me in my walk with the Lord. I've found Him speaking to me in a way I never heard before! I've found more time to spend with my dear, dear family, more time to read the Word, more time to spend with the Lover of My Soul, My Precious Savior. God has really and truly done amazing things for me.

He has revealed His amazing grace and love to me and reminded me of how helpless I am without Him. Over the past three months, He has drawn me closer to Him, and through my being closer to Him I've become closer to my parents and my siblings. I'm not sure how, but I've realized that the Internet is a really incredible thing. It has the power to take a persons mind, hold it for hours on end, and before you know it the day has passed and you have wasted hours of your life - the life that God has given you.

That is what was happening to me, and I am so glad that God led me to take a break. I want to encourage you this day to seek the Lord and serve and love Him with all that you are. For that is our purpose in life - to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever! Life is so very short. You see it all around you! The siblings that were once the sweetest babies are now nearly 12 and you wonder where the time went; after all, you don't feel any older!

But life does fly by. God has given us this time to serve Him and seek Him each day by reading His Word and enjoying fellowship with Him through prayer. We should not - and as Christians we cannot waste life with mindless activities. We are called to take dominion! And we, as young people should start right here in our own homes - serving our families, serving God, and living life to its fullest. For what is life all about if it's not about loving, glorifying, and serving God?

I really enjoyed these quotes from John Piper's book, "Don't Waste Your Life:

"We waste our lives when we do not pray and think and dream and plan and work toward magnifying God in all spheres of life. God created us for this: to live our lives in a way that makes him look more like the greatness and the beauty and the infinite worth that he really is."
"If we try to display the excellence of God without joy in it, we will display a shell of hypocrisy and create scorn or legalism. But if we claim to enjoy his excellence and do not display it for others to see and admire, we deceive ourselves, because the mark of God-enthralled joy is to overflow and expand by extending itself into the hearts of others."

And lastly:
I will tell you what a tragedy is. I will show you how to waste your life. Consider a story from the February 1998 edition of Reader’s Digest, which tells about a couple who “took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30 foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.” At first, when I read it I thought it might be a joke. A spoof on the American Dream. But it wasn’t. Tragically, this was the dream: Come to the end of your life—your one and only precious, God-given life—and let the last great work of your life, before you give an account to your Creator, be this: playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment: “Look, Lord. See my shells.”

As a side note, if you haven't read Don’t Waste Your Life, I highly recommend that you do; you will not be disappointed.

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." - Ecclesiastes 12:13

And now for the update I promised. :) Christmas, particularly was wonderful. Daniel, Christa, and Joshua (well, he didn't exactly come...Christa sort of brought him along. *grin*) came to visit us and we had a splendid time with them. We enjoyed sledding, decorating, and cleaning our shop, as well as officially setting up and enjoying our Home Theatre (for family movies nights), complete with projector, large blank wall and surround sound system (which Daniel so kindly set up for us!!) We're trying to convince Daniel that they need to move up....we'll see. :) Christmas day consisted of a time of fellowship, Bible reading, singing, opening gifts, and enjoying a huge gourmet dinner! God truly blessed us this Christmas with much joy, peace and love!! :)

New Years Eve consisted of food, historical DANCING, singing, and a final "To the New Year!" toast. It was simply marvelous! I pray everyone that came enjoyed themselves as much as I did!!

And now it's the New Year, and life is once again semi "normal" for the most part. Our Church moved into another building so now we're at a place in Peoria known as "The Christian Center."(the young people seem to be enjoying the ping pong tables anyway...*grin*)

Life is beautiful and God is good. To Him be all praise, honor and glory, now and forever!
And since I'm a Southerner from the inside out, I must close with...

SHALOM, Y'ALL!!!! :)

- jessica

P.S. More photos soon!!

All of the young people at our New Years Eve Party!

The people who memorized scripture on Sunday holding up our cards! :)

Tiff was pretty excited about her Mannequin!

My dear Father on Christmas morning.

Melinda, Myself, Sierra and Susanna getting a photo on New Years Eve.

The McDonald/Blanchard Families.

The "kids" :)

"The Sisters" :)

Lenna, Myself and Sierra on Thanksgiving Day.


Goose said...

Welcome back Jessica. Those were some great words. I think I'll read that book it sounds good. My family and I were counting down the days till you came back.:)Talk to you soon.
T.C.C -Goose-

darby maeve said...

Welcome back! I really missed you but it sounds like your time away from the Internet was really fruitful! :) Did I tell you I took a month off also and I really enjoyed it. Ttyl, darby

DeLadurantey Family said...

Hello Jessica!
I just read John Piper's book also!
And I highly recommend it!
I have realised also that the internet is a temptation, and have been trying to not become to attatched to it!
Hopefully we can see ya'll ( getting that Texas drawl:) sometime!

Because of Christ!
Hannah DeLadurantey

Elissa said...

Welcome back Jessica dear!

BelovedPeace said...

That was a great post Jessica!!! So true!!! :-)
Welcome back!!
Love, Amy :O)