Goodbye Ordinary

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7

Christ’s Resurrection and Our Newness of Life March 29, 2010

Filed under: Faith — Lori @ 7:06 pm

I just read a great sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon on Christ’s resurrection.  I recommend it to you as a great way to get your mind and heart in the spirit for Easter week.  You won’t be sorry if you take the time to read it!  Start here and then follow the link at the end.

A Sermon
(No. 2197)
Delivered on Lord’s-day Morning, March 29th, 1891, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”—Romans 6:4.

I HAVE AFORETIME preached upon the whole verse, so that this morning I shall take the liberty to dwell chiefly upon the latter part of it—”Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”The idea that the grace of God should lead us to licentiousness is utterly loathsome to every Christian man. We cannot endure it. The notion that the doctrines of grace give license to sin, comes from the devil, and we scout it with a detestation more deep than words can express. “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”  Keep reading……..

 

Contentment March 28, 2010

Filed under: Faith,Life — Lori @ 11:04 pm

Don’t you love it when you are feeling all satisfied with some counsel you just gave your child on a wrong attitude and that satisfaction with your wisdom is wrecked when you suddenly realize that you do the exact same thing you just corrected them for?

That just recently happened with Kalindi.  The girls were going to play at a friend’s house and Kalindi asked me what time I would be there to pick them up.  I said the time and she immediately made a disapproving noise and started to complain that it wasn’t long enough.  I stopped her and talked to her about being happy for the time she could spend with her friend instead of complaining about it not being longer.  (I also told her if she didn’t immediately change her attitude that she wouldn’t be going at all and that would be worse than too short a visit.  Amazing how that changed her reaction. 🙂 )

There is something that I have asked God for since Kevin and I decided to have children.  I wanted MORE children.  However, because of fertility issues, we were only blessed with two biological children and despite our best efforts and medical intervention God chose not to bless us with more.  It was a very hard time for me.  I had the added bonus of having a lot of friends around me who were not having any trouble having as many kids as they wanted.  I found myself getting jealous of the babies God was giving them – instead of being happy and content with the children God had given me.  I mean, He might not have given me any, right?

I didn’t learn that lesson back then.  In fact, I just kind of shoved the thoughts and learned to live with it – I am ashamed to say.

I found myself contemplating that old bad attitude not long after Kalindi and I had our conversation.  I realized that there are many areas of my life that I tend to see the glass “half empty” instead of being thankful for what I have been given.

I honestly think that it is a choice to be thankful – and when we go out of our way to speak our thankfulness to the Lord in our prayers and throughout our day, we are reminded of the many blessings God bestows on us – who are worthy for none.  I have made this effort off and on, but never made it a daily habit. 

One Sunday when I was in charge of the music in the worship service I set up a time of prayer and music and we used scripture to pray at intervals the ACTS method of prayer.  I have learned that idea long ago, but in working on that service I realized why taking the effort to go through those steps was so effective.

In adoration, we make time to praise God for His character and works.  There are plenty of things that we can come up with for this area and using scripture can help us.  In praising God and contemplating His character we are naturally led to consider our own hearts which leads us quite naturally into confession.

After confession, and knowing that our sins are forgiven because of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we are led right into thankfulness.  What greater gift do we have than forgiveness?  Through Jesus’ atonement for our sins we can stand before the Father in prayer and be accepted on the basis of Jesus’ righteousness.  What a blessing that is!

Once we express our thankfulness, we can confidently bring our requests before the Father.  I have found, though, that when I use this prayer outline, I rarely get to the supplication portion. 

And again, something I know and yet do not regularly make a part of my life and practice.  Why is that?  Because, like a spoiled child, I immediately go to the Lord with my wants and desires.  I like to list off the injustices I suffer or the list of demands that I have and perhaps complain about the things I have been asking for and not received.  Yikes!  When will I learn?  When will I grow up?

Philippians 4:11-13  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Hebrews 13:5-6  Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

I Timothy 6:6-8  Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

Philippians 3:7-11  But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

It all comes down to perspective, doesn’t it?  What do as I see as most valuable in my life?  That last verse says it all.  I want to say with Paul that I count all things – every thing on this earth – as rubbish in order to gain Christ and to be found in Him.  I want to rejoice in knowing that I share in the power of the resurrection.  But, it also means accepting with thankfulness and contentment suffering in this life – knowing that it leads to my sanctification and the molding of my character into the image of Christ.  And, those two things go together because the power of the resurrection is new life.  A new life that is “in Christ” when we surrender ourselves to Him. 

Thank you God for everything you bring into my life.  Thank you for molding me and using me for your glory and purpose.  Give me ears to listen and a heart that desires above all to seek after you in all things.

 

Good News for Adoptive Families March 26, 2010

Filed under: Adoption — Lori @ 9:22 am

For those of you who might not be aware, there has been a federal tax credit in place for a number of years that refunds taxes PAID to adoptive families up to a certain amount.  That amount has gone up over the years.  The adoption tax credit was set to expire at the end of 2010.  We were quite upset about this because as our adoption of Levi drags out, it is less and less likely that we will be able to finalize his adoption in 2010.  It takes about six months for that to happen.

I just received some news today by email from Rainbow Kids.   It turns out there was something good included in the health care bill for adoptive families:

With the signing of the new health care bill, adoptive parents received some very welcome news. Not only will the adoption tax credit be extended until December 2011, but it has also been increased from $12,170 to $13,170 for adoptions occurring after January 2010. And for the first time, the credit will now be refundable. Families may receive a refund for documented expenses for the adoption of their child.

I am just extremely thankful for this!  Not only are they extending it, but it is now not a tax credit – only refunded on taxes paid – but it is an actual REFUND.  That is even better!  With the girls adoption expenses, it will take us years to get the amount back that we can from the tax credit.

So, I am just praising and thanking the Lord for this news as we continue to wait and see what the court in India is going to do with our case.

 

Mother’s Day Gift Idea March 23, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Fund Raising — Lori @ 5:19 pm

I have made for myself and some friends and family what I call a “family bracelet”.  You could also call it a “mother’s” or “grandmother’s” bracelet.  The bracelets represent the birthstones for each member of the family/person you are representing.  So, not only are they colorful, they have great meaning.

Here are some examples:

I am offering these bracelets as a custom order for yourself or to purchase as a gift for $50.  I can make a bracelet with three to nine birthstone crystals.  In between the Swarovski 8mm crystal birthstone stations will be sterling silver seamless beads and Bali beads of varying designs – depending on the space.  Each crystal will be flanked with a sterling silver bead cap of various designs. If you need more than nine, I can make it with 6mm crystals and do up to fourteen – photo example below.

6mm crystals - can have up to fourteen

I will make it with as many silver beads as necessary to make the design look balanced and for the bracelet to be the right size.  All components will be solid sterling silver, including the toggle clasp.

Here are the birthstone crystal colors:

January – Garnet
February – Amethyst
March – Aquamarine
April – Clear Crystal (Diamond)
May – Emerald
June – Pearl or Alexandrite
July – Ruby
August – Peridot
September – Sapphire (I used a dark color, but I can use a lighter sapphire blue if you desire)
October – Pink Tourmaline or Opal
November – Topaz (I usually use a golden color, but I can use a light blue if you prefer or it looks better in the design)
December – Blue Zircon or Turquoise

Here are some alternative stones for several months:

My lighting in the photos is not the best – I apologize! 

I like to play with the birthstone color a bit if it helps the design of the bracelet.  If I think an adjustment should be made to your bracelet I will talk it over with you and send photos if necessary.  Some families have multiple birthdays in the same month.  For some months there are alternative color choices, such as November, which is Topaz.  I usually use a golden color for November, but I can also use a blue topaz. 

Here are the toggle choices:

If you are interested in placing an order, leave a comment on this post or email me at goodbyeordinary (at) yahoo (dot) com.  You will need to tell me the months for the birthstones you want to use – in order, the toggle design you like, and the length of bracelet that works best for you or the recipient of the bracelet.  The price is $50.  I can send you a paypal invoice to pay for your order if you want to pay that way.  You can also pay by check or cash.  If I need to mail it to you (because you don’t live in the Portland area), the mailing cost is about $3.00 and I insure it. 

The bracelet that I made for myself has my husband’s, mine, and all of my children’s birthstones – including Levi’s which is the opal for October.  Here it is:

Thank you for considering a purchase of one of these bracelets to help us raise money for our adoption!  You will also be purchasing a special keepsake for yourself or your mom or grandma. 🙂

Lori

 

Soap for Levi March 18, 2010

Filed under: Adoption,Fund Raising — Lori @ 10:15 am

Greenfield Soap Company

I am overwhelmed with the gesture of my friend, Susan, who makes beautiful and natural handmade soaps.  She has offered to do a promotion on her website to help us raise money for Levi’s adoption expenses.

Using this link you can order any kind of soap that she offers on her website and a portion of the sale will be donated to our adoption fund.  I have used her soap for some time and it is wonderful!

Some information from Susan’s website about her soap:

…….And that is why I make Greenfield Soap Co.’s luxurious bars of soap thoughtfully and carefully, in small batches with naturally occurring and plant-based ingredients only.  I do NOT use artificial colorings or synthetic preservatives or fragrances, and I make Greenfield Soap using the cold process method, so each bar retains glycerin, a naturally occurring moisturizer.  Each bar of Greenfield Soap also contains a high percentage of olive oil for its moisturizing, healing, and gentle cleansing properties.  Coconut oil imparts a generous lathering quality, and palm oil helps to make the soap long-lasting and stable.  It is my desire and joy to infuse each bar of Greenfield Soap with nature’s aroma and conditioning qualities, and the results are beautiful bars of soap, gentle and sudsy and especially good for sensitive skin!

I have put a permanent link in my “Adoption Fundraising” section on the right hand side for Greenfield Soap Co.  Thank you for reading and as Susan would say – Be Clean! 🙂

 

Isaiah 40:1-2 March 12, 2010

Filed under: Books,Faith — Lori @ 2:03 pm

I just finished reading a book by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones called “The All-Sufficient God – Sermons on Isaiah 40”.  I found it very comforting as well as convicting.  I also loved the reminder that you find Jesus in the whole Bible!  The book is based on a series of sermons that were preached in Westminster Chapel by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1954.

In the book, there are nine sermons/sections of Isaiah 40.  I begin a series of posts with the first two verses, chapter one of the book.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her
that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. (Is. 40:1-2, ESV)

This section of scripture is a message to Israel.  The Lord showed the prophet Isaiah (in preceeding chapters) what was going to happen to the nation – that it would suffer and exactly how it would be carried out.  But Isaiah now gives a further message, which is that these people will be rescued and delivered from the captivity of Babylon and will be restored to their country and to their city of Jerusalem. 

“Many of the verses of Isaiah 40 are quoted in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, where it is made perfectly plain and clear that over and above the immediate reference to the children of Israel in the captivity of Babylon, we also have here a marvelous foreshadowing and indication of the Christian gospel that was to come.” quote from book, pg. 2

The author talks about the gospel being unknown and/or misunderstood by the world. He says, “If we take as our standard, the common ideas about Christianity, then we must go astray.  If we do not come to the Bible itself, and if we do not believe its message, then how can we have a true conception of the gospel?” 

He goes on to explain where the gospel comes from:

“The first thing we must always realize about the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it is a message sent by God.  It is God who is speaking here.  It is God who is giving a message to this man Isaiah.  It is God who is saying, ‘Comfort, my people.’  It is God, the Almighty God Himself, who is ordering Isaiah to speak.  Why do I start with that?  It is because if we are not clear about that, we will never be clear about anything else.  The first thing we must understand about the Christian way of life and the Christian way of salvation is that it is entirely and altogether from God.”

He goes on to say that there are misconceptions about God’s character.  That He is sometimes regarded as being “opposed to us” or a God who “delights in punishing us”.  In contrast, Lloyd-Jones also states that there are many who hold another view – that salvation is the result of their own effort, that they have decided and desired to live a better life and have given themselves to that.

Lloyd-Jones says that the Bible confirms that those assumptions are both wrong!  He says,

“The first statement of the gospel is that it comes from God, it is God’s action, God’s activity.  I do not care where you open the Bible, that is what you will find.”

The first man and woman started in a right relationship with God, but they could not stay there.  They went their own way.  And, instead of God writing them off and letting them reap the consequences of their choice, He did the only thing that could be done to rescue them and to redeem them.  I am comforted by the fact that God made a promise to Adam that He would provide a way of salvation.  We see this promise repeated all through the Old Testament.

…..that her iniquity is pardoned,  that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.

God tells us that he is pardoning us because he is satisfied with the punishment.  His justice is satisfied.  That is the very heart of the gospel.  Because of God’s holy and righteous character he cannot just arbitrarily decide to pardon sin.  He has said that he will punish sin and he does that.

Jesus was crucified – took our punishment and the force of God’s wrath – for us.  The Son of God, blameless and perfect paid for our sins. That sacrifice is what satisfied God’s justice.  Our sins were paid for with Jesus’ blood!  And because of that sacrifice God announces pardon and forgiveness.  The sin that estranges us from God has been dealt with.  The way to God is open again and we are reconciled to God in Jesus Christ, his Son.  Wow!

Isn’t God’s grace and love towards us amazing? 

Romans 5:18-21  Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ephesians 1:7 -10  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Take the time to know God through His Word.  We are so privileged to have it.

 

Request for Help March 9, 2010

Filed under: Adoption — Lori @ 11:25 am

We need to raise money to finish paying for our adoption and travel of Levi Sangeet. It is unfortunate that adoption is an expensive venture, but it is what it is.  We have gone into both of our adoptions with the feeling that God has called us to this and He will provide. There is no price you can put on giving a child a family though, is there?  And, let me tell you – it is WORTH it!!

We will be holding a dessert/silent auction fundraiser on May 27, 2010, and we need to collect items that we can use for the auction – this is where your help is needed.  We would be thankful to accept items or offer of services which people will bid on and take home that evening.  Ideas for items would be a basket or group of coordinating items, a gift certificate, offer of a service, a handmade item, a weekend at a beach house, a dinner gift card, the sky is the limit!  If you live in the Portland Oregon area, I would be glad to pick up anything if you let me know.

If you can donate something, will you please contact me at goodbyeordinary (at) yahoo (dot) com. I will let you know how to get the item to us.  If you know of someone who might be interested in helping us out, would you please pass along this request?

We appreciate so much your willingness to join us in helping to bring Levi home!

If you are new to my blog, you can read the story of our past adoption of Kalindi and Kira and the journey to adopt Levi and some of our thoughts along the way.  I just linked a few in that last sentence, but if you go to the section on the right hand side of the blog marked “Categories” you can click Adoption and read more. 

Thank you again and God bless!!

 

 
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