Friday, April 30, 2010

NIPTO, Day 82

I feel like there's so much to write about. But I don't know how to start.
Yesterday afternoon, I was reading MckMama's blog and she mentioned another blog. I clicked on the link and went to the beginning of the posts. January 2008. The blog is written by a woman named Angie Smith. On her blog she tells the story of how they lost their daughter. It's a heartbreaking story. I'm in August of 2008 right now. Their faith through all of the awful things that happened is amazing. If you've never heard her story, I would strongly recommend going to her blog and reading it. I can't do it justice here. I went to bed crying last night. Crying because of loss and hurt and heartbreak. I started listening to music on my phone while I was getting ready for bed. Barlow Girl's song Porcelain Heart came on. There's a line that says "were hearts made whole just to break?" and I thought about it. And I think the answer is Yes. Hearts were made whole to break... and then be made whole again by Jesus.

You know/You pray/This can't be the way/You cry/You say/Something's gotta change/And mend this porcelain heart of mine/Someone said/A broken heart/Would sting at first then make you stronger/I wonder why this pain remains/Were hearts made whole just to break?/You know/You pray/This can't be the way/You cry/You say/Something's gotta change/and mend this porcelain heart/Creator/Only you take brokenness/And create it into beauty once again/You know/You pray/This can't be the way/You cry/You say/Something's gotta change/You know you pray/This can't be the way/You cry/You say/Something's gotta change/And mend this porcelain heart/Please, mend this porcelain heart of mine/Creator, mend this heart

Last night I had the privilege of watching two adorable boys that go to my church. They're so stinkin' cute! I took a few pictures and so I thought I'd put up a few.

This is Toby (He has gorgeous eyes!)
Annnd this is Eli (He has an adorable smile!)

Let me tell you. They are sweet sweet boys.

This, however, is not one of the boys. It's a clothing line.
 I thought it was cool with the sunlight on it so I took a picture.

A reflection

 I saw the bud in the last picture and immediately took a picture of it. It was shining with light reflected off of a window. I looked at it and thought "that's what I want to be" I want to be a flower that shines light. God's the sun, Jesus is the window, I'm the flower.
Just a thought.

 Oh the irony of the words we speak. I just called my sister and her friend weird because they highlighted their class schedules... while I was coloring a page that my sister printed out for me with CRAYONS. Oh yeah. My mom made fun of me after that.

My dog's insane. Just thought you should know that. That's all.

Okay. Back to Angie's blog. I read more of it today. I think I'm well on my way to reading her entire blog in 3 days... That's a little scary. But I feel drawn to read more. I keep my spot bookmarked on my computer. I'm in June 2009. Less than a year to go =P
But seriously. Reading about how she and her family dealt with and are still dealing with the pain and grief of losing a child is amazing. She is such a strong woman. I hope that I'll get to meet her in person some day. She's a gorgeous woman with a heart that longs to serve Jesus. Go check out her blog if you haven't already. Just click here. I think, to be honest, I'm going to be bummed when I have to wait for her to actually post new material! I've been reading in volume and I'm going to have to wait! But waiting can be a good thing. But seriously. Go read her blog. Now. Mine will still be here later. So will hers. Take your pick. I might be a little while longer! hah!
(We both have a tendency to write long blog posts. I like her already!)

It is now 10:30. WOOOOT for posting late. My grandparents came today and we went to pick my sister up from Kent. Then we went out to lunch at Applebee's which was faaantastic! And then we came home and just sat around and talked. It was fabulous to "gospel" with the ladies, as we like to put it.
My grandparents and sister are here because tomorrow is a very special day. My middle sister, Hannah, is graduating from high school! I can't believe that I'm goign to be all alone next fall (sniff sniff... (Hey. I'm looking forward to getting stuf done without my sister randomly popping in to see what I'm doing. SCHOOL. Bug off. =P (I don't tell her that. Really. (This is now quadruple parenthesis HAHA)))) Sorry. It's getting late and something, maybe the delicoius dessert (chocolate chocolate chip ice cream and black raspberry pie) are getting to me. (I did not eat those together. That would've been gross. The pie and the ice cream were in separate bowls... I think I've just experienced OCD to the fullest... ha!)
So I think I better start actually getting to this scripture!

Onwards to Romans 6 today!
This is a lot more than I've covered this past week. But it's good. I really like this section. So I guess I'll let you read it. And my notes on it :) Finally.
(This is the first time in a week or so that I've posted "late." It's kind of weird. I've felt weird leaving this post open all day to do other, school and family related, things as posted above)

Romans 6:1-14
 1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

WHOOP! I addressed this question in my last post. GO ME. =P Here's some actual scriptural references to this. Not just me and my faulty opinions.

2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  

DUDE. Sin is dead to us. There is no way that it can have any kind of hold over us. How comforting is that? ` 

3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

This is a beautiful picture of baptism. This is the picture of baptism. We were buried with Christ (being lowered into the water) then we are raised from the dead through the glory of God (being raised out of the water)
We're actually having a baptism at church in a couple weeks. I'm excited. Baptisms are always exciting. (And because I'm an EK (Elder's Kid) I get to find out who's getting baptized. It's exciting!) 
We get to live through God. FANNNNTASTIC.

 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.

So baptism is how we're united with Christ's death. How much more will we be united with him in his resurrection? It's encouraging. Comforting. 

6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Our old self is gone. Our old nature is gone, I should say. Anyone who has died with Christ is free. We're no longer bound to our old nature. God has dealt with that. We don't need to worry about it anymore. We're free. Free. λύω. lyō (lü'-ō).  FREE. If you want to see all the definitions for this word, you can click here. It's amazing.

 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 

GAAAAAAAAAH. I may or may not have just screamed. You'll never know. BOO YAHHH. =P (I felt the need to add a "boo yah" to this post... just fyi.) This is a fantastic portion of scripture. We die with Christ. We live with Christ. Annnd since Christ was raised from the dead and can no longer die, once we die and are raised from the dead, we won't die again. It has no mastery over him. Or us. FREE.

10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

I can't even find words to describe this verse. That's all.

 11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

This is good. Great. Amazing? Yeah. We're dead to sin. It can't touch us. We're alive to God. Through Christ's resurrection. YUP. We're alive. And that is something to be thankful for. 

12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of   

Sin has no control. We're free. That's what this post is about I guess. Freedom. I feel like I should reference Beth Moore's "Breaking Free" study... but I've never done it... hah. But seriously: We should offer ourselves fully to God. We've been brought from death to life. Amazing. I can't even comprehend it. 

14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

WOOOOOOOOT FREEDOM. Grace. Freedom. No more law. Just freedom and grace. (The law still applies. (We should actually uphold it. Romans 3:31. Check it if you don't believe me.)) (BOOYAH! to the Matilda reference. If you got it *high five*) (I'm a nerd. And like parentheses?)

OOOOOKAY. I'm done for now. I need to go to bed. I need to get up early tomorrow for my sister's GRADUATION! Crazy.
Goodnight. I'll post tomorrow afternoon. Probably with pictures. BE prepared.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

NIPTO, Day 81

Wow. I just realized how much facebook has become a habit. It's my homepage when I open my web browser. I was planning on going straight to blogger so I could get started. When facebook came up, I just started typing in my e-mail and password... then I stopped mid password because I realized that that was not where I wanted to go.
I'm considering doing a week long facebook fast. And twitter. Those are the things that eat up little chunks of time during my day. It's annoying. I think I'm going to start today. After I'm done with this post, I'll put something up letting people I won't be around and that they should e-mail me/comment on my blog if they need to get ahold of me. Because they're eating my life. And it needs to stop.
That just turned from a "I might do this" into a "I'm going to do this" in about 5 minutes. Crazy. Thinking about this a little bit more, this is the thought that comes into my mind: "This is scary." But I'm still going to do it.
BAHAHAHA. I just read the beginning of this paragraph again. "I'm considering... I think I'm going to start today." WOW. Sorry. Just found that funny and thought I'd share it with you... =P

Okay. Onto Romans.

Romans 5:18-21
 18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 

Adam and Eve ruined it for all of us. But Jesus saved all of us. Balances out quite nicely, don't you think?

19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Adam sinned. He was disobedient. (The word disobedient makes me think of a bad dog. hah) But Jesus was the obedient one. In the garden before he was crucified, he asked God if he could get out of it. God said, "No." So Jesus was obedient and went and was crucified. By his obedience, we are made righteous. 

 20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,

That's a little ridiculous. I mean, "the law was added so that the trespass (or sin) might increase." HUH? God added the law so we would sin MORE?!?! That's messed up, right? But not really. Because when we sin more, God's goodness is able to shine through even more. I'm not saying you should go out and sin so that God can be seen when you "renounce your ways" but that we should try to live holy lives. Jon Acuff, the author of Stuff Christians Like and the main author of the website by the same name wrote this post yesterday for "Serious Wednesday" I'm just going to link it, but it's really good. One of the "things Christians like" is Fearing we'll out sin grace. So click here if you want to go read that. It's good. I think it is relevant to what I'm saying.  (Stuff Christians Like is a hilarious website. If you've been a Christian for a long time, you'll find it funny, and sometimes sadly, true.)

21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So grace is increased so that grace will reign through righteousness. Just like sin reigned in death. Notice the past tense. (LOVE IT!) 
Grace and righteousness aren't really things we associate with someone who is in power. Unfortunately. But God's the one who's really in control... so these are things we should apply to leaders today. Even if we don't see it immediately. 

Hmmm... I'm trying to think of a good YouTube video for y'all today. Got it. I watched this while my sister was home last time. I found it amusing. Be A Man (from Mulan) in German. German is a funny language =P Enjoy!

Hope you have a good day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NIPTO, Day 80

Day 80. It always amazes me that I'm still doing this. That I'm consistent. I tend to have trouble being consistent. But this I've managed to do. I've even managed to stay somewhat consistent in that I do this in the morning. So I'm happy. 80 days. WOW. 10 more days and it'll be 90 days... 3 months... 1/4th of a year.

I slept in this morning... so I'm running a little late. But I'm going to still try to take my time on this and not rush through it.
Alrighty. Here we go:
Romans 5:12-17
12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 

 Does this mean that their sins don't "apply" because there was no law? I'll have to get an answer about this one. Because I don't know.

14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

It says that everyone still died. Which is the punishment for sin. 
I like the part that says "who was a pattern of the one to come." Adam was made in God's image. So God is the initial pattern, but Adam was the first human human and was kind of the pattern for Jesus. Cool, eh? 

 15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

 Cool. Lots and lots of people died because of Adam's sin. MORE people were saved by God's grace. More people received the gift of life. Coolieooo.

16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

 God's gift isn't like the result of sin. God's gift removes our sin. He justifies us. He clears all charges against us. God's grace is ridiculous. I'm never going to be able to fully comprehend it. It's crazy. 

17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

So it's saying that if death through Adam was in control that life through Jesus will be even more in control because of God's grace and gift of righteousness. 

Cool stuff.

Today I have a piano lesson... that I actually feel somewhat prepared for. I don't feel like I'm going to kill Prokofiev. Which is a good thing. I might kill C.P.E. Bach though... Eek.
Then we have dance. And then I go home and don't do anything productive.
It's kind of a bummer. Because Encounter62Remix is from 7-8:02. And Dance is from 6-7:30. And I don't get home till 8. So E62R is over. But I'll be able to go in a monthish when dance is over. So that's exciting.
Well. I should eat breakfast and get started on school so I actually finish everything before I have to leave today...
BY the way: The Last Song is a pretty fantastic book. I'm over half way through it. (p. 404 out of 644 pages)(Large Print version. It's not really this long.) It's a really easy book to read. I like it. It's cute.

No YouTube video today. I'm too lazy to go find one =P
So I'll just have to leave you with a "Have a great day!" and be done.
Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

NIPTO, Day 79/Post 100

This is my 100th post. YAY Blogger for putting up with me! hahaha

Yesterday I started reading The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. It's pretty good so far. I'm about a 1/6th of the way through it... Still getting through back story and stuff. But it's good. (P.S. I'm reading the large print version. Why? Because there were 20 holds on the large print version as opposed to 200 on the regular one. Easy to see which one I chose! (No pun really intended...)

We had dance class last night. Which was kind of strange. Dance is usually on Wednesdays but we had a makeup class. It was a good class. I'm sore. I have been sore for the past week... WOOOO. I need to stretch more.

 The sunset was pretty last night
 It was pretty on the way home from dance, but *gasp* I didn't have my camera
But here are two of the pictures I took when I got home.
It was a pretty sunset.
It was nice to see the sun after it had rained all day!

All the rain yesterday got me to thinking. (And somebody's post on twitter that I'm not going to post here. Too much of a hassle.) It got me to thinking this: What if each person had their own little weather bubble? And what if, when you sinned, your weather bubble rained. And it was cloudy. And just plain icky. And what if, when you were following God, it was sunny? Wouldn't that make people more apt to look at Christianity and say "I want that"? 
I think that a lot of people look at Christianity and think that their weather bubble is going to get rained on when they follow God. And if sinning makes them happy, it might seem like it. But who wants to live in rain all the time. NOT ME. I got a taste of 2 days of rain and decided that I really don't like it. Forks, WA, here I don't come! I couldn't stand it being rainy all the time! Thank you God for the sun. And for the sun that's coming up RIGHT NOW. It's nice to see the sun :D

Romans 5:6-11
 6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.  

God died for us while we were powerless. Helpless. Ungodly. Sinful. Undeserving.

7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Thiiis is fantastic. And I think these 2 verses might've made my list of favorite verses. I don't really remember reading verse 8 in context. Which is horrible. But it's part of the "Romans Road" and I've never really read it in context. Horrible. But now I've read it in context and I love it that much more. Because: Someone might die for someone good... maybe. But to die for bad people? Unheard of. But that's what Jesus did for us. While we were still sinners. He didn't require anything from us. He died. And that saved us. crazy crazy crazy.

 9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!  

 We're saved from God's wrath through Jesus. I don't know about you, but after reading through Revelation, I'd rather be spared from God's wrath. It's as ugly as God gets!

10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  

Get that? We were God's enemies. But we reestablished (or established in the first place) a relationship with God that gives us LIFE! When Jesus died, he settled that score. When he was raised to life, we were able to be closer to God. SWEEEET.

11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

We should rejoice in God. Jesus saved us. We're not God's enemies anymore. We're his children. So that's a reason to rejoice! =D

Okay. So I saw the high school/middle school and the elementary school buses both come today. The School bus system is kind of funny to me. Kids line up and get picked up in a big, yellow (orange?) bus. (We've had discussions about what color that really is. It's something you probably don't want to bring up unless you have the answer. hahaha) It's just weird to me. I don't know. I've never ridden on a school bus. (I take that back. I rode on a school bus style bus for a church event once. But it wasn't a bus that belonged to a school.)

Anyways. I have a fun YouTube video for you today! My friend Anna posted this on her blog a while ago and I loved it. (I love UP too... it's probably one of my favorite movies. haha) It's funny. Cute. Made me laugh. I love it.

Hope you have a great day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

NIPTO, Day 78

Good morning. It's early. I'm up. I'm half ready for the day. I'm fully ready to meet with God.

Romans 5:1-5
 1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

 We have been justified. Justification: the act of God whereby humankind is made or accounted just, or free from guilt or penalty of sin. But get this. We're only justified through faith. But, when we are justified we can have peace with God through Jesus because he died for us. Pretty sweet, huh?

2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

I like how the NASB puts this: 2Through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand ; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. So because of Jesus dying on the cross for us, we have this "introduction" by faith into grace. We're able to access grace. No matter how badly we screw up, God's always going to forgive us. Ah-mazing.

3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope.  
Oh. Goody. Suffering. Actually, suffering should be a Christian's favorite word. Yesterday in Pastor Mike's sermon, he was talking about suffering and grief and how those things can really help us grow closer to God. I have a quote... paraphrased by moi: "Suffering and sorrow give us a chance to connect with God because he can relate to us." You know how when you're going through something tough, you find someone who has been through that before? Jesus has been through the suffering. He can relate to you. No matter what it is, he can relate. 
I like the word 3 words before suffering: rejoice. We should rejoice in our suffering? That makes no sense! But it does if you think about it long enough in this context: When we suffer we grow closer to God. When we grow closer to God, we rejoice! So it's got a little step in the middle that leads to the rejoicing, but it's good nonetheless. 
The end of verse three and verse four make me think of James 1:2-4: 2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
This goes along the same lines. Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance: character, character: hope. Isn't hope something we all want? (I would say Yes. I mean, Barrack Obama had "hope" as one of his key words in his campaign, and lookie here who's president.)

5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Here's something sweet: Hope won't disappoint us. Real hope won't. If we have hope but we get our expectations too high, we'll be disappointed. Hope in God will never disappoint though! But God used the Holy Spirit to pour his love into our hearts. Because of that, God will never disappoint if we really truly go with the Holy Spirit's hope. 

I hope that made sense. (Pun intended).

Well. I should really get going. I have a busy day and I would really like to get a lot of stuff done before I have to leave for my busy day! So adios my blog readers.
Hope you have a fantastic day!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

NIPTO, Day 77

Sundays are NIPTO meeting days. I like Sundays in general. They're probably one of my favorite days of the week.

We have church which is always fun and encouraging. Pastor Mike always has something that's applicable. Which is fantastic.

Here's a fun fact from today: I heard a Justin Bieber song and I honestly thought he was a girl. HE HAS SUCH A GIRLY VOICE! I'm listening to Baby right now, just because I can, and I'm laughing. He sounds like a little girl!I'm sorry to all the "beliebers" out there, this is ridiculous. Once he hits puberty his career is dead. It's so ridiculous.
Okay. Sorry. I'm done ranting a little about Justin Bieber... who is a 16 year old male... who sounds like a 10 year old girl. Oh dear. It's just wrong that someone who sounds like that is popular... and is constantly trending on Twitter. Just annoying. haha.

NIPTO meeting=short. We managed to get through a church in Revelation in about 15 minutes! YAY us! =P Hannah and I got a brief run through of the "program" for the evening because we weren't actually going to be there. It looked good. I still can't get over how annoying that alarm clock video was... I'm trying to find it. But I don't know if it's on YouTube. FOUND IT. Brandon edited the one he used (cut @2:50ish). But this is the full version:

I would die if it took that much to get me out of bed in the morning...
If you watch the whole thing.... even if you don't: this person has some serious sleep deprivation issues.

On to observations from Revelation 2:8-11-
8"To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
      These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.  

This is the picture that Jesus revealed to the church in Smyrna of himself. I think the part about "died and came to life again" is relevant to this church. You'll see why.

9I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  

I don't think that this letter quite follows the typical "introduction, good things, bad things, encouragement/overcomer statment" format. This is kind of "introduction... stuff: half depressing, half encouraging... closing/overcomer statement"
So Jesus is telling them "I know you're suffering and poor... but you're RICH!" Today in America, we're like "HuH??" Cuz there's only 1 kind of rich in America. That's with MONEY. Laaaame. These people were rich in the spirit. They had God's blessing. They didn't have money, but they had God. Which is all that really matters! Jesus also knew that they were being smack talked by Satan. 

10Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.  

So, they're probably thinking "Okay, we can handle ten days of persecution..." Then they keep reading: Be faithful, even to the point of death "OHHHH dear..." and I will give you the crown of life. 

This had to freak these people out a little bit! I mean, they were going to die. And now they knew it. And they knew that it was basically ordained by God. But when they died, they would receive the crown of life. Not just any old crown. The Crown of Life. People would look at them and see the image of life. Crazy.  

11He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Overcomer statement! He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. Overcoming is difficult. But when you do that, you get all these things that God promises to you. It's fantastic! You won't be hurt by the second death (when Jesus comes back). In fact, you'll receive a crown of life like those people who died from the church in Smyrna. Pretty cool, huh?

Well. I think I'm going to go to sleep now. It's been a busy day and tomorrow is a busy day too! I have 2 things that aren't normally scheduled tomorrow. Should make the day really crazy. 
meh. I just realized that I'm probably not going to get a lot of school done. I don't usually get a lot of school done on Mondays because I have classes from 11-1:30... which cuts into my day. 
Tomorrow I have something at 9:30ish... then I have class from 11-1:30... then I go home and do school or whatever... then I have to leave at 6 for a make up dance class... then I have to get home by 8 for a new episode of Chuck!(class is from 6:30-7:30... and it usually runs over... and it takes 15-20 minutes to get home...) Chuck doesn't matter that much. But it would be nice to be home in time for it. :P

Okay. Last thing. YouTube worship video of the day: Take It All-Hillsong


P.S. There was a thunderstorm today: WIN.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Driving With Abby

I think I should start a weekly post called Driving With Abby. Then I can tell you the crazy things that happen while I'm learning how to drive. You're so lucky because you get to hear all about it!

Today I drove around my neighborhood for about 20 minutes. That's a feat. There aren't a lot of roads in my neighborhood. I drove on all but one of them. The one I didn't drive on was a cul-de-sac.
I practiced turning. And just driving in general. Then my dad drove up the road to the Target parking lot (Behind Target actually) and we NASCAR'd it. No, I didn't go 200 miles-per-hour. I just went in circles. Ovals to be exact. Practiced my left&right turns. Thenn Dad drove to BP and taught me how to pump gas. Then he drove to a small state park that's pretty much always deserted and I practiced parking and backing. I "hit" the car next to me. Oops. Then I drove home. On real roads. Without my hazard lights on. Heh. (The first time I drove on a real road I was going about 15 mph in a 25 mph... my dad put the hazard lights on for me... hee hee.) I think I actually got up to 30 mph today! I also "almost" hit a robin... it was in the middle of the road. I was going towards it. I honked. It didn't move. Then it flew away after about 2 more seconds. It was slightly frightening. Then I went home. And a car followed me. So I had to act like I knew what I was doing and go fast. And then I had to make a left turn and there were CARS. HAHA. Really Abby? There were cars? on the road??? I know, I know. And then I had to park in the driveway. Which wasn't so bad. I had to back up and pull forward a little bit so I was straight, but it wasn't all bad. I feel like I'm improving. So that's good. My dad's sleeping. He needs the rest after I stressed him out today =P

And thus concludes "Driving With Abby" week 1

NIPTO, Day 76

It's not exactly early this morning. But it is rainy. It's just a generally lazy Saturday morning. No one else is up yet. I actually brought my laptop upstairs so I could sit in bed and do NIPTO. Lazy? No. Comfortable and warm? Yes.

Romans 4:18-25
 18Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be."  

The situation looked hopeless. But he believed and was hopeful and God fulfilled his promise to Abraham. He became the father of many nations. It's crazy. But wait, it gets crazier. 

19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead.  

Okay. I talked about this a little in my last NIPTO post. But seriously. He was 100 and she was 90. RIDICULOUS. But he was still gungho about it and didn't lose faith.  

20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.  

He was basically like "You know what you're doing God. I believe that you can do what you promised." In fact, he was strengthened in his faith. And he gave glory to God. Just thinking about it, he seems like a strange dude. I mean, he kind of lived in the middle of nowhere. He was old. He praised God even when things seemed hopeless. I think the neighbor kids probably though of him as "Crazy Old Abe" or something like that. =P 
I think that in America today, we've lost this kind of faith though. He had no idea how God was going to do what he said, but he still believed it was going to happen. America is such an instant gratification country. You're hungry, you get food. You're bored, you see a movie. You want music, you get it on iTunes. We get frustrated with waiting for anything. We want what we want and we want it now. Abraham had to wait. I need to learn how to wait. God has plans for all of us. A lot of the time, we have no idea how they're going to turn out. But God has his plan and we need to trust him and go along with it. Not just play along, GO along.   

22This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." 23The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, 24but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.  

Because he believed, it was credited to him as righteousness. Credit. Something we're all too familiar with in America. Credit cards... loans... debt... Writing that out makes me think of Jesus Paid it All... the bridge goes like this: "O Praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead" 
He paid our debt that we got because we have credit from God. HAH. I slay myself. But seriously: We have credit from God too. We can be righteous. Upright. Holy. When we believe in God... when we believe that Jesus came to earth as a man and was killed by men, was buried for three days, and rose again, then we will have faith that is credited as righteousness. Not sure if that all flows together. I think it does, but I could be wrong. :)

25He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

He was delivered. To death. Our sins. Our justification. 
He died. For us. He didn't do diddily squat to deserve death. It was all us. He took the world's sin on his own shoulders. He died for us and by our hands. But then.... he was raised to LIFE for our justification. 

I think that's all for today.
I think I'm going driving now.
Peace out homie G's
(I don't know where that came from)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Train of thought-aka whatever pops into my head in a post!

Erwin McManus writes fantastic books. I would recommend them. Especially The Barbarian Way and Chasing Daylight. Seeing as those are the only two books I've read... and I haven't even finished Chasing Daylight. But I really like it. It's a great reminder that we encounter moments every day that could be life changing... depending on whether we take the moment and use it for all it's worth or whether we let it go by.

At the moment I'm listening to Walt Disney (Children's) Radio ( and it is FANTASTIC. Listening music from the Princess and the Frog right now. I haven't seen it, but I like the music already. Hakuna Matata (Original Broadway Cast) now... LOVE LOVE LOVE Pandora... *sigh*
Oh. Yeah. I'm sitting in Panera mouthing the words to the songs I know. hahaha.
This station basically plays music from every classic Disney movie EVER. Plus some! WOOT. Love love. (Somewhere Over the Rainbow Ukulele version? YEAH)
Sorry. I'm getting a little carried away. I just LOVE Disney. I did restrain myself from bringing crayons and one of my coloring books to Panera... I am trying to get a job here... so it might be good if I maintained a "professional" look. Hah. Me. Professional. I guess I'll just have to fake it until it's real. Hm. Do you think that can happen? Can you fake something so much that it actually become who you are?? That's almost frightening if it can happen. Hm. What do you think?

I posted a couple quotes from Chasing Daylight a couple days ago here (it's near the end of the post... I think). I'm going to continue this a little bit here.

The odds are irrelevant to God. 
BOOYAH! God doesn't care bout odds. He's got it all figured out anyways. Comforting innit?

If everything else remains uncertain, be clear on this point: there is a calling on your life. 
Again BOOYAH! You can be unsure about everything. But there's a calling on your life. There always has been. There always will be.

WOW. Just got super sidetracked. Decided to check twitter... saw that my friend had posted a link to Decided to check it out. I just spent the last hour or so reading this website. SO FUNNY. So true... unfortunately =P
You should check it out. Funny funny site. Here. I'll make it easy for you. CLICK HERE!

My mocha is really good. If I had my camera cable, I'd take a picture of my cup and put it up... but I don't have my camera cable. (Lucky you!)

Oooo I can stalk my sister in the door. I can see her reflection when she's in a certain spot... ooo. =P Imma creep. (I really am. My friends have conversations about how I'm a stalker. I just listen and agree. HAHA)

Man. I should've brought my camera cable... cuz then I could put up pictures from Enter Laughing last night. Bummah. I guess I'll have to do that tomorrow if we watch a movie or something.

I might go driving tomorrow! Scary thought, eh? So get in your houses and maybe go to the basement. It would probably be wise. Actually, don't drive around in the parkinglot behind Target. HAH. HTat's where I'll probalby be driving. YAY. (yeah. I'm still not confident enough to actually drive on a road. I mean that would involve other cars on the road... EEK. Going the speed limit? SCARY SCARY!)

There is a cute family sitting in my field of vision... there was a Dad and a Daughter sitting there earlier... they were cute too. :)

I wanna be a girl worth fighting for... (Mulan... :D YAY!)

I feel very enthusiastic tonight... Lots of YAY's and HAH's and CAPS in general...

Just spent about 3 more hours on annnnd I'm home now. So I think I'm going to go to bed. I get to sleep in in the morning..... AHHHHHHHHHH. Exciting man.
Yeah. I'm going to bed.
Hope you aren't exhausted by my rambling thoughts!

NIPTO, Day 75

Woah. 75. That's a big number. That's 3/4 of the way to 100. I have these little "Wow, I've done a lot of NIPTO..." moments. Now is one of them. I mean. 3/4ths to 100... 100 is 1/3 of a year... kind of. When you're rounding. I just got a calculator and did the math 121(.6666 repeating... 122?) is the "1/3" point of the year.


I went to see Enter Laughing last night at GHS (The local high school) with my friends. It was fun. The kid who used to live across the street, the kid my sister and I would play baseball with in our front yards on lazy summer days, was the main guy. It was kind of funny to see him acting. He's a good actor. It's just weird to see him on stage. He's going to be the Tin Man this fall in The Wizard of Oz. I love GHS's musical theater. It's always good. I went to see Thoroughly Modern Millie twice last year. It was that good. Or maybe I'm just that weird. The Wizard of Oz should be good this year. I'm looking forward to it. :)

Romans 4...

Romans 4:1-17
  1What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter? (Righteousness through faith) 2If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

I like this. Abraham simply believed God and he was counted as righteous. He didn't have to do anything fancy. He just believed. 

 4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation.

Aka they pay you not because they want to, but because they have to. You do the work in exchange for money. 

5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.  

When you work for God, you shouldn't really work. You should trust him. You should believe him. You should believe the promises he gives you.

6David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
 7"Blessed are they
      whose transgressions are forgiven,
      whose sins are covered.
 8Blessed is the man
      whose sin the Lord will never count against him." (Psalm 32:1-2)

Those who believe not necessarily in God's works, but just in God in general will be blessed. His faith will be credited as righteousness. I think.

 9Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham's faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before!  

Good point. Abraham was credited as righteous before he was circumcised. That had to throw the church into some kind of uproar. I mean... They were all about following the law to a T (kind of) and circumcision and stuff like that. But this had to have rocked their world. I mean... to be counted as righteous before you were circumcised? Kind of unheard of. 

11And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them.  

Abraham received the "sign of circumcision" as a seal of righteousness while he was uncircumcised. Not sure how to phrase the last part of what I want to say... He was the head of the uncircumcised people so that righteousness could still be credited to them. Kind of paraphrasing what the verse says... 

12And he is also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Okay, so he's the father of the uncircumcised. But he's also the father of the circumcised who are faithful. So basically, Abraham's got everyone covered. Nice, right?

 13It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.  

Abraham didn't receive his promise from the law. Or by following the law. He received his promise through faith. Sweet... h

14For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, 15because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

So. If everyone who lived by the law were heirs, faith would be worthless. And God's promises would be worthless. 
I'm not quite sure I fully get this. So..... I'm going to leave it at that... There's something about wrath... and that's just confusing to me. I'll have to ask Brandon about it on Sunday... or my dad tonight. I'll get back to you on that when I have an answer.

 16Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all.  

I like this. The promise comes only by faith and grace so that it is promised to all of his descendants.  But you gotta have faith. Interesting... very interesting.  

17As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.

Father Abraham had many sons. Many sons had father Abraham. I am one of them. And so are you. So let's all praise the Lord (right arm). =P

Abraham is our "father" because he believed in God. There were some pretty slim chances that Abraham (100 years old) was going to have a child with his wife, Sarah (90 years old). Yeah. Can't really imagine that. But Abraham believed that it was going to happen and it did. 
I like the last part too: The God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. 
The last part is kinda confusing, but it's also kinda sweet. I mean he calls things that are not as though they were. Present... past. It's weird. But sweet all at the same time. 

Okay. I think I'm done with Romans 4 for today.
YouTube time!
This is a song that we sang at Encounter62 last week. And we danced to it at Pirates vs ninjas (we're not allowed to say "ninja" in the youth room until next year when the (possible next year team? I think so...) SPARTANS compete against the Pirates. (Let's just say that Paige&Katie came up with that last night and I completely agree that it should be our team. :D (Yes. Two teenage girls came up with the Spartans idea.))) (There are four sets of parentheses in that paragraph. This is the 5th. I'm stopping now. ENJOY Our God by Chris Tomlin!

Hope you have a good Friday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NIPTO, Day 74

Good Morning!
It's kind of sunny out right now. (At 7:30, that's good!)
I don't actually mind getting up at 6:30 if it's light out... I just don't like getting up when it's dark. Ta-da! you learned something new about me.

I put up a bunch of pictures on facebook that are old. Like from before I was 5.  All before 2000. 1999 really...). The '90s were some funny looking years. That link goes straight to the facebook pictures. I put some of them up on here last night, but the facebook album has more :)

Hannah drove to dance last night. I didn't die, so that was good. I didn't even freak out! Well... maybe I got a little freaked out, but not too badly... and only at one point. Otherwise, she did a great job driving.  I'm still alive, aren't I?
On Sunday night (I think) I put a stat counter in... OOOOO. What this means is, I'm watching  you. =P I find it very interesting to see how many people come to my blog. Granted, I still don't know who those people are (*cough*you*cough*)... but I know YOU were here. =P (Unless you're reading this over my shoulder... which is impossible since everyone in my family is still upstairs... and I am currently alone. Muwahahaha. Oops. Sorry. Didn't mean to laugh evilly. I'm not mean. Really. =P (Third "=P" smiley face in the same paragraph. Time to stop this paragraph!)

YouTube video of the day! For the Glory of it All-David Crowder*Band
I love this song. He repairs for the glory of it all. No matter how broken, he will repair for his glory. Love that idea! Enjoy :)

Okay. The end of Romans 3. So we've gone through the "God is faithful" and "No one is righteous" parts... so now it's time for the "Righteousness through faith" part. WOOT. Man! There is so much packed into these 10 verses! More than I ever realized... and probably even more than I realize now!

Romans 3:21-31
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

 27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

OKay. Got that? Imma break it down now. (Now is when I start beat-boxing... and 2 seconds later is when I stop because I realize how ridiculously white I am.)

21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

WOAH. This was huge for them. As New Testament Christians, all they had was the law. Now there's this new way that they can have righteousness that is apart from the law. Radical man. 

22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Verse 23 often gets taken out of context. Which is fine... kind of. Our righteousness is from God. It comes when we have faith in Jesus. It comes to those who believe. But there's no difference among people because all have sinned. Everyone falls short of God's glory. But we're all justified freely by his grace. Jesus died so that we could be redeemed. Make sense? 

25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

These people got this. They knew how all the sacrifices worked. What was new was just believing that he died to save them... that he was their sacrificial lamb, and that though faith in his blood they could be saved. This was mostly new. What was new was only having to believe once. Jesus only had to die once. They had to annually sacrifice lambs to keep themselves holy. But once Jesus died once and rose from the dead, you only have to believe once. 
I just'd Forbearance. I found a definition I really like:
a creditor's giving of indulgence after the day originally fixed for payment.

That's what God did. He let our sins go for just a little while after we should've paid for them. Then he paid for them with Jesus' blood.

So I'm listening to a little musica while I'm writing. And the song "Christ is Come" (by MercyMe... I think) comes on. And it gets to the bridge and I love the lyrics in the bride. So I'm going to type them out for you

Prince of peace
Son of man
Holy one
King of Kings
Lord of Lords
The Great I Am
Author and Finisher
Divine Truth
You are God
Jesus, You are God

Okay. Back to Romans.

 27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 

I don't really get this. I think it's talking about boasting as a sin... boasting as a sin being excluded? Not sure. Any insight would be much appreciated. 

28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 

YAY. I'm glad we're justified by faith apart from observing the law... It would be BAD if we had to be justified by observing the law. In James 2 it says that if you break one part of the law you've broken the entire law. Mann. that stinks. So it's a good thing that Jesus died for us!

29Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 

God is the God of everyone. He's going to justify all of the people who believe in him. circumcised or uncircumcised. 

31Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

The law is still in place. We should still observe it. We shouldn't go hog wild because God forgave us. We should still be examples of people who honor God and his law. We uphold the law. 

Intensity! That's deep stuff. It took me longer than expected to get through it. But I really love looking at the Bible like this. It's something I've never done before. It's healthy for me. 
Time to do school!
Adios Amigos,

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cute Kids

Are you ready for some cute pictures?
Cuz they're coming.
Are you ready?
I am.

Hannah, Me, Katie
I love my sisters. They're adorable

Our family in 1995.
Mom, Katie, Me, Dad, Hannah
I don't know what they were doing to me to make me have that face
It was just me. I made some funny faces.

Cousins. L-R, Top row: Chelsea, Aaron, Katie
Middle row, L-R: Nicole, Anthony, Hannah
Bottom Row, L-R: Claire, Evan, Me
We were so cute. We're still pretty cute
Just not like that =P

Katie was weird. 
Hannah's like "What's she doing?" 
I'm just chilling in my "baby-ness"

Christmas was always an eventful time at our house... 
I laugh every time I see these pictures... 
I'll have to remember these for a day when I'm feeling blue

Cute, huh?