Friday, November 26, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses

No one's too young to learn to stop and smell the roses.

joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22















But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23



Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
And why do you worry about clothes? 
See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Matthew 6:25-33

 Be blessed,
Betka

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Love Story


Over the past years, I’ve found myself falling more and more in love with the moon. (and you thought this would be a REAL romance...) Well, before you exit this page let me tell you a little about this romance story. (say what? this IS a romance? okay, maybe you WILL keep reading a bit further). =)
From the time I learned to name the heavenly beings, I must have known that the moon was a great, big, giant rock floating in the sky, with absolutely no ability to give light on its own. It was boring and dead, in my mind. That’s probably why i didn’t give it a second glance.
That is, until I was romanced. You see, as I got older, I realized that the moon’s light had to come from somewhere, and from somewhere, it did! From the brilliant blazes of the Sun, the moon reflects a clear, white sheen back to earth. A mere reflection of the amazing fire that warms the earth and guards the day. Yet, if it more than reflected the sun’s powerful glow, we wouldn’t be able to admire at it’s unique and intricate features, peruse it’s thoughtfully designed craters with our bare eyes. Which I so love to do.
Now, before you start to wonder about my sanity, I am not saying the moon romanced me, I’m saying that as I was romanced, I fell in love with the moon. You see, it was God who romanced me. He looked down upon this wicked, disgusting world, and found the most wretched creature therein. Then, he tenderly smiled and began to whisper words of love and comfort to her. Telling her she was loved SO MUCH that He had sent his dear son to die, so that she wouldn’t have to suffer under sin’s power forever. telling her she would be forgiven the trespasses committed against Him. Telling her that He longed to give her a place as his child. His very own daughter. That wretched creature was me.
I believed what He said, and oh, WHAT A CHANGE began. The world took on a new light, as I saw everything that HE had created for ME, though tainted by wickedness, it was still thoughtfully and wonderfully designed. I saw His love in the skies and in the trees of the earth. In the rushing waters and the quiet streams. In the fellowship of His other children, saved by grace, just as I was.
Not only was my view changed, but He promised to change my life. To turn me into a reflection of His son, Jesus. Jesus, you see, IS the image of God. We humans are made IN the image of God. We are reflections of Him. As I learn more about Him, I reflect those things to the world around me, I hope, demonstrating the love and grace he bestowed upon me.
Like the moon, who has no light of her own, still He has made us to shine. 
He makes me shine. Isn’t this a lovely story?
Sara Groves, who is a positively inspired crafter of words, fashioned a song that goes like this:
You are the sun shining down on everyone
Light of the world giving light to everything I see
Beauty so brilliant I can hardly take it in
And everywhere you are is warmth and light
And I am the moon with no light of my own
Still you have made me to shine
And as I glow in this cold dark night
I know I can’t be a light unless I turn my face to you
Shine on me with your light
Without you I’m a cold dark stone
Shine on me I have no light of my own
You are the sun, you are the sun, you are the sun
And I am the moon
It put my exact feelings into words. I couldn’t have written them better myself.
I am still in awe over the fact that God in His glory stepped out of heaven to save me from myself. And I’m hopelessly in love with Him. Softly, ever so gently He brought me to himself, and as I turned toward Him, He made me to shine. 
I’m in love.
Like the Moon, I shine because of the Son.
Isn’t it a beautiful story, what He did for me?
This is why I so love the moon! Every time I gaze into the heavens and see it shining so faithful and constant, I am reminded how faithful and constant God’s great love is toward me. Never will it cease. Even when clouds come, and dark storms pursue my life, to destroy me, He is still there shining. I am still His. and I am loved. Completely, hopelessly romanced by Him; a reflection of who He is.

 I’m taken... and there’s no going back.



Monday, November 22, 2010

Little Wonderfuls

The end of a day is the perfect time to reflect on the little wonderfuls God blessed me with.
On of my little wonderfuls today was watching Allie eat an ice cream cone like she was a giraffe: 
video
It's dark and kind of hard to see, but I laughed a lot, so I thought I'd share it with y'all =)
Another of my little wonderfuls was viewing the gllllorious full moon, shining extremely brightly!


Finally the last of my little wonderfuls for today was spending time singing at the piano. I miss my sister, who always played for me,  but today I stepped out of my normal spot and sat down on the piano bench to plunk out the notes of You Are For Me by Kari Jobe (*side note* Emily's coming in for a visit on Friday, so we'll make music like it's going out of style, and my family won't have to suffer through my horrendous piano skills!!!)


,

Be Blessed and be thankful for the little wonderfuls God gives you each and every day.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul

This incredible song played on the radio this morning on my way to church.

God is so many wonderful things,
And Every time I dwell on His characteristics,
I am filled with praise.
My heart exults in my God!


Enjoy!

Bless the Lord -Jeff Deyo
For your beauty,
For your goodness,
And your wisdom.. Awesome God
Praise the Lord oh my soul, Praise the Lord.

For your power,
For your honor,
And your splendor... Mighty God
Praise the Lord oh my soul, Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord oh my soul, Praise the Lord.

(Chorus:)
And I will worship you,
I will bless your name forever,
I will worship you,
Bless the Lord oh my soul, Bless the Lord
Bless the Lord oh my soul, Bless the Lord

For your Kindness
For your Favor,
For your Mercy.. Gracious One
Thank the Lord oh my Soul, Thank the Lord.

For your fire,
For your testing
And your Spirit... Holy One
Thank the Lord oh my Soul, Thank the Lord.
Thank the Lord oh my Soul, Thank the Lord.

(Chorus)

Bless the Lord oh my Soul,
Bless the Lord oh my Soul, Bless the LORD!

For your Suffering,
For your Anguish
And your sorrow.. humble King,
Bless the Lord oh my soul, Bless the Lord
Bless the Lord oh my soul, Bless the Lord

For your Victory (Victory),
For your Triumph,
And you'll soon come and reign over all.

And I will worship you, (worship you)
I will bless your name forever. (bless your name)
I will worship you, (worship you)
Bless the Lord oh my Soul, Bless the Lord (My Soul)

And I will worship you, (worship you)
I will bless your name forever. (bless your name)
I will worship you, (worship you)
Bless the Lord oh my Soul, Bless the Lord (Lord, My Soul)
Bless the Lord oh my Soul, Bless the Lord (Lord, My Soul)

Bless the Lord oh my Soul,
Bless the Lord oh my Soul,
Bless the Lord oh my Soul,
Bless the Lord oh my Soul, Bless the Lord (My Soul)


Hallelujah Praise



 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 
  Worship the LORD with gladness;    come before him with joyful songs.
Psalm 100:1-3
The pastor's sermon this morning reminded me of this song.
Just makes me wanna get up and praise!


Hallelujah Praise!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Love is MY Choice

So often we hear the phrase, “Love is a Choice”. It’s a true, thought provoking and convicting idea, especially in today’s culture, when everything seems to be based on feeling and what best serves me.
But here’s what the Bible says about the “My Feelings” method of living: For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. James 3:16
How awful! 
And furthermore, if we are living in the Spirit of God,
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we LOVE each other.” 
Anyone who does not love remains in death.”
1 John 3:14
Love is evidence of our relationship with God and love is evidenced by how we serve one another, and not ourselves. Jesus said, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." John 15:12-13

So not only is love a choice, but it’s a positive MUST, if we have passed from death to eternal life!
When we are not "laying down our lives" for our friends, our own Self grows to consume our vision. Sometimes my own self-vision changes the way I view you, the way I care for you, how I act, think and live. In a bad way, that can absolutely destroy. 
I have a choice to make, and it’s not always (or even often) an easy one.
But just because I struggle with loving, doesn’t mean I’m not saved. It just hinders my usefulness toward others and for God.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 
1 Cor 13:1-3
It doesn't have to be that way, though. I can add love! 
I want to love. I want to make that choice. 
But how?
I have chosen love 
When I am patient
When I am kind
When I don’t envy or boast.
When I’m not proud.
When I don’t dishonor others. 
When I’m not seeking my own way.
When I am not easily angered. 
When I don’t keep a record of wrongs.
When I don’t delight in evil, but rejoice in truth.
When I always protect
Always trust
Always hope
Always persevere
When these things are evident in my life, I have chosen to love.
Not by my might, nor by my power, but by HIS Spirit living in me.                                   
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Zechariah 4:6)
And this is about the growing, the striving, the trusting God. Not about already being there; 100% of these attributes displayed! 
Mainly, because I can’t. None of us can. (but don't get discouraged!!) The Spirit CAN help me do these things (you too!), and do them much, much better than I could myself. It brings so much wonderful change into my life, and the lives around me.
This has to be my choice. To accept the fact that without the Spirit, I will seek my own (evil) way. To accept the Spirit’s help to NOT seek my way, but to lay down my own life. To look outside of my own self, my wants and desires to others, and to God. 
To choose to love others. To imitate Christ’s love.
Love is not just “a” choice.
Love is MY Choice

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"See Me?"


The Texas Sky...
...goes on forever... just like God's love.


As I’ve been going through the everyday happenings of life, God.
No, I didn’t forget to finish the sentence. 
As I’ve been going through the everyday happenings of life: GOD!
He has absolutely blown me away with His awe-inspiring, overwhelmingness!
I’m absolutely enamored with this Almighty God, who came to earth and saved my scrawny neck from hell’s grasp.  That’s enough to keep me worshiping at His feet for the whole of eternity, but He hasn’t stopped there!
He continues to lavish His great love on me. 
Even through a simple hug, letter, message or smile I can feel God’s love whispering, “see Me?” 
Today I saw him in the bright Texas sky. It goes on forever. There are no mountains to hold back it’s glory. Bright blue sky, as far as you can see, embellished with gloriously fluffy clouds. 
The reason I “saw” Him in the sky today, was because it was the first day I’ve been able to really look at the bright sky since my migraine began last week. It was as if I had never seen the sky before. 
Through the “raindrops” of my migraine, I saw the rainbow of His creativity. I was enraptured by His beautiful miraculous creation of the Texas sky, that just goes on for-seemingly-ever. I smiled. Actually, it was more like an idiotic grin. 
He blessed me all the way down to my toes... with the sky! How many more great things does He have in store for those He loves? I can only imagine.

Little bits of sunshine turn raindrops into rainbows.
Little smiles from God change my world forever.

Being loved by God is ... indescribable!
My insufficient vocabulary prevents me from completing that sentence properly. But you know that feeling. You know exactly what I’m talking about. 
If not, ask me how to find it!












Monday, November 15, 2010

God- you just can't get away from Him.

Last night I spent the evening discussing Theology’s impact on everyday life with some good friends. 
It is amazing how no matter where you are coming from, 
what you believe (or don’t believe) about God
 impacts EVERY aspect and issue in your life.

You see, whether or not one agrees with this, the truth is that God exists. God is active in lives. God is sovereign over the whole of Creation. And we can’t get away from that. I know, because the Bible says so. (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1-3, 14)
If I don’t acknowledge God, that’s my choice. Absolutely, positively, one-hundred-percent up to me.
 but it doesn’t change His role as God, 
it just makes me unprofitable, useless and in the end, utterly dead.
 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. Eph. 2:1-3

However, If I do acknowledge Him as a Relational, Righteous Ruler, then *voila* I have purpose for living, and a Creator who loves me =)
  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus... For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Eph 2:4-7, 10

I like that so much better than the idea of puttering around on earth, trying to make the most of my stay before I’m reincarnated, carried off to some otherworld or just completely end- kaput.
Let’s touch on that “Relational, Righteous Ruler”
God is so perfect. As my pastor reminded us on Sunday morning, He is 
Holy, Holy, Holy! 
And while that’s completely true and all-encompassing, we’re gonna get more specific with these “ 3 R’s”
God Is 
RELATIONAL: involved in our lives
RIGHTEOUS: fair, just
RULER: Sovereign "In charge"

and it's a good thing that He's all three:
Think about it, If God was Relational but not Ruler, we would have no respect for the commands He has given us (which, ironically, are usually for our benefit too, not just His).
If God was Ruler but not Righteous, (don’t have to chew on that one long before you realize) we’d be like several other cultures here on earth, living in fear of a tyrannical god, who might strike us with lightening bolts on a whim. We’d be working so hard in hopes to gratify Him, to keep his anger at bay and his blessing at hand, instead of worshiping Him out of love (which is what our God really asks us to do).
I don’t have to live in fear of my God. I don’t have to live in fear of living. 
IF I’m following God’s ways. 
God makes himself known to us, through His Word and through creation. He is all powerful over my life (Transcendent God) and He is deeply involved in my life (Immanent God).

 So we don’t have to fret about not “knowing how” to follow Him.
My pastor spoke a great sermon this week, so here’s the link if you’re interested in hearing more about the importance of keeping a balanced view of our amazing God.

Theology is woven into absolutely everything, because God and His ways Are a part of every Aspect of life. That’s how God DESIGNED it, how he intended it, and that’s how it’s gonna stay... unless He says otherwise.

There was so much good conversation at Bible Study, (thank you to everyone who’s words I’ve stolen and ideas I’ve used) I wish I could remember it all and sum it up nicely, but I can't and I don’t want to keep you here for hours, anyway, while I go on an on about God’s involvement in life, so I’ll just encourage you to look around yourself and find the evidence that God is involved, that God is just, that God is REAL!
Psalm 99
RULER
1 The LORD reigns, 
   let the nations tremble; 
he sits enthroned between the cherubim, 
   let the earth shake. 
2 Great is the LORD in Zion; 
   he is exalted over all the nations. 
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name— 
   he is holy.
RIGHTEOUS
 4 The King is mighty, he loves justice—
   you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
   what is just and right.
 
5 Exalt the LORD our God
   and worship at his footstool;
   he is holy.
RELATIONAL
 6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
   Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the LORD
   and he answered them.
 
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
   they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.
 INVOLVED (Immanent)
8 LORD our God,
   you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
   though you punished their misdeeds.
ALMIGHTY (Transcendent)
9 Exalt the LORD our God
   and worship at his holy mountain,
   for the LORD our God is holy.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Teen Mother... of FIVE.

So my mom always teases me (or maybe she’s not), saying if something were to happen to her and my father while the kids are still underage, I’d get custody of them all. 
Recently I’ve been getting a lot of practice mothering my five potential kids-to-be. All I can say is, if God allows that to happen, He’s gonna have to give the grace to go with it. 
(Which I know he can, and I’ll prove it later)
My dear cousin Leah was the first person I remember quoting the phrase, “with great privilege comes great responsibility” to me, back when I was 8 or so. Here was the situation: my sister had the privilege of riding in the front seat, BUT she had the responsibility of carrying my brother’s car seat to the car. (Oh the good old days, when life’s toughest moments were having to watch the ice cream truck pass you by or having to settle in to my nice comfy bed for an afternoon nap)
Well, today, I’m gonna turn that phrase around and talk about my (roughly) 30-hour experience of unexpectedly becoming a teen mother of five. Unexpectedly is the key word here, because it’s not like I haven’t watched the kid-siblings for more than 24hrs by myself before. The issue this time was unexpected and uncertain circumstances that caused every one of our worlds to tilt a little bit downwards.
Situation:
Lunch at the Berreth house is often an eventful time, but this past Sunday’s lunch is sure to top most. 
During a great conversation about seeing God in everyday life, mom suddenly panicked, hand over heart, and complained of being faint. As she continued to feel terribly worse, I followed my parents request to dial 9-1-1 and picked up the phone. I honestly was so stunned, that I don’t even remember what address I gave them as the “place of emergency”. Thankfully a little while later, an ambulance showed up at our door, so either I got it right, or God moved whatever address I recited, to our house for the moment of need. 

Anyway. 
Mom ended up going to a nearby hospital, getting some tests run, but felt much better and is back at home now, feeling better (Praise God!) but still looking for the “cause” of the episode.
While I don’t want to minimize the seriousness of her situation, I’d like to turn back and take a look at mine, because it's where God proved His grace to me.
My Story:
Mom and Dad are on their way to the hospital and suddenly I find myself with four curious and questioning children and one little sprite too frazzled to take a nap. I’m overwhelmed. I begin making calls to cancel my involvement in Sunday night activities, and word starts to get out about this completely unexpected hospital trip.
As I said earlier, i’m going to turn that phrase around to say: 
with great responsibility comes great privilege. 
I was completely overwhelmed and not completely finished processing what was happening when the privilege of grace was bestowed on me.
God’s grace abounded, pouring into our stunned lives, helping us remain faithful to what He called us to.
Privilege Number 1: (almost too obvious) God gave His promised grace. His grace was sufficient for me. (2 Cor 12:9) that’s almost ‘nuff said right there. He drew me near to Himself, kept my heart strong, my fears at bay, my mind clear and my head on straight (or at least as straight as the chiropractor has been able to get it so far =)) 
He showered His blessings on us.
Privilege Number 2: God gave godly neighbors, friends and church family that lifted us up in prayer. Not only that, they showed up on my doorstep, prayed with me, took kids for a couple hours here and there, washed counters, watched kids while I did laundry, gave me a smile, encouraging word or friendly hug. They brought food, they spent the night, called, cared, LOVED on me and my siblings. Such a privilege to call them my family in Christ.
Thank you, thank you everyone who was here for us in our time of need. I appreciate every one of you so much, that words cannot even begin to express my gratitude. 
Privilege Number 3: God gave pain relievers. It sounds funny, but I cannot tell you how relieved I was to have the ability open my cupboard and take (slightly more than suggested) medicine that silenced my own pains for the moment, while I needed to go above and beyond what was normally required of me. Not only was i offered relief, but my dear darling little spritely Allie-girl who woke up suffering from a 102.8 fever, was as well. She was miserable. She was crying. I felt terrible for her. 
God provided medicine to “rescue” us in our time of need.


Disclaimer (for Justin & any others questioning): I'm NOT a druggie!I almost never take pain killers, my usual treatment plan is sleep and water, but drastic times call for drastic measures. True story =)
Of course I cannot speak of God’s blessings without seeing parallels to the greatest blessing and gift He gave us, His Son.
As our friends came by, I could not stop thinking of how if we didn’t have this supernatural bond through the blood of Christ, I would very likely have been mostly alone.
As I took the pills to quiet my pain, I thanked Jesus for the pain he bore in His own body (without pain relief) so that I might be spared eternal suffering.
There are so many things in everyday life that point to the gift God gave us all.
His gift is such an undeserved blessing. And all we have to do is accept it.
I’m so grateful for everything He gave me. 
God required "much" of me, but He gave me much more blessing than I ever would have imagined. I can’t thank God enough for carrying my siblings and myself through these last hours of uncertainty and waiting. I can’t thank Him enough for the privilege of being able to trust that He will continue to be faithful to us

‘Cause I don’t have to worry that God’s not gonna be there... When I wake up, when I lie down, when I stumble, when I rise, when the ambulance comes, when my world is shaken, His grace is sufficient. His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)

Hallelujah!

see, I told you I could prove that God gives sufficient grace according to our needs.