Friday, April 18, 2014

His Righteousness For My Heinous Sins

Good Friday. Absolutely Glorious Friday. Grievous Friday. Absolutley Painstaking Friday.

Today is the day we remember a beautiful exchange. Christ took all of the sins of all who would believe on Himself and gave us His righteousness. Wow! God crushed His only Son for us! 

Friday is here, yet we know without Sunday, his death would have meant nothing. We needed our sin forgiven, but our Savior could not stay in the ground. He had to overcome sin and Satan. 

He did and for this I will meditate today.

Titus 2: 11-14 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people of his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Let us not walk in our flesh gratifying its desires. Think about this each step you take, each word you speak, each thought you think.

One more thought friends, ("Mr. Cartwright" asked me this), "If God couldn't look on Jesus as He was crushed and took our sin, what do you think Jesus feels each time we choose sin?" God the Father is displeased and hates sin, and yet, His son bore that wrath for us. Willingly. Obediently. Full of Loneliness.

Praise to the Lamb. May I live in view of this each day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Fun Photo Shoot

It was time to snap pictures again for this Mama's picture wall. As most of you moms can relate this is one of the most dreaded fun tasks in a household, especially as our children age. Hopefully soon, we can get an entire family shot! So here's to "Inger's" enthusiasm! 


What a happy face! (You've got to admit she's got some muscles though. Just trying to see the positive.)





We had to get one with Max in there!






My princess!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

True North

Today, "Inger", "Marie", and I embarked on our last science class for this year at Crystal Springs Preserve. It was an awesome class teaching all the fundamentals of using a compass and eventually taking us on a geo cache scavenger hunt. I am a tad behind the times, as I do not have an iphone, ipad or even texting on my phone. I have never geo cached, although I would love to after experiencing our fun today. The most intriguing thing to me was the raw basics of the compass. I'm sure sometime in my life I have learned this, but certainly don't remember. (Sorry 3rd grade teacher somewhere who reads this.)

As we learned about the magnetism of the earth, my thoughts went immediately to our Great Creator. And to the wisdom He gives to men to work with His awesome handiwork.

Using a compass is much more difficult than a computerized thingy (not sure the name) you use to geo cache. But it is much more accurate. The key is to keep the needle of the compass directly on due north. AT ALL TIMES!

This brought to mind many songs and poems I have heard comparing Christ to True North.

So I started asking myself questions:
When I feel far away from Christ, where is my soul's "needle" pointed toward? Many times it is pointed south towards ME.
When I'm feeling lost and afraid, is my needle aimed on my True North? Most of the time, I need to change my posture and align it back up.
How can I find my way out of sin and despair? By locating my True North. Less of me; All of Him.

When we have our aim solely on Christ, securing our focus on Him, lining up our "needle" on North, we can dispel fear, anxiety, worry, and sin. We have a Refuge and Strength who can direct us back on track.

I'm so thankful for this! Aren't you?


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Writing Itch

It's back.

The writing itch.

I have been empty for words for quite a while, but I'm back hopefully for more than a few days. Can't wait to catch up with all of you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Married My Best Friend

On the night of October 23, 1993, a gentlemen, by the name of "Mr. Cartwright", called me up and asked me out on a date. That was the beginning of the most important friendship of my life. We hit a movie and had dinner, and then talked into the wee hours of the morning.

My health was not that great. I had gone through several years of chronic pain, and two weeks after we met I had my first surgery to diagnose my condition. He was a constant through those times. He read Scripture to me and prayed with me to encourage me. Our love was truly founded on our love for Christ.

Christ was the center of both of our lives, and on May 14, 1994, he asked me to be his wife.

Our wedding was simple, yet, beautiful! The Gospel was proclaimed to all who came, which was the most important thing in this day for both of us.

So today, I repledge my vow to my best friend. The one I wish to share the rest of my life with. The one who is my constant. The one who points me to THE ONE!

"I, "Mrs. Cartwright", by the grace and enablement of our triune God,
do pledge to you, "Mr. Cartwright",
my sustained efforts in assisting you to protect and to nurture our sacred, one-flesh union.
With joyful anticipation, I look forward to the building of our new life together on Christ's foundation.
I promise to love you and to submit to your divinely ordained leadership in our home.
I consecrate to you my fidelity and tender care as long as we both shall live.
My priority on earth shall always be this precious home established by God.
No matter what He, according to His sovereign plan, may bring into our life as one in Him,
I dedicate myself to being a Godly wife at all times for your good and God's glory.
May our gracious God be pleased to fulfill, through this fragile but dependent disciple of His,
my covenant commitments to you and my heart's desire to our new life as one.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!"

(This was my original vow said on this date, 19 years ago.)

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Strong Faith in A Stronger God


The girls and I have been studying through the story of the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel in 1 Kings. Elijah had been through many trials which included running for his life from wicked King Ahab. He was fed by ravens appointed by God. He was fed by the widow who was on the verge of starvation herself. He was used by God to bless that same widow by pronouncing the coming birth of a son and then later when that son became sick, raising him from the dead. But when we came to the end of the escapade on Mt. Carmel, I was struck by Elijah's faith.

His faith in God to provide. (Which I too often lack)
His insistent prayer for rain. (Prayer that resulted in a continual knocking on the throne of heaven. An expectant prayer.)

Remember God has caused a drought to come on the land of Israel for their sin of rebellion. I found it quite comical that as Elijah was setting up his altar on Mt. Carmel, he called for the men to dump water all over it....3 times. Not only did God come down and lick up the sacrifice. The fire of the Lord sucked up all the water too!

Elijah then kicked butt. He slaughtered all the false prophets. He joined his servant whom he asked to go find King Ahab and tell him to jump in his chariot and get going for the rain was coming.

But there were no clouds.
There was no wind.
God hadn't promised rain yet.

BUT ELIJAH BELIEVED!!!

He sent his servant back SEVEN times to look for a rain cloud. (This makes me wonder how our prayers affect God's will and sovereignty.)

This brings to mind James 5:16b-18
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.

Oh, do I desire to have this type of faith. So many of us worry we are presuming on God because he hasn't spoken forth in an audible voice, but we have so many promises from His Word of his faithfulness and care.

Let's pray, friends. Let's be prayer warriors.

As I write this, I look over to my right and see the wall of prayer we have had up for 3 years. A wall of prayer that God has heard and answered in a DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT way than I could have every imagined.

And my heart is filled with thankfulness.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thanksgiving...So Abundant

My heart is so full today! I am amazed at our God! His faithfulness endures.

Some of you may remember this. I read through them over the last couple of days. God has heard. He has moved. I continually ask myself, "Why am I surprised?"

Over the next month, I am focusing on thanksgiving and a heart of gratitude.

So today I am thankful for:

1. Salvation - Without Christ, I am nothing.
2. Sanctification - Without Christ, I could not keep on keeping on.
3. My gracious husband who works so hard so I can do my job in teaching and training these little (and big) lambs.
4. My beautiful children. I have learned so much of my Savior's love through loving these children. 
5. God's grace that pushes and pursues.
6. Hoss' new job at Subway! YAY!!!
7. Hoss' enrollment at our community college to start in January.
8. Inger's love of animals. (Please add your prayers to this list! That I would be able to say no! LOL! Foster care for animals???? Really???)
9. Marie's love for the Lord. She has such a tender heart.
10. Little Joe's love of music. God has gifted him with such talent. Love it that he prefers spotify to television. Love hearing those guitars! (Most of the time :)
11. The ability to make decisions apart from fearing man. Fear God alone!!!!

Lamentations 3:22-24 
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Changes.....Living in Amazement

It's been way too long! And the truth be told, I haven't had a second to post. Life is in the fast lane right now. I may have time to type a bit, but blogging takes thoughts and my thoughts have been all jumbled up.

With change.

The 19th of October marks the two month anniversary of "Hoss"' return. A return that turned our lives upside down. A return that seemed destined by the Lord. Although his return was due to very difficult circumstances, it was, nonetheless, the right thing. His choices forced us, if you will, to move in a direction we were struggling with. 

God has a sense of humor. 

The words had left my mouth...."I can never home school him."

Well, he is being homeschooled.

He is in the process of dual enrolling in our community college. WOW!!!

He is looking for employment.

He is growing up.

"Hoss" is settled. He is again part of the Ponderosa. We are thankful. Most importantly, God is doing great things. I think of the story of Joseph in the O.T. God used horrible circumstances to accomplish His physical rescue of His people. God uses those "shake 'em up" times to get our attention. As things have progressed, thankfulness has filled my heart. Thankfulness for those bad times. Thankfulness for our Great and Good God who loves us too much to let us coast through this life. For it is in the valleys we feel our most vulnerable. We are needy people.

This Great Shepherd leads us. Amen!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hopelifter

As I am going through a deep inner and outer trial, I chose a book for my next blog book review that I thought would be a key to helping me out of the pit I seemed to be in.

Boy, was that an assumed understatement!

Hopelifter, by Kathe Wunnenberg, lifted my hopes and set me on a path out of this pit. It will take fighting each step of the way. She does an amazing job in relaying her own struggles, but also, in giving the reader the remedy for hopelessness. This being: to find our hope in God alone, and then to give that hope to others. From the Gospel, to meals, to notes, to offering your time and resources, Kathe lays down the foundation to being able to think outside of your own hurt and pain. It is so easy to get self centered through our valleys. To only be able to think about ourselves. The key to healing is exactly what Kathe Wunnenberg says. But it isn't only words. She has lived this example in her life and gives tangible ways to be a hopelifter. 

I'm thankful for her candid and refreshing encouragement and admonitions. Now to just do it! By God's grace.

As a part of the Booksneeze blogging network, I received a free copy of this book.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Leaning Pretty Hard

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Right now, I'm not even sure I can stand up straight. I'm hunchback and hurting. I'm grasping at His arms. I think about the photo and poem, Footprints. I am sure there is only one set, but they seem stationary.

If you notice though, these are all feelings. I acknowledge feelings aren't truth and I yearn for truth. For I know it will set me free from fear and anxiety.

Every morning, I hit my knees and cry. I have my trusty Kleenex. My hands are outstretched towards heaven. I'm pleading for the faith to believe. I know my Lord hears me. I beg for the Holy Spirit to move. I am confident when I rise that He is orchestrating the plans He knows are best for me. 

I find rest in this. I crave joy. I rearrange my thoughts. I fight. 

Against my enemy, satan.
Against my flesh.
Against my thoughts.
Against my fears.

David, the Psalmist, knew all of this too. So many of the Psalms repeat this message over and over again. And he ALWAYS goes back to remembering Truth.

My God is able. 

As you read this my prayer is that whatever you are going through, you will find this place. This place of courage to remember. To not get sucked into your feelings. This will lead you only to depression and sinking sand.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
 
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
    in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
    their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
    or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
    you hold my lot.
 
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
    indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
    in the night also my heart instructs me.
 
I have set the Lord always before me;
    because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
    my flesh also dwells secure.
 
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
    or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.