Forgiveness & Mercy

We all want it, but are we willing to give it?

Matthew 18:23-35
Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him.
Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'
The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.
Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?'
In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.

We have been forgiven a HUGE debt. For us to NOT forgive someone else is to say we are better than God. If He who is PERFECT can forgive us, how much more should we (in our miserable imperfection) forgive others?

Luke 17:4 And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.

Failure to forgive leads to bitterness, anger and hardness of heart. At least that's what it does in me. If I feel as though I have been wronged by somebody...and even though they repent, they keep on doing it over and over again...I am not likely to truly forgive that person. But that's exactly what this verse tells me to do.
Then maybe I will THINK I have forgiven that person, only to figure out later that I really never did. I'm still hanging onto his or her mistakes as a sort of "blackmail" or "ammunition" to bring up later. I never truly forgave the person.
How do you REALLY, TRULY forgive AND forget? Is it even possible for people to do? Or will those past mistakes always linger and haunt? It MUST be possible or God wouldn't have commanded it.


Dr. Spencer

I would like to thank God for my doctor, Paul Spencer, D.O.
When we first found out we were pregnant, I searched diligently within my insurance network for a Christian, pro-life doctor to deliver our baby girl. I did more than a few weeks of searching, and found Dr. Spencer at AALFA Family Clinic in White Bear Lake. It's kind of a hike to his office, but it's worth it.
Dr. Spencer is one heck of a guy. He's a devout, spirit-filled Catholic man with five kids (one biological, 4 adopted) plus one in heaven, and he has a passion for the sanctity of the miracle of life. He is very kind and encouraging, very practical, and doesn't give in to "scare tactics" commonly associated with pregnancy.
But what blesses me the most about him are these two things:
1.) He guarantees delivery, unless there is some huge reason he can't be there. So I know that my baby girl will enter the world under the supervision of a man of God who sees her life as precious and holy...vs some other "on call" doctor I've never met with blood on his or her hands from abortions or whatever else.
2.) I found out today that he prays for me, JP and our baby EVERY DAY.
That is a special doctor.
I am so thankful for him.


34 Years of Genocide

In loving memory of the millions of children who have lost their lives in the name of "choice" since Roe v. Wade.

Did you know that Norma McCorvey (The "Jane Roe" of "Roe v. Wade") has since changed her heart on the matter? She has started a ministry called Roe No More.


Spanking Ban?

All I have to say about the following article is that I am so thankful to God that my parents loved me enough to spank me.

Pro 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
Pro 22:15 Foolishness [is] bound in the heart of a child; [but] the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Pro 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for [if] thou punish him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt punish him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
Pro 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left [to himself] bringeth his mother to shame.
Pro 20:30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so [do] stripes the inward parts of the belly.


(AP) SACRAMENTO, Calif. California parents could face jail and a fine for spanking their young children under legislation a state lawmaker has promised to introduce next week.

Democratic Assemblywoman Sally Lieber said such a law is needed because spanking victimizes helpless children and breeds violence in society.

"I think it's pretty hard to argue you need to beat a child," Lieber said. "Is it OK to whip a 1-year-old or a 6-month-old or a newborn?"

Lieber said her proposal would make spanking, hitting and slapping a child under 4 years old a misdemeanor. Adults could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Aides to the assemblywoman said they are still working on a definition for spanking.

Some Republican lawmakers called the idea ridiculous. But Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he may be receptive to it even though he has concerns about how the ban would be enforced.

The governor said he and his wife, Maria Shriver, did not spank their four children and used alternative methods for discipline. For example, Schwarzenegger said they found it more effective to threaten to take away their children's play time if they didn't do school work.

"They hate that much more than getting spanked," he told reporters Friday in Los Angeles.

California law permits spanking by parents unless the degree of force is excessive or not appropriate for the child's age.



A friend of mine's sister was on American Idol last night and made it to the next round! Her name is Rachel (Seward) Jenkins. I went to school with her brother, Stephen.
Rachel is 21 years old and her husband left 2 months after their wedding to serve in Iraq. She has since joined the Army Reserves (hence the fatigues) and works at the family business, an auto body shop. She sang "His Eye is on the Sparrow" for her audition song. She is such a sweetheart and I hope she goes all the way! Congrats Rachel!


Bill's Annoucement

For a long time now I've been asking for prayer for an unnamed dear friend of mine from work who is struggling through a second bout with cancer. Yesterday, Bill Carlson made the annoucement public. His prostate cancer is back and has spread to his liver. He is undergoing chemotherapy right now. He is 73 years old.
I have been standing with and praying for Bill since the day he found out. Up until just a few weeks ago, I sat next to him every day, hearing the latest from his doctors appointments and PET scans, watching his hair thin out, listening to his struggles, crying and praying with him when his mom died in the middle of it all. We have become very close through the whole thing, and my heart breaks when I think of that sweet, sweet man having to deal with this.
Bill is one heck of a guy, and his wife Nancy is the cherry on top. Both of them are so positive, so optimistic, never once flinching in the face of all that has come their way. They are two of the kindest, most generous people I know.
Please keep both Bill & Nancy in your prayers.

C.J. from the Star Tribune wrote a beautiful article on the whole thing. Click Here to read it.

How Long?

Today I was listening to a song and broke into tears. The song is called "How Long" by a worship band called Rend the Heavens.

"I can't help but raise my voice and cry: How long till You come back? We're waiting here."

For the past few weeks my constant thought has been "how long" till this baby comes. I'm dying to know when. I think about it all the time, from the time I get up till the time I go to bed. I have everything prepared for when the baby comes - her nursery is ready, the carseat is installed, our hospital bags are packed. And I spend all day thinking about what ELSE I could do to make everything just right for when our child comes. "How long?"
If only I had that same sort of passion and drive regarding Christ's return. Of course I look forward to and long for it, but I certainly don't think about it day in and day out. I'm ashamed to say that it would be nice to know when, but I'm not "dying to know." And while I'm ready for Him to come back at any time, I rarely ever think about what ELSE I could be doing between now and then.
I don't ever want my love for my children to be more intense than my love for Jesus. Holla if ya hear me.


Showered Part Deux & Another Baby Update

I guess I spoke too soon, because today the baby "dropped" into ready position. It is not comfortable by any means, but it must be a good indication that things are progressing and she should be here soon!
This weekend there were two more lovely showers thrown for baby Israel. The first was given by my friends at WCCO-TV - unfortunately I do not have any pictures from that because I forgot my camera. But my sister-in-law caught these photos from the weekend's second shower, thrown by JP's lovely aunts. A big thanks to everybody for absolutely everything!

This is a Baby Update...

...Except for that there is nothing to report. Just thought I'd get that out there since everyone keeps on asking. :)
My due date is the 31st. I am in week 38 right now, so technically the baby is full term and could come at any time. Although I've been rooting for her to come early nearly the entire pregnancy, right now I have no reason to believe that she will.
I am feeling pretty good. I certainly cannot complain, as mine has been a relatively easy pregnancy. Sleeping is harder these days, but that's a given.
We continue to covet your prayers as we get closer and closer to the big day!


Just Say "No" to Kids

Check out this article on WCCO.COM today. I couldn't agree more. Can you believe parents spend 500 PERCENT MORE on their kids today than just one generation ago? Yikes.


Say 'No' To Your Children, Local Expert Suggests

"N" and "O" are two letters that are not used nearly as often as they should be during children's development, according to a parenting expert. The word "no" is also the title Dr. David Walsh's new book.

Walsh, of the Institute on Media and the Family in Minneapolis, says children live in an area where they are bombarded with commercials, and as a result too many are being told "yes" too often.

It's a syndrome he calls "discipline deficit disorder."

In his new book "No: Why Kids -- of All Ages -- Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It," Walsh writes a generation of kids has not heard the word "no" enough.

"I think a lot of parents have literally developed an allergic reaction to their kids being unhappy or disappointed. Learning how to handle disappointment is an important life skill," said Walsh.

Walsh argues that "no" is not only one word, it is also a parenting strategy that can teach kids to delay immediate gratification and pursue long term goals.

Many parents find that children watch television and immediately want the items they see advertised in commercials.

"Everything he sees, he wants," said parent Lisa Heeringa.

Walsh says parents typically feel guilty, and then compound the problem by spending too much for their children.

"Kids today have 500 percent more money spent on them today than their parents did just one generation earlier, adjusted for inflation," said Walsh. "I have a whole chapter on taming the 'gimmes.'"

Walsh's book, which recently moved into the list of the top 100 bestsellers at Amazon, suggests parents spend less money on their children, and reinforce that cutback by making sure their discipline is consistent.

He adds it is natural for children to get upset when they don't get what they want, but it's important for parents to stand their ground for their children to grow into being successful adults.


The Next Chapter

On Saturday, JP and I had dinner with our dear friends, Scott & Nicole. Nicole gets the prize for being my longest running friend - since second grade! She found out she was pregnant just about a month after I did, and her little boy is due in March.
It has been so much fun "growing" with her, and I thank God for the special bond we have that has only been enriched as we walk through pregnancy together.


My New Niece, Kona

Micah & Missy adopted this sweetheart today. Her name is Kona. I looked it up, and it's Hawaiian for either "south" or "moonlight." (???)
Anyhow - ain't she cute? :)


"Will You Go Out Without Knowing?"

Today I was reading out of My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. He was looking into Hebrews 11:8 where it says "He went out, not knowing whither he went."
That's exactly how I feel these days. I'm about to "go out" on the adventure of being a full-time mom & homemaker. I don't know how it's all going to work out or even what I need to do. I'm just going out, "not knowing whither I go."
People ask what I'm going to do as a housewife. I have no idea. The only thing I know is that God knows what He is doing, and JP and I both believe this is what God has directed for our life as a family.
From the book:
"It is this attitude that keeps you in perpetual wonder -- you do not know what God is going to do next. Each morning you wake it is to be a 'going out,' building in confidence on God.
"Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is."

I am confident, yet scared to take this step. I want God to tell me exactly what is going to happen and what it's going to be like. Instead, He only shows me Who He is.
He is faithful. He is wise. He is a good Father. He is my help, my strength, my strong tower. He will be all I need.


I believe the Bible

Today we hit a record high of 41 degrees in the Twin Cities (tied actually, but hey). There are cherry trees in full blossom in Brooklyn right now. It's crazy warm. And that's setting off all of the global warming people. I am not one of them.
Today I read something in Genesis 8:22:

"As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
day and night
will never cease."

I'd say from a Biblical standpoint, that pretty much blows global warming out of the water, don't you think?