Happy Reformation Day!!!!!! 491 years ago today, Martin Luther nailed the 95 thesis to the door of the church in Wittenburg. This started a long battle to restore sound doctrines and Biblical teaching to the Church.
I was so very blessed to be able to sing the words of Luther's hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" in church this morning.
1. A mighty fortress is our God,
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevaling.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
2. Did we in our own strength confide,
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.
3. And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
4. That word above all earthly powers,
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.
To God be all the glory for the great things that He did through weak and feeble men during the Reformation! Annnnnddd, I'll leave you all with that! I'm going to get into my pajamas, curl up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, and watch one of my all time favorite movies "Luther"! Have a wonderful evening!!!!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
|Some of the girls in costume :D|
|Mr. Hopkins telling a little about Reformation Day|
|Ruby, Chloe, Ben, and Rachel|
|Two of my besties...ain't they adorable? <3|
|<3 Tirzah and Andrea <3|
Friday, October 22, 2010
|I couldn't decide which of these I liked best...|
|and I didn't feel like taking the time to make a collage...|
|so I just added all 3 :)|
|My dear friend and fellow photographer, Rachel, is gonna|
hate me for this one..cause we always talk about how
we hate white vignette. But I kinda liked it on this one :P
|these tree roots were so fun!|
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
When I was in New York City at a PCA mission site in the spring, I was so blessed to hear lots of little voices chiming in to the commonly used phrase at VBS or other church functions to get children to pay attention "God is good..." with their own "...All the time." And you know, I've been thinking about that a lot over the past few weeks as some difficult things have been going on in my life and the lives of friends. It's so often that when life is going wonderfully, when God is blessing us every time we turn around, to say "God is good." And it certainly is true in those situations. But as Christians, I think we often forget what those little children knew so well; that God is good all the time.
Last October, I was having some problems with one of my eyes not staying open the way that it should. Our family doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong, so I was sent to a specialist. Never did I imagine that the specialist would tell me, just a week before my 17th birthday, that I might have a brain tumor. I can remember the panic that I felt when she said those words. It seemed so unreal. I also remember the peace that God gave me, knowing that no matter what happened, whether I lived or died (and yes, I can tell you, the possibility of dying certainly crossed my mind), I knew where my trust lay. My MRI was scheduled for a week later, and there was much uncertainty in the next 2 weeks.
A week after my MRI, we got the phone call- everything on my scans was clear, and I was gonna be all right. Even though God gave me so much peace, I had still been afraid. Hearing that news was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I remember sitting in my car after getting the call from my mom that everything was OK, and shouting for joy to the Lord, thanking Him for everything. I went home and updated my friends on the test results, and posted on facebook the following "Thanks for praying; my MRI came back today. Everything looks great! God is SO good!" And you know, that statement was true; God was SO good for keeping my healthy. But my cousin commented on that post and said something that I don't think I'll ever forget. He said- "Ashley, even if the results had came back bad, God would still be good." And you know, he was right. Even if I was typing my last words to you on this blog tonight, God would still be good.
God never changes. That's a simple truth that Christians can agree on. But for some reason, we seem to think that when the bad times come, that truth disappears. When those times comes, we - for some reason- seem to think that we have a right to scream at God because He didn't do things the way that we wanted Him to. After all, we tell ourselves, He's the one that made me go through all this pain, it His fault. We forget that in it all, He remains the same and He has a purpose for us in all of it. Romans 8:28 tells us that "All things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." That verse doesn't tell us that those things working together for good will be easy- in fact, some of the most difficult journeys that we ever have to walk through will shape us more into the image of God than anything else in our lives.
My Uncle Joe and Aunt Melanie have been great examples in my life of people who have lost much, but still continue to lean on the Lord. Almost 4 years ago, my little cousin, Katherine Olivia Sevcik was born. After 7 short weeks, her life ended. The following is part of a post on my aunt's blog just 5 days after their precious little one went to be with the Lord.
"Thank you all so much for your prayers for Baby Kate and for our family, they have meant much to us in the past six weeks. Kate's life on this earth ended Saturday morning. Her pain is over, her suffering has ended.
The journey of her life is best described as a roller coaster. We had a good day, then a bad day, then a good day. This was such routine that we were just as afraid for the good days as the bad days because it meant there was another really bad one just around the corner. Friday, the day before she died, was a good day. I had hope. At 9:30 pm we got a call that her blood pressure kept dropping. We got in the car and went over to the hospital. By the time we got there, she had stabilized. We stayed until midnight and drove back to Ronald McDonald House. They had to take her off dialysis to change the type of filtering they were doing which was the reason her blood pressure dropped. (This type of dialysis is hard to do on infants) At 4:23am the phone rang. It was the hospital. Dialysis wasn't possible, and she was dying. She was still alive when we got there, they placed her in my arms where she died at 6:19 am. We were so grateful to be there. She could have died on the operating table, or when she coded, she could have coded again. But she died with us holding her and singing to her...Michael Card's CD "Sleep Sound in Jesus" playing in her room as the sun was rising. I thank the Lord for His providence in this time to be with her. I also thank God for the wonderful people we have surrounding us, our families, our church family, and loving friends. So many have served us in love through prayer, bringing food to us, sending flowers, travelling a distance to be with us, and in many other ways. Please know that we love you and appreciate all that you have done for us."
That post speaks volumes to me of their faith. It would have been easy to blame God for taking away their baby, but instead they were praising God for the times that they had with her. The day that my aunt held Kate as she died was one of the very few times that she held the newborn since she was 5 days old. But she praised God for every little moment that she had with her baby.
The reaction after Kate's death wasn't short lived, either. My aunt and uncle still continue to cling to their faith even as the years go by. On October 13th of last year, my aunt posted this on her blog:
"Kate would have been 3 today. I have always tried to avoid saying or thinking that because He intended for her to live here 44 days... and only 44 days. So, I will rephrase that...today is the 3rd anniversary of her birth. We did our annual balloon release at the cemetary. Luke and Olivia got to release their own balloons this year...not that they understood why yet. We keep a little photo album of pictures of her in our living room, they often look through it exclaiming with glee "baby, Mommy...look baby" as if they are well beyond this phase themselves!
I sometimes take pictures at the cemetary which may seem odd to some, but it helps me. I see the wonderful blessings God has given me. We have control over such a small sphere and even in that, our control is completely limited. This moment is all I know of, I can't know whether I or my husband will still be here this time next week and if one of us (or both) isn't, it will again change the course as we have chartered it in our heads. Nothing is a surprise to God though, and He doesn't leave us when those we love go home.
So if you don't mind, I am going to post a few pictures of my beautiful daughter whom I can't wait to hold again one day...but I wouldn't mind hanging around with the others just a little longer. Friends, thank you for your prayers, your kindness, and your thoughtful calls over these past three years. We are so grateful. To whomever left the minature yellow roses on her grave, thank you so much. Being a parent who lost a child, it gladdened my heart to know that we were not alone in remembering Kate today. I brought it home so as to keep alive until next spring when I can plant it in her flower garden."
|Baby Kate with big brother Cole and big sister Anna|
-she spent 2 days at home with her family
before being readmitted to the hospital.
Since Kate's death, the Lord has brought to this family twins-Luke and Olivia, who turned 3 in August. They are living proof of God's grace in the lives of a family that went through an extremely heartbreaking situation. I can only hope that if and when I have to go through something as difficult as they did, I can cling to my Savior the way that they have.
So, in light of all this, I would encourage all of you to remember that the tough things in our lives can either make or break us. And if you submit to Him, and seek out His will in your lives, He will use those times to make you, shape you, mold you more and more each day into His image. He IS good- cling to His promises and live for His glory!
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Jonathan and Chloe's wedding day was beautiful. Though the day was rainy and cold, inside the church there was so much happiness and warmth as girly squeals over dresses and men's laughter could be heard throughout. Rachel Clarke and I had the privilege of getting to capture this special day!
What a joyous day! Jonathan and Chloe, you're a wonderful couple!