A Merciful, Grace-Filled, God-Given 37 Years

37

Yesterday, I celebrated my birthday. In the early hours of the morning, on September 26th, I was born.

A big deal is often made about birthdays. And rightfully so (The Lord’s grace), but also wrongfully so. We can often make such a big deal over a day we had no control over, often demanding special treatment and praise, expecting people to bend over backwards to make it all about us.

I grew up getting cards each year from my grandmother with money that matched my age. My mom and dad would take my brothers and me to the restaurant of our choice, or my mom would cook the meal of our choice. One year, I actually asked for lobster! And my mom made it! I wasn’t even a teenager at the time. She’d bake our favorite cakes (straight chocolate for me) and it would be such a fun day of celebration. The next day, life went back to normal. As a kid, it was always sad for me; I wanted to continue the party! But I had to wait another 12 months to do that.

As I have gotten older, birthday celebrations look different. Since I have been married, my husband has done sweet things to celebrate with me. One year, he researched and found a bakery that had gluten free cupcakes and bought me FOUR (4!!!) of them. I always look forward to the cards from family and friends and having dinner at special places with my guy. Yesterday, we ended the day with him praying for me; I loved that.

But I think in a way that I didn’t when I was 10, or even when I was 20. As each year passes, I think, “Whoa – where did last year go?” and birthdays are more deeply appreciated. I used to set my alarm at the time I was born and wake up to thank the Lord for another year, but now – I have to get up at 5:30a for work and getting older (for me) means my sleeping patterns can easily get thrown off. A super early wake-up turns into a clock watching session until it’s time for me to get ready for the day haha. So now, I just thank Him when I wake. He’s been merciful.

When I think about the passing years, I often shake my head at how kind God has been. He’s been faithful. Gracious. Kind. Long-suffering. Steadfast. Enduring. I don’t deserve to be 37. I have classmates who have long been gone. I have had countless times of rebellion against the Lord, yes, even since being a Christian! I am thankful for His grace. I am thankful for salvation.

So here’s to another year that the Lord has given me. I plan to work through Donald S. Whitney’s “10 Questions to Ask at the Start of a New Year or On Your Birthday” and prayerfully consider how I can spend the next year, if God gives it, honoring Him and serving Him more effectively.

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All (Back) on Deck!

We’re back on one blog!

I decided to put everything back on one blog for several reasons:

  1. Keeping up with 2 blogs is something I cannot juggle at the time.
  2. I learned that there are companies called “JGR Creative” and didn’t want to deal with the potential headache down the line!
  3. My life is varied & so it makes sense that my blog would be. I am a Christian, I like to make things, I am a wife, and I am learning in life all around. Why can’t this all be on 1 blog? :-)

With that said, you will find some new content! There is a new page called “Why I Create” as well as some posts imported from my other blog. Also, feel free to check out my Instagram – jgrcreates.

Ten Big, Daily Reminders (Desiring God)

Image taken from article at Desiring God

I was encouraged by this blog from Matt Reagan at Desiring God where he gives 10 different reminders for Christians concerning realities about God and ourselves. Reading through these, I’m compelled to remember these daily as I am weak and often need reminders. I agree with the writer where he says that somehow during the night, he’s forgotten the big realities about God and the universe and himself and the Gospel. He states, “I desperately need to steady myself with biblical truth rather than stumbling forward to live from unbelief… I’ve learned over time to put structures in place that remind me of those unseen things, especially during my bleary-eyed, half-conscious mornings.”

Link: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/ten-big-daily-reminders

I pray that it encourages you as it encouraged me.

TGC: 5 Reasons You Need the Westminster Shorter Catechism

Over at The Gospel Coalition, Andrew Conway gives 5 reasons that Christians needs the Westminster Shorter Catechism and why it’s worth engaging today:

1. The catechism gives a helpful summary of core beliefs. 

2. The catechism rightly views salvation as past, present, and future.

3. The catechism calls for whole-life discipleship.

4. The catechism opens the door to the wisdom of the Puritans.

5. Our ‘chief end’ really is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

To view the article in its entirety, head over to The Gospel Coaliton:

5 Reasons You Need the Westminster Shorter Catechism

 

Talking About Submission (Desiring God)

The further we drift from talk of submission, the easier my life becomes… But as a follower of Christ, my desire is to see Jesus glorified, not my flesh. And submission is tied directly to the glory and honor due to our Lord and his word. To retreat from the topic of submission is to throw aside fundamentals of marriage that God ordained from the beginning. If ever there were a time to dialogue about marriage, submission, and the attendant glory of Christ, it is now.
Kim Cash Tate

This post was challenging and encouraging to me as a wife. Submission is something that is close to my heart and always has been, even prior to marriage. It is often seen as a dirty word, and I can appreciate how Kim Cash Tate pointed out the various ways that the topic of submission is often approached – apologetically and/or sympathetically. Submission is no thing to apologize for, as it is God’s intended design, nor is it something to gather around and lament about. It is a beautiful thing ordained by God that shows off a glorious picture of His wisdom, and yes, even His Gospel.

While, yes, I know it isn’t always easy, it is beautiful & it speaks loudly to a watching world. There may be situations where it may feel difficult to submit. In those moments, we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, battle our sin and flesh and put it to death in order that God may be honored and glorified.

May the Lord continue to enable and help His daughters see the wisdom and grace in His plan of submission.

Christ Appeared

Merry Christmas! I am so thankful for Christ’s coming and all that it meant for those that trust in Him!

Urban Resurgence

“You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” (1 John 3:5)

There is so much important truth packed into this one sentence. Three obvious truths are:

1. He (Jesus) appeared
2. Jesus took our sins away
3. He is sinless

His appearing is a reference to the incarnation. There are many religions that seek to deny the humanity of Jesus and they do so at their own peril. The incarnation of Jesus is absolutely necessary for Him to accomplish,
as a man, what no other person has been or will be able to do – obey the law of God perfectly as a human. Jesus is the perfect man and He is also divine. Let this be sweet to us!

We are not perfect. We are sinners. We deserve God’s wrath because of our rebellion against Him. We sin because…

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TGC: When Mentoring Exposes Your Idol of Being Needed

Link: When Mentoring Exposes Your Idol of Being Needed.

As women, we should be seeking to mentor/disciple other women with the hopes that they will love Jesus more, desire Him more, and grow in Him more. However, there are always things to be cautious of in these relationships. Heather Nelson does a great job of providing some things to think through in relation to this over at The Gospel Coalition’s blog! Here is an excerpt:

Sharing the gospel is inextricably tied to sharing other aspects of life with those we’re mentoring. Consider what the apostle Paul says: “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8). Biblical mentoring requires engaging the whole person for more than just a scheduled time each week or month. It includes meeting for lunch or coffee, showing up for an important event in the life of the woman you’re mentoring, inviting her to be part of your life or family, serving together, and even enjoying together the seemingly “frivolous” activities such as watching a movie or going shopping.

Life-on-life ministry comes quite naturally to many of us women as we love to care, nurture, and share emotional intimacy. Yet as in every other relationship, there is danger that I find my identity in mentoring another young woman and so become enmeshed in an unhealthy relationship. My definition of “unhealthy relationship” is a relationship where one of my idols takes the central place that belongs to Jesus. In mentoring, this can happen when my idol of being needed replaces Jesus as what I am worshiping and serving in our relationship.

To continue reading this article, click on the link at the beginning of this entry.