Friday, December 2, 2016 6 comments
Okay, you've been warned! ;)
On Saturday morning, I brewed my coffee, turned on Netflix and entered a Gilmore Girl vortex that I didn't emerge from until the entire revival series was complete. This had been my plan all along, but little did I know that I would come away with my jaw dropped and more questions than answers.
How could they do this to us!? I had decided that I was #teamjess, but they didn't give us any closure on who she would end up with. Sure, they alluded that Jess still had feelings for Rory, but in the end, the only thing we got was a shocking pregnancy announcement. That was it!
This girl likes cheesy, predictable, and fully wrapped-up. But Palladino decided to leave us wanting more instead. Which is fine, I guess. But gosh it's driving me nutsy!
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 26 comments
*This post was originally published 12/17/15 but has now been revised, updated, and re-published.
I've been having so much fun lately with the Christmas lights, the happy overload of both Christmas cookies and Christmas music, and the wonderfully bad, low-budget Christmas movies. I am officially in Kristin-Christmas-Tradition-Heaven.
It's such a great feeling to truly enjoy all of the holiday scents, tastes, noises, and sights. I get warm-fuzzies every time I think about it. And even though I'm thankful for those things, at some point, the warm-fuzzies that are caused by small, fairly-unimportant things have to take a step back. Because at the core what we really need is a deep reflection on the true meaning of Christmas.
And as a little disclaimer, it is entirely possible to have fun and reflect on the deeper things of life at the same time. In my pondering and celebrating the real meaning of Christmas, I will still be eating just as many cookies, singing just as many songs, and watching just as many Christmas movies. But while doing this, I will make sure that the more important things in life come first- while the silly things come second.
"Jesus is the reason for the season". This is very true.
But I am sure you've heard that a million times and you may be thinking, "Yeah, but what does that mean...what does it really mean?"
Well, the story of Jesus' birth is found in Luke 2 in the Bible. If you've never read it, or you need a refresher, you can read it here.
You see, a lot of people "know" that Christmas is about Jesus- a little baby who was called the son of God, and born in a stable. Great. But many people don't go past that.
The thing is though, it's when you go past the basics that you truly begin to understand the meaning of Christmas. Go past the fact that Jesus was born to a young girl who had never had sex. Go past what you know about wise men, bright stars, and a feeding trough for a bed. Then you will start to see the point of this beautiful holiday season!
And what is the point?
Guilt and LoveThe point is, from the very beginning of our lives, we are sinful people. We aren't innocent. We aren't good enough. We make mistakes every day that pull us further and further away from God.
But since God loves us, He wanted to bring us back to Him. He is a holy God though, so He couldn't just act like our sin was acceptable- because it's not. He needed a perfect person to take the punishment we deserved. And what is that punishment? Death. Not just a typical death either. No, an eternal death.
God knew that if He didn't step in, our sin would keep us from Him and His love for eternity. So God sent Jesus.
But why? What could a baby do?
Well, as baby Jesus grew up, He never sinned. He was human, and yet He was God at the very same time. He stood firm against the sins that we give into. He was the only perfect person.
So when the Jews decided to kill Jesus, they were killing a perfect, spotless man.
God planned the death of Jesus as a sacrifice for all sin. Jesus took our death sentence and He served it Himself. But since He had the power of God living in Him (because He is God), He was actually able to defeat the death sentence He was serving for us.
Now no one has to pay the penalty of sin- Jesus already did.
God did all of the work. The only thing He requires of us is that we believe and trust in Jesus as the savior- that His death paid the full penalty of our sins just like God said it did. All we have to do is trust in Jesus and His blood as the saving grace we desperately needed.
That is the gospel in a nutshell, and the gospel is what Christmas is all about.
It's not about how many wisemen went to see Jesus when He was born. It's not even about the fact that Jesus' mom was a virgin (though that is important). No, Christmas is about a Savior- the only Savior- who came to live, die, and defeat death for us. Christmas is about God's goodness, despite our utter and constant failure.
Christmas is about the cross.
Check Your ResponseChristmas is a humbling experience.
But please, don't get all caught up in how you don't like being told you are a sinner. I don't like it either, but it's true.
I tell half-truths or occasionally even lie. I look out for myself instead of others. I care far too much about my weight, my curves, my personality, and other people's opinions. I try to one-up other people so that I can be the best. I complain about nearly everything that doesn't go my way.
And chances are, you do the same things. You and I are imperfect people, in need of a Savior.
So check your response. Don't be mad that God confronts you and your sin. Instead, be thankful that you don't have to serve your death sentence. Accept Jesus as the Savior He is. Spend Christmas with new-found joy that you don't have to be hand-cuffed to your sin anymore.
Christmas is about praising God because He gave us what we needed. God is love. That is what Christmas is really about!
Monday, November 28, 2016 19 comments
I'm a loud-mouth who has lost her filter. Every year since I graduated high school my filter has gotten less and less...filter-y. So it's probably a very good thing that when it comes to the holidays, I have a really good family with far less drama than most people I know. I am well-aware that if I was in a more dysfunctional situation, I would be tempted to get myself into all sorts of trouble.
But what if you are in a volatile situation? What if you have a mother who closely rivals Emily Gilmore? (guess what I've been watching...). What if it's even worse than that? I am so thankful that the holidays are a fun time for me and my family, but for many, the holidays are the most terrible time of the year.
So in that situation, how does a person manage to be a light for their family? How does someone remain Christlike when dealing with difficult people? Are there biblical principles to follow?
Wednesday, November 23, 2016 3 comments
Well hello there, friends! We are just one day away from Thanksgiving and I can't quite believe it. Where has 2016 gone? Wasn't it JUST May, and wasn't I JUST complaining that I was missing the beach during the Summer heat?!
But flying by or not, I still love this time of year. Taylor and I will be in South Carolina at my family's farm for all the Thanksgiving festivities and I am so excited. This is the first Thanksgiving out there! Woot woot!
If you've been following along for a while, you know that Mondays and Fridays on The Peculiar Treasure are usually themed. Typically we have Mug-spiration Mondays and then Coffee Sips and Lovely Links on Fridays. But during the next few weeks, I am going to vary a little bit from my normal series. I want to get the holiday spirit going and get as many festive posts into the mix as possible.
So today, I am continuing with the theme of "thankfulness". If you read Friday's post, you'll know that I am a believer in being thankful for the "bad" things that happen to us in life. But of course, there are still the happy things, which obviously deserve thankfulness too.
It seems obvious to make that statement, but I wonder how often we think of why the "good things" in our life are actually good things. What makes them that way? And is there anything deeper that good things in our life can reveal to us?
Friday, November 18, 2016 30 comments
It's that time of year, friends! The time for everyone to share what they are thankful for, and a time for everyone to try just a little bit harder to be nice. People who are typically brusk and temperamental can even be found making the tinsiest bit more effort. Maybe it's the weather, or the excuse for cozy blankets. Maybe it's the copious amounts and turkey and pie that they anxiously await, but whatever it is, it helps.
I am definitely a fan of the human race being kinder and more festive. Believe me- this time of year lifts my spirits just as much as the next gal. But I have to wonder: in all our giving thanks, do we ever give thanks for the things in our lives that are difficult? Are we ever thankful for our physical ailment or our emotional trauma? Do we thank God for our car accident or for that time we were embarrassed in front of our friends?
Wednesday, November 16, 2016 9 comments
Happy humpday, friends! Today I have a special treat for you! One of my favorite blogging friends has kindly agreed to be a guest here at The Peculiar Treasure. So please welcome Julie Moore and let her sweet spirit and awesome take on life fill your hearts today!
My family and I sat in the car facing the vast Pacific Ocean, taking in the intense lightning storm playing out in front of our windshield. The brilliant display crackling out from the darkness was both terrifying and awe-inspiring.
Earlier in the day, Jon, the spark plugs, and I had driven to the coast for one of our beloved family drives. Having eaten dinner in the car while watching the sun set over the water, we had been about to head home when a threatening storm suddenly unleashed its fury. Rather than risk driving home in perilous conditions, we chose instead to wait out the rain and lightning before leaving.
And in doing so, we inadvertently became spectators to one of God’s breathtaking displays of His power. In an odd way, it was more comfortable to sit through the storm than it was to try to get away from it.
Had we not simply waited out the storm, not only would we have put ourselves at needless risk, but we also would have missed the amazing beauty of the lightning bolts striking through the darkness down to the water. We would have missed this unexpected blessing.
Look for God's Hand
All too often, I want to rush through the storms in life. My only goal is to get through them as quickly as possible so that I can get back to a comfortable place again.
But after witnessing the storm that night, I began to wonder - by simply trying to survive my life’s hardships, am I missing opportunities to see God’s hand at work?
What points of beauty, areas of spiritual growth, and lessons from the Lord am I losing by not embracing and fully living through my trials when they come?
When my son Turbo was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, it was one of the hardest things I’ve gone through to date. And yet, it was also one of the times when I most clearly saw the Lord at work. While I’d never choose to go through another experience like that, I also don’t want to miss out on the beauty of those kinds of hardships, either.
Life is full of waiting, hardship, and struggle. But for the Christian, there can also be comfort, both despite and because of those trials.
Let’s embrace the storm together. We never know when we’ll get to witness another brilliant display of God’s glory!
Julie Moore is wife to Jon and homeschooling mommy to four spark plugs, one of whom has Type 1 Diabetes. She blogs at The Hallway Initiative, where she encourages Christian ladies to praise the Lord during times of waiting and hardship. Her mini email series, "Savoring the Savior (Even if You Don't Feel Like Celebrating)" begins November 15th. Be sure to check that out, along with her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram accounts.
Sunday, November 13, 2016 62 comments
It was 79 degrees outside and the leaves were all still bright green. Most people were in shorts and flip-flops- myself included. But it was October and I was craving the cold. I was craving warm sweaters, crunchy leaves, chilly evenings, and soup. Lots and lots of soup.
I also had a great desire for something to lift my spirits, brighten my day, and make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. And that's when I knew- it was time to crank up my A/C, wrap up in my snuggie, and play all my favorite Christmas tunes.
But every year when I start to feel that ache, I know a few people who act as if I had just murdered someone for listening to "Winter Wonderland" or "Mary Did You Know" before Black Friday. You'd think I had just told them I had kidnapped someone's child or something.