Category Archives: Faith

Day 2 – Advent Calendar

Advent Day #2 – Shop for a new toy to donate to a charitable organization.

{You may choose to simplify the process big-time and do something as easy as  pick one person a day from now ’til Christmas and pray for them.  It doesn’t need to be time-consuming, stressful, or cost you anything.  Do what works for you and enjoy the season with the ones you love!!}

Alternate Activity:  Prepare your heart in a spirit of penitence by reading Psalm 51.

Psalm 51

For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned  and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;  you taught me wisdom in that secret place.  7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.  18 May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

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Our Twist On the Advent Calendar

One tradition our families have begun includes that of celebrating the arrival of Christmas with an Advent Calendar.  And although we love the excitement and anticipation that an Advent Calendar can bring, last year we tired of making the focus on giving our kids more stuff, even if it was as simple as a small piece of candy.

So we put our heads together and decided this year we wanted to do something different.  We wanted to focus on what Christmas is really about – giving and reflecting on the true meaning of this incredible holiday.

As I began to prepare for this post I did a little research on what Advent really means.  It turns out that I had a lot to learn about this subject from my Catholic friends (I know Catholics aren’t the only one who celebrate Advent.  They were just the ones I got my info from so I’m giving them credit.)

According to Catholicism.about.com and other sites, Advent really means “little lent” and should be a time of increased prayer, fasting (for some), good deeds, and penitence.  In layman’s terms it is a time for us to take stock of our lives.  To take a look inside and see if our heart is right with God.   As we approach Christmas with this attitude of humbling ourself it brings us peace and joy as well as a heightened sense of anticipation.

In the spirit of Advent, this year our Advent Calendar is going to consist of doing kind things for others and cherishing the moments we have with family and friends.  But most importantly it will consist of us preparing our hearts for Immanuel – God with us.

Each day from now ’til Christmas we will share with you ideas you can use to celebrate this season using the Advent Calendar.  Maybe you already have an Advent Calendar tradition.  Then go with it.  Or maybe you are looking for new ideas.  Hopefully you will find some here.  Our biggest piece of advice is to do what works for you and your family.  That may mean doing a handful of activities on the weekend when your family has more time to spend together and then skipping days during the week when your schedule is on overload.

You may choose to simplify the process big-time and do something as easy as  pick one person a day from now ’til Christmas and pray for them.  It doesn’t need to be time-consuming, stressful, or cost you anything.  Do what works for you and enjoy the season with the ones you love!!

If there are things your family does or if you have an idea to share, please do so!  We may even use your idea for one of our days!!

So, let’s get started!!

DaY 1 AdvEnT:  Send someone a card who has lost a loved one this year letting them know you are thinking about them/praying for them.

Happy Advent!!

:)Robynn

P.S.  If you don’t have an Advent Calendar, you may want to make one.  Choose one of the following or find one to make on www.pinterest.com by typing “Advent Calendar” in the search box.

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All The Grace You Need

Have you ever tried to copy someone who was having great results but when you tried to duplicate their success you utterly failed?  Although their methods worked for them it did not work for you?  We all have probably been there at one point or another.  It is easy to think that just because something works for someone else it will work for us.

But one lesson I’ve learned is this:

God does not give us grace for someone’s situation and circumstances.  He gives us grace for our situation and circumstances.

This is the King Saul and David principle.  In the well-known Bible story of David and Goliath, before David went to face the giant he was brought before King Saul.  When King Saul saw that David was willing to fight Goliath, he was thrilled.  For forty days this giant had been taunting King Saul and his army to come fight him.  No one was willing to take Goliath up on the challenge except for David.  Immediately King Saul gave David his armour for the battle and when David put it on, he could barely move in it.  So David cast aside this fancy weaponry and used what he knew best – his sling and 5 small, smooth stones.  Turns out that 5 in the Bible is a symbolic number for GrAcE.  God’s grace (favor) in this situation was using David’s wit and skill to defeat a giant with only a sling and stones.

Where do you need grace in your life?  Your marriage?  Parenting?  Your personal life?  On the job?  In relationships?   Is it time to stop trying to do things like everyone and just ask God for His help?  He has tailor-made grace for your very situation.  All the grace you need.

:) Robynn

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When Someone Won’t Forgive You…

…what do you do?  Whether it was a friend from 2nd grade, a boyfriend, or family member, we can all remember of a time that we hurt someone.  If you were lucky, they forgave you.  If not, you may still be seeking forgiveness.

I’ve really struggled with this question over the years.  It is upsetting when you do everything you can to mAke iT riGhT—apologizes, phone calls, a kind demeanor, or even space away from you—to result in nothing more than a cold shoulder years later.  This is frustrating and can often tempt you to be angry at the person.  It’s this vicious cycle of you wanting forgiveness, them staying resentful, and then you being mad at them for still holding a grudge!

There comes a time when YOU just have to LeT Go.  Let Go of the fact that they may never forgive you.  If you have exhausted all options, you have done the best that you can.  You can’t live the rest of your life in misery because of something you’ve already tried to fix.  When you see them, continue to be friendly but don’t put your life on hold because you may never get the answer you are wanting.

And if you are the one that is still holding a grudge…re-read this post and put yourself in their shoes.  Realize how much you are missing out simply because you won’t give one of the biggest gifts you can give…FORGIVENESS.

~Lara

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When Life Doesn’t Turn Out The Way You Thought…

It’s upsetting, I know.  I think we would all be lying to ourselves if we said that eVerYtHinG in our life has turned out exactly, if not better, than what we had planned.  Sure, some areas in our life have exceeded our expectations, but let’s face it; other areas have been a big disappointment.

You are experiencing what all people go through at some point in their life.  We all have crosses to bear so don’t be fooled into tHinKing the rest of humanity never has to deal with disappointments.  We do.  It’s just a part of living.  Frustrating, I know…but that is why heaven will be so GREAT!  It will truly be a life with no worries, disappointments, or sadness.

We aren’t in heaven yet, so where do you go from here? Take a sigh of relief, because you are in G O O D hands.  God knows that we live in a difficult place and He is here to help us!  I know you can’t iMaGinE how He could fix your situation.  And He probably won’t fix it anywhere close to what you had in mind (nor in your timeframe!), but He IS the answer.  As hard as it is, just trust, pray and watch for His signs and He will lead you on the right path.  Be pAtieNt and know He will ease the pain we are going through.  Either way, what do you have to lose?

Hang in there!

Lara

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{One Sure Way To Drown}

One thing my family loves to do in the SuMmEr is go to the swimming pool.  My 4-year old, Belle, loves to jump into the pool and swim to me.  Last week after she had finished one of these drills she said,

“Momma, I didn’t worry, because worry will make you drown.”

She was referring to something I had previously told her along the lines of, “Whatever you do, don’t panic.  If you panic you can drown.”

Although she got my words mixed up a bit, she had made a PrOfOuNd statement,

“Worry will make you drown.”

Maybe worry isn’t an issue for you.  Instead it may be depression, sadness, fear, regret, doubt, despair or some other debilitating factor in your life.

Regardless what you may be facing, if it is overwhelming it can make you drown emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.

So what is the answer?

Faith.  Faith is the LiFe-PrEsErVeR of our soul.

And although faith doesn’t take you out of the ocean of turmoil you may be in, it will keep you afloat until calmer waters prevail.

So whatever you do, don’t panic.  Hold on to your life-preserver and don’t let go.

:)

Robynn~

P.S. Here is a life-preserver of faith I like to hold on to in difficult times:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4

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Happy Father’s Day From Suede Sofa!!

The movie CoUrAgEoUs has really had an impact on Lara and I.  So much so, we are working our way through the book Courageous For Women together.  (Published by the writers of the movie. You can find a link to the book and movie at the end of this post.)  If you have not seen the movie and you asked me to sum it up in one sentence it would be:  Have the courage to do the right thing.

Although this movie focuses on fatherhood, having the ChArAcTeR to be courageous applies to all of us.

In what area do you need to step it up?  In your parenting?  In your marriage?  In your thought life?  In your diligence on the job?  In your faithfulness to others?  In your FaiThFuLnEsS to God?
I love this song from the movie and would like to DeDiCaTe it to all the fathers in my life – my dad, my husband, my father-in-law, the men who are like second dad’s to me and most of all, the Greatest Dad ever – who has left the perfect example of what a real Father is – Father God.
We at Suede Sofa wish you a wonderful Father’s Day!!
:) Robynn~

http://www.sherwoodbaptist.net/templates/cussherwoodbc/details.asp?id=33770&PID=874712

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{100 Zillion}

So, a couple of days ago I told my girls to go upstairs and clean their room and play-area while I cleaned the downstairs.  Although we frequently talk about working with DiLiGeNt hands, this day left much to be desired.

As we were cleaning, my 6-year old came down to the landing and as she talked to me {NiNe} steps below where she stood, she had the audacity to tell me that she does way more work than I do and I don’t work at all!!

Yes, I should have told her I would address that comment in a few minutes after I had let off about 80,000 psi of steam!!  But I didn’t.  I marched up those {nine} steps and dealt with that sassy, disrespectful, little attitude right there on the spot.  I’m sure my eyes were bugging out and my head bobbing side to side as I informed her that I did “100 ZiLLiOn” more things than she ever did.  (Yes, I really did say that before I could even think about what was coming out of my mouth.)

After I finished my ranting and she apologized we both went back to work.  As I vacuumed I was still fuming when God spoke, “So……, you do 100 zillion more things than she does?  Probably not.  However, this is a CoNvErSaTiOn we could have because I really do 100 zillion more things than you do.”

Oh, GrEaT Now I have two people to apologize to.

The point of this post?  Well, it could be not to deal with people or make rash decisions when you are angry – a total and complete recipe for disaster.

Or, it could be that God does way more than I could ever even imagine.  In those moments when I think He is doing nothing or at least not what I think He should be doing I forget that He is the One who painted the sky with white puffy clouds, causes the BuTtErFly to flutter in the warm air, lights up lightning bugs in the summer night, and gives my heart another beat, along with countless other deeds.

Psalm 139:17-18 says:

“How PrEciOuS are your thoughts towards me, O God.  How vast is the sum of them.  Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand.”

After this experience I think I now have a little bit clearer picture of that number.  Somewhere cLoSeR to 100 zillion.

:)

Robynn~

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Pastor D.J. {Be Like A Little Child}

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What Gets Me Through

I was given a devotional a few months ago (from a very thoughtful and great friend!) and it has cHanGed my life in so many ways.  In case you are needing a spiritual boost, help with calming your anxiety, or a reminder that God has good pLaNs for you (even if you currently don’t believe Him!), this is a book I highly recommend!

SOURCE

There is a devotion for every day and I read it every morning.  The devotions are only a couple of paragraphs long–it only takes a second to read–yet it will help you ALL day long!

Here are a couple of my favorites:

January 17- “Come to Me with a Thankful Heart, so that you can enjoy My Presence.  This is the day that I have made.  I want you to rejoice today, refusing to worry about tomorrow Search for all that I have prepared for you, anticipating abundant blessings and accepting difficulties as they come.  I can weave miracles into the most mundane day if you keep your focus on me….”

April 16-“…When you criticize or complain, you are acting as if you think you could run the world better than I do.  From your limited human perspective, it may look as if I’m mismanaging things.  But you don’t know what I know or see what I see.  If I pulled back the curtain to allow you to view heavenly realms, you would understand much more.  However, I have designed you to live by faith, not by sight

This book also makes a great gift!  I have purchased this book for others by going here.  I also purchased it on Google Books so Doug can have it on his smartphone!

Maybe a good Father’s Day gift to consider :)

Blessings!

Lara

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