Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who Wants to Go with Me?

Rarely do I entertain the thought of going to another conference. I love to be home. I would be happy to stay home always (unless, of course, I could visit Belfast, Northern Ireland once a month!!). But I have found a conference that intrigues me. Check this out. A women's conference that studies the Word of God first - not home making first, the Word second - or motherhood first, the Word second - or contentment first, the Word second - or dating first, the Word second. We should be women of the Word. Three cheers for the group that is calling us as women to study God and His revelation of Himself.

I will begin to read up on the main speakers - but what girl wouldn't want to hear Tim Keller (and I enjoy hearing his wife almost as much as hearing him!), Don Carson, and John Piper. There are lots of women scheduled to speak as well. Here is a paragraph from the website:

Here Is Our God!
God’s Revelation of Himself in Scripture
The Gospel Coalition’s 2012 National Women’s Conference is for women but not all about women. It’s about the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a time to learn more of what Scripture says to us—and to say it to each other. A time to dig deeper into the character of God and his purpose for his people. A time to gather together and share biblical encouragement as sisters, daughters, wives, mothers, and friends.

I love that: "for women but not all about women." Who wants to come with me?

Check it out:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Prayer and the Holy Spirit

Been reading about and thinking on the power of the Holy Spirit. I spend a LOT of time dwelling on this subject. I find Him fascinating... and confusing... and complex... and on and on and on... Who is the Holy Spirit? More importantly, what is my relationship with Him?

Jesus promised to send the Helper - to be with me forever. He is the Spirit of Truth. He "dwells with you and will be in you." (See John 14:15-17) Jesus says that "the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (John 14:25-26) Later in John 16 Jesus actually says it is to our advantage that He go away, because if He didn't go away then the Holy Spirit would not come. John 15:13 says "when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you."

No discussion of the Holy Spirit and prayer would be complete without Romans 8. Read the whole chapter! I have been thinking about 8:26-27. I take so much comfort in these verses. I am a woman who loves to pray but who can drive myself crazy over what exactly to pray about or how to pray. These verses calm my soul. The Spirit helps in my obvious weakness. He intercedes for me - with groanings too deep for words!! Can you even fathom this? I cannot. But I take comfort in this (and there again - He is my Comforter!). The Spirit prays for me. He intercedes for me according to the will of God!! The Spirit and the Father and the Son are One. They are of one mind. When the Spirit prays He knows the will of the Father. Each of His prayers are for something that the Father has already willed. Amazing!! All the times that I second guess whether I am asking for my will or the will of the Father - the Spirit, who intercedes for me, already knows the will of the Father and prays accordingly! And in the meantime, He is teaching me - reminding me of the Words of Christ - helping the Father to mold me into the image of Christ - into a person who desires the will of the Father! It is enough to make my head spin after a while. But what comfort is there in these thoughts!!

So, as I pray, the pressure is removed. I do desire to know and ask for the will of the Father. But it isn't up to me to determine the value of each request (although I am not exempt from seeking His will). The Spirit intercedes for me with the Father. The Spirit of Truth will teach me and remind me of what Jesus has said. He will guide me into all Truth and He will take what Jesus has said and declare it to me! What a blessing! I am again struck by how much of this process has NOTHING to do with me - and everything to do with the power of the Holy Spirit in me.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Reading

I love the dog days of summer. You get to be a little irresponsible and read a little longer than usual. So what are you reading? Here's my list:

My reading list is never without a Wendell Berry book. I am currently reading A Place on Earth. I had been reading his poetry lately - so I am glad to get back to Port William, Kentucky to its membership, farm lands, way of life, and reflections on family and faith and community. This Southern author has become my favorite - he is a prophet of the future and at the same time a chief rememberer. His words flow through my head every day and add a sweetness to much of what I do.

I just finished For the City by Darrin Patrick and Matt Carter. I highly recommend it. These two mean speak candidly about their churches and their efforts to show the love of Christ to their communities. Here are a few snippets: "A church for the city will release everyday missionaries into their neighborhoods so that they can bring to their neighbors a taste of gospel-centered community (pg. 97)." There is a discussion on missional communities: "Missional communities are structured and designed so that they focus on identifying the needs of their neighbors, serving them as a demonstration of the gospel (Pg. 122)." If serving your city is something you are passionate about this is a must read.

Next on my list is Forgotten God by Francis Chan. This is my first book by him. I am excited to see what he has to say about living in the power of the Holy Spirit - and challenging our pre-conceived ideas about what being spirit filled means. "...take God at His Word and believe that the Spirit is meant to dwell in and guide our lives. When it comes down to it, many of us do not really want to be led by the Holy Spirit... many of us don't want to be led by anyone other than ourselves (Pg. 50)."

I am about one third of the way through A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester. I am thoroughly enjoying this. He is taking us through many of the meals that Jesus shared with those around him - lepers and sinners and tax collectors. The implications of this on their lives were startling... and I am called to be like Christ in this way. Sharing a meal with those in my community is such a sweet blessing. The subtitle is: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table. I know I will post more about this later when I have finished it!!

What should I read next? A friend just sent me a book about an American living in Khiva, Uzbekistan which I can't wait to start... anything else you would recommend?

It's Been A While!

Well, I have missed blogging about random things from life in the Mizel home. Currently I am without a laptop - which has been an adjustment. How did we ever survive without those things? So here is a little update on the wanderings of me.

We did, in fact, survive the month of May. Victoria graduated!! And Esther turned 16. Things are changing quickly around here. But they are amazing young women and we are enjoying this phase in life. Victoria leaves for school in about one month. My brain cannot fathom the upcoming changes in store for our family.

In June Steve and I traveled to Colorado for an Acts29 conference. After the conference we got
to spend a day and a half in the Rocky Mountain National Forest. Bears and elk and bighorn sheep and waterfalls and a 17 foot snow drift in June! The continental divide - and 12,000 feet elevation. It was a perfect getaway. But I was glad to be home.

July brought one of my favorite holidays - Fourth of July! We travelled to my parent's place in Kentucky and watched fireworks over Kentucky Lake. It was beautiful. I love relaxing in the swing, looking out at their huge garden(waiting semi-patiently for the corn to gr
ow faster!), bird-watching, listening to the cows and bull frogs. I am never one to pass up an evening sitting by the fire watching the stars come out. It is one of my greatest joys as a parent to show my kiddos how to spot a shooting star or a satellite or the Milky Way. Time with my parents and sisters' families is always good.

We still have a few days of vacation left - so we will be off to Chicago. Isaac has been wanting to see that Bean for as long as I can remember! So we will take our last vacation together for a while. Then we will come home and jump back into preparing for middle school, high school, and college. Am I ready for this? I guess so. New things always scare me - but God has been so gracious to us. Can't wait to see where he is going to lead next!