Monday, January 5, 2009

Pt. 2 - "New" but "Old" Priorities...Priority #2

I resolve to be a better wife to Rick this year, to love him more sacrificially, to respect him more honestly, and to laugh with him more heartily. I married my best friend seventeen years ago thinking I knew what love was. I loved him then as best as I knew how. We have amazing and silly memories together. Our love has been true and tough.

But each year, our love deepens as it is challenged, tempted, tested, and fortified. We've had our share of fights and sweet make-ups. He knows me better than anyone in this whole world...and still chooses to love me. I've hurt him more than I've ever hurt anyone else in this life...and yet he continues to forgive and receive me. No matter what (as we so often say to each other)! So it's not only my duty to love my husband (Believe me, it's not always a piece of cake!), but it truly is my absolute delight! In the deepest guts of my soul, I tenaciously want to love on my boy.

Nothing brings me more satisfaction than to pour into my Man and to complement and compliment him for the rest of my life. He is my gift and I want to live this year loving him and serving him better than I did last year. I echo Ruth's dogged loyalty...I will go where Rick goes, I will serve where he serves, I will die where he dies. I will! (Ruth 3:16-18) By the grace of God, I am determined to live out my role as Rick's wife to the best of my ability and heart (Eph. 5:22-24) . I want his heart to fully trust in mine, I want to do him good for the rest of his days, and I want to be priceless to him and him alone (Prov. 31:10-12) !

So, although this is a "New" year's resolution, it's an "Old" priority that I've had for many years now. It's progress...not perfection!

One more caveat: I'm reading the book "The Shack," and the author challenges the thought of having "priorities." He says that instead of seeing priorities as a pyramid with God at the top, we should view our priorities, rather, as a mobile...with God at the center of everything we prioritize; that my priority of my marriage should always include God as being pervasive throughout. I would agree wholeheartedly. God shouldn't be compartmentalized; He should be in and of everything I am and do.

Now, if you please, click on my music playlist on the right side of this site and listen to the song by Celine Dion, "Because You Loved Me." I dedicate this song to my wonderful hubby!

I Want to Run, but it's Raining Out

Ever have those moments or days when you wish you could go strong, run hard, tackle much, conquer all? Maybe your mind is chomping to accomplish, to press forward, to move past something, but is stopped by the physical limitations of your body. Or perhaps your emotional and spiritual state is too low to get moving. Even the inverse can happen - where you physically want to accomplish, exercise, tackle the unimaginable, but you're stopped by the mind being too cluttered, stressed, distracted. Or maybe your emotional and spiritual state once again hinder you from making those necessary steps.

Right now I wish I could go for a run. I need the exercise, my mind loves the space that running brings, I like the spiritual enrichment I get from my ipod music and teachings while I run, and I've actually got the time (which isn't always there!). But it's raining outside and it's just not going to happen! I just can't run right now. Hear my sighs and whines. Play the violin for me. Bummer!

I suppose, just like in life, there are seasons to live out. Seasons of waiting, seasons of trusting, seasons of pain, seasons of trial, seasons of believing, seasons of hoping, and seasons of enduring. In the end, the momentary hesitancy was never as long as it may have felt. And the sun will shine bright again and I'll be able to run.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 so beautifully says that there is a time for every event under the sun. Relax, the pavement will clear soon enough! I can hardly wait.

Snow Blast '08 (New Year's Eve!) at Pinecrest!

Our first annual Snow Blast trip to Pinecrest with church family! Boy, do we know how to have fun! With the sights of our sledders, the sounds of laughter, the feeling of cold snow on a sunny day, and the smells and taste of grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, we made our mark on the mountain! What a super way to end out the year! Won't you join us next year?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy "New" Year with the Same "Old" Priorities

Ringing in the New Year had its own unspoken twist, yet I always love a sense of humor as well as welcoming in a fresh start. Something about a clean slate brings all of us human beings to a smile and a deep breath of hope. Can't you relate? Isn't it amazing to think that we ALWAYS can find that hope and forgiveness in Christ Jesus? His death on the cross brought me true life! Wowzer and Woot Woot! If you know Him personally, you understand what I'm talking about. If you're still searching for real answers to life's tough questions, you might be scratching your head a bit, wondering how I could feel so "certain." It truly is thrilling to open up the Bible, reading and searching for this "Jesus" that people talk about, and in the end finding Him (Jesus) to be the One True Hope and Fulfillment in life. Nothing else will truly satisfy. May you know this peace.

Though we're now in a "New" year, I find that each year brings about the desire and goal-setting for the same "Old" priorities.

Priority #1 - to pursue a deeper relationship with God, never being satisfied with mediocrity, and wanting to be ever caught-up in the perfection and beauty of my Almighty "Daddy." The more I get to know Him, the more I love Him and the less concerned I am with my own shortfalls and pitfalls. He's totally (and perfectly) faithful to me no matter what! So how will I work on this priority? Well, by "old-fashioned" reading the Bible, by praying, by going to church and spending time with other believers, by worshiping Him in the everyday routines of life, by sharing Him and His love with others around me. That's how. Concentrated effort and focus on Him, my highest priority and love. I learned last year some very important lessons about focus, about where I spend my time, about what I let into my mind, and about where I choose to love. What I put IN really does come OUT. And though there are so many cool and curious things to explore and experience in this world, it is vitally essential that God remain my highest exploration. In the end, nothing else matters. What a treasure and prize He is to me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Rare Peek into my Rick's Prayer Journal

My precious husband Rick has kept a prayer journal for fact, ever since he began his Christian life at the age of nineteen. He began with a little list and has added to it over time. It's changed and progressed, but the content fills dozens of pages. It has a prayer book in the front, a map in the middle, and a diary in the end.

The purpose? Well, I asked him. He spouted off several purposes in rapid-fire response and my little fingers typed away as fast as they would fly, while I gazed into his passionate eyes with deep admiration and respect (I've always loved the challenge of typing without looking at the keyboard!). He said...

"to illicit praying and help me love Christ;
to remember specific statements that have encouraged me in prayer;
to direct my thinking/passions in a way that encourages communion with God;
to give a greater vision for my life (for God to use my life);
to encourage effective prayer and to get to the place where I can pray life-changing, world-altering, community-impacting, church-infecting prayers;
to pray in such a way that it can be used as a tool to help other men and women to live effectively for the glory of God..."

I quietly smuggled a small page from his prayer book and inserted it into here, my unheralded blog, in order to share a thumbnail glimpse into the heart and mind of my dear husband. (Then...(teeheehee...I asked permission to share...)

Prayer book August 2008

Come with boldness to the throne of grace. Heb. 4:16

Love Christ, Nancy , Charis, Con, Cam , Caleb

Apply with spiritual liberty, not regimented legality.

Prayer is claiming God’s promises

You control the effort, God will control the outcome.

Holiness, not reputation.

Take care of depth of your ministry, and God will take care of the breadth of it.

Attack vision 1 bite at a time. Even if small bites.

Not perfection it is passionate climbing. Phil.3:12-16

Do something and fail.

Avoid temptation of neglect.

I Thes. 5:16 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit;

Word Of God is full of promises

Spurgeon: Plead the promises of God.

God is sovereign!

CJ: “Grace and the adventure of leadership.” See them for what God is doing in them.

Jesus’ ever smiling face.

Take God at His word.

Keep asking questions.

Argumentation, then change.

Lead us not into temptation.

Lord, if you want me to preach, serve, pray, I will do that as long as you give me strength and breath to do so. Otherwise, take me home.

Job 31:1 "I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a woman?

Phil 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

James 1:19-20 19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.

6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Cast don’t carry. I Peter 5:5-7

God will finish it Phil. 1:6

Armor of God Eph. 6

Worry or worship. Opposite of worry is worship Matt. 6:25-34

Admin and leadership. Plan it or it won’t happen. Write it down. (Jeff Mills)

Life is about Relationships.

Know my sin more than others'.

Stay balanced, physically, mentally, or ineffective.

Stopwatch prayer. It breeds attentive prayer.

Refuse afterthoughts. (Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

Don’t forget the gift of life and people.

Remember the calm after the job

Enjoy Gods word.

Look at the birds.

Prayer is the slender nerve of power

Spurgeon (Like teller at a bank). Let prayer be simple, straight forward, and words be few.

What are obstacles, could be doors.

God is all powerful and His power is not diminished if I use it.

Start Sunday with trinity worship. Get eyes off self.

Grace Church of W. Ottawa 1. Worship God humbly and passionately in every aspect of life (Ps. 62:1-2), 2. Loving others selflessly and sacrificially, as Christ loved us I John 4:7

  1. Teaching Gods word practically and without apology Ro. 1:16 4. Impacting lives by Gods power and for his glory Col. 1:28-29

Authorial intent of the passage

Be yourself; Forget about yourself

Funeral prayer for Maxwell. “Lord I don’t know how you answer and hear prayer, but I do know you answer and hear prayer.” (Ps. 18 - Prayer-hearing God)

I Thess. Making mention of you in our prayers.

Jer. 29:11

Pray until you pray

Don’t lounge in His presence. (in the sense of being lazy in His presence)

Preach positively, by grace.

Stay away from gloomy imagination. Phil. 4

Owen: “Blood of Christ is still always in the same condition as if it was that hour in which it was shed. It is the same strength and effectiveness. It is always living, yet always as if newly slain.

Name out loud His attributes. (it focuses you on His character and gets your eyes off of yourself)

***I (Nancy) hope you have gained encouragement from this as I know I have. Take the time to muse on each of these one-liners and let the truths feed your soul. That's what I call WORSHIP!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Caleb's birthday

Yesterday Caleb turned nine! He's our youngest child and I'm so missing those young years of raising children! Believe me, I get sentimental thinking about all those great years past. We have so many things that we could've/should've/might've/would've done differently, but overall we have SO MUCH we love to reminisce about. With mistakes made all along the way, we are not regretting how we've done our best to raise our kiddos. We have a ton of great memories and traditions established. We have lots of good laughs and chatting about growing up in the Hoppe household. And those days aren't over yet! We're gonna make the best of life, God-willing, and the best is yet to be! It's so fun being in the stage that we're in even now!

Caleb has a strong heart for God as well as compassion for his friends at school. It's so neat to witness his stories about how he has shared his love for Jesus with a couple friends from school. He is a leader wherever he goes. God has some special plans for him! It's gonna be fun seeing them unfold:)

We've got a big party planned for him a week from tomorrow. It's gonna be a bubble blast! He knows he's loved (with or without a party), and we hope he truly feels it when he's blessed at his birthday party. Life is worth celebrating!

Something to Say with Passion

We just went to two concerts (Sat./Sun.) featuring Matthew West. What a great weekend! I love his music, his style, and his lyrics. His songs really preach to my soul! I worshipped as if I were already in heaven! I appreciate how he has a renewed passion to live out loud for Christ, especially after having vocal chord surgery. It's in those times when it seems most dark and unclear that God's presence can be most felt. I know God's going to continue using Matthew as He has brought him through some tough times.

Tonight my daughter went to the concert with a few friends. I am almost speechless as I witnessed my daughter's heart for God. She was in tears because she felt there were some folks who were disregarding Matthew's message. She felt they were ultimately disregarding God and it just broke her heart. She has been yearning for strong Christian friends. Yet, perhaps she is the one who will need to stand alone for Christ and point others to Him. It's really tough seeing your child cry. It makes me stay on my knees for my children, praying that God would be their complete sufficiency and that they would be a true and loving light to the people with whom they are around. I am so grateful that Rick and I are very sensitive to their spiritual struggles. And though it's tough to watch them go through trials, I am so thankful because I know that it is during these difficulties that they grow in their faith and learn to stand for Christ, loving others no matter how great the pain. May Jesus Christ be praised through it all!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kids make the proudest parents! (in the right sense of the word 'proud') :)

I know Scripture says that "there is no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." I believe that wholeheartedly and I am experiencing glimpses of great joy when I see character and humility ooze out of my children's hearts and mouths. I am deeply moved when I witness their compassion and understanding. I'm thrilled when I see their love for Christ and others. This is always the greatest prayer and delight. I understand that they are still growing and learning what it means to be a Christian, walking daily in the truth.

However, I want to talk about the great joy it is to see my children excel in skills. It's a different kind of joy (surely a proud one!) that I feel as I sit in the stands and watch my daughter Charis cross the finish line at a meet. It's an uncontainable one as I stand on the sidelines and watch my son Connor get the rebound and power his way back up to score the basket. It's a satisfied one as I hear my son Cameron describe the scenarios at his swim practice. It's a contented one as I watch my son Caleb dance with such cool rhythms and timing or create awesome prisms with his GeoMags. Though these are just a small sampling of the skills our kids are learning, I'm so happy to watch them develop and attain various goals. It's real fun being a mom right now and I'm a joyful one at that! I just had to share a few of my proud, yet thankful, thoughts I feel toward my wonderful children. Children ARE a blessing from the Lord!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thoughts during Voting Season

Here I am - eleven months into the year, the night before the presidential elections, and on a site that I had intended to write on for well over a month now. As much as I enjoy writing, I remain hesitant to record my thoughts and/or even to draw conclusions. Earlier today, I had so many ideas of what I wanted to say. It's hard to focus and just speak on one topic at a time. But I've gotta start somewhere!

As we're on the eve of voting in a new president, my prayer is that I would be honoring to God in how I vote, in how I pray for leadership, in how I treat my fellow Americans, in how I train my children to view opposing opinions, in how I trust God's sovereignty, and in how I can make a difference in the little corner where I live. I believe that both tickets want the best for America, yet I place my full confidence in my God who knows what the future holds and who ultimately holds ME! I pray that we as Christians can lean fully on the Lord, rather than men, politics, and even America's history. I pray that we can be a light to the world and serve our fellow man humbly and graciously. I will endeavor to impact my family and community with an "attitude of fortitude." Psalm 86:8-11 says, "Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." This is my hope, my prayer, and my daily aim.