31 People: Jesus Christ

Jesus

Jesus Christ is #1 on my 31 People Who Inspire, Influence, Impress list.

I could have written about him first – but I wanted to save the best for last.

Jesus Christ is my biggest influence. He is a constant force in my life. My life would be but a fraction without Him in it.

I wouldn’t do life without Him.

He is my saving grace, my every breath, my driving force, the reason I wake up in the morning and the foundation of my very life is because of Him.

I am captivated by Him, drawn to Him, in love with Him and loved by Him.

Jesus Christ is my closest friend, my lover, my confidante. He likes me and loves me just as I am. No-one else in the world can say and mean that – not even Captain America, my Mum or my Dad.

Jesus Christ is my greatest inspiration. I want to and choose daily to be more like Him. I fail miserably most of the time but tomorrow is a new day and I get to try again, learning from my mistakes and continuing to be guided by His hand and Word.

I am more impressed by Jesus Christ than by anyone else. He is real, funny-hilarious, in fact, a man of great character who was tested beyond what He thought He could handle and yet He did what He came to do. He did it for me and He did it for you.

Do you know Jesus Christ the way I know Jesus Christ?

I pray that you will come to know Him and His great love and desire for a relationship with you.

31 People: Ruth

Ruth

The Bible character, Ruth is one of my favorite people from the Bible.

Namesake, I here you cry! However, there is way more to my love and admiration for her than just having a shared name.

Yes, I love my name and I am delighted to share it with a woman of such character, faithfulness and kindness. I remember asking my parents, when I was old enough to know about Ruth from the Bible if that is where they came up with the inspiration for my name. I was, at least in part. Ruth is also a favorite Biblical character for my parents, and in part she inspired my name.

A hard act to follow I felt when I came to understand a little more about her from her story. I also didn’t feel like I could identify with her very much. God had other plans as he usually does!

In recent years, I noticed some major similarities in my life and Ruth’s and I have been challenged and felt inclined to take a similar attitude to her in my response to life hence why she made my 31 People Who Inspire, Influence, Impress list.

One similarity is that I am a foreigner in the land. Yes, I am only from England, and you may think it is really not that different to America. You would be wrong. It is very different. More different that you would expect or prepare yourself for. In many ways I have had to start over again. All the things I thought I knew, and took for granted, are not the same. From how to apply for a job to laundry soap (and the fact that it is even called laundry soap is different, in the UK it is called washing powder!) it is different and I have had to start from scratch. Which believe me can lead to some pretty embarrassing conversations and feelings of insecurity and stupidity!

Ruth too faced these issues, she was a foreigner in a new land with just one person she knew, her mother-in-law! She didn’t know the etiquette, she probably made a fool of herself and she probably had more than a few embarrassing moments. However, like me, she know that is where she was supposed to be. It was God’s plan and intention for her life.

Ruth was faithful and I live my life in such a way that tries to be faithful to God first and those around me second. The other characters in the Book of Ruth also display great faithfulness-Ruth to Naomi, Boaz to Ruth and everyone’s relationship with God is a reflection of his faithfulness.

When she was called, Ruth was indignant. I love that about her. She was tenacious!

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” Ruth 1:16-17

The Book of Ruth is a book of redemption. At the start of the book Ruth is a childless widow with no prospects and by the end she is the great-grandmother to David, Israel’s great king, happily married, settled. The love story of Ruth and Boaz is a reflection of God’s love for us in sending Jesus to die for us on the cross. Boaz was Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, and Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer.

The character of Ruth is a huge inspiration in my life. She is faithful, kind, loving, selfless and a woman of honor. I am delighted to share a name with her and I only pray that I can be a fraction of the woman she was. I do hope I get to meet her in heaven – now she is someone I would love to have coffee with!

31 People: Todd Cataldo

Todd Cataldo

Today is our wedding anniversary so who better to feature in my 31 People Who Inspire, Influence, Impress list than Todd Cataldo (or Captain America as you know him!)

He would have always made the list to be fair, but I wanted to save him until today and this can be his anniversary gift…no pressure!

Captain America, or Todd as I will refer to him just for today, is #2 on my list! Jesus is #1 and ALWAYS will be and Todd would have it no other way!

Todd Cataldo is by far the person who impresses me the most out of all the people I have and will list in my 31 People.

He is an incredible man. He is a great leader. He is consistent, solid, reliable.

He is pretty much unshakable. This is both highly frustrating to me and one of the things I love most about him. I like that fact that when he sets his mind to something he gets it done, He is a finisher. He completes things. He gets things done. He is also a stickler for details. When he makes a decision it is nearly impossible to make him change his mind….trust me I have tried many, many times and failed. He defines the word stubborn…..but it takes one to know one so who I am I to talk!

He is strong yet gentle. He leads our marriage with great authority and character and brings a security every girl dreams of – even when everything around us seems insecure.

A few years before I met Todd, I was praying one day and God spoke to me very specifically about the character of my husband. It was very overwhelming and beautiful all at the same time. I knew then that I would read the words God had spoken to me on my wedding day to my husband. Crazy I know! Two years ago today, I spoke these very words to Todd in my wedding speech.

As I was writing this post, I was reminded of those words and as I looked at them I am now understanding that they are more true today than they were two years ago. God was right (now there’s a shock!).

I want to share those words with you:

“He is my son

He is the apple of my eye

He is so loved by me

His earthly family love him so much and are so proud of the man he has become

I have watched him come into his inheritance and walk it out with pride, care and attention

He is my delight

He is the fairest among men

He is after my heart above all things

He is accomplished in earthly things and eternal things

He values eternal things more than others

He is not easily distracted. He is very focussed

He is steady and thoughtful

Courageous and strong

A mighty warrior

A strong leader, someone to rely on

He is a man of great character and worth

He is the greatest among men

He has the heart of a father, a protector

His eyes do not stray

He loves me with a fiery love that will not go unsatisfied

He is dedicated, passionate and zealous after the things of my heart

He is virtuous, a man of character

He is captivated by me, and captivating – others are drawn to him

He is known for his graciousness

He is seeking after my heart and one day the three of us will run together in ministry

One Heart, One Mind, One Strength.”

I made Todd answer my questions for the post too – just like many other people did and here are his answers. I think it’s very interesting that he says many of the same things about himself that God spoke to me all those years ago!

Name: Todd Cataldo

Age: most people think I am in my mid-30s but I am 45; The Holy Spirit keeps me young!

Status: ….? awake? online? Oh, you mean MARITAL status, marrried to the rosiest of English Roses there is!

Occupation: Kept Man ; ) … Pastor & Apostle

Who or what inspires you?

God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Who or what is the greatest influence in your life?

Same as above

What is your greatest quality and why?

my butt, jk (I actually think it’s his broad shoulders!!) … mmm, well, I think my greatest quality may also be my greatest downfall … the good version of it is called tenacity, the bad version is called stubborness. I usually don’t have a problem letting my goals and dreams take a temporary rest, but once I have set my mind on accomplishing something I WILL find a way to accomplish it. I guess this goes along with what most people say is my best quality, which is reliability.

What is a struggle for you and what are you doing to overcome it?

Well, I have extremely high standards and expectations of myself and others. I don’t know that I necessarily want to overcome this, but I do want to use this trait of mine in a positive way. I think the best approach is a balance between grace, honesty and encouragement and equipping.

When people look at your life, what do you hope they will see?

I hope that people will see a man who glorifies and magnifies God.

I am overwhelmed that God saved this man for me.

He is exactly who I needed in my life. He makes my life richer – everyday!

There is no-one I would rather wake up next to.

His steadfastness has kept me sane through an incredibly challenging, stressful and faith-driven year and I am grateful more than words could ever express for who he is and how he loves me.

Happy Anniversary, Todd.

I love you, forever!

Do Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly + Printable

Pillars Of Hope

What does the Lord require of you; but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God Micah 6:8

This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible and it particularly spoke to me today as I was doing some administration for Pillars of Hope Inc, a local non-profit that works to stop human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking here in the Bay Area in California.

Captain America and I are both heavily involved with Pillars Of Hope Inc and the greater issue of human trafficking in this area. I feel compelled to act for many reasons; because it is happening on my doorstep, because there is something I can actually do on a daily basis and see results and thirdly, because I am called to act by God, as stated in Micah 6:8.

Pillars of Hope Inc is in the process of training volunteers, raising awareness and fundraising to open safe houses for rescued victims of sex trafficking.

To read more about them check out their new website, pillarsofhope.us for more information about how you can get involved and for general information about human trafficking.

For more information about human trafficking, in particular sex trafficking globally, check out AIM – Agape International Missions or read my previous blog posts about 3Strands and the Emmy Award winning documentary, The Pink Room

Admittedly, our work with Pillars Of Hope Inc only goes a little way into solving the problem of human trafficking and there are still many, many ways I can fulfill the calling in Micah 6:8 in my daily life but I wanted to share this with you and hope that it provokes you to act in your local community.

How do you live out the calling to ‘Do Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly’ in your daily life?

If you would like to print this as a helpful reminder feel free to do so!

Micah 68 B&W

 

Matzah Ball Soup

Matzah Ball Soup

Captain America LOVES Matzah Ball Soup.

He talks about it all year and will eat the leftovers for weeks after our Christ In The Passover Dinner.

Matzah Ball Soup is a traditional Jewish soup, often served at Passover or other Jewish holidays. Captain America and I make it every year to serve at our Christ In The Passover Dinner. It is a total labor of love, but it is well worth the hard work, time and effort.

If it wasn’t so complicated to make he would probably make Matzah Ball Soup throughout the year.  However, it is not simple, I’m afraid to say, so instead we make a GIANT vat of it and hope it lasts forever!

If you are hosting your very own Christ In The Passover follow the links below for all the recipes:

Christ In The Passover Dinner

Christ In The Passover Desserts

Keep In Touch Via Email – never miss a post:

Continue reading

Do You Struggle with Reading the Bible?

Terrible At Reading The Bible

Do you struggle with reading the Bible?

I do! I was delighted to be asked to write a guest post over at Devotional Diva about my struggle and what I am doing to overcome them!

Thanks Renee for featuring one of my articles, I am so honored!

Here is an excerpt of the article:

I am terrible at reading the Bible — there I said it!

I want to spend time with Jesus, I want to learn from Him, I want to be more like Him and I want that desire to come naturally, however I would be lying if I said it did.

This is a daily struggle for me. 

To be honest, it’s not even a struggle. It doesn’t enter my head. I can think of one hundred things I could be doing every day before I even think of opening my Bible. I grew up in the church, have known Jesus all my life, and been a follower since I was fourteen years old, yet still this is not a discipline I have mastered.

I am not proud of myself.
I feel very convicted.
This is a spiritual discipline I really need to work at.

Read the FULL ARTICLE here

 

Keep In Touch Via Email – never miss a post:

 

Lent Devotional – Psalm 130

During Lent, the ladies at She Reads Truth are encouraging their readers to Share Truth once a week on our blogs or social media. Each day during Lent we are studying different aspects of the season, God’s Word and spiritual disciplines – and once a week we get a new challenge – to write a devotion, study or reflection on a verse.

SRT Lent Devotionals

Today is the first installment and for the rest of Lent I will be attempting to join in and share with you all. To read more about the idea, CLICK HERE

This week’s verse is Psalm 130:

Waiting for the Redemption of the Lord

A Song of Ascents.

1 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; 2 Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. 3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared. 5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. 6 My soul waits for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning—yes, more than those who watch for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption. 8 And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

I sat down to write this multiple times and every time I hit a brick wall.  I had nothing. “Well there’s a great start” I thought!

You see the last few days life has been a whirlwind. Captain America and I are currently living in a whirlwind. Life is frenzied to say the least.  We both feel pulled in a hundred different directions, we are constantly ‘putting out fires’, and in the midst of that it is very easy to get distracted.

This morning, I mentioned this to Captain America and said I was struggling to write something.  He read the passage from scripture and said “well that’s exactly what’s happening to us right now!”. He was right.

The verse says,

“Out of the depths I have cried to you, O Lord”

We are crying out to God We want to hear His voice above all the other voices. We need to hear His voice above all the distractions, confusion, and unrest.

“Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.”

We want Him to hear our supplications (requests).

“If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?”

We are surrounded by iniquities, and we need God’s perspective on all the situations. We need to see these issues through the eyes of our merciful, forgiving God.

“But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared.”

We need to forgive.

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.  My soul waits for the Lord, more than those who watch for the morning—yes, more than those who watch for the morning.”

I need to wait on God. I need to control my soul-my mind, will and emotions-and not react out of pain, hurt, confusion, anger, seeming injustice, frustration, exhaustion, fear-in my usual over-zealous reactionary emotion driven way.

I need to hear and know God’s Word BEFORE I respond. I need to wait. I don’t like to wait. In fact, I hate waiting!

“O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption.”

I need to trust in God’s ultimate redemption rather than seeking my own form of quick justice.

God WILL redeem.  God WILL restore.

I choose to put my hope in the Lord, for with Him there is mercy and abundant redemption.

Keep In Touch Via Email – never miss a post:

Lent: What it is, Why we do it & How you can get involved?

The Season of Lent

The Season Of Lent: What it is, Why we do it & How you can get involved?

The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Source: Wikipedia)

lent

What We Are Doing

Captain America and I will be turning off our TV for the 40 days! We have developed a habit of watching far too much TV, so after praying about it we both felt like this is something we should reduce. Instead we will be focussing our time on each other, reading and studying God’s Word and reading the pile of Christian books we have but claim we “never have time to read”.  I will also be reading along with the ladies from She Reads Truth with their Lent Study.

Keep In Touch Via Email – never miss a post:

Continue reading

The Gift: A Story for Advent – Part Six

The Gift - A Story for Advent

During the month of December I have the honor of sharing a beautiful piece of writing with you.  A dear friend in ministry, Audrey McCormick, wrote this story a few years ago.  She read part of it at a church service recently and I knew I had to share it with you.  I thought I would share it to celebrate this Advent season – as we prepare to remember the birth of Jesus this Christmas time.

However much I love Christmas, with all the decorations, baking, Christmas parties, songs, dressing up and delicious food, Christmas to me is about so much more.  It is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  For many of you this is just a ‘nice story’ that gets mixed in with all the other celebrations.  For me and Captain America it is a special birthday, one like no other.  It is a ‘story’ full of miracles, of prophecies fulfilled, one that demands the response of a relationship with a real man, who lived and walked upon this earth in order that we could live our life to the fullest and fulfill our destiny.  It is a story of truth. Continue reading

The Gift: A Story for Advent – Part Five

The Gift - A Story for Advent

During the month of December I have the honor of sharing a beautiful piece of writing with you.  A dear friend in ministry, Audrey McCormick, wrote this story a few years ago.  She read part of it at a church service recently and I knew I had to share it with you.  I thought I would share it to celebrate this Advent season – as we prepare to remember the birth of Jesus this Christmas time.

However much I love Christmas, with all the decorations, baking, Christmas parties, songs, dressing up and delicious food, Christmas to me is about so much more.  It is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  For many of you this is just a ‘nice story’ that gets mixed in with all the other celebrations.  For me and Captain America it is a special birthday, one like no other.  It is a ‘story’ full of miracles, of prophecies fulfilled, one that demands the response of a relationship with a real man, who lived and walked upon this earth in order that we could live our life to the fullest and fulfill our destiny.  It is a story of truth. Continue reading