Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Having It All

From the April 4-6, 2008 USA Weekend I saved an article entitled "More money, more kids." Basically the author is explaining that now it is only the wealthy who are able to have more children. She quotes Paul Demeny of the Population Council: "people hurt their own standard of living and diminish prospects for their own children if they have more than two."

It seems that economics has become the primary family planning factor in America. The article concludes that because of the wealthy's lack of economic restraint, they are the only ones who can afford more children. Granted, larger families do need larger vehicles if they are going to travel together. There are also more people to feed and to clothe. But to make economics THE determining factor in accepting what God calls a reward is downright sinful.

Our goal in this life is NOT personal peace and affluence. Our goal is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Our goal is to live each day in such a beautiful way that Christ and His gospel is proclaimed loudly just by our life. For me, seeing godly, faithful olive plants surrounding my table is a tangible proclamation of God's grace to me and my husband.

I like this quote from Joseph Hall (1574-1656): "It is easy to observe that none are so gripple and hardfisted as the childless; whereas those, who, for the maintenance of large families, are inured to frequent disbursements, find such experience of Divine providence in the faithful management of their affairs, as that they lay out with more cheerfulness what they receive. Their faith gives them ease in casting their burdens upon Him."

---posted by Queen Lucy

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Godliness, Part 2

Continuing on in J.I.Packer's book, "A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life." I loved this statement which is part of a summary on the Puritan teaching on conscience. "...Puritan ethical teaching took the form of a positive ideal of zealous and wise godliness, at which Christians must always be aiming even though they never fully reach it in this world; and unattained positive ideals are the death of the legalistic spirit, which can only flourish in an atmosphere of negative restriction where abstinence is regarded as the essence of virtue. In reality nothing less legalistic in spirit and content than the ethical teaching of the Puritans can well be imagined."

After 17 years within the homeschooling movement and many more within conservative Christian churches, the Puritan ethical teaching is a breath of fresh air. I am so grateful that they, who were so much more learned in Scriptures and more practiced in applying the Scriptures to every day life than we are, can give me a vision of living in charity. I have so often lived within the "atmosphere of negative restriction" and thought that either I had achieved a certain virtue by abstaining from all sorts of things, OR I was quick to judge someone else who was not abstaining that they were not quite holy enough.

We all have before us a "positive ideal of zealous and wise godliness" which we can never attain in this life. We are so busy with our "don't taste, don't touch" lists and our thermometer of godliness for ourselves and those around us. Perhaps instead, we should shed this idea of virtue, and train ourselves and our posterity to rigorous, delightful, strong minded, humble, charitable Christian living. The earth is our LORD's and thus it is ours too. "The earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein." Psalm 24:1 "To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled." Titus 1:15

---posted by Queen Lucy

Friday, April 18, 2008

Who Is In Control?

I cannot help it, I am going to have to pick on Mr. Pearl again. I quote him from another response to a letter: "Even God is unable to change men and women who will not cooperate."
So, if men and women can resist the all powerful God, then who is in control?? Who has the greater power if people can prevent God from doing anything??? In tug-o-war, isn't it the stronger team that is able to pull the weaker one across the ditch? So, if God can't pull us across the ditch then doesn't that make us more powerful??? I have to ask myself whether or not we are reading the same Bible.
"The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes." Proverbs 21:1 NKJV Or, from the Geneva Bible that the Pilgrims and Puritans brought over to America: "The King's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of waters: he turneth it whithersoever it pleaseth him."

God is all powerful and completely, absolutely, with no reservations SOVEREIGN over all He has made, including and especially men and women.

---posted by Queen Lucy

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rotating Menu

One of the biggest time savers for me is a simple rotating menu. We do the major grocery shopping every two weeks. I used to have to sit down and plan the next two weeks menu every time, and it was a task I dreaded and would put off until the last minute. Then we went to an 8 week rotating menu. It has completely transformed my life!!!

Here is what I did with the help of my eldest daughter. We marked out a "theme" for each weekday. Sundays are feast days where we make something very special and more elaborate. Saturdays are Mexican, Mondays are beans or rice, Wednesdays are soup night, and so forth. Then we took and filled out for each theme 7 dishes and menus. The reason I did not pick 8 is because I like to try new dishes and so I left one night each week for experimentation. I staggered my experimentation nights over the 8 weeks so that I did not have to have an entire week of creativity that I do not have time to plan, but I still have 1 night per week that I can plan to try some new recipe.

Then we printed out our 8 week menu. If we are on week 6, then when I sit down to fill out the shopping list, I just see what we are having for week 6 and 7. I can fill out a month at a time and make any adjustments for birthday meals, special occasions, or hospitality, or serendipitous gifts of food!

What we are working on, for some time because I have dropped the ball, is to computerize my shopping list. My oldest daughter has programmed the computer to spit out a list if I punch in "Week 3", but I have not given her the ingredients list yet. That will come soon. Then all I will have to do is have the next two weeks ingredient lists printed out and compare them with what I have on the shelves.

This may seem like a simple, "no brainer" thing to do, but it has been huge for me. It will be on my list of the best time saving tips for every busy mother!

---posted by Queen Lucy

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Shepherds of Israel

"And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Son of man, prophecy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd: and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them."

'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: "As I live," says the Lord GOD, surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock"--therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them."

'For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countried, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold, and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord GOD. "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment."

Have you had the sorrow and anguish of being one of the sheep in our modern churches where the leaders, who are supposed to model themselves after Christ instead model themselves after the selfish shepherds of Ezekiel 34? Where the elders and leaders "pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad"? Where they ignore Paul's command in 1 Timothy 5:21 "I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality"? Where the view appears to be that being one of the elders has elevated them into a "special club" where they have certain privileges of kings instead of transporting them into a greater degree of service and charity? Where chasing after the lost is more important than strengthening the faith of the Christians present? Where activities, buildings, and cash are the focus? Where personal gain and reputation are more important than nourishing your soul and your family's walk with God? Where only the people who are wealthy or who sit and submit to all the injustices and do not cry out are accepted?

If so, then perhaps the same passage of Ezekiel 34 will prove to be a comfort to you as it has to our family. When such conditions exist in Israel as exist today, then the Lord GOD promises to take up the job of caring for, providing for, and tending to the sheep who have been scattered because of the earthly shepherds' failures. You can take comfort in what God promises to us: "You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God," says the Lord GOD.

---posted by Queen Lucy

Thursday, April 3, 2008

For All the Saints Who From Their Labors Rest

Today a beautiful saint that lived down the street from me with her large family passed into glory. She had endured much affliction that God had sent, but she did so with great joy in Christ and she blessed and inspired so many more saints to faithfulness in their walks here on earth. I was only merely acquainted with her but whenever I saw her, she never lacked a smile on her entire face.
So now she is finally pain free and seeing and experiencing what we can only still imagine. It is we who remain that must keep up the fight, the good fight and it is we who still feebly struggle. Please pray for her family.

"For all the saints who from their labors rest,
who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light. Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor's crown of gold. Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion! fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine. Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest:
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blessed. Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array:
The King of glory passes on His way. Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth's wide bounds, from ocean's farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: Alleluia, Alleluia!

written by William Walsham How, 1864

---posted by Queen Lucy