Monday, December 31, 2012

Year in Books

Count down tonight sets in motion review of the year and thinking about the next.  Here is partial list of books that impacted me this past year:

 1. Walking on Water by Madeleine L'Engle
 2. 1,000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp
 3. Disappointment with God by Phillip Yancey
 4. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
 5. Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
 6. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
 7. Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot
 8. Discipline by Elisabeth Elliot
 9. Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead
10. Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod by Thomas Brooks
11. Anti-Estrogenic Diet by Ori Hofmekler
12. The New Arthritis Breakthrough by Henry Scammell
13. Self-Esteem: Gift from God by Ruth Ward
14. The Salt Plan by Chuck Bentley

I read some of these titles for the second time this year.  Working through about 3 books right now and making a list for the coming year.  I want to cover a lot more territory....my mother's day gift of a Kindle Fire is certainly helping!  Wishing you a year of great books ahead!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Deeds of Love

It started two weeks ago or more.  The gentle persuading giving way to persistent and insistent questioning.  What was he going to do?  The brother who had moved out being pressured to keep his promise to the little sister to have a "sleep over".  She decided that the time to do that would be Christmas Eve.  He had his own plans.  Yet she continued to press him, and he would discuss it in vague terms, hoping to put her off so he could arrange it for a different night.  What was he going to do?  Would he keep to his own plans, whatever they were---even if it was to surprise her and the rest of the family with something BIG?  Would he do the sleep over on a different day than she wanted?  Would he, God forbid, stand in the kitchen and tell her he was never spending another Christmas morning with her because she was so needy and wanting him?  And break her heart?

That brother, that son, did something wonderful.  He understands that love, according to the the Savior he loves, is laying down your own life, your own plans, your own desires, your own "want to" for another.  That Christ taught we are to love not in word only but in deed, but even more importantly in the heart.  Especially to our own, our family...that is what Christ asks of us and showed us. Not out of obligation, but out of wanting to... So he did something amazing, sacrificial, loving, a laying down of his life for her...he came Christmas Eve, he listened to the concert his siblings gave, he sang the Christmas songs and hymns, he spread out his bedding on the floor next to her bed and he slept, uncomfortable, but near to her and he gave her the best gift he could have ever given her...he gave her himself, his love, his life.  He made her "want to" his own.  And I said to him, "Isn't it wonderful to be wanted?"  He nodded yes and smiled.  He understood and He is blessed because of it.  And a little girl will always remember when he did that for her and when she is older she will realize more and more what a precious gift it was..to be beloved.  And she will know better how Christ loves her because her older brother showed her in a real, tangible, incredible way.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

In His Hands

The call came, jolting us awake from early morning sleep.  The kind of call you see in movies, but now was real life.  My brother in law said they were on the way to the hospital and that dad said they might not be able to revive mom.  A few minutes later another call confirmed that she had not made it.  She was gone.

We sat in shock.  Then quickly made arrangements for my husband to leave on the next plane to be with dad.  I would follow in the next day or so.  We both cried the whole way to the airport.  It was only 5 a.m.

So he went to Texas to help his father and brother make funeral arrangements.  I stayed home to settle things for the family and early morning Thanksgiving Day I flew to Texas.  Holiday travelers filled each plane.  God brought the sun out of its chamber as startling snow capped mountains gave way to deep gray valleys and canyons. And my heart was filled with the wonder of God's handiwork and His power over life and death and how we live and breathe and drink in His glory one moment and leave this earth the next. And when I came home after the funeral and burial and relatives and sleepless nights, Job was waiting for me....

"In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."  Job 12:10

Our lives are changed because of death, but we have hope.  We have the resurrection.  We have Christ. There is only that. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fun at the Caer

This summer for fun, the caer residents did this:



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Weeping for Our Land

We wake up this day to the fact that we are still ruled by an evil man and his cohorts.  And the words of Lord Byron's poem "On Jordan's Banks" echo loud as the financial markets already start to implode and our children's future seems grim.  How long, O Lord, How long?

On Jordan's banks the Arab's camels stray, 
On Sion's hill the False One's votaries pray, 
The Baal-adorer bows on Sinai's steep - 
Yet there - even there - Oh God! thy thunders sleep: 

There - where thy finger scorch'd the tablet stone! 
There - where thy shadow to thy people shone! 
Thy glory shrouded in its garb of fire: 
Thyself - none living see and not expire! 

Oh! in the lightning let thy glance appear; 
Sweep from his shiver'd hand the oppressor's spear! 
How long by tyrants shall thy land be trod? 
How long thy temple worshipless, Oh God? 



Friday, September 14, 2012

Missing Heroes

"...and her own people called her Queen Lucy the Valiant."

In childhood, my heroes were those found in literature.  I still remember the first time I read and then re-read the entire Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S.Lewis.  I read plenty of other stories with heroes and villains, but  the ones about Narnia I went back to over and over again.  Lucy was my hero and I wished I could have looked into Aslan's eyes with her.  It was her faith, her steadfastness, her willingness to believe and to follow Aslan even when others did not that inspired me.

As an adult, the fact that Lucy's own people called her Valiant took on new meaning for me.  Valiant means to act with bravery and boldness, to exhibit courage and determination.  For obvious reasons, one of my favorite synonyms for valiant is "lionhearted".  Originally I thought this would mean being like Joan of Arc, Clara Barton, or Eleanor of Aquitaine...something large looming on the horizon of history. As a young, idealistic woman, that picture is where I thought my life would go.  But my calling has not been thus.  My sphere has been small in comparison to my expectation and has been centered on my husband and children. In this time and culture, the calling of wife and mother is not recognized as heroic; rather it is disdained,  mocked, and ridiculed. So I have had to have my ideal of heroism shaken, stirred, and reshaped.

In Hebrews 11, after a long recounting of all the faith heroes that stand out in the Old Testament, after an accounting of how they all conquered, there are a few sentences of heroes that did not fare as well.  "Others were exposed to the test of public mockery and flogging, and to being left bound in prison.  They were killed by stoning, by being sawn in two; they were murdered by the sword.  They went about with nothing but sheepskins or goatskins to cover them.  They lost everything and yet were spurned and ill-treated by a world too evil to see their worth.  They lived as vagrants in the desert, on the mountains, or in caves or holes in the ground."

Wow. God says that there is an entire class of people who are included in His list of heroes that no one on this earth recognized as heroes.  To all outward appearances, those people did not look SUCCESSFUL.  They were not the perfect beautiful people, they did not have it all together, they did not have an inner circle that they belonged to, they did not have the approval of all the church leaders.  Not only were they outcasts, but they were also sought out for eradication.  The rest of the people who knew them wanted the light of their lives extinguished.  And God says those poor, rejected, persecuted, and reviled people were heroes.  The rest of the story says, "ALL these won a glowing testimony to their faith..."   And our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was one of their company.

It is hard for me to embrace the whole meaning of heroism.  I do not think those people were cruising along and all going well and then one day woke up to wear goatskins.  No, I think it started as an ember of faith planted in their souls and shone out of them in the everyday things they did.  Their form of heroism manifested itself in going without so that their children could be fed and clothed, in losing sleep to rub the aching legs of a child, in laboring so that another could have life, in serving day in and day out in trying circumstances.  After all, Christ said that it was in laying life down for others that we demonstrate the most faith and love possible.  God says that the world cannot see the worth of people like that. God says that we miss the heroes when we don't see their worth because they look like losers.  And isn't that what it looked like when Christ was crucified??  But God...He writes the rest of the story.....


 



Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mercies

Four weeks ago my daughter and I were in a car accident.  We were rear ended and I was transported from the site to the hospital by ambulance.  Thankfully, neither of us had any internal bleeding or fractures.  We have had long weeks of pain and physical therapy.  One month later, we are counting the mercies shown to us.  

The accident was not a fatality.  The car was not totaled, though it needs repair.  Our family and friends have shown us so much love and support and poured out prayers on our behalf.  We are able to get physical therapy through the insurance of our car because the young woman who was distracted by being on her cell phone did not have insurance.  Our pain, while intense, we are assured should get better over time.  We believe that God still has good works for us to do, or else there would have been a different outcome.

Last week we learned that a family we had known years ago at a previous church lost their 18 year old son in a fatal car crash.  I know that they have mercies they are counting too because of their faith and belief in the sovereignty of God over every last detail of our lives. The outcome of that crash was very different for that family and their grief is great, yet the mercies of God have not failed them.  That young man's purpose was fulfilled and his good deeds accomplished.  

This summer our family and several of our friends have had many difficulties: deaths of grandparents and parents, illness, diseases diagnosed, surgeries, and a long list of assorted other challenges.  Sometimes the way is weary, but the mercies never end.  Reading Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water this quote explained what I had been pondering as I considered all these things.  "But one does not have to understand to be obedient.  Instead of understanding---that intellectual understanding of which we are so fond of--there is a feeling of rightness, of knowing, knowing things which we are not yet able to understand.....as long as we know what it's about, then we can have the courage to go wherever we are asked to go, even if we fear that the road may take us through danger and pain."  And what it is about is God's plan,  His will, His glory, His wisdom even when we don't understand and there is danger and pain in abundance.  But always.....there is mercy...somehow, there is mercy.

 "As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes, for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.  But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them." Psalm 103:15-18

Monday, August 6, 2012

Shakespeare Contention

There is a decided division in my home.  On the one side of the line is me and one daughter.  On the other side is the rest of the family.  The line?  Shakespeare.  I love the works of Shakespeare, regardless of the controversy of who he actually was....but the majority of my family completely, utterly disagrees.  You can hear the audible groans from my family whenever we have a season of Shakespeare during the home school year.  Really, you would think I was extracting blood or something.  
So imagine my delight when some Shakespeare actually seems useful to one of my clan.  They forwarded me this post recently. While not the exact impact I had hoped for, it is hysterical. 

http://elizabethbanks.com/blog/post/stay-classy-how-to-insult-someone-shakespeare-style-2 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Imago Dei

For 10 days at the Caer, a huge and difficult project has been under way.







And so it goes...a project we all thought would last for a week continues...in grueling conditions. Once the shingles were all off, a huge wave of thunderstorms swept through all night.  The next day we were sopping up puddles of water in the eaves and kitchen and garage and sorting through lots of ruined boxes.  Since then we have had 90 degree weather add to that the steepness of our roof pitch and that these men are all volunteering their time and labor to us.  Crazy, right?  They agreed to do this because of friendship and kindness. 

For me, however, I have been overwhelmed by the Imago Dei displayed in them.  The image of God revealed to me and all my family is an even greater gift than all they have been doing.  They have given of themselves: their time, substance, life blood, sweat, labor, and skills.  They have given freely.  Their wives have sacrificed their own "honey do" lists so that these guys can help us.  They willingly took time off their day jobs to work 12 hour days here.  It is such a flood of grace into our lives that I have had to check my emotions daily.  Emotions of gratitude, praise and thanksgiving to God, and shock of blessing from the example and kindnesses extended to us.

My husband and sons have been out there working alongside and learning from these craftsmen.  Not professional roofers, but determined and careful in their work.  I will probably have the best roofed house in town after this.  My girls have been helping me feed and water the crew each day.  Truly it is like a barn raising of old in my mind.

"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)   
This is such a rarity in our life so this stands out not just in magnitude, but in depth of love.  These guys have laid down their lives for us in a very tangible way.  It stands in stark contrast to our recent experiences of attending a local church for a year and a half and experiencing a complete disinterestedness in us or our family. So I am even more astounded by this gift of grace. I see Christ in them, kneeling down and washing the feet of his disciples, coming to serve, not to be served. 
Give thanks with me for their kindness and showing forth the image of God and example of Christ....I don't think they even know how their actions speak these things LOUDLY....and no, they aren't available for any other roofing jobs, I think my roof may have ruined their enthusiasm for putting shingles on anything.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Graduate

It's been a long year for us both, but by God's grace he did it, he completed his high school studies and received his diploma.  I am so proud of his perseverance.  He knows how blessed I am because of him.  May God heap the blessings on you, dear son!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Everywhere We Go

We were having our book club meeting and visible to any who walked by were our copies of The Hiding Place, the story of Corrie Ten Boom and her family's story of helping Jews and going to prison during WWII.  The man commented to us that he was impressed we were reading about her.  Also that he liked Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  He mentioned that he thought the church in America was ill, just like back in those days, and he had figured out what was the problem.  He wanted to share it with us briefly.  Then he began to tell us it was because so many churches had become incorporated as 501c(3) organizations and that limited their ability to preach truth or be involved in politics or other civic issues.


I shook my head, and waited for him to finish.  My friends are so gracious and quiet, but I on the other hand cannot let this go.  I finally tell him that he has not quite gotten to the heart of the matter.   The incorporation issue is just a symptom, I tell him, of heart issues.  I quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land." "It's us.  It's the people of God who are sinning and not humble and won't just obey.  So go home and love your wife and your children and obey.  Then God will hear and send healing to our land." That's in a nutshell what I told him.  Hoping that little by little, bit by bit, precept upon precept, person after person who calls themselves "Christian" will stop looking outside themselves for the thing to try and change, and look inside and start with ourselves and the house of God.  It seems easy for all of us to identify the church is ill in our land.  It is much more difficult to point the finger at ourselves.  

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Quote of the Day

One of my presents for Mother's Day was a book by Philip Yancey titled Disappointment with God.  I will do a book review of it in a later post, but I am being exposed to T.S. Eliot by quite a few quotes of his in this book.  Here is the one that hit me today:


"To believe in the supernatural is not simply to believe that after living a successful, material, and fairly virtuous life here one will continue to exist in the best-possible substitute for this world, or that after living a starved and stunted life here one will be compensated with all the good things one has gone without: it is to believe that the supernatural is the greatest reality here and now."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My MOM List

Mother's Day prompted me to start my MOM list.  I have listened far too long to those voices.  You know, the ones which tell us that we are wasting our lives choosing the noble profession of keeper of the home. So, with inspiration from 1000 Gifts I decided I needed to start my own list.  It is the one which says what I have learned or accomplished since becoming a mother 27 years ago. Things that I never could have known before motherhood.  It helps that my family is amazing and made my Mother's Day absolutely perfect and they inspire me by telling me in 1000 ways that I am beyond good enough. So here is a beginning of my list.  Maybe starting your own will remind you that motherhood is a high calling, a vocation, a life....and pretty hysterical at times too.
 MOM LIST OR WHAT I HAVE LEARNED OR ACCOMPLISHED SINCE BECOMING A MOM:
1.  How to function with sleep deprivation.
2.  Ride bikes slowly with little people.
3.  Pack for 11 people for 2 weeks camping trip.
4.  Cook mostly edible meals.
5.  Make a rotating chore chart.
6.  Burp a baby.
7.  Don't hold a baby over your head with your mouth open.
8.  Manage mountains of laundry.
9.  Read one book over and over and over again.
10. Stay calm when there is lots of blood gushing from an injury.
11. Plan and enjoy tea parties.
12. Make large quantities of food.
13. Stay calm when child holds breath and passes out. They start breathing again then.
14. Sew late into night Christmas Eve.
15. Patch holey jeans.
16. Use the 5 S's to get REALLY FUSSY baby to rest.
17. How to push/pull two carts at store: one with kids, one with groceries.
18. Put makeup on in 2 minutes or less.
19. Live with "lived in" look not Martha Stewart look.
20. Making a bed every day is simple way to feel organized.
21. Grape tylenol is not pretty second time around.
22. There really is a person manning the phones at the Poison Control hotline.
23. A box turtle eats hamburger.
24. Little boys chew toast into gun shapes.
25. Kids know when someone is breathing in "their" space.
26. Ice packs are essential items for your freezer.
27. Neosporin is essential item for your medicine cabinet.
28. Crisco and Milk of Magnesia do work on VERY BAD diaper rashes.


To be continued....What's on your list?   

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Are There Any Questions Now?

In a recent Washington Times article, Mr. Obama and his regime make it clear who they are and with what historical thread they identify.  Read This to learn that our President finally removes any mask and reveals his true identity.  And then pick up Whittaker Chambers' book Witness to understand what some of the ramifications are.  Chambers said 60 years ago that Christians are on the losing side of this battle and that most Americans are clueless as to what is really going on right in front of them.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

High Impact Living

10 to 15 hour days for 10 days and counting, relieved by my husband and us trading shifts.  He takes the night and I have the day. We are tired and exhausted, and yet he does not complain.  I know it is taking a toll on us, but we signed up for this because it is laying our lives down, honoring our parents, following Christ. Deciding for that kind of life means that our personal lives take a huge hit most days, weeks, months. I am acutely aware of the huge impact it has on my children when the little ones cling to my arm as I leave each day begging me not to go because they are needing mommy. I ask God for grace to continue.

In those hours away, I wonder how people spend so much of their lives insuring that they have zero or low impact lives.  Where they choose to let someone, anyone else take on the responsibilities and care of things, as long as their personal lives are not impacted to any degree. Where people choose personal peace and prosperity over sacrifice and poverty.  When we say we love God, and we commit to pursuing Him wholeheartedly, we must expect to have lives impacted by that decision.  Low impact living--where we do not let the poor or needy, the elderly, the widow or orphan interfere with our personal pursuits--cannot be what Paul said was our reasonable service of worship.  It cannot be us as living sacrifices.  Living for Christ means our lives are regularly shaken by what He requires of us next.

Interestingly, I find that those who are living the high impact lives where daily sacrifices are required are usually those who have the most responsibilities already and have the least resources at their disposal.  And I think it must be a sweet aroma in the LORD's nostrils.  But here and now it is draining and hard and requires endless grace.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fellowship and Truth

"Consequently, if we were to say that we enjoyed fellowship with him and still went on living in darkness, we should be both telling and living a lie.  But if we really are living in the same light in which he eternally exists, then we have true fellowship with each other, and the blood which his son Jesus shed for us keeps us clean from all sin.  If we refuse to admit that we are sinners, then we live in a world of illusion and truth becomes a stranger to us."  (I John 1:6-8 Phillips)


What is true fellowship with one another?  It is God's truth at the center of our existence.  Truth puts aside all walls that we put up.  When we decide the other person is "not good enough" or "does not measure up" or whatever reason we give for denying fellowship with that person we are not living the truth.  We sin so much.  Christianity abounds with hindered fellowship and the only reason can be sin.  And the only one we have control over is ourselves.  Truth shedding light on our own sins, eliminates our lofty,"I am not as bad a sinner as you",  illusory lens of condemnation or criticism of others.  Christ did NOT say, "you have to achieve this behavior or this status or this characteristic before I love you."  Yet we withhold love from our fellow believers and family members if they do not live up to what we want them to be.  Christ loved us first and before we loved Him and extends love to us while we are yet sinners.  True fellowship is when we are more and more like Him, when we admit our sin, when we come out of darkness, and not just at salvation or conversion, but every day of life here.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is Sin That Bad?

"Christians must chuse rather to suffer the worst of torments, than to commit the least of sins, whereby God should be dishonoured, his name blasphemed, religion reproached, profession scorned, weak saints discouraged, and men's consciences wounded, and their souls endangered."       
       (Thomas Brooks, 1811)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

More Shaving

This last week Nancy Pelosi announced the Democrats' plan to push an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to limit free speech and to curb our First Amendment rights.  Wake up God's people.  They are shaving, hacking, destroying more and more of the freedoms our forefathers fought so valiantly to procure for us.  And we are not yet weeping over our own sins.....

Monday, April 23, 2012

Longing for God

Gleanings from our book club reading of Through Gates of Splendor:
   "Oh the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!
    I care not if I never raise my voice again for Him,
    if only I may love Him, please Him.
    Mayhap in mercy He shall give me a host of children
    that I may lead them through
    The vast star fields to explore His delicacies
    whose finger ends set them to burning.
    But if not, if only I may see Him, touch His garments,
    and smile into His eyes---
    Ah then, not stars nor children shall matter, only Himself."


---from Jim Elliot's diary



Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Love and Death

The apostle John tells us that "God is love." (1 John 4:8) In the next breath he tells us that this love of God's was manifested---shown, revealed, made clear---by His sending His only Son into the world to be the propitiation (an atoning sacrifice) for our sins.  So God's love is revealed to us through death, the death of Christ. Love is death and Christ tells us to follow His example. 


Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Christian martyred by the Nazis) said, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die." So our returning love to God is our call to death.  I think we get told way too much how to live the Christian life.  The longer I walk with God the more I am realizing I need to know more how to die.  A dead person does not feel pain, thinks no independent thoughts, has no expectations or ambitions.  They're dead.  Certainly our bodies are to be presented as "living sacrifices" (Romans 12:1) But how to die when we are alive is an ongoing challenge.  We are presented with opportunities to love through death daily. Do I embrace those? Or even recognize them?


Christ humbled Himself and became obedient unto death. (Phil. 2:8) He thought others better than himself, He did nothing through selfish ambition or conceit, He put the interest of others ahead of Himself; He suffered mistreatment, being misunderstood,  being falsely accused, and torture----all for me, to show love for me.  We love God because He first loved us.  This means we are called to die. Goes against all the modern thinking and culture--to look for ways to die.



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Judges Deja Vu

"In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Judges 21:25)
No where is this more evident in Christian circles today than with regard to child bearing.  And I have heard it all.  Christians reason that to "be reasonable" you should put off having children, or only have two or three at the most...so that you can be financially secure, or travel, or fill in the blank.  The arguments are endless so it seems, but if we are going to take the whole counsel of God's Word, the general principles contained therein state that God wants us to mulitply (notice He did not say replicate), to have children in our youth, to have marriages because He wants to bring forth godly seed from us, and to see that children are a reward and blessing. (Caveat: I am not condemning anyone who is childless by circumstances and not by choice. God is gracious and I know we need to be also.)
I do believe that for the most part people, including Christians, want to be unencumbered by the responsibility and, yes, the cost of children.  That simply is not what God calls us to.  I don't recall Him saying, "lead a life devoid of sacrifice or expenses."  I do recall He said to gain our life we had to lose it.  
Augustine had an ungodly lifestyle for years before his conversion and then wrote in retrospect these words:  "In those years I had a woman.  She was not my partner in what is called lawful marriage.  I had found her in my state of wandering desire and lack of prudence.  Nevertheless, she was the only girl for me, and I was faithful to her.  With her I learnt by direct experience how wide a difference there is between the partnership of marriage entered into for the sake of having a family and the mutual consent of those whose love is a matter of physical sex, and for whom the birth of a child is contrary to their intention..."(Confessions, p.53)  Christian people get married and then have sexual privileges but the birth of a child is contrary to their intentions. I am not against wisdom, but I am against doing what is right in our own eyes because it is more convenient.  That is not what kind of life God has called us to.  St. John of the Cross said, "Strive to choose, not that which is easiest, but that which is most difficult.  Do not deprive your soul of the agility which it needs to mount up to Him." God have mercy upon us. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

More Madness

All those books on Big Brother they made us read in high school English in the 1970's and 1980's are coming true! Read This to see what madness our country has become.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Madness

Included in the list of curses promised by God for His people if they disobeyed His voice and did not carefully observe His commandments and statues is this from Deuteronomy chapter 28:
     "28 The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. 29 And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you."  


We surely live under this sentence today.  Our president, his administration, and our legislators have printed more than 1 trillion dollars since Obama took office, and have increased our debt exponentially and still there is no attempt at curbing spending, stopping currency printing, or doing anything different at all.  So how is this madness you ask?  Let's say each of us owed $45,000 in debt, which currently per capita in the U.S. we DO.  So we all said that the way we would pay off that debt was to go out and spend lots more money and print some to boot.  In real life, we would be put into jail! Yet this is EXACTLY what is going on in Washington.  Every day we are groping around in darkness, not prospering and becoming more and more plundered and oppressed.  What is the solution to this madness?  God said He would visit this curse for not obeying Him or following His commands.  Let's seek repentance, stop plundering our own neighbors through government programs, and demand that we have a balanced budget and return to God whole heartedly.  Politicians cannot fix what God has decreed. But His people, called by His name can seek His face and repent and be restored to sanity.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

From Isaac Watts

"LORD, I can suffer Thy rebukes when Thou with kindness doth chastise;
But Thy fierce wrath I cannot bear,
O let it not against me rise.
Pity my languishing estate, and ease the sorrows that I feel;
The wounds Thine heavy hand hath made,
O let Thy gentler touches heal!"

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Help for Mothers

St. Augustine's Confessions can help a mom out.  How many times have you implored your offspring(especially your son) to listen to you?  How many times have you worried that they weren't listening?  St. Augustine recalls how God used his mother to speak God's words directly to his hard heart:
     "Wretch that I am, do I dare to say that you, my God, were silent when in reality I was travelling farther from you?  Was it in this sense that you kept silence to me?  Then whose words were they but yours which you were chanting in my ears through my mother, your faithful servant? But nothing of that went down into my heart to issue in action....These warnings seemed to me womanish advice which I would have blushed to take the least notice of.  But they were your warnings and I did not realize it.  I believed you were silent, and that it was only she who was speaking, when you were speaking to me through her.  In her you were scorned by me, by me her son, the son of your handmaid, your servant (Ps. 115:16)."

Monica, the godly mother of Augustine, had to have know that her son was not listening to her.  But she was faithful to give the warnings even when her son scorned her counsel.  Even when her son refused to listen.  This is difficult.  We want our admonitions to go to their hearts, but really it was not until God got hold of Augustine's heart and mind and strength that he realized the godliness of his own mother.  God help us mothers to keep on telling our children of all ages the truth of God's word, to keep on giving godly warnings....even when they scorn our lives and words.....

BTW, Monica's experience is not uncommon...so take heart.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

After the Storm

Peering out the jalousie window cracks, I saw the twenty foot corner Palm bent double; its top touched the sidewalk.  We had stayed.  Dad said the house was built on an ancient sand dune and we would be safe.  Mom had put water and food and blankets and flashlights in the basement.  The fact we had a basement showed the age of our 100 year old home.  Modern homes did not put in basements in Florida.  We got to look out as the winds picked up and that was when I had seen it.  The paragon of strength and flexibility, that Palm tree, bent over double.  And my five year old mind worried: if that tree was already bent over, how could the house withstand the hurricane force winds?  But it was too late.  We would ride out the storm come what may because my Father had decided.  


The next 24 hours we huddled in the darkness of the basement.  Power had failed early on.  We read books and tried to play games.  But mostly we heard the howling of the storm, the intensity of the rain pelting the roof.  We were not going anywhere.  The eye never hit us, so there was not calm moments.  The winds kept going and we could hear the house shuddering.  My mom prayed.  Dad turned on the radio but I don't remember what was being transmitted, I only recall the wind and that Palm tree.


Afterwards, Dad and my brother began repairs on the exterior of the house and took the boards off the windows.  I was engaged in piling up debris and cleaning the steps and sidewalk.  My Palm tree was straight, a few branches lighter, but back standing tall and drinking in the sunshine.  Dad had been right.  The old house was bumped and bruised, but perfectly sound and I wondered how many storms the old place had survived. 


Until lately, I did not realize the life lesson God was teaching me in that storm.  My Father made a decision for my life for me to stay put during a fierce and relentless howling storm.   There was nothing else for me to do but wait.  Unlike my five year old self, I did not patiently listen to the winds and wait for the end.  I cried.  I lamented.  I was overcome with grief.  Now, after the storm, I am not allowed to work out the grief.  I am supposed to pick up the pieces and move on.  But there is lots of debris.  Lots to repair.  And it has to start with me.  I am to be a new creature in Christ.  My disposition has to radically change.  This is difficult considering the full force of the storm was directed at me.  Storms can cleanse and change the landscape.  But afterward, after the winds, pouring rain, and beating surf, the air is fresh, clean, holy.  Hoping God can produce that in me.



Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Gem

"The sum of the Christian life is denial of ourselves."   
-- John Calvin--

Monday, January 9, 2012

Poetry Morning

A Christmas gift, A Book of Comfort, an anthology by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Goudge.  Here is an excerpt, a poem written by Vidal de Nicolas, a political prisoner in Burgos Jail.

A WISH
That son of Cain, let him have no more power
to loose his fury on the unfettered spring
or deal death to the kiss.
Let hatred be restrained from flooding
the pristine margins of the air.
Let knives become
impotent against swallows, and the assassin
powerless to garrotte the dawn.
May war never again
batter the skulls of newborn babes, or sever
the exultant arteries of a man.
Let poisoned fangs and pistols
and slavering jaws be done away,
and nevermore let frenzy lash us
with its insensate waves.

Let nothing remain but a love
as vast as all the oceans,
pouring like a cataract across the pupils
of our eyes, flooding the planets,
filling the songs of poets everywhere.

---posted by Queen Lucy