Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pineapple mango salsa

Mmm ....
"God is near at hand when you do approach Him in prayer. Oh, comforting truth! A God at hand to hear the softest breath of prayer–to listen to every confession of sin–to every cry of need–to every utterance of sorrow–to every wail of woe–to every appeal for counsel, strength, and support. Arise, O my soul! and give yourself to prayer; for God is near at hand to hear and answer you."


--Octavius Winslow

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Rain by Anna Ternheim

"We must start with a rejection of the contraceptive mentality that sees pregnancy and children as impositions to be avoided rather than gifts to be received, loved, and nurtured. This contraceptive mentality is an insidious attack upon God's glory in creation, and the Creator's gift of procreation to the married couple."

--Albert Mohler

Monday, June 28, 2010

"What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our LORD God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and work flow."

--Martin Luther

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Grace and Maturity in Community

In our relationships with friends, family, loved ones, and even strangers, we deal constantly with expectations and disappointments. People let us down and differences surprise us. We get taken aback, and sometimes hurt or offended by what they say and do, or fail to say and do. It's in these contexts that so many of us fall into the common trap of losing sight of the preciousness of life itself, and of relationships with those who are not like us.

There are so many different levels on which all of us can be offended or disappointed. Even in our small communities, connected by blood or connected by shared values, we can all find disagreement among ourselves sometimes. We find varying worldviews and opinions even among people whose beliefs appear, at first glance, nearly identical.

I wonder what it is about us, especially for those of us who claim to be children of God, that feels we have the right and need to be so judgmental, and even to write people off. I have been written off before, and I have known others who have, too, and though it is painful, it is more sad for Christians who choose to make such choices an option.

It is sad that the grace we have been shown at the Cross seems to make so little difference in our lives. I have seen people proclaim with their whole heart that they were committed to grace, truth, beauty, love, and kindness, and almost in the same breath issue the nastiest of comments in vicious tones. As James says, these things ought not to be.

We are all entitled to make up our own minds about issues of Christian liberty. As Paul wrote, "Let everyone be convinced in his own mind." Everyone makes up his or her own mind about his or her beliefs and their application. We are all also are free to learn and grow without the stigmatism of having to reach up to others’ standards. Growth takes time, and even what we think of as “maturity” changes, and thus the goal of what a good, mature Christian life looks like takes different shapes for us as we experience life.

I wonder why we are so quick to criticize those who hear the beat of a different drum. Why are we so disdainful of people who think differently than we do? Why does it feel so appropriate to write off those who choose to think differently from the group and the culture? Why are we so threatened by people who are not like we are?

If we want to be quick to judge others and write them off, especially over issues of Christian liberty, we should remember that there are many other Christians who will write us off for something as well. We all could make that list a mile long with issues and perspectives that make us unique and which the different Christian sub-cultures tend to focus on. And the people who will write others off who are different are a dime a dozen. Does anyone out there want to be different than that?

What a beautiful choice to take the path of not getting offended at people who see things differently. It makes life more beautiful and gracious as a result, opens up doors for compromise and open dialogue, and gives us the freedom to let people be different, yet still valuable to us. It lets us ask God what paths He would have us travel, and gives us the peace and maturity to let others travel different roads without condemning them or moving away from them. It keeps misunderstanding from becoming argument, and keeps disagreement from becoming separation.

A long time ago I chose to embrace certain premises, which I know I don’t always live up to, but I’m aiming at them, and want to share them.

• No matter what differences arise between me and others, we cannot not lose sight of the fact that their very existence is a precious miracle and that they have infinite value to God. The very fact that they are alive, and that God has brought them across our path, is of profound import. Writing off anyone, especially a believer, is essentially saying that they are worthless, when in reality, they are destined for glory, we will worship together at the feet of Jesus for eternity, and chances are that even in this life, what we think of as disagreement will look completely different, sometimes years later, sometimes much sooner.

• We are all interpreting other people through our personal worldview perspective, which may be wrong or imbalanced even though it feels right, based on how we were raised by our parents. We all have paradigms and filters, and most of us do not even know what they really are, and many of us could not figure them out even if we tried, because they are so deep. We are all faulty in various ways, and our perceptions are faulty, too.

• Others have a worldview shaped by their upbringing and experiences that we do not know and which may be vastly different from our and from what we expected from them. That does not make it wrong, but different. We are compelled to open dialogue, and ask others to share where they come from—not to dictate how they must change.

• Everyone has a culture. Family culture. National culture. Church culture. Personality uniquenesses. To miss the background someone is coming from, and to fail to see it as not only important, but valuable, is a sad, tunnel-visioned perspective.

• Everyone has an agenda. We do not know what anyone's agenda is, and an individual may not even be aware of it. We do not know their motivations, and whether those motivations are conscious or subconscious. Is it fear? Despair? Self-protection? Hope? Good will? A desire to bless others?

• Everyone has a story. We do not know where they have been. We have not walked in their shoes. We do not know at what point in that story we have walked in. We may be entering their lives at a crucial point—and thus our responses to them may be more important than we would expect. What we do or fail to do in those contexts may have massive implications in their lives.

• Everyone wears a mask to some extent. That does not imply that we're all supposed to be trying to pry those masks off from others to get to the core of what they are about, but it does mean that we acknowledge that there is more than meets the eye. The surface impression may be very different from reality. If we make snap judgments, we are probably missing the boat.

• The “issue" is usually not the full issue, or even the issue at all. What we say is often just at the surface of what we are really thinking or feeling. Maturity compels us to be careful what we say or allow ourselves to feel if we are not yet able to be fully open, and maturity also compels us to both take people at face value and yet realize that there is almost always more to be said to truly understand what they meant.

• There are three sides to every story and perspective: the two people telling the story or sharing their perspective, and reality. Maturity involves admitting that and choosing to pursue humility and communication, not to cut off relationships and burn bridges. We rarely have all the facts, and even when we may have all the facts, we rarely understand them and the full context in which they occurred.

• We are accountable before God for every word that comes from our mouths. We are responsible to have our speech be seasoned with salt, and to have the law of kindness be on our tongues.

• Relationships take work. People who want every friendship or relationship to be an instant perfect fit are sadly mistaken about how life and people work. We buy into the lie, especially in relationships, that others must be perfect, and every part of a relationship must be instantly perfect, or we write them off. Good relationships happen when you have two good communicators and forgivers who resolve to focus on the value of the people and of the relationship over any other issue.

• Relationships take time. People change and grow, and the important point is to grow together, not apart. Friends and lovers alike will be blessed by not looking for instant gratification or instant perfection in the relationship; the beauty of just doing life together, and letting God open doors, change hearts, and create beauty on His timetable, is crucial to our happiness and healthiness in relationships.

• We are our brother and sister’s keeper. We are responsible for their well-being, even if we disagree with them.

• We are not called to judge people. We are called to testify to God's grace, and sometimes that requires pointing out sin so that we can point to the Cross, but our focus is not to examine every person inside and out to see if they measure up to us or some other standard.

• We are called to be people of grace. Grace means we show kindness, whether or not it is deserved; in fact, we learn to ignore and remove the question of what people "deserve"; we simply treat them as the precious people that they are, no matter what. The ones who treat us badly we treat with even more love, because we know how deeply imprisoned they must be, and we remember when we were prisoners, so we delight to show them how to escape and move into the beauty of a life of grace.

• God’s heart is for His people to be unified. He hates broken relationships. If I am offended by someone, I have the responsibility to restore that relationship, even though I am the one offended, and if I am the offender, I doubly have the responsibility to pursue forgiveness and unity. God loves when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity.

• God’s heart is for us to not speak evil of each other. Giving a bad report about others, tearing them down, whether to their face or to others, is displeasing to God. He longs for us to embrace each other as community, not tear at each other as wolves. His heart is for us to take differences and pray about them, and keep lines of communication open, not send messages that attempt to make others feel personally diminished or their opinion relegated to unimportance.


I double my resolve to make increasing effort to show people grace and kindness in my speech, and to let differences be opportunities for friendships to flourish, not to be cut off, and for dialogue and negotiation. God calls us to be people of grace, and a watching world will see when kindness slips off our tongues and permeates our relationships, and they will take notice. And when they do, to God be the glory.

"You have a much better purpose and You have a far greater plan.
And You have a bigger perspective cause You hold this world in your hands.
When that miracle comes cause Your answer is yes, I will praise you for all of my days.
But when Your wisdom declares that a no is best, I will praise You just the same."

--Jonny Diaz

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Creator's gift

"We must start with a rejection of the contraceptive mentality that sees pregnancy and children as impositions to be avoided rather than gifts to be received, loved, and nurtured. This contraceptive mentality is an insidious attack upon God's glory in creation, and the Creator's gift of procreation to the married couple."

--Albert Mohler

The Creator's gift

"We must start with a rejection of the contraceptive mentality that sees pregnancy and children as impositions to be avoided rather than gifts to be received, loved, and nurtured. This contraceptive mentality is an insidious attack upon God's glory in creation, and the Creator's gift of procreation to the married couple."


--Albert Mohler

The Creator's gift

"We must start with a rejection of the contraceptive mentality that sees pregnancy and children as impositions to be avoided rather than gifts to be received, loved, and nurtured. This contraceptive mentality is an insidious attack upon God's glory in creation, and the Creator's gift of procreation to the married couple."

--Albert Mohler

"The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.

You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord , and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.

For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you."

--Isaiah 62:2-5

Friday, June 25, 2010

Serendipity



(Sigh)
"Is there one man in disenchanted days
Who yet has feet on earth and head in Heaven?
One viceroy yet to whom his King hath given
The fire that kindles and the strength that sways?
Is there a wisdom whose extremest ways
Lead upward still? For us who most have striven,
Made wise too early and too late forgiven,
Our prudence palsies and our seeing slays.
We are dying; is there one alive and whole,
A hammer of the Lord, a simple soul,
Man with the men and with the boys a boy?
We are barren, let a male and conquering voice
Fill us and quicken us and make rejoice,
Even us who have so long forgotten joy."


--F. W. H. Myers

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Excellent article


New movie: Latching On

"Truth shall spring out of the earth, and righteousness
shall look down from heaven. Yes, the Lord will give what is good;
and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before
Him, and shall make His footsteps our pathway."

--Psalm 85:11-13

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

God will rejoice over you

"The nations will see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will give.

You will be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord , and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

You will no longer be called "Forsaken," and your land shall no longer be termed "Desolate," but you will be called "My Delight Is in Her," and your land "Married"; because the Lord delights in you, and your land will be married.

Just like as a young man marries a young woman, so will your sons marry you, and as the groom rejoices over the bride, so will your God rejoice over you."


--Isaiah 62:2-5
"When you forgive someone, you slice away the wrong from the person who did it. You disengage that person from his hurtful act. You recreate him. At one moment you identify him inerradicably as the person who did you wrong. The next moment you change that identity. He is remade in your memory.

You think of him now not as the person who hurt you, but as a person who needs you. You feel him now not as the person who alienated you, but as the person who belongs to you. Once you branded him as a person powerful in evil, but now you see him as a person weak in his needs. You recreated your past by recreating the person whose wrong made your past painful.

You do not change him, out there, in his being. What he did sticks to what he is. His wrong is glued to him. But when you recreate him in your own memory, there, within you, he has been altered by spiritual surgery.

God does it this way, too. He releases us from sin as a mother washes dirt from a child's face, or as a person takes a burden off your back, lays it on a goat, and sends the goat scampering into the wilderness. The Bible's metaphors point to a surgery within God's memory of what we are."

--Lewis Smedes

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When you forgive

   "When you forgive someone, you slice away the wrong from the person who did it. You disengage that person from his hurtful act. You recreate him. At one moment you identify him inerradicably as the person who did you wrong. The next moment you change that identity. He is remade in your memory.
   You think of him now not as the person who hurt you, but as a person who needs you. You feel him now not as the person who alienated you, but as the person who belongs to you. Once you branded him as a person powerful in evil, but now you see him as a person weak in his needs. You recreated your past by recreating the person whose wrong made your past painful.
   You do not change him, out there, in his being. What he did sticks to what he is. His wrong is glued to him. But when you recreate him in your own memory, there, within you, he has been altered by spiritual surgery.
   God does it this way, too. He releases us from sin as a mother washes dirt from a child's face, or as a person takes a burden off your back, lays it on a goat, and sends the goat scampering into the wilderness. The Bible's metaphors point to a surgery within God's memory of what we are."

--Lewis Smedes

Your Hands by JJ Heller

Listen here.

"Though the fig tree may not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines;
though the labor of the olive may fail,
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
and there be no herd in the stalls-
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The LORD is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer's feet,
and He will make me walk on my high hills."

--Habakkuk 3:17-19

Monday, June 21, 2010

Winter by Tori Amos

"'A corn of wheat' I hold within my hand;
Bare grain it is-a hard, uncomely thing;
I let it fall into the ground and die
And lo! therefrom I see new life upspring;
A shoot; a blade; then ears of ripened corn!
What fruitage from that one small seed is born!

Which thing a parable to me becomes-
Myself, a seed- will but a seed remain
Till I consent, as did my Lord, to die
And so bring forth rich yield of golden grain.
He taught me this, by parable and cross:
My life to gain, of life to suffer loss."

--Thomas O. Chisholm

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Faith and waiting go hand in hand,
we don't know faith 'til we learn to wait.
Faith and waiting are nurtured in obedience.
We don't know either faith nor waiting 'til we learn to do God's work, God's way.
It is always right to wait upon God
and it is always right to wait for God."

--Alistair Begg

Saturday, June 19, 2010

"Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, "God has lost track of me. He doesn't care what happens to me"?

Don't you know anything? Haven't you been listening? God doesn't come and go. God lasts.  He's Creator of all you can see or imagine.

He doesn't get tired out, doesn't pause to catch his breath.  And He knows everything, inside and out.  He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.

Even young people tire and drop out, and those in their prime stumble and fall.  But the people who wait upon God get fresh strength.

They spread their wings and soar like eagles; they run and don't get tired; they walk and don't lag behind."

--Isaiah 40:27-31

Friday, June 18, 2010

Right on target



"Look at the state of the world eighteen centuries after the appearance of the first Great Missionary. We have indeed redeemed a few little spots to their rightful owner, but Satan yet boasts the world as his. While here and there some small gift is laid on the altar of the Saviour, the votaries of Satan will offer ten, twenty, or a hundred thousand rupees for the service of an idol temple. While it is thought some great thing, as one by one the followers of Jesus leave their native land to preach the glad tidings of His kingdom, the devotees of heathen worship will throw themselves by hundreds beneath the wheels of an idol car. While we count over our chapels and converts by hundreds and by thousands, Satan continues to number his by myriads and by millions. While, at most, a few thousand converts may be added to our side annually, more than twelve millions in the same space of time pass to join the ranks of lost spirits; and while we exult in the fancied rapidity with which we are gaining upon his usurped dominions, we forget that the population of the world is to a far greater extent gaining upon us, and laughing to scorn, as it were, our puny efforts.

These considerations should not discourage us, though they should answer the double purpose of leading us away from self-dependence and self-exultation, and of convincing us of the necessity for as yet untried measures and unprecedented exertions."

--Jemima Luke, Sketches Of The Life And Character Of Thomas Thompson

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Look to the fathers

"To know the true state of a nation, look at the state of the Church. To know the true state of the Church, look at the families who populate her pews. To know the state of her families, look to the fathers who lead them. Destroy the vision of the father, and you render impotent the family, thus creating a chain reaction that will spread throughout civilization."

--Douglas W. Phillips
"Let my religion be more obvious to my conscience, more perceptible to those around. 
While Jesus is representing me in heaven, may I reflect Him on earth.
While He pleads my cause, may I show forth His praise." 

--The Valley of Vision

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"The single greatest cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

--Brennan Manning

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It all comes down to this, et cetera ...



Glitter in the Air by Pink
"Without the gospel everything is useless and vain; without the gospel we are not Christians; without the gospel all riches is poverty, all wisdom folly before God; strength is weakness, and all the justice of man is under the condemnation of God.

But by the knowledge of the gospel we are made children of God, brothers of Jesus Christ, fellow townsmen with the saints, citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, heirs of God with Jesus Christ, by whom the poor are made rich, the weak strong, the fools wise, the sinner justified, the desolate comforted, the doubting sure, and slaves free. It is the power of God for the salvation of all those who believe."

--John Calvin

Monday, June 14, 2010

"I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I wish to be. I am not what I hope to be. Yet I can truly say I am not what I once was. By the grace of God I am what I am."

--John Newton

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Trust Me, My child," He says. "Trust Me with a fuller abandon than you ever have before. Trust Me, as minute succeeds minute, every day of your life, for as long as you live. And if you become conscious of anything hindering your relationship, do not hurt Me by turning away from Me. Draw all the closer to Me, come, run to Me. Allow Me to hide you, to protect you, even from yourself. Tell Me your deepest cares, your every trouble. Trust Me to keep My hand upon you. I will never leave you. I will shape you, mold you, and perfect you. Do not fear, O child of My love, do not fear. I love you."

--Amy Carmichael

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Love Letter to My Wife

My dear sweetheart,

We may not have even met yet, but I am writing this love letter to you to share my heart with you. 

 











Whether you read this today or sometime in the future, I hope that the message somehow gets through to your heart right now.

 











Know that I long for you, and am eager to meet you.  We both know that some days just feel so lonely,














and without each other, things feel like they go from bad to worse,












and what you thought would be pleasant does not turn out so nicely,










because what you want feels out of your reach,

 








and you almost feel like something is trying to take you down.

  









Without each other, we feel a little lost,

 







like we've gone too long without the hope of finding each other.










After a while, it begins to feel like something's just not right,

 








And you think you'll never find what you're looking for.

 











Know that you are on my mind all the time. I don't see a sunrise or sunset, or flowers, and not think of you.

 








It almost hurts to see the most beautiful parts of life and not have you there by my side. I dream of you every day. You are the first thought on my mind in the morning, and the last thought on my mind at night.










It almost seems like you're already here. I can't wait to show you my favorite park, but sometimes when I'm walking there, it seems like you're there beside me, in spirit.  It's like we're already having a conversation, unspoken but mutually understood. I feel like everything I do is either for you, or with you in mind, and it is lovely, but I want to see you, touch you, and hold you. Please come soon.










My heart aches for you a lot. And that makes me wonder if your heart is aching too, and if it is, know that I promise to more than make up for those lonely days when we finally come together.

 








 I'm spending my time wisely, and I'm sure you are, too. I'm trying to use it for God's glory, trying to prepare as well as possible for our marriage and family, and simply enjoying life as much as possible without you, my best friend; it isn't easy, but I do it, knowing that God will bring us together in His time.













I'm going to another ballroom dance at my church this weekend, and though you won't be there, I'm thinking of you, and wishing I were dancing with you.

 











I can't wait to meet you. We both know that God delights to give His children good gifts, so we know that God is preparing us for each other. It will be so good for our hearts to finally find each other. I already love you, my precious beloved.

 











I often wonder what's going on in your life these days. I imagine what you must be up to, and look forward to hearing your stories of how the Lord has guided and provided for you.

 









Please wait for me. I am waiting for you. Please be careful with your heart and mind. Please save the best and most important things for us.















Please don't give up hope. Hang in there,

 









keep dancing,














and don't let these deferred hopes make you jaded or sarcastic.













Light will break,











and glory will shine through.

 








Our love will bloom,

 











our day will come,

 












and what a celebration it will be.

 









We will make sweet memories,

 








and pursue beauty together,











and live our dreams,

 









and go on grand adventures,

 









and have babies,

 











and create a home together. 

 









I know some days are so very difficult while we are still waiting for each other. Our Father will bring us together in time, I am sure. I hope it is soon.  Fairy tales do come true,

 








and I will wait for you

 











and treasure your beautiful heart.










I miss you so, so much.

 







I long to see your face, to look into your beautiful eyes, and delight in the "glances of knowing"--knowing each other's hearts and minds, probably in large part almost immediately, because we will be kindred spirits. And knowing the struggle it has been to wait on God to open these doors to bring us together, knowing our hopes and dreams, and knowing that we can trust each other fully, and praise God even more for the great things He has done for us.

I am praying for you. Please come soon! And feel a big hug from me until then, dear one.  I love you.

 








Your beloved,



How I feel about my pen


This Old Guitar by John Denver

"But the extraordinary thing about the man who is convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit is that though he knows he has sinned against God, it is God he wants--'Be merciful to me, O God.'  He wants to be with God--that is the peculiar paradox of repentance, wanting the one I have offended."

--D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Friday, June 11, 2010

Trust Him for the greater

"Remember it is because He loves us that He waits. Immediate intervention would abort the far greater thing He has in mind. Trust Him for the greater."

--Elisabeth Elliot
"A real Christian is an odd number anyway. He feels supreme love for One whom he has never seen, talks familiarly every day to Someone he cannot see, expects to go to heaven on the virtue of Another, empties himself in order to be full, admits he is wrong so he can be declared right, goes down in order to get up, is strongest when he is weakest, richest when he is poorest, and happiest when he feels worst. He dies so he can live, forsakes in order to have, gives away so he can keep, sees the invisible, hears the inaudible and knows that which passeth knowledge."

--A.W. Tozer

Thursday, June 10, 2010

North and South ending



(Sigh).
"Christ be with me, be after me, be before me, and be at my right and left hand. May everything I do be for Christ."

--Irish Morning Prayer

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"It is very evident that Christians will never see eye to eye on all points. We are so largely influenced by habits, by environment, by education, by the measure of intellectual and spiritual apprehension to which we have attained, that it is an impossibility to find any number of people who look at everything from the same standpoint. How then can such be of one mind? The apostle himself explains it elsewhere when he says, 'I think also that I have the mind of Christ.' The 'mind of Christ' is the lowly mind. And, if we are all of this mind, we shall walk together in love, considering one another and seeking rather to be helpers of one another’s faith, than challenging each other's convictions"

--Harry Ironside

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Remember it is because He loves us that He waits. Immediate intervention would abort the far greater thing He has in mind. Trust Him for the greater."


--Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, June 7, 2010

"All those that are justified, God vouchsafes, in and for His only Son Jesus Christ, to make partakers of the grace of adoption, by which they are taken into the number, and enjoy the liberties and privileges of the children of God, have His name put upon them, receive the spirit of adoption, have access to the throne of grace with boldness, are enabled to cry, Abba, Father, are pitied, protected, provided for, and chastened by Him as by a Father: yet never cast off, but sealed to the day of redemption; and inherit the promises, as heirs of everlasting salvation."


--Westminster Confession, Chapter XII

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A good book

"A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose, to a life beyond life"

--John Milton

If I could describe my heart in a song ...



(Butterfly Waltz by Brian Crain)

"The wounds in his hands, feet and side are signs that in mortality painful things happen even to the pure and the perfect, signs that tribulation is not evidence that God does not love us.  It is a significant and hopeful fact that it is the wounded Christ who comes to our rescue.  He who bears the scars of sacrifice, the lesions of love, the emblems of humility and forgiveness is the Captain of our Soul. That evidence of pain in mortality is undoubtedly intended to give courage to others who are also hurt and wounded by life ..."

--Jeffrey R. Holland

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Someday my library will look like this

Hope

"Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul."

--Emily Dickenson

Another magnificent sunrise


(Taken from my back porch)

"As God helps you grow, you will change, but you will always be you. An acorn can grow into an oak tree, but it cannot become a rose bush. It can be a healthy oak or it can be a stunted oak – but it won’t be a shrub. You will always be you – a growing, healthy you or a languishing you – but God didn’t create you to be anybody else."


"When you flourish, you become more you. You become more that person God had in mind when He thought you up. You don’t just become holier. You become you-ier. You will change: God wants you to become a 'new creation.' But 'new' doesn’t have to mean completely different; instead it’s like an old piece of furniture that gets restored to its intended beauty."


--John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be.

Friday, June 4, 2010

God is the source of all things good and lovely and beautiful.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Restored to our intended beauty

"As God helps you grow, you will change, but you will always be you. An acorn can grow into an oak tree, but it cannot become a rose bush. It can be a healthy oak or it can be a stunted oak – but it won’t be a shrub. You will always be you – a growing, healthy you or a languishing you – but God didn’t create you to be anybody else."

"When you flourish, you become more you. You become more that person God had in mind when He thought you up. You don’t just become holier. You become you-ier. You will change: God wants you to become a 'new creation.'  But 'new' doesn’t have to mean completely different; instead it’s like an old piece of furniture that gets restored to its intended beauty."


--John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be.
"When Jesus died to regain the fullness of His glory, He died for our joy. Love is the labor—whatever the cost—of helping people be enthralled with what will satisfy them most, namely, Jesus Christ. That is how Jesus loves."

--John Piper

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This is My Father's World by Tim Janis

My Old Man by John Denver

Far too easily pleased

"The New Testament has lots to say about self-denial, but not as an end in itself. We are told to deny ourselves and take up our crosses in order that we may follow Christ; and nearly every description of what we shall ultimately find if we do so contains an appeal to desire. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promise of regard and the staggering nature of rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased."

--C.S. Lewis

Mr. Bean - ruining a library book

"To complain against God is in effect to deny His holiness and to say that He is somehow not fair and just.  It is less injury to Him to deny His being than to deny the purity of it; the one makes Him no God, the other a deformed, unlovely, and a detestable God . . . He that saith God is not holy and right speaks much worse than he that saith there is no God at all."


--Stephen Churnock, [17th century].

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Amazing homebirth story

Amazing homebirth story!

(Warning: amazing but fully graphic)

Quotes from Getting Serious About Getting Married

(An excellent book; I very highly recommend it).

"We have been told over and over that singleness is a gift. But it's the kind of gift that makes us cringe and smile politely while we desperately search for a gift receipt so we can return it.... Despite this common attitude, we are conditioned to accept singleness as a gift form God and to be content.... I want to share with you that this teaching on singleness is a new one--and a radical departure from classical Christian thought that for centuries viewed marriage as a rule for everyone, with only a few exceptions. Christian tradition has never validated wholesale singleness. To the contrary, virtually all of our Christian forefathers regarded protracted singleness as unbiblical and believed that young adults were under a divine duty to marry without undue delay." (pg. 16)

"The feminists falsely claimed that their ideology would set woman free, and I believe we have often been equally deceptive within the church. Just as careers and sexual independence left women unfulfilled, so teaching singles to find fulfillment in Christ alone has not erased their loneliness. They have been mistakenly encouraged to believe that God can fill any void they might have. 'Let Jesus be your all in all,' women are glibly told.

We assume that God is so big and powerful that he can fulfill any need, make up for any deficit. We assume that God can fill the spouse-shaped void he created in us. I'm not challenging God's omnipotence in any way. But I am saying that we need to examine whether his own revealed nature would ever make him do such a thing. God's ability to do something and God's willingness to do that thing are two entirely different things. Just because God can do something doesn't mean that he will.

God created us to need food to satisfy hunger, clothing to keep us warm, and shelter to keep us dry. He could satisfy those needs with himself but instead created us to pursue their fulfillment. There is not a shred of evidence in Scripture that God is willing to fill the spouse-shaped void with himself." (pg. 110-111).

"When contentment is touted as a viable solution for the sorrow of singleness, it doesn’t take long for it to become a prerequisite for achieving marriage at all. An offshoot of this belief is what I call the doctrine of numbness. Many of us have been taught that we must become completely neutral or numb to the idea of marriage before God will bless us with it. In other words, God will not drop marriage into our laps until we are completely satisfied in him and put our desire for a spouse on the altar of sacrifice, much like Abraham offering Isaac.... The truth is that God prefers our enthusiasm and embrace of his design to lukewarm neutrality.... Why would God make us desire marriage by design and then test us to assure our ambivalence toward that very design?... We think we must sacrifice everything to God, even the things he wants us to have! We forget that God is the one who instituted marriage to bless us.... God made us to need marriage, just as he made us to need oxygen, food, shelter, clothing, work, children, and friends. We must cooperate in pursuing his will for us.

Hannah wanted a baby. Jacob wanted a wife. They didn't apologize for pursuing their self-interest; God gave them those desires in the first place. Killing the self never requires the abandonment of self-interest, only of selfishness. When we lump the two together, it's all too easy to label the person unhappy with singleness as ungrateful, discontented, or selfish." (pg. 117-118).

"I want women to be married. Marriage is wonderful. I love waking up every morning next to my husband--and sometimes waking up earlier than expected as little feet patter into our room. I love riding to church in the passenger seat and having a hand to hold during the service. I look forward to the passing of years and what they will bring, rather than anticipating each birthday with dread. I love having a date every weekend. I love the freedom to have legitimate sex whenever we want.... I have a husband with whom I can share my deepest thoughts and affection. We are building a life together and we are creating a legacy to leave for our children.” (pg. 189).

 

Marriage

The Bible begins with a marriage and ends with a marriage.  Think about it!




"It is then, we say, in the successive stages of his experience, that the believer sees more distinctly, and adores more profoundly, and grasps more firmly, the finished righteousness of Christ. And what is the school in which he learns his nothingness, his poverty, his utter destitution? The school of deep and sanctified affliction. In no other school is it learned, and under no other teacher but God. Here his high thoughts are brought low, and the Lord alone is exalted."


--Octavius Winslow

The month of June

"It is the month of June,
The month of leaves and roses,
When pleasant sights salute the eyes
And pleasant scents the noses."

--N. P. Willis