Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jesus Our Greatest Treasure and a Gift for You

"Jesus.. was wrapped in swaddling clothes, as other children are when they are new-born, as if he could be bound, or needed to be kept straight. He that makes darkness a swaddling band for the sea was himself wrapped in swaddling bands, Job 38:9. The everlasting Father became a child of time, and men said to him whose out-goings were of old from everlasting, We know this man, whence he is, Jn. 7:27. The Ancient of days became an infant of a span long."

-Commentary on Luke 2 by Matthew Henry

This above quote has given me so much to think about in the last few years. I love reading through the Christmas story and Job 38-42. Somehow reading these Scriptures together just makes the mystery and wonder of Christmas so much more apparent in my own heart. I prepared this document two years ago for our family for Christmas. It is my Christmas gift to you and I hope you enjoy it!

Jesus- Our Greatest Treasure

My sincere apologies

Dear friends, well my first attempt at doing a series on this blog has met with failure. Does it count as a series when you only have one post? I didn't think so. Our precious Lord has graciously seen fit to keep me very busy this Christmas season. With getting the flu, bookshelves breaking and repaired, new (given to me!!!) furniture being moved in and house rearranged, a surprise business trip for my husband, and the regular joy and chaos of children, my house has been decorated and redecorated several times; not to mention busy! Which means that my planned posts on the blessings of decorating for Christmas have fallen by the wayside. So, I apologize dear friends!

My husband it taking a whole week and a half off this year for Christmas which he hasn't ever done. I am so excited! But, I will not be posting until after the new year. So, until then, I thought I would share some lovely Christmas books that we have been enjoying this year:

For our little boys:



 I just love this book and that it includes the names of Jesus within it. This year we are learning the names of Jesus and we make a little paper ornament each day with a name of Jesus and hang it on our tree. This book is so special for tying all that in, especially for the littlest eyes.





We love this book as it present the whole gospel story as a grand tour of the Bible. It is so beautiful and we love reading it. It is a longer picture book so we read a chapter a night or over several days because of my wiggly little guys.



The pictures have a different flavor in this book but my boys like it a lot. I have no idea why it is so expensive. Perhaps because it is Christmas?



This is another favorite with the traditional words to the song and Ezra Keats pictures.



I love this one! The pictures are so lovely with the nativity and I love how the little boys talks about his animals. The boys enjoy it so much as well.

Books for Adults:



I love this book so much! It is a compilation of writings from godly men and women- both old and new. I have enjoyed this greatly this year. She also has an Easter one that I love as well.



I confess I haven't finished this book. But, what I have read so far is wonderful. (Christian Audio has a free audio book download of this this month so look out for that.)



I have not read this book before even though it is considered a classic. I really thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is so very descriptive and just perfect for Christmas. (You can find this book for free through Google Books or as a audio book through Books Should be Free.com)

Well, I hope that you are enjoying your Christmas season celebrating the joyous birth of our Savior. He alone is worthy of all praise! He is altogether lovely.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christ Centered Decorating- Advent Arrangement

I thought that I would start a series on Christ Centered decorating for Christmas. I have been so inspired since a company called Doorposts had a contest on decorating your home with Scripture. So many of the entries were so lovely and inspiring. Ever since then, I have been attempting to decorate my home more with Scripture. So, I thought that would share some of my ideas for decorating at Christmas since the whole reason is Christ come to earth. I would love it so much if you would share how you incorporate Scripture in decorating your home.

Today I am sharing my homemade Advent arrangement. When searching for Advent ideas this year, I had seen many resources that have a reading everyday. I had also seen traditional Advent wreaths with the four candles. (I think I might even have one of those somewhere). But, I have little children and wanted to have something every day for them to do. My little ones just love candles so I decided to make an arrangement where we could light one candle every night. So, each night we light a candle, sing a Christmas hymn, and read a section of Scripture. It has been really lovely so far!

(I must add a disclaimer. I am not a professional decorator. I just am a mother trying to make my home lovely and Christ exalting for my family.)




As you can see, I used two cookie trays as the base. I then used wine glasses and mason jars that I had and turned them upside down. Underneath each glass I put cinnamon sticks and pinecones. Finally, I put some pretty flowers, berries, and foliage around. The picture cuts off the two taper candles that I have for lighting on Christmas Eve and Christmas. The lighting isn't very good as I took this pictures after the kids have gone to bed. It is a big display for our table but the boys are quite excited about lighting all of the candles. It is much nicer in person!

(Also, you'll notice that we only have 24 candles instead of 25. We started a day late so I just put out 24.)

Well, here you are. I hope that it might inspire you a little. As mothers, it is our lovely joy to set before our children memories that will hopefully lead them closer to the Lord. As this beautiful season continues, I pray that you will have multiple opportunities to impress the truths of the gospel upon your children's hearts.

Heaven Can Give No More

Ron DiCianni - Simeon's Moment
Artist: Ron DiCanni

 "O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds, 
and enlarge my mind;
Let me hear good tidings of great joy, 
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose, 
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat, 
to look with them upon my Redeemer's face, 
and in Him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child to my heart, 
embrace Him with undying faith, 
exulting that He is mine and I am His.
In Him Thou has given me so much that heaven can give no more."

~ The Valley of Vision

Monday, December 3, 2012

Prayer for Our Nation Monday- Arkansas



Another Monday is here my friends! What a blessing that we can come before the Lord in prayer. This week we will be praying for Arkansas.

"Wonderful, Holy God, we come before you today in prayer for the state of Arkansas and the people who live there. We just pray that you would do your mighty work in the hearts of those who are lost. Please impress upon their hearts their desperate need for Your salvation. Please give strength and wisdom to those who are serving you in Arkansas and who labor to preach Your Word. May they be refreshed in You Father, for Your glory. May their hearts be dependant upon You alone and not their own strength. You are the One who saves from sin and we praise you greatly for Your love and kindness. In Your wonderful name, Amen."

"The secret of a beautiful life is living in unbroken fellowship with Christ, under the influence of His presence, and the inspiration of His love and grace." ~ J.R. Miller

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Love Letters



 I read this today and it was just a perfect reminder of the loveliness of Christ, especially as we are approaching the Advent season celebrating His birth. And, just to make it consistent, it is by Spurgeon! I promise that I do read more than just him!

"The Scriptures point to Me!" John 5:39

"Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. He is the constant theme of its sacred pages; from first to last--they testify of Him!

We catch a glimpse of Him in the promise of the woman's seed;
we see Him typified in the ark of Noah;
we walk with Abraham, as He sees Messiah's day;
we dwell in the tents of Isaac and Jacob, feeding upon the gracious promise;
we hear the venerable Israel talking of the coming Shiloh; and
in the numerous types of the law, we find the Redeemer abundantly foreshadowed.
Prophets and kings, priests and preachers, all look one way--they all stand as the cherubim did over the ark--desiring to look within, and to read the mystery of God's great atoning sacrifice!

Still more manifestly in the New Testament we find our Lord--the one pervading subject. It is not a single gem here and there, or dust of gold thinly scattered--but here you stand upon a solid floor of gold; for the whole substance of the New Testament is Jesus crucified, and even its closing sentence is bejewelled with the Redeemer's name!

We should always read Scripture in this light--we should consider the Word to be as a mirror, into which Christ looks down from heaven. And then we, looking into it, see His face reflected as in a mirror--darkly, it is true--but still in such a way as to be a blessed preparation for seeing Him--as we shall see Him face to face!

This volume contains Christ's love-letters to us, perfumed by His love. These pages are the garments of our King, and they all smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Scripture is the royal chariot in which Jesus rides, and it is paved with love for His children. The Scriptures are the swaddling bands of the holy child Jesus--unroll them and you find your Savior!

The quintessence of the Word of God--is Christ!"
~ Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Prayer for Our Nation Mondays- Arizona

 



Well, this is the late edition of Prayer for Our Nation Mondays! Sorry about that! I have just been trying to clean up from the Thanksgiving holiday. How precious it is that we can thank our Lord for His provision in our lives. Thanksgiving is so wonderful! But messy!

 The state we are praying for this week is Arizona!

"Dear wonderful Lord, we just come before you today in prayer for the state of Arizona. We pray that you would reach those who are in need of You and need the wonderful news of your gospel. Please be pleased to save them and draw them to Yourself. Please Lord. Please give wisdom and courage to those who know you in Arizona and sanctify them more and more in Your truth. Allow those who know You to be great witnesses of your grace and give them boldness in proclaiming Your gospel. We praise You for Your goodness and faithfulness in our lives. Thank you for the gift of salvation and the grace that You daily give us. Thank you for how good You are. In the precious name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spurgeon

It is a Spurgeon-esqe type of week! This was too good not to share:


"If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for."
~ Charles Spurgeon



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Petition with Thanksgiving

http://nightwatch1.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/thanksgiving-prayer.jpg

I wanted to bring to your attention this week a wonderful sermon from Charles Spurgeon on the blessings of prayer and thanksgiving. I really feel tempted to just quote the whole sermon as it is such a precious reminder of God's  rich grace and blessings He has poured our in our lives. Even in the midst of suffering, we can because of His goodness say "Blessed be the name of the Lord". Here are Spurgeon's reasons...

"We are to pray about everything, and with every prayer we must blend our thanksgivings. Hence it follows that we ought always to be in a thankful condition of heart: since we are to pray without ceasing, and are not to pray without thanksgiving, it is clear that we ought to be always ready to give thanks unto the Lord. We must say with the Psalmist, "Thus will I bless thee while I live; I will lift up my hands in thy name." The constant tenor and spirit of our lives should be adoring gratitude, love, reverence, and thanksgiving to the Most High..." 
I pray so much that my life would have "adoring gratitude, love, reverance, and thanksgiving" for my great Savior.
"This blending of thanks with devotion is always to be maintained. Always must we offer prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. No matter though the prayer should struggle upward out of the depths, yet must its wings be silvered o'er with thanksgiving. Though the prayer were offered upon the verge of death, yet in the last few words which the trembling lips can utter there should be notes of gratitude as well as words of petition...Supplication and thanksgiving so naturally run into each other that it would be difficult to keep them separate: like kindred colours, they shade off into each other."
 I had never thought of thanksgiving and petition being so related together and intertwined.

 "I need not stop to quote other instances, but it is almost always the case that David by the fire of prayer warms himself into praise. He begins low, with many a broken note of complaining, but he mounts and glows, and, like the lark, sings as he ascends. When at first his harp is muffled he warbles a few mournful notes and becomes excited, till he cannot restrain his hand from that well-known and accustomed string which he had reserved for the music of praise alone. There is a passage in the eighteenth Psalm, at the third verse, in which indeed he seems to have caught the very idea which I want to fix upon your minds this morning. "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies." He was in such a condition that he says, "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me." Driven by distress, he declares that he will call upon the Lord, that is, with utterances of prayer; but he does not alone regard his God as the object of prayer, but as One who is to be praised. "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised;" and then, as if inspired to inform us of the fact that the blending of thanksgiving with prayer renders it infallibly effectual, as I shall have to show you it does, he adds, "So shall I be saved from mine enemies."... 
 These passages have really made me think about my own prayers. Are they primarily filled with my own petitions or do I offer thanksgiving to my precious Savior for His work in my life? I have found that far too often my prayers are filled with my own interests and seem ignorant of what Christ has already done. I pray that my prayers would be more like David's in the Psalms- that even in great pain or agony I can choose to give thanks.
"We have abundant cause, my brethen, for thanksgiving at all times. We do not come to God in Prayer as if he had left us absolutely penniless, and we cried to him like starving prisoners begging through prison bars. We do not ask as if we had never received a single farthing of God before, and hardly thought we should obtain anything now; but on the contrary, having been already the recipients of immense favours, we come to a God who abounds in lovingkindness, who is willing to bestow good gifts upon us, and waits to be gracious to us. We do not come to the Lord as slaves to an unfeeling tyrant craving for a boon, but as children who draw nigh to a loving father, expecting to receive abundantly from his liberal hands. Thanksgiving is the right spirit in which to come before the God who daily loadeth us with benefits. Bethink you for awhile what cause you have for thanksgiving in prayer.     And first you have this, that such a thing as prayer is possible, that a finite creature can speak with the infinite Creator, that a sinful being can have audience with the thrice-holy Jehovah. It is worthy of thanksgiving that God should have commanded prayer and encouraged us to draw near unto him; and that moreover he should have supplied all things necessary to the sacred exercise. He has set up a mercy seat, blood besprinkled; and he has prepared a High Priest, ever living to make intercession; and to these he has added the Holy Ghost to help our infirmities and to teach us what we should pray for as we ought. Everything is ready, and God waits for us to enquire at his hands. He has not only set before us an open door and invited us to enter, but he has given us the right spirit with which to approach. The grace of supplication is poured out upon us and wrought in us by the Holy Ghost. What a blessing it is that we do not attempt prayer with a peradventure, as if we were making a doubtful experiment, nor do we come before God as a forlorn hope, desperately afraid that he will not listen to our cry; but he has ordained prayer to be the ordinary commerce of heaven and earth, and sanctioned it in the most solemn manner. Prayer may climb to heaven, for God has himself prepared the ladder and set it down just by the head of his lonely Jacob, so that though that head be pillowed on a stone it may rest in peace. Lo, at the top of that ladder is the Lord himself in his covenant capacity, receiving our petitions and sending his attendant angels with answers to our requests. Shall we not bless God for this?
    Let us praise his name, dear friends, also especially that you and I are still spared to pray and permitted to pray. What if we are greatly afflicted, yet it is of the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed. If we had received our desserts we should not now have been on praying ground and pleading terms with him. But let it be for our comfort and to God's praise that still we may stand with bowed head and cry each one—"God be merciful to me a sinner." Still may we cry like sinking Peter, "Lord save, or I perish." Like David, we may be unable to go up to the temple, but we can still go to our God in prayer. The prodigal has lost his substance, but he has not lost his power to supplicate. He has been feeding swine, but as yet he is still a man, and has not lost the faculty of desire and entreaty. He may have forgotten his father, but his father has not forgotten him; he may arise and he may go to him, and he may pour out his soul in his father's bosom. Therefore, let us give thanks unto God that he has nowhere said unto us—"Seek ye my face in vain." If we find a desire to pray trembling within our soul, and if though almost extinct we feel some hope in the promise of our gracious God, if our heart still groans after holiness and after God, though she hath lost her power to pray with joyful confidence as once she did, yet let us be thankful that we can pray even if it be but a little. In the will and power to pray there lies the capacity for infinite blessedness: he who hath the key of prayer can open heaven, yea, he hath access to the heart of God; therefore, bless God for prayer.
  This last quote from Spurgeon's sermon was my favorite. What a beautiful thing to read this week as we celebrate Thanksgiving! After reading this I have felt my heart just overflowing with thankfulness. How very, very precious! What a wonderful Lord we serve!

 I pray that you have a very blessed week with your family and a lovely Thanksgiving.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord! 

(For those you who want to read the whole sermon by Spurgeon, it is here for you to enjoy!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Prayer for Our Nation Mondays- Alaska

http://i.infoplease.com/images/malaska.gif 



Welcome to another addition of Prayers for Our Nation Mondays. This week's state to pray for is Alaska. I must confess that Alaska is very close to my heart as our church has been involved for years with missions to rural Alaska and the wonderful native Alaskans. This year, we have had the blessed opportunity to send missionaries to a tiny little village close to the coast. They were invited by the village to serve the youth of the village and surrounding villages. So, I will include prayers for them as well today. Please forgive my halting prayers but it is such a blessing to meet for prayer, even if it is over the internet wires.

"Blessed Lord God, thank you for your goodness and faithfulness in our lives. Thank you for your gift of salvation to us. We praise You for Your grace and mercy. I pray so much Lord that you would draw to Yourself many Alaskans who will trust in Your great name to be saved from their sins and put their faith in You.You are worthy of all praise. Please bless those who serve you, like my friends, and who proclaim your Word. Please send many more to preach salvation to those who are perishing. Make Your name be glorified radiantly in the lives of those who live in Alaska. Thank you Lord. In Your Name, Amen."

"The magnificence of God is the source and measure of the magnificence of prayer. Think magnificently of God."
~ Alexander White

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Heavens Tell



With my last post about the galls we have found on oak trees, my soul has just been overwhelmed with God's creativity and the beauty He has created. A bug bite on a tree can produce a pretty little anemone-like flower! And there are so many lovely (well, and not so lovely) different kinds of galls. The quote below beautifully expresses my thoughts better than I:

Those bright constellations — Christ created them.
Those burning suns — Christ kindled them.
Those snow wreathed alps, those cloud capped mountains — Christ raised them.
Those verdant valleys — Christ spread them.
That blushing rose,
  that graceful lily,
  that exquisite fern,
  that curious sea flower tossed upon the shore,
  that wayside violet that screens the dew drop from the sun,
  that winding stream,
  that leafy grove — 
Christ formed and penciled them all.
Yes, Christ is the one who . . .
  clad that magnificent landscape with its robe of living green;
  scented the air with its fragrance, and
  hollowed out the depth of that expansive ocean, dimpled with beauty by the gentle breeze — or awesome in its grandeur, when trod by the storm.
Truly, He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Oh! I delight to see the Incarnate God, who died to save — scattering from the opulence of His own boundless resources — all this jewelry; making man's sinful home so rich, so lovely, so attractive!
"The heavens tell of the glory of God.
 The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship.
 Day after day they continue to speak;
 night after night they make Him known.
 They speak without a sound or a word;
 their voice is silent in the skies;
 yet their message has gone out to all the earth,
 and their words to all the world." Psalm 19:1-4

~ Octavius Winslow

Can anyone tell me what this is?

Update: I posted this on a homeschooling forum and someone knew what this is! She told me that these are called galls. The oak tree makes these in response to an insect chewing on the leaves. Here is a link that was provided. What an amazing God we serve! A whole new world of nature has opened up to us. Now my kids want to run outside and find some more galls.


We have been having a bit of a conundrum lately around here. We have found these on oak trees around here:


My son first found them on a tree that had fallen over in high wind. He picked them off of the tree and they were soft like a flower. Now a month or so later, they have turned hard and you can find them on the ground. You can find some, like these two, which are attached to an oak leaf.


They pink to reddish centers that gradually go out to a cream on the tips of the spikes. The larger ones are about 1/2 inch from tip to tip.


It is so wonderful to discover new things about the Lord's creation. But, every once in a while, we are stumped despite our books and the internet! If anyone knows what they are we would appreciate knowing!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Prayer for Our Nation Mondays- Alabama

I have decided to add a new feature to this blog. All of the events and controversies surrounding the election just made me realize how much our nation needs the precious gospel of Jesus Christ and how much we must pray for this before our Sovereign Lord. So, on Mondays, I will post my prayers for our nation and I hope that you will post your prayers in the comments section. Let us join together in pleading with the Lord for our nation. I thought that I would pray state by state. So, let's start alphabetically shall we? First up is Alabama.


Dear wonderful Heavenly Father, I just pray for the state of Alabama. I ask Lord that you would cause your Word and the gospel of Jesus Christ to go out in a mighty way throughout the state. Please raise up men and women who are consumed by your Word and sound doctrine. Give strength to those who are already serving you in the state and allow them to be filled with your grace. I pray that you would soften the hearts of those who do not know your precious name and allow the seeds of the gospel to thrive. Please Lord, delight in saving those who are lost in Alabama. Blessed by Your precious name. Amen.

I must confess that I feel nervous typing out my prayers. They are not eloquent and hardly have any right words. But, the Lord knows my weakness and temerity, so I will just trust His name.

"Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan. "  ~ John Bunyan

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Power of Prayer



"Reader, do you know the blessedness of confiding your every need and every care—your every sorrow and every cross—into the ear of the Savior? He is the "Wonderful Counselor." With an exquisitely tender sympathy He can enter into the innermost depths of your need. That need may be great, but the everlasting arms are underneath it all. Think of Him now, at this moment—the great Angel of the Covenant, with the censer full of much incense, in which are placed your feeblest aspirations, your most burdened sighs—the odor-breathing cloud ascending with acceptance before the Father's throne...Confide your cause to this waiting Redeemer. You cannot weary Him with your importunity. He delights in hearing. His Father is glorified in giving. The memorable Bethany-utterance remains unaltered and unrepealed—"I know that You hear me always." He is still the "Prince that has power with God and prevails"—still promises and pleads—still He lives and loves!"

"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait; and in his word do I hope."
The Words of Jesus by John MacDuff (page 14-15)

I have begun reading a wonderful reprint of a devotional book that was given to me for my birthday. I have been enjoying it ever so much and the above quote is a little excerpt from it. I hope that it encourages you as much as it has me today.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day- Luther

I haven't posted here in a while and it has just been because I have been overwhelmed in the beautiful season I am in- the season of little ones. How can such wonderful children create so much havoc? For instance, did you know that one Hot Wheels car casually dropped into a wall heater by your 1 year old before bed is capable of producing enough soot to cover everything you own in your entire house? And, upon waking in the morning and surveying the coal mine you now live in, your three boys will squeal with delight that they can make tracks and see their footprints and handprints on everything? (And the next logical course is to see how many prints they can get all over the house!) This, my dear friends, is all that I could think about while cleaning:
Well, my husband and I certainly got a good laugh out of it and my house received a through cleaning. But, somehow I am still finding soot!

Anyway, today is Reformation Day for those of you who didn't know. In 1517, today, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of his church in Wittenburg which was the start of the Reformation. Luther studied the Bible and composed his 95 Theses to declare some of the ways the church's teachings were not Biblical, particularly the sale of indulgences. Here is a picture of the church door from Wikipedia:

I know that people celebrate Reformation day and I never have so I have no clue what I am doing. But, I thought today would be a wonderful way to teach my children more about Luther and the Reformation. I think that we might have a little celebration tonight if I can get creative! My hunt for ideas will definitely include the internet! So far, thought we have just read some about him from these books:





Also, there are some really great resources available for free today only through Justin Taylor of the Gospel Coalition:

What Was Martin Luther Doing when He Nailed His 95 Theses to the Wittenburg Door?

Some Free eBooks and Lectures on Reformation Day

Here is a massive list of Luther's works from Project Wittenburg.

Also, I highly reccomend this book on prayer and it has fantastic chapters on the Reformers and prayer. Prayer was a key issue for the reformers as they sought to base prayer on the Word of the Lord. I would highly reccomend you purchase this lovely book. I will be re-reading those chapters today for my own benefit:



Since I have never done anything with Reformation Day, I would appreciate it so much if you would share! Do you celebrate it? Do you have any resources that you recommend?

Finally, here is a beautiful quote from Luther at his trial at the Diet of Worms:

"I stand convicted [convinced] by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God's word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

I pray that my conscience will always be taken captive by God's Word as well.

Food for Thought in Election Season

I think that no matter how you vote in this season of politics, this is a good reminder from Charles Spurgeon:

"Let us whenever we shall have the opportunity of using the right of voting, use it as in the sight of Almighty God, knowing that for everything we shall be brought into account, and for that amongst the rest, seeing that we are entrusted with it."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Evidence Not Seen

I wanted to share an excerpt from one of my favorite books- "Evidence Not Seen" by Darlene Deibler Rose. The book is an autobiography of Darlene Deibler Rose and her faith admist severe hardships especially being a prisoner in a Japanese Prison of War camp. I love this book so much as it is a huge testimony of God's strength and blessing during the hardest events a person could go through. Our Lord is with us in the fires of life! How gracious He is!

“There, in the dark hours of that night, I walked into the sanctuary of my heart. The lamps fed by the oil of the Spirit were burning brightly.

“My precious Lord, I have come to worship and adore You. This had been a day like no other I have ever known. Today has marked the final stripping away of every transient treasure I possessed. I’ve nothing but this dirty, faded blue-grey work suit, but never have I felt so privileged, so blessed, or so rich!”

I thought of the many nights spent in the trench, looking up at the night sky. I reveled in the magnificent display in the heavens- the stars, the moon, and the planets- and I wondered how such a One, the great Creator, could have a personal interest in me, a young woman without any special gifts, talents, or beauty. Sometimes the very magnitude of His handiwork made Him seek almost remote. But that night, that One, the High and Lifted up Holey One of God, wearing His most magnificent robe, a robe of human flesh, came to dwell with a child of man in a new and beautiful relationship. Oh, the wonder of His love for me and His personal concern for me, as an individual, was overwhelming. Together we walked through the events of that day…One by one, He pulled Scripture passages out of the storehouse of my memory, to remind me that they had been hidden there for such a time as this.

            “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 41:10)

This verse called to remembrance my Lord in a blazing furnace with three young Hebrew men. There was something so poignant, so intimate about the privedge that was theirs, or “walking around in the fire” with their Lord. Because of the testimony, the faith, and the courage of three young men, the king and a crown of people caught a glimpse of Jesus. When they emerged, there was no acrid, caustic scent of fire upon them- just the fragrance that emanated from three young people who had been walking with their Lord in the furnace of afflication.

“That’s very important, isn’t it Lord? I pray that, if I come out of this war alive, that I may be ‘sweet smelling’- not bitter or cynical, but like a sweet smelling, fragrant incense unto You. All this long day, You have walked with me, and never for a moment have I been out of Your sight. Of this I have been keenly aware.”

I saw again, in my mind’s eye, the bomb canister there in the ditch among the ashes of the mattress, and I knew how much my Lord loved me. Singing what has come to be my Lord’s lullaby for me, I fell asleep:

            Loved with an everlasting love,
            Led by grace that loves to know;
            Spirit breathing from above,
            Thou hast taught me it is so!
            Oh, this full and perfect peace!
            Oh, this transport all divine!
            In a love which cannot cease,
            I am His and He is mine!"
 ~ Taken from "Evidence Not Seen" by Darlene Deibler Rose

Here is a link to the book for those of you who are interested in this wonderful, God-honoring book:


Friday, September 14, 2012

Come to Jesus

Forgive me for not posting in a while. We went camping to a beautiful lake! Since then, I have been struggling with the mountain of laundry that camping inevitably makes! I will share pictures soon but until then these was incredibly encouraging:

"Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age!" Matthew 28:20 
What an exalted and endearing truth, is Christ's sleepless vigilance over His people! Imagine yourself threading your way along a most difficult and perilous path, every step of which is attended with pain and hazard, and is taken with hesitancy and doubt. Unknown to you and unseen--there is One hovering around you each moment . . .
  checking each false step,
  guiding each doubtful one,
  soothing each sorrow,
  and supplying each need.
All is calm and silent. Not a sound is heard, not a movement is seen; and yet, to your amazement, just at the critical moment--the needed support comes--you know not from where, you know not from whom! This is no picture of imagination--but a divine reality.
Are you a child of God on your pilgrimage to paradise, by an intricate and a perilous way? Jesus is near to you at each moment, unseen and often unknown! You have at times stood speechless with awe at the strange interposition on your behalf, of providence and of grace--when no visible sign indicated the source of your help. There was no echo of footfall at your side, no flitting of shadow athwart your path. No law of nature was altered nor suspended--the sun did not stand still, nor did the heavens open. And yet deliverance--strange and effectual deliverance--came at a moment most unexpected, yet most needed.
It was Jesus--your Redeemer, your Brother, your Shepherd, and your Guide! He it was who, hovering around you, unknown and unobserved--kept you as the apple of His eye, and sheltered you in the hollow of His hand. It was He who armed you with bravery for the fight--who poured strength into your spirit--and grace into your heart, when the full weight of calamity pressed upon them. Thus has He always been, to His children.
The eye which neither slumbers nor sleeps--was upon you! He knew in what furnace you were placed--and was there to temper the flame when it seemed the severest. He saw your frail vessel struggling through the tempest--and He came to your rescue at the height of the storm!
How has He proved this in seasons of difficulty and doubt! How often, at a crisis the most critical of your history--the Lord has appeared for you!
Your lack has been supplied,
your doubt has been solved, and
your perplexity has been guided.
He has delivered . . .
  your soul from death,
  your eyes from tears, and
  your feet from falling!
You are never for an instant . . .
  out of His heart,
  out of His thoughts,
 
out of His hands,
  or out of His eye!
Go then, and lay your weariness on Christ!
Take your bereaved, stricken and bleeding heart to Him!What is your sorrow?
Has the hand of death smitten?
Is the beloved one removed?
Has the desire of your eyes been taken away with a stroke?
Who has done it?
Jesus has done it! Death was only His messenger. Your Jesus has done it! The Lord has given--and the Lord has taken away. And what has He removed?

Your wife? Ah, Jesus has all the tenderness that your wife ever had. Her love was only a drop from the ocean of love which is in His heart.
Is it your husband? Jesus is better to you than ten husbands.
Is it your parent, your child, your friend, your all of earthly bliss?
Is the cistern broken?
Is the earthen vessel dashed to pieces?
Are all your streams dry?
Jesus is still enough! He has not taken Himself from you--and never, never will.
Take your bereaved, stricken and bleeding heart to Him--and rest it upon His heart, which was once bereaved, stricken and bleeding, too! He knows how to . . .
   bind up the broken heart,
   heal the wounded spirit,
   and comfort those who mourn.
What is your sorrow?
Has health failed you?
Has property forsaken you?
Have friends turned against you?
Are you tried in your circumstances?
Are you perplexed in your path?
Are providences thickening and darkening around you?
Are you anticipating seasons of approaching trial?
Are you walking in darkness, having no light?
Simply go to Jesus! He is an ever open door!
He is a tender, loving, faithful Friend, ever near.
He is a Brother born for your adversity.
His grace and sympathy are sufficient for you.
Go to Him in every trial. Cast yourself upon Him every burden.
Take the infirmity, the corruption, the cross as it arises.

Simply and immediately to Jesus!
Go to Him at all times and under all circumstances!"
~ Octavius Winslow

Friday, August 17, 2012

Creativity and Thankfulness


Isn't this high chair lovely? My wonderful husband sanded, stained, and finished this chair for me and our sweet little guy. I love it so much and it is so easy to clean. My husband put a few extra coats of finish on the tray for all of the extra cleaning it will need. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. God is so gracious to me!


Now for the test run...I think that he likes it! Don't you?


I also thought that I would share my latest project. A friend of ours is having a baby (her due date is tomorrow) and I made this for her. I love these little baby blocks with the ribbon tags. I have made little taggie blankets before but not a block. I am pleased with how it turned out but next time I will make it a little smaller. I think that this will be a fun gift to give her along with "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel" as she is having a little boy (A for Asher!). All of my boys love the Mike Mulligan book so I hope she will too!

What are some favorite books that your little boys like?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer

What a joy summer is! God has blessed us so much this year! We have enjoyed a enormous harvest of apricots, peaches, and plums.

 

The children have loved every minute of this summer season. With exuberant enthusiasm they have entered into all of the work (and eating)!


It is so wonderful to have land for our little guys to run around on. They always find so many interesting plants, rocks, sticks, and bugs. Truly, this is a lovely childhood!



In the evening and on the weekends, we have spent our time going from tree to tree picking all of the lovely goodness off and placing into boxes. Then, we take it home. What does one do with 1500 pounds of fruit?


My soul overflows with thankfulness to the Lord for His many blessings. Why am I tempted to complain? Oh, that I may grow sweeter and sweeter with an attitude of joyful contentment and thankfulness for Him many blessings.

    Oh, magnify the LORD with me,
        and let us exalt his name together!
    I sought the LORD, and he answered me
        and delivered me from all my fears.
    Those who look to him are radiant,
        and their faces shall never be ashamed.
    This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
        and saved him out of all his troubles.
    The angel of the LORD encamps
        around those who fear him, and delivers them.
    Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
        Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
    Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
        for those who fear him have no lack!
    The young lions suffer want and hunger;
        but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
(Psalm 34:3-10 ESV)

No Other Refuge

The following quote has been so encouraging to me as I struggle with chronic illness and the daily life of a wife, mother, and homemaker. There is no other refuge but Christ!
Blessed Lord, bend Your pitying eye of love and mercy upon me today. Draw near to me, as I venture once more on praying and on pleading ground.

Alas! O God, how little have I improved the time that is past! I am a wonder to myself, that with all my deep ingratitude and utter vileness--I am yet permitted to approach Your footstool! I have sinned against light and love--warning and mercy--grace and privilege. The retrospect of life--is a retrospect of guilt. I mourn over my manifold shortcomings--the alienation of my heart from You--the fitfulness of my spiritual frames--the ebbings and flowings in the tide of my love. When tried by the lofty and unerring standard of Your Word--how are my best actions and duties marred with defilement! How much self-seeking and self-glorying--and how little animated by the predominating motive of love to You, and singleness of eye to Your service!

Blessed Jesus! I flee anew to the pavilion of Your love! I have no other hope, no other refuge--but in Your finished work--Your matchless atonement--Your spotless righteousness! There is in You, an all-sufficiency for every need. Finite necessities cannot exhaust Infinite fullness. Let me hear Your voice saying, "Your sins, which are many--are all forgiven!"

Transform me more and more into Your own image. May I know more and more, the happiness of true holiness--that I am really blessed in seeking to walk so as to please You. May the power of grace wax stronger and stronger--and the power of sin wax weaker and weaker. May trials and crosses become light and easy to me--when borne in a spirit of meek, unrepining submission to Your Divine will. May this quiet every doubt and misgiving: "Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things!"
~ John Duff, from the book "Evening Incense"
I hope that this encourages you today as well! I pray that the power of His grace may grow stronger and stronger in my heart and in the outworkings of my salvation.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Marriage

Recently, we went through what I have affectionately called "wedding season". We attended two weddings, three bridal showers, and one bachelor party in the space of about a month. In the two weddings we helped decorate, serve, clean, and other miscellany. With all of the new love and marriage in the air, it has really made me remember our own lovely wedding and all of the beautiful memories surrounding it. Even more, when trying to write and think of advice for the new couples, I remembered some of the best advice given to me. My husband and I have been married for almost eight years now and this advice from others has been the most helpful:

~ Christ should be the foundation of your marriage. You should seek His love and a relationship with Him before all others.

~ Marriage is a calling to die to yourself and learn to serve your family.

~ As a wife, it should be a delight for me to always speak well of my husband and to NEVER criticize him or complain about him to others. I should always praise him in front of others. The wife of the pastor who married us gave me this advice.

What advice were you given that has been most helpful?


Monday, August 6, 2012

Joyful Diligence

Dear Friends,

 It has been a long time since I posted! This summer has been so busy with all of the lovely produce we have been getting. I have been so busy canning, freezing, dehydrating, etc! It always seems in the midst of summer with all of the heat and work of the harvest that a lot of our Lord's words seem clearer than ever. I have been thinking mostly on the verses that discuss diligence vs. laziness. So many times this summer I have thought of how tired I am and have been lazy!  It seems as if there is a never ending list of things to do.  So, I have been comtemplating this lovely work the Lord has given me to do and have found myself lacking in diligence. Ouch! I have been quite convicted of this. It seems too that along with my laziness has come complaining as well. Why do those two always seem to be best friends? Laziness and discontent.

 Well, no more! I have been praying earnestly and asking that Lord if He might, through His grace, transform my heart more and more each day to be a diligent and grateful worker. I long for my home to be a place of beauty, joy, and rest for my husband and boys. With diligent and joyful work in my home, I can accomplish this desire. Would you pray for me as well- that I might glorify the Lord more with my happy heart of diligent service?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Abundant Blessings

Summer is such a special time of year isn't it?


The good Lord has seen fit to bless us with boxes of apricots- about 10 boxes like the one above. And there are still more to pick on the trees! Aren't they beautiful?

 Now my days are quite busy with cooking, canning, freezing, drying, and generally cutting up fruit! Oh, and eating too!


Have you ever had dried apricots? They are so good!

 Everybody likes to get in on the action of helping- especially in the eating department! Tonight my husband and I cut up half of a box to dry while our two oldest boys spaced them on the trays. Our littlest guy wanted to help too! Isn't he cute?


 He was so proud that he got one all by himself! (And I am such a proud mommy of such a cute little boy! So I have to post lots of pictures of him!)

 Our shelling peas and sugar snap peas are also producing wonderful fresh produce for us as well. After all of the apricot cutting, we went down to the garden. While the boys caught lizards and frogs, I picked these lovely peas to have for dinner tomorrow night! The shelling peas (the ones that actually made it into this picture and escaped hungry little mouths) taste so sweet and wonderful.

All of these lovely abundance has me pondering the rich blessings of God that are just overflowing in our lives. I am just so grateful for His goodness to me and to our family.

How has the Lord blessed you in this summer season?

    "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
        the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
    what is man that you are mindful of him,
        and the son of man that you care for him?
    Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
        and crowned him with glory and honor.
    You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
        you have put all things under his feet,
    all sheep and oxen,
        and also the beasts of the field,
    the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
        whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
    O LORD, our Lord,
        how majestic is your name in all the earth!"
(Psalm 8:3-9 ESV)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sufficient

"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me!" 2 Corinthians 12:9

God's strength is made perfect in our weakness. This means that the Divine power is most conspicuous--when our weakness is the most thoroughly felt. We have got first to be emptied of all self-conceit and self-confidence. A bucket cannot hold air and water at the same time. As the water comes in--the air must go out. The reason of some hard trials--is to get the accursed spirit of SELF out of our hearts! When we have been emptied of self-trust--we are in the condition to be filled with might in the inner man, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

A Christian must not only realize his own utter feebleness--but he must give up what worldlings rely on, and admit that "vain is the help of man." That poor woman who had tried all the doctors in her neighborhood, and had only grown worse in body, and poorer in purse--is a touching illustration of our invalid souls. She, having despaired of human help--came crouching to the feet of the Son of God. One touch of His garments sent a new tide of health through her veins. Just so, contact with Christ brings currents of the Divine power into our souls--so that we can do all things through Christ who strengths us!

This is the real office of faith. It is simply the linking of our utter weakness--to the omnipotence of Christ! We furnish the weakness--and He furnishes the strength--and that makes the partnership! The baby furnishes a hungry little mouth--and the mother furnishes the nourishing milk. The mother is happy that she can give the full supply--and the rosy darling is happy as it draws in the sweet contentment. What a beautiful picture of my poor, weak, hungry soul--resting on the bosom of the Infinite Love! There is no danger that the supply will ever give out, for my Lord, my Feeder, my Supporter--is constantly saying unto me, "My grace is sufficient for you." In this way we are strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power.

- Theodore Kuyler, "God's Light in Dark Clouds" (You can read the book for free here).

This is such a perfect picture isn't it? Babies have such perfect peace and rest when they are with their mommy. I long to be like that with the Lord- perfectly trusting, perfectly at peace because I know that He is in control. I love this quote so much because lately I have been constantly reminded of my own weakness. Like the sick woman, I have crouched before the Lord asking for strength and He has so amply supplied it to me this week. What a gracious Lord we serve! He alone is worthy to be praised! He is altogether good and altogether lovely!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This Momentary Marriage

"The most foundational things to see from the Bible about marriage is that is is God's doing. And the ultimate thing to see from the Bible about marriage is that it is for God's glory. Those are the two points I have to make. Most foundationally, marriage is the doing of God. And, ultimately, marriage is the display of God..."
-John Piper, This Momentary Marriage, pg. 21

Have you seen this wonderful video from Desiring God? If you haven't yet, you should hurry over there and watch it right now. You are in for a special treat! Right now I said!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Fullness of Jesus

"When we look at ourselves- at the littleness of our love, the barrenness of our service, and the small progress we make toward perfection- how soul-refreshing it is to turn and gaze at Him; to plunge afresh in 'the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness'; to remember that we are 'accepted in the Beloved'...'who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption'. Oh the fullness of Christ: the fullness of Christ!"
- Hudson Taylor In Early Years, by Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor, page 183

 I don't really know what to say today except that this is just the perfect picture for today. I am so weary and to think upon the fullness of Jesus this morning has just been so refreshing to my soul. The fullness of Jesus.
His strength for my weakness.
His rest for my weariness.
His love for my grumpiness.
His peace for my worry.
His joy for my ungratefulness.
His patience for my frustration.
The fullness of Jesus.

He is altogether lovely, isn't He? When I look at myself and my own sinfulness, my heart despairs. But, when I gaze at His perfection my heart rejoices. For the great transfer of His sufficiency for my insufficiency is joy producing. Oh that my heart would love Him more for what He has done for me!

It reminds me of a beautiful hymn called "Do Not I Love Thee, O my Lord?". You can download the song for free here and hear how beautiful it is. (You have to scroll down to the 2005 downloads for this particular song. But all the songs are just lovely!) The lyrics are below.

Do not I Love Thee, O my Lord?

Do not I love Thee, O my Lord?
Behold my heart and see;
And turn each curs├Ęd idol out,
That dares to rival Thee.

Do not I love Thee, O my Lord?
Then let me nothing love;
Dead be my heart to every joy,
When Jesus cannot move.

Is not Thy Name melodious still
To mine attentive ear?
Doth not each pulse with pleasure bound
My Savior’s voice to hear?

Hast Thou a lamb in all Thy flock
I would disdain to feed?
Hast Thou a foe, before whose face
I fear Thy cause to plead?

Would not mine ardent spirit vie
With angels round the throne,
To execute Thy sacred will,
And make Thy glory known?

Would not my heart pour forth its blood
In honor of Thy Name?
And challenge the cold hand of death
To damp th’immortal flame?

Thou know’st I love Thee, dearest Lord,
But O, I long to soar
Far from the sphere of mortal joys,
And learn to love Thee more!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Gratefulness


Do you see these lovely bookshelves? My husband made them!

God is so gracious to give me such an incredible husband. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. My husband is always so thoughtful and kind- seeking what might help me the most. I truly am a very blessed woman! Over the years our marriage has gotten sweeter and sweeter. It makes me really look forward to the future as it will be even sweeter then (which is hard to imagine!). But, even more precious than this is the love of God in Christ for us as Spurgeon reminds:

"...But where there is true and genuine love, it is the sweetest and happiest mode of living. It is one of the blessings of paradise, which has been preserved to us after the fall. Without love, wedded life must be a very purgatory above ground. In the solemn contract, which has brought our souls this night to God, the marriage is sustained, cemented, strengthened, and made delightful by mutual love. Need I talk to you of the love of God? It is a theme we are scarcely competent to talk of. You need to sit down and weep about it for very joy, joy which fills the heart, and makes the eyes overflow, but well nigh chains the tongue, for it is a deep, profound, and inexpressible. "He loved me, and gave himself for me." "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed u p on us." "As the Father hath loved me, even so have I loved you. Oh, the love of God—it would surpass the powers of an angel to set it forth. Sure, sure, it shall be the blest employment of eternity's long ages for us to comprehend it; and, perhaps, when myriad's of ages have rolled over our happy souls, we shall still be as much struck with wonder with it as we were at first. The marvel doth not diminish on inspection: familiarity cannot make it common. The nearer we approach, the deeper our awe. It will be as great a surprise that God should love such cold, such faithless, such unworthy beings as ourselves, at the end of ten thousand years as it was at first, perhaps more so. The more thoroughly we shall know ourselves, the more fully we shall understand the good of the Lord; thus will our wonder grow and swell. Even in heaven, we shall be lost in surprise and admiration at the love of God to us. The rapture will augment the reverence we feel. Well, but, brethren beloved, I trust we also love him in return! Do you never feel one soft affection rising after another as you muse on the Christ of God? When you sometimes listen to a sermon in which the Savior's dear affection to you is set forth, do you not feel that the unbidden tear wets your cheek? Does not your heart swell sometimes, as if it were unable to hold your emotions? Is there not a "joy unspeakable and full of glory" that comes over you? Can you not say—



"Jesus, I love thy charming name,
'Tis music to mine ear;
Fain would I sound it out so loud
That earth and heaven should hear"?

I hope you do not need to sing to-night—
"'Tis a point I long to know."

but, I trust, that in the solemn silence of your souls you can say, "Thou knowest that I love thee;" grieved that the question should be asked, but still ready to answer, with Peter, "Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee." Now, it is impossible for you to love God without the strong conclusive evidence that God loves you. I once knew a good woman who was the subject of many doubts, and when I got to the bottom of her doubt, it was this: she knew she loved Christ, but she was afraid he did not love her. "Oh!" I said, "that is a doubt that will never trouble me; never, by any possibility, because I am sure of this, that the heart is so corrupt, naturally, that love to God never did get there without God's putting it there." You may rest quite certain, that if you love God, it is a fruit, and not a root. It is the fruit of God's love to you, and did not get there by the force of any goodness in you. You may conclude, with absolute certainty, that God loves you if you love God. There never was any difficulty on his part. It always was on your part, and now that the difficulty is gone from you, none whatever remains. O let our hearts rejoice and be filled with great delight, because the Savior has loved us and given himself for us. So let us realize the truth of the text, "I am married unto you."
Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Come Lord Jesus

We have a wonderful friend who loves God's Word with all of his heart and has spent years studying Bible prophecy and the end times. He also fighting a rare cancer which seems to make every word that comes out of his mouth even more precious. Lately, we were able to speak to him more and ask questions about the end times. It was so wonderful to be able to hear him speak so passionately about God's precious Word and the blessed hope of the return of our Lord. I was completely convicted of my own apathy towards His word and my own lack of knowledge as well. I found myself asking- "When was the last time I was brought to tears over a passage of Scripture because of its precious truth?" Oh, that my heart would be so full! Oh, that I would learn to delight in God's Word alone!

As my last post stated, I have become more aware of the need for teaching beauty and truth to my children. I have been thinking that there is no more beautiful truth that the hope we have in Jesus. It is this above all else that I need to be teaching my children- a reverence and love for God's Word. I want my children and myself to be "pure and blameless" when Christ comes.

Where are you today, dear reader? Are you, like me, apathetic towards the One who died to win you? Are your affections growing every day for Him and looking for His blessed return? Or, like me, have you become distracted? If so, perhaps you will join me at the foot of the cross in repentance and in the renewal found in His Word.

     "And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God." (Philippians 1:9-11 ESV)


Friday, April 20, 2012

Quiet Contentment



Today is truly an lovely day! This morning I took the boys outside and as they ran around catching bugs and exploring as little boys do I had some time to read my Bible and crochet. Isn't my Granny Stripe blanket coming along nicely? Everything around me was so merry and bright- my baby cooing beside me, birds singing happy little songs, bees busy collecting, and the sunlight dancing over everything. In my heart was just a lovely quiet contentment- resting in my Savior and the joy of little children. It reminded me of this thought-provoking quote by Jeremiah Burroughs:

"Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition."

My heart has been very fretful and restless lately, burdened with fears and worries. This morning reminded me that I was not trusting the Lord for His care of me. I pray today that the quote above would be true in my own heart- that I would have the same quiet and restful heart always as I did this morning.

I hope that your morning was as lovely as mine!

(The quote above is from a wonderful book by Jeremiah Burroughs called "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment". You can read the whole book for free here.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Making a Beautiful and Happy Home

"A true home is one of the most sacred of places. It is a sanctuary into which men flee from the world's perils and alarms. It is a resting-place to which, at close of day--the weary retire to gather new strength for the battle and toils of tomorrow. It is the place . . .
  where love learns its lessons,
  where life is schooled into discipline and strength,
  where character is molded.

Few things we can do in this world are so well worth doing--as the making of a beautiful and happy home! He who does this--builds a sanctuary for God, and opens a fountain of blessing for men.

Far more than we know--do the strength and beauty of our lives, depend upon the home in which we dwell. He who goes forth in the morning from a happy, loving, prayerful home--into the world's strife, temptation, struggle, and duty--is strongly inspired for noble and victorious living.

The children who are brought up in a true home--go out trained and equipped for life's battles and tasks--carrying a secret of strength in their hearts, which will make them brave and loyal to God, and will keep them pure in the world's severest temptations!"

J.R. Miller

God has been so gracious to me in teaching me so many things. Lately, He has been pressing on my heart the importance of doing what He has set before me for His glory alone. My heart does not need to be concerned with what others think or do but just to be concerned with how pleasing I am to Him. I must serve Him in every task with a heart of rest. Perfect rest and peace- like a baby content to lean on his mother. In this great business of homemaking and mothering, my heart must first be right with the Lord. I must have a heart that is still- resting in trust upon the Lord. I must lean upon Christ.

Then, my business is to make our home full of beauty, love, and joy which points to the Savior. In order to make this possible, I must check what is feeding my soul and the soul of my family. Am I careful what I bring into my home both physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally? I am beginning to see how this trickles down to even to the tiniest detail. What is the tone of my voice and my words? What books do my children look at? What toys do they play with? What does my cleaning say about our home? What colors are in my home? How is my furniture arranged? Does all point to the beauty and truth found in Scripture? All these tiny details add up together to paint a picture. What is that picture saying to my family? Does it say that this home is a beautiful sanctuary for God where one can rest? Or does it speak of haste, neglect, and lack of concern? Is their life filled with what is most convenient/popular or with what is most glorifying to God? Is their life filled with the disposable or with what will last longer than a week? Am I striving to bring beauty, truth, and love to my home or have I ceased to care and am just surviving?

God is so gracious in showing these things to me. But, I am rambling on with all these thoughts. He says it best:

    "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9 ESV)