Saturday, February 28, 2009

Goodies online!

I am so happy to have discovered (through Tim Challies) Jay Adams' blog.  I didn't know he wrote a blog.  Tim linked to Jay's blog today, commenting on the fact that Jay Adams is now 80.  
I clicked over to Jay's blog, and was delighted.  It's full of practical help on how to counsel...but there's more.  Jay shares his wit and wisdom and life experiences.  

It only took a short time for me to realize that I'd have to visit regularly.  I dashed off a short note to Mr. Adams, wishing him well on his 80th birthday.

Why am I such a fan?  Because Jay Adams made a difference in MY life.  Seventeen years ago Rick and I were separated.  Rick was living at his computer store, and I was home with 8 children, with the 9th on the way.  Our trials were many - financial, spiritual - and the answers were few.  Rick wasn't being the husband I thought he should be, and I wasn't being the wife he thought I should be.  We were at an impasse.

Providentially, we ended up in the counsellor's office.  Ron (our counsellor and friend) used the Bible and books by Wayne Mack, Larry Crabb and Jay Adams to teach us that our marriage could glorify God, if we learned to do it His way.  We've spent the past 17 years learning just that. 

The Bible is one of our glorious treasures.  Nouthetic counselling takes the Bible and applies it to real life.  I thank God for starting us on this path seventeen years ago.  I thank God, too, for Jay Adams, and the impact his writing made on my life.

Happy Birthday, Jay!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Loving the Brethren

It seems to me that a great reminder should be flashed on the screens of every Christian connected to the world wide web at regular intervals throughout the day.  Before they check their email, surf the web, read their favourite blogs, or write one post, they need to be reminded of one thing.


Why, you might ask?

Because, they are forgetting.

The more I surf the web, the more I participate in groups online, the more I follow links to other blogs and websites, the more it becomes clear - we are failing to love.  

After all, the first and greatest commandment is this:

The Great Commandment

Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this:You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

 You may wonder what I have witnessed that makes me think that we need to be reminded daily of the Great Commandments to love God, and your neighbour.  It's shameful, really.  I have seen people tear a family apart, mocking them, questioning their motives, accusing them of beliefs that run counter to Scripture, without going to them personally to find out if these things are so.  Yet Matthew 18 makes it clear what is to be done if someone has sinned against you.

If Your Brother Sins Against You

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you havegained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be establishedby the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

I have seen condemnation flying from the fingertips of those who think they have it all together when it comes to issues of raising children, homeschooling, curriculum, modesty, college, family business, and the list goes on.  On top of that, condemnation flies from the fingers of those who don't have it all together and freely admit it, yet feel somehow less perfect than those who seem to have it all together.  Yet my Bible tells me to consider the other guy, even the one who has it all together when I don't, better than myself.  

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

I am certainly not supposed to speak evil of him (nor am I to write things that are evil). Speaking ill of others is the result of all the arrogant boasting, jealousy, self-centered desires, and pride that James is warning against in the previous chapters and verses.  Those who inappropriately judge others break God's law and show contempt for God.

James 4:11  Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.  The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and  judge, he who is able to save and   to destroy. But  who are you to judge your neighbor?

If the computer screens belonging to Christians were programmed to flash the word, "Love" each time a click of the mouse opened a new window, perhaps they would learn to love, rather than hate, to encourage, rather than condemn, to bless, rather than curse.

Tim Challies had some thought-provoking things to say about this.  In a blog article entitled, Humbly Rejoicing in the Goodness of Others, Tim wrote about this very thing (Go there and read it!).  He'd been reading Finally Alive by John Piper, and it struck him that God doesn't merely require us to not kill our brothers.  He says that true "love doesn’t feel resentful when a brother is superior in some spiritual or moral way."  He explains that Cain killed Abel, not because Cain was so evil, but because Abel's goodness made him jealous, angry, and guilty.  

Tim writes, 

So what would it be like for any of us to be like Cain? It would mean that anytime some weakness or bad habit in our lives is exposed by contrast to someone else’s goodness, instead of dealing with the weakness or the bad habit, we keep away from those whose lives make us feel defective. We don’t kill them. We avoid them. Or worse, we find ways to criticize them so as to neutralize the part of their lives that was making us feel convicted. We feel like the best way to nullify someone’s good point is to draw attention to their bad point. And so we protect ourselves from whatever good they might be for us.
This is what is happening in cyber-space.  We spend too much time reading about other's lives, and when we don't measure up, we do one of two things: we avoid them.  Or we criticize them.  

There's plenty to do here at home.

What we should be doing is keeping to ourselves, taking care of our own families, our own homes, our own character flaws.  We need to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and rejoice when He allows us to be challenged by the writing of someone who is walking humbly with God.  When we read something that disturbs us, we ought to think about it, talk to our husbands about it, and pray about it.  And all the while, we should keep at the forefront of our minds the Royal Law, to love God, and our neighbour as ourselves.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I received this offer tucked into our Reader's Digest magazine.  It's not the first time someone has tried to market a GPS device to me.  Sometimes I answer online surveys, and one of the perks for doing that is that I get a chance to win something... like a GPS device, or a toaster, or a new laptop.  It's doubtful I'll ever win something, and I really don't care.  I fill out the surveys for the fun of it.

With the numerous offers of a GPS device coming at me, it's made me think about it.  Would I want one?  How important would it be to me to have something on my dashboard that lets me know where I am, and in what direction I'm heading, and how soon I'll be approaching a coffee shop?  

The thing is, I like maps.  I like to figure out where we are by looking at the signs and the landmarks.  

The other thing is, I hate talking computers.  I studiously avoid going to those self-checkouts that admonish me to hurry up and "Put the item in the bag."  Even though the computer voice thanks me for shopping at Zehrs, I'd far rather wait in line for a checkout girl.  The computer-generated talking is far too annoying.  

My car is equipped with a direction indicator on the mirror, and I like that.  (It doesn't try to talk to just lights up with a N, S, E or W!)  With that feature and a map handy, I highly doubt I'll ever get lost.  And I'll never have to put up with a nasty computer voice telling me to "turn right at the next intersection".  Ugh.

So, what's the spiritual application here?  (You knew it was coming!)

God is the greatest GPS system in the universe.  Not only does He know where I am at each and every moment of my entire life, He knows where I've been, and where I am going.  

Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take; whehe has tried me, I shall come out as gold.

I can't hide from Him, and He leads me in paths of righteousness.  

Psalm 23: 2, 3 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. 
He restores my soul.
He  leads me in  paths of righteousness 
for his name's sake.

And one of my favourite passages of Scripture makes it plain...God knows everything about me.  He always knew.  He will always know.  I can never be lost.  I will never be forgotten.

What a precious thought!

Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

139 L

Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lordyou know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;


Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,


For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. [1]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.


How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.


Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
men of blood, depart from me!
They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain! [2]
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.


Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts! [3]
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! [4]

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Poem to Ponder

"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please;
not enough to explode my soul
or disturb my sleep,
just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine...

I want ecstasy, not transformation;
I want the warmth of the womb,
not a new birth.

I want about a pound of the Eternal
in a paper sack..
I would like to buy $3 worth of
God, please."

~ Wilbur Rees

Sadly, lots of people want just a little bit of God. They want to be able to pray once a week, at Sunday dinner. They want to be able to say, "God bless you!" and mean it, sort of like a good luck charm. They want the goodies, but not the gift.

The true gift is transformational. It consumes.

My God is a consuming fire.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Raison d'être*

*Raison d'être is a phrase borrowed from French where it means simply "reason for being".

I entered the blogging world a couple of years ago, writing semi-frequently on "Grannymom's Spot". That blog tends to be, for the most part, about my family and personal experiences. I have decided that it will be kept private, for family and invited friends.

For a few days, I have been pondering what to do about cyberspace. This morning, as he is wont to do(entirely unbeknownst to him), John Piper rocked my world with the following essay: Boasting Only In the Cross

He writes,

"You don't have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by a few great things. If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on for centuries and into eternity, you don't have to have a high IQ or EQ; you don't have to have to have good looks or riches; you don't have to come from a fine family or a fine school. You have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things, and be set on fire by them."

My few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things include:

GREAT: GOD. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, Three in One. The Father chose me from before the foundation of the earth. The Son redeemed my life from destruction, dying in my place on that cruel cross, and rising again to be the mediator on my behalf. The Holy Spirit lives in me, guiding me, leading me, reassuring me, and pointing me to the Cross.

MAJESTIC My home is in heaven. This world is not my home. I really am just passing through.

UNCHANGING God loves me. Whether or not I'm having a "good" day from man's perspective, my God never changes. Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. He doesn't change. He loves me during the darkest days, He loves me during the most treasured moments, when I can scarcely breathe for joy.

OBVIOUS He blesses me. With family, and friends. With material blessings and spiritual wonders. With air and water and food and clothing. With thorns and stones and cuts and bruises, and heart-wrenching sobs that turn me to Him, He blesses.

SIMPLE I love Him. We love Him, because He first loved us. I love Him enough to want to tell others how very good He is. I can't begin to approach any sort of true description, but here on this blog, I will try.

GLORIOUS I bring Him glory. How cool is that? By simply living my life with my heart turned towards my God, I bring Him glory. By being willing to live in an obscure part of the Canadian countryside, far from any "big-wigs" or influential people, I bring Him glory. With a kiss on the cheek of my husband, or a snuggle or back-scratch for my little grandchild, I bring the God of the Universe glory.

So, this blog is about the ordinary things in life, and what God is teaching me through them. If you didn't bother clicking over to John Piper's exhortation, please do so. He says it so much more eloquently than I do.

I have to ask: What sets YOU on fire?