Monday, August 31, 2009


About 21 days ago I began reading my Bible differently. I was intrigued by Professor Horner's Bible Reading System, which you can look at on Facebook, or download by clicking here.

The Bible is divided up into 10 sections, and you read one chapter per day out of each of the sections. It's designed to make you read different passages together, so you begin to see relationships between the Old and New Testaments, or between Job and the Psalms, and so on.

I figured out one thing: I am hungry for the Word of God. I was starving myself with my couple-of-chapters-a-day reading, that was often hit and miss. Now that I am reading more of the Word every day, I find I am MORE hungry. I meditate on passages throughout the day, and find myself looking forward to the early morning hour, so I can grab my ESV, my notebook, and my coloured pens.

I figured out another thing: It's not enough. The more I read, the more I want. The more I read, the more I talk to God, and listen for His voice. He is with me. I feel His presence.

It's not that He wasn't with me before. I've been a Christian for 32 years, and I have known all that time that God's promises are true - He never leaves His children, nor forsakes them.

But Christians are designed to know God intimately. The only way to do that is to read His word, to know His thoughts, to see His ways, to worship Him for His beauty and majesty, His compassion and mercy, His justice and wrath, His protection and care. I have seen all of these attributes and more, over and over again. I am in love with this beautiful God. I want to know Him more!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Nice Blog

Great pictures. Worth a look: Resolved to Worship.

I'm really putting it here because I never (and I mean NEVER) look at my bookmarks and I want to remember to check back and see this one again.

So, for me, and for you.... go there.

I am so tired, but totally satisfied. We had a great day with family and friends, celebrating the birth of our newest grandson (with a birthday and other happiness thrown in). The kids had a blast, the food was good, the house is a wreck (but it was all worth it) and I am heading to bed.

If I were any good at this blogging thing, I'd post pictures. But I am a failure. And I am too tired.

So there.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Of First Importance

I wonder if some of my readers sometimes ponder why I called my blog "Exulting in the Cross". Why would anyone exult (rejoice with praise; to show or feel a lively or triumphant joy; rejoice exceedingly; be highly elated or jubilant) in something as brutal as the cross? It was a place of torture, of rejection, of pain and anguish. Jesus, who never sinned, suffered there, His face marred more than any man. Why would I exult in that?

Because it's important. Not just important, but very important; of first importance!

It's important because Jesus took MY punishment for ME. He took my sin, and gave me His righteousness. He took the Wrath of God that was directed at me, and presents me spotless before the throne.

That's what Substitutionary Atonement is all about.

When I consider my life - my thoughts, words and deeds- and compare it to what God requires -pure, spotless righteousness- I know that I am lost and undone. I cannot stand before a Holy God. I cannot even approach His mountain. Not on my own. Not with my own righteousnesses, which are filthy rags in God's sight.

Yet because Jesus was willing to take my sins upon Him, and take the punishment I deserved, and exchange my filthiness for His spotlessness, I can not only know God, but love Him as my Father. I can serve Him in this life, knowing that Jesus is my mediator, Who stands before God, reminding Him that He already paid for that gossip, that snide remark, that pang of jealousy that plagues my heart.

So, I rejoice in the cross. I delight in the cross. I exult in the Cross of Christ.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pros and Cons to Homeschooling

I am linking to this article because Ann Voscamp has such a way with words. Her responses to these questions regarding homeschooling are wise and seasoned with grace. If you are a homeschooling parent, or know a homeschooled child, or have ever wondered why anyone would be so crazy as to keep their kids home with them all day, year in, year out, click on the link and go there. It'll be worth your time.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Princess Sarah

Sarah has always been a bit of a princess, living up to the meaning of her name. She was a girly little girl, with a vivid imagination, and that made her a favourite among friends who would visit. She had compassion on anyone or anything that was hurt, and I remember clearly the story of Sarah, just 3 and a half, comforting her baby sister Linda, who was crying because Mommy was away, in the hospital.
As she grew up, I was astounded at her creativity. She loved to draw and write stories. She didn't much care for playing outside or doing any yardwork - she preferred to stay in and cook while her siblings were mucking out stalls or mowing the lawn.

I tried to encourage her towards taking nursing training. She adamantly refused. "I don't like snot," she said bluntly. "I don't like bodily fluids."

Imagine my surprise when she got herself a job working in a pig barn! My princess, who formerly poured coffee for patrons at the Seaforth bakery, was pressure-washing stalls, castrating piglets, and feeding great big sows!

She found the love of her life at that barn, and married him a couple of years later. To our delight, they found out they were expecting, and to my joy, I was asked to be there when Sarah gave birth, at home. At least, that was the plan.

Sarah's delivery of her first-born son didn't go according to plan. She ended up with pre-eclampsia, which ruled out her dreamed-of homebirth. She had to endure being induced, then instead of spending the day in her beautiful new bedroom, she had to labour in the hospital room, monitors beeping, nurses watching, doctor checking... not at all the quiet, simple birth she was hoping for.

To add to the discomfort of the continual monitoring of contractions, blood pressure, and baby's heartbeat, Sarah was one of those labouring women who could not keep a thing down. She'd have a few sips of water, and during a particularly hard contraction, up it would come. She'd drink a bit of Gatorade, and the result was the same, albeit slightly more coloured. This happened again and again. The contractions just kept coming, and she just kept on up-chucking.

I watched her steel herself for the next contraction. She'd breathe deeply, willing herself to relax, drawing strength from Tyler who supported her, squeezing her hips or giving her ice, or literally supporting her with his body. During the worst of the contractions, she'd begin to panic with the intensity of the pain, but her midwife assured her "you can do this, Sarah! Breathe!" Sarah did.

As she said in her birth story on her blog, the pushing was the best part of the entire labour. Soon Deklan was in her arms, and Daddy Tyler was letting the tears of joy fall freely down his cheeks.

I stood there, appreciating the moment.

Sarah astounded me with her courage and strength, her willingness to persevere, and her determination to do it without drugs, for the good of her son.

Tyler amazed me with his quiet strength. He did whatever he could to help his dear wife. Sometimes I think that watching someone else in pain is worse than experiencing the pain - I could see on Tyler's face that he felt utterly helpless a few times - there really was nothing more he could do.

Sarah now has to have a new nickname. Instead of Princess Sarah, in my mind she'll be Persevering Sarah. I am so very proud of her!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Announcing Deklan James!!

Deklan James Fenton
Born August 16, 2009
8:25 pm
7 lbs 1 oz
19 3/4 "

Eighteen grandchildren. Unbelievable JOY! It never gets old, or tired, or routine to witness the birth of a precious child, miraculously knit together in his mother's womb. I was so privileged to see this little man enter the world to be loved and cherished by his parents, Tyler and Sarah.

I'll be writing another whole blog about Sarah and her courage & Tyler and his strength. Meanwhile, enjoy these pictures of Poppa, Aunt Heather and Aunt Linda checking Deklan out.

Poppa and his 12th grandson.

Auntie Heather won the race in from the car!

Auntie Linda is in love!

Heather ALWAYS checks out the babies from head to toe.

Yep, he has a head and toes, alright!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Be Thou My Vision

Jesus went about doing good, and one of the good things He did was to heal the blind. Imagine not being able to see... and even more tragic, never, ever having seen a thing.

The thing is - we're all blind from birth. Oh, we think we can see. We think we observe the world around us and understand it very well. Scientists look at a rainbow, for instance, and say it's simply a refraction of light. Economists look at a faltering economy, and say they just have to put more money (half a billion dollars!) into the world markets, and everything will be alright. Sociologists look at wars and say that all they need is money and food and supplies and then the wars will cease.

The trouble is, we're blind. We're blind to the fact that the rainbow is a sign of God's promise, His everlasting covenant that He will never again flood the entire earth as He did in the days of Noah.

We're blind to the fact that the faltering economy and wars are simply a result of sin - pride and greed, self-centeredness, lack of compassion... failure to have a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. If people could really SEE, they'd know that God, who is Wise and Mighty and Powerful and Invisible is the One they are accountable to. If they really could SEE, they'd make choices based on mercy and love, wisdom and insight.

This is the thing: all of us must turn to Jesus, the Healer of the Blind, in order to live. When we suffer hardship or affliction, we have a choice: we can go on, arrogantly thinking we have it all together and we SEE, or we can turn to Him, admitting that we're poor and blind and naked and lost without Him.

Saul was one of those who thought he could see. He persecuted the people of the "Way", the ones who were following the man Jesus. That Man stopped Saul in his tracks, and afflicted him with physical blindness. Saul could see nothing.

He could have reacted like the people did in Isaiah 9 - they did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the Lord of Hosts.

However, by God's grace, Saul repented. He prayed. He turned to the Lord who afflicted him, and the scales fell from his eyes. He could SEE!

That is my prayer for those people I love, who still do not see. May the God of grace open their eyes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Get Wisdom

Wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

I'm not saying that I don't like jewels. I really, really like my diamonds. I like my ring with pearls and sapphires, inherited from my mother. "Bling" makes me happy. It puts a smile on my face.

I walked into the bank today, and the teller had on a flashy top. It was patterned, and had shiny sequins throughout the paisley pattern. She looked pretty. She felt pretty. She confided in me that her sister wouldn't be caught dead in that top, but that she didn't care. She liked it!

I GET that. One of my favourite tops is a V-neck brown, longsleeved top. The V is dressed up with sequins, and every time I wear it, I feel pretty. It doesn't matter to me that my friends don't like to wear clothes with bling. I DO. I even chose my glasses because they have little tiny "diamonds" at the temples.

Proverbs 8:10 Take my instruction instead of silver,
and knowledge rather than choice gold,
11 for wisdom is better than jewels,
and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

As it says in the Word, no matter how much I like my earthly possessions, nothing I desire compares with wisdom. Diamonds don't give me peace. Sapphires don't make me sing. Gold doesn't fill my heart with joy. Silver doesn't make me rest.

Wisdom does.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. God in His wisdom created this world with all of its beauty.

Psalm 104:24
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

He is all-wise. And He wants us to be like Him!

Consider these verses:

Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
We need to learn that our lives are but a vapour.
We're here today, and gone tomorrow.

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!
We gain wisdom as we begin to fear God
- acknowledge Him for Who He is,
and give Him the respect He is due.

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
If I studied my whole life
and knew everything there is to know about any subject,
but knew not God,
I would know nothing.
Let me not be a fool.
Let me seek wisdom and instruction
by reading the Bible every day!

Proverbs 16:16
Gold is pretty, but it will burn up.
Diamonds sparkle, but they will melt in the fervent heat.
Wisdom endures forever.

Proverbs 31:26
She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
This is my desire. This is my prayer.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

What Encourages Me?

As the mother of a dozen children ranging in age from just-turned-ten to nearly-thirty-four (and that one's still my baby!), I can get discouraged with the chaos that a large family brings. The married ones traipse home with their broods, and while I am ever-greatful for each one of them, I get to whining and complaining. "Look, the house is a mess [again!]; Sigh, I need to cook supper for about a million people [again]!"

But when a little granddaughter climbs into my lap and says in her sweet baby-voice, "I love you, Granny!", my heart melts. When a big, strapping boy (one of my sons or grandsons) offers to carry those groceries or get me a footstool, my heart is warmed.

What encourages me and helps me to keep on in spite of the noise and confusion a large family brings is the fact that these lives matter, for eternity. I am the mom. I am the granny. The one who will make a difference in the lives of each of these people.

When they see me with my Bible in hand, they know that it is precious to me. When they hear me exhort them to do well, or remind them that God is watching, they know that I know that He is real, and He is the One Who will hold us accountable. I have the privilege of teaching them that God is Just AND Good, that He is Righteous AND Merciful.

I look at my grown children, and I am encouraged to know that they are walking in truth... that they are following after God. There is no greater joy. There is no greater encouragement.

3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Effective Prayer

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Jesus is our holy and sympathetic high priest. He lived on this earth, experiencing all of the temptations that plague us daily, yet He NEVER, not once, sinned. He is holy, holy, holy...yet He is sympathetic - He understands our weaknesses; He knows our frame.

This Jesus was appointed by God His Father to suffer so that we would receive the gift of eternal salvation. And what a gift! We are saved in time and eternity - given the right to be called the sons (and daughters!) of God. Adopted into God's family; preserved and guided and helped by His grace.

The encouragement to “draw near” to God's throne implies that Christians have the privilege of a personal relationship with God. We are told to have confidence - boldness & courage - as we speaking before God Almighty - this Holy One of greatest rank and power in the Universe. We are so privileged, because God expects us to come before Him and speak plainly and honestly and reverently, without fear that we will incur shame or punishment by doing so.

The Irish Calvinist wrote about this. He said that he wakes up and his mind goes immediately to what he needs to accomplish that day - and he is aware that what he does do will not be done flawlessly.

Yet, God graciously reminds him of Hebrews 7:24.

Hebrews 7:24 [Jesus] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

Jesus intecedes for us before the throne of grace. God the Father graciously helps those who need forgiveness and strength in temptation.

It is a good thing to pray for one another. We Christians are urged to do so. The effectual, fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much, James tells us. We are called to pray, taught how to pray by Jesus Himself, and commanded to continue steadfastly in prayer (Col. 4).

We often ask others to pray for us, and that's a good thing, too. Paul asked for prayer. He didn't ask to be delivered from prison, or spared the lash, or given creature comforts. He asked for prayer that God would help him in communicating the mystery of Jesus Christ to the world.

Colossians 4:3At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

This is one of the mysteries: Jesus intecedes for us!

So, the next time you are weary in well-doing, the next time you battle the flesh, the next time you struggle with temptation and wonder if you'll ever get it right, remember:

Jesus is praying for YOU.

There is no one more effective. There is no one more fervent. Jesus will never fail, and He knows exactly what to pray on your behalf.

Amazing, astounding grace.