Monday, May 31, 2010

Aryanah Grace

This morning dawned bright and beautiful. I knew it was going to be a great day when the phone rang. It was Matt, who told me that his wife had given birth to their fourth child, a daughter, Aryanah - 8 lbs 3.5 oz.

Joanna's water broke around 3 am, but there were no contractions, so she told Matt to go back to sleep. Around 4 the contractions started, but they weren't terrible. Matt timed them at about 10 minutes apart. He kept asking Joanna to call the midwife. Finally, she did.

No problem. Midwife's assistant said to go to the clinic so they could check. She then hung up and called Charlotte, midwife extraordinaire, who has delivered many of our grandbabies. As soon as Charlotte heard it was Joanna, she said, "Tell them to go straight to the hospital." The midwife's assistant called back and relayed the message.

Joanna took her time getting ready, because the contractions weren't much to speak of. She didn't want to go to the hospital and be sent home again. So, she moseyed about and got ready. Matt was hot to trot, and helped Joanna into the van, then ran around to the driver's seat.

The very second Joanna sat in the van, she went into hard labour. Matt could tell by her breathing, so he headed off towards Stratford, speeding a bit, maneuvering the curves through the hamlet of Lisbon. Joanna laboured on, sounding more intense. The more she panted, the faster Matt drove. When she let out an expletive, Matt knew she was in transition. She said she had to push. Matt pushed on the gas pedal.

They made it to Stratford in less than 15 minutes.

Matt jumped out and got a wheelchair for Joanna, leaving the van running, because he intended to move it after he got her into the hospital.

"I have to push," Joanna hollered, and the nurses waved them through the now unlocked doors.

"Can I get some help?" Matt asked. "My van's still running."

A nurse grabbed the wheelchair and trotted off, while Matt ran so fast back to the van that he broke through the doors. (They are designed to give way in an emergency.) He parked the van, grabbed Joanna's bag, and tore back into Emerg. They waved him through. He got to the 2nd floor and they buzzed him into Maternity.

"She's down there," said one nurse, pointing down the hall. "She's in here," said another.

Matt arrived just in time to see his baby's head crowning. Two or three pushes, and Aryanah Grace entered the world!

They left Wellesley at 5:45. The baby was born at 6:05. That was cutting it close.

Linda and I went to see Aryanah and her parents this afternoon. The baby is lovely. I think she's blonde; she is certainly fair and pink. Joanna looks great. Matt is exhausted. Isn't that always the way?

We are enjoying the three older kids. Levi keeps singing; Kaleb is playing happily; Kaitlyn entertains us with her imagination.

Aryanah was born on my dad's birthday. May 31st has always been a special day for me. Now it's even better.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Freedom that comes from Being Fully Known & Fully Loved

Monica shared that it became a passion of hers to find out how people change. She had been converted dramatically. She wasn't raised in a Christian home, and got involved in all of the nasty things kids can be involved in - drugs, sex, rebellion, smoking, drinking. God sovereignly placed people in her path to share the gospel with her. Her Catholic church attendance had taught her that God existed and was transcendent, but she didn't realize who Jesus was. Her reaction, when she learned the good news, was: "Are you serious? He died for me? He paid the price for my sins? There's nothing I have to do, but believe? He's coming again?"

One glimpse of His glory, and Monica had peace. All the former bad habits fell away. She told everyone about Jesus, expecting them to react the same way she did. To her shock, they didn't. In fact, the woman she was living with told her to move out. "You scare me," she said.

Monica replied, "Don't you see how free I am?"

In the providence of God, the very same night Monica was converted, her hubby-to-be was converted in a different place. This wasn't his first introduction to Jesus, and there were no bells and whistles. He came to Christ privately, in a room by himself. For years, he struggled with assurance, because change didn't come to him the way it came to Monica. In fact, her enthusiasm and passion bothered him. He thought he'd lost a friend.

Monica couldn't understand why his conversion wasn't like hers. "Don't you love Jesus?" she'd ask. "Why can't you quit smoking? You read the same Bible as me!"

Monica began to have patterns of anxiety. Why isn't he changing, she wondered. She wanted him to change, and got discouraged when he didn't. Maybe he should read more; memorize God's word more.

How do we take in more of what Christ has for us? How do we change?

Is it cognitive ability? Should we study to rightly divide the word of truth? It seems consistent, that the more we know, the more we can change. Monica prayed, then prayed harder!

She signed up for a "Spiritual Formation" class. The teacher was an older gentleman, who came to class the first day with a tablecloth, a candle, and a vase full of stones. He explained how he and his wife had constructed the vase, choosing stones that would represent their lives. There was a stone to represent their marriage; another was representative of a trip overseas. He talked about how transparent the vase was, that symbolically it demonstrated that each significant event in their life was part of who they were today.

Then the professor sent the students out to choose a stone. Monica was the last person to leave the classroom, and she was NOT happy. Her attitude was judgmental, her mood was sour. The very first rock she saw would be the one she'd choose. She'd only gone a few feet from the door when she spied a stone just off the path, so she marched over to it and in her frustration, hauled off and gave it a great kick. To her surprise, it was a flat stone, and it went flying across the yard.

In that moment, she had a wash of understanding flood over her. "That's what you do with problems," she felt God say to her. "You leave them buried and think they're big, instead of trusting them to me."

Monica began to look at herself. In the last few minutes before leaving the classroom, she had torn up that man in her mind. She judged him for not correcting theologically incorrect statements that "weaker" students made. She didn't realize that he was purposely not correcting them in public, because he wanted to build relationships with the students. He planned on contacting them later to privately challenge their thinking. He was willing to let the error slide and trust that God would allow him to teach the students later.

Monica learned that asking the question "How do people change?" was the wrong question.

Primary question: HOW DO I CHANGE?

Do you bury things?
Do you leave them covered?
Do you look at others' need of change?
Do you walk with God?
Do you see that He is conforming you to the image of His Son?

It's not just cognitive awareness that is important. It's one thing to know God intellectually, but it's quite another thing to walk with Him, aware that He is ordering your steps and working in your life in each and every area, in every moment of every day.

Our God is compassionate and gracious. He knows how we are formed; He remembers that we are dust.

Psalm 103
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.

We need a safe place to make deliberate changes in our lives.

There is safety and security in Christ, in friends, in family. Books can be a safe place, because you can interact with them without feeling judged by another. God is the safest place. He already knows all about you. Become self-aware before Him.

Monica isn't advocating self-absorption - which is fueled by pride and gives no glory to God. Instead she is recommending self-awareness - which is fueled by humility and gives all the glory to God.

Do this:

Get a vase, a clear glass vase. Choose stones to represent your life. Things you care about. Things God is doing in your life. Places you've been. People who have impacted you. Use the vase to think about who you really are.

Choose someone to share your vase with. Be vulnerable; allow yourself to be exposed. You aren't really hiding who you are, even when you do all sorts of things to hide. People see us as we really are. God knows us as we really are. We can be naked and unashamed. We can be real.

True self-awareness shows us places we weren't aware of and woundedness we haven't dealt with. We start to understand why we respond emotionally to the little bumps and bruises of life. We start to understand why we give some things more power than they should have.

We need to identify the problem, unpack it, and give it to Christ. Everything should be impacted by the Risen Christ.

For example, a wife hears her hubby being critical of the kids. Normally, this isn't a big deal, and she can discuss it with him and come to some understanding. However, if she's been wounded deeply in this area and has never given it to Christ and found out how He can apply His power to the situation, she overreacts! She brings wrath from her childhood to bear on the situation.

When you over-respond, ask yourself:

What do I need here?
Am I being a safe place for this person?
Is he being open to me?
Am I being someone he can trust?

Not if I am making him pay for what has happened to me in the past.

Once God has forgiven us, He forgets our sins. But we don't.

Monica told us that self-awareness is a work of growth that takes time. We need to allow our emotions to be what they are, digging deeper to understand. Ask God to show you the core issue, then apply God's word.

She gave us an exercise: Read a passage (John 8:1-11 for example) and evaluate it with the following questions: In this passage, who is fully known? Who is fully loved?

I think that much of what Monica taught in this session was helpful. It's true that we can judge circumstances and people and not allow ourselves to take the time and effort to learn from them. We tend to bury our problems rather than evaluating, because the self-evaluation takes effort and is painful. God is a safe place to run to; He already knows everything about us, so it makes sense to draw near to Him and ask Him to work in our circumstances, and to show us the truth about ourselves, so we can gain a heart of wisdom.

More to follow tomorrow, Lord willing.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Where did the week go?

I honestly can't believe it's Wednesday already.

My shoulder HURTS. It hurts to breathe, to type, to sit, to stand, to do ANYTHING. Therefore, anything I do is painful and more time-consuming than it normally is.

Therefore, I haven't been blogging. I have been blogging in my head, and I have plenty to say, but due to the pain in my shoulder and neck I just haven't got around to sitting here and typing out a proper blog.

I do plan to finish up the SGF Ladies' Retreat series. Soon. Meant to today, but the day got away on me.

And I am hurtin'. Hurtin' bad.

Goes to show you that I was right to pursue some sort of compensation. It's been three years, people, and I still have PAIN every single day.

More tomorrow, I hope.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How To Change

More on the SGF ladies' Retreat.

Monica asked us to brainstorm and make a list of ways to change. If you have a habit you want to get rid of, or if you want to establish a new, good habit, what do you do?

Here's my list: (in no particular order)

  1. Pray.
  2. Read the Bible.
  3. Ask God to give you Sight of Sin. Do you really understand your behaviour?
  4. Assess yourself. Understand the Problem. Understand the root.
  5. Conviction.
  6. Repentance.
  7. Confession.
  8. Prayer and more prayer.
  9. Practice a new, better habit. Put off the sin, put on the new habit.
  10. Accountability.
  11. Mentoring. Teach others the things you've learned.
  12. Listen to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides, most often through the Word.
  13. Give your testimony.
  14. Health issues cause change.
  15. Circumstances can lead to change.
  16. Family or church life can be a positive (or negative) influence.

We looked at assumptions and deficits in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve lacked God-Awareness and Self-Awareness. Had they had full knowledge of who God was, and had they completely understood themselves, they would not have made the choices they made.

Next: The Freedom that comes from being Fully Known and Fully Loved.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Grace of Being Fully Known and Fully Loved

I continue with my notes and comments on the teaching we received from Monica Michael at the SGF Ladies' Retreat.

Evidence of God's Love for Adam & Eve:

1. God gave them purpose. Be fruitful and multiply. God took the man and put him in the garden to tend it and to keep it.

When you feel you have no purpose, it's dreadful.

2. God provided food and pleasure. 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. . . So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes.

3. God gifted them with each other. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

4. God gifted them with Himself. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.

Adam and Eve were fully known and fully loved. God provided for their intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual needs. There was no angst. They were naked and unashamed.

Were there any vulnerabilities in Eden?

It was a pristine environment, but was it paradise? The notes in the ESV Bible say

God provides a suitable environment for the man by planting a garden in Eden, in the east. The name “Eden,” which would have conveyed the sense of “luxury, pleasure,” probably denotes a region much greater than the garden itself. God formed the man in the “land” (see vv. 5–7), and then put him in the garden (cf. v. 15). The earliest translation into Greek (the Septuagint) used the word paradeisos (from which comes the English term “paradise”; cf. note on Luke 23:39–43) to translate the Hebrew term for “garden,” on the understanding that it resembled a royal park. The abundance of the garden is conveyed by the observation that it contained every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food

There are only three verses that mention paradise:

Luke 23:43
And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

2 Corinthians 12:3
And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—

Revelation 2:7
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

So Eden was like paradise, in that it was a luxurious garden. But there were vulnerabilities.

Not Good. God said it was good. But He also said something was NOT good. This was before the fall.

Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

Why was it "not good" that man should be alone? Isn't God enough? Isn't God more than enough?

God was so OTHER. So ALMIGHTY. So TRANSCENDENT. There is a huge gap between God and man. Adam needed a helper suitable for him. A comparable companion.

Death Mentioned. Before sin, before disobedience, death was mentioned. This is certainly a vulnerability. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

God Made a Garden, but it needed to be tended. Why did it need overseeing? If everything was peaceful and right and perfect, why did they need to order it?

Corruptibility. Man was created, and was not self-existent. There was finitude. He was corruptible. Only ONE is incorruptible: God.

Harm. The prohibition meant that there was something in the garden that could cause them harm.

The Tree. What about the tree? Was it bad? If Adam and Eve were to disobey God, the disobedience would be bad - The spiritual act of going against the Creator.

So the garden of Eden was good, but not-so-perfect.

Evil. The Serpent was there. Evil.

Paradise = Heaven; not Eden.

In Eden, there was a lack of God-Awareness and a lack of Self-Awareness.

Want in Eden

Did not know God was their only source of help


Lack of




Didn’t know God’s Words

Disregarded God’s Words

Wasn’t sure of God’s motives

Valued his own judgment above God’s

Blind to her own vulnerabilities

Lack of



Unaware of his role as protector and leader

Mistook the Fruit for something good

Ate what could bring him harm

Did not know they were naked.

There was no Reciprocity. God fully knew Adam and Eve, and He fully loved them; but they did not fully know and fully love God. They did not know how great the Father's love was. If they had known, they would never have gone against Him; if they had sinned, they never would have hidden from Him, but would have run to Him for forgiveness and cleansing.

We cannot fully love what we do not fully know. Ignorance is NOT bliss.

Products of Guilt

Loss of Innocence

Emotional Discomfort

Loss of Transparency

Disruption of Relationships


Focus on External Motivators

Responses that Lead to Death:

Avoid God.

Focus on Someone Else's contribution to the problem.

Letting the Problem paralyze you.

In Christ

Clean Conscience



Unconditional Love


Focus on Internal Motivators

Monica then gave an example from her own life of a response that lead to guilt and fear and "death". She had a habit of leaving her supper dishes sit in the sink until morning. She just didn't do them. The sight of the dishes in the sink every morning bugged her, so she decided that leaving them was not an adult thing to do. She'd change.

She asked herself, "What is keeping me from doing the dishes?"

Ask yourself this in regard to your issues of guilt, procrastination, angst:

What is keeping you from doing _____________ ?

When will you benefit your family by getting it done?

Monica asked the ladies for their theories regarding her not doing the supper dishes.

Don't like dishes.

Want someone else to do them.

Want company in the kitchen.



Monica confessed that she didn't like doing dishes because it was dark. She had huge, deep angst regarding the dark window that she looked out of when she did the supper dishes.

One day she was in a seminary class, and the professor asked, "Who has a fear you want to get rid of?"

Monica flippantly put up her hand. After the break, the professor assured her, we'll get rid of that fear forever. (Apparently, he did. It involved the class surrounding her, being a safe place for her. It involved using the Scriptures to speak to the issues.)

Do you trust God? (We all know He is trustworthy!)

How well do you know yourself? How well do you know God? Do you actively pursue Spiritual growth?

God Awareness + Self Awareness = Authentic Christianity

Suggestions from Monica for Greater Awareness

1. Pray out loud more often. God knows your thoughts; the Spirit groans within you.

2. Pray that God will answer, then look for the answers. Expectation.

3. Read your Bible more actively. Write down questions. Jot down notes.

4. Pay more attention to your emotions. We aren't just "walking heads". We are sentient beings.

5. Ask yourself if there is a disconnect between what you read and how you feel.

6. Participate authentically in small groups. Be yourself. Be real.

7. Personalize Scripture.

8. Teach others what you learn. Look carefully at your assumptions; discard falsehood.

9. When God brings a verse to mind, ask Him if there's something He wants you to remember or think about. Practice the presence of God.

Monica said that the technique the professor used was an incredibly emotional experience that freed her from fear. She gained freedom - God does not give a spirit of fear. She gained blessing - comfort from classmates. She gained deep trust in God. She gained courage to take God's word and apply it to her life.

There are promises in Christ that we have not apprehended. Mediocrity is not good enough.

This is where Monica's seminar fell short. She did not explain what the professor did, or how she was freed. She seemed to say "look at me, I am free from fear, and I have never looked back" without giving any practical examples of what her listeners could do to find the same freedom.

I do agree that greater awareness of God and self is important. A right view of God (holy, transcendent, omniscient, etc.) and self (saved by the grace of God, dependent on His righteousness, prone to wander, etc.) is essential to live an authentic Christian life. Applying Scripture to specific needs or fears or guilt is freeing. I agree with that. However, I don't think the "hows" were taught clearly.

More to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Be Very Careful How You Teach

Before I continue with the series of posts I have planned regarding the SGF Ladies' Retreat, I want to comment about teaching. I am painfully aware that I use this blog to teach, so what I have to say applies to myself first and foremost.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. ~James 3:1

We all stumble in many ways, and we are prone to stumble in the use of the tongue.

Consider Job's friends. They met with Job after the terrible tragedy that befell him, and they sat there silently day after day. I'm sure Job appreciated the company as he reeled with the pain of losing everything. But when his friends began to teach him what they thought they knew about God, his pain increased.

Job begins to talk back after he becomes exasperated with their "wisdom".

Job 26

Then Job answered and said:
2 “How you have helped him who has no power!
How you have saved the arm that has no strength!

Job sarcastically points out that his three friends, by accusing the one who is the helper of the poor and needy, have hurt their only source of power. Job had been the protector of the weak and the provider for the poor. But in their eyes, he must be wrong.

3 How you have counseled him who has no wisdom,
and plentifully declared sound knowledge!
4 With whose help have you uttered words,
and whose breath has come out from you?

Job is mocking their wisdom, and pointing out that the words they have uttered have not been with the help from God that they need; their breath was wasted.

Be very careful when you offer counsel. Make sure you are rightly dividing the Word of Truth, and that you have considered the whole counsel of God, not just a small part of it. When you give advice, be humble and admit that some things are not as simple as they seem.

5 The dead tremble
under the waters and their inhabitants.
6 Sheol is naked before God,
and Abaddon has no covering.
7 He stretches out the north over the void
and hangs the earth on nothing.
8 He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,
and the cloud is not split open under them.
9 He covers the face of the full moon
and spreads over it his cloud.
10 He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters
at the boundary between light and darkness.
11 The pillars of heaven tremble
and are astounded at his rebuke.
12 By his power he stilled the sea;
by his understanding he shattered Rahab.
13 By his wind the heavens were made fair;
his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

Notice the power of God. He does what He wants with nature and weather, with Nations such as Egypt (Rahab) and with animals such as the fleeing serpent. He controls all things.

14 Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?”

We cannot understand how God controls the forces of nature, which we can see. What makes us presume we know what He is doing in the lives of others, when we cannot see into their hearts? We cannot know what God is doing in the midst of disastrous circumstances. We do not know how God is working or what He is accomplishing in the lives of fellow believers. We are very, very little; God is very, very big.

So, in teaching, be humble and gentle. Avoid grave pronouncements that seem to suggest that you know what is going on perfectly. You don't. You can only guess. Only God knows the heart. Avoid giving the impression that you have "arrived" down the spiritual path to perfection. You haven't. As long as you draw breath you will battle your sinful nature. Only God can sanctify and glorify His children.

Be humble. Pray much. Be careful how you teach.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fully Known and Fully Loved

I spent Friday night and Saturday sitting at the feet of Monica Michael, this year's speaker at the Sovereign Grace Fellowship's Ladies' Retreat in Ancaster. Monica, a professional counselor, is a licensed health care professional who helps people be the "best they can be."

There was wisdom in some of what Monica taught, yet I found myself with questions and concerns that I will outline as I go through my notes and post my thoughts.

Monica started out by saying that a core benefit of Jesus' work on the cross is that we can be fully known and fully loved. She asked the ladies if any of them felt any awkwardness or angst at coming to the retreat, then said that the anxieties are unnecessary if we grasp the truth that we are truly fully known and truly fully loved by our Creator and Saviour.

She then played a video. Go here to see and hear the one she played. It is far more powerful than the one I have included above. Listen to it, then read on.

Monica pointed out that the video skips verses 19 - 22. It's the only portion in the entire Psalm that expresses negative emotion, she told us.

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

Monica asked us to consider that those verses expressing passionate negative emotion may be part of the "grievous thoughts" that end the Psalm.

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

Anxieties, harmful thoughts - these are not appropriate for a child of God, she thought.

I cannot agree with her premise that verses 19 - 22 were part of the anxious thoughts that are grievous.

Amongst the psalms of petitionary prayer are the imprecatory psalms, which are characterized by expression of revenge or curses. The psalmist passionately beseeches God to curse or to destroy his enemies. ~from "Teach Us to Pray, edited by D.A. Carson. P. 50 (Five Different Kinds of Prayer in the Psalms)

These kinds of passionate pleas to God for revenge are not offered simply because of personal hatred or revenge, but because the psalmist is zealous for God's righteousness. Often the psalmist beseeches God to execute justice on the earth.

Psalm 139 begins by asserting that God knows all there is to know about me. This knowledge is too wonderful for me to completely understand. I cannot comprehend His love and care for me.

There is no place I can go where He is not with me. There is nowhere in the universe that God will not be present to lead and hold me, and nowhere too dark for God to see me. He even saw me and loved me before I was born! I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and my God has cared for me from the beginning.

God's thoughts are so very precious to me! I cannot number them - they are vast, like the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashores. I cannot begin to count the thoughts God has towards me.

My response to all of these truths is sheer joy and delight! God deserves our praise. Yet those who do not know or love Him pay no attention to His word. They don't consider that God formed and fashioned them in the womb. They ignore His words and dismiss His thoughts. Instead of living with their heart towards God, they deny His very existence and treat His people wickedly.

So, no wonder that the next few verses are a plea that God would slay the wicked! The psalmist, my ESV notes say,

delights in God and in his knowledge and presence: the wicked person, who joins with men of blood (i.e., who ruthlessly shed blood), who speak against God with malicious intent, is someone who actively opposes God and his gracious purpose. When God displays his justice in the earth, if these people will not repent, he will indeed slay them; until then, the faithful do not want to be identified with them (depart from me);
I appreciated the video and the initial thought that we who are children of God are fully known by Him - He knows every thought, word and deed, and we are fully loved. Even though I disagreed with the premise that those few "negative" verses were part of the "grievous thoughts", I was intrigued. Stay tuned for the rest of it, starting with tomorrow's post.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Asked The Lord

This song resonates with me. I have often asked the Lord that I might grow in faith and love and every grace. I want to be wise, to seek His face, to have a deep and abiding relationship with Him.

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace
Might more of His salvation know
And seek more earnestly His face

God hears and answers our prayers, but not in the way we want. He does what is best, and often what is best is not what we want. We want the quick and easy road to spiritual maturity. God knows we learn best through adversity. We'll never understand the depths of the wickedness in our hearts if God doesn't reveal it to us.

Twas He who taught me thus to pray
And He I trust has answered prayer
But it has been in such a way
As almost drove me to despair.

We scheme and try to do things to order our world and to appear to others to have it all together. God, in His great wisdom, thwarts those foolish efforts, in order to produce lasting change.

I hoped that in some favored hour
At once He'd answer my request
And by His love's constraining power
Subdue my sins and give me rest

Instead of this He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart
And let the angry powers of Hell
Assault my soul in every part

How hard it is to take a good look at the evils of our own heart. Yet it is the wise thing to do. I have more to say about Self-Assessment in a series of blog posts I am planning to write over the next few days. I learned much from the SGF Ladies' Retreat. I will share it with you.

Yea more with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Cast out my feelings, laid me low

Fair designs. They look good. But they're weak imitations of the genuine article.

Lord why is this, I trembling cried
Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
"Tis in this way" The Lord replied
"I answer prayer for grace and faith"

Notice the Sovereignty of God here... John Newton acknowledges that he belongs to God (thy worm) and that he is insignificant compared to HIM.

"These inward trials I employ
From self and pride to set thee free
And break thy schemes of earthly joy
That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
That thou mayest seek thy all in me."

God breaks all of our schemes, all of our silly little attempts to find joy on this earth apart from God... and He graciously teaches us to seek our All in Him. Praise His name forever!

©2004 double v music (ASCAP).

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Grandkids and Food

Lunch time was a nightmare today, with 8 extra mouths to feed. It wasn't so much the extra children. . . after all, I AM the mother of 12 and Granny to 19 (well, the 19th is in her mommy's tummy, but it won't be long until I get to cuddle her).

The biggest problem is that each of those children has allergies. Not the same allergies. Some can't have corn; others can't have carrots. Some are allergic to bananas, while others are allergic to potatoes. It makes for an interesting meal time.

I started with the youngest (Wesley, just turned 1). "Trenton, can Wesley have rice cakes with peanut butter?" Yes, and he has his mini-rice-cakes, and he can have the peanut butter with corn in it. "Can he have eggs?" Yes! Wesley was fine, and happy, and only screamed blue murder when he saw his older sister with a drink of water. Once he had his drink, he was happy. Good boy.

Heidi and Matthew were next. Heidi could have the peanut butter with corn, but Matthew couldn't, and because they are twins and share EVERYTHING, Heidi would be better off with the all-natural peanut butter. Both of them wanted eggs, and "peanuts" (which were actually almonds).

Ava was next. She can have corn, so she got the good peanut butter. I told her NOT to share. What kind of Grandmother teaches her granddaughter not to share? The kind that understands food issues.

Stewie was easy. He LOVES food. I had to clean the grime and smears off his glasses. He readily accepted organic tomato paste as a substitute for ketchup, and ate his rice cakes and eggs right up.

Emma, Nate and Quinlan were appeased with some nuts and rice cakes, while they were waiting for their eggs.

Critter did well with the same.

The big kids fended for themselves, because by this time the little ones were clamouring for more... more food, more drinks, etc.

I love each and every one of my grandbabies, and I delight in their hugs and kisses. I know it would be a lot easier if they all could eat the same things; but hey! They are unique. They are loved. They are special!

And I am their very blessed grandmother.