Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm disgruntled.

And cold.

It seems like whenever Mommy's away for the day, nobody can remember to load the wood stove and keep the fire hot.

So, my great room is not so great and I am cold and grumpy.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I am reading "Sabbath" by Dan Allender.  Yesterday, this excerpt spoke to me:

Abundance is not about possession; it is utterly, completely, and solely about gratitude.  The richest men or women on this earth are paupers if they are not recklessly stunned by the gift of their good fortune.  It is not really theirs - it is God's treasure, given to us.  It is not due to their brilliance or hard work; it is due to the gift of God.  It is not the result of fortune or luck; it is the sovereign will of God - that is, his sweet pleasure.  The poorest man or woman on this earth is richer than the wealthiest if there is gratitude for the plate of rice and beans.

Dan Allender quotes statistics that indicate that it is the poorest Americans who give far more than the richest Americans.

What are we to learn from this data?  The Sabbath is not a vacation; it is a grateful celebration.  Who are you celebrating?  To whom do you owe your life. . .Who marked you with kindness that has enabled you to offer care in return?  Who has scarred you with heartache that has enabled you to enter the wounds of others with grace?  We are called to bless those who love us and those who love to do us harm.  Both groups escort us to the banquet of God, served on the Cross, for those who are not ashamed to be beggars and even less ashamed to be called sons and daughters of God.
A maturing Christian should look back and see with gratefulness how the trials and triumphs were used by God to form his character.  I am who I am today because of how I was raised and because of the relationships God allowed into my life.  I was not raised by parents who taught me about God - but I can see the Hand of God in what happened to me as a child and teenager.  I could write poetry and litanies about the sorrows and pain I endured - but what purpose would it serve? 

My dad was a proper gentleman with a stiff upper lip.  He rarely hugged me, and I can only remember one time that he ever told me he loved me.  But I understand some of my children better because of the way my dad was - some aren't the cuddly sort, and that's okay.  (I kiss 'em  anyway!) 

I was sent off to go to school at the age of 13; while in boarding school I encountered drugs and sex and other horrors.  I was clearly made to feel the fact that I wasn't one of the rich kids, as I was not permitted to participate in most of the extra-curricular activites.  I tried to write to my parents about things that bothered me, but they didn't know how to react, and their shocked response taught me to not be real.  I kept my feelings to myself after that.  Did it affect my life and my relationships?  You betcha.

I wasn't encouraged to go to university nor given any guidance about my future.  Even though I graduated with the top marks in the school, I had no idea how to go on in my education.  No encouragement from my parents.

There are many more examples but I am not going to share them.  Suffice it to say, I didn't have the perfect upbringing or the best opportunities in life.

Am I bitter?  Angry?  Disappointed? 

Not at all!  I look back and see all the positive things about my upbringing.  I see the family dinners with laughter and much use of the dictionary or encyclopedia to prove a point in the arguments we always got into with Dad.  I remember long trips on skidoos and hours of being pulled by Dad while we hung desperately to a rope and stayed on our skis.  I remember days at the beach or working in a garden alongside my parents.  I remember dancing to "Rocking around the Christmas tree" with my father as we enjoyed a trip home for Christmas.

I choose to see the positive.  I choose to be grateful.

Parents are a bunch of sinners.  They're going to mess up.  They'll try to do their best, but inevitably there'll be misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Cut them some slack.  Forgive them.  Move on.  Be grateful for the good that they did in your life; for how God used the experiences of your family home to shape you into the person you are today.

De 5:16 “‘Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

1Th 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Galatians 2 - You can't keep the law! It won't work.

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a  person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ.

Paul declares that salvation is only through faith in Christ, and NOT through keeping the law.   Keeping the law is unacceptable because it does not address the root of sinfulness - man's heart.

Jesus taught that food could not contaminate a person (Mk 7:19; Acts 10:13-15); So eating pork on Christmas day or any other day is fine.  Enjoy that bacon!

If someone thinks they can become more righteous by keeping the law as the Judaizers thought, they are denying the need for God's grace, and they nullify the benefit of Christ's death.  

I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law,
then Christ died for no purpose.

But He died for a wonderful purpose - to save the lost.  
He died for me - because He loves me.  He died so I could LIVE!

Pray with me:

Abba, Father, my perfect Daddy,
How quickly we children want to turn back to the law.  
We want to keep a checklist, 
     to do good things, 
     to obey You perfectly, 
          so that we can feel good about our accomplishments, 
  and so we can ignore how dirty we are
          how full of sin,
          how centered on self
          how tainted our tasks.

We want to please You.
So we strive 
          and we do
               and we work 
                    and we toil 
                          and we get busy and we mess things up.

We forget that what pleases You most is
                Joy in Your Son.
               Glory to His Name.
               Praise for His Work.
               Gratitude for Your grace.

When we see that Jesus Your Son loved us, 
                                                           forgave us,
                                                           finished the work He planned for us to do...

When we see that He accomplished all things
                                      kept the law perfectly, when we could not. . . 
     and when we understand that we are IN HIM
                                                                       Indwelt by Him
     and that You, Father, Daddy, 
                                               see Jesus
                                                         instead of us...
              when You gaze on us, it is with fondness and delight.

You are truly our Daddy.
We climb into your lap
                                      and rest.

                              Father, we thank You.
                              Spirit, we thank You.
                              Jesus, we thank You.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is tomorrow.

I just read a quote from Diane Ackerman  that celebrates life in the womb:

"But for a baby in the womb the mother's heartbeat performs the ultimate cradlesong of peace and plenty; the surflike waves of her respiration lull and soothe. The womb is a snug, familiar landscape, an envelope of rhythmic warmth, and the mother's heartbeat a steady clarion of safety."

At least it should be, eh?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I am so excited!

I got my first book from  today.  I'm going to be reading "Sabbath" by Dan Allender, then writing a review here on my blog.  A quick perusal of the book told me that I will enjoy reading it.

The back cover reads,

Dan Allender's lyrical book about the Sabbath expels the myriad myths about this day of rest, starting with the one that paints the Sabbath as a day of forced quiet, spiritual exercises, and religious devotion and attendance.  This, he says, is at odds with the ancient tradition of Sabbath as a day of delight for both body and soul.  Instead, the only way we can make use of the Sabbath is to see God's original intent for the day with new eyes. In Sabbath, Allender builds a case for delight by looking at this day as a festival that celebrates God's re-creative, redemptive love using four components:

  • sensual glory and beauty
  •  ritual
  • communal feasting
  • playfulness

I will be reading this book in the next week, and commenting here.

By the way, did anyone notice that yesterday's blog was a repeat?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Galatians - FREEDOM

I just finished reading Galatians - what Joy!  Its central theme is justification by faith.  Paul wrote to the Galatians to counter the false teachings of the Judaizers, who were teaching that Gentiles must first become Jewish proselytes and submit to Mosaic law BEFORE they could become Christians.

Unfortunately, there are modern Judaizers today who call themselves Christians, but do not understand the freedom they have in Christ.  They think that they must keep the law, so they observe feast days and shun modern holidays, all in an effort to be more holy.  They do not get the wonderful truth that we are justified by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The letter of Paul to the Galatians starts with a loving greeting:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age. . . 

Notice that Paul is wishing them grace (God's unmerited favour) and peace (no war; no tribulation).  Note too that Jesus gave Himself to deliver us from the present evil age.  

But when He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son to me...

What a delightful thought!  Jesus gave Himself for me, to deliver me from my sin in this evil age.  God set me apart, called me, and revealed His only begotten Son to me, in order that I might live for Him and do the work He planned for me to do.  Pray with me, and rejoice with me, in the finished work of Christ.

Father God,
You set me apart,
and called me by Your grace.
You revealed Your Son to me - the Only One
           Who could deliver me 
                    from my own sin
             and from this present evil age.

I needed to be rescued, and You sent a Rescuer.
I needed to be delivered, and You sent the Deliverer.

In You we delight
     In You we hope
          In You we trust
and We acknowledge that You have all authority and power
           over our lives
           over our circumstances
           over our relationships.

We are Your slaves - But You are the Perfect Master.
We are the Redeemed - Bought back from the slavemarket by Jesus our Redeemer.
We are the Forgiven - adopted into Your family.
We are joint heirs with Christ - O Blessed Thought!

Let us live in the light of that truth
     and walk in the light of that grace
with confidence in our Father
     and trust in our Brother
          and faith in the Guidance of the Holy Spirit who guides our every step.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, Amen.

(More to follow on Galatians... stay tuned.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't Mock God's Prophets

In the past week I have read two Bible stories about God's judgment on those who rebel against authority put in place by God Himself.  The prophets mocked were Elisha and Moses.

You can read about the first in 2 Kings 2.  

Elisha was mentored by the prophet Elijah, a man of God who performed many miracles.  Both Elisha and Elijah knew one day that God was about to take Elijah up to heaven.  Not only that, but the sons of the prophets of the local areas knew.  They asked Elisha, "Don't you know your master is going to be taken away from you today?"

Elisha knew.  He told the sons of the prophets to be quiet.  Then he stuck to Elijah like glue.  I believe he loved his mentor and wanted to be like him.  That's why he asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit.

Elijah couldn't grant that; but he knew that God could.  So he told Elisha that if he saw him go to heaven, he'd receive his request. (2 Kings 2:9-12 ESV)

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.” And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.” And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more. 
How do I know that Elisha loved Elijah?  His reaction when Elijah is taken away tells us.

Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. 

When Elisha succeeded Elijah, he used Elijah's cloak to hit the water of the river so it would part and he could go through on dry land.  Immediately after that, he used salt to heal the spring of water so that no death or miscarriage would come from it any more.  God did grant Elisha a double portion of His Spirit, and He used Elisha to perform twice as many miracles as did Elijah.  There was to be no mistake: Elisha was God's prophet.

But some young men didn't think so.  They were rebellious, idolatrous youngsters who came out to mock the prophet of God.  "Go up, you baldhead!" they yelled.  They were daring Elisha to do as Elijah did.  They did not acknowledge the power of God.

So Elisha cursed them in the name of the Lord.

[24] And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. 
(2 Kings 2:24 ESV)

Lest you think that was mean and nasty, consider this.  The "boys" were not little boys, but rebellious and idolatrous young men who could have a very negative influence on Elisha's ministry.  Elisha didn't choose the consequence of their mockery - he simply cursed them in the name of the Lord, leaving the judgment to God. God wisely chose to take those young men out of the picture, lest they do harm to God's people.

Matthew Henry's Commentary explains:

Observe the miracle of healing the waters. Prophets should make every place to which they come better for them, endeavouring to sweeten bitter spirits, and to make barren souls fruitful, by the word of God, which is like the salt cast into the water by Elisha. It was an apt emblem of the effect produced by the grace of God on the sinful heart of man. Whole families, towns, and cities, sometimes have a new appearance through the preaching of the gospel; wickedness and evil have been changed into fruitfulness in the works of righteousness, which are, through Christ, to the praise and glory of God.

Here is a curse on the youths of Bethel, enough to destroy them; it was not a curse causeless, for it was Elisha's character, as God's prophet, that they abused. They bade him "go up," reflecting on the taking up of Elijah into heaven. The prophet acted by Divine impulse. If the Holy Spirit had not directed Elisha's solemn curse, the providence of God would not have followed it with judgment. The Lord must be glorified as a righteous God who hates sin, and will reckon for it. Let young persons be afraid of speaking wicked words, for God notices what they say. Let them not mock at any for defects in mind or body; especially it is at their peril, if they scoff at any for well doing. Let parents that would have comfort in their children, train them up well, and do their utmost betimes to drive out the foolishness that is bound up in their hearts. And what will be the anguish of those parents, at the day of judgment, who witness the everlasting condemnation of their offspring, occasioned by their own bad example, carelessness, or wicked teaching!

The second story I read was that of Miriam.  She was Moses' elder sister.  In Chapter 11 of Numbers we read that God gave Moses permission to appoint 70 elders to help him, and God demonstrated that His power was on them by giving of His Spirit to them so that they praised and prophesied.

Perhaps Miriam was jealous.  After all, she had been by Moses' side and had sung praises to God. She let her discontent with the situation be an excuse to criticize Moses' choice of a wife.  She thought that her other brother Aaron deserved some recognition as well, and likely got him to complain, too.  

Be sure your sins will find you out.  God heard her mutterings, and He summoned the three siblings to the tent of meeting.  If you've ever been summoned to the principal's office, or called to a private meeting by your boss, you have an idea of how Miriam must have felt.  

 And suddenly the LORD said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” And the three of them came out. And the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent and called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward. And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses. He is faithful in all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them, and he departed. 
(Numbers 12:4-9 ESV)
God defended His prophet.  There was to be no murmuring and complaining against him.  God set Miriam and Aaron straight.  I imagine His voice shook the tent.  As soon as He left, Miriam found herself full of leprosy.

Aaron immediately cried out to Moses...  

And Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, do not punish us because we have done foolishly and have sinned. 
(Numbers 12:11 ESV)

Moses, a meek and godly man, cried out to God on Miriam's behalf.  Like Christ who pleaded, "Father, forgive them," Moses held no grudges against his sister or his brother.  It's more painful to be hurt and mocked by those in our family or in our close relationships, so Moses' example is a gracious one that we should follow.  We have no cause to punish those who sin against us.  Jesus paid the price for their sin; or if they are not saved, they will pay the price in eternity.  All we are called to do is to forgive.  

God did give Miriam a reprieve; she only had to suffer with the leprosy outside the camp for 7 days.  She would have had to present herself to her brother Aaron, the high priest, to be declared clean and be allowed back into the camp.  I would imagine it was a very humbling experience for both of them.

So what should we learn from these two stories?

1.  Don't mock God's prophets.  That principle carries through to the leaders in the Church that God has raised up to preach and to teach His word.  Be very careful what you say.  Teach your children to respect the Pastor and elders of your congregation.  Yes, they are sinners saved by grace, just as you are.  But they have been given a high calling and will one day give an account.  Honour them.

1 Timothy 5:17
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

2.  Our ways are not God's ways.  We likely wouldn't think of sending a she-bear out to tear up young men. But God knows what is best.  We do not know what damage would have been done if those mockers were allowed to live.  When we don't understand God's ways, we do well to remind ourselves that "as the heavens are high above the earth, so are His thoughts higher than our thoughts, and His ways higher than our ways."

3.  God is merciful.  He punishes and restores.  He rightly curses a source of water, but then causes His prophet to heal the spring with salt.  He rightly gives leprosy to a bitter woman, then causes His prophet to pray for her healing.  He will not always strive with us, nor will He be angry forever.  He forgives.

May we be like Him.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I was blessed today!

Blessed Is Everyone Who Fears the Lord

This is how they are blessed:

Psalm 128

1 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!

Notice that a person who fears the Lord
walks in his ways - obeys his commands.

 2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

PRODUCTIVITY  - the things you choose to do 
will be blessed; you'll be productive. 

PEACE - it will be well with you; 
even when times are hard, you'll have a settled peace.

 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;

PARTNER - growing, fruitful, alive;  
Your relationship with your wife will grow.

your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.

PROGENY - shoots grow off the main olive root;
They are alive, and growing, and producing.

 4 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the Lord.

 5 The Lord bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!

PROSPERITY - Your life will be blessed and 
you'll have influence on the town in which you live.

 6 May you see your children's children!

PERPETUITY - You'll see your grandchildren,
and perhaps your great-grandchildren, and if you teach
them to fear the Lord and walk in His ways, the blessings
will go on and on.

I personally have experienced all of the above.  I have known what it is to be productive, to plant gardens and have them yield plenty of healthy vegetables, to raise chickens and see them grow to plump, healthy birds that nourish our family.  I have seen my children learn and grow in knowledge and grace.  I've had a little influence in the lives of others who have witnessed me walking by faith.  I've known prosperity and perpetuity, as I see my grandchildren learning to love the Lord.

Today, I was blessed by an unexpected phone call from my married son.  Matthew called to tell me that he was doing his paperwork for his business, and in the process he and his wife were going through papers and came upon a box of memories I had passed along.  They were blessed as they read through his baby book and his calendar of the first year of his life.  Matt was astounded as he read his journals, written under orders from Mom, who made him write a journal every day.  He read the things he had written so many years ago, and it brought back vivid memories.  He called to thank me for MAKING him write things down.

What a blessing to hear that my efforts were not in vain.

Blessed are those who walk with the Lord.   They will be blessed with productivity as they give their days to God.  They will have peace in the midst of their busy days.  They will be a faithful partner to their spouse, and together they'll raise up progeny who will humble them and bless them beyond belief.  They'll experience prosperity, not just in riches, but in family and friends.  And this blessing will go on in perpetuity, as their children and their children's children fear the Lord also, and walk in His ways.

Peace be upon Israel!

Blessed is Everyone Who Fears the Lord!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Which Supper will You Attend?

We all enjoy getting an invitation to a special supper with friends, don't we?   Some day, you're going to be attending a supper spoken of in the book of Revelation, chapter 19.  That chapter is the inspiration for the great Hallelujah Chorus written by Handel and performed every year by countless choirs around Christmastime.  

It begins like this:

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out,
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,  2 for  his judgments are true and just;

His judgments are true and just.

If you read the chapter (and you should!) you'll discover that there's going to be an invitation to Supper.  Actually, there'll be TWO suppers, and you'll be invited to one or the other.  You're either attending the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, or The Great Supper of God.  Both will be a feast for someone.  Read Revelation 19 to find out what's on the menu.

Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.


Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead,  “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.” 
Even if you die before the great and terrible day of the Lord, the message is the same:  God's judgments are true and just.  You are accountable to Him.  You will one day stand before Him and give an account of your life, and you need to be thinking about that day.

Seek the Lord while He may be found.
If you seek Him, you will find Him, if you search for Him with all your heart.
What must I do to be saved?  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

If you want to know more, go here to read good news: The Gospel in a Nutshell.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

One of my most favourite things....

I just found out that a friend of mine in the online world is expecting a baby.  She's going to be 44 in a few days. Some would think she must be crazy to be delighted at the privilege of bringing a baby into this world when she's so OLD.  

She's not so old.

I was 44 when I carried Christopher under my heart for a very short time.  

Short, because he was born six weeks early.

But, just long enough, because he lived.

And I loved.

And I continue to love this wonderful, beautiful boy.  

There's nothing like bearing a child in your older years.  

Because of Christopher, I'm not only a Granny.  I am still a mommy.  I still get hugs every single day.  I still get "I LOVE you's", and smiles, and grins.  I get to teach him things and warn him about dangers and praise him when he does well and challenge him to do better.

I get to read his journals and laugh at his comments and marvel at his wit.

Oh, Jill, you don't know how good it will be.  Blessings on you, dear sister.  You are truly blessed among women.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dreaming in January

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth, --
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

  ~Dorothy Frances Blomfield Gurney

Here in the middle of January my thoughts are turning to spring.  I cannot wait to plant my seedlings and start the process of gardening again this year.  I want to put up a greenhouse to have a place to start earlier than my normal season allows.  I am reading seed catalogues, and dreaming.

But keeping it real:

John Bird, a labourer, lies here,
Who served the earth for sixty year
With spade and mattock, drill and plough; 
But never found it kind till now.

  ~Sylvia Townsend Warner

Weeds always proliferate around here.  Bugs are aplenty, too.

Ever the optimist, I don't care.  I look forward to spring with much anticipation!

Behold in the bloom of apples
And the violets in the sward*
A hint of the old, lost beauty
Of the Garden of the Lord!

~John Greenleaf Whittier

*turf or grass

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's Not Love Any Other Way

Wonder is the basis of worship.  ~Thomas Carlyle

Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out.  He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice.  Job 37:23

Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God.  The more we know Him, the more we will desire to know Him.  As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him.  ~Brother Lawrence


Well don’t say “goodbye,” don’t say “hello”
We’re just standing on the surface
Don’t say “alright,” don’t say “I know”
Well I promise it’s not worth it
Well I wanna know who you are
Even if you’re falling apart
I reach in and touch your scars
And all the shame you’ve kept in your heart

‘Cause it’s not enough, it’s not enough
Just to say that we’re “okay”
I need your hurt and I need your pain
It’s not love any other way

So let’s not pretend, stop your parade
Trying to convince me
That you’re alright and everything’s okay
Yeah, do you even know me?
‘Cause I already know who you are
And all the things that kept us apart
So reach in and touch my scars
And know the price I paid for your heart

That it’s not enough, it’s not enough
Just to say that you're “okay”
I need your hurt and I need your pain
It’s not love any other way

A broken and contrite heart
I will not despise, come as you are
And I won’t close my eyes
I won’t close my eyes
I won’t close my eyes
I won’t close my eyes

‘Cause it’s not enough, it’s not enough
Just to say that we’re “okay”
I need your hurt and I need your pain
It’s not love any other way

‘Cause it’s not enough, it’s not enough
Just to say that we’re “okay”
Well you need my hurt
You needed my pain
It’s not love any other way
It's not love any other way
Yeah, it's not love any other way

Monday, January 10, 2011


Our daughter foolishly did something last month that resulted in a severed tendon in her forefinger.  Not good.  She's a mom; a piano player; a busy person who needs all of her fingers.

The doc who did the surgery warned her to be very, very careful to keep the brace on and the finger extended at all times.  It was a one-time deal.  If it didn't work, there was no second chance.

Imagine her horror when she woke up the night she got the new brace and found it had come off while she was sleeping!  She figured her finger would be useless for the rest of her life.  She was resigned to her fate.  She even did research to find instruments that are designed to hold the knuckles in place so the finger can be used a bit.

Today, we went to see the surgeon, expecting the worst.

He got her to take of the splint, and move her finger down, then slowly up.

It worked.

IT WORKED!  The finger has movement, and the doc is very positive.  If she is careful and does the stretching she is supposed to do, she should have full range of motion in a couple of months!

Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.

My daughter didn't deserve this mercy.  She acted foolishly, and deserved the consequence of a useless finger.

But God didn't think so.

God healed that finger, I have no doubt.   

Isaiah 63:7 

The Lord's Mercy Remembered
I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Vocabulary Lesson

John MacArthur is brilliant, it goes without saying.  He has studied and communicated God's Word as a pastor and writer for many decades.  I am truly enjoying my Christmas Present from Linda - The Jesus You Can't Ignore, by John MacArthur.

He uses big, beautiful, intelligent words.  Words that send me to the dictionary.


As a matter of fact, the whole theme of the Sermon on the Mount was a critique of the Pharisees' religion.  He condemned their doctrine; their phony approach to practical holiness; their pedantic style of Scripture twisting; and their smug overconfidence.  p. 129

I wasn't sure what pedantic meant.  I knew that "ped" is the Latin word for foot; I also knew that "pedagogy" is to do with the teaching of children.

The word pedant, according to Webster's, is one who emphasizes trivial points of learning... A narrow-minded teacher who insists on exact adherence to rules.

The Pharisees certainly did that.   Jesus accused them of straining at gnats and swallowing camels.  

The question is, do you do the same?  Do you insist on exact adherence to rules in a narrow-minded manner?  (Moms can fall into this behaviour fairly easily, simply by being a parent who is teaching children.  Rules are an inevitable method of dealing with a bunch of rowdy little ones. But rules are not all there is.  There must be room for grace.)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stepping on Toes

I am reading "The Jesus You Can't Ignore" by John MacArthur.  It's subtitled "What you must learn from the bold confrontations of Christ."  It's well worth reading, as it gives a clear picture of the many interactions Jesus engaged in with the spiritual leaders of His day.

I'll never look at the midnight interview with Nicodemus in quite the same way again.  After reading how Jesus confronted Nicodemus and implicated him as an unbeliever (this was clear to Nicodemus) I realize that Jesus didn't pull any punches. Instead, He deliberately stepped on Nicodemus' toes.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.  If I have told you eartly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"

John MacArthur writes,

"To post-modernized ears, that sounds extraordinarily harsh.  Contemporary evangelicals typically bristle at the thought of challenging anyone's profession of faith.  Religious television networks are overrun with teachers who profess to be Chrsitians but whose doctrine and lifestyle show no real fruit of salvation.  People like that have flourished and even begun to dominate the non-Christian public's perception of what Christianity is, mainly because more sound and solid evangelical leaders are reluctant to call them by name and say plainly that they are charlatans and false teachers.  To oppose another minister publicly just doesn't seem "nice."  The thought of being perceived as harsh or negative is more odious to some Christians than actually being undiscerning.  So false teachers are given free reign to promote their false teachings and flaunt their extravagant lifestyles."

But Jesus effectively said to Nicodemus, "You don't know what you are talking about! You ought not to be sitting on your high horse in the place of Moses - Instead you should be placing yourself with the sinning Israelites who needed to look at the serpent to live! "

Nicodemus needed to recognize his spiritual poverty and see his need for a Saviour.  He may have been a Pharisee with the honour and respect of his fellow Jews, but his situation was desperate.  Jesus ended His discourse with Nicodemus by bringing the emphasis right back to the problem of human depravity.

John 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Jesus gave Nicodemus a smack-down because He cared more for the truth than He cared how Nicodemus felt about it. 

We, too, should be telling the truth.  We ought to care more for the truth than caring more about how the people we love feel about the truth. 

We know that Nicodemus was eventually drawn to the True Light and became a genuine believer.  He and Joseph of Arimathea prepared the Saviour's body for burial - an act that could have cost him everything. 

Jesus wasn 't NICE to Nicodemus.  He told him the truth. 

John MacArthur writes,

Jesus knew something evangelicals today often forget:  Truth doesn't defeat error by waging a public relations campaign.  The struggle between truth and error is spiritual warfare, and truth has no way to defeat falsehood except by exposing and refuting lies and false teaching.  That calls for candour and clarity, boldness and precision -- and sometimes more severity than congeniality.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Poetry by my Daughter

Linda is a thinker and a writer.  She blesses me.  I am posting her poems here for my own sake, so I can easily read them again when I want to.  I hope you'll be blessed, too, as you read these poems.  You can click on the titles to go to her blog and comment if you so desire.

Their Source

I screamed for peace to fill my wants;
Got only silence in response.
I wept for love to lift me up;
Disappointment filled my cup.
I wanted joy and nothing less;
Receiving only bitterness,
I wept, and wept, and wept; and then
Met up with the Son of Man
Finding Him, I've found it all,
Peace and Love and Joy in full.
Found by Him, and called His own,
I rest in the grace He's shown.

I Stand Ashamed

I lie ashamed before the King
In misery and endless grief
Every accusation stings
My soul; I can find no relief.

I kneel accused before the throne
But my Defender, speaking up,
Proclaims His goodness as my own
And takes my sin; He drinks my cup.

I stand as that grace takes its toll
But the accuser wants to fight
He demands to see my record whole
He claims it is his solemn right.

My Defender gives it him;
"Read at will," is what He said.
The records are in no way slim:
My heart is filled with sudden dread.

What is hidden from that book?
What unrecorded message hides?
None! Every action, every look
And thought and word besides:

All my wrongs are written there
All my sins for all to see!
It almost is too much to bear;
He opens it; he seeks to read.

The accuser stands in silence though,
His mouth is shut, his face gone white.
He slams the book with violence now,
And shouts with every form of spite.

"I would accuse," said he, "with pride
If the words could but be read;
But every single dot inside
Is covered over with blood red!"

My Defender gives a smile.
"If only you had understood.
You accuse, yet all the while
Her sins are covered with My blood.

"My sacrifice has paid her price;
You have no case, it is all done.
She is not yours, though you entice.
She is mine, and I have won."

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now...

I Wrote This... the beginning of the year, and I don't think I ever shared it here.
Yea, that was a bit of a rhyme. I'm awesome like that - all the time.


Morning Star

"Suspended in the morning sky
A star shines light, with radiant face;
I see it and I'm filled with joy,
Contemplating grace.

The Hand which made that star shine bright
Holds me close with tender care.
'Tis haunting: I am His delight
And I find comfort there."

Another Attempt at Poetry..or a Song?

While the idea of God's eternal, unending, unchanging love is easy enough to accept intellectually, sometimes it's more difficult to actually believe it. To accept it. That's why it's so important to preach the gospel to yourself; we (at least I) fall back on the idea that we can do things on our own, perform to the tune of legalism, and earn our own merit; the hard truth is, we can't.
The great truth is, He already did. God loves you. Jesus died for you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Don't believe the lies, especially the ones from within, that whisper "you're not good enough. You have so many problems. You failed again." All of these things are true.

But none of them matter.

God matters. And God has declared you righteous. He looks on you with His face full of love and says "You, my child, are perfect to me."

Breaking On My Own

I’m falling even further
Than I ever fell before
Looking through this blackness
For a glimmer of hope
I can’t believe I broke so fast
I’ll never be the same
And in the midst of suffering
I call out Your name

I’m breaking on my own
I can’t do this alone
And even though I’ve tried
I know that I
Can’t do it myself

Why does it take a stab of pain
To make me realize
I've always been this mess of junk
I still believe the lies
I am not as in control
As I would like to be
I need Your voice to bring me back
Lord, You must set me free

I’m breaking on my own
I can’t do this alone
And even though I've tried
I know that I
Can’t do it myself

Draw me to Your arms again
Remove the chains that bind me
Take the guilt I feel right now
In my weakness You find me

I’m breaking on my own
I try to do this alone
Lord, You can set me free
You wash me clean and white
You give Your righteousness to me
You say I’m Your delight

You put me back together
Your patience has no lack
And even though I am still marred
Your love shines through the cracks

I’m broken on my own
I know I can’t do this alone
You never left me
You set me free
I live by Your grace

You have made me whole
I love You more and more
I’m breaking on my own...
But no; I’m not alone

Before and After?

I wrote this because I was thinking about the time before Christ, and afterward, and the stark difference between the two. (As a side theological note: by the final line I don't mean that Christians no longer sin - but "I am not what I once was"....) Thoughts?


Flailing sorrows, empty words
Swarming over me in hordes
Will this torture never cease?
I am lost; I can't find peace.

Taking painful remedies
That only strengthen the disease
I kill myself; and yet I claim
That I am not the one to blame.


Pointing fingers; ruined lives
All the while my sickness thrives
To break me down, delude, enslave
Until I meet an early grave.

This lie that cuts straight to the heart
This burden has become an art.
I am an expert at this life
Of death and war, of pain and strife.


Where is hope among my being? this mercy that I'm seeing,
Wondrous love outpouring here
Consuming me; it draws me near
And I find rest: At last! At last!

So now my former Self is past.

I'm going against every particle of my being by posting this. I don't do well with showing people my poetry.

How sweet the broken, blistered feet
Of those who spread the gospel pure!
Where blood, and dust, and sorrow meet
Where love is clear, and faith is sure;

Where tears despairing, happy tears,
Or tears of trials far and near
Come together through the years
To stop and be collected here.

Our God is just; He knows our frame
That we are dust, that we are frail-
Our God is here, so we proclaim
The Good News: Onward, without fail!

Fear not the wicked Enemy;
Proclaim the truth with a brave will!
To be sure he is a flea
He can harass, but never kill.

What harm that God decrees to bring
Will come to pass, from Him above
But know that even suffering
Is ordered by His steadfast love.

God is with you as you speak
About His grace, the Gospel true
Encouragement is what you seek:
Be encouraged! He's with you.