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O God, Our Help In Ages Past

O God, Our Help In Ages Past

1 O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

2 Under the shadow of thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is thine arm alone,
And our defence is sure.

3 Before the hills in order stood,
Or earth receiv'd her frame,
From everlasting thou art God,
To endless years the same.

4 Thy word commands our flesh to dust,
'Return, ye sons of men':
All nations rose from earth at first,
And turn to earth again.

5 A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

6 The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
With all their lives and cares,
Are carried downwards by thy flood,
And lost in following years.

7 Time like an ever-rolling stream
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

8 Like flowering fields the nations stand
Pleas'd with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mower's hand
Lie withering ere 'tis night.

9 Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

Lyrics by Issac Watts
Music by William Croft

Posted with prayers for the believers in Malatya.


April 29, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Praying for the Persecuted Church

A letter to the Global Church from The Protestant Church of Smyrna

Dear friends,

This past week has been filled with much sorrow. Many of you have
heard by now of our devastating loss here in an event that took place
in Malatya, a Turkish province 300 miles northeast of Antioch, the
city where believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).

On Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007, 46 year old German missionary
and father of three Tilman Geske prepared to go to his office, kissing
his wife goodbye taking a moment to hug his son and give him the
priceless memory, "Goodbye, son. I love you."

Tilman rented an office space from Zirve Publishing where he was
preparing notes for the new Turkish Study Bible. Zirve was also the
location of the Malatya Evangelist Church office. A ministry of the
church, Zirve prints and distributes Christian literature to Malatya
and nearby cities in Eastern Turkey. In another area of town, 35 year
old Pastor Necati Aydin, father of two, said goodbye to his wife,
leaving for the office as well. They had a morning Bible Study and
prayer meeting that some other believers in town would also be
attending. Ugur Yuksel likewise made his way to the Bible study.

None of these three men knew that what awaited them at the Bible study
was the ultimate testing and application of their faith, which would
conclude with their entrance into glory to receive their crown of
righteousness from Christ and honor from all the saints awaiting them
in the Lord's presence.

On the other side of town, ten young men all under 20 years old put
into place final arrangements for their ultimate act of faith, living
out their love for Allah and hatred of infidels who they felt
undermined Islam.

On Resurrection Sunday, five of these men had been to a
by-invitation-only evangelistic service that Pastor Necati and his men
had arranged at a hotel conference room in the city. The men were
known to the believers as "seekers."

No one knows what happened in the hearts of those men as they listened to the
gospel. Were they touched by the Holy Spirit? Were they convicted of sin? Did
they hear the gospel in their heart of hearts? Today we only have the beginning
of their story.

These young men, one of whom is the son of a mayor in the Province of
Malatya, are part of a tarikat, or a group of "faithful believers" in
Islam. Tarikat membership is highly respected here; it's like a
fraternity membership. In fact, it is said that no one can get into
public office without membership in a tarikat.

These young men all lived in the same dorm, all preparing for university
entrance exams. The young men got guns, breadknives, ropes and towels
ready for their final act of service to Allah. They knew there would
be a lot of blood. They arrived in time for the Bible Study, around 10

The rest of the letter is below the fold. Be aware it include sensitive, graphic information.

Continue reading "Praying for the Persecuted Church"


April 28, 2007  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Coffee with the Guys

Here we are at a local coffee shop, me and my two oldest boys. J9 is drinking a white chocolate mocha and reading a book about drawing comics, T8 is drinking iced coffee, light ice, heavy whip, and finishing HP4 and I'm drinking an extra-caffeinated blended coffee and finishing some homework on the laptop. It's peaceful. And it is amazing to have transitioned to a time in our family life in which we can hang out at a coffee shop and talk and read and just be together. . .


April 27, 2007  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Gary Ezzo: Philosopher?

Over at AwareParent.Net, is an interesting post about Gary Ezzo's philosophy and theology. Click here to read the full post, and feel free to comment (registration there is quick and painless.)

My wife and I have just recently completed Gary Ezzo's Growing Kids God's Way course. We learned of it through a couple in our church, for whom the couse manual is like a second Bible and Ezzo the Vicar of Christ on earth (forget the pope!). Of course, I'm exaggerating; but my satirical comments capture something of the tone of the course. My wife talked me into signing up, though I had reservations about the course because of its immodest title. My fears were quickly confirmed after I read Ezzo's introduction and sat through a couple of weeks of videos. I'll make my general concern about the course as explicit as I can in what follows:

I am deeply troubled by the brand of virtue ethics espoused by Ezzo. I am pursuing a career as a philosopher of religion, so I know something about this stuff. Growing Kids God's Way appears to be heavily influenced by Aristotle's thought on the essence of the human being (the "rational animal") and the ethical direction of human nature. In itself, this is not a bad thing - Christian theology and philosophy has, indeed, been influenced by Greek thought over numerous centuries. What troubles me is not the use of Greek categories per se, but the direction in which Ezzo's theology takes virtue ethics - a direction that I think is dismally unbiblical.

. . .

I want to be clear about one thing first: I am not accusing Gary Ezzo of uncritically adopting Greek virtue ethics. One thing that I find on both sides of the unfortunately polemically named "Ezzo debate" is a lot of lack of attention to careful details in the other side's position. What I am claiming here is that Ezzo's theological "system", if we can call it that, leans dangerously close to an unbiblical or extrabiblical account of human nature. The practical consequences of this theoretical fact, I think, are that Ezzo relies too much on the power of self-discipline and structure in the formation of human character to the exclusion of grace. I would even go so far as to say that his theological system is a sort of natural or rational theology window dressed with some hand-picked passages of Scripture that best fit the fundamental philosophical needs of the program.

Read the rest here.

I'm still reading, digesting, considering the points raised here. Your thoughts?


April 26, 2007  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Reading Circle for Moms

The Reading Circle at Mothering By Grace finished Watership Down not long ago. Now we're gearing up to discuss Becky Bailey's book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline.

Honestly, the name of this book has always gotten on my nerves. Though I've started reading it several times, I haven't yet finished it. I'm looking forward to reading and discussing it with other mothers, evaluating the ideas both in light of the Bible and practicality.

Feel free to join us! The discussion starts this coming Monday, April 23. I've found the book at my local library, as well as new at Amazon and used at Half.com.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2


April 19, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




I've been feeling nostalgic the past couple of weeks. Maybe that's not such a surprise, seeing all the Ukraine related posts I've written lately. It just dawned on me, however, that today is our 2 year anniversary of being back in the U.S. Two years ago, April 16, 2005, we arrived back in Florida after three and a half years in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The transition back was difficult, perhaps made harder because we left Ukraine just so wiped out. The past couple of months I've said to Hubby, "I miss Kyiv. I could live in Kyiv again." Six months ago, I could envision living in Ukraine again--but not Kyiv. Too many shadows. Now, they seem to have dissipated. Who knows? Who knows whether in the future, God's path for us will lead back to Kyiv? Right now it doesn't seem likely. But, maybe. . . I do trust that the Lord will lead us in the next step--and the next--and the next. Even though I have no idea where or when or what that may bring.

Still, I've been very sentimental, wistful, missing people and places, routines, ways of living. . . Missing Ukraine. And I'm thankful the Lord has brought me to this place of nostalgia, past the fear that clouded so much of our transition time.


April 16, 2007  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink






April 15, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Гагарин, я Вас любила

Гагарин, я Вас любила

Он обернулся простой такой
И белозубый, незнакомый,
Пригладил волосы рукой,
Пока еще не сведен оскомой
Добрый-добрый рот его,
Нежной-нежной щетиной рыжей
Касался, пусть бы был никто,
Прощай, прощай, родной, бесстыжий.

Жизнь била, била, да.
Жизнь крыла спалила
Гагарин, я Вас любила.

Не знал он после, как долго я
Плыла осколком его медали,
И в спину била его струя,
И жал он молча свои педали.

Больно-больно потом упал,
Расшибился. Из-под обломков
Извлек себя и начертал
По фюзеляжу златой иголкой.

Жизнь била, била, да.
Жизнь крыла спалила
Гагарин, я Вас любила

Как будто правда, что Млечный Путь
Господь спустил ему на лампасы
Его погоны горят, как ртуть,
Он так прекрасен, что нас колбасит.
Белым светом наполнен он,
Добрый, славный себе смеется,
Душа его, как полигон,
Ему светло и ей поется

Жизнь била, била, да.
Жизнь крыла спалила
Гагарин, я Вас любила


This is one of my favorite pop songs from when we lived in Ukraine. Jen reminded me of it recently, and now I have the words and tune going through my head. The main line is Gagarin, I loved you, referring to cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. I found the words, but so far I haven't been able to find an online clip of the song. If anyone finds it, will you give me the link?

Listen to "Gagarin" by Underwood here.


April 14, 2007  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Ann Barlow's Crustless Quiche

Annie's Crustless Savory Quiche

3 eggs
1 3 oz. package cream cheese
1 12 oz. carton small curd cottage cheese
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cooked chopped ham
2 T. minced green onion
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a 9 inch pie plate. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat egs. Beat in cream cheese, cottage cheese and butter until almost smooth.
4. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Stir in egg mixture until thoroughly blended. Beat in milk. Pour into prepared pie plate.
5. Sprinkle with cheese and ham. Sprinkle with green onions and mushrooms.
6. Bake 30-40 minutes.

(This quiche is good and very easy. I actually make the whole thing in my cuisinart and it turns out really well.)

Happy eating!

This was super-yummy, my boys loved it, and we're adding it to our regular rotation. I copied this here for convenience--however, Annie's blog has great recipes posted regularly.


April 14, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Sarasota Film Festival

Last year we had a great time at the Sarasota Film Festival's KidsFest and were privileged to attend the opening of Hoot, based on Carl Hiaasen's first kids' novel. It was a blast, and felt good to be part of one of Sarasota's annual cultural celebrations.

This year's film festival is underway and it looks like we'll be missing all of the major events and movies, even the BayBlast children's fest. Hopefully we'll at least get to go to a Midnight Movie.

I still want to frame this year's poster for Hubby. It's really odd--I can't find an image of the poster online. The pic below is one I took downtown. I found the poster at the SFF office downtown, the boys and I bought one, and immediately bought a frame, brought it home and surprised Hubby! It looks great hanging in the kitchen-office, and coordinates with the posters of rock concerts we scavenged in Athens.

2007-04-15 Florida 034.jpg


April 13, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Baby Wearers! Win An Ergo!

I have a friend who is pregnant and I reallyreallyreally want to give her a carrier for babywearing. Some friends have compiled a list of resources for helping her learn more about babywearing and choosing what type of carrier she'd like.

And then Kristen alerted me to an opportunity to win an Ergo! While I've never used an Ergo, I have friends who love theirs. . . So, if I win, I have a new mama to give this front/back carrier.


April 13, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Hubby Waxes Lyrical

Hubby wrote a lighthearted poem for me today. He loves me.

Presidents write decrees;
And Pontiffs issue bulls.
Despots love their fiats;
And Executives make their rules.

But my love reigns by subtler means;
They’re impossible to question.
And thus it is I live my life,
‘neath the tyranny of “suggestion.”



April 09, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Christ is Risen!

Trembling for joy cries all creation;
What is this mystery, so great and new?
The Lord has risen from among the dead,
And Death itself He crushed with valiant foot.
Behold the cruel tyrant bound and chained,
And man made free by Him who rose!

--Melito of Sardis

He is risen, indeed!


April 08, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Heart, Rejoice! At Our Redemption!

I think I mentioned I've been listening to the Humanity, Christ & Redemption series. Oh, wow--today I heard lecture 26. If you need something to drive your heart to worship, prepare for Easter, or renew your commitment to grace in parenting, THIS is an amazing lecture.


April 04, 2007  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pray for Peace in Ukraine

I don't really know what is going on. . . one of the difficult things about living on this side of the pond.

However, my friend in Kherson e-mailed me to alert me about the political unrest, especially in Kyiv.

It makes me cry. I know that some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. And though the Lord worked mightily in the winter of '04-'05, still much of that was political and not spiritual--so why am I surprised at the recent events?

Please pray for Ukraine.

More info:
From Neeka
From our friend Dan
From Homeward Bound


April 03, 2007  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Images of Easter in Ukraine

These are some images from my teammate in Ukraine, Little Mrs. Reformed, showing the pysanky and paska that were so common in the this time of year in Ukraine.

Writing Pysanky.jpg




My mom with special eggs from Ukraine.


April 02, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Making Memories and Pysanky

Each spring in Ukraine, several of us American women would get together with a Nadiya, an artist who focused on traditional folk art mixed with modern media, for an afternoon of writing pysanky eggs. It is meditative to sit, work, create together.

On Easter itself, we would see people with krashanky (solid-dyed, usually red, hard boiled eggs) and paska (a decorative, holiday bread) in baskets, bringing them to be blessed by the priests.

I miss Ukraine, and the seasonal changes and traditions. Even when traditions were not my own, they became part of the rhythm of our lives.

This year the boys and I will cook hard-boiled eggs. We will decorate them, and every red egg will remind me of babushka and Ukraine.

(Lil' Miss or Laura or Dawn. . . if you are reading this, do you have any photos of making pysanky together?)


April 02, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 10

Q. 10. How did God create man?

A. God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.

after his own image
Genesis 1:27

in knowledge
Colossians 3:10

righteousness, and holiness
Ephesians 4:24

dominion over the creatures
Genesis 1:28, Psalm 8.

(via OPC/CRTA)


April 01, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



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