Love Them Fiercely

More for the mommy-inspiration files, from Kim at Upward Call. I asked her if I could share this here, because it wasn't originally posted on her blog or written with mothers in mind. Instead, these were ideas she was mulling and had in mind for a younger group of Believers, those who are not yet parents. Still these were the words I needed to read and again turned my heart towards Christ and my children.

As a parent, I have learned a lot. As a parent, I have re-visited how I was parented and how I behaved as a child. Of course, sin mars all we do, and there were mistakes I made as a child that I wish I could erase. While Christ has forgiven me for them, they remain in my memory.

It is the same thing with being a parent. I am sure that someday, I will have even more regrets than I do already for things done and not done.

One thing I can say, however, in encouragement to you who have yet to be parents is this: encourage your children.

There is nothing more devestating than being a child who never gets any encouragement for what he does. Some parents will tell all their friends how wonderful their children are, but will never tell the child to her face. Some parents are full of criticism, condemnation, and rules that have no rational explanation, and the kid never know which way is up. I know that I have not always been encouraging as a parent. I need to daily, verbally, emotionally, and even with a hug, encourage my kids.

Kids who grow up with no encouragement may become people who don't encourage. Kids who grow up with unmerciful, legalistic rules may become unmerciful, legalistic people. I have been married long enough to know how difficult it is to shed the baggage from my childhood. Sometimes, without meaning to, we simply mimick parenting we received. Now, if it's good parenting, that's one thing, but all too often we repeat the mistakes of our parents. We need to pray to God for deliverance from ungodly parenting ways.

So, young people, when you become parents -- and that is not all that far in the future, you know; just think how fast the past ten years have gone and you will realize how fast the next ten are going to go -- ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN. Tell them when they've done well. Discipline them IN LOVE AND WITH MERCY when they make mistakes. And love them fiercely.

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May 04, 2008  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

I John - Bible Study Resources

This past Wednesday, I went to a women's Bible study. It's the first one I've been to in several years. In part because other studies have been held at a very difficult time for me to attend, and in part because I don't want to take the time to attend a book study. While there are some excellent Christian living and learning books published, if I go to a Bible study then I really do want to study the Bible. (Though, I also do appreciate other get together with women of the church for getting to know one another.)

So this women's Bible study is going through the book of I John. Since I won't be able to attend every week, I want to set aside extra time for personal study and meditation. I've found a site from which to download an audio version for my MP3 player. I think the boys and I are also going to read through it a few times together (and perhaps use it for some memory work?)


I John 1 - 5, ESV, Text

I John, WEB, Audio

I John, KJV, Audio

Poythress on Biblical Interpretation

Thomas Boston's Useful Directions

Metachoi's Short Course in Hermeneutics

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April 28, 2008  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Reading Ebenezer

If you haven't been keeping reading Dr. Camille Lewis's Ebenezer blog series, it's not too late to catch up. The story of God's grace and faithfulness is wrapped in the narrative of her mothering and academic journeys.



The series isn't finished yet--I'll add the rest of the links as they are published. Grab a cup of coffee and take some time to read and reflect.

Update 3/24/08: Added links to the final chapters in this story of remembrance of God's faithfulness. It takes time to read through and absorb, but those who do take that time -- I know that you will be challenged and encouraged.

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March 24, 2008  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Христос воскрес! Воистину воскрес!


Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can be born again
Hear the bells ringing
They're singing Christ is risen from the dead

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the word, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah

Hear the bells ringing
They're singing that you can
be healed right now
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing
Christ, He will reveal it now

The angels, they all surround us
And they are ministering Jesus' power
Quickly now, reach out and receive it
For this could be your glorious hour

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah, hallelujah

The angel up on the tombstone
Said He has risen, just as He said
Quickly now, go tell his disciples
That Jesus Christ is no longer dead

Joy to the world, He has risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
He's risen, hallelujah
Hallelujah!

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March 23, 2008  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

O Sacred Heart Now Wounded


But Jesus know -- there was no other way. All the poison of sin was going to have to go into his own heart. God was going to pour into Jesus' heart all the sadness and brokenness in people's hearts. He was going to pour into Jesus' body all the sickness in people's bodies. God was going to have to blame his Son for everything that had gone wrong. It would crush Jesus.

But there was something else, something even more horrible. When people ran away from God, they lost God -- it was what happened when they ran away. Not being close to God was like a punishment. Jesus was going to take that punishment.

Jesus know what that meant. He was going to lose his Father -- and that, Jesus knew, would break his heart in two.

. . .

The full force of the storm of God's fierce anger at sin was coming down. On his own Son. Instead of his people. It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.

Then Jesus shouted out in a loud voice, "It is finished!"

And it was. He had done it. Jesus had rescued the whole world.


(As told in the Jesus Storybook Bible)


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March 22, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Iniquity of Us All



The blood remains as red
That colours our spirits white
The blood remains as warm
That paints black skies with fire
...
But clouds are round about You...
And shadows veil Your eyes
...
The Ghost is ever sure
Who holds tight for precious life
The blood remains as rich
That poor sinners drink like wine
The blood remains as warm
That paints black skies with fire


"But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. . .

"[T]here followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'. . .

"And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!". . .

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last."


Remembering.


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March 21, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Prayer of St. Patrick

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ's incarnation,
his baptism in the Jordan river,
his death on cross for my salvation,
his bursting from the spiced tomb,
his riding up the heavenly way,
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun's lifegiving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need,
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward,
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin,
the vice that gives temptation force,
the natural lusts that war within,
the hostile men that mar my course -
or few or many, far or nigh,
in every place, and in all hours,
against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
against false words of heresy,
against the knowledge that defiles,
against the heart's idolatry,
against the wizard's evil craft,
against the death-wound and the burning,
the choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
protect me, Christ, till thy returning.

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three,
of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation:
salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Amen.


Attributed to St Patrick c 389 - 461

Of course, being the good Presbyterians we are, along with singing Be Thou My Vision the boys wore orange.

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March 17, 2008  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Branches of Palm Trees and Hosannas

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out,

"Hosanna!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,
even the King of Israel!"

And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

"Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!"

His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.

The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, "You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him."

from John 12

Hosanna, hosanna. . .blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!


Today we read the passage of the Triumphal Entry from each of the Gospels. Less than a week after this mass recognition that Jesus was sent from God, he was rejected and crucified.

The boys asked, "Why?" Why did the people crucify Him so soon after proclaiming He was sent from God?

As we talked, we recognized that all of us have the tendency to both recognize God and reject God. That sinfulness in our heart will want to reject the Lord, even though we KNOW he is Lord.

And we prayed. And repented.

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March 16, 2008  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Whate'er My God Ordains Is Right

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Holy His will abideth.
I will be still whate’er He does,
And follow where He guideth.
He is my God,
Though dark my road.
He holds me that I shall not fall
Wherefore to Him I leave it all

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
He never will deceive me
He leads me by the proper path,
I know He will not leave me
I take, content,
What He hath sent
His hand can turn my griefs away
And patiently I wait His day

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Though now this cup in drinking
May bitter seem to my faint heart,
I take it all unshrinking
My God is true,
Each morn anew
Sweet comfort yet shall fill my heart
And pain and sorrow shall depart

Whate’er my God ordains is right,
Here shall my stand be taken
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
Yet I am not forsaken
My Father’s care
Is round me there
He holds me that I shall not fall
And so to Him I leave it all


This is the prayer of my soul, along with Anne, Kristen and Camille.

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March 14, 2008  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Nourishment to my Soul

This week I've been listening to Tim Keller's sermon series The Trouble with Christianity: Why it's so Hard to Believe it. These sermons have been so nourishing to my soul, especially the ones on doubt and suffering. This preaching is so basic and Christ-focused, but not at all simplistic. Listening drives my heart to worship our God.


Exclusivity: How can there be just one true religion?
1 John 4:1-10

Suffering: If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world?
1 Peter 1:3-12

Absolutism: Don't we all have to find truth for ourselves?
Galatians 2:4-16

Injustice: Hasn't Christianity been an instrument for oppression?
James 2:1-17

Hell: Isn't the God of Christianity an angry Judge?
Luke 16:19-31

Doubt: What should I do with my doubts?
John 20:1-18

Literalism: Isn't the Bible historically unreliable and regressive?
Luke 1:1-4; 24:13-32

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March 02, 2008  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Sealing My Heart

Come, thou Fount of ev'ry blessing,
Tune my heart to sing thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise,
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wand'ring from the fold of God:
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be;
Let that grace now, like a fetter,
Bind my wand'ring heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.

This hymn has been a reverberating theme this week in my heart, my life, my online interactions. So it seemed very fitting that it was part of the worship singing at church this morning. Tune my heart to sing thy grace. . .

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February 24, 2008  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Sola Scriptura and the Value of Books

"[Christians] often hear and repeat, “My Bible is all I need.” And while I understand and affirm the sentiment that God’s Word is well. . . . GOD’s WORD, the expression is full of hubris. It’s not that God’s Word is incomplete or inaccurate or insufficient. We are. It’s the old four blind men and the elephant problem. If that Eastern example doesn’t do it for you, there’s always good ol’ Francis Bacon. In sum, idols distract us. We’re blinded by our infirmed humanity (idols of the tribe), our idiosyncratic personhood (idols of the cave), our reified culture (idols of the marketplace), and our inadequate education (idols of the theatre). One way of seeing around those idols that stand in our way of understanding God’s Wor(l)d is through a iron-sharpening looking outside of ourselves. Otherwise, we just see ourselves in Scripture instead of seeing God. That’s why God gave us the Church — to edify each other and point out our blindspots. We’re not islands unto ourselves. Or we shouldn’t be!"

--Camille Lewis

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February 22, 2008  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Here I Raise My Ebenezer

I encourage everyone--mothers, fathers, Believers, everyone--to take the time to thoughtfully read through Camille Lewis's second part of a journey in grace and faithfulness.

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February 15, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Why I Study Psychology and Theology


Nearly all the wisdom we possess -- almost everything we know -- can be summed up under the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves.

--John Calvin

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January 31, 2008  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Shepherd of My Heart

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

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January 30, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Tender Shepherd

Saviour, like a Shepherd lead us,
Much we need thy tend'rest care;
In thy pleasant pastures feed us,
For our use thy folds prepare:
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
Thou hast bought us, thine we are.

We are thine; do thou befriend us,
Be the Guardian of our way;
Keep thy flock, from sin defend us,
Seek us when we go astray:
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
Hear the children when they pray.

Thou hast promised to receive us,
Poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us,
Grace to cleanse, and pow'r to free:
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
Let us early turn to thee.

Early let us seek thy favor;
Early let us do thy will;
Blessed Lord and only Saviour,
With thy love our bosoms fill
Blessed Jesus, blessed Jesus,
Thou hast loved us, love us still.

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January 27, 2008  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Meditation


Peace I leave with you,
my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth,
give I unto you.

Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid.


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January 22, 2008  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Comfort

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives triumphant from the grave,
He lives eternally to save,
He lives all glorious in the sky,
He lives exalted there on high.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart
.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly Friend,
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while He lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!

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January 19, 2008  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Psalms of Thanksgiving: Psalm 100

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

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November 22, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Psalms of Thanksgiving: Psalm 30

Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

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November 21, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Psalms of Thanksgiving: Psalm 65

Psalm 65

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
the holiness of your temple!

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;
you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
you provide their grain,
for so you have prepared it.
You water its furrows abundantly,
settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
and blessing its growth.
You crown the year with your bounty;
your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
the hills gird themselves with joy,
the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
the valleys deck themselves with grain,
they shout and sing together for joy.

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November 20, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Psalms of Thanksgiving: Psalm 24

Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah

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November 19, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Psalms of Thanksgiving: Psalm 34

Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.


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November 18, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Psalms of Thanksgiving: Psalm 67

Psalm 67

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you!

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!

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November 17, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Psalms of Thanksgiving: Psalm 111

Psalm 111

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.

Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.

He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

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November 16, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Hubby Update

I've been so amazed and humbled at the outpouring of concern, prayers, and support from people online and in real life. I've been hesitant to share details until we have a diagnosis--which we still do not have. Of the four most likely scenarios initially presented by the doctor, the three mildest have been ruled out. The fourth and most serious, while not completely ruled out, was not confirmed by a clinical exam and next Friday Hubby will do some more medical testing that may take it off the table. That is our hope, though. . . it could still be a possibility. At that point, it is possible Hubby and his doc will be back to square one, as to evaluating the most likely causes for the symptoms he's been having.

Overall, though, we are at a place emotionally and spiritually where we were not two weeks ago--just being in the moment, taking each day, being hopeful, not speculating. . . Physically, Hubby's symptoms are still presenting, his energy is low. . . His thesis advisor has okayed a break from his research, and when we get a diagnosis, we'll evaluate the next step. He's still homeschooling the boys, though we're relying upon workbooks more than before.

The past few weeks I've been doing okay--and then this week, I've just been worn out and fell apart a few times emotionally. (Hence, the long delay in updating y'all. I just. . . couldn't.) I went to sleep at 7:30 pm the other night and slept 11 hours solid. Fighting off a cold. It was like as soon as we could take a breath and relax a little about Hubby, it all hit me.

Again, thank you for your encouragement and prayers. They mean a lot to us. We seek secure in the Father's hand. And we'll be sharing more as we know more.

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November 10, 2007  |  Comments (15)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

At The Foot of the Cross

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

Follow Christ to the Holy mountain
Sinner, sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flows
For you and for me and for all

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful scandalous night

On the hillside you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross, justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that pours
From our blessed Saviour’s side

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

--Hindalong/Daughtery

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November 06, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Reformation Hymn

"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"


A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe --
His craft and pow'r are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.


Did we in our own strength confide
Our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He --
Lord Sabaoth His name,
From age to age the same --
And He must win the battle.


And tho this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph thru us.
The prince of darkness grim --
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure --
One little word shall fell him.


That word above all earthly pow'rs --
No thanks to them abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Thru Him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still --
His kingdom is forever.

--Martin Luther


My boys sing this hymn lustily and know every stanza.

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October 31, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Moderns and Mystics

"It seems to me that in our day we take the pattern and measure of our religion too commonly from what is popular, that is bustling outward and full of éclat. But it may appear in another world that some of the mightiest influences have proceeded from souls of great quiet."

--J.W. Alexander

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October 26, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

A Corrective Comedy.

This is worth reading all the way to the end.

Really. Go ahead and click on the link. Read it--it's worth it.

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October 22, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

O Sacred Head Now Wounded

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.

Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

--Bernard of Clairvaux, trans. J.W. Alexander


Today was a communion Sunday.

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October 14, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Waldensian Wisdom

The Vaudois Teacher

“O Lady fair, these silks of mine are beautiful and rare,__
The richest web of the Indian loom, which beauty’s queen might wear;
And my pearls are pure as thy own fair neck, with whose radiant light they vie;
I have brought them with me a weary way, __ will my gentle lady buy?”

The lady smiled on the worn old man through the dark and clustering curls
Which veiled her brow, as she bent to view his silks and glittering pearls;
And she placed their price in the old man’s hand and lightly turned away,
But she paused at the wanderer’s earnest call, __ “My gentle lady, stay!

“O Lady fair, I have yet a gem which a purer luster flings,
Than the diamond flash of the jeweled crown on the lofty brow of kings:
A wonderful pearl of exceeding price, whose virtue shall not decay,
Whose light shall be as a spell to thee and a blessing on thy way!”

The lady glanced at the mirroring steel where her form of grace was seen,
Where her eye shone clear, and her dark looks waved their clasping pearls between;
“Bring forth thy pearl of exceeding worth, thou traveller gray and old,
And name the price of thy precious gem, and my page shall count thy gold.”

The cloud went off from the pilgrim’s brow, as a small and meager book,
Unchased with gold or gem of cost, from his folding robe he took!
“Here, lady fair, is the pearl of price, may it prove as such to thee!
Nay, keep thy gold __ I ask it not, for the word of God is free!”

The hoary traveler went his way, but the gift he left behind
Hath had its pure and perfect work on that highborn maiden’s mind,
And she hath turned from the pride of sin to the lowliness of truth,
And given her heart to God in its beautiful hour of youth!

And she hath left the gray old halls, where an evil faith had power,
The courtly knights of her fathers train, and the maidens of her bower;
And she hath gone to the Vaudois vales by lordly feet untrod,
Where the poor and needy of earth are rich in the perfect love of God!

--John Greenleaf Whittier

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October 06, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Yeah. What She Said.

Quoting Devona, about Lutherama:

Discipline? Means of Grace?

I try not to meddle in the parenting of others. It’s their business, but I obviously have my opinions. I mostly have oppositions to the “Christian Parenting” giants who like to write books making generalizations about how to parent my child unto godliness, all the while knowing nothing about me. I don’t just disagree with their methods, I disagree with their theology and their lack of discretion. How do they know to whom they are teaching? How do they know their methods are being properly prescribed? And mostly, how can they not see that this method of “discipline” obscures the person and work of Christ when a parent cannot forgive their chid until there has been punishment for their sins? Are not our Christian children under the Fount of Grace as much as we are?

Here is a wonderful take on the topic over at Lutherama. Don’t just read my post on it. I have only skimmed the subject since she has done such excellent work, I would only be repeating, so make sure you click the link.


(Yes, I'm still Presbyterian.)

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September 20, 2007  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Instructor and Teacher

Be gracious, O Instructor, to us Thy children,
Father, charioteer of Israel,
Son and Father, both in one, O Lord.
Grant to us who obey Thy precepts,
that we may perfect the likeness of Thy image,
and with all our power know Him
Who is the good God and not a harsh judge.

And do Thou Thyself cause that all of us
who have our conversation in Thy peace,
who have been translated into Thy commonwealth,
having sailed tranquilly over the billows of sin,
may be wafted in calm by Thy Holy Spirit,
by the ineffable wisdom,
by night and day to the perfect day;
and giving thanks may praise,
and praising thank the Father and Son,
Son and Father, the Son, instructor and teacher,
with the Holy Spirit,
all in one, in whom is all, for whom all is one,
for whom is eternity, whose members we all are,
whose glory the heavens are;
for the all good, all lovely, all wise, all just one.

To whom be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

--Clement of Alexandria

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

 

 

Shepherd of Tender Youth

Shepherd of tender youth, guiding in love and truth
Through devious ways: Christ, our triumphant King,
We come Thy Name to sing;
Hither our children bring, to shout Thy praise.

Thou art our holy Lord, the all-subduing Word,
Healer of strife: Thou didst Thyself abase,
That from sin's deep disgrace,
Thou mightest save our race, and give us life.

So now and till we die, sound we Thy praises high,
And joyful sing: infants, and the glad throng,
Who to Thy church belong,
Unite to swell the song to Christ our King. Amen.

--Clement of Alexandria

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September 02, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Sunday Evening Must Read

Growth and God. Grace and struggles. Mothering and loss. Life turned upside down, but God holding tight.

That's why this post is a must read.

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August 19, 2007  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Will This Not Suffice?

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.

Refrain: I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies;
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Lo! th’ incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

Refrain: I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms.


--Joseph Hart

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August 15, 2007  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 14

Q. 14. What is sin?

A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God.

transgression of the law of God
Leviticus 5:17; James 4:17; 1 John 3:4

(via OPC/CRTA)

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

 

 

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

I've been rereading and meditating upon the Nicene Creed lately.

The women's book club at our church is reading Faith of Our Fathers: A Study of the Nicene Creed by L. Charles Jackson. I just started reading it yesterday, and I'm really looking forward to discussing it.

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

 

 

Read and Reflect: Fall to Grace Series

Fall to Grace, Part 1
Fall to Grace, Part 2
Fall to Grace, Part 3
Fall to Grace, Part 4
Fall to Grace, Part 5
Fall to Grace, Part 6
Fall to Grace, Part 7
Fall to Grace, Part 8
Fall to Grace, Part 9
Fall to Grace, Part 10

Fall to Grace: The Aftermath, Part 1
Fall to Grace: The Aftermath, Part 2
Fall to Grace: The Aftermath, Part 3
Fall to Grace: The Aftermath, Part 4
Fall to Grace: The Aftermath, Part 5
Fall to Grace: The Aftermath, Part 6
Fall to Grace: The Aftermath, Part 7
Fall to Grace: The Aftermath, Part 8
Fall to Grace: The Aftermath, Part 9

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June 23, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Women's Words

Looking for stimulating conversation among women, about women and the Word? Check out several, ongoing discussions over at True Womanhood.

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June 14, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Arise, My Soul, Arise

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

--Charles Wesley

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May 06, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

One Anothering

For the Mommy-Inspiration Files. . .

The Blanket Commands

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May 03, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  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!

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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.

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

 

 

Scandal

"God’s grace is scandalous to anyone who insists He pay attention to the petty efforts we make to earn His favor."

Al Truesdale, A Dangerous Hope

(Via Camille)

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March 31, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

No Measure

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more grace when the labours increase;
To added afflictions he addeth his mercy,
To multiplied trials, his multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done;
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

His love has no limits, his grace has no measure,
His power has no boundary known unto men;
For out of his infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

-by Annie Johnson Flint

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing this.W

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March 18, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Deeply Conscious

"This faithfulness of God is of the utmost practical significance to the people of God. It is the ground of their confidence, the foundation of their hope, and the cause of their rejoicing. It saves them from the despair to which their own unfaithfulness might easily lead, gives them courage to carry on in spite of their failures, and fills their hearts with joyful anticipations, even when they are deeply conscious of the fact they have forfeited all the blessings of God."

--Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology

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March 07, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

League of Reformed Bloggers

League of Reformed Bloggers



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February 27, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

On Disruption and Relationships

Wisdom from Barbara Curtis and Elisabeth Elliot.

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February 09, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

To Console, To Understand, To Love

Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace


Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

- St. Francis of Assisi (13th Century)

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February 04, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

PCA Blogs

PCA Blogs

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January 27, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Advent - The Fourth Sunday

2006-12-24 Florida 0141.jpg

Hubby and the boys really like singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Today they turned it into a medley, singing the words from "Amazing Grace" to that tune. The meters work, and my men are amazing. I can't keep the tunes/words straight with this variation.

2006-12-24 Florida 025.jpg

Grace and peace to all of my friends and readers, as you prepare your hearts for the Advent of Christ in our lives daily, and as you celebrate with your family with joy!

2006-12-24 Florida 028.jpg


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December 24, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Advent - The Third Sunday

2006-12-15 Florida 2 003.jpg

So we missed church this morning. There is an early service at 8am (impossible) and at 9:30am. At 10:30 T9 was asking "when are we leaving for church?" C6 had "helpfully" turned off the alarm clock. I didn't even hear it go off--I must have rolled over and gone back to sleep.

So we had family worship today. I like having multiple copies of the Trinity Hymnal now. We didn't need to pull them out for today's Christmas hymns, though.

C6 lit three candles today. This is the week for the joy candle. We sang all the verses to Joy to the World.


2006-12-15 Florida 2 007.jpg


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December 17, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Advent - The Second Sunday

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December 10, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Holly Bears a Blossom

The holly and the ivy,
Now both are full well grown.
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.

Chorus
Oh, the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer.
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Savior.

Chorus
Oh, the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer.
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.

Chorus
Oh, the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer.
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
On Christmas day in the morn.

Chorus
Oh, the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer.
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.

Chorus
Oh, the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer.
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.

Chorus
Oh, the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer.
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

Chorus
Oh, the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer.
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

(Listening to Christmas music mixes at Pandora.)

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December 05, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Advent Resources

Here at TulipGirl:
Advent – The First Sunday
Advent – The Second Sunday
Advent – The Third Sunday
Advent – The Fourth Sunday


Examples of Advent Wreaths:
Midnight Cafe
The Badger Mum
TulipGirl 2004
This Classical Life (see the banner--looking for the wreath pic in the archives!)

Online Advent Calendars / Studies:
GCF Advent Study 2006
Teaching Mom's Advent Calendar
Advent for the Family
Advent Devotionals

Advent Articles / Books:
Season of Advent: Anticipation and Hope
First Sunday in Advent, Joel Garver
Christ in Christmas

Other Resources:
Advent Coloring Pages
Advent For Evangelicals Blog

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December 04, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Pictures from the WIC Conference

I went to the PCA 2006 Women in the Church Conference with ladies from our home church. We drove up Thursday, attended the pre-conference workshops on Friday, learned and worshiped together on Saturday, and returned home on Sunday. These are the women who attended from my home church.


Some CTK Ladies and WIC Sign1.JPG


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More CTK Ladies1.JPG


CTK Ladies1.JPG


I'm not posting identifying details, such as names and locations, out of respect for other's online privacy or transparency.


(More updates and photos to come.)

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September 19, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

2006 WIC Conference - I'm Going!

I'm gearing up for the Women in the Church Conference. I'm really appreciative of the lady from our home church who is organizing a group of us going. I'm not going to pull a Challies and liveblog the conference, but I do anticipate meeting some of y'all there! *grin*

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September 12, 2006  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

To Know Ourselves, We Must Know God

Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid Wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves. But as these are connected together by many ties, it is not easy to determine which of the two precedes and gives birth to the other. For, in the first place, no man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves. . . . On the other hand, it is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself.

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion
Chapter 1, from sections 1-2

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September 03, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

God's Science, Understood By Men

"As far as the principle of interpretation is concerned, the natural man makes himself the final point of reference. So far, then, as he carries through his principle, he interprets all things without God. In principle he is hostile to God. But he cannot carry through his principle completely. He is restrained by God from doing so. Being restrained by God from doing so, he is enabled to make contributions to the edifice of human knowledge, the forces of creative power implanted in him are to some extent released by God's common grace. He therefore makes positive contributions to science in spite of his principles and because both he and the universe are the exact opposite of what he, by his principles, thinks they are."

Cornelius Van Til , A Christian Theory of Knowledge, pp 21, 22

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August 22, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Charles Hodge and Parenting

This was originally posted in January 2004, my first month blogging. I was revisiting it today because of an online discussion about sin and family norms, children, and the place of the Gospel in our families. So, I'm reposting it today.

The other night I was skimming Charles Hodge's commentary on Romans and was just struck by how God relates to us as His children, and how I can follow that example with my children.

This is from the Crossway Books Classic Commentaries, page 189, commenting on Romans 6: 12-23:

"As no man is free from sin, as no man can perfectly keep the commandments of God, every man who rests on his personal conformity to the law as the basis of his acceptance with God must be condemned. We are not under the law in this sense, but under grace--that is, a system of free justification. We are justified by grace, without works.

We are not under a legal dispensation, requiring personal conformity to the law and entire freedom from sin, past and present, as the condition of our acceptance; but we are under a gracious dispensation, according to which God dispenses pardon freely and accepts the sinner as a sinner, for Christs's sake, without works or merit of his own. Whoever is under the law, in the sense just explained, is not only condemned, but he is bound by a legal or slavish spirit. What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment. But he who is under grace, who is freely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit. The principle of obeying him is love and not fear.

Here, as everywhere else in the Bible, it is assumed that the favor of God is in our life. We must be reconciled to Him before we can be holy: we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."


Reflections related to Parenting

"God. . .accepts the sinner as a sinner"
I know this to be true with God accepting me, and now I want to really just ACCEPT my children as who they are. I want to provide a "safe place to fall" for my kids, where they know they are accepted as they are, even when they sin. I know my parents have lived that out towards my siblings and me.

"What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment."
I don't want my children to be doing things out of fear, simply to escape punishment.

"But he who is under grace, who is freeely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit."
This is the part of the passage that first drew my attention to asking how I can relate this to me and my children, copying God as my Father.

"The principle of obeying him is love and not fear."
Again, I don't want it to be fear of me or fear of punishment that compels my children to obedience. But of love. Just as, truly, my obedience (imperfect though it may be) to God is out of a desire to please Him and out of love.

"we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."
I read a survey once that said something like 90% of kids knew their parents loved them, but only 30% FELT that their parents loved them. I want to really nurture my children, and have them FEEL loved by me and my husband.

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August 16, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Sin and Poison

"The Lord is pleased to let the in-being of sin continue, to humble his people, and make them prize Christ more. Because you find corruptions stirring, do not therefore presently unsaint yourselves, and deny the kingdom of grace to be come into your souls.

That you feel sin is an evidence of spiritual life; that you mourn for it is a fruit of love to God; that you have a combat with sin, argues antipathy against it. Those sins which you once wore as a crown on your head, are now as fetters on the leg.

Is not all this from the Spirit of grace in you? Sin is in you, as poison in the body, which you are sick of, and use all Scripture antidotes to expel. Should we condemn all those who have indwelling sin, nay, who have had sin sometimes prevailing, we should blot some of the best saints out of the Bible." --

(Via Pastor Baggins)

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June 28, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Church's One Foundation

The church's one Foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the Word:
From heav'n he came and sought her
To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.

Elect from ev'ry nation,
Yet one o'er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food.
And to one hope she presses,
With ev'ry grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.

The church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain and cherish
Is with her to the end;
Though there be those that hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against or foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

'Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace for evermore;
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With the God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with thee.

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June 04, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Listen to Biographies, Thanks to Monergism

Monergism continues to expand its offerings. Just today I discovered it has expanded its links to audio files / mp3s to include several biography series.

Included are a series by John Piper including lectures on David Brainerd, John G. Paton, William Wilberforce, J. Gresham Machen (C5 was almost named Machen), Martin Luther and John Calvin, of course, and many more. Also available are historical biographies by Michael Haykin including Athanasius and Basil, Leo and Patrick, Charles Finney & Revivalism, Horatius Bonar, and many others.

I started with Piper on Jonathan Edwards, especially since I've recently been reading on Edwards' theology of children.

It's amazing how fast the kitchen gets clean when I'm listening to lectures like these.

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May 21, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

On Family Worship

“Were you formed for this world only, there would be some form to this objection, but how strange such an objection sounds coming from an heir of eternity. Pray, what is your time given to you for? Is it not principally that you may prepare for eternity? And have you no time then for what is the greatest business of your lives? To train your own children in the things of God?”

-Samuel Davies ( Southern counterpart to Jonathan Edwards in the great revival of the 1740’s)

(Via Ever Expanding)

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May 07, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

My First WIC Conference

I just registered for the PCA 2006 Women in the Church Conference. I found out this morning that a group of women from our home church in St. Pete will be attending together and the early bird registration ends next Monday. I was just talking with Hubby about it earlier this week, so he told me, "You want to--why don't you just go?"

This will be my first WIC conference. I'm kinda hopeful that some of the women I've known from MTW will be there. . . I miss the MTW community.

Anyway. . . If any of y'all are planning on going, let me know! We'll have coffee.

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April 23, 2006  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

For the Beauty of the Earth / Earth Day 2006

For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind's delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thy church, that evermore
lifteth holy hands above,
offering up on every shore
her pure sacrifice of love;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

For thyself, best Gift Divine,
to the world so freely given,
for that great, great love of thine,
peace on earth, and joy in heaven:
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

Lyrics: Folliot S. Pierpoint

This hymn is special to me because of my mother. I didn't know it until she asked that I learn to play it. I took several years of piano lessons. Squirmed during practice, back always ached, had trouble concentrating. But I loved playing from my hymns in easy arrangements book. The church we attended at that time didn't include hymns in Sunday service very often. But I would play them, all the verses, singing under my breath.

I'm posting it today for its praise of our Lord of Creation, who provides our sustenance, relationships, and sanctification.

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April 22, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

O Sacred Head Now Wounded

O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory
What bliss ’til now was Thine
Yet though despised and gory
I joy to call Thee mine

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
Vouchsafe me to Thy grace.

The joy can never be spoken,
Above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken
I thus with safety hide.
My Lord of Life, desiring
Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring,
I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

What language shall I borrow
To praise Thee, heavenly friend,
For this my dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Lord make me Thine forever,
Nor let me faithless prove
Oh let me never, never
Abuse such dying love

Forbid that I should leave Thee
O Jesus leave not me!
By faith I would receive Thee
Thy blood can make me free
When strength and comfort languish
And I must hence depart
Release me then from anguish
By Thine own wounded heart

Be near when I am dying
Oh show Thy cross to me
And for my succor flying
Come Lord and set me free
These eyes new faith receiving
From Jesus shall not move
For he who dies believing
Dies safely, through Thy love

Words:
Bernard of Clairvaux

Public Domain

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April 14, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Kitchen Wives

Well said, as usual, Rebecca.

I recommend reading Kitchen Wives in order:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want, (whether up to my elbows in dirty dishes or not?) I can do everything through him who gives me strength. from Philippians 4

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April 12, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 4

Q. 4. What is God?

A. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

is a Spirit
Deuteronomy 4:15-19, Luke 24:39, John 1:18, John 4:24, Acts 17:29

infinite
1 Kings 8:27, Psalm 139:7-10, Psalm 145:3, Psalm 147:5, Jeremiah 23:24, Romans 11:33-36

eternal
Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 90:2, Psalm 102:12, 24-27, Revelation 1:4, 8

unchangeable Psalm 33:11, Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 1:12, Hebrews 6:17-18, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17

in his being
Exodus 3:14, Psalm 115:2-3, 1 Timothy 1:17, 1 Timothy 6:15-16

wisdom
Psalm 104:24, Romans 11:33-34, Hebrews 4:13

power
Genesis 17:1, Psalm 62:11, Jeremiah 32:17, Matthew 19:26, Revelation 1:8

holiness
Hebrews 1:13, 1 Peter 1:15-16, 1 John 3:3, 5, Revelation 15:4.

justice
Genesis 18:25, Exodus 34:6-7, Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 96:13, Romans 3:5, 26

goodness
Psalm 103:5, Psalm 107:8, Matthew 19:7, Romans 2:4

and truth
Exodus 34:6, Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 117:2, Hebrews 6:18

(via OPC/CRTA)

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April 09, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Of Books and Bands Unheard Of

So I went to the local Christian bookstore tonight. . . I like it, in spite of some of the cheesiness that is inevitable these days in Christian bookstores. It helps that a manager there goes to our neighborhood PCA and consciously stocks books I'd like to buy.

Anyway, there's a systematic theology I've heard about. While I adore Berkof, I wanted to get another perspective as well. I couldn't remember the authors name. "Grudem?" asked Skip.
"Nooo. . ."
"Oh, Reymond?"
"Yes!"

He showed me to the last one in stock. Yikes. I forgot the price tags that come along with books like that. I bought it anyway, thanks justifying that I might not get a 20% off coupon from Skip again, and that my folks sent me a birthday check a few weeks ago. (That birthday money also bought me new jammies. And a couple trips to the local coffee shop. And a few other things. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Or at least, keeps on letting me find room in the budget for splurge buys. . . *L*)


After that I wandered back to the music section. While I've enjoyed a wide range of music through the years, I've only allowed myself to be called a fan of The Choir. They recently released a new album. I couldn't find it. I asked the guy in the music section where I'd find it.

"The Choir? That's the group?"
"Yes, The Choir. O How the Mighty Have Fallen."
"Do you mean the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir?"
"No. Just The Choir."
"Hmmm. . . They must be an older group."
"You've never heard of The Choir? They're classic. Mid-80s SoCal alternative Christian pioneers?"
"No. . ."

I was shaking my head. The music "expert" for the store had never heard of The Choir. And I was feeling my age. Especially after his, "They must be an older group" comment. I had picked up "At the Foot of the Cross" and asked him if he was familiar with that. He was. I pointed out that Steve Hindalong was the producer, Steve Hindalong the lyricist and percussionist for the Choir. Blank look.

He looked it up on the computer. That store had never ordered, stocked, or sold a single Choir CD. The mind boggles. I told him he had to order something, just for his own listening edification.

I guess I'll just order it directly from Dan, Derri, and Steve. I bet this birthday check could stretch infinitely.

Remind me one day of swooning around Steve's parents and my "I'm a greedy little monkey" story.

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April 08, 2006  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

When the Reformed. . .

. . . Speak in tongues.

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March 22, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 1

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.


to glorify God:
Ps. 86:9; Isa. 60:21; Rom. 11:36; I Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Rev. 4:11

to enjoy him forever:
Ps. 16:5-11; 144:15; Isa. 12:2; Luke 2:10; Phil. 4:4; Rev. 21:3-4


(via OPC)

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March 19, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Heart of Discipline

A lot of this comes down to how the Gospel is viewed, and the position of Children in the Church and how the Gospel applies to Children.


I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross not only for me, but also for my children. I believe that the Gospel applies to them as much as it does to me. I believe the Bible teaches this--and even Christ does. We all know the passage where Jesus says, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them. . ."


I believe Christ paid the penalty for my children's sins on the cross. When my children sin--I want to point them to the One who has already been punished for their sin. When my children sin (and they do--I do not have a weak view of sin)--I come alongside them, confront them with the ugly reality of sin in their lives, and help them repent. I pray that the Holy Spirit softens their hearts and enables them to truly repent. We pray together. We ask for God's grace to do the right thing.

I do discipline. I help them form habits of right behaviour. I teach them right from wrong. I correct them. One of the most powerful passages on child discipline in the Bible is Duet 6:4-7:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.


That constant presence is the heart of discipleship, the heart of discipline.


See also:
The Heart of Grace

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March 12, 2006  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Earth Is The Lord's

Psalm 24

1The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof,[a]
the world and those who dwell therein,
2for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.

3Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to what is false
and does not swear deceitfully.
5He will receive blessing from the LORD
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.[b]
Selah

7Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8Who is this King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle!
9Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory!
Selah

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March 05, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Heart of Grace

"The gospel tells us that our Creator has become our Redeemer. It announces that the Son of God has become man and has died on the cross to save us from eternal judgment. The basic description of the saving death of Christ in the Bible is as a propitiation, that is, as that which quenched God’s wrath against us by obliterating our sins from his sight. God’s wrath is his righteousness reacting against unrighteousness; it shows itself in retributive justice. But Jesus Christ has shielded us from the nightmare prospect of retributive justice by becoming our representative substitute, in obedience to his Father’s will, and receiving the wages of our sin in our place.

"By this means justice has been done, for the sins of all that will ever be pardoned were judged and punished in the person of God the Son, and it is on this basis that pardon is now offered to us offenders. Redeeming love and retributive justice joined hands, so to speak, at Calvary, for there God showed himself to be ‘just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.’

"Do you understand this? If you do, you are now seeing to the very heart of the Christian gospel. No version of that message goes deeper than that which declares man’s root problem before God to be his sin, which evokes wrath, and God’s basic provision for man to be propitiation, which out of wrath brings peace. Some versions of the gospel, indeed, are open to blame because they never get down to this level."

- Dr. J. I. Packer


(Via Reformation Theology)

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February 26, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

On Sin

Recommending reading: Hating Our Sin


(Via The Rough Woodsman, who also has dishpan hands)

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February 26, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Covenant Seminary Courses -- Free, Online

Guess what I found last week via Monergism?

The collection of lectures for the courses which make up Covenant Seminary's Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree.

NOTE: This is not a degree-granting program. This is a collection of course lectures for self-study and growing in the Word and wisdom.

Covenant Seminary Worldwide MP3s NEW! OUTSTANDING RESOURCE

Free educational resource for faculty, students, and self-learners around the world. It flows from Covenant Theological Seminary's grace-centered Gospel mission and exists to make high-quality, graduate-level theological education available to those who do not have the ability to attend seminary.

Covenant Worldwide: (1) Offers free downloads of Covenant Theological Seminary course materials. (2) Does not require registration. (3) Is not a degree granting or certificate-granting activity. The courses posted on this Web site comprise Covenant Seminary's Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree.

I started with the lectures on Calvin's Institutes.

What I don't see there (and haven't yet found online) is Gerstner's excellent series on the Westminster Confession. Listening to those tapes (twice+) were instrumental in me embraced grace-conscious parenting.

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February 19, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Of Frying Pans and Theological Fires

Karen weighs in on the theological-eduation-for-women controversy and the inane 'catechism' regarding women and theology.

And like mother, like daughter--Mollie wonders about homemaking training while caring for another woman's husband and children.

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February 15, 2006  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

William Gouge: Theologian and AP Advocate

Thanks to Lydia, Nathan's Helpmeet, who has drawn my attention to the works of William Gouge--specifically his pages upon pages of reflection on the Bible and breastfeeding. Lydia quoted a passage on cry-it-out and breastfeeding, but the section below really stood out to me.


Among other needful things, the milk of the breast is fit for young babes, and with it they are to be nourished. I think none doubt of the equity of this. It hath in all ages, and in all countries, been accounted the best food that can be for young babes. The metaphor, which S. Peter useth, taken from young infants [in the words, As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2)] confirmeth as much. So doth also the desire which such infants have to the milk of the breasts: and the ability, and promptness which is in them to suck: and God's providence in causing a woman's breasts to yield forth such milk: and the constant manner of nourishing little infants after this manner, commended in the Scripture: and [to conclude] the natural instinct which many unreasonable creatures have thus to nourish their young ones.

. . .

God hath given to women two breasts fit to contain and hold milk: and nipples unto them fit to have milk drawn from them. Why are these thus given? to lay them forth for ostentation? There is no warrant for that in all God's word. They are directly given for the child's food that cometh out of the womb; for till the child be born, there is no milk in the breasts: anon after it is born, milk ordinarily floweth into the breasts: yea a great part of the meat which they eat turneth into milk. They make this admirable work of God's providence to be in vain, that dry up this spring, and suffer not their children to partake of the benefits of it.


--William Gouge, On Domestical Duties


Related:
Martin Luther: Theologian and Cloth Diaper Advocate
John Calvin: Theologian and Lactivist
Breastfeeding and the Bible

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January 19, 2006  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Hermeneutic Bookmarks

Just a self-reminder:

NT510: Hermeneutics

Monergism: Hermeneutics

Metachoi's Evaluating Biblical Arguments

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January 13, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Life, Theology, and Motherhood

A must-read post from ChewyMom.

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January 11, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Catechism for Young Children

Buy here:
Catechism for Young Children


Online here:
Catechism for Young Children
(Similar, if not the same.)


Especially for Haley. *Grin*

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January 03, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Listening to History / Folding Laundry

I did a quick search for something worthwhile to occupy my mind while I fold clothes tonight. One of my favorite resources is Monergism.Com, and once again it delivered!

I perused the Audio Resources page, and instead of a sermon decided to a history lecture:
The Story of Calvinism: A Historical Survey by Phil Johnson

I'm about a third of the way through it, and it is very interesting. I like ol' Pyro Phil, even if he isn't Presbyterian. *eg*

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December 30, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Martin Luther: Theologian and Cloth Diaper Advocate

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason... , takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, "Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores... ?

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight...

God, with all his angels and creatures is smiling--not because the father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.

--Martin Luther


Last week we read of John Calvin's breastfeeding advocacy. I'm beginning to wonder if this is going to turn into a series on Great Theologians and Attachment Parenting?

(Via Carol, via Cheryl.)

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December 11, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

John Calvin: Theologian and Lactivist

John Calvin, in commenting upon Genesis 21:7 states:

". . .the Lord does not in vain prepare nutriment for children in their mothers' bosoms, before they are born. But those on whom he confers the honor of mothers, he, in this way, constitutes nurses; and they who deem it a hardship to nourish their own offspring, break, as far as they are able, the sacred bond of nature. If disease, or anything of that kind, is the hindrance, they have a just excuse; but for mothers voluntarily, and for their own pleasure, to avoid the trouble of nursing, and thus to make themselves only half-mothers, is a shameful corruption."


(Via calvinist and lactivist Pastor Lane)

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December 02, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Jesse Tree Bible Study. . . You're Invited

Gentle Christian Mothers will be hosting an Advent Bible study, based on the Jesse Tree. The Bible study begins the first Sunday of Advent, November 27th. It will be hosted in the Drawing Closer/Bible Study forum, which is accessible to all registered GCM members. (New mamas are invited to join!)

As Hannah Jo, one of the Bible study leaders explains, "A Jesse Tree displays the family tree of Jesus. All the pivitol events in the Old Testament are drawn together to trace God's faithfulness throughout the generations and the working out of His plan for the salvation of mankind through the coming messiah."

The GCM Jesse Tree Bible study will follow these symbols and scriptures.

Many families are building the Jesse Tree into part of their family Christmas tradition. Here are some daily family devotions based on the Jesse Tree.

Our family has a felt Jesse Tree made by a dear friend over a decade ago for her family. Her children are grown now, and she's shared it with us. It's one of my boys favorite parts of the holiday, building anticipation to the celebration of the coming of the Christ Child.

Curious about what a Jesse Tree looks like?
Jesse Tree 1
Jesse Tree 2
Jesse Tree 3
Jesse Tree 4
Jesse Tree 5

"Children love helping to make the ornaments," says Hannah Jo, "and the Jesse Tree can be a teaching tool to help pass on the faith to yet another generation. We're looking forward to enjoying this tradition together with you!"

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November 27, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Advent 2005

Today is the first Sunday in Advent.

If your family does not yet observe Advent, I'd like to encourage you to consider incorporating it into your family Christmas traditions. There are many ways to observe advent, from the very simple to the more involved.

Here are some resources to browse through and consider for your family.

Our Advent Readings / Hymns 2004:
First Sunday
Second Sunday
Third Sunday
Fourth Sunday


advent.JPG

Our boys and Advent 2004


Join a Jesse Tree Bible Study


BadgerMum wrote an excellent, illustrated post about Advent last year. This Classical Life posted a photo of their traditional Advent wreath--I think I asked Kristen to, when I was trying to assemble ours in Ukraine.

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November 27, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Psalm 100

A Psalm for giving thanks.

1Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;[a]
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

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November 24, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Children in The Pew: The Practicalities

Over at the Heart to Hearth blog, there are several recent posts with principled and pragmatic ideas about worshiping together with our children during church services. Read the full posts, and be encouraged!



Jesus said, "Suffer little children
, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 9:17 NASB). Little children are loved dearly by God, and it's good to bring them to Him and to worship Him, but we should keep in mind that it's our job as parents to come alongside and guide them and teach them and help them learn in ways that will help nurture their trust and love in God our Father, our Abba Daddy.

--flowermama


Our expectation when we attend worship service is that we are worshipping as a family. I expect to be actively parenting in the pew. I expect to miss some of the sermon at time. I expect my children to whisper questions to me or my toddler to need to nurse. I expect that this is a process, a journey that will take time. I expect that my parenting cannot stop in the pew. When I have that expectation, I can joyfully minister to my family in the most intimate environment of all….worship!

--Quietspirit


Related Links:
Children in Congregational Worship
Children in Church
Family Worship

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November 17, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

What Wondrous Love Is This

What won-drous love is this, O my soul, O my soul,
What won-drous love is this, O my soul!
What won-drous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dread-ful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dread-ful curse for my soul!

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing,
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, who is the great I AM,
While mil-lions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While mil-lions join the theme, I will sing!

And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on, I'll sing on,
And when from death I'm free, I'll sing on;
And when from death I'm free, I'll sing and joy-ful be,
And through e-ter-ni-ty I'll sing on, I'll sing on,
And through e-ter-ni-ty I'll sing on!

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October 30, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Ephesians 3:14-21

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being,so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

(Eph 3:14-21)

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October 24, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace.

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad,
The honors of thy Name.

Jesus, the Name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
'Tis music in the sinner's ears,
'Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of reigning sin,
He sets the pris'ner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks and, listening to his voice,
New life the dead receive;
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice;
The humble poor believe.

Listen.

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October 02, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Let a Woman Learn. . .

"Christian wives tend to leave the "fat books" and theology to their husbands. While this may look "submissive" to some, it is actually disobedience. It is not enough that we know Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, and 1 Corinthians 11 & 14. We have to know more than how to be a good wife.

"Afterall, our first calling is to be a good Christian, and if we are good Christians, we will be good wives and mothers. We musn't be afraid to study topics other than those which are related to being a wife and mother. We see in Scripture that women became disciples along with the men. What is a disciple? It is not a mindless follower. A disciple is a student -- someone enrolled in the class.

"This can even be seen in passages of Scripture which some have sinfully misunderstood and written off as "anti-women." When Paul prohibits women from teaching men, he (in the same breath) requires Christian women to be students of the Word. Let a woman learn . . . (1 Tim. 2:11).

From "Being a Woman of the Word"
by Nancy Wilson

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September 11, 2005  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

A Hymn After the Hurricane

Stephen D. Lawton of Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C. (PCA) has written this hymn in response to Hurricane Katrina and its impact on the Gulf Coast States.

God of Nature, at Whose Voice

God of nature, at whose voice the waves and winds must now obey,
Give your people words of comfort, acts of grace to share today.
Yours the pow’r of devastation, yours to gather, help and heal;
We know not your ways of wisdom; let your light our paths reveal.


Shelter Lord, the homeless, helpless, young and old with pity see,
Give their daily food, supply their needs with perfect equity.
Grant protection, strength and patience to their rescuers, we pray;
Fill with hope the laboring workers, grace to serve both night and day.


Bring your people ever closer, sharing pain of grief and loss,
Motivate us, loving Savior, with the love shown by your cross.
We, your Body, long to serve you, serving others in your name,
And when sorrow washes o’er us, Gracious Spirit, heal the pain.


Call our nation to repentance; gather us that we may see
You’re the God of love and mercy; rescue us and set us free.
Let our deeds announce redemption, saving grace for all our days.
Let your song go forth to cheer us, lifting heart and hands to praise. Amen.

Beach Spring, 87.87.D (Come All Christians Be Committed)

© 2005 Stephen D Lawton, all rights reserved

Permission is hereby granted for credited use, unaltered, only in public worship.


(Via ByFaithOnline, e-mail updates)

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September 07, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Before the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea:
a great High Priest, whose name is Love,
who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on his hands,
my name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look, and see him there
who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Savior died,
my sinful soul is counted free;
for God, the Just, is satisfied
to look on him and pardon me.

Behold him there! the risen Lamb!
My perfect, spotless Righteousness,
the great unchangeable I AM,
the King of glory and of grace!

One with himself, I cannot die;
my soul is purchased by his blood;
my life is hid with Christ on high,
with Christ, my Savior and my God.

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August 21, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Prone to Wander, Part II

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

From CtF

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August 14, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Prone to Wander, Part I

Maybe you can tell my why i'm prone to wander
i'm like a gypsy to the bone
every time i hear the rain amid the thunder
i want to run outside and shed my clothes
but i want to stay with you
long enough to love you right
and i want to say to you
i love the patience in your eyes

here i am standing in a circle of quiet
where a truce is tactily observed
standing in a circle of quiet
waiting for the world to turn

From OtR

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August 11, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Breastfeeding and the Bible

Spring Nursing, Mt. Monadnock Susan Wadsworth.jpg
Spring Nursing, Mt. Monadnock
Pastel and Pencil by Susan Wadsworth


"For you will nurse and be satisfied
at her comforting breasts;
you will drink deeply
and delight in her overflowing abundance."

For this is what the LORD says:
"I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and dandled on her knees.

As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem."

Isaiah 66:11-13


The Bible is full of imagery of breastfeeding and nurturing mothers. What can we learn about God's design for breastfeeding? Start studying with these articles by Cyndi Egbert and Nancy Campbell.


This post is part of a World Breastfeeding Week 2005 series.

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August 07, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Journey: Update

A couple of weeks ago, I linked to Marsupial Mom sharing about part of her walk with the Lord, including coming to Reformed theology. This is a follow-up.


The Journey, Part 1
The Journey, Part 2
Missy's Hubby's Input
What is Reformed Theology?


I've been very blessed and encouraged reading this, and I think you will be, too. So much of it sounds familiar--the same song, different tune. . .

Thanks for sharing, Missy.

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July 22, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

A Day Away From Sanctified

I call to you
With one lung exploded
From breathing the dust of the earth
With my tongue eroded
From licking the crust of the earth
A tear away from reconciled
A prayer away from whole
Restore my soul…

I cry to you
With two eardrums blistered
From laughing with preachers of night
With my vertebrae twisted
From dancing with creatures of night
A day away from sanctified
A breath away from whole
Restore my soul…

I crawl to you
With ten fingers smoking
From turning the pages of sin
With my spirit choking
From earning the wages of sin
A bridge away from justified
A step away from whole
Restore my soul…

Restore my soul
.

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July 17, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Reformed Theology 101

To answer a comment on a previous post, I was wondering whether anyone has recommendations for articles online that provide a quick and painless summary of Reformed Theology?

Thanks!


Update:
Laura recommends Reformed: A Definition, What Does It Mean We Are Reformed?, and What Is The Reformed Faith?

Dawn recommends Reformed.org with some reservations, but especially likes the Books and Calvinism/Soteriolgy sections.

Derek likes Monergism.com as much as I do.


Any other recommendations?

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July 08, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Journey, Part 1

Marsupial Mom posts very candidly about the journey of faith that the Lord has walked her along--from Word of Faith to Toronto Revivalism to Reformed theology.

I appreciate how transparent she's been in sharing what God has done in her life. And her story is another testimony to God's sovereignty in the lives of His people.

I'm looking forward to reading more of what Marsupial Mom writes about her faith.

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July 06, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Biblical Relationships or Behaviourism

This is written by one of the "older women" God has put in my life. I'm copying it here, so I can find it easily to reread when I need it.

Behaviorism is not a biblical means of dealing with PEOPLE. God has given people mental, emotional and spiritual faculties, a conscience, emotions, etc, and His Word shows over and over again that it is through those avenues that He reaches us and disciplines us and it is through those avenues that we are authorized to reach others and teach and discipline them. Here are some examples--observe the lack of Pearl-style training and instead the presence of grace based discipline:



Quote

"we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ" --Col 1:28

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another..." Col 3:16

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart" Col 3:21

"We proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children, having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us....you are witnesses and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."--1 Thess 2: 7 and following

"we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk) that you may excel still more for you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus."--1 Thess 4:1-2

"We request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you...and we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all men...."--1 Thess 5:12 and following

"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following." 1 Tim 4:6


And so on, and so on. In fact the very existence of the Bible itself is an example of grace-based discipline. God COULD have made it so that we didn't have a Bible, we just had bolts of lightning hit us when we got out of line. In a world like that, there would be no need of a Bible.

In the above examples, perhaps someone would say that it doesn't apply because Paul is teaching the churches how to disciple adults in the community of faith, but I believe that this emphasis on teaching, encouraging and admonishing is an EXAMPLE of the biblical relational model for teaching and learning, and although he is not discussing (for the most part) a parent/child situation he is discussing the situation of how people in some kind of spiritual authority are to disciple the rest. But notice too, when motherhood and fatherhood do come up in Paul's discourse, his tone and language does not change--and mothers are held up as a known example of gentleness, fathers are held up as known examples of patient instruction.

If we fail to notice and appreciate Paul's "grace-based" model, perhaps it's because it is too familiar and we take his level of civility and restraint of power for granted.


Thanks, katiekind. My continual prayer is to understand and integrate God's grace and the Gospel in my inner and external life.

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June 12, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Eternal Father, Strong to Save,

Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid'st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
and calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

This is one of my favorite hymns.

It stirs childhood memories, especially of the Chapel on Guantanamo Bay. We sang it as the closing hymn every Sunday at the Chapel. These are the original verses, but there are 20 or so printed in the Chapel hymnal.

I've wanted to teach it to my boys for awhile, and this Memorial Day weekend seemed a good time to do it, especially since I have a lovely version on cd that came with Hymns for a Child's Heart.

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May 29, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Meditation Material

Psalm 37:3-8

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.

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May 18, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Pragmatism and Parenting

This is another great post from Chief-Executive Mother, on parenting and the heart of the Gospel.

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May 17, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Prayer of My Heart

Lord Jesus, Great High Priest,
Thou has opened a new and living way
by which a fallen creature can approach thee with acceptance.

Help me to contemplate the dignity of thy Person,
the perfectness of thy sacrifice,
the effectiveness of thy intercession.

O what blessedness accompanies devotion,
when under all the trials that weary me,
the cares that corrode me,
the fears that disturb me,
the infirmities that oppress me,
I can come to thee in my need
and feel peace beyond understanding!

The grace that restores is necessary to preserve,
lead, guard, supply, help me.

And here thy saints encourage my hope;
they were once poor and are now rich,
bound and are now free,
tried and now are victorious.

Every new duty calls for more grace than I now possess,
but not more than is found in Thee, the divine treasury
in whom all fullness dwells.

To thee I repair for grace upon grace,
until every void made by sin be replenished
and I am filled with all thy fullness.

May my desires be enlarged and my hopes emboldened,
that I may honour Thee by my entire dependency
and the greatness of my expectation.

Do Thou be with me, and prepare me for all
the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity,
the losses of substance, the death of friends,
the days of darkness, the changes of life,
and the last great change of all.

May I find thy grace sufficient for all my needs.

From The Valley of Vision:
A collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions.


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May 15, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.


Romans 5:1-5 ESV

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May 01, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Father in Heaven, We Thank Thee!


Can a little child like me
Thank the Father fittingly?
Yes, O yes! be good and true,
Patient, kind in all you do;
Love the Lord, and do your part;
Learn to say with all your heart,

Father, we thank thee! Father, we thank thee!
Father in heaven, we thank thee!

For the fruit upon the tree,
For the birds that sing of thee,
For the earth in beauty dressed,
Father, mother, and the rest,
For thy precious, loving care,
For thy bounty ev'rywhere,

Father, we thank thee! Father, we thank thee!
Father in heaven, we thank thee!

For the sunshine warm and bright,
For the day and for the night,
For the lessons of our youth—
Honor, gratitude and truth,
For the love that met us here,
For the home and for the cheer,

Father, we thank thee! Father, we thank thee!
Father in heaven, we thank thee!

For our comrades and our plays,
And our happy holidays,
For the joyful work and true
That a little child may do,
For our lives but just begun,
For the great gift of thy Son,

Father, we thank thee! Father, we thank thee!
Father in heaven, we thank thee!

Original Trinity Hymnal, #645

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April 24, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Psalm 139

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

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

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

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

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

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


Psalm 139, English Standard Version

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April 21, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Receiving Mercy and Finding Grace

Hebrews 4: 14-16

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

C4 has been going around the house quoting this all week. It's one of the verses he learned last week as part of a CMI program. One of the things I so appreciated about the CMI children's program, was that the teachers were husband-wife teams of grandparent age, with a few older high school/college aged children. I like when children's education is taken seriously.

But with the boys all reciting this passage, it's been in my mind. Good fodder for meditation.

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April 17, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

To the Soul in Need of Mercy

Written by John of Landsberg, 1555
From A letter from Jesus Christ to the Soul that Really Loves Him

"One thing I have to warn you of especially is your constant tendency to grow fainthearted under the weight of your faults and oversights and an inclination almost to despair when a sudden lack of confidence reduces your firm decisions to nothing. I know those moods when you sit there utterly alone, eaten up with unhappiness, in a pure state of grief. You don’t move towards Me but desperately imagine that everything that you have ever done has been utterly lost and forgotten.

This near despair and self-pity are actually a form of pride. What you think was a state of absolute security from which you’ve fallen was really trusting too much in your own strength and ability. Profound depression and perplexity of mind often follow a loss of hope, what really ails you is that things simply haven’t happened as you expected and wanted. In fact, I don’t want you to rely on your own strength and abilities and plans, but to distrust them and to distrust yourself, and to trust me and no one and nothing else. As long as you rely on yourself you are bound to come to grief.

You still have a most important lesson to learn: Your own strength will no more help you to stand upright than dropping yourself on a broken reed. You must not despair on me. You must hope and trust in me absolutely. My mercy is infinite."

-- John of Landsberg

Transcribed by Mom B while listening to a Sonship tape from World Harvest Ministries.

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April 16, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Faith in our Covenant God

"I'm holding onto the covenant promies of God for our covenant children with the white knuckles of faith." --Dal Stanton

The white knuckles of faith. . . That phrase gripped me when I heard Dal talking last week. Holding on to God, holding on even when our faith is weak. . . Not just for our children, but for ourselves and for all that He has promised.

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April 16, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Morning Prayer II

In the morning, O LORD , you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.

Psalm 5:3

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March 23, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Restoring Gently and Carrying Burdens

At this stage in my life, so much of my reading and studying is filtered through the perspective of mothering. This includes my studying of the Bible and theology. I find the deeper I dig into God’s Word, the more light it shines on my life--and how I ought to mother.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:1-2


“Brothers. . .” This passage is written to Believers. As parents, God has given us special responsibility towards our children. But they are also our “brothers” and in the Covenant.

Kristen recently wrote,

We went to Ash Wednesday services at the beginning of Lent with Kate at the episcopal church around the corner (we missed liturgy) and when the priest put ashes on her little forehead, it really made an impact on me. As much as I am her mother, I am also her sister in Christ. This has been really helpful to me in thinking through parenting issues. Most Christians wouldn't serve wine to a fellow Christian who was a recovering alcoholic. Why do they discpline their children and then set them up to do the same things again?


In his commentary on Galatians, Martin Luther clarifies that “caught in sin” is not speaking about doctrinal errors, “but about far lesser sins into which people fall not deliberately, but through weakness.” As our children are learning right from wrong, they will sin. As they are growing through various stages of development, they will have greater or lesser control over their impulses.

Luther goes on to say, “is caught in imply being tricked by the devil or sinful nature.” Sinful nature, temptation, weakness, developmental stages--remembering these sins of our children are part of their weakness helps me respond to them with compassion.


Luther states, “Paul therefore teaches how those who have fallen should be dealt with--namely those who are strong should raise them up and restore them gently.” I don’t always feel “strong” or “spiritual.” Often I feel weak and struggling myself. But it is my responsibility to raise my children and be strong for them. We have no trouble with the idea of parents being a “mama bear” protecting her young child. I also want to be strong spiritually to correct them gently, to be the “mama bear” to help my children when they are struggling with sin.

It’s interesting to note that this passage is immediately proceeded by the admonitions to walk in the Spirit and the list of the fruit of the Spirit-- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These should be on my mind as I restore my children gently.

Luther reinforces the idea of this passage reminding us of “the fatherly and motherly affection that Paul requires of those who have charge over souls.”


What does “restoring gently” look like? Luther explains, “when they see that those persons are sorrowful for their offenses, they should begin to raise them up again, to comfort them, and to mitigate their faults as much as they can—yet through mercy only, which they must set against sin, lest those who have fallen are swallowed up with depression.” And “. . .gently, and not in the zeal of severe justice.”

To be honest, at times I’ve had Christian mothers advocate some child-training approaches that seemed to have more of the “zeal of severe justice” than how Luther describes the Holy Spirit’s correction, “mild and pitiful in forbearing.”


After restoring gently, we are told to “carry each other’s burdens.” I see this, in light of mothering, as an especial entreaty to know our particular children and their particular weaknesses.

One of my sons is insecure around lots of guests--and he has responded in the past by getting very loud, climbing on furniture, and even hitting a guest. I've found that to carry his burden means I prepare him beforehand for our guests, and I hold his hand when they arrive, until he is comfortable and calm. Another son is prone to lash out at his brothers when he is angry. Bearing his burden has meant praying with him and for him, helping him recognize when he feels anger rising, and giving him strategies to deal with that anger without hitting. And it has meant letting him know it’s good to come to me and say, “Mommy, I’m angry” so I can help him not sin in his anger.

Also in this encouragement to carry one another’s burdens, it strikes me how wrong it is to follow the child-training technique of placing a child in a situation of temptation--to test him and see whether he can withstand it (or be punished.) This method is encouraged by some for training toddlers and preschoolers, and seems to be very contrary to bearing the burdens of temptation.

Luther also comments on this passage that sometimes in bearing with one another, things need to just be let go--“These people are the ones who are overtaken by sin and have the burdens that Paul commands us to carry. In this case, let us not be rigorous and merciless, but follow the example of Christ, who bears and forbears these burdens. If he does not punish them, though He might do so with justice, much less ought we to do so.”


“And watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. . .” For parents, I see this as a two-fold warning. First, to be gentle, not be angry—the caution here illustrates how very easy it is to slip into being harsh.

And also I see the warning not to be tempted to pride. When we become concerned about appearing to be “good parents” it is easy to slip into correcting harshly, minutely. This is one of the areas in which I struggled a lot, especially when my children were smaller. And especially when we were guests in churches and people's homes. I felt pressure (from myself even more than others) for my kids to be perfect and "prove" we were worthy to be missionaries. That pressure tempted me both into pride in my children's good behaviour, as well being overly picky and correcting unnecessarily.


The end of these verses is “in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” As Martin Luther said,

“After Christ had redeemed us, renewed us, and made us his church, he gave us no other law but that of mutual love. To love is not to wish one another well, but to carry one another's burdens--that is, things that are grievous to us, and that we would not willingly bear. Therefore, Christians (parents!) must have strong shoulders and mighty bones, so they can carry their brother’s weaknesses. . . Love, therefore, is mild, courteous, and patient, not in receiving, but in giving, for it is constrained to wink at many things and to bear them.

Footnote: Quotations are from the Crossway Commentary series, Martin Luther on Galatians. Luther's commentary is also available online, in a variant translation.

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March 21, 2005  |  Comments (20)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Morning Prayer

Eternal Father of my soul, let my first thought today be of You, let my first impulse be to worship You, let my first speech be Your name, let my first action be to kneel before you in prayer.

For Your perfect wisdom and perfect goodness:
For the love with which you love mankind:
For the love with which You love me:
For the great and mysterious opportunity of my life:
For the indwelling of Your Spirit in my heart:
For the sevenfold gifts of your Spirit:
I praise and worship you, O Lord.

You let me not, when this morning prayer is said, think my worship ended and spend the day in forgetfulness of You. Rather from these moments of quietness let light go forth, and joy, and power, that will remain with me through all the hours of the day;

Keeping me chaste in thought:
Keeping me temperate and truthful in speech:
Keeping me faithful and diligent in my work:
Keeping me humble in my estimation of myself:
Keeping me honorable and generous in my dealings with others:
Keeping me loyal to every hallowed memory of the past:
Keeping me mindful of my eternal destiny as a child of Yours:
Through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

This prayer is written by John Baillie, from his book Diary of Private Prayer. I'm copying it here to remind myself to print it out and tuck it into my Bible. It was quoted over at The Upward Call. I recommend spending a few quiet minutes reading the Kim's whole post.

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March 20, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

God and His Faithfulness

"This faithfulness of God is of the utmost practical significance to the people of God. It is the ground of their confidence, the foundation of their hope, and the cause of their rejoicing. It saves them from the despair to which their own unfaithfulness might easily lead, gives them courage to carry on in spite of their failures, and fills their hearts with joyful anticipations, even when they are deeply conscious of the fact they have forfeited all the blessings of God."
--Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology

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March 18, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Not Far Away

I read somewhere that most people are never more than eight feet from a spider. Spiders are ubiquitous and secretive. Suffering is like that, everywhere and hidden. We have lost people we love, we have frittered away time and dreams, we have discovered betrayal where we expected love, we have been abused, we have been despised, we have been suffocated by indifference. --Tony Woodlief

O Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend;
"Even so"—it is well with my soul.
--Horatio Spafford

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March 13, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Blessed Be the Lord our God

Blessed be the Father, who has blessed us
In Christ with every blessing from above;
Who chose us to be holy and be blameless;
Whose pleasure was adopting us in love;
Who planned before the world began
By His good will that we should stand
Before Him face to face
To the praise of the glory of His grace.

Blessed be the Son, who has redeemed us;
Whose blood, for our forgiveness has been spilled;
Who lavished grace so rich and free upon us;
Who showed to us the mystery of His will;
Whose kind intent made wisdom known;
Who's made us heirs of all He owns;
In whom our hope is placed
To the praise of the glory of His grace.

Blessed be the Spirit who sustains us;
The promised One in whom we have been sealed;
Who tuned our hearts to hear salvation's message;
By whom the Gospel's truth has been revealed;
Whom God gave as a guarantee
That what He owns, He will redeem;
Who stirs our hearts to faith
To the praise of the glory of His grace.

Blessed be the Father who has blessed us.
Blessed be the Son who shed His blood.
Blessed be the Spirit who sustains us.
Blessed be the Lord our God.

--written by Valerie Kyriosity, 2000


Valerie shares the context of writing the above hymn of praise. I only wish I could hear the tune that goes with it. As it is, I'm humming anyway.

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March 07, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Tongue Meditations: Weakness

Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you have yourself cursed others. All this I have tested by wisdom. I said, "I will be wise," but it was far from me. Ecclesiastes 7:20-23


Am I continuing to strive to be wise in my words, patient, gentle, etc. even though I know I will fall short continually?

Am I humble and contrite in my failings, quick to bring them before the Lord and seek His help to overcome them?

Am I gentle toward others and quick to forgive when they sin against me, knowing that I myself have oftened sinned in the same way?

From Sora's Tongue Meditations

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March 07, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Sympathetic Priest and One Foundation

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.


For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.


Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

--Hebrews 4:14-16


This was part of the NT reading in church today, and I want to meditate upon it this week. We also sang the following hymn in Russian. I wanted to see and sing all the verses in English when I got home.

The church's one Foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the Word:
From heav'n he came and sought her
To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.

Elect from ev'ry nation,
Yet one o'er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food.
And to one hope she presses,
With ev'ry grace endued.

Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.

The church shall never perish!
Her dear Lord to defend,
To guide, sustain and cherish
Is with her to the end;
Though there be those that hate her,
And false sons in her pale,
Against or foe or traitor
She ever shall prevail.

'Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace for evermore;
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great church victorious
Shall be the church at rest.

Yet she on earth hath union
With the God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them, the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with thee.

Old Trinity Hynal #270

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March 06, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Boxes and Bearing with the Body

"Even within the Church, we put others into boxes, and the boxes are little “behaviour” boxes. . . . After this exercise, we sit and wonder why our churches are not more unified. Personally, I believe unity in the church comes from unity of belief, not unity of behaviour. . . . If we look for unity among our brothers and sisters in Christ through behaviour alone, then we are not practicing the faith; we’re practicing behaviourism".

Kim has a wonderful article written about loving, judging, forbearance--and the pain of being "put in a box." Go read it, and be edified.

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March 04, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Rash Words

Do not be rash with your mouth, And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; Therefore let your words be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

Am I opening my mouth without thinking first?

Am I typing without thinking first?


(Thanks, Sora.)

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February 26, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Kiss Your Mama With That Mouth?

For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.

Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires.

So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!

And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.

For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race.

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing.

My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.

James 3:2-10


This week's TableTalk devotions focus in large part on the tongue. Like last Lenten season, Sora is posting her daily What Comes Out of the Mouth reflections. I encourage you to take the time to check it each day for meditation.


Lord, help me please. . .

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February 23, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

To Read Later: Covenant and Election

A url and reminder to myself:
Covenant and Election by Rich Lusk

Recommended by Kristen.

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February 19, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Good Reads for the Really Bad

Rebecca writes, Why I Love the Doctrine of Total Depravity. Tim joins in with Total Depravity: The Great Equalizer. Jared adds a bit of literary input from The Heiké Story. For more, check out Tulipedia.

For the corollary, check out Pastor Jolly's Journey Into Grace.

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February 10, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Fear of the Lord

Last week I read a couple of discussions focused on “the fear of the Lord.” I didn’t jump in, but did start humming one of Carolyn Hyde's scripture songs.


Then a few days ago I read Chris Donato’s article, Ancient Wisdom. This is how he explained Biblical fear:

“To begin with, to “fear” the Lord (or to have the “fear of God”) involved three aspects: First, the most obvious is that of emotional awe—to have faith, love, and trust in a holy God. Second, to fear God simply means that we must humble ourselves before the unchanging revelation of who He is in His Word. Third, fearing the Lord is a transcendent truth that can be instructed and committed to memory or pondered in the heart. This last point is important if for no other reason than to show us that no matter how many people do not fear God, it nonetheless endures. Thus, “fear of the Lord” refers to God’s eternal word, and it is this ageless inspiration from which wisdom flows.

“Fear” therefore, has little to do with pascifying an angry God; rather, it has to do with an expressie response of humility, trust, and love—this last effect, we are reminded by Jesus in Matthew 22:40, being that upon which “all the Law and the Prophets” depend. Again, biblical “fear” does not entail a robotic response to the legalist’s laws; it is humility and awe of the One who set before us “life and good, death and evil” (Duet. 30:15).

Using Jesus as the ultimate example, the fear of the Lord is the Son’s loving adoration that manifested itself in humble and meticulous obedience to His Father’s will.”

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February 09, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Berkhof on Reading the Psalms

"Lyric poetry contains, in the first place, an individual element. The poets sing of their own historical circumstances and of their personal experiences. This is quite evident from the superscriptions of the psalms. Cf. Pss. 3, 6, 7, 18, 30, etc. It is also apparent from the contents of many psalms. But these experiences, though personal, yet have a representative character. In the innermost recesses of his soul, the poet is conscious of his solidarity with mankind as a whole, and feels the pulse of the communal life of man. And the song that is born of this consciousness is a song which, in its crescendos and diminuendos, interprets the joy and sorrow, not only of the poet, but of man in general. And in view of the fact that this communal life has its fountain-head in God, the lyrical poet descends to still greater depths, or mounts to ever loftier heights, until he rests in God, in whom the life of humanity originates and who controls its joy and sorrow. Arising out of these depths, his song is, as it were, born of God.

"This general principle must be borne in mind in the interpretation of the psalms. They are in a sense universal, and transcend the personal and historical. The sacred singers are living members of the Church of God, and so are conscious of their unity with the Church as a whole that their songs also embody the praises and lamentations of the Church. And, as members of the church, they also feel that they are united to Him Who is its glorious Head, Who suffers for and with it, and is the author of its joy. This explains the fact that Christ is sometimes heard in the psalms, now singing a plaintive song, and anon raising up his voice in a paean of victory. Again, the life of the poet in union with Christ also has its fountain in God. Hence his song, which is also the song of the Church, finds its mainspring in God. The result of it all is that in some of the psalms, the personal experiences of the poet are most prominent; that in others the communal life of Israel and of the Church finds expression; and in still others, the humiliated and exalted Christ is heard. In all the psalms we have the deep background to which we referred, and the interpreter must beware of viewing them superficially. He should never rest satisfied until he hears in them the voice of his God. And the fact that, in God’s sight, the antithesis between sin and holiness is absolute, that He loves his Church but hates whatsoever opposes his Kingdom, will also explain the strong expressions of love and hatred that are found in the psalms."

From Louis Berkhof's Principles of Biblical Interpretation. Italics from the original. Posted especially for Kim.

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February 06, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Come, Ye Sinners

Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity joined with pow'r:
He is able,
He is able,
He is able,
He is willing; doubt no more.

Come, ye needy, come and welcome,
God's free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Ev'ry grace that brings you nigh,
Without money,
Without money,
Without money,
Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry till you're better,
You will never come at all:
Not the righteous,
Not the righteous,
Not the righteous,
Sinners Jesus came to call.

Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness he requireth
Is to feel your need of him;
This he gives you,
This he gives you,
This he gives you;
'Tis the Spirit's rising beam.

Lo! th'incarnate God, ascended,
Pleads the merit of his blood;
Venture on him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude:
None but Jesus,
None but Jesus,
None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good.

Listen to Trinity Hymnal #393/#472 courtesy of the OPC.

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January 30, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Adoption and Condemnation

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

14. . .because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and coheirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Romans 8:1-4, 14-17

From Charles Hodge, on Romans:

Since men, being sinners, cannot be justified by works, but because by the obedience of one man, Jesus Christ, many are made righteous, and since through him, and not through the law, we are delivered from the subjective power of sin, therefore it follosws that there is no condemnation for those who are in him. There is no condemnation. . . Again, this does not only describetheir present state, but their permanent position. They are placed beyond the reach of condemnation. They will never be condemned.
The controlling principle for believers is not the sinful nature but the Holy Spirit who dwells in them as the source of knowledge, of holiness, of strength, of peace and love.
Paul asserts that those who are in Christ are restored to the divine favor. Why? Because they are sanctified? no; rather, because they have been freed from the law and tis demands and introduced into a state of grace.
The law could condemn sin. What it cannot do is to free us either from its guilt or power. It can neither justify nor sanctify.
What the law could not do was to reconcile us to God. It was in view of this impotency of the lasw to effect salvation to sinners that God sent his Son to make expiation for their offenses andthus bring them back to himself.
The sacrifice of Christ was the condemnation of sin. That is, he bore our sins. He was made a curse, in the sense that he endured the curse due to our sin. His sufferings were penal, as they were judicially inflicted to satisfy justice. The immediate purpose and effect of a sacrifice is expiation, and not reformation or inner purification. . . . The argument of the apostle is that no condemnation comes on us, because God condemned sin in Christ.
In saying, however, that the immediate purpose and effect of a sacrifice is to expieate sin, and therfore that sin is therby condemned and not destroyed, it is not forgotten that propitiation is the result of expiation, that our sins are atoned for by the blood of Christ, so that we can be restored to his image and favor. Justification is not on account of, or on the ground of, sanctification, but it is in order to bring it about, and therefore the two are inseparable. The justified are always sanctified.

Sidenote: This post is in progress. . .

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January 30, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Adopted and Accepted

"When we realize that our adoption is permanent, we have the courage to celebrate our identity by looking and acting like our Father. We recognize and love our brothers and sisters because they look and act like Him, too. But even when they fail to have a family resemblance, we love them because our Father loves us when we fail to resemble Him. . .

But God does not just give us a list of house rules [referring back to the "one another" verses] He gives us grace to follow the rules. His Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that enables us to act like our Father. And our Elder Brother intercedes for us before the Father's throne." --Susan Hunt, Heirs of the Covenant

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January 29, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The T in TULIP and Children

As for my children...this doctrine [of Total Inability] helps me realize what's really important. What amuses and dismays me is that a lot of people will shout, "All babies are totally depraved!" and then will rush in with feeding schedules, harsh training regimens, and all sorts of other draconian responses. As if these things will help! The all-too-common approach seems to be, "Our children are totally depraved and therefore we need to turn to this child rearing program that is guaranteed, if followed faithfully, to produce whitewashed tombs."

Uh, that's not my goal as a parent.


Read the rest of Rebecca Prewett's thoughts on The Total Depravity of Infants. You might want to follow that up with The Child as Sinner (which relates to children in the Covenant) and Our View of Children as Blessings. Good reading all--one part theology, one part mommy-inspiration, one part thought provoking.

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January 25, 2005  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Brainerd and Catechisms

Jan. 18.

Prosecuted my catechetical method of discoursing. There appeared a great solemnity, and some considerable affection in the assembly. - This method of instructing I find very profitable. When I first entered upon it, I was exercised with fears, lest my discourses would unavoidably be so doctrinal, that they would tend only to enlighten the head, but not to affect the heart. But the event proves quite otherwise; for these exercises have hitherto been remarkably blessed in the latter as well as the former respects. -- David Brainerd's Journal


I've found that for me, doctrinal studies move my heart so much and not simply my brain. I remember reading the theology section in a textbook when I was 17 and feeling like I was rejoicing with the angels in heaven as I sat with my legs over the arm of my Dad's oversized recliner.

OKCalvin encouraged me several months ago to be sure that the boys were learning their catechism. We're using this Catechism for Young Children. The kids are definitely in the "Poll Parrot" stage, and like rhythmic recitation of the questions and answers.

At the beginning of the New Year, I started memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism via the plan found in TableTalk. (Yep, that's another plug--you really should subscribe.) I especially like this online version of the Westminster Shorter Catechism with the Bible proof texts listed in frames. Not this time around, but eventually I want to memorize those verses associated with each question.

And while I'm not sure whether Brainerd had simply a question/answer method of teaching or the Westminster Shorter in mind when he wrote in his journal, I've been as remarkably blessed, as he said.

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January 18, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Trials and Faith

"Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4 NASB
"I must have faith. I must believe what God has told me in His Word. I must see that what comes first to my thoughts is not always reality. Those could be fears and worries and anxieties. . . Faith comes by hearing God’s World and believing what He says. And that is the key to trials being considered occasions for joy." --Dr. Mark Dever, in TableTalk January 2005


I've been very blessed through using TableTalk as an aid to my spiritual disciplines. Kim at The Upward Call is also using TableTalk with her family, and summarizes what has been impacting her in her Trials, Trials post.

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January 16, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Bible Guide To Sex and Marriage

Top 10 Biblical Ways to Acquire a Wife
This is satire.

Christian Sex-Ed, Repressed Authoritarian Style
This isn't.

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January 14, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Our Sins Punished

"God is Father (James 1:27) and therfore loves His children deeply. Yet God is Judge (James 5:9) and thus is required to punish sin. God's love and righteousness, we know, motivated Him to accomplish redemption for us based on the sacrifice of His perfect Son who suffered the punishment we all deserve."

--Robert Rothwell, TableTalk January 2005

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January 09, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

O Father You Are Sovereign

O Father, You are sovereign
The Lord of human pain,
Transmuting earthly sorrows
To gold of heavenly gain,
All evil overruling,
As none but Conqueror could,
Your love pursues its purpose—
Our souls’ eternal good.

Learn the whole hymn here.


Since the New Year, I've been using Table Talk from Ligonier Ministries for my daily fellowship time with God. (Thanks Marsupial Mom and Swamphopper!) I'm also using the verse, Westminster Catechism question and hymn as part of Bible time with the boys. The devotional passages each day have been very appropriate for things I've been thinking about and living through recently, both good and hard.

All last week I was humming "What a Friend We Have In Jesus." I don't know this week's hymn very well, so thankfully very unmusical me can learn the tune online.

Kim at Upward Call has been inspired by TableTalk this month, blogging on Worship.

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January 09, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

To Fix or Depend?

"God's job is to fix and to change. Our job is to depend, serve, and equip. This is the work of grace."

I read Jeff VanVonderen's Families Where Grace is in Place last January. I found myself nodding as I read, seeing so many of the conclusions I'd come to through studying theology and discussions with friends. Only Jeff VanVonderen had these thoughts organized and drew upon his experience counseling with families.

It's very true, as JVV points out, that we have been

". . .taught to gauge spiritual success by outward performance standards, and not . . .been shown the internal steps that lead to real, from-the-heart-out empowerment and transformation."

Fast forward through a rough year, and I'm rereading the book. However, instead of nodding in agreement with his ideas, I'm recognizing myself and my own struggles in life. I'm seeing how much I still strive to measure myself and my spiritual "success" by outward standards. How much I don't daily turn to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and draw upon His grace.

In this coming year, I desire to learn more to lean into God, draw my strength from and depend upon Him. And may His grace flow out so I can serve and equip my husband and children.

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January 04, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

New Online Book

Reason to Believe, by R. C. Sproul


(via Monergism.com)

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December 30, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Our Advent

advent.JPG
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December 24, 2004  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Advent - The Fourth Sunday

On the fourth Sunday in Advent, we light the Angel candle. It's a thrill to have all four candles lit. Our readings for the week are:

Sun. Is. 7:10-14
Mon. Luke 1:26-35
Tue. Is. 9:2-7
Wed. Mt. 1:18-25
Thu. Luke 2:1-20
Fri. Mt. 2:1-2
Sat. Luke 2:21-35

One of the boys' favorite hymns this season has been "Hark the Herald Angel's Sing!" C4 still doesn't quite know all the lyrics and tends to switch between "Hark!" and "Razom nas Bagato."

Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim.
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Christ, by highest heaven adored.
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity!
Pleased as Man with man to dwell;
Jesus, our Immanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Hail, the heavenly Prince of Peace!
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings.
Mild He leaves His throne on high,
Born that man no more may die;
Born to raise the sons of earth;
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born King!"

Listen here.

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December 19, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Advent - The Third Sunday

Tonight we lit the Shepherd's candle, the rose-colored joy candle. Advent has been such a special time for me this year, even though my focus was originally helping the children understand Christmas and prepare their hearts. With the craziness of the Orange Revolution and how quickly Christmas seems to be coming, the nightly ritual of lighting the candles, praying and singing has been so calming for me.

The following are the Bible passages we're reading during the third week of Advent.

Sun. Luke 1:5-13
Mon. Luke 1:14-17
Tue. Luke 1:18-25
Wed. Luke 1:39-45
Thu. Luke 1:46-56
Fri. Luke 1:57-66
Sat. Luke 1:67-80


One of my favorite Christmas songs when I was a child was Angels We Have Heard on High. I remember singing with the children's choir at a local Baptist church when I was in 4th grade,. I loved the Glo-o-oria! parts and would feel so joyful--and a bit lightheaded. Tonight was the first time we sang it this year, and it seems to fit perfectly with this week of Advent.

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Listen to the tune at CyberHymnal.

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December 12, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Advent - The Second Sunday

C4 has been asking for our "admint" time each day--and has been disappointed that we only light the candles and sing once a day.

The second Sunday in advent we light the purlple Bethlehman candle. (Or, as Hubby saus in a Shrek-like voice, "the Donkey candle.") These are the Bible passages we're reading this week.

Sun. Is. 11:1-10
Mon. Zech. 6:12-13
Tue. Mic. 5:2-4
Wed. Mal. 3:1-6
Thu. John 1:1-8
Fri. John 1:9-18
Sat. Mark 1:1-3

And this is one of my favorite Advent hymns, but one I always struggle to get the tune right. The link at the bottom leads to the tune as well as the words.

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us;
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear Desire of ev'ry nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child, and yet a King,
Born to reign in us for ever,
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all-sufficient merit
Raise us to thy glorious throne.


Trinity Hymnal #145

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December 05, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Advent – The First Sunday

I was excited to find an evergreen wreath and taper candles in the traditional advent colors a few weeks ago. Last year, we our advent wreath was a bit ad hoc with votives on a glass tray. This is the first year we will be incorporating lighting the advent candles and reading the Advent Scripture into our Advent rhythm. For the past 5 years, we’ve been observing Advent with singing hymns, praying, and going through the Scriptures with a Jesse Tree that Auntie L gave us.

The purple candle for the first week of Advent represents prophecy. These are the Bible passages we’ll be reading this week.

Sun. Is. 40:1-5
Mon. Is. 52:7-10
Tue. Is. 40:9-11
Wed. Gen. 3:8-15
Thu. Gen. 15:1-6
Fri. Deut. 18:15-19
Sat. Ps. 89:1-4


And the first Advent hymn the boys requested was:

Joy to the World!

Joy to the world! the Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns:
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love.


Trinity Hymnal #149


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November 28, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

To Do Justice

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the LORD require of thee,
but to do justice, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?

Micah 6:8

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November 24, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Grace, Amazing Grace

for flawed and broken human beings, there is nothing like grace's power to heal our brokenness. --Lee Anne

Amazing grace—how sweet the sound—
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found—
Was blind, but now I see.

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed!

Thro' many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.

When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

Original Trinity Hymnal #402


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November 07, 2004  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Attributes of God

Rebbecca writes theological essays.

Bookmark her series on the Attributes of God to accompany your personal study.

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November 05, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

One Another

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to teh Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:12-17


Today's sermon was from this passage, and I want to hang it on the refrigerator this week to meditate upon.

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October 31, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

God's Awful Love

‘Oh,’ the priest said, ‘that’s another thing altogether—God is love. I don’t say the heart doesn’t feel a taste of it, but what a taste. The smallest glass of love mixed with a pint pot of ditch-water. We wouldn’t recognize that love. It might even look like hate. It would be enough to scare us—God’s love. It set fire to a bush in the desert, didn’t it, and smashed open graves and set the dead walking in the dark. Oh, a man like me would run a mile to get away if he felt that love around.’

--the priest in Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory


Hubby read this book last year and wrote about it in The Whisky Priest in Us All. I just finished The Power and the Glory, and I like it as much as the first Greene novel I read, Travels with my Aunt.


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October 26, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

1. O sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory
What bliss ’til now was Thine
Yet though despised and gory
I joy to call Thee mine

2. What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
Was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
Vouchsafe me to Thy grace.

3. The joy can never be spoken,
Above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken
I thus with safety hide.
My Lord of Life, desiring
Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring,
I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

4. What language shall I borrow
To praise Thee, heavenly friend,
For this my dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
Lord make me Thine forever,
Nor let me faithless prove
Oh let me never, never
Abuse such dying love

5. Forbid that I should leave Thee
O Jesus leave not me!
By faith I would receive Thee
Thy blood can make me free
When strength and comfort languish
And I must hence depart
Release me then from anguish
By Thine own wounded heart

6. Be near when I am dying
Oh show Thy cross to me
And for my succor flying
Come Lord and set me free
These eyes new faith receiving
From Jesus shall not move
For he who dies believing
Dies safely, through Thy love

Words: Bernard of Clairvaux
Translated: James W. Alexander
Music: Johann Walther
Adapted: Hans Hassler
Public Domain

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October 24, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Autumn Prayer

Be the Gardener of my Soul

Spirit of the living God, be the Gardener of my soul.
For so long I have been waiting, silent and still -
experiencing a winter of the soul.
But now, in the strong name of Jesus Christ, I dare to ask:
Clear away the dead growth of the past,
Break up the hard clods of custom and routine
Stir in the rich compost of vision and challenge.
Bury deep in my soul the implanted Word,
Cultivate and water and tend my heart,
until new life buds and opens and flowers.
Amen.

--Unknown


(Via Earth Girl)

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October 17, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

JWs at the Door

A few minutes ago, the doorbell rang and there stood two well-dressed ladies offering me Jehovah's Witnesses literature.

I only understood about half of what they were saying, but after confirming they were JWs I told them I wasn't interested.

"You're not interested?"
"The Jesus you believe in isn't the Jesus that is taught in the Bible," I explained.
"You don't think we believe in Jesus?"
"No, I think you do believe in Jesus."
They smiled.
"But you believe in a Jesus that is different than the Jesus of the Bible. I pray that you will read your Bible more and understand who the Jesus of the Bible is. My kids need me--I need to go."
They looked at me quizzically and tuned to go. I hope I actually said in Russian what I was trying to say.

If Hubby had been home, perhaps we could have invited them in for tea and talked more about JW beliefs and the Bible.

Sadly in Ukraine, cults like JW and LDS are growing rapidly. The average Ivan on the street frequently thinks that any religious group that is not Ukrainian or Russian Orthodox is a cult. That can make things difficult for historical, small-o orthodox churches like ours.

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October 16, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Wisdom from Proverbs

4And it is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave liquor. For if they drink, they may forget their duties and be unable to give justice to those who are oppressed. Liquor is for the dying, and wine for those in deep depression. Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more. --the Teacher
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September 14, 2004  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Strength to my Fainting Heart

My faith looks up to thee,
Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Saviour Divine;
Now hear me while I pray,
Take all my guilt away,
O let me from this day
Be wholly thine.

May thy rich grace impart
Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire;
As thou hast died for me,
O may my love to thee
Pure, warm and changeless be,
A living fire.

While life's dark maze I tread,
And griefs around me spread,
Be thou my guide;
Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow's tears away,
Nor let me ever stray
From thee aside.

When ends life's transient dream,
When death's cold, sullen stream
Shall o'er me roll,
Blest Saviour, then, in love,
Fear and distrust remove;
O bear me safe above,
A ransomed soul.


From the Trinity Hymnal.

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September 12, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Consider

consider your laughter
consider my tears
consider my love
consider your fear

consider one small child
consider your cross
consider the hope that withers like a flower
consider my loss
consider the fire
consider the night
consider the truth
consider the light, my love
consider your heart

consider your heart
consider your heart

consider my love, my love
consider the darkness
consider my love, my love
consider the flame
consider my love, my love
consider the ghost of the living savior
remember my love
remember my name

consider your heart
remember my name

consider your heart
remember my name

consider your heart


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September 10, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Catechisms and Creeds

The Westminster Confession of Faith

The Larger Catechism
The Shorter Catechism
Catechism for Young Children

The Apostles' Creed

The Nicene Creed

Other helpful and historical church documents available at Monergism.com and CRTA.org.

(Especially for Samantha.)

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September 02, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Sanctification and the Sin-Bearer

"It cost him much to part with his Son; it costs him nothing to give every other blessing. He grudges not, but delights to bestow them. He is weary of withholding, but never weary of giving. Now, if he freely parted with what cost him such an infinited sacrifice, will he refuse us what costs him nothing but the delight of giving. He delights to give us his Holy Spirit. He delights to quicken us, to renew us, to sanctify us, to fulfill in us all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power.

Will he then refuse us his Spirit? Will he refuse to make us holy? Will he need many arguments to persuade him to do so? Impossible! For he has already given his Son. And 'how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?'" --Horatius Bonar

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August 29, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Faithfulness of God

"This faithfulness of God is of the utmost practical significance to the people of God. It is the ground of their confidence, the foundation of their hope, and the cause of their rejoicing. It saves them from the despair to which their own unfaithfulness might easily lead, gives them courage to carry on in spite of their failures, and fills their hearts with joyful anticipations, anew when they are deeply conscious of the fact they have forfeited all the blessings of God."

--Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, p. 70

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August 27, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Milk For Babes

"Milk for babes, drawn out of the breasts of both Testaments chiefly for the spirituall nourishment of Boston babes in either England, but may be of like use for any children"

• By: John Cotton
• Publisher: London : Printed by J. Coe for Henry Overton, and are to be sold at his shop ..., 1646.

Isn't that a great title?

I was wondering if anyone knew whether and where this may be found online? So far, I've only found it listed as included in the appendix of the book "Puritan Children in Exile."

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August 22, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

How Firm a Foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.


This is the hymn that's been on my heart all week.

Listen at Cyberhymnal.

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August 15, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Must Read Interview

"And what may seem to be counter-intuitive to some, I personally have found that the more I deeply study systematic and biblical theology, the more wonder I have of the God we serve. The more He causes me to learn, the more I recognize how little I know, and so theology has become a devotional activity for me; a discipline that places me in a position of more deeply considering the beauty and perfections of God." --John Hendryx

John Hendryx has aptly said what I've found the impact of studying theology has been on my life.

The quote is from Michael Spencer's "Christians You Need To Know" with
Monergism.Com's
John Hendryx.

As I've mentioned before, Monergism is an excellent clearinghouse of Reformed articles, links, commentaries and sermons. Well worth your time browing.

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August 13, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Thursday Thankfuls

I really forward to the "Thankful Thursday Three" each week. Since BadgerMum is AFK with company and busy family things, I'm going to just have to post mine here, instead of in her comments.

Today I'm thankful for:

1. That our hot water is back on, after the annual two weeks off for maintanence. Hooray for hot showers!

2. That the most crazy part of summer is over (though we still have a short-term mission group coming in a few weeks from Texas.)

3. That I have a husband that dwells with me in understanding, even when I'm crying over silly things.

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August 12, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

"To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect."

JOHN OWEN, III:433

(Via Monergism's rotating quotes)

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July 16, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Thursday Bible Study

We just began Romans last week. Wow--I'm so glad we've started this book. Last night I was again completely swept away by the Gospel of Jesus Christ,

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith." -Romans 1:16-17

Amen!

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July 09, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

And you, who in the past were cut off and at war with God in your minds through evil works, he has now made one

In the body of his flesh through death, so that you might be holy and without sin and free from all evil before him:

If you keep yourselves safely based in the faith, not moved from the hope of the good news which came to you, and which was given to every living being under heaven; of which I, Paul, was made a servant.

Colossians 1:21-23

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July 04, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Amazing Love, How Can It Be?

And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the Savior's blood!
Died he for me? who caused his pain!
For me? who him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?


'Tis mystery all: th' Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
to sound the depths of love divine.

'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
let angel minds inquire no more.
'Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
let angel minds inquire no more.


He left his Father's throne above
(so free, so infinite his grace!),
emptied himself of all but love,
and bled for Adam's helpless race.

'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
for O my God, it found out me!
'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
for O my God, it found out me!


Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
fast bound in sin and nature's night;
thine eye diffused a quickening ray;
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

my chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.


No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine;
alive in him, my living Head,
and clothed in righteousness divine,

bold I approach th' eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th' eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788
Music: Thomas Campbell
Listen: Hymnsite.com

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June 27, 2004  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Today's call to worship at Zavet Blagodati was Psalm 63:2-9:

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

They who seek my life will be destroyed;
they will go down to the depths of the earth.


Great Is Thy Faithfulness


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June 13, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free;
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of thy love;
Leading onward, leading homeward,
To thy glorious rest above.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Spread his praise from shore to shore;
How he loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore;
How he watches o'er his loved ones,
Died to call them all his own;
How for them he intercedeth,
Watcheth o'er them from the throne.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Love of ev'ry love the best:
'Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
'Tis a haven sweet of rest.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
'Tis a heav'n of heav'ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to thee.


Listen.

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June 06, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Man's Will

To read these verses and then still talk blithely about man's 'free' will is to invert Orwell's 1984 slogan to read "Slavery is freedom." --Hubby
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June 01, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Baptism and Babies

This morning at our church, a precious baby girl was baptised.

R5 sat on my lap during that part of the service. "I remember the day you were baptised," I whispered. "Do you remember?"

We listened to the pastor talk about the covenant God made with Abraham, the covenant God has made with us.

Pastor Gregg Strawbridge's booklet "Infant Baptism: Does the Bible Teach it?" was key in helping me understand paedobaptism. It clarified many concepts connected with Covenant Theology and the idea of covenant family.

I've been mulling over the implications of children in the Covenant ever since, and even more over the past year. Some of those implications have had a profound impact in how I relate to my family.

It was truly beautiful to witness little Yulichka's baptism today.

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May 23, 2004  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

O bless our God with one accord

O bless our God with one accord,
Ye faithful servants of the Lord,
Who in his house do stand by night;
And praise him there with all your might.

Lift up your hands, in prayer draw nigh
Unto his sanctuary high;
Bless ye the Lord, kneel at his feet,
And worship him with reverence meet.

Jehovah bless thee from above,
From Zion in his boundless love,
Our God, who heav'n and earth did frame;
Blest be his great and holy Name.

Listen

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May 23, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Tulipedia!

Tulipedia, the free encyclopedia on Calvinism.


Why am I not surprised that Aaron was in on this?

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May 17, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Philippians 2:1-18

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing;
so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world,
holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.
You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me." --Philippians 2:1-18

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May 16, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Antibodies and Germs

At all times and in all situations we are doing one of two things: we are either 1) healing a situation or, 2) infecting a situation.

Nann shared this on a messageboard where I post, in the context of family relationships. It's given me much to mull over, and led to a St. Francis-like prayer, "Lord, make me an instrument of Your healing."

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May 13, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Chosen in Love

Father, Thou all things ordained
Ev'n the sin which leaves us stained
Proves Thy righteous judgment fair
Though it moves us to despair

Yet Thou hast a better end
For those whom Thou dost befriend
That within the Trinity
Holy Love may cherished be

Thou hast chosen us in love
Giv'n us hearts born from above
Thine we are, to Thee we sing
Joyous tribute to our King

Chos'n in Christ for holiness
For the Father's love to bless
That the Son may worshipped be
Now and through eternity

Ours the sin from which we die
Christ the Live to which we fly
Life in Him O blessedness!
Christ in us, our Righteousness

Holy Spirit, heavenly seal
Give our hearts Thy Word's appeal
Op'n our eyes that we may see
Gospel truths which set us free

Free from sin's corrupting power
Free to worship Thee this hour
Free from fear, from death's dark sting
Free to trust and rest and sing!


Peter Byron La Pointe, 2002
To the tune -- St. Bees: John B. Dykes, 1862

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May 09, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Lead On, O King Eternal

Lead on, O King eternal,
The day of march has come;
Henceforth in fields of conquest
Thy tents shall be our home:
Through days of preparation
Thy grace has made us strong,
And now, O King eternal,
We lift our battle song.

Lead on, O King eternal,
Till sin's fierce war shall cease,
And Holiness shall whisper
The sweet amen of peace;
For not with swords loud clashing,
Nor roll of stirring drums,
But deeds of love and mercy,
The heav'nly kingdom comes.

Lead on, O King eternal,
We follow, not with fears;
For gladness breaks like morning
Where'er thy face appears;
Thy cross is lifted o'er us;
We journey in its light:
The crown awaits the conquest;
Lead on, O God of might.


From the Trinity Hymnal Online

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April 18, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Христос воскрес!

"Christ the Lord is risen today," Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say; Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high; Alleluia!
Sing ye heav'ns, and earth, reply: Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal; Alleluia!
Christ has burst the gates of hell: Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids his rise; Alleluia!
Christ hath opened Paradise. Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King; Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died, our souls to save; Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head; Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise: Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies. Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and heav'n! Alleluia!
Praise to thee by both be giv'n; Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now; Alleluia!
Hail, the Resurrection Thou! Alleluia!


(Listen at the OPC's Trinity Hymnal online.)

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April 11, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Pussywillow Sunday

This is the gate of the LORD;
The righteous will enter through it.
I shall give thanks to You, for You have answered me,
And You have become my salvation.
The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the LORD'S doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O LORD, do save, we beseech You;
O LORD, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the LORD;
We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.
The LORD is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalms 118:20-29

In Ukraine and much of Eastern Europe, the pussywillow is used to represent the palm as we remember Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey.

Until recently, our boys composed the a large portion of the children at our church, and sat with us throughout the service. This week was the first children's church lesson during the sermon. When they returned from their lesson, the children had palm branches of cardboard, pussywillow and palm fronds and sang "Hosanna to the King!" in Russian.

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April 04, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Turn or Burn. . .

A call to repentance?

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March 29, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Open My Eyes, Lord

"An uncultured person may see a beautiful work of art as an object of vision, but he has no appreciation of its excellence.

He may see the figures of a complex mathematical equation, but they have no meaning for him. Horses and cattle may see the same beautiful sunset or other phenomenon in nature that men see, but they are blind to all of the artistic beauty.

So it is when the Gospel of the cross is presented to the unregenerate man. He may have an intellectual knowledge of the facts and doctrines of the Bible, but he lacks all spiritual discernment of their excellence, and finds no delight in them." --Loraine Boettner

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March 28, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Life is a Puzzle

I have found my Christian walk to be like a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

When I was younger, I had part of the puzzle together, and I knew the picture was an ocean scene. A few years and a few pieces of the puzzle later, I see the green of the sea is really trees. A few more pieces in place, and things seem so much clearer--but now I know that I'm not going to really understand "the big picture" until I'm done.

That's what my walk with the Lord has been like, in some ways. Not that I was "wrong" when I was younger--I just saw only a small part of the puzzle of the life God has given us. The pieces I had led me to emphasize one thing or another. Sometimes I did have pieces in the wrong place.

I am sure I don't really understand it all, but I am assured that God is faithfully revealing Himself to me.

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March 27, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Faith of our Fathers

Faith of our fathers! living still
In spite of dungeon, fire and sword;
O how our hearts beat high with joy
Whene'er we hear God's glorious Word:

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
Were still in heart and conscience free;
And blest would be their children's fate
If they, like them, should die for thee:

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers! God's great pow'r
Shall draw all nations unto thee;
And through the truth that comes from God
His people shall indeed be free:

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.

Faith of our fathers! we will love
Both friend and foe in all our strife,
And preach thee, too, as love knows how
By witness true and virtuous life:

Faith of our fathers, holy faith!
We will be true to thee till death.


Listen at the Trinity Hymnal Online #487

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March 21, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Islam and "The Rod"

Middle East Media Research Institute has just released a report on Islamic Shar'ia law related to wife-beating.

In January, Sheikh Muhammad Kamal Mustafa, a Muslim cleric in Spain, was sentenced for publishing his book "The Woman in Islam" which includes the application of Shar'ia law as it relates to wife-beating.

One of the interesting points brought up in this article is the various interpretations of what the rod is and how beatings should be administered. For instance, in Mustafa writes,

"The [wife-]beating must never be in exaggerated, blind anger, in order to avoid serious harm [to the woman]." He adds, "It is forbidden to beat her on the sensitive parts of her body, such as the face, breast, abdomen, and head. Instead, she should be beaten on the arms and legs," using a "rod that must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused." Similarly, "[the blows] must not be hard."

Please pay attention to the description of the rod, "must not be stiff, but slim and lightweight so that no wounds, scars, or bruises are caused."

This is the same wording used by some Christians about the type of rod that should be used when punishing children. For example, Gary Ezzo teaches that children ought to be "chastised" with a "biblical rod" which he describes as "somewhat flexible, not stiff or unbending" instrument (GKGW, p.220). Ezzo families sometimes describe this being a wide strip of rubber tubing, a rubber show sole, a thin razor strap, or a large glue stick.

Michael and Debbie Pearl similary suggest that "a light, flexible instrument will sting without bruising or causing internal damage. Many people are using a section of ¼ inch plumber’s supply line as a spanking instrument."

Credenda Agenda suggests, ". . .wood seems the obvious choice. Look for something about a cubit long that flirts with flexibility, but be sure it's strong enough. . ." Volume 14, Issue 4

Both Ezzo and Pearl call for immediate obedience from children, followed by "chastisement" with the rod if they don't comply without delay.

At least the Muslims show more patience with their wives--beating with a rod is the third step in "wifely discipline." The first is gentle verbal admonishments and the second is being removed from the marriage bed.

From the photos in the MEMRI article, the Muslim's "small rod" is a bit bigger than a glue stick.

SmallMuslimRod

However, the photo of the "large rod" seems to be much closer to a shebet, the type of rod that is referred to in Proverbs.

LargeMuslimRod


For further reading, I recommend Laurie Moody's study on Biblical Discipline and Joan Sewell's study Suffer the Little Children.


Update: Though taking a different angle, this story is also being talked about by The Commissar, Chris, DhimmiWatch, Matt, John , Allah and Marsupial Mom.

(Via schoolraider)

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March 20, 2004  |  Comments (20)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper he amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great;
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he,
Lord Sabaoth his name,
From age to age the same,
And he must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure;
One little word shall fell him.

That Word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still;
His kingdom is for ever.


Listen at the old Trinity Hymnal online.

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March 14, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Charm is Deceitful

Charm is deceitful
Beauty is vain
But a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised
A woman who fears the Lord

In a world where we see with our eyes
I pray for eyes that see the heart
'Cause flesh is unfaithful
And is of no gain
But a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised
A woman who fears the Lord

And I know that when He sees me
It won't be beauty that He longs to hold
It'll be the love that He finds inside my heart

'Cause charm is deceitful
Beauty is vain
But a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised
A woman who fears
Yes a woman who fears
A woman who fears the Lord

I've had this Kim Hill/Wes King song taken from Proverbs 31:28:31 in my head most of the week, as we've been gearing up for Women's Day. Cultural concepts related to who women are and ought to be are vary greatly worldwide. I've really struggled to understand what are simply my American Protestant opinions; the truly Biblical essentials are summed up with "a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."

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March 07, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Psalm 19:12-14

Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.
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March 05, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

O Worship The King

O worship the king all glorious above,
O gratefully sing his power and his love;
Our shield and defender, the ancient of days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of his might, O sing of his grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space.
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is his path on the wings of the storm.

The earth with its store of wonders untold,
Almighty, thy pow'r hath founded of old;
Hath stablished it fast by a changeless decree,
And round it hath cast, like a mantle, the sea.

Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air; it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills; it descends to the plain;
And sweetly distils in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!

O measureless might! ineffable love!
While angels delight to hymn thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall lisp to thy praise.

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February 29, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

CARM School

Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry is a great resource. CARM was founded by Matt Slick "to equip Christians with good information on doctrine, various religious groups, cults, Evolution, New Age, and related subjects."

One of the newest projects CARM is focusing on is an online apologetics school. You can get a preview of this at CARM Online School Demo.

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February 26, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

The Heart of Obedience

"Biblical virtues cannot be learned from a how-to book. These character qualities are evidences of grace. They are responses of obedience that flow from a new heart. And a new heart is a gift from God to His covenant children."

from Susan Hunt, The True Woman

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February 06, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Imperfect Faith

True Christian righteousness is faith and confidence in the Son of God, or rather, the heart's confidence in God through Jesus Christ. We should qualify this by saying that this faith and confidence is credited to us as righteousness for Christ's sake. God accepts my imperfect faith as perfect righteousness for Christ's sake, in whom I have begun to believe.

from Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians

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February 04, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Oh Lord, You're Beautiful

Oh Lord, You're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
And when your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me

Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and free
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear!

I want to take your Word
And shine it all around
But help first to live it, Lord
And when I'm doing well
Help me to never seek a crown
For my reward is giving glory to you


Listen online.

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February 01, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Must Visit Website

If you haven't yet, you simply must visit Monergism.Com, for great theology and Bible study resources.

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January 29, 2004  |  Comments (11)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Superfluparents in the Church

While this troublesome trend is apparent in the culture at large, it is even more disturbing when it makes headway in the Church. Superfluparents is how Joanne diagnoses the problem she sees in many churches, including her own.

The condition is characterized by a gradual decline in parental authority, a deterioration of the family unit as socialization vehicle, the slow give away of each aspect of the child's life to someone/someplace else. Advanced stages of the disease are shown by children who care more about peers than parents, parents whose "dealing with children" muscles have atrophied due to lack of use. . .

God has called us to worship corporately, as families. He has made our children part of His Covenant. Why does it seem the Church so often rushes to exclude them from worship, in the guise of "ministering" to these little ones?

Beal Heights PCA's Infants and Children and the Word of God offers a positive approach that helps families worship together, meets the needs and noises of little ones, and provides for guests.

And for the practical side of corporate worship with very small children, Jeri has some great ideas.

Update: Marsupial Mom adds to this discussion.


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January 21, 2004  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (2)  |  Permalink

 

 

Charles Hodge and Parenting

The other night I was skimming Charles Hodge's commentary on Romans and was just struck by how God relates to us as His children, and how I can follow that example with my children.

This is from the Crossway Books Classic Commentaries, page 189, commenting on Romans 6: 12-23:

"As no man is free from sin, as no man can perfectly keep the commandments of God, every man who rests on his personal conformity to the law as the basis of his acceptance with God must be condemned. We are not under the law in this sense, but under grace--that is, a system of free justification. We are justified by grace, without works.

We are not under a legal dispensation, requiring personal conformity to the law and entire freedom from sin, past and present, as the condition of our acceptance; but we are under a gracious dispensation, according to which God dispenses pardon freely and accepts the sinner as a sinner, for Christs's sake, without works or merit of his own. Whoever is under the law, in the sense just explained, is not only condemned, but he is bound by a legal or slavish spirit. What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment. But he who is under grace, who is freely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit. The principle of obeying him is love and not fear.

Here, as everywhere else in the Bible, it is assumed that the favor of God is in our life. We must be reconciled to Him before we can be holy: we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."


Reflections related to Parenting

"God. . .accepts the sinner as a sinner"
I know this to be true with God accepting me, and now I want to really just ACCEPT my children as who they are. I want to provide a "safe place to fall" for my kids, where they know they are accepted as they are, even when they sin. I know my parents have lived that out towards my siblings and me.

"What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment."
I don't want my children to be doing things out of fear, simply to escape punishment.

"But he who is under grace, who is freeely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit."
This is the part of the passage that first drew my attention to asking how I can relate this to me and my children, copying God as my Father.

"The principle of obeying him is love and not fear."
Again, I don't want it to be fear of me or fear of punishment that compels my children to obedience. But of love. Just as, truly, my obedience (imperfect though it may be) to God is out of a desire to please Him and out of love.

"we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."
I read a survey once that said something like 90% of kids knew their parents loved them, but only 30% FELT that their parents loved them. I want to really nurture my children, and have them FEEL loved by me and my husband.


Update: Carol adds some of her thoughts on this subject.

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January 20, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Romans 6:12-23

This is the passage that provoked my thoughts on parenting when reading Charles Hodge's commentary on Romans.

"Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh.

For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification. For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.

Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 6:12-23 NASB

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January 20, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Prayer for Teachableness

O God, who has thought us worthy of Thy blessing,
that Thy Word daily sounds in our ears,
let it not find stony hearts and iron minds,
but so let us submit ourselves to Thee
with the humility that becomes us,
that we may truly feel Thee to be our Father;
and being confirmed in the hope of our adoption,
so long as Thou continuest to speak to us,
may at length enjoy not Thy voice alone,
but even the sight of Thy glory in that heavenly kingdom,
which Thine only Son has purchased for us by His blood.
Amen.

-- John Calvin

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January 18, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 

Come, Thou Fount of Ev'ry Blessing



Come, thou Fount of ev'ry blessing,

Tune my heart to sing thy grace;

Streams of mercy, never ceasing,

Call for songs of loudest praise,

Teach me some melodious sonnet,

Sung by flaming tongues above;

Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,

Mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wand'ring from the fold of God:
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be;
Let that grace now, like a fetter,
Bind my wand'ring heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.

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January 03, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink

 

 


 

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