Thursday, December 31, 2009

Come Thou Fount - Verse 1

Come, Thou Fount of every 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 Thy redeeming love.

I think I'll have to expand on my thoughts regarding this hymn. God is the fountain of every blessing - every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of Lights, in whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. God doesn't change, and He is always good.

This is a cry from the songwriter to God, to come and tune his heart to sing about the fathomless grace of God. Without the Lord's work in our hearts, we'd want nothing to do with Him. The carnal man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are foolishness to him. Unless the Spirit tunes our hearts to sing His praise, we just won't do it. We'll give thanks to "Mother Nature"; we'll enjoy the beauty of creation; we'll gasp in wonder at the amazing development of a newborn baby. But without His grace, we'll never sing the praises of God who made it all.

I remember when the Lord first touched my heart and I began to walk with Him. The trees were more beautiful. The sun shone brighter. The birds' songs were more clear and sweet - I burst with the knowledge that this was God's world, and that He was MY God, and that I knew Him.

The melodious sonnets we Christians should sing mirror those praises of the angels who sit in the presence of God. Some day we'll indeed join in that heavenly chorus, but for now, we Praise the Mountain of God we're FIXED upon. This is the redeeming love of God. He redeemed us - bought us back from the slave market of sin, and paid the full price.

How can I not sing?

May God richly bless you in 2010, and may you sing His praises!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Forward

We're ending the year 2009, and as I am prone to do, I've been contemplating my Christian walk. How have I done this year - have I made progress? Can I say that I have grown in grace, and in the knowledge of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ?

A group of ladies that I belong to was discussing the difference between personal conviction and legalism recently. One lady made the point that our obedience IS important, and that people can tend to use the term "personal conviction" to excuse all sorts of wrong behaviour.

Another one explained that early in her Christian walk, she had a checklist of sorts, a list of rules she made for herself, so she could follow the rules and feel good about her accomplishments. But she said this,

"I am slowly learning to let go of the things I do for the purpose of making me feel secure in my devotion for the Lord and to replace them with what He truly does want from me."

And I say, what He wants from us is our love and thankfulness. The FIRST and GREATEST commandment is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. He inhabits the praise of His people. The very best we can give Him is acknowledgement that He is God, that He is good, that He provided everything we need for life and godliness, and that His grace is amazing. All of the things we DO are tainted - our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight. Yet, He is pleased with our meagre efforts to obey and to please Him, especially when we acknowledge that we do it falteringly and not well at all.

He simply wants the truth from us. We are needy people. We cannot obey fully and well, although we can attempt to do so, and we ought to do so. We are called to be holy, for He is holy.

What that looks like may be different from family to family and person to person. That's what people are talking about when they speak of personal conviction.

God's standards don't change, and I am not implying that they do.

But the truth is that we can never measure up. We can never do things right. We can't even think pure thoughts for a day, much less act in a pure and holy manner towards God and towards our neighbour.

That's why we praise the Lord, for He lives IN us. His righteousness is imputed to us. He took our sin and exchanged it for His beautiful robes of purity.

I used to have a checklist that made me feel pretty good about myself. As I have matured and grown and learned more about God and His word, and developed more of a relationship with Him, I too have realized that my checklist was for my benefit. The awful truth is that I am rotten through and through, and my best strivings are "losings" - except for the mercy of God.

That astounds me and makes me want to live a purer, holier life - simply because God loves me so much, and is so very, very good to me.

The following is a hymn that has ministered to my soul. I am prone to wander, and as I look forward to 2010, I know that the only reason I can go on is because I have been redeemed, and I am kept by the fetters of His grace that bind my heart to my glorious God.

Someone named "jp", in a comment on this blog, said this:

The words paint a picture of a man who realizes the error of his wanderlust while at the same time knowing the profound and ceaseless goodness of God's grace. What then is the author's cry to God? He calls on the Stone of Help to rescue him. He begs God to bind him to grace with shackles and to seal his heart.

I praise God that He has bound me to grace with shackles, and that He has sealed my heart with the Holy Spirit as an earnest, an indication that He is IN me, and He is keeping me by the power of His love.

Come, Thou Fount of every 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 Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

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.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

David - the Liar; A man after God's own heart.

I have an enemy that likes to whisper truths into my mind. Things like, "You're a failure." (I am, definitely. I fail to make my bed most days, for instance. Add a million things to the list and it chalks up to the truth. I AM a failure.)

This enemy then sneers, "You're not much of a Christian, either." (I'm not. I read my Bible most days, but sometimes I don't. I promise to pray for people and forget to do it. I fall into patterns of thinking that are definitely not Christlike. I AM NOT much of a Christian.)

He goes on to announce, "You could be a better wife and mother." (I could be. At this very moment Rick has no socks in his drawer. At this very moment I could be baking muffins for the kids when they wake up, but I am not baking a thing. Again, those are only two examples of my lack of wifely expertise and lack of motherly love out of many, many examples.)

No wonder the creep can say to me, "How can God love YOU? How can He accept you? And what makes you think you will be welcomed into heaven? You are no Jonathan Edwards! You are no Charles Spurgeon! YOU are a SINNER!"

And he is a liar.

See, the truths he insinuates into my mind are only half-truths. While I am a failure, my failures teach me to run to HIM - the One Who Never Fails. When I am a poor Christian, I rest in the fact that Jesus is rich in grace and mercy. As the days whirl past and I realize how little I have accomplished, I remind myself that the truth is that Jesus accomplished it all!!

David is known in the Bible as a man after God's own heart. Yet, after Jonathan told him that King Saul was indeed seeking to kill him, he did not react in faith. He fled for his life, and the first thing he did was to lie to Ahimelech, pretending to be on a secret mission from Saul. The next thing he did was to pretend to be insane so Achish the king of Gath would spare his life.

David lied. David lacked faith. David did not trust God, nor did he wait on Him.

David is an encouragement to me. I make foolish choices, too. I live with the consequences of my decisions, and I suffer hardship because of them. Yet my Father still loves me.

Luke 5:31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus called ME - a sinner, a failure in every way. He saved me. He substituted His righteousness for my sinfulness.

Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.

Do you see that? No condemnation. I am set free. Jesus' righteousness is mine! And Satan can go to hell.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I have been having acupuncture done on my neck. The worst thing about it is not having needles over an inch long stuck into my person at 6 or 7 different locations. The worst thing is that I have to STAY STILL the whole time said needles are in place.

This is not an easy task for me. I like to move.

Today, not only was I not supposed to move, but to add to the difficulty of the situation, my nose started to itch. I sat there, head on my hands on a pillow in front of me, breathing into the pillow, wondering if they'd changed the pillowcase or if I was breathing in someone else's germs, and all the while trying to ignore the itch.

I finally heard the timer go off, and was inwardly rejoicing at the prospect of being able to scratch my nose. Imagine my disappointment when the physio lady came in and began TWISTING all of the needles. "I'm just stimulating the acupuncture sites," she said cheerily. "I'll be back in about ten minutes."

Off she went, and I sat there, feeling itchy and uncomfortable. My head hurt from being on my hand, and my nose was still itchy, and now all of the little needles were sending messages to my brain. It wasn't painful... just bothersome.

Ten minutes passed v e r Y S L O W L Y.

In came Craig, the physiotherapist, and out came the needles.

Free at last!

Until the next time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Colossal Frauds

John MacArthur has written a hard-hitting post that exposes the "health and prosperity" TV 'preachers' for who they really are. He writes,

Someone needs to say this plainly: The faith healers and health-and-wealth preachers who dominate religious television are shameless frauds.

I like people who tell it like it is. John MacArthur isn't afraid to say that these people who prattle on and on, duping vulnerable ones out of their money by promising to get rid of their cancer, to heal up those cavities, or to get rid of their diabetes (if they just send a little cash in the envelope provided) are outright charlatans.

Stacy from Louisville has a quote that I love on her blog:
I'm a committed follower of Jesus Christ who is "...unable to commit to any messiah who doesn't knock over tables." - Garret Keizer

If Jesus sat for a minute (as I did early one morning recently) and listened to Benny Hinn 'praying' with his eyes opened, putting on a show for those watching, he'd not only knock over tables... I think He'd knock over Benny. I know I wanted to knock him upside the head and ask him, "What were you thinkin'?"

Obviously, he wasn't.

Because, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. We are HIS treasured possessions, and He doesn't take kindly to anyone who touches one of His anointed.

I'm cheering Pastor John MacArthur on. Praise God for men who tell the truth!


Sunday, December 6, 2009

4 out of nearly 19

Cutie-patooties, aren't they? I swiped this from Heather's amazing adventures.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Baby is leaving....

Oh, she's all grown up and everything. But she's still my little brown-haired girl. And she's leaving the country, going on a plane, landing in a country that doesn't speak English as its native language.

I'm okay with all of this. It's wonderful that she has this chance to go and relax in the sun with a good friend, who has been there more than fifteen times. My baby's in good hands.

Not only that, but because she's a Christian, God will be with her every step of the way. He promised never to leave or forsake His own.

So I rejoice.

She's gonna have a great time. And I can't wait to hear all about it.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Preaching the Gospel to yourself

I keep telling people (including myself) that it is of utmost importance to preach the gospel. This is a never-ending task - we need to be preaching the gospel every single day, in season and out of season, to anyone who will listen, by our words and by our lives. But don't forget to start by preaching the gospel to yourself.

Great Quote from the Irish Calvinist:

Usually sometime between brushing my teeth and washing my face I am looking eye to eye with the guy who needs to hear the gospel most. And I preach it to him. I remind him of his wicked sin, God’s forbearing mercy, indescribable grace, perfect Savior, the brutality and success of the cross, and the truth of the empty grave. By the end of the sermon my soul is more refreshed than my freshly brushed mouth. And the truth of the matter is, I need it. My sinful self-absorption characterized by a forgetfulness of the gospel is far more repugnant than morning breath.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The gospel is about love.

God loved His children so much that He sent His Son, His perfect, sinless Son, to earth to live a perfect life. His life was not to be an easy one, for He experienced fatigue and pain, mocking and derision, rejection and outright hatred, then betrayal by one of those who walked beside him daily. He took all of the sins of His people upon Himself, and satisfied the wrath of God against sin by shedding His blood - for without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.

So what is the good news, anyway?

To get how good it is, you have to start with the bad news. If you draw breath, you are a sinner. You are under the wrath of God, because you can never measure up to His perfect standard. You have broken His laws, and what you deserve is death. The wages of sin is death. There is nothing you can do to save yourself from the wrath to come. You are without hope.

That's why Jesus had to come. In just over three weeks we will be celebrating His birth, and people will be wishing each other "Merry Christmas", without even realizing how wonderful it is.

God rest ye merry, Gentlemen, let nothing you dismay; Remember Christ our Saviour was born on Christmas day, to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray.

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy. Good news. Jesus came to live for us, and to die for us. The gospel is that good news that He paid the price for sin. All of our sin, past, present and future. If we look to Him and believe that He died in our place, we are saved.

That doesn't mean we don't have to repent. We live before the face of a God Who IS HOLY - perfectly holy. He cannot look on sin.

We repent daily, but not out of fear. We repent out of love and joy for what God has done for us. We acknowledge our sin, and we thank God that He did everything necessary to pay the price for it.

“In fear-based repentance, we don’t learn to hate the sin for itself, and it doesn’t lose its attractive power. We learn only to refrain from it for our own sake. But when we rejoice over God’s sacrificial, suffering love for us – seeing what it cost him to save us from sin – we learn to hate the sin for what it is. We see what the sin cost God. What most assures us of God’s unconditional love (Jesus’s costly death) is what most convicts us of the evil of sin. Fear-based repentance makes us hate ourselves. Joy-based repentance makes us hate the sin.”

- Timothy Keller

The following song paints a beautiful picture of the Uncontainable God contained within a stable. I have been blessed listening to it this week.

The incarnation is full of seeming paradoxes and contradictions - the uncontainable God contained within a stable, the eternal God being born to a young girl, and so on. This song is an attempt to paint a picture of the amazing truth that "God is with us" through various Christmas images, and to respond to that in worship.

On Christmas Day

By Matt Osgood
Added: 10th November 2008
Luke 2:16; Luke 2:7; Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23;

1. On Christmas day, a humble girl
gives birth to hope for all the world,
this is Immanuel.
How awesome and mysterious,
the Lord of heaven draws near to us,
this is Immanuel.

2. The hands that once split night from day
now feebly clutch a blade of hay,
this is Immanuel.
Majestic king, now small and weak,
the Word of God must learn to speak,
this is Immanuel.

This is our God, seen by our eyes,
the love of the Father made known in Jesus Christ.
This is our God, worthy of praise,
the love of the Father revealed on Christmas day.

3. The shepherds come and bow to him,
the Lamb who takes away our sin,
this is Immanuel.
For God has entered time and space
to show the world his endless grace,
this is Immanuel.

Immanuel, Immanuel. Our God is with us now.
Immanuel, Immanuel. Our God is with us now.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I'm Weak Today

I am struggling. I have almost constant pain, varied with intermittent shooting, stabbing pain that travels from my neck up the back of my skull. This makes it hard to do anything. I can relieve the pain by applying pressure to the back of my skull, but after a bit that hurts my shoulders. I am irritable, grouchy, impatient, frustrated, angry and miserable.

Adding to the physical pain is the emotional pain regarding my dog. Boscoe is still at the Humane Society in Stratford. A temporary trial with a family did not work out. He's still in prison, and I am still missing him, still feeling like I made a hasty decision and not sure it was the right one.

I know I am not alone in my struggles. My family doesn't really understand. They accuse me of "dwelling on it" or "blowing it out of proportion". I try not to dwell on it, but when I see Hunny, or pictures of Boscoe, or when I drive anywhere near Stratford, I am reminded that I abandoned my dog. It doesn't matter that I did it for the sake of peace. It still hurts.

But I am not alone, because God's grace is sufficient. He knows the pain I am suffering - He understands both forms. I draw near to Him, because He is the ONLY ONE who REALLY gets it.

The following resonates with me. If you can't click on my site to hear the song, click here.

Paul describes God's grace in the midst of his struggles in the most extraordinary way in 2 Corinthians. Though Paul cries out for respite from his pain, God's answer is 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' It's not always the answer we want to hear, but to believe that God's grace is sufficient means living that way, not trying to strive for strength and self-security, even boasting about our weakness because it is there that God's power is made perfect. We will all go through struggles and trials in life, but it's a road we can walk, if we walk it in Christ. I've tried to capture that in this song, considering that the great struggles in life are personal pain and our sinful nature, and recognising that God's grace is entirely sufficient to deal with both of these, and that in this grace true power is found.



When I'm weak

By Joel Payne
Added: 5th January 2008

Rom 8:1; Heb 10:22; 2 Cor 12:8-10; 1 Cor 1:30;

When I'm weak, you are strong
and I’m carried along
by the power of Christ in me.
When I cry from my pain,
you will hear me and say
that Your grace is enough for me.
And for Jesus’ sake, I can walk this way,
if I walk this way in him.

You are good and your grace is enough for me,
your power made perfect in my weakness.
You are good and your grace is enough for me.

When I struggle with sin,
you still welcome me in,
though my heart should be dressed in shame;
for it’s Jesus you see,
not the sinner in me,
and you clothe me with grace again.
So I will not fear, but in faith draw near,
for this mercy is in him.

© Joel Payne /, Administered by The Jubilate Group

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Open My Eyes, Lord...

Imagine the worst weekend of your life. What would it look like?

Sportsfans might say that watching their team lose was terrible. Gardeners might say that a windstorm wrecking their beloved flowerbeds was a disaster. Of course we quickly acknowledge that those kinds of things are shallow and self-centered, considering the natural disasters that befall people in the form of earthquakes, tsunamis, or hurricanes.

But for a couple of people on the road to Emmaus, the weekend they'd just experienced (Read Luke 24) was the worst weekend of their lives. The person they'd put all of their hopes and dreams on, the one who was to be the one to redeem Israel had just been brutally murdered on a cruel cross outside Jerusalem.

That's why their faces were downcast. That's why they looked so sad that even a stranger asked them what was going on.

Foolish creatures! Slow of heart to believe. That's what Jesus called them.

They really had no reason to be sad. The death they had witnessed was the path to life and glory! It had been predicted in Isaiah and in Daniel - and these disciples were familiar with the Scriptures. Not only that, but their Lord had reminded them of the things he would suffer just a few days before he was arrested.

Matthew Henry comments,
"Ought not the Christ (the Messiah) to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? Was it not decreed, and was not that decree declared, that the promised Messiah must first suffer and then reign, that he must go by his cross to his crown?"

Had they never read the fifty-third of Isaiah and the ninth of Daniel, where the prophets speak so very plainly of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow?

These disciples' eyes were kept from recognizing Jesus as He walked along and talked with them. Their hearts burned within them, but they didn't not see who He really was, until this:

Luke 24:30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.

All of a sudden, their eyes were opened. All of a sudden, they knew. And all of a sudden, sadness and despair turned to incredible joy. The one they were pinning their hopes on was still alive! All of the things they feared had come to naught.

It makes me wonder how many times I look at the world around me, and don't see it as it really is. I read Maclean's Magazine and wonder how God can let corruption rule in so many arenas. I listen to the rhetoric about global warming and H1N1 and see that so-called experts refuse to tell the truth in an effort to get more power and control and money, and I worry about what my children and grandchildren will face with global economies and global governments that are soon going to take effect.

I really have no reason to worry. The same Jesus who appeared to the disciples in a locked room, and opened their minds to understand what had just happened in Jerusalem is alive and well, and on the throne.

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

The worst weekend of your life doesn't have to be a disaster. The most difficult trial you face is designed for you by the same God who can open minds and cleanse hearts. If you have had your mind opened and your heart cleansed, you are a child of the Living God.

You really have no reason to be sad.

You really have no reason to worry.

And if by chance you are reading this and have not put your trust and faith in the living God, read the gospel of Luke. Jesus is the Only One who can open your mind and cleanse your heart. He is the one to turn to. Seek Him while He may be found. He'll welcome you:

John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Then you'll really have no reason to be sad. You'll really have no reason to worry!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

THE VALLEY OF VISION - A poem for Debi

A dear lady in our church has fought a valiant battle with ms. She's been wheelchair bound for years, and today I got word that infection has spread throughout her body. She's slipped into a coma, and is failing fast.

I pray that she will soon find God's light in the darkness, and His life in her death.

Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee
in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from
deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter
thy stars shine;
Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Youer than You

Psalm 139:13
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

Isn't it cool to think that God knitted you together in your mother's womb? Knitting takes time for us humans... it takes patience and time and effort and perseverance. Of course, God needs no time or tools - He made all things by the Word of His power, including the heavens, the earth, and me. And you.

Isaiah 44:24
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb:
“I am the Lord, who made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself. . .

Listen to the comforting words God spoke to Jeremiah, who was reluctant to speak for God, because he was young when God called him.

Jeremiah 1:5
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Not only did God form the heavens and stretch out the earth, not only did He form Jeremiah (and the rest of us) in the womb, He KNEW him. He consecrated him. He appointed him a prophet to the nations.

God has a plan for you. He knows you; He consecrates you; He appoints you for a special task.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

It may not seem like much. You may be going about your business, living a quiet life of obedience and praise, wondering if your life makes a difference at all in the greater scheme of things.

You may be like my friend Royal, whose plans to plant a church in Argentina were shattered by the birth of his disabled son. Royal had to leave his beloved Buenos Aires - it ripped out his very heart - because his precious son needed medical attention. He wondered if his time there, which proved to be so much shorter than he had planned, made a difference.

It did.

He's back in Argentina, visiting for the first time since he and his dear wife left, weeping so hard they could not see to board the plane.

"Seeing them now after these twenty and more years I've heard many of them tell me about seemingly small things that I did or said that made a profound impression on their lives. What captures my attention is that I was only going about my work and seeking to be faithful and had absolutely no idea that these things were actually so significant in the lives of these people.

It is a wonderful lesson for me, for it is a reminder that perhaps more often than not we simply do not know what impact we are having on the lives of other people. In fact I dare say that perhaps even most of the time we have no idea if our daily lives are significant for the cause of the kingdom or not."

Simple things. Things this faithful missionary did that made a profound impact on the lives of others... so much so that even after all these years the people are thankful.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
You are his workmanship, too. You have work to do that only you can do. God formed you in the womb and consecrated you, appointing you to do the things He in His wisdom designed, that ONLY YOU CAN DO.

You are a unique treasure of God. There's no one more youer than you.

In the words of Dr. Suess,

"Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You."
~Dr. Suess

Monday, November 23, 2009


The kids and I are going through all of the difficult words we encounter in the Bible.

The Oxford Dictionary defines propitiate as a verb which means "win the favour or forgiveness of, placate"; propitiation is the noun. It is from the Latin placare - placate; to appease.

Once a year, on the Great Day of Atonement, the high priest would carry the blood of the sacrifice behind the veil, into the Holy of Holies. He sprinkled the "mercy-seat" with the blood, and so made propitiation, or in other words, he satisfied the wrath of God.

Propitiation is mentioned four times in the Bible:

Romans 3:25
whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

ESV NOTES: Jesus' blood “propitiated” or satisfied God's wrath, so that his holiness was not compromised in forgiving sinners. Some scholars have argued that the word propitiation should be translated expiation (the wiping away of sin), but the word cannot be restricted to the wiping away of sins as it also refers to the satisfaction or appeasement of God's wrath, turning it to favor. God's righteous anger needed to be appeased before sin could be forgiven, and God in his love sent his Son (who offered himself willingly) to satisfy God's holy anger against sin. In this way God demonstrated his righteousness, which here refers particularly to his holiness and justice. God's justice was called into question because in his patience he had overlooked former sins. In other words, how could God as the utterly Holy One tolerate human sin without inflicting full punishment on human beings immediately? Paul's answer is that God looked forward to the cross of Christ where the full payment for the guilt of sin would be made, where Christ would die in the place of sinners.

Hebrews 2:17

Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

ESV NOTES: Jesus must be human in order to serve as high priest on behalf of humanity. Propitiation conveys the sense of an atoning sacrifice that puts away sin and satisfies God's wrath.

1 John 2:2
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Propitiation here means “a sacrifice that bears God's wrath and turns it to favor... As the perfect sacrifice for sin, Jesus turns away God's wrath. For the sins of the whole world does not mean that every person will be saved, for John is clear that forgiveness of sins comes only to those who repent and believe the gospel, but Jesus' sacrifice is offered and made available to everyone in “the whole world,” not just to John and his current readers.

1 John 4:10
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God demonstrates His wrath many times in the Old Testament. The earth swallowed the sons of Korah, who rebelled against God's anointed. God's anger burned hot against His own people when they worshipped idols, and if Moses had not begged God to turn away His wrath, they would have been consumed. Our God is a consuming fire. He cannot wink at sin.

So out of His great love for us, He sent His only Son, Who had never sinned, to satisfy divine justice. Jesus took the sins of the people upon Himself, and suffered and bled and died in our place.

Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. But with the blood of Christ applied to our hearts by faith, our sins are covered, and God is satisfied.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Laundry Soap

I made my own homemade laundry soap today. It smells great, because I used Sunlight bar soap, which has a lemon scent.

Here is the recipe:

1 bar of shaved bar soap
1/2 cup of borax
1/2 cup of washing soda
Thoroughly stir together for 5 minutes!

Next, I'm going to make Dishwasher Detergent.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Still Missing the Mutt

And that's why I've been missing in action.

I've asked Daniel to post pictures for me. I phoned the Humane Society, and they said that he's a bit nervous (having trouble adjusting to being in a cage in a basement of a building) and that he should be up for adoption in a few days.

I dreamed about him last night. He was chasing a ball, happy as a lark. I woke up happy, until it hit me that he's no longer here.

I'll feel a lot better, I'm sure, when he has a new home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


We had a great day with Boscoe yesterday. Early in the morning, after Rick and Jared left for their day's work on the truck, Boscoe kept me company in the living room while I read my Bible. As he is wont to do, he looked longingly at my plate as I ate my breakfast, and as is my habit, I let him lick the yummy yolk off my plate.

I went out to my computer to check my email, and Boscoe came with me, curling up on the floor beside me, just keeping me company. By that time, the kids were up, and he went happily outside with them as they did the barn chores. That's the thing about Boscoe - everything's an adventure.

Later in the day we were doing outside chores. Boscoe was right in the thick of things. He chased the leaves as we raked. He pounced on the clumps of grass that were pulled from the driveway, shaking them to make sure they were subdued. He watched with eager anticipation as Critter dug a hole and planted some tulip bulbs, because you just never know if something will fly through the air that can be chased.

He wasn't all good today. I think it was Boscoe that left a little poop in the library. He had a fight with the Black Cat over some food. He jumped on the couch that is off limits. He certainly isn't a perfect dog.

I guess that's why we love him. We're not perfect, either. Boscoe is a daily reminder that no matter how bratty we are, no matter how "bad" or ill-tempered we are, God still loves us.

Yesterday, I thought that the hard part about taking him to the Humane Society would be the sadness my youngest is feeling. Critter is very sad. So are his sisters. I found out different.

Boscoe has flaws that are unacceptable. He has a deep mistrust of any little people, and has proven that time and again by nipping and biting the grandkids. We've done what we could to keep him caged when the grandkids are over - but last week he gnawed through the baler twine.

Nothing happened. As soon as we realized he was out, he was put back into the cage in the barn, and it was made secure.

That's not good enough, unfortunately.

So we said goodbye to the dog.

The kids are hoping and praying that the Humane Society will be able to find him a good home, where there are no little ones, and where the people will appreciate his strengths and overlook his weaknesses.

The hardest part, for me, was seeing him struggle as the worker led him towards the steps. He was going downstairs to be checked out before they put him up for adoption. I hated to see him strain to get away from what will be his new temporary home.

The nice part is that they do not kill animals at the Stratford OSPCA. He'll have a new home, with no little ones. I hope he'll be happy.

I'm going to miss him.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Christian Exultation

Christian exultation

“Christian exultation in God begins with the shamefaced recognition that we have no claim on him at all, continues with wondering worship that while we were still sinners and enemies Christ died for us, and ends with the humble confidence that he will complete the work he has begun. So to exult in God is to rejoice not in our privileges but in his mercies, not in our possession of him but in his of us.”

—John Stott, The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 147-48

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sewing Tutorials

I'm busy with my family and don't have time to do justice to a blog post this evening. I just want to say that the Sew Mama Sew Tutorials are worth taking a peek at.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I'm tidying my desk while my son does his writing assignment and my daughter writes a letter to her penpal. I just came across this tip:

Develop a system for paper, files, and bills; by keeping on top of your paperwork you will eliminate 20% of your stress in keeping up a household.

Well, duh.

I have a system. In our house, the kids always watch for the mailman, and there's a mad dash to be the first to the mailbox each morning. The winner brings the mail to me, wherever I happen to be - in the laundry room, putting on a load of laundry, or in my bedroom, making my bed, or in the living room, reading my Bible, or in the kitchen, pouring myself a cup of coffee. Wherever I am, they bring it to me. I read the mail, then sort out Rick's mail and send the rest of the stack to my desk with one of the kids. (It may or may not get there. Distractions have been known to happen.) If it does get there, it often gets mixed in with letters and bills and French papers and English assignments and ant bait and envelopes and pictures I am keeping to scrapbook some day.

I INTEND to have a system, whereby bills are put into a specific folder to be paid once a month, and letters that are to be answered are put into a separate folder to be checked and responded to on a regular basis. I INTEND to correct the kids' assignments daily. I intend to get the ant bait into the garden before winter.

Sadly, even though my intentions are good, my actions are not. I am a procrastinator. Sigh.

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Smart fella.

A smarter fellow (the wisest man who ever lived, apart from Christ) wrote the following:

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

I don't think that procrastination is conducive to doing whatever my hand finds to do with my "might". If I am to do my best, to use all of my strength to glorify God, then I ought not to procrastinate.

Woodrow Kroll of Back to the Bible has a study on Procrastination available online.

He writes that we should never procrastinate, but do things with fervour, for three reasons:

  1. We are imitators of Christ.
  2. God created us with potential.
  3. The time is limited.
Because I am an imitator of Jesus Christ, my glorious Saviour, and because I have been given talents to use for the glory of God and to benefit others, and because time's a wastin', I must quit my procrastinating.

Here's three more verses to think about. I'm signing off to finish the task of tidying my desk.

Proverbs 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Luke 9:59-62 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

cartoon from

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November 11

The best thing about November 11 is that it is my dear son-in-law's birthday. Of course, I think it's good to remember our fallen soldiers on a day set apart for that purpose. My own uncle (Ray Matthews) died as the Second World War was coming to an end. Rick's grandfather (Edward Stewart) died in the First World War. I have always taught my children that it is good to remember that many died so that we might have freedom.

But still, the best thing about November 11 is that it's Jeff's birthday! Here he is with his youngest:

Quite the pair!

Happy Birthday, Jeff.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fierce Men

That's who I think I'll be facing tomorrow - fierce men who lie in wait, who will try to stir up strife. For no fault of mine, O Lord, for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. (See Psalm 59)

I am going to "Discovery" tomorrow. It's a chance for the lawyers to ask questions, to see if I actually have a case regarding the head-on collision I was involved in over two years ago. I picture the lawyers making lists and checking to see they have all of the details, then conspiring together to see what they can say that will discombobulate me.

lawyer cartoons, lawyer cartoon, lawyer picture, lawyer pictures, lawyer image, lawyer images, lawyer illustration, lawyer illustrations

Psalm 29 says that Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless, and seek the life of the upright.

I may be exaggerating. The men I will face tomorrow may not be bloodthirsty after all. They may be sweet and kind, flattering me with their deceptive words. They may be sincere; they may be devious.

But I know that God will be with me. He will be displeased with any nasty treatment I may receive. He promised He would never leave me or forsake me; He promised that the truth would set me free.

So, I'll tell the truth, and I will leave the results to the Lord.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Homeschool Memories.

I remember that when we first moved to this old farmhouse, we got in touch with other homeschoolers. One of the families was the Klumpenhouwers from over Listowel way. They, too, had a large family. They had an eldest daughter that was around the same age as our eldest, and she also "did all the work".

Theo and Joy were a great encouragement to our group of homeschooling families.

I was saddened to find out today that Theo passed away this past Friday. He was a good, quiet, gentle, godly man, who loved the Lord and his family.

He will be missed.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

What God does for His Choice Servants

Affliction. Nobody wants it. But everyone gets it.

I have read 580 chapters of the Bible since August 5. Some days I read 10 chapters, and some days I only read 5. But in my reading I have noticed a recurrent theme - Suffering. Affliction. Misery. Tribulation. Trials.

I've read about the afflictions of Job, who lost everything (animals, wealth, his children, and his health) and the trials of Naomi, bereft of her husband and both her sons, living in a strange land. I've read about those who served idols and suffered tumours and barrenness, and about Hannah, who loved God and prayed so hard for a son that Eli thought she was drunk in the middle of the day. I've noticed that no man suffered more than our Saviour did - He suffered so much that He sweat great drops of blood - a sign of great duress. And yet Stephen suffered martyrdom, and was joined by many in white robes before the throne of God, calling out, "How long, O Lord, how long?"

Some suffered blindness or lameness so that they could bring glory to Jesus as He healed them. Others were thrown to lions or made to endure illness or poverty or loneliness or tragedy.

Roget's Thesaurus puts it like this:

suffering, pain, distress, trouble, misfortune, tribulation, trial, hardship, adversity, misery, wretchedness, calamity, catastrophe, disaster, ailment, infirmity, sickness, disease, disorder, grief, woe, sorrow, care, unhappiness, heartache, cross, cross to bear, ordeal, torment, scourge, plight, difficulty, burden, curse, bane, visitation; see also difficulty, pain.

  • affliction implies pain, suffering, or distress imposed by illness, loss, misfortune, etc.;
  • trial suggests suffering that tries one's endurance, but in a weaker sense refers to annoyance that tries one's patience;
  • tribulation connotes severe affliction continuing over a long and trying period;
  • misfortune is applied to a circumstance or event involving adverse fortune or to the suffering or distress occasioned by it

Joni Eareckson Tada knows about suffering. She's spent the past 40 years stuck in a wheelchair, without the use of her arms or her legs. I listened recently to a talk she gave called God's Jewels. She taught that Job was right when he said, "Man is born to trouble, surely as sparks fly upward." She reminded her audience that Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble." Trouble, affliction, pain, suffering - all pages in the textbook that teaches us who we really are.

And who are we? Sinners, saved by grace. Saints, in need of more grace. We are people who are being conformed day by day to the image of Jesus Christ by the Hand of God, and the tools He uses to do so involve pain and suffering. Joni said,

God is concerned about your poverty or my pain. He’s concerned about your broken heart or my broken neck, but girls, those things are not His ultimate focus. He cares about that stuff, but those things are merely symptoms of the root and real problem. God cares most, not about making you and me comfortable, but about teaching us to hate our transgression and to grow up spiritually to love Him.

The simple formula is described in 1 John chapter 2, where it says, “If anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him” (verse 5). This is how we know we are in Christ, and the good news is, God is the master jeweler.

He rules. He orders. He commands. He knows exactly how to handle that hammer, and He is happy to do good toward you. Just remember that His idea of good is to make you more like Jesus, and if our Savior learned obedience through the things He suffered, should the Master expect less from You and me?
That's what we're learning - obedience! God is at work, moulding and fashioning His children, conforming them to the image of Christ, making them LIKE HIM!

So, do not lose heart. Don't be discouraged if your car breaks down and your husband is out of work. Don't despair if you just found out that your baby, growing under your heart, has a serious heart defect. Do not fear if you are dying of cancer or suffering with Crohn's Disease or Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson's. God is using this suffering, too!

Do not lose heart if your children have rebelled. Do not lose heart if you just found out your husband has cheated on you, or embezzled a fortune, or walked out on you and the children. God will work all things for His glory, and your good.

2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

God will comfort you in all your affliction - no matter what form it takes. Health issues, financial trials, relationship difficulties; rape, murder, betrayal... God will comfort His people. He promised. His word is true.

2 Corinthians 1:4
who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

So don't be surprised by your pain and your sorrow. Don't ever start thinking, "I've suffered so much - so now God's going to give me an easy path for a while." Joni says, "Hey, God, it's quadriplegia!" Hasn't she suffered enough?

Well, no. Not until she's run her race and finished her course. Until then, she will continue to have pain and trials. She will continue to feel frustrated and lash out in anger from time to time. She will continue to be claustrophobic at times, and it's because God loves her very much.

From Streams in the Desert:

God takes the most eminent and choicest of His servants for the choicest and most eminent afflictions. They who have received most grace from God are able to bear most afflictions from God. Affliction does not hit the saint by chance, but by direction. God does not draw His bow at a venture. Every one of His arrows goes upon a special errand and touches no breast but his against whom it is sent. It is not only the grace, but the glory of a believer when he can stand and take affliction quietly. --Joseph Caryl
Can you stand and take affliction quietly?

Psalm 39:9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Only 4.3 % of the population is like ME!

ESTP - "Promotor". Action! When present, things begin to happen. Fiercely competitive. Entrepreneur. Often uses shock effect to get attention. Negotiator par excellence.

4.3% of total population.

Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test

Stand By Me

This is a beautiful video of people from all over the world performing the song, "Stand By Me". Well worth the time to watch it!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A New Fireplace

Actually, not quite. It's a new stone wall and a new hearth going up in my Great Room... but we'll be using the OLD wood stove.

We had a wood stove that we used for years, but when smoke started to leak into our bedroom, we thought there was a problem. Turns out that an inspector confirmed that our over a hundred years old chimney was no longer safe.

So we spent the winter last year with no wood stove. This meant that when we were working on our computers in our classroom area, we did so with numb and barely-working digits. It was painful, cold and uncomfortable.

Just imagine my excitement now. Our son is in the process of building a stone wall. It has a sheet of steel behind the stone, and it will have gaps in the stone for air flow. It's going to be safe, and warm.

I am feeling very happy this evening, and counting my blessings. It's another one of those perks of having a large family - you're bound to have sons and daughters with skills to help with projects.

I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Proverbs 26:1 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
so honor is not fitting for a fool.

Nobody likes snow in the summertime. It's just not right. Summer is the time for gardens, for trips to the beach, for picnics at the park. It's just wrong to have snow in the summertime.

Nobody likes rain at harvest time. The farmers want to get out in the field with their massive combines, bringing in the corn. The drier it is, the better. It's just wrong to have rain at harvest.

Nobody likes seeing a fool honoured.

A few weeks ago, on October 9, the crowd gasped as the announcement was made that Barack Obama, president of the United States for less than two weeks, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It was just wrong.

The Easton's Bible dictionary defines "fool" as:
  • One destitute of reason, or of the common powers of understanding; an idiot; a natural.
  • A person deficient in intellect; one who acts absurdly, or pursues a course contrary to the dictates of wisdom; one without judgment; a simpleton; a dolt.
  • One who acts contrary to moral and religious wisdom; a wicked person.
I can't say that President Obama is destitute of reason, nor is he deficient in intellect. However, his acceptance of a prize as prestigious as the Nobel Peace Prize was certainly absurd, and contrary to the dictates of wisdom.

He wasn't the biggest fool in the room, though. The five-member Nobel committee won that prize. Notice the following acknowledgement (emphasis mine):

The peace prize was created partly to encourage ongoing peace efforts, but Obama's efforts are at far earlier stages than those of past winners, and the committee acknowledged they may not bear fruit at all.

"If everything goes wrong, then one cannot say that this was because of Barack Obama," Jagland said. "It could be that it is because of us, all the others, that didn't respond. But I cannot exclude that Barack Obama also can contribute to the eventual failure."

The Bible has a lot to say about fools and those who honour them.

Proverbs 26:8 Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool.

The kids and I were laughing today as we pictured someone with a stone tied in a slingshot. Simple physics teaches us that if the shooter tied the stone into the sling and pulled, chances are very great that the stone would bash him in the nose. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The ESV notes say this:
One who fastens into a sling a stone that is meant to be flung out of the sling shows that he has neither the knowledge nor the skill to use it, and is in danger of hurting himself. Likewise, one who bestows honor on a fool shows a failure to understand the purpose of giving such recognition and stands to suffer harm when the fool proves unworthy of the honor and thus damages the reputation of the one who wrongly honored him.

Time will tell. But I'm guessing that the Nobel fools are going to be kicking themselves in the not too distant future.