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.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

87 cents and lessons from Ephesians 5

We Christians are supposed to be imitators of God. It says so in Ephesians, plain as day.

Ephesians 5:1
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

We are beloved children, and we're supposed to imitate our Heavenly Father. Luke tells us that we are to be rich toward God - not focused on laying up treasures for ourselves, but on living a righteous life, in response to God's great love for us. We shouldn't even talk about sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness, nor should we partake in filthiness, foolish talk, or crude joking - they are out of place. Instead, we should be thankful. Once we were children of darkness, but now we are children of light.

Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

I went shopping yesterday, trying to please the Lord (AND MY HUNGRY FAMILY - who were whining and bellyaching that there was nothing to eat in the house. You have to realize that anyone taller than me in our home has a hollow leg, and is very hard to fill up. When they claim there is no food, they are ignoring the carrots in the cupboard and the rice in the rice cooker. They want easy, quick, filling food, like peanut butter or ingredients for pancakes, which are neither easy to make nor quick, but are better than carrots, apparently).

We were out of EVERYTHING... not that there was no food in the house, but we were lacking in flours and nuts and oils and baking powder and rice cakes and meat and veggies and tea and coffee and pickles. All the important things were missing.

I shopped and shopped. Bought all the necessary flours at Country Bulk. Spent a ton of money at Food Basics. By the time I got through Zehrs, I was exhausted, hungry, and feeling the pinch of a woman who just spent over 600 of her hubby's hard-earned dollars on FOOD - that was going to go in one end (of the kids) and out the other.

I watched as the guy rang my groceries through, making sure they packed my meat with the meat and my frozen veggies with the rest of the frozen veggies. I have OCD - I can't help that I am crazy about how my groceries are packed. Just as the last four items were being rung in, I glanced up at the computer screen and read, "Tuna - .87".

Six cans of tuna for .87! That's a good deal. But I knew better. My mind flashed the truth at me. I knew that the only tuna I bought was a 6-pack, and it was worth well over $4.

I hesitated for a moment. The cashier rang the last couple of items through, then announced my total.

I said, "There was a problem with the tuna fish."

"A problem?" he inquired, and the packer dug into the bag to get the tuna.

"Yes, check the tape," I replied. "It rang in at 87 cents, but it was six cans."

Cashier dude determined that one of the cans had turned in the wrapper, and the computer had picked up the individual price, not the bulk price of 6 cans in one package.
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
I was tempted, momentarily, to be foolish. I was tempted to ignore the mistake and unwisely choose to rejoice in my good fortune of getting 6 cans of tuna for the bargain price of .87!

Lessons Learned

1. Little Things Matter. After all, I could have said, "it's only a couple of bucks." But the Bible tells me that he who keeps the WHOLE LAW and yet offends IN ONE POINT is guilty of all. It mattered to God that I told the truth. It mattered to Zehrs that I paid the full price.

2. My sin nature is ever present. The temptation was real. I felt it, and I knew immediately that I had to fight it. I must always look carefully how I walk, making the best use of my time. I should never take part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

3. God's standards are higher than ours. As the heavens are high above the earth, so are my thoughts than your thoughts, and my ways than your ways, declares the Lord in Isaiah 55. He also says as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. I thought about stealing, so I am a thief. It's just as if I stole the tuna.

4. God is watching. He knew I would see that price error. He allowed me to be tested, for His good purposes.

5. God is Sovereign. I wasn't really watching the computer, but I believe He caused me to look up just at that moment, just in time to see the eighty-seven cents.

6. God is good. Not only did He allow me to see the error, then understand the temptation to sin, then choose to "walk in the light", He made me rejoice in the prompting of the Holy Spirit. He made me thankful, again, to be a Christian.

. . .be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
I am blessed to be a beloved child of God, filled with the Spirit, walking in the light. I know that He loves me and walks with me every step of the way. I give thanks that He orders my steps and reminds me of my need of a Saviour.

Most of all, I am thankful that Jesus took on my sin and bore the penalty of it all in my place. It was as if He had stolen the tuna. He paid the price for it. But not only that, He exchanged my sinfulness for His righteousness. I will stand before God one day, and it will be as if I had never sinned. I am clothed with the righteousness of Jesus. I am pure and clean in the sight of God.

You can't get better than that.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tim and a Challenge.

I read Tim Challies every day. His blog is not only interesting, it is a valuable source of truth. He writes about topics that vary from the news to theology, from marriage to Christian living to the latest books on best-seller lists.

On Sunday, November 1, 2009, Tim shared that he's been blogging every single day for the past SIX YEARS. He made a commitment and stuck to it, writing a blog post 2193 days in a row!

I am inspired and challenged by Tim's example. I have decided to add a counter to my blog (tomorrow!) and I intend to blog every day for the next 2193 days.

Here's counting...