Thursday, August 28, 2008

Do We Really Need Help?

Chapter 3 "Cliffs Notes" for Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands

You cannot have a relationship without being a person of influence. The truth is we give and receive counsel everyday. The question we must ask is, "do I give wise or foolish counsel?" (as Proverbs puts it).

We are constantly influenced by a world that calls us to be our own gods, doing only what we are able to understand and living on our own, sometimes in isolation from others. The truth is we need people who will love us with God's definition of love, meaning: love us enough to speak truth into our lives. Love us enough to say, "that's not cool" or plainly, "you're being selfish" when that's the last thing we want to hear. They should love us enough to want to see God glorified and our lives centered upon Him. Do you have friends that love you like that?

Hebrews 3:13 says it best:

"But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."

Most often I am overcome with defensiveness when Allen reveals something in my life that needed to be uncovered. I get angry, defensive, sure that he's wrong. But, after giving it some time to pray about and mull over, the Lord usually shows me that I was completely blind to that issue and he has used Allen to reveal it to me. And I become thankful that God has put someone in my life who actually LOVES me enough to help me see what I need to see. Then, I pray that He would help me to RECEIVE that information next time with a thankful heart! Oh, that I would finally come to that point where I am THANKFUL to receive such information! Can I get an AMEN on this...please tell me it's not just me who struggles with this?

It's no problem for me to see a speck of dust in my neighbor's eye and to point it out, but when it comes to me I'm completely oblivious to the plank in my own eye!

Here's how Paul (Tripp) puts it:

"The reality of spiritual blindness has important implications for the Christian community...personal insight is the product of community. I need you in order to really see and know myself. Otherwise, I will listen to my own arguments, believe my own lies, and buy into my own delusions. My self-perception is as accurate as a carnival mirror. If I am going to see myself clearly, I need you to hold the mirror of God's Word in front of me."


Monday, August 25, 2008


The long awaited Slopfest Pictures...not really, but hey, very entertaining.

I decided to head out there with the kids this year knowing full well that Taylor Joy would think it was disgusting. I'll bet Beckett will be all up in there next year when he knows what's going on. Taylor Joy kept saying, "that's yucky!" and would back away when anything got slung 10 feet from her.

Boys and girls...a WORLD of difference from what I can tell already.

Jacob being fed a chocolate syrup covered marshmallow...

Jacob after running through the relay (ketchup, mustard, chocolate, eggs, and topped off with flour)...

The hubby after his run through the relay...

Still looking like a hottie, even covered in condiments!

Allen uses the whole thing as an illustration of the Gospel...we're slop-nasty covered with sin and grime before we trust in Jesus and he washes us of our nastiness, seeing us as pure and blameless because of the sacrifice on the cross and enabling us to live in victory because of the Holy Spirit in us and giving us the hope of eternal life.

Loserville? Nope! Living Hopers!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Worth reading...

I'm not so much looking to start a political debate, but as one who wants to be informed politically, there's not much else to research when I know where they stand on this one issue. I'm okay with being a one-issue voter. This one issue is the difference between life and death. Does it make me pay less taxes? No. Does it protect the environment? Probably not so much. But I can trust those other issues to someone who values human life. It's just not worth a larger tax rebate to me...

Tears for Obama

One-Issue Politics

Monday, August 18, 2008

Monthly Taylor Joyisms

Some funny quotes from Taylor Joy this past month:

"That's for sure!"

"I got sumpin' for you (yewww)!"

"That's a great idea!" (usually after something she suggests)

"I'm just cryin' right now" (after she gets in trouble)

"I wanna hold you in the family room" (also after she gets in trouble...this is said OFTEN, sometimes just when she is sad "seeaad")

"You big girl (dirl), daddy!"

"I like (lite) your hair mommy. You pretty girl (dirl)."

"Mommy, you a princess!" (after putting on a flowy skirt one day or if I wear anything sparkly)

"Be careful (tareful), mommy. No spill (sill) it!" (when feeding Beckett and it's squirting back out of his mouth)

"I almost trippin" (after almost falling flat on her face). Once it was after she tripped and she said, "Awww, man! I trippin'!"

One day she had to go stay in her room because she had thrown a fit about the shoes I wanted her to wear (jellies). She decided she wanted to wear a different pair and while I had good reasons for wanting her to wear this pair, I also wanted her obedience. So, after discipline she stayed in her room to throw her fit and I went to feed Beckett. I heard the fit stop and there was silence. She walked out of her room with one jelly on the wrong foot and the other jelly in her hand and came straight up to me, saying, "I'm sorry, Mommy. Will you help me with my shoe?"

That was just about the sweetest thing. It made me cry to see her repentant heart towards me in saying she was sorry and also attempting to put her shoes on herself. It also reminded me that we often react this way toward the Lord because of the trials in our lives. We resist the Lord's way because it's difficult, it's not what we planned, it's not how we planned... Taylor Joy taught me a great lesson that day. It's with childlike faith that we can follow His leading, He is the light for our path even when we can only see our feet in front of us (or shoes as it were) and are unable to see the end of the road. Here's a prayer I read by Ted Loder in my devotional the other day that summarizes this well:

How shall I pray?
Are tears prayers, Lord?
or groans
or sighs
or curses?
Can trembling hands be lifted to you,
or clenched fists
or the cold sweat that trickles down my back
or the cramps that knot my stomach?
Will you accept my prayers, Lord,
my real prayers,
rooted in the muck and mud and rock of my life,
and not just my pretty, cut-flower,
gracefully arranged bouquet of words?
Will you accept me, Lord,
as I really am,
messed up mixture of glory and grime?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Challenge

John Newton Challenge

Allen and I were pleasantly surprised to receive mail regarding this family devotional challenge, especially with John Newton's face on the front. Allen just finished up reading John Newton's biography, so that was a familiar face to see.

This is a challenge to spur families to intentionally disciple their children. It gives parents a free 52-week Bible reading plan to use and there are people all around the nation that have committed to doing this. How exciting! What if revival really started in the homes because of this!

Some practical tips from John Newton:

"I think, with you, that it is very expedient and proper that reading a portion of the word of God should be ordinarily a part of our family worship; so likewise to sing a hymn or psalm, or part of one, at discretion; provided there are some people in the family who have enough of a musical ear and voice to conduct the singing in a tolerable manner: otherwise, perhaps, it may be omitted...If you read and sing, as well as pray, care should be taken that the combined services do not run into an incovenient length."

In addition, here is the sermon Allen preached 2 weeks ago regarding Home Discipleship and an Online Hymnbook sorted by Title and with demos to hear the tune.

Purpose of Family Worship
Family Discipleship

Are you up for the challenge? Comment here if you are going to do this and we can spur each other on!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands

Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp

I admit, I have been reading this book for awhile. It is RICH in content and I wanted to drink it all in, without skipping over, skimming or letting it fly by without comprehension. I wanted to soak all that yummy wisdom up.

The subtitle of the book is "People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change." While I definitely heard positive reviews of the book and recommendations for it, I thought about all the HOPE groupers, people in our church, college girl mentees, young marrieds and new moms who I minister to that I could possibly minister BETTER to. More than anything it really blew me away how much I don't know. I'm sure I won't be able to flesh it all out during one naptime, so bear with me, this may take several weeks.

Let's start with this: "Sinners respond sinfully to being sinned against."

We're going to sin and we're going to be sinned against. That's a given. Our only help is a Redeemer. Encouragement won't get us where we need to be. Suggestions for change won't do it. We are fundamentally flawed and bent toward sin and need a Redeemer, so let's start there.

Colossians 2:8 says, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depend on human tradition and the basic principles of this world and not on Christ."

The world has fix-alls for everything these days. They are probably easier but they don't deal with the root of the problem. Our hearts. They may even work for awhile, but they are far from a long term fix. More often than not we often tend to keep it to ourselves, isolate our problems and convince ourselves no perspective is more reliable than our own. That's called foolishness. Check it out:

"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" Psalm 14:1

That's what we are saying when we are replacing God's wisdom with our own. God transforms OUR hearts and then uses us to bring His Word into OTHERS' lives. When I think about our church body, I know there are so many testimonies of how the Lord has brought people out of sin and changed them, making them completely new and beautiful creations. God did that! He wants to use that to transform others, too!

"What is the hope here? It is the hope of the kingdom. The King has come and sent his children to one another with his life-changing Word. People who were lost find their way; people once paralyzed with discouragement walk in hope; alienated people live in community as broken relationships are restored; confused minds think in ways that are true, pure and right; and the person who once lived for his own power now rests in God's. God's rain waters the roots of the heart, and the person's life bursts forth with new fruitfulness. This is the way of the Lord, the hope and work of his kingdom."

Isaiah 55:10-13 puts it this way:

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD's renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed."

God's desire is CHANGE and he wants to use US. This isn't about worldly strategies, solutions or fix-alls, it's about the Redeemer and it's about heart change. Will you daily function as a tool of lasting change for God?

And that's just the first 2 chapters! Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Training our Daughters

Some useful articles by Carolyn Mahaney and her daughters (Girl Talk blog, yes, I will refer to this often!). I have found it so encouraging and helpful. As far as I know they will be continuing this series about raising our daughters to be helpers in the home and I will be staying tuned! I have a daughter who LOVES to help and I want to channel that into blessing for all those around her, including her future husband.

A Daughter's Heart for the Home
Training Our Daughter
Corner Pillars

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Come Thou Fount

Come Thou Fount as sung by Taylor Joy. As for the mommy commentary, she starts off singing "Holy Holy" and then begins with "Come Thou Fount" (with my assistance).

In case you are unfamiliar with the words here they are so you can follow along.

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.

Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
hither by thy help I'm come;
and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
safely to arrive at home. (this is where she leaves off)
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
wandering from the fold of God;
he, to rescue me from danger,
interposed his precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
daily I'm constrained to be!
Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
bind my wandering heart to thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
prone to leave the God I love;
here's my heart, O take and seal it,
seal it for thy courts above.

This is one of the hymns we have sung in family worship recently and we now stick with a song for several weeks so that Taylor can get the hang of it before switching to a new hymn. We are now on "Be Thou My Vision". We are trying to pick hymns that aren't only easy to sing (that's a necessity at our house), but also ones that are rich in theology and Taylor Joy may be able to sing. Enjoy her little concert!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Beckett is MOBILE!

Beckett's first official crawling video! You will also, of course, hear the "mom commentary" (why is this so necessary? I hate hearing myself in videos!) and Taylor Joy's sweet voice and conversation with Beckett. Enjoy! I won't have much time to blog now that he's mobile (as if I did before!).

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Green Bags

I'm in love!

Yes, with a product.

A product that keeps my strawberries (we buy tons in the summer), looking like the picture on the left as opposed to the right. The picture on the right always makes me feel like a poor steward of our money. It makes me sad that I spent money on something that wasted so fast. I hate feeling like I need to scarf something down in a matter of days.

AND...I actually bought lettuce a couple of weeks ago! This is monumental! Allen and I don't eat salad, lettuce, anything that tastes like grass and I have begun to eat it, to a small measure. Adding a little to my sandwiches, taking a few bites of salad, aren't you proud of me? Not only does it make me feel a little healthier, but it makes so much more sense when my lettuce lasts a couple of weeks instead of a couple of days.

The other great thing is that they are reusable. Just rinse them out and use them again! Isn't that marvelous?

I completely recommend this product. I am positive that I have already saved twice what I bought them for and I've only had them a couple of weeks. You can get them at Bed Bath and Beyond for sure.

Has anyone else tried these?

Do you agree that they are great?

I hope they also help you to buy less at the grocery store at a time where everything is getting so expensive! They might also be helpful for those of you who have gardens and grow your own fruits and veggies!

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