Sunday, October 10, 2010

He Is Risen!

I Live
by Rich Cook

I live, I live
because He is risen

I live, I live
with power over sin

I live, I live
because He is risen

I live, I live
to worship Him

Thank You Jesus,
thank You, Jesus

Because You're alive
Because You're alive
Because You're alive
I live

© 1976 John T. Benson Publishing

Sunday, October 3, 2010

He Is Risen!

A legendary early Church tradition:
When two Christians met, they reminded each other of the Resurrection.
One said, "He is risen!"
And the other replied, "He is risen indeed!"

In early Christian art, the central theme was the empty tomb.

The Cross brings salvation and eternal life.
The Resurrection brings new life, abundant life.
It means that, truly, all things are possible with God.
Nothing is stronger than Him.
He is King.
He is risen!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Little Blessings

God recently blessed me with a job at a daycare here in Richmond, so five days a week I spend at least four hours giving lunch breaks to teachers in various rooms. The kids are so fun! (Usually ;-D). Here are some examples of the new joys I've been experiencing:
  • a set of triplets whose belongings are marked A, B, and C
  • an adorable four-year-old boy with thick, curly red hair who gives great hugs
  • a toddler who has learned to climb into my arms
  • an older toddler professionally patting a younger one to sleep (pats back, strokes hair, lifts blanket to see if eyes are closed, pats again, et cetera)
  • kids saying "I like you"
  • sloppy baby kisses
  • sharing "secrets" about knights and dragons and princesses
  • watching toddlers dance and try to somersault
  • receiving colored pictures of rainbows and other interesting creations
  • a billion smiles a day

Kids are great! Just saying.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

4 Days!!!

I'm getting excited about camp at Laurel Lake and thought I'd share some old xanga posts from the last time I got ready for summer camp (2007 at the Word of Life Ranch).

So... summer break was awesome; I didn't realize how long it had really been since being home with my family. We went on a lot of errands - shopping, visiting old friends, fixing up our old house in preparation for its sale, etc. I read the book for this summer, as well as some fiction :) and spent a lot of time with my dear brothers ... bike-riding, playing CatchPhrase and Dutch Blitz, listening to music, etc.

I kind of wish I was still there, I can't lie. But that time will come before I know it, and I know that God has great things in store for this summer in the meantime! I am so excited for those little girls to start coming! I want to be the enthusiastic counselor that they need, not letting any fear of man or discomfort or failure get in the way.... Please pray that I will depend completely on the Lord and His grace, rather than on my own feebleness which definitely isn't strength by a long shot.

This weekend will be fun, as all the camps are coming back and the STC'ers will be coming. I hope to get a chance to talk to my friend Courtney whom I haven't seen for a year, but we'll see.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Open Our Eyes

This life is only an echo
Of the deeper life to come
This ache is born of
Your Spirit in our hearts
Calling us homeward
Till our passing days are done
And You bid us "rise and...
"Come, now the wait is over
Eternity's begun
Wake, now the dream is ended
You're finally free to run" (Dance in the morning sun")

Open our eyes
Open our eyes
Wonder is only a window
Beauty is an open door
Longing, leading us onward through the night
To what we're made for
When these shadow lands are done
We will hear You crying...
"Come, now the wait is over
Eternity's begun
Wake, now the dream is ended
You're finally free to run" (Dance in the morning sun")
Open our eyes
Open our eyes
All that's eternal
You've set in our hearts
Our joyful desire burns like the morning star...
Open our eyes (to the joy that's to come)
Open our eyes (to the home that we seek)
Open our eyes (to the promise of heaven)
Open our eyes (to eternity's dream)
We're longing to see (open our eyes)
To live in Your light (open our eyes)
To always be near (open our eyes)
Open our eyes
~ Words by Doug McKelvey

Friday, May 7, 2010

Honors Day at University of the Cumberlands

On a recent Monday, Pappaw, Mammaw,
Mom, Jedidiah, and I
took a trip to Williamsburg, KY to visit Caleb,
meet some of his friends,
show our grandparents the campus,
and eat a tasty lunch in the intramural gym.

The president speaking

Here we are in front of "the prettiest spot on campus" -
the fountain!

It had begun to rain,
so Jedidiah ran to the car to put away some papers.
Thus he unfortunately is not in this picture.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Challenging Femininity #8

Be sure to check out the article on Elizabeth Prentiss! She wrote the hymn "More Love to Thee, O Christ" which has recently become popular due to a contemporary Christian musician singing it. She also wrote the book Stepping Heavenward, among others. That book is one of my favorites. It's a sweet story about a young girl who draws nearer her Heavenly Father throughout her life.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Our New House

This is the truck we used in February to move from our little apartment in our little yard to move to our beautiful home in what seems almost like the country but is really just the suburbs.

Redbuds are the most beautiful trees!
Hopefully we can prune it next year so it's even prettier!

Our house :-)

We are going to have apples!
Well, maybe. This tree needs pruning, too.

A dogwood tree

Violets!!! They're everywhere.

Azalea bushes

And petunias for Dad

We've also planted pansies, strawberries, tomatoes, pickling cucumbers, celery, and peppers. There is a rosebush. And Mom bought some blueberry and raspberry bushes to plant soon. A few years and we'll have quite the fruit selection here! It looks gorgeous and smells better. I'm lovin' it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Yet Another Post About Physical Expression in Worship

Another example of culture playing a part in interpretations: lifted hands. Normally when we see this in church, it looks like the person is raising his hand in class. It lasts between two seconds and twenty. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this, but there is no Biblical example of it. In the Bible, when a person lifts his hands to God, he does just that – he lifts his hands to God. Not one hand, but two. And not as a statement of agreement of commitment or worshipful feeling. It’s not about the person at all. It’s to God!
In Nehemiah, the people worship God with their heads bowed, their faces to the ground, their hands lifted, and their lips repeating “Amen” as Ezra prays.

In the Psalms, David passionately cries unto God with His hands lifted toward His “holy oracle”. He longs for God and overflows with praise as he lifts up his hands in God’s name. He lifts up his hands to God’s commands, perhaps written on the walls and doorposts of his house (Deuteronomy 6)? God’s servants are commanded to lift up their hands and bless the Lord in His sanctuary. David again passionately cries unto God and asks that God view his prayer and lifted hands as incense or the evening sacrifice.
In Lamentations, Jeremiah tells Israel to get up and passionately cry out to God with lifted hands for the lives of their young children. Later he reminds the people of God’s goodness and advises them to consider their ways, return to God, and lift up their hearts with their hands to Him.
And in 1 Timothy, the men of the church are to pray everywhere. When they do, they are to lift up their hands, first making sure that the hands they lift are holy, without wrath and doubting.
But by far the most common physical expressions of worship in the Bible involve kneeling, bowing, falling upon your knees, or falling on your face. Does this indicate something about the reverence we ought to feel as we worship? Bigger question: as these are some of the more common Biblical expressions, when is the last time you saw someone (or you yourself) lay flat on your face before God? Or your whole church? When is the last time you all knelt together? Or bowed with your faces to the ground?
Here’s another interesting tidbit I found: It’s okay to pray with your eyes open, looking up.
It’s been a joy to study this. There is tremendous freedom in Christ. Not license to do what we want; but liberty to worship Him in a wide variety of ways, with a plethora of postures. So don’t be afraid of what other people in your church will think. Still be respectful, of course. But our authority is Scripture. If people did it in the Bible, we can do it now. “And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts” (Psalm 119:45).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

More About Physical Expression in Worship

Okay, I’m back. I learned a few things I hadn’t expected. For example, I didn’t expect to read about people sitting before God!
Here are a few principles that stand out. First, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). If God really expects us to do this, then of course any posture is acceptable; because He wants us to pray all the time – while we’re doing everything else.
This puts some of the above posture in context. For instance, lying down on a pew in a chapel would probably look like sleeping and distract a lot of people. But praying in your bed at night when you can’t sleep would be perfectly natural and right.
Another consideration is culture. That might sound strange, as if I were contradicting the whole premise of this book. I believe in taking God’s Word literally and in following it even if it seems outdated or even unacceptable in our culture. I don’t think there is any verse which is irrelevant to us for any reason, including the 2000-year/ Hebrew-to-American gap.
On the other hand, it would be unrealistic to try to understand what God really meant when He said certain things without considering the culture of the people to whom He was directly speaking.
Take the word “dance,” for example. We are commanded to praise God with dancing. When is the last time you’ve done that? I must confess I never have. But what does it look like to praise God with dancing (beyond the 1 Thessalonians 5:17 principle)? It would be easy to insert our modern concept of “dancing” into the ancient word. But what would the original readers have pictured? Waltzing? Square dancing? Hip-shaking? Break dancing? I doubt it.
The Strong’s Concordance gives the following words for dance:
· 2287 chagag – to move in a circle, i.e. to march in a sacred procession, to observe a festival; by implication to be giddy: celebrate, dance, a (solemn) feast (holiday), reel to and for
· 2342 chuwl or chiyl – to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), i.e. to dance
· 3769 karar – to dance (i.e. whirl)
· 4234 machowl – from 2342; a (round) dance
· 4246 mechowlah – feminine of 4234; a dance: company, dances (-ing)
· 7540 raqad – to stamp, i.e. to spring about (wildly or for joy): dance, jump, leap, skip
· 3738 orcheomai – a row or ring; to dance (from the ranklike or regular motion)
· 5525 choros – a ring, i.e. round dance (“choir”)
Twist, whirl, circular, spiral, whirl, stamp, spring about wildly or for joy, jump, leap, skip, round, row, ring, ranklike, regular, company, move in a circle, march, giddy, reel to and fro, sing, round.
My Young’s Concordance offers these definitions: chorus, turn, twist, move round, skip, lift up the feet, move round, company.
Have you ever seen Jewish dancing? I had the opportunity to attend a friend’s bat mitzvah several years ago, and the dancing certainly resembled these words. It was beautiful. Several young girls, moving in a circle, twisting, twirling, jumping, skipping clapping their hands.
You know something else I’m reminded of? Little kids. Children love to dance; and very young children who have not been exposed to too much television dance very similarly very simply and very much like the above words.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Great Books I've Read This Year

I meant to review one of my favorite books for YLCF's March of Books ( But I just never got around to it. Instead, I'll share a little bit about several different books. :)
The Journey of Desire by John Eldredge - a very interesting look at desire stifled, desire "satisfied" in this life, and desire for Heaven allowed to guide us in our journey through this life. Some fascinating ideas about Heaven. I'm not sure I agree with everything he said; but if not, it is certainly sound enough to be quite helpful.
Culture Shock by Margaret Jank - an autobiography about some missionaries to the Yanoamo tribe in Venezuela. A book about faith, revival, and the power of God.
First Person Singular - interviews with famous singles like Joni Eareckson Tada, Ann Kiemel, and Elisabeth Elliot Gren. Well, they were single at the time! :-)
Don't Waste Your Life by John Piper - outstanding encouragement to live passionately for Christ and His glory, to take risks, to give one's self, et cetera
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - a sad tale of a plain young orphan girl who grows up amid many misfortunes. It has a sweet ending.
Parenting in the Pew by Robbie Castleman - a fun exhortation to keep your kids with you and train them to worship along with you
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - a fun read. I'm not entirely sure what the point is. Perhaps the unselfish, loyal examples of Joe and Biddy?
For Such a Time as This by Lisa Ryan - a look at the book of Esther and some practical applications for girls today
The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne - a "haunted house" tale about generational sins and people who break from those chains. Perhaps wordy, but still interesting even in the more verbose sections. Excellent characterization.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - a charming story about some spoiled, sickly children who grow sweet and healthy while restoring an old garden
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas - which tells of a man who chose merciless revenge and lived to regret that decision
The Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare - about a man who married a shrew and treated her like she treated everyone else until the suffering sweetened her into a gentle woman
Boy Meets Girl by Josh Harris - a story-filled explanation of courtship
Generation Esther by Lisa Ryan - the sequel to For Such a Time as This; stories of modern "Esthers"
The Pilgrim's Regress by C. S. Lewis - a story about a young man who leaves legalism and travels through a world of intellectual errors in search of desire and finally believes the Man who saves his life
Persuasion by Jane Austen - a man comes back into the life of the woman who broke off her engagement to him at her father's persuasion eight years before; not her best work, at least in my opinion, but still worth reading
Stormie by Stormie Omartian - an autobiography illustrating the healing power of God
The Four Loves by C. S. Lewis - showing the good and bad sides of affection, friendship, and eros and the excellencies of charity. Also some interesting thoughts about "need-love," "gift-love," and "appreciation."
Parrot's Perch by Barry Holohan - My dad has met Mr. Holohan, and I've met George Theis. This is Mr. Holohan's autobiography, telling about his years running casinos, dealing drugs, sitting in prisons, enduring intense torture, and then coming to Christ and becoming a missionary.
I'm currently reading When God Writes Your Life Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy and Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Physical Expression in Worship

Many views have been proclaimed on this subject. "Do whatever you feel led." "Do whatever comes naturally" or "whatever feels right." "Clapping is wrong." "Lifting your hands is worldly." "Everybody, lift your hands in prayer to God." "Dance before Him." "Dancing is of the devil." It’s easy to get lost in the jungle. But what does the Bible say? I’m not entirely sure myself, so excuse me while I open my concordance and peruse God’s Word.
  • Daniel 4:34
    Psalm 121:1; 123:1; John 11:41; 17:1
    “lifted up mine eyes unto Heaven”
  • Leviticus 9:22
    Luke 24:50
    “extending [lifting up] hand toward people in a prayer of blessing”
  • Psalm 28:2
    Nehemiah 8:6; Psalm 63:4; 119:481; 134:2; 141:2; Lamentations 2:19; 3:41; 1 Timothy 2:8
    “lift up my hands toward Thy holy oracle”
  • Ezra 9:6
    Luke 18:13
    “I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee”
  • 1 Kings 8:54
    Ezra 9:5; Daniel 6:10
    “kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to Heaven”
  • 1 Kings 18:42
    “put his face between his knees”
  • Luke 5:8
    “fell down at Jesus’ knees”
  • Romans 14: 11
    Ephesians 3:14; Philippians 2:10
    “every knee shall bow to Me”
  • Psalm 95:6
    God’s people
    “Let us worship and bow down . . . and kneel”
  • Luke 22:41
    Matthew 17:14; Mark 1:40; 10:17; Acts 7:60; 9:40; 20:36; 21:5
    “kneeled down and prayed”
  • Deuteronomy 29:10
    Genesis 18:22; Leviticus 9:5; Deuteronomy 10:8; 1 Kings 8:22; 2 Chronicles 20:13, 19; et cetera
    “stand this day . . . before the Lord”
  • Psalm 149:3
    Exodus 15:20-21; 2 Samuel 6:14; Psalm 150:4
    “praise His name in the dance”
  • Ezra 9: 5
    “fell upon my knees”
  • Genesis 17:3
    Leviticus 9:24; Numbers 22:31; Deuteronomy 9:18; Joshua 5:14; Judges 13:20; Samuel 5:3-4; Job 1:20; Psalm 72:11; Ezekiel 11:13; Mark 3:11; 5:33; 7:25; Luke 8:28,41; 17:16; John 11:32; 18:6; 1 Corinthians 14:25; Revelation 1:17; 4:10; 5:8,14; 7:11; 11:16; 19:4
    “fell on his face”
  • Psalm 22:29
    All who die
    Psalm 72:9; Micah 6:6
    “bow before Him”
  • Genesis 24:26
    Abraham’s servant
    Exodus 4:31; 12:27; Numbers 22:31; 1 Chronicles 29:20; 2 Chronicles 29:30
    “bowed down his head, and worshipped the Lord”
  • 2 Chronicles 7:3
    God’s people
    2 Chronicles 20:18; 29:29
    “bowed themselves with their faces to the ground”
  • Exodus 34:8
    Nehemiah 8:16
    “bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped”
  • Judges 20:26
    1 Chronicles 17:16
    “sat there before the Lord”
  • Psalms 120-134 – Songs of Ascence – praise songs the children of Israel sung while walking up the hill to Jerusalem
  • 2 Samuel 12:16
    Psalm 1:2; 17:3; 22:2; 42:8; 77:6; 88:1; 92:2; 119:55; 134:1; Luke 2:37; 18:7; Acts 26:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:5; 2 Timothy 1:3
    Lying down or at night
  • Noises
    Ø Weeping
    Ø Shouting
    Ø Rejoicing
    Ø Crying out
    Ø Singing
    Ø Silence
    Ø Musical instruments

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Challenging Femininity #7 and Other New Stuff

My favorite webzine!

One of my favorite websites with a brand-new format!

My brand-new, very favorite hymnal! It's the new worship hymnal from Lifeway, with all the best hymns and all the best choruses from the last thirty years. :-)

Saturday, March 20, 2010


This is the second time I've welcomed spring this year. And I'm just as excited this time as I was last time. Flipflops, blooming yellow lilies, an old beautiful clover-filled garden to weed so it can be replanted, lots of basketball, a big yard to walk (or run) around, gentle and not-so-gentle breezes, earthworms and other funny little animals, a crazy cat, a brother home from school, sitting outside to crochet. . . . These are just a few of the things I've been enjoying this spring.

I want to share some of an interesting sermon I heard this past winter. This is the text: "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22).

God has promised to keep the world going in this beautiful way until the end of the world. And everyone believes this so much that even atheists plan and plant gardens, and even they would scorn anyone who did not believe this promise of God. Even an atheist acts in faith on this promise.

But if this promise is true, why are not all the other promises also true? Why not trust and act in faith on everything else God has ever said? This is the thrust of a parallel passage in Jeremiah.

"And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying, 'Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; Then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers.' . . . .

"Thus saith the LORD; 'If my covenant be not with day and night, and if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth; Then will I cast away the seed of Jacob, and David my servant, so that I will not take any of his seed to be rulers over the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: for I will cause their captivity to return, and have mercy on them." (Jeremiah 33:19-23, 25-26).

Friday, March 12, 2010

My New Favorite Chapter

Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me;

because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;

he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all that mourn;

to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,

to give unto them beauty for ashes,

the oil of joy for mourning,

the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;

that they might be called trees of righteousness,

the planting of the LORD,

that he might be glorified.

The parellel passage in Luke 4 is just as beautiful!

And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written,

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,

because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;

He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

to preach deliverance to the captives,

and recovering of sight to the blind,

to set at liberty them that are bruised,

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord."

And He closed the book, and Hhe gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Is That Cultural?"

It seems like that's a big question for a lot of people. I often get trapped by another version: "What will people think?" But that concern has a name in the Bible. It's called the fear of man. And "the fear of man bringeth a snare" (Proverbs 29:25). If I'm focused on how people think of me, how well I fit into my culture, and whether those people will still be my friends, where is ther room in my mind for thoughts of God?

That verse in Proverbs ends like this: "Whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe."

"If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).

Instead of "Is that cultural?" and "What will people think?" let's ask "Is that biblical?" and "Would my Savior like that?"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Music You Want to Hear

There are plenty of secular radio stations, but who wants to listen to them when there is more edifying music? So that leaves us with religious rock and rap (which can eventually give a bit of a headache), southern and bluegrass Gospel (which are not my radio favorite), and classical (which is great for three minutes but then gets a little boring). With youtube you can only hear the songs you specifically ask for.

Here's to, your online radio station with the music you like! =)

You enter the name of a song you like (for instance,  I might type "He Is Good" by Steve Green or "Easter Song" by Keith Green), and Pandora will create a radio station with similar artists and musical styles. You can like a song, ban a song, or ban a song for a month. You might not want to "like" too many songs, though, because they try to give you totally new songs that you've never heard before; and they tend to play your favorites first.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Living Without a Refrigerator

My family has recently been considering some major lifestyle changes. Due to present political and economic developments, we have decided to gradually switch to a simpler lifestyle - one that would not require electricity. As the kitchen is the heart of the home, it seemed like the best place to start. So the first big appliance to go was our refrigerator.

Or NOT. :-D

I think everyone in our family has actually considered living that way at some point in our lives (except Caleb; he's our cell phone/mp3/laptop guy). Right now Jedidiah is thinking seriously about living like the Amish. But not the rest of us.

We are living without a refrigerator right now, but that's just because when we moved into our new house last weekend we found out that our fridge doesn't work anymore. Time for a new one! While we wait for it to come, we're having fun with different kinds of food. :-)

Mom bought a dozen eggs for me to make into various bready foods, as they will last longer. But then I realized we only had a little white flour left. Whole-wheat flour is healthy, so we can overlook the taste. I googled the proper substitution amounts: 7/8 cup whole-wheat flour for one cup white. Then I made eight batches of pancakes, carefully stirring the batter so it wouldn't slosh over the sides, and one batch of zucchini muffins. Mmm!

We've had lots of frozen pot pies, frozen salisbury steak, prepackaged mashed potatoes, ice cream, and plenty of other yummy foods that we rarely get to eat when the refrigerator is running! Plus granola and cereal and extra syrup on our whole-wheat pancakes to cover the dry taste. Maybe this green thing isn't so bad after all. . . .

But after eating lots of Little Ceasar's pizza, Walmart donuts, potato chips, Ale8s, and other junk food for a few days while we were moving and then eating a lot more this past week, I think we were all ready for a salad tonight. It was delicious!

Caleb's bringing his little refrigerator home from college tomorrow, so normalness will soon be restored! Sorry, enviromentalists. I like modern comforts too much right now. Maybe someday you can convert me. . . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Martin Chuzzlewit

The longest Dickens novel I have read, and the best! The theme is selfishness, and Mr. Dickens describes it thoroughly with many very different obnoxious characters as well as its antonym through some very charming ones. Some characters change, which is all the better. Most don't, which is very realistic. If you don't have time to read a several hundred page book, at least watch the 1994 BBC version on I believe it's 6 hours long. Many scenes had to be cut out, but nothing was altered. They brought the story to life very well.

Mr. Pecksniff and "decrepit" Mr. Chuzzlewit

Merry Pecksniff and her mercenary fiance

Martin and Mary

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"She Strengtheneth Her Arms"

Deja vu, for sure. Just a year ago, we were moving from the parsonage to a nice apartment on the other side of town. And now, we are prepping a house in Richmond so we can move at the end of the month. I am so excited!!!

The first two days of this week, Mom and Jedidiah and I went to the house early in the morning, worked all day, and came back home for dinner. Mom and Jedidiah, being a little stronger than I, worked downstairs in the previously moldy basement while I busied myself upstairs. All the walls were filthy. Then a floor, all the cabinets, the bathrooms, the front of the house. Do you have any idea how tiring it is to wash walls all day long? Not to mention shampooing carpets, puttying walls, and taking ancient baby locks out of cabinets. If you want arm muscles, try washing all the walls in your house every day. :-)

Mom and Jedidiah have been there again yesterday and today while I am busy with cooking pancakes and biscuits, ironing a huge pile of laundry, publishing, and perhaps a bit of packing.

I can't wait to move into our nice little house with our nice bigger yard! Plenty of room to strengthen my arms and legs. In more natural ways than washing walls.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Strong Man or Strong Woman?

A strong man plus a weak woman
equals a chauvinist and a doormat –
a macho man and a slave girl.

A strong woman and a weak man
equals a feminist and a doormat -
a screaming shrew and a mouse.

A strong man and a strong woman
who wants to take charge
equals a constant fight for control.

A strong man and a strong woman
who gladly follows him
equals a beautiful dance – a real romance.

The Proverbs 31 woman was strong.
She was valiant.
And she gladly supported her husband so much
that his strength increased.
Should that really be surprising?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Causing and Increasing Wrath

I was thinking about the practical applications of Ephesians 6:4 the other day when another verse came to mind and made things startlingly clear.

“And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath” (Ephesians 6:4). “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged” (Colossians 3:21). What actions are provoking? Here are a few examples:

· Infidelity (Ezekiel 20:28)
· Mockery (Job 17:2)
· Anger (Proverbs 15:18)
· Pride (Proverbs 28:25)
· Hatred (Proverbs 10:12)
· Grievous words (Proverbs 15:1)

“Provoke not . . . to wrath.” “Grievous words stir up anger.” What is the difference between provoking someone to wrath and stirring up that person to anger? There is no real difference.

If I want to avoid provoking my family to wrath, I must avoid using grievous words. If you want to avoid provoking your children to wrath, you must avoid using grievous words.

Our words are powerful. The Bible says that our words have the power to

· Cause arguments and separate close friends (Proverbs 16:28)
· Make us more ungodly (II Timothy 2:16)
· Pierce people’s hearts like physical weapons (Proverbs 12:18)
· Kill (Proverbs 18:21)
· Corrupt and poison (James 3:5-8)
· Crush people’s spirits (Proverbs 15:4)

But words also have power to

· Meet people’s needs and build them up (Ephesians 4:29)
· Heal people (Proverbs 12:18)
· Give pleasure and sweetness (Proverbs 16:24)
· Persuade (Proverbs 25:15)
· Communicate knowledge (Proverbs 20:15)
· Cheer people up (Proverbs 12:25)
· Give life (Proverbs 18:21)
· Turn away wrath (Proverbs 15:1)

Which set of “powers” do you want to use on your family? Which way of speaking gets you what you really want? Think about it for a moment. Does your family seem more eager to please you when you snap and yell, or less? The truth is that our anger will never make anyone more righteous (James 1:19-20). But kind words will help them learn (Proverbs 16:21).

What kind of words did the valiant woman of Proverbs 31 use? Verse 26 says that “she openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.” Did it work for her? Skip down to verse 28 to see just how well it worked.

One last thought: a mature person will not be easily provoked. God’s Word makes this clear in I Corinthians 13:5. IT is natural to be provoked by the grievous words or those around you, but it is not good. Learn to entrust yourself to God and forgive others for the hurtful things they say. This will free you to speak the kind words needed to rebuild relationships in your family.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Challenging Femininity #4

May you have a blessed year in the Lord Jesus!

I want to share some sweet verses I read this morning.

"God setteth the solitary in families:

he bringeth out those which are bound with chains:

but the rebellious dwell in a dry land.

Thou hast ascended on high,

thou hast led captivity captive:

thou hast received gifts for men;

yea, for the rebellious also,

that the LORD God might dwell among them.

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits,

even the God of our salvation. Selah" (Psalm 68:6,18-19).

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty

wherewith Christ hath made us free,

and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty;

only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,

but by love serve one another" (Galatians 5:1,13).