Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
...For leadership committed to living truth as an example to those under their authority.
...For the unique peak that I am blessed to receive into the loving and laboring hearts of my Elders.
...For the love that I have received from individuals within the body.
...For the opportunity and ability to serve the church.
...For the accountability and encouragement that the body of Christ provides.
...For the Lord's faithful provision for our needs as a church and for making that provision very visible to us.
...For the way the Lord has used trials to sanctify individuals and use them as a testimony of his goodness.
...For the amazing grace of our Lord who chooses to use sinners to accomplish His purposes, thereby bringing glory to Himself alone.
...For the ability to go boldly into the throne room of grace to petition for our needs and requests and to know full well that the Lord will glorify Himself within His church.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. ~Ephesians 2:19-21
P.S. Just wanted to comment on the odd phenomenon that the best way to begin to feel thankful when you don't feel thankful naturally is to start giving thanks. I tend to forget and instead put off blog posts on thankfulness because I am aware that I don't have a grateful attitude. When I just obey the command to give thanks by, you know, giving thanks, then I soon find my feelings have followed. Funny how that works.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
There lived two sisters.
They were each others very first best friends. As the years passed, they remained each other's best girlfriends.
(Pajama Picture, Christmas Eve, 2005)
Mutual confidants and comforters...
Sharers of countless memories and inside jokes.
(At the Resolved conference, Summer 2009)
Complete opposites in so many ways...
(Anna in camo, me is camping clothes. Fall 2007)
And yet kindred spirits.
(Coordinating Sweatshirts! Winter 2009)
"Some things were meant to be..."
(California, Oct. 2009)
Dear Anna, I am so very thankful that the Lord made us sisters, literally and spiritually. You are an enormous blessing to me and I treasure your friendship. Love ya lots!
Sunday, November 1, 2009
In addition to being the center of academic learning, our family's homeschool room is the location for Daddy's 100-ish year old upright piano. It has been part of my life since I was about four years old and each of my siblings and myself has spent time sitting on the bench plunking out keys for our own amusement while Daddy plays his repertoire of hymns and praise choruses. He didn't play very often because of a very busy schedule, but we all recognized the sound of the heavy lid rolling back into the piano as the cue to come dance around the living room and sing. Such is life with little girls.
Of the eight of us children, five have taken at least a year of piano lessons. Anna and Emma are the only ones who are currently sticking with that instrument, the rest of us are hoping to develop talent in other musical areas. Between two people who take lessons, the others who occasionally like to pretend they know how to play, and Daddy, Anna, and myself preparing for church worship music, the piano bench has been kept very warm over the last few years. It is still fun when Daddy plays, but Anna is our primary accompanist and resident soloist. She is the one of our family who is the most gifted when it comes to her particular instrument.
When Anna touches those keys, something wonderful happens. The rest of us sit down and read notes and a melody and that is all we play. Anna turns the notes into a living, breathing entity. Her fingers infuse the melody with emotion and make it into something memorable.
This afternoon, I was thumbing through one of her piano books and found an arrangement called "Longing" that came at out of George Winston's "Autumn" album. I hadn't heard the piece, but seeing as it fit our current time of the year, I asked if she'd try it. She wasn't familiar with it either, but still sight-read it beautifully. Wistfulness and poignancy began wafting through the air and I was again left wondering how music is capable of expressing and provoking emotion. What is it about mere notes and sounds that makes me so intoxicatingly happy in the present moment and yet makes me yearn for something else, something more?
C.S. Lewis accurately describes the emotion through the character of Psyche in "Till We Have Faces": "It was when I was happiest that I longed most. .. And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche, come! But I couldn't (not yet) come and I didn't know where I was to come to. It almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage when the other birds of its kind are flying home."
Is it the longing for heaven? For home? For the beauty there that makes this world seem like a scanty reflection? For the joy that will be beyond anything I can know here? A reminder that I have not yet attained it? Is it the smallest taste of what is to come?
"For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:22-25
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
For the word of the Lord is upright, and
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
The Lord looks down from heaven;
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
Our soul waits for the Lord;
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
1. Everything fell into place perfectly (or rather, was perfectly ordained and orchestrated by a Sovereign Hand) for my Daddy and my Pastor to make their connecting flight en route to Russia today despite lots of stressful cuircumstances and questions of whether or not they would be able to go. Missing them, still glad they can go. (If you want more details, go to their blog to see what they are up to: www.mvbiblereport.blogspot.com)
2. I found a letter in my mailbox yesterday. It has kept me smiling all the way through today!
3. The sight of cars being chased by a trail of skipping, hopping, dancing leaves wherever they go is delightful. The cars apparently have no idea that they are being trailed. I don't think the leaves have any idea what they are going to do if they actually catch up with the cars either.
You know the funny thing about listing things you like or are thankful for? It is kinda hard to stop once you start. For instance: October is a gorgeous month, even it's name proclaims beauty. October. Joe (the two year old brother) has been doing this adorable thing lately of saying "Need Hug!" whenever I walk by and then proceeding to give me one. Nine and a half weeks till Christmas! I had a lovely chit-chat with my Mom earlier. Tonight, I get to study. (Trying to focus on the get part, forget that sometimes.) And a few more hours until my phone will ring this evening. Do you have a list you want to share?
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
In reality, my life has been interesting lately. At least, it has been in my opinion. So much so, that I haven't wanted to take the time away from enjoying life to blog about it. During the last week though, I have been preparing my Fall schedule. As I was writing lists of all the great things I intend to accomplish and that I want to squeeze into my schedule sideways, "Blog" suddenly appeared on one of the lists, and I realized that I had written it there. Blog? Oh yeah, I do have one of those, don't I? Hmmm, maybe I should go look at it sometime....
And look at me now! Typing away very diligently as though I was actually doing something productive. The best thing about to-do lists? They make procrastination oh so easy. I can feel like I am working because I put an activity on paper and then did it. What a sense of accomplishment to put a check next to: "Blog". Nevermind the fact that "Do Laundry" still has no check next to it.
Fall is such fun. It is like the mid-year New Year. Resolutions, planning, new schedules, to-do lists, anticipation. My organization side kicks in at this time of year with full force . Usually, I wait until August is over to proclaim it the end of Summer but this year I decided that my Summer officially ends on Monday. Yes, the 95 degree weather is mocking me and I have no intention of giving up my flip flops for at least another 4-6 weeks, but it is time for me to start focusing on getting things done. At the moment, my mood is even matching my resolve! We will see whether or not I am still this dedicated once I am done writing schedules and have to start living by them. Come Monday morning, I may decide I need one more week of to-do list writing before summer ends.
Friday, June 12, 2009
As I was saying, my families and I are enjoying a relaxing vacation in Southern CA this week and part of next week. The exciting event of the trip begins tonight though, and I would like to invite you all to participate in it from wherever you may be! Come (in the figurative sense) and learn from Steve Lawson, John MacArthur, John Piper, Rick Holland, and CJ Mahaney as the conference is live streamed via the Internet. Go here for details: http://www.resolved.org/SiteLogin.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2flive.aspx
EDITED 7/8 to say:
You can now dowload the sessions for free here (http://www.resolved.org/media.aspx) and they are very worth taking the time to do so! If you listen to nothing else, check out John Piper's and Steve Lawson's sessions. It is so hard for me to pick a favorite as all the speakers are gifted, godly men, so I will just narrow it down to those four sessions by Piper and Lawson. Enjoy!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
(click on the picture to see it bigger)
I am still working on my header by the way, so technically I probably should be working on that, but the sprinklers distracted me. Ahhh, happiness.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
I am in a happy mood today.
"And it feels like giving in, It feels like starting over, It feels like waking up, and you know it’s coming, It feels like a brand new day. Open your eyes." (Two Hands, Jars of Clay)
God is good. That phrase has been pasted on key chains, coffee cups, posters and refrigerator magnets. It has become a cliche associated with pictures of cuddly kittens and puppies. Yet somehow, the overuse of the phrase hasn't removed its truth. For me, the phrase encompasses the simplicity of God's love for mankind and for me. There are other bigger, prettier words that could be used to describe our Lord: righteous, just, omnipotent, long-suffering, eternal; and all of them are true and accurate. But it is His goodness, to me personally, that is standing out to me today. God is good. Is it really possible to say it too much?
Monday, April 27, 2009
"There is no room for fretting if we remember that God is ours, but there is every incentive to sacred enjoyment of the most elevated and ecstatic kind. Every name, attribute, word, or deed of Jehovah, should be delightful to us, and in meditating thereon our soul should be as glad as is the epicure who feeds delicately with a profound relish for his dainties. And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. A pleasant duty is here rewarded with another pleasure. Men who delight in God desire or ask for nothing but what will please God; hence it is safe to give them carte blanche. Their will is subdued to God's will, and now they may have what they will. Our innermost desires are here meant, not our casual wishes; there are many things which nature might desire which grace would never permit us to ask for; these deep, prayerful, asking desires are those to which the promise is made.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I would love to be able to write something profound about Christ's resurrection, but what can I say that hasn't been said before? And what words can I use more glorious than these? I have no hope, except that Christ died for my sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. I trust that I will be raised with Him on the last day, when my faith is made sight and the work He began in me is finally completed. Come quickly Lord Jesus!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Anyway, this word came to mind today 'cause I was a'pondering my worry problem. Yes, I am a worrier, always have been. Probably stems in part from my control-freakish, oldest child nature that wants to make sure the world is run correctly. Add to that an imagination that takes a morbid interest in making up stories to herself about all the possible awful outcomes of a situation and you get me: a chronic worrier. I was the child who seldom fell asleep during late night road trips because I felt that I needed to be able to wake my daddy up if he ever fell asleep at the wheel. I also remember making sure I knew where the phone was, just in case I couldn't yell loud enough to wake him, and I ended up needing to call 911. I would also check in my purse for band-aids, make sure all my siblings were wearing their seatbelts correctly, and calculate an exit strategy should the car spontaneously combust. By the way, none of this was a result of my thinking that my dad was a bad driver, or even because he was looking tired. I just knew that car accidents happen and I was going to be prepared. If I ever end up totally insane, you will all know that it didn't come on suddenly.
Soooo, to get back on topic, I was a'pondering this worry problem of mine and wondering why I struggle so much with worry. I know that our God is sovereign, I know that He will work out all things for good. My worry is a sin because it says that I have not truly believed everything God says about Himself and the promises He has made to me. Even though my current worries are slightly more plausible than my car spontaneously combusting, they are still fruitless and pointless. So why do I keep worrying? Why do I find myself confessing the same anxiety for the same things over and over and over? Even if I didn't have His promises to lean on, I have personal experience and memory of His provision and His care. It is not like I am being asked to trust someone Who has never done anything for me! Why do I find it so hard to fully rest in my Savior?
Whenever I think about worry, the words from one of my favorite hymns usually begins to run through my head at some point. One of the words in the first verses is "undaunted", the very opposite of fear. When I have given up my worry and I am at rest in trusting my Lord, then am I able to experience His peace. I just always seem to go about the process of letting go the hard way. I feel like I am stuck in the terrible threes; forever acting like a stubborn three year old. "Noooo!!! I want to take care of it myself!!! I am a big girl!!!! What if You don't do it right??? What if it isn't fun??? What if it hurts??? Just let me!!!"
Anywhoo... This song is so pretty. I don't know what the original arrangement of this song sounds like as I have only heard the Jars of Clay version (love their music!), but here are the words which were originally written by Paul Gerhardt and translated by John Wesley. My blog's title comes from the first line.
Hope and be undismayed.
God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears;
God will lift up thy head.
Leave to His sovereign sway
To choose and to command.
Then shalt thou, wondering, own His way;
How wise, how strong His hand.
Far, far above thy thought,
His counsel shall appear
When fully He the work hath wrought
That caused thy needless fear.
Through waves and clouds and storms
He gently clears the way.
Wait thou His time and so shall this night
Soon end in joyous day.