Friday, December 23, 2011

Advent poem

Luci Shaw's advent poem, "Mary's Song":

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast
keep warm this small hot naked star
fallen to my arms. (Rest …
you who have had so far to come.)
Now nearness satisfies
the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies
whose vigor hurled a universe. He sleeps
whose eyelids have not closed before.
His breath (so slight it seems
no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps
to sprout a world. Charmed by doves' voices,
the whisper of straw, he dreams,
hearing no music from his other spheres.
Breath, mouth, ears, eyes
he is curtailed who overflowed all skies,
all years. Older than eternity, now he
is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed
to my poor planet, caught
that I might be free, blind in my womb
to know my darkness ended,
brought to this birth for me to be new-born,
and for him to see me mended
I must see him torn.

Encouragement from Spurgeon - Prayer

“Friend, go up higher.”
Luke 14:10

When first the life of grace begins in the soul, we do indeed draw near to God, but it is with great fear and trembling. The soul conscious of guilt, and humbled thereby, is overawed with the solemnity of its position; it is cast to the earth by a sense of the grandeur of Jehovah, in whose presence it stands. With unfeigned bashfulness it takes the lowest room.

But, in after life, as the Christian grows in grace, although he will never forget the solemnity of his position, and will never lose that holy awe which must encompass a gracious man when he is in the presence of the God who can create or can destroy; yet his fear has all its terror taken out of it; it becomes a holy reverence, and no more an overshadowing dread. He is called up higher, to greater access to God in Christ Jesus. Then the man of God, walking amid the splendours of Deity, and veiling his face like the glorious cherubim, with those twin wings, the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, will, reverent and bowed in spirit, approach the throne; and seeing there a God of love, of goodness, and of mercy, he will realize rather the covenant character of God than his absolute Deity. He will see in God rather his goodness than his greatness, and more of his love than of his majesty. Then will the soul, bowing still as humbly as aforetime, enjoy a more sacred liberty of intercession; for while prostrate before the glory of the Infinite God, it will be sustained by the refreshing consciousness of being in the presence of boundless mercy and infinite love, and by the realization of acceptance “in the Beloved.” Thus the believer is bidden to come up higher, and is enabled to exercise the privilege of rejoicing in God, and drawing near to him in holy confidence, saying, “Abba, Father.”

“So may we go from strength to strength,
And daily grow in grace,
Till in thine image raised at length,
We see thee face to face.”
(emphasis added)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Cookies

We found a great video about decorating Christmas cookies with royal icing. We tried it today and it worked really well.

I can't figure out how to embed the video so here is the link.

The directions for royal icing on the Chatelaine site are similar to most except they said to beat the icing for 3-7 minutes after adding the icing sugar. This gave a great texture to the icing. Then we added water to adjust how thick it was and decorated our cookies.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

4th Sunday of Advent - Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming

This is one of my favourite Christmas carols. Like many older hymns, the last verse points us forward.

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming, as men of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright, she bore to men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

The shepherds heard the story proclaimed by angels bright,
How Christ, the Lord of glory was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped and in the manger found Him,
As angel heralds said.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God, from sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

O Savior, Child of Mary, who felt our human woe,
O Savior, King of glory, who dost our weakness know;
Bring us at length we pray, to the bright courts of Heaven,
And to the endless day!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Two Advent Hymns

I missed last week's Advent hymn so here are two:

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six wingèd seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.


Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.


O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.


O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.


O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.


O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.


O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Soft Gingerbread recipe

I was typing out this recipe for my son (who asked for it!) away at college and thought maybe I would post it here. It's from an old church cookbook on the centennial year of the Knox United Church in Manitowaning, Ontario,in 1962. Manitowaning is on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron - the largest freshwater island in the world! The recipes are handwritten and then mimeographed. Several recipes in the book are from my grandmother and great aunts. This recipe isn't one of them but it's a really good gingerbread. Serve with whipped cream or lemon sauce. Mmm... makes me hungry thinking about it.

Soft Gingerbread Recipe

1/2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. molasses
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 t. each of ginger, cinnamon and cloves
2 t. of soda dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water
2 1/2 c. flour
Mix together the sugar, molasses and butter. Add the spices to the flour; add to the mix with the water. Add two beaten eggs; mix in well. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (check after 25 min - there's no time indicated on the recipe so I'm guessing a little. It will likely be 30-35 min but it depends somewhat on your oven too. Put a knife in and if it comes out clean and the cake springs back when you touch it, it is done.)

There were actually no instructions given other than to add the eggs at the end and no pan size. The detailed instructions are for my son so he'll know when it's done. I have made this in a 9x9 pan but it took a long time and was very high so now I make it in a 9x13 pan.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Call to Spiritual Reformation - quotes

I've been reading Don Carson's The Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and his prayers. I can't recommend it highly enough. I'm reading through it fairly slowly, taking notes, so I can really absorb what he is saying but as it is, I'll need to go back and study each prayer again as I learn to pray through them.

I've been writing down some quotes from the book and meaning to put them up here - both as an encouragement to read the book and as an encouragement to think more deeply on these things.

p. 36 - "If we 'pray until we pray', eventually we come to delight in God's presence, to rest in his love, to cherish his will."

p. 44 - "... we must look for signs of grace in the lives of Christians and give God thanks for them."

"Do we make it a matter of praise to God when we observe evidence in one another of growing conformity to Christ?"

p. 53 - "That (Paul's prayer that God would count the Thessalonian Christians worthy of their calling) means these believers must grow in all the things that please God so that he is pleased with them and finally judges them to be living up to the calling that they have received."

p. 54 - "That cannot mean less than that we should become increasingly holy, self-denying, loving, full of integrity, steeped in the knowledge of God and his word, delighted to trust and obey our Heavenly Father."

p. 56 - "The truth is that unless God works in us and through us, unless God empowers these good purposes of ours, they will not engender any enduring spiritual fruit; they will not display any life-transforming, people-changing power."

p. 59 - "To think that rebellious, self-centered mortals become children of God, increasingly mirroring his character and one day enjoying the unclouded bliss of a perfect existence in the presence of the Triune God - this could not possibly be the fruit of our own endeavours. Rather, Christ is glorified, he receives the praise that is his due as we are glorified..."

p. 60 - "...everything he has asked for is available only on the basis of grace."

p. 62 - "... at the heart of all our praying must be a biblical vision. That vision embraces who God is, what he has done, who we are, where we are going, what we must value and cherish. That vision drives us toward increasing conformity with Jesus, toward lives lived in the light of eternity, toward hearty echoing of the the church's ongoing cry, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" That vision must shape our prayers, so that the things that most concern us in prayer are those that concern the heart of God."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent - Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

An instrumental version:

A choral version:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Moment by Moment

Moment by Moment

Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus, a new life divine;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.


Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

Never a trial that He is not there,
Never a burden that He doth not bear,
Never a sorrow that He doth not share,
Moment by moment, I’m under His care.


Never a heartache, and never a groan,
Never a teardrop and never a moan;
Never a danger but there on the throne,
Moment by moment He thinks of His own.


Never a weakness that He doth not feel,
Never a sickness that He cannot heal;
Moment by moment, in woe or in weal,
Jesus my Savior, abides with me still.


Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Brethren, We have Come to Worship

I've just started reading A Call to Spiritual Reformation by D.A. Carson about prayer. This hymn was on this morning and it matches well with what Carson is saying about prayer.

Brethren, We Have Come to Worship

Brethren, we have met to worship and adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power, while we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Brethren, see poor sinners round you slumbering on the brink of woe;
Death is coming, hell is moving, can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers, and our children sinking down;
Brethren, pray and holy manna will be showered all around.

Sisters, will you join and help us? Moses’ sister aided him;
Will you help the trembling mourners who are struggling hard with sin?
Tell them all about the Savior, tell them that He will be found;
Sisters, pray, and holy manna will be showered all around.

Is there here a trembling jailer, seeking grace, and filled with tears?
Is there here a weeping Mary, pouring forth a flood of tears?
Brethren, join your cries to help them; sisters, let your prayers abound;
Pray, Oh pray that holy manna may be scattered all around.

Let us love our God supremely, let us love each other, too;
Let us love and pray for sinners, till our God makes all things new.
Then He’ll call us home to Heaven, at His table we’ll sit down;
Christ will gird Himself and serve us with sweet manna all around.

A few versions:

This one takes me back! Remember how low the bass can go?

This hymn is apparently very popular and well-known. There are lots of versions on youtube, unlike some of the other hymns I've posted.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Saviour, Like a Shepherd

Savior, like a shepherd lead us, much we need Thy tender care;
In Thy pleasant pastures feed us, for our use Thy folds prepare.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Thou hast bought us, Thine we are.

We are Thine, Thou dost befriend us, be the guardian of our way;
Keep Thy flock, from sin defend us, seek us when we go astray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Hear, O hear us when we pray.

Thou hast promised to receive us, poor and sinful though we be;
Thou hast mercy to relieve us, grace to cleanse and power to free.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! We will early turn to Thee.

Early let us seek Thy favor, early let us do Thy will;
Blessèd Lord and only Savior, with Thy love our bosoms fill.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.
Blessèd Jesus, blessèd Jesus! Thou hast loved us, love us still.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Favourite Apps

I have a new app on my ipod that's very fun. So I thought I would post my favourite apps and if anyone can recommend any others, that would be great.

Pepperplate - this is a menu and recipe app that goes with Pepperplate. I was looking for something that would combine menus, recipes and a shopping list and this one does it quite well. You can import recipes or enter them manually, add them to a menu and then click on the link to add the ingredients to the shopping list. The quantities are sometimes a little off but it's still enough to at least remind me to pick up certain items. I found it easier to work with online but then the sync happens very seamlessly.

Just Light - just what it says - it's a light so that you can use your ipod/phone as a flashlight. This comes in handier more than one would think. It's great for reading in bed and I've even used it outside when I've needed a flashlight.

Facebook - need I say more?

Olive Tree ESV Bible - I really like having a Bible version on my ipod. It's certainly not a replacement for my Bible but it's a good alternative, especially since my personal Bible is New King James.

National Post - I like reading the paper version of the National Post but this is a good substitute in a pinch.

CBC Radio - up until just a few weeks ago, I had no idea I could listen to CBC Radio 1 & 2 on my ipod. The app is easy to download and I especially enjoy Radio 2. I just wish I had found it before I moved to a city where it's easily available on the radio! But I don't have a radio inside the house so this is a great thing.

Those are the apps I use the most. I'm still looking for a good money tracker/budgeting app. Has anyone found one?

I also have Angry Birds but I don't play it that often - honest! :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Blessed Be the Name

Blessed Be the Name

All praise to Him Who reigns above
In majesty supreme,
Who gave His Son for man to die,
That He might man redeem!


Blessèd be the Name! Blessèd be the Name!
Blessèd be the Name of the Lord!
Blessèd be the Name! Blessèd be the Name!
Blessèd be the Name of the Lord!

His Name above all names shall stand,
Exalted more and more,
At God the Father’s own right hand,
Where angel hosts adore.


Redeemer, Savior, Friend of man
Once ruined by the fall,
Thou hast devised salvation’s plan,
For Thou hast died for all.


His Name shall be the Counselor,
The mighty Prince of Peace,
Of all earth’s kingdoms Conqueror,
Whose reign shall never cease.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Standing Up for the Unborn

When we knew we were moving to the big city, I had a conviction that I needed to do something tangible to represent the deeply held values I have regarding abortion. Today, I had the opportunity to start somewhere.

In Calgary, as in other cities, the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil is going on this month - September 28 to November 6. You can read about it here and if you are in Calgary or near it, sign up to go and pray. There is also a blog and it's both heart-breaking and encouraging.

I went today with a new friend and I am thankful for the blessing that was. We stood on the street corner where we are allowed to stand and prayed, silently and aloud. We talked a little about our lives and our own encounters with pain. We watched young women go in, several alone. We prayed for the ones who we saw and the ones we didn't see. We cried as we contemplated the brokenness represented by that clinic on the corner. It's not just the abortions that represent brokenness but the loss of family, the loss of parents who will stand up for their children and protect them, the loss of men and women who will stand by their training and protect life instead of taking it away. Our society is broken when this can go on across the country.

And we talked and prayed for love. We prayed that each person there would come to know God's love, that they would encounter people who can show them a different way. People who can show them that forgiveness, healing and freedom are possible in Christ, before and after abortions.

I will continue to pray and continue to go. I hope more will become aware of the vigil and sign up.

And this hymn began to echo in my mind:

Let Your Heart Be Broken
Let your heart be broken for a world in need:
Feed the mouths that hunger,
Soothe the wounds that bleed.
Give the cup of water, and the loaf of bread.
Be the hands of Jesus, serving in his stead.

Here on earth applying principles of love.
Visible expression, God still rules above.
Living illustration of the living word,
To the minds of all who've never seen or heard.

Blest to be a blessing, privileged to care,
Challenged be the need, apparent everywhere.
Where mankind is wanting, fill the vacant place.
Be the means through which
The Lord reveals His grace.

Add to your believing deeds that prove it true,
Knowing Christ as Savior, Make Him Master too.
Follow in His footsteps, go where he has trod;
In the worlds great trouble risk yourself for God.

Let your heart be tender and your vision clear;
See mankind as God sees, serve Him far and near.
Let your heart be broken by a brother's pain;
Share your rich resources, give and give again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For the Musicians in the Crowd

I found this at LaDona's Music Studio blog. Too cute (and true) not to pass on.

My cello comes home tomorrow from a brief stay at the string shop. I guess I'll need to refer to the chart more often!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Thanksgiving Hymn - Come Ye Thankful People Come

I think if I look back, I will see that I`ve posted this hymn before on Thanksgiving. So maybe I should pick a different one. But when I think of Thanksgiving hymns, this is the first one that comes to mind and I can sing the whole first verse to myself, plus parts of the rest of the verses. So it`s my favourite so I`m going to post it again!

Come, Ye Thankful People Come

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

I particularly like the `look forward` aspect of this hymn. We are thankful for the Lord`s provision but we look forward to when all will be `free from sorrow, free from sin.`

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Knowing God's Will

A friend of mine just (re)posted this article. It goes along with what I've been learning and thinking over the past months.

I've been describing our process here as God requiring baby steps. I personally would prefer to know six steps out what is going to be happening. I like to plan ahead; I like to know what is coming; and while I don't mind a little uncertainty while I learn to trust God, I would really prefer to know exactly what is ahead.

This time around, we didn't know what was ahead. We knew the general outline - we are convinced that God is calling us to Calgary to join in the partnership of ministry at our new church - but the specifics were a little fuzzy. In my naivety, I honestly thought all the details would be taken care of in a couple of months.

Of course, all the details are taken care of. God has so graciously provided a job for Terry, the sale of our house, a place to stay temporarily and a house to buy (and the means to do so). We are so blessed in every aspect of this move. But He didn't do it on my timetable and He asked me to just trust Him on his timetable.

On the way into church last week, a friend commented that every time he saw us recently, something else had changed and come together. So true! But we had three months before this where it felt like nothing was happening. God just kept telling us to take those little baby steps, to move one tiny step at a time and then be in a position of readiness for the next step.

I think Becky really hits the nail on the head when she says,

In the midst of my struggles, I realised that what God desires is a deeper, more intimate relationship with me. I didn’t need to know the specifics of God’s will after all. I could follow along in the darkness, inch by inch by inch, never seeing where it was I was headed, trusting that God would make my feet secure. In a sense, the unknowing, the limbo was killing me – killing my stubborn independence and self-reliance so that I would be forced to throw myself wholeheartedly into the arms of God – his mercy, wisdom and love. And that is true freedom.

My prayer over the past few weeks, especially when I was fearful of what might happen, was "Lord, teach me to trust you." When I would be running over all the possible scenarios in my mind of what could happen next (never positively), I would have to wrench my mind away and pray, "Lord, teach me to trust you."

It brings me back to the verses that have been a particular comfort and encouragement in the past several years,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sunday Hymn - O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Here's a beautiful version:

2nd Chapter of Acts also sang it on their hymns album- I'm not sure what happened to our album of this (it was probably a cassette, actually, now that I think of it) but here's a recording of it.

And Sovereign Grace Music has reworked it. I still like the original but I really like this one too.

Answered Prayer

I read this psalm a few weeks ago and was reflecting on vs. 6-7 and the joys of answered prayer. I have been waiting to post it until we had clear answers to our requests. Well, the house is sold and Terry has a job so I am very thankful and the psalmist says it so well.

Psalm 28

A Psalm of David.

1 To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock:
Do not be silent to me,
Lest, if You are silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.

3 Do not take me away with the wicked
And with the workers of iniquity,
Who speak peace to their neighbors,
But evil is in their hearts.
4 Give them according to their deeds,
And according to the wickedness of their endeavors;
Give them according to the work of their hands;
Render to them what they deserve.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD,
Nor the operation of His hands,
He shall destroy them
And not build them up.

6 Blessed be the LORD,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

8 The LORD is their strength,
And He is the saving refuge of His anointed.
9 Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hymn of Encouragement

This hymn has been going through my mind lately. When I read all the lyrics, it isn't perhaps the most theologically astute hymn but for right now, it speaks to me of the trust we have in Christ and the fact that we will be able to look back and see how God has worked, whether it's while we're still here on earth or later in heaven.

Farther Along

Tempted and tried, we’re oft made to wonder
Why it should be thus all the day long;
While there are others living about us,
Never molested, though in the wrong.

Farther along we’ll know more about it,
Farther along we’ll understand why;
Cheer up, my brother, live in the sunshine,
We’ll understand it all by and by.

Sometimes I wonder why I must suffer,
Go in the rain, the cold, and the snow,
When there are many living in comfort,
Giving no heed to all I can do.

Tempted and tried, how often we question
Why we must suffer year after year,
Being accused by those of our loved ones,
E’en though we’ve walked in God’s holy fear.

Often when death has taken our loved ones,
Leaving our home so lone and so drear,
Then do we wonder why others prosper,
Living so wicked year after year.

“Faithful till death,” saith our loving Master;
Short is our time to labor and wait;
Then will our toiling seem to be nothing,
When we shall pass the heavenly gate.

Soon we will see our dear, loving Savior,
Hear the last trumpet sound through the sky;
Then we will meet those gone on before us,
Then we shall know and understand why.

Here's a fun version:

Here's a rewritten version. Josh Garrels is a new artist that our son discovered this year through Noise Trade and we really like (most of) his works.

Yesterday when we read Spurgeon in our family devotions, we all agreed that it really applied to our circumstances right now. The answers to our prayers will be all the more blessed because of how we've learned to pray.

“For this child I prayed.”
1 Samuel 1:27

Devout souls delight to look upon those mercies which they have obtained in answer to supplication, for they can see God’s especial love in them. When we can name our blessings Samuel, that is, “asked of God,” they will be as dear to us as her child was to Hannah. Peninnah had many children, but they came as common blessings unsought in prayer: Hannah’s one heaven-given child was dearer far, because he was the fruit of earnest pleadings. How sweet was that water to Samson which he found at “the well of him that prayed!” Quassia cups turn all waters bitter, but the cup of prayer puts a sweetness into the draughts it brings. Did we pray for the conversion of our children? How doubly sweet, when they are saved, to see in them our own petitions fulfilled! Better to rejoice over them as the fruit of our pleadings than as the fruit of our bodies. Have we sought of the Lord some choice spiritual gift? When it comes to us it will be wrapped up in the gold cloth of God’s faithfulness and truth, and so be doubly precious. Have we petitioned for success in the Lord’s work? How joyful is the prosperity which comes flying upon the wings of prayer! It is always best to get blessings into our house in the legitimate way, by the door of prayer; then they are blessings indeed, and not temptations. Even when prayer speeds not, the blessings grow all the richer for the delay; the child Jesus was all the more lovely in the eyes of Mary when she found him after having sought him sorrowing. That which we win by prayer we should dedicate to God, as Hannah dedicated Samuel. The gift came from heaven, let it go to heaven. Prayer brought it, gratitude sang over it, let devotion consecrate it. Here will be a special occasion for saying, “Of thine own have I given unto thee.” Reader, is prayer your element or your weariness? Which?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Til Death Do Us Part

I just read an article at Christianity Today, "CT Classic: Living by Vows" which is a wonderful recounting of how a seminary president is caring for his wife who has Alzheimers.

The whole story itself is beautiful and well-worth reading. But one thing stood out to me.

But she can say one sentence, and she says it often: "I love you."

She not only says it, she acts it. The board arranged for a companion to stay in our home so I could go daily to the office. During those two years it became increasingly difficult to keep Muriel home. As soon as I left, she would take out after. me. With me, she was content; without me, she was distressed, sometimes terror stricken. The walk to school is a mile round trip. She would make that trip as many as ten times a day. Sometimes at night, when I helped her undress, I found bloody feet. When I told our family doctor, he choked up. "Such love," he said simply. Then, after a moment, "I have a theory that the characteristics developed across the years come out at times like these." I wish I loved God like that-desperate to be near him at all times. Thus she teaches me, day by day.

I pray that I will be the kind of wife and mother that if something should happen later in life, I would be characterized by the kind of love described here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wait on the Lord

Today's Spurgeon reading was directly aimed at me. As we wait for the house to sell and the job to come, it's sometimes hard to wait without complaining. It's hard to be positive and trust that God has this all worked out in His time. Here's Spurgeon's encouragement:

“Wait on the Lord.”
Psalm 27:14
It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No, but simply wait.

Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God, and spread the case before him; tell him your difficulty, and plead his promise of aid. In dilemmas between one duty and another, it is sweet to be humble as a child, and wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is sure to be well with us when we feel and know our own folly, and are heartily willing to be guided by the will of God.

But wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in him; for unfaithful, untrusting waiting, is but an insult to the Lord. Believe that if he keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet he will come at the right time; the vision shall come and shall not tarry.

Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling because you are under the affliction, but blessing your God for it. Never murmur against the second cause, as the children of Israel did against Moses; never wish you could go back to the world again, but accept the case as it is, and put it as it stands, simply and with your whole heart, without any self-will, into the hand of your covenant God, saying, “Now, Lord, not my will, but thine be done. I know not what to do; I am brought to extremities, but I will wait until thou shalt cleave the floods, or drive back my foes. I will wait, if thou keep me many a day, for my heart is fixed upon thee alone, O God, and my spirit waiteth for thee in the full conviction that thou wilt yet be my joy and my salvation, my refuge and my strong tower.”

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Hymn

This is Terry's last Sunday preaching here in Edson. As we look ahead to the future and we're waiting on God to bring us through to a new house and new job, this is the hymn that came to mind this morning.

"Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recommended Reading

I think that every engaged couple should read or watch Trollope's He Knew He was Right. Great lessons on avoiding pride and stubbornness.

It's amazing in some ways how much we are willing to give up for the sake of our pride and being "right". Would that we would practice being wrong, even when we are right.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finishing Well

One of my prayers over the past year as I've read through Kings and Chronicles a couple of times is that I would finish well as a Christian. Many of the Israelite kings started out well but finished poorly.

Preparing to be an Amazing Old Man or Woman is a great article about preparing oneself for being old. Something we all need to think about, for unless the Lord calls us home or returns, we'll all be there someday.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Sunday Hymn

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

I particularly like the second verse as it reminds us that throughout troubles and trials, the cross is ever before us and when we look to it, it keeps us focusing on what Christ has done for us, not on our trials and ourselves.

A recording of this on guitar:

I must admit that the traditional tune isn't my favourite. It looks like Indelible Grace has redone this one - you can listen to a sample of it here and see the music here.

And while I'm talking about Indelible Grace, their online hymnal is a great resource. They have lead sheets, samples and chord sheets for all their music online. Many of the hymns have new music to old words but some keep the tunes and just update the settings. We really enjoy listening to and singing these hymns.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Praise the Saviour

I remember really liking this one when I was quite young. I still really like it, especially the last verse.

Praise the Savior, ye who know Him!
Who can tell how much we owe Him?
Gladly let us render to Him
All we are and have.

Jesus is the Name that charms us,
He for conflict fits and arms us;
Nothing moves and nothing harms us
While we trust in Him.

Trust in Him, ye saints, forever,
He is faithful, changing never;
Neither force nor guile can sever
Those He loves from Him.

Keep us, Lord, O keep us cleaving
To Thyself, and still believing,
Till the hour of our receiving
Promised joys with Thee.

Then we shall be where we would be,
Then we shall be what we should be,
Things that are not now, nor could be,
Soon shall be our own.

You can listen to it here. There don't seem to be many renditions on youtube that I could find. Maybe I'll have to start doing my own recordings.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Under His Wings

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.


Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.


Under His wings, oh, what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s trials are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.


Today's Spurgeon

Today's Morning reading from Spurgeon came with a bit of an "ouch". The sentence in bold particularly caught me. May we all put aside worldliness, self-indulgence and indifference in favour of communion with God.

“The ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven wellfavoured and fat kine.”
Genesis 41:4

Pharaoh’s dream has too often been my waking experience. My days of sloth have ruinously destroyed all that I had achieved in times of zealous industry; my seasons of coldness have frozen all the genial glow of my periods of fervency and enthusiasm; and my fits of worldliness have thrown me back from my advances in the divine life. I had need to beware of lean prayers, lean praises, lean duties, and lean experiences, for these will eat up the fat of my comfort and peace. If I neglect prayer for never so short a time, I lose all the spirituality to which I had attained; if I draw no fresh supplies from heaven, the old corn in my granary is soon consumed by the famine which rages in my soul. When the caterpillars of indifference, the cankerworms of worldliness, and the palmerworms of self-indulgence, lay my heart completely desolate, and make my soul to languish, all my former fruitfulness and growth in grace avails me nothing whatever. How anxious should I be to have no lean-fleshed days, no ill-favoured hours! If every day I journeyed towards the goal of my desires I should soon reach it, but backsliding leaves me still far off from the prize of my high calling, and robs me of the advances which I had so laboriously made. The only way in which all my days can be as the “fat kine,” is to feed them in the right meadow, to spend them with the Lord, in His service, in His company, in His fear, and in His way. Why should not every year be richer than the past, in love, and usefulness, and joy?—I am nearer the celestial hills, I have had more experience of my Lord, and should be more like Him. O Lord, keep far from me the curse of leanness of soul; let me not have to cry, “My leanness, my leanness, woe unto me!” but may I be well-fed and nourished in thy house, that I may praise thy name.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Trusting Jesus

This is one of my favourite hymns because of its reminder to trust Jesus, no matter what. He is faithful in all circumstances.

Trusting Jesus

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


You can listen to it here.

Here's a congregation singing it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Note to Self: buying mistakes

Don't buy the "premium" ice cream from Walmart. It's not. There's a reason it's half the price of the Rolo ice cream.

The new peanut butter Rolo ice cream is really good, by the way. Just saying'.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thoughts for a new homeschooler

A friend who is considering homeschooling recently asked me about how to start. We first talked about the "why" of homeschooling - it's really important to know why you are interested in homeschooling. What particular issues are you wanting to address? What are your goals? In her case, her child has some sensory and attachment issues; at this point, they are looking at homeschooling for one year. This child will be in grade 2. Obviously, the age of the child and how long the child has been in school will make a difference to how the parents would approach homeschooling.

I wrote a list of other things to consider and thought I would share them here.

1. Ditch the "school" mentality completely. Don't try to run your day like a normal school day would go. You only have one student - they have 30.

2. BUT think through a routine for your own day. I'm sure you probably had a routine when your child was little - this will be similar.

3. Consider short lessons interspersed with other activities. For example, don't expect to spend an hour on math activities. For written work, plan on 10-15 minutes at the most, then do something together in the kitchen or send her off to play outside for a while.

4. You can expect at this age to get through any written work you need to do in a relatively short amount of time. But that doesn't mean the rest of the day isn't "school". It is - it will just look a little different. Spending time making lunch together will be school as much as reading or doing math.

5. I will try to send you some links on Morning Time (try searching this blog). Some friends of mine have done this for years and we do as well (somewhat modified). It's time to do our Bible time, memory work (Bible & poetry), read-alouds, history, etc. Basically anything you can do together. Will your little guy be around? I've let my little ones play as I read as long as they were quiet and paying attention. It's amazing how much they can pick up while playing lego (or standing on their heads).

6. You asked about classical education. I think at your stage, the better educator to look into would be Charlotte Mason who was a British 19th C educator. One blog I read talks about her writings quite extensively - here is a link to all the posts she's written about Charlotte Mason and education. Her kids are 9 & under so right in your range too. Also, you can read more about it at Ambleside Online. Or google Charlotte Mason.

7. In the rhythm of your day, which hopefully will come together fairly quickly, don't forget to include some quiet down time - for both of you!

8. Routines are good but also don't be afraid to venture away from the routine sometimes.

9. Have you read Shepherding a Child's Heart or Instructing a Child's Heart, by Ted Tripp? This would be my number one recommendation for reading material first.

10. Branching off from that, expect obedience but expect to have to train her in obedience. See the book above. :-)

11. Write out your goals and post them somewhere where you will see them often. As I'm sure you know, you'll have many exhausting days and many times when you will wonder if this is the best thing you could be doing. It is. Keep reminding yourself of why you are doing it.

12. Pray specifically for these goals. Pray for example, that your child's heart will be tied to yours (and your husband's, of course). When we pray specifically, it helps us to see better what's happening during the day and what needs to change - both in our hearts and theirs!

13. Try to avoid running around too much. If you have to go out (library, therapist, shopping, etc), try to put it together into one or two afternoons. Guard your mornings for sure but avoid the trap of thinking that now that you are home, you can do all kinds of activities away from home. It's called "home"-schooling for a reason! There are a gazillion activities and choices out there but you won't serve your children well if you try to do them all. Obviously, you know your own child best, but I would suggest one activity (swimming lessons, homeschool group, whatever) at a time. Every time you go out, especially at the beginning, you will lose ground at home so be careful with getting sucked into too many activities.

14. Don't think that you need to entertain/be involved with your child every moment of the day. Build time into your routine where she is reading, playing (inside or out), etc. on her own (or with her siblings) without you having to do anything.

15. Also schedule some outside time every day if possible (even in the rain). But again, try to let her go free and play on her own (see the link above for some thoughts on free play and imagination).

16. Sometimes when we are dealing with behavioural issues as parents, we find that it's easy to only see the behaviour that bothers us and to let that get in the way of our genuine enjoyment of our children. Look for ways that, even on the hardest days, your child delights you. Some days are harder than others, but I've found that helpful. Otherwise, I feel like I spend all my interactions with the "problem child" barking at them for their actions.

I'm sure there's more but that's what I can think of right now. I hope it's helpful.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Hymn - He Leadeth Me

He leadeth me, O blessèd thought!
O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be
Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.


He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, over troubled sea,
Still ’tis His hand that leadeth me.


Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since ’tis my God that leadeth me.


And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict’ry’s won,
E’en death’s cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Spurgeon - Morning and Evening - May 26

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening passages for yesterday were particularly rich. Here they are:

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.”
Psalm 55:22

Care, even though exercised upon legitimate objects, if carried to excess, has in it the nature of sin. The precept to avoid anxious care is earnestly inculcated by our Saviour, again and again; it is reiterated by the apostles; and it is one which cannot be neglected without involving transgression: for the very essence of anxious care is the imagining that we are wiser than God, and the thrusting ourselves into his place to do for him that which he has undertaken to do for us. We attempt to think of that which we fancy he will forget; we labour to take upon ourselves our weary burden, as if he were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to his plain precept, this unbelief in his Word, this presumption in intruding upon his province, is all sinful. Yet more than this, anxious care often leads to acts of sin. He who cannot calmly leave his affairs in God’s hand, but will carry his own burden, is very likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help himself. This sin leads to a forsaking of God as our counsellor, and resorting instead to human wisdom. This is going to the “broken cistern” instead of to the “fountain;” a sin which was laid against Israel of old. Anxiety makes us doubt God’s lovingkindness, and thus our love to him grows cold; we feel mistrust, and thus grieve the Spirit of God, so that our prayers become hindered, our consistent example marred, and our life one of self-seeking. Thus want of confidence in God leads us to wander far from him; but if through simple faith in his promise, we cast each burden as it comes upon him, and are “careful for nothing” because he undertakes to care for us, it will keep us close to him, and strengthen us against much temptation. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”

I remember it being such an eye-opener to consider that my worrying actually shows that I think I know better than God how to solve life's problems. God is good to teach us that He is the one who is sovereign and who holds all things in his hand, not us.

“Continue in the faith.”
Acts 14:22

Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not a beginning only in the ways of God, but also a continuance in the same as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: he said, “Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.” So, under God, dear brother in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, “Excelsior.” He only is a true conqueror, and shall be crowned at the last, who continueth till war’s trumpet is blown no more. Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies. The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair. The flesh will seek to ensnare you, and to prevent your pressing on to glory. “It is weary work being a pilgrim; come, give it up. Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a furlough from this constant warfare.” Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: he will insinuate that you are doing no good; and that you want rest. He will endeavour to make you weary of suffering, he will whisper, “Curse God, and die.” Or he will attack your steadfastness: “What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as do others, and let your lamp go out as the other virgins do.” Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments: “Why do you hold to these denominational creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: fall in with the times.” Wear your shield, Christian, therefore, close upon your armour, and cry mightily unto God, that by his Spirit you may endure to the end."

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Hymn - Blessed Be the Name

All praise to Him Who reigns above
In majesty supreme,
Who gave His Son for man to die,
That He might man redeem!


Blessèd be the Name! Blessèd be the Name!
Blessèd be the Name of the Lord!
Blessèd be the Name! Blessèd be the Name!
Blessèd be the Name of the Lord!

His Name above all names shall stand,
Exalted more and more,
At God the Father’s own right hand,
Where angel hosts adore.


Redeemer, Savior, Friend of man
Once ruined by the fall,
Thou hast devised salvation’s plan,
For Thou hast died for all.


His Name shall be the Counselor,
The mighty Prince of Peace,
Of all earth’s kingdoms Conqueror,
Whose reign shall never cease.


Thursday, May 05, 2011

Quote to Consider

Perhaps the must valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man’s training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.

~Thomas H. Huxley, 1825-1895

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The End is the Beginning

Check out this post by Noel Piper - amazing to consider!

Hymn for Easter Sunday

Christ the Lord is Risen Today and Christ Arose are among my favourite Easter hymns. But I've been singing this one all week so thought I would post it.

I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know eternal life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand.


I know, I know, that Jesus liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know, I know, that life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand.

I know His promise never faileth,
The Word He speaks, it cannot die;
Though cruel death my flesh assaileth,
Yet I shall see Him by and by.


I know my mansion He prepareth,
That where He is there I may be;
O wondrous thought, for me He careth,
And He at last will come for me.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hymn for Good Friday

’Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone;
’Tis midnight, in the garden now
The suffering Savior prays alone.

’Tis midnight, and from all removed
Emmanuel wrestles lone with fears
E’en the disciple whom He loved
Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.

’Tis midnight, and for others’ guilt
The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
Yet He Who hath in anguish knelt
Is not forsaken by His God.

’Tis midnight, and from ether plains
Is borne the song that angels know;
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior’s woe.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I spoke this past weekend at a women's rally here in Alberta, on the subject of contentment. At the risk of blowing my own horn, here's the website where the messages are archived.

Elk Point Baptist Church

I welcome comments or questions. On the way home, my friend and I came up several other discussion topics related to contentment. It's a very big topic and relates to so many parts of our lives.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday Hymn - How Firm a Foundation

Well, it's been a long time since I posted one but here's a hymn that my husband quoted in his message this morning.

How Firm a Foundation

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

Here's a great version:

I also recommended a message this week to a friend which is based on this sermon by David Powlison. It's one of the best sermons I have heard about suffering. You can listen to it at Desiring God. You can also read the book that came out of the conference, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God. Start at p. 154 for Powlison's chapter.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review - Rid of My Disgrace

Rid of My Disgrace, written by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb is a new book that was recommended from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I ordered it and read it through.

Rid of My Disgrace is addressed to sexual assault victims. It recognizes the tremendous hurt victims of sexual assault experience but unlike other books, points the victims directly to Christ, instead of asking them to heal themselves. The authors say, "What grace offers to the victim experiencing disgrace is the gift of refuting distortions and faulty thinking and replacing their condemning, counterfactual beliefs with more accurate ones that reflect the truths about God, yourself, and God's grace-filled response to your disgrace." (p. 45)

The first section, entitled "Disgrace" defines sexual assault and talks about its effects. The second section, "Grace Applied", deals with the many possible emotions and responses of a victim. It includes a personal story for each response. The third, "Grace Accomplished", looks at sexual assault from the perspective of sin, grace in the Old Testament and grace in the New Testament.

I think this is a tremendously helpful book both for victims and Christians wishing to help sexual assault victims. The theology is sound and points back to Christ and the grace He has extended to all. It honestly discusses the many feelings a victim can have and shows how God's grace extends to each in order to have healing. They don't try to whitewash any of these emotions but deal with them honestly and in a straight-forward way.

The notes are extensive at the back of the book. One interesting feature is that Scripture is footnoted and notes are endnotes. I liked having the scripture references, which are many, immediately available.

My only disappointment with this book is that I got to the end and it was done. In that, I mean that I was looking for a conclusion and a "what now" response at the end. Certainly each chapter exhorts the reader to consider how change is possible for Christ but I felt like there could have been a broader summary, both for victims and counselors.

I am happy to see this type of book being written. I think that churches and Christians can be perceived as "having it all together" and that those experiencing brokenness will not find acceptance in the church. It's possible for a church to never address real problems of assault and brokenness. Books like this one help to dispell that image and encourage those within the church to reach out to those who need the help, both inside and outside the church.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just for Parents

I just came across this great post about dealing with fussing, whining children. No, it's not just about telling them to stop complaining. Take a look - I know even with my older children, I'll be talking about this!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Listening Material

I was searching for some messages to listen to and came across this page at Monergism. There are lots to choose from.

I started listening to the ones by Elyse Fitzpatrick (Walking in the Light). Session 1 was good but Session 2 was particularly convicting this morning. She talks about how being "nice" to our fellow Christians by not really talking about things that matter is actually not showing love to our neighbour. Taking the time to pray when needed, taking time to listen & talk and sometimes to admonish - all are really showing love to our fellow believers. Well worth listening to and I'm looking forward to finishing that message and hearing the others.

Not all the links seem to work to download but there are enough there to keep me going for a while.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sunday Hymn - May the Mind of Christ, My Saviour

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.