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What About Coffee, Cookies and a Good Book? -and a little gift-

 30.9.10



There are some books  I like to read and re-read several times, big books and little books, all kinds of books;  Theology books (my favorite ones) and books about family, homeschooling, homemaking, and being a Christian woman are the ones I most enjoy.

I have been thinking that I want to read again this book, The Fruit of Her Hands. Respect and the Christian Woman, by Nancy Wilson. Every time I read it, I am blessed and  renewed. I love to go through all my notes and jot new ones.



This time, however, I want to invite you to read along and then bring your cup of coffee or tea, some cookies or scones (Petra...) and join the conversation every Tuesday (4 Tuesdays).

This would be our schedule:

Tuesday, October 12, Chapters 1 and 2
Tuesday, October 19, Chapters 3 and 4
Tuesday, October 26, Chapters 5 and 6
Tuesday, November 2, Chapters 7 and 8

If you don't have the book, you can order it through Canon Press, Amazon, and Monergism. I am pretty sure that if you decide to order it this weekend, you will have plenty of time to read the first two chapters before October 12.

If you don't have the book, and would like to join me, I will be giving away one book (only USA and Canada); just leave your name and contact information and I will let you know this coming Saturday who the winner is. (I feel so odd doing this, I have never done it before!) The invitation to the giveaway will be closed Friday, October 1st before midnight ET.

Well I must go now, have a most joyous day!





This entry is linked to 5 Minutes for Books.com

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God's Sovereignty -in the Gospel of Luke-

 29.9.10

Frans Hals, St Luke. mid-17th century


It amazes me how growing up in an Evangelical Arminian church, and being so involved in it, (even to the point of going to a Bible College with the same doctrine), I never saw God's sovereignty. It was that my eyes were not yet open. My sight was blurry, I though I knew but now I understand that I did not know the Scriptures at all. I knew few verses here and there to support the teachings I received, but I did not study the Bible, I did not know my God.

But He called me out of the emotionalism, out of the ignorance and gave me light to see. This is the greatest miracle I have experienced! I was a passionate Arminian (even though I had no idea on what that meant, because who cares about terms where I was?) and now, I am a passionate Biblical believer, a paasionate Calvinist, Reformed, grateful from head to toe, from the inside out. I am grateful, forever grateful! Who am I that the Lord has set His eyes upon me and visited me?

God is Sovereign. And what does this mean?

"The sovereignty of God is the exercise of His supremacy.  God is the high and lofty One; no one is greater than He, equal to him, or any where near to Him.  And when this great God acts, when He goes about His divine business, then he does so in perfect freedom!  Sovereignty implies authority, and authority is the right to rule.  It is the right to do what one wishes, to decide what is good and evil, to impose one’s will on others and demand conformance;  authority is the right to reward obedience and to punish disobedience!  In close connection with this, soveriegnty is the freedom to do what one pleases without being answerable to anyone.  No one may question God as to what He is doing!"
Rev. D.H   Kuiper

I have been reading the gospel of Luke this week, and I have seen that God's character, God's sovereignty manifested clearly in several passages; but look at this particular one with me:

"And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read.  And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph's son?”  And he said to them, “Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.”
And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land,  and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.  And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”  When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.  And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.  But passing through their midst, he went away."
Jesus reads the great good news and every one is happy.

Jesus tells them that those good news, such a powerful prophetic Scripture was now being fulfilled in their hearing, the people are not only happy now, "they all spoke well of Him and were marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth". 

And here is where I stood, where I stopped reading. This is the gospel I grew believing and no more. It seems that I never read what was next. 

Jesus, has not finished his speech. He goes on to say that God is a Sovereign God, and as a Sovereign God He will not free every captive in the world, He will not free every poor, He will not give liberty to every single person in bondage, He will not give sight to every blind, He will not deliver every oppressed person, in sum, the "greatest good news" were not the "greatest good news for every one

The people's reaction? They were all mad, furious, they were filled with wrath!

And this was my reaction too eight years ago when I heard this, when I read this for the first time, when I stood before a Sovereign God, and I did not want to believe.

But He had mercy on me, just as He had mercy towards one of the many widows in Israel, Zarephath, in Elijah's time; I was in a land of famine and my pride was so built up, that I did not even recognize the famine in which I was living. I thought I was well fed.

God had mercy on me, just as He had mercy towards the one leper, Naaman, in Elisha's time. He looked at me. I did not look for Him, I though I was clean, I sang in the praise and worship team, I taught, I even played the tambourine! But I was filthy, all those deeds were filthy rags; lights in a scenary pointing towards you,  make it harder to see your own leprosy. 

All in the synagogue as soon as they heard Jesus talking about God choosing some to receive the good news and some not to, were filled with wrath, they wanted to kill the One Sovereign God. That is not the kind of God they wanted. 

Maybe you are filled with wrath as you read this post just as the people in the synagogue were when they heard Jesus; know that my prayer for you today is that God will have mercy on you and that He will open your eyes to see the famine that has come into your land, and the leprosy that fills your heart.

May the good news be for you, poor soul!
May you hear His voice proclaiming liberty to your soul which is a captive of sin !
May you recover the sight!
May you be set free!

If you hear His voice today, do not harden your heart.





For further study:

Theological Term of the Week @ Rebecca Writes
The Sovereignty of God in Salvation by A.W Pink
The Absolute Sovereignty of God: What is Romans Nine About? by John Piper


Other related posts:

I love Jesus
Words on a Saturday
Slowing Down and Reading your Journal


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More Than Copy Work

 28.9.10

She is almost seven, and she is learning how to trace cursive letters. Sometimes, she has to go back and trace few more that were not as beautiful as the model, but she compares her last trace with the one she did before.



It is then when I insist, "Look at the model, do not look at the last letter you have traced. Keep looking at the model"



And as I hear my words, I find a gem, an opprtunity to teach an eternal lesson hidden in them, and I keep up saying,

"It is just like our lives, we should always follow the God given model for our lives, the Bible. We should always compare what are we doing, how are we doing things, and why are we doing things (or not doing things) with the Word of God."

Lord, help me always compare myself against your Word. Help me to keep my eyes focused on you, and on the perfect model you have given me, Jesus.


Happy copy work!






Other related posts that might interest you:

Greek Myths and Homemaking
Helping our Children Grow Tall and Strong
As a Baby Growing in your Arms

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Counting Blessings

 27.9.10

I keep up counting the impossible, the blessings from God; I still try to give them numbers and I always come short.

His goodness, His faithfulness, His eternal decrees, His hand over my head, His love, His Grace, His mercy, and I just find myself trying to count, to keep on counting, because I want my children and grandchildren to read, and join me in offering up thanksgivings to our God and Maker; because I know this is the only safe way to look back.

763. Angiosperms and Gymnosperms and a fun light hut project.



764. Life hidden in a seed. The works of His hand.



765. Clay pots.



766. A visit to the flower market.

767. My parents' 40th wedding anniversary.

768. Beautiful cursive copy books.

769. Long embraces in the quiet.

This beautiful picture was taken by my precious daughter!


770. I am grateful, Lord, for all your plans for our family.

771. I thank you, because you know my prayers even before I open my mouth.

772. Lord, thank you, because you did not only open a way for me to come to you, but you have given me the faith to believe in you, and believe that you reward those who seek you. This is amazing! (Hebrews 11:6)

773. Thank you for watering my soul.

774. My husband's diligence.

775. The reading of your Word at our family table every day.

776. Our oldest son playing hymns over and over on the piano.

777. A son willing to create the most amazing "roller coaster" for his 6 yo sister with a big empty cardboard box.







778. Great weather to sit outside in the evenings.

779. Our dreams in your hands.

780. My friend Fa, who taught me that hospitality means opening the door not only to friends, but to the wounded.

781. A newborn baby in a family who fears the Lord.

782. A new pair of glasses.

783. Candles.

784. The fellowship with the saints at Church.

785. Lord, I am also thankful, for the things that this week did not turn as we wished, thank you because you are building our lives.

786. Thank you because our lives are hidden in Christ.

"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving" Col. 4:2 ESV

What are you grateful for today, my dear friend?

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A Prayer, On the Morning of the Lord's Day

 26.9.10



"We bless Thee, Lord,who hath shewed us light, and that the light we see is the Lord's; that we see one more of the days of the Son of man, a day to be spent on Thy courts, which is better than a thousand elsewhere.


We thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that the things, which were hid  from the wise and prudent are revealed unto us babes, even so, Father, because it seemed good in Thine eyes: That our eyes see, and our ears hear that which mant prophets and  kings desired to see, desired to hear and might not, that life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel.


And now, O that we may be in the  Spirit on the Lord's Day! that we may call the Sabbath a delight, and may honour the Son of man, who is the Lord also of the Sabbath-day, not doing our own ways, or finding our own pleasure, or speaking our own words."


Matthew Henry, A Method for Prayer.



Have a most blessed Lord's Day, my dear friends.



A Prayer in the Evening Before the Lord's Day. 
You may want to read a Family Prayer for the Lord's Day Evening here.






Some related posts that you might enjoy reading:

Sunday's Psalm- Psalm 19-
A Prayer for Today.
The Lord's Day
A Prayer in the Evening Before the Lord's Day. 

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Because We Love Friends

 25.9.10



This is true, we love our friends.

Friends who cry with us, friends who need that we cry with them.

Friends who listen and friends who need to be listened to.

Friends who laugh and others who need our laughter.

Friends who encourage and others who need encouragment.

Friends who support us in prayer, friends who need our prayers.

Friends.

We women are especially willing to engage in deep friendships, we love to talk and encourage others and just be friends; but as I teach my daughters about friendship, I need to go deeper and teach them, really teach them, about this issue which can build them up or tear them down.



I have seen this, I have been at a Starbucks by myself trying to read a book and suddenly the conversation besides me  calls my attention. A group of women, all loud, all "friends", and their words are only words that destroy their husbands and children. It is almost like a competition to see which one of their husbands is the worst, the meanest, the less preapared, and the least affectionate.

It is true, these women are probably not Christians, but I have also seen this particular way of conversing around a table in which the women around it call themselves Christians. The difference? They do exactly the same, but add the words "Please, help me pray for my husband or my children...."



Mary, a woman who found favor in the eyes of the Lord, learned from the beginning a valuable lesson that we, women who fear the Lord, must learn; the Bible says that  "Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart..." (Luke 2:19)

Who are our friends? What do we talk about around a coffee table? Is it about the weaknesses of our husbands or children? Are we gossiping in the form of  "prayer requests"? What is in our heart? Let us pray to the Lord and ask Him forgiveness if we have done this.

Every time we open up the secrets of our home over a coffee table, we are walking away from wisdom, away from prudence, away from understanding; in the book of Proverbs 2: 9-13, we read:

"For wisdom will come into your heart,
   and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
  discretion will watch over you,
   understanding will guard you,
   delivering you from the way of evil,
   from men of perverted speech"


Women dress up beautifuly to meet with their friends, yet they often forget what the Bible teaches about a woman who is not discreet:

"Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
   is a beautiful woman without discretion."

Proverbs 11: 22

I want to teach my daughters all these and now that they are young, they are already learning that it is not Biblical to talk about their parents' or brother's mistakes in the company of others. They are learning that certain things need to be kept inside our home.

If you are really in a desperate situation, don't go over to a coffee table, go first of all to your husband, and then go to an elderly woman in the Church in whom you know you can trust.

Friends,  godly friends are a gift from God. I have been greatly blessed with many women in my life who love God and love their families so much that they do not come to our coffee table to tell the me all about the sins of their husbands and children. They honor them, they are grateful, they build wisely, and walk in prudence. For this I am thankful.

"Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered."

Prov 11:13 ESV




I have also learned that if I want to honor my husband and our relationship, I should come always to him first. He is my Beloved, he is my best friend, he is the one who holds my hand in the night. I should never choose oher friends over his friendship. Whenever I share about a personal struggle with a friend, he knows about it. He is never left out.

My friends have helped me be a better wife, a better mom; they have encouraged me to good works, to grow in my sanctification, and for this I am grateful. 

We insist to our children about the importance of choosing excellent friends, godly friends? Do we hold the same standard for ourselves?

Do we choose wisely?

I pray I will always do.


"Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets;
therefore do not associate with a simple babbler"
Prov 20:19 ESV

"The righteous chooses his friends carefully
but the way of the wicked leads them astray"
Prov 12:26 ESV


May you find today beautiful opportunities to bless your friends.






The pictures were taken in a trip with my best friends, my husband and my sister with her husband. We had a wonderful time. It was a gift indeed!


A book which helped me grow into the woman I am now is this:

The Fruit of Her Hands





 
sign up here and read along! 


We will start the conversation Tuesday, October 12. 


Don't miss it!



This post is linked to Raising Homemakers


Have you ponder over these?

Do you Know Someone Who Speaks Spanish?
Thoughts for Wives
What About Coffee, Cookies and a Good Book?

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A Book Recommendation

 24.9.10

I have been reading this book the way I like to eat chocolate, slowly and savoring it; I do not want to finish reading it, I am so enjoying it that I wish it could last longer...


 Read why I recommend it here, at Caffeinated Theology.


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While In The Quietness...




The words sometimes do not find their way through the pen neither through the keyboard, sometimes you just find out that the best thing to do is remain quiet and wait.

I am learning to be quiet.

Have you been there?

I have been there and while in the quietness, while in the Word, while in prayer, I have been learning.

What do you do when you face conflict and your eyes can't see clearly? You have several options:

You can cry bitterly, scream or even hurt the other person. You can call your "best friend" and tell her about it and be mad and start a "gossip party". You can keep it inside of you, and nothing more, just keep the terible feelings inside of you and water the seed of resentment day by day, thought after thought until your heart aches and even your body breaks out.

But there are more options, you can pray. But wait... not any prayer, beware of those prayers that are  self-centered; all those prayers in which you call yourself the victim and you keep acussing the other person. Beware of trusting in your own righteousness.

Pray to the Father, but ask him to search inside of YOU!

Ask Him to change YOU!

Ask Him to use this situation to help YOU grow into a godly woman!

Every situation is meant to help us in our sanctification and we can take those opportunities and use them to mortify the sin in us.

"Give me special grace to fit me for special services, and keep me calm and resigned at all times, humble, solemn, mortified, and conformed to thy will"
The Valley of Vision "Amazing Grace"


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Do You Know Someone Who Speaks Spanish?

 23.9.10

If you have been here before, you already know that English is not my first language; I am sorry for all the grammar mistakes that still jump out here and there more often than I even realize. Thank you for your patience and grace.

Spanish is my first language, and if you know someone who speaks Spanish too, you should invite them to visit the place my sister and I have been creating.



Delicias A Tu Diestra Para Siempre

This is our place, "At Your Right Hand are Pleasures Forevermore" (Psalm16:11) a place where we gather to sow and glean, to share recipes and creative ideas, it is a place where we talk about homemaking and homeschooling in Latin America, we also share about our love for our husbands and our family. This is a place where we love to talk about Reformed Theology, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Salvation by grace through faith, about the Bible and the Doctrines  that it teaches. We love to share His goodness.


You are more than welcome to join us and fill your basket with words that God willing, will bless you and your family.

Share the goodness, be welcome!

    Delicias A Tu Diestra Para Siempre

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Repose

 22.9.10



 

HEAVENLY FATHER,

My faith is in Thee,
My expectation is from Thee.

I believe Thee,
accept thy Word, acquiesce in thy will,
rely on thy promises,trust thy providence.

I bless thee that the court of conscience
proves me to be thine.

I do not need signs and wonders to believe,
for Thy Word is sure truth.



I have cast my anchor in the port of peace,
knowing that the present and the future are in nail-pierced hands.

Thou art so good, wise, just, holy,
that no mistake is possible to Thee.

Thou art fountain and source of all law
what Thou commandest is mine to obey.

I yield to thy sovereignty all that I am and have;
do thou with me as thou wilt.

Thou hast given me silence in my heart
in place of murmurings and complaints.

Keep my wishes from growing into willings,
my willings from becoming fault-finding with Thy Providences,
and have mercy on me.

If I sin and am rebellious, help me to repent;
then take away my mourning and give me music;
remove my sackcloth and adorn me with beauty,
take away my sighs and fill my mouth with songs;
and when I am restored and rest in Thee
give me summer weather in my heart.





May you find repose in Him,













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In Love for 63 Years

 21.9.10

Joy is the word my friends over at three from here and there chose for the photography prompt this time. When you get an invitation like this one, the hardest thing is to choose which photography deserves to play along.

After so many thoughts I found this one




Joy is holding hands with the one your soul has loved for 63 years.

It is joy to hold wrinkled hands with more passion and sweetness than the first time they did .

It is joy to be able to walk through the Valley of Death where shadows of sickness and pain, and weariness follow you all day, but your beloved keeps holding your hand tight.

It is real life.

It is joy.

Love that knows how to hold hands like this helps you live joyfully.




My grandfather turned 91 years old, and has been married to my grandmother for 63 years. (This is  7 months ago, the first time I wrote about their love story)

They are the most beautiful couple, in love, always holding hands, always talking about their memories and present love. Always laughing and looking for opportunities to kiss and hug.

They live their moment with passion and joy. They laugh of the future, they hold hands in such a way that it seems that they don't want to be apart, not even for a moment.

They do not want to let go.

They cling to each other's love.

Their hands, their lives have mengled into one.

Joy is fighting to find its way through the heaviness and pain.

Joy, love, one hand over the other.

Always holding hands.



Their story of love is not a fairy tale, is a love story that has happened in real life.

They came into this marriage knowing, believing that it was a covenant forever.  They have walked through valleys and mountains, but haven't given up on their love.

They have been always holding hands.




Costly pearls have fade away through the years, but not their love.

This is an example of grace that we behold, and want to follow.

This is the way my children long to live their marriage.

We have seen it, we are witness to this, holding the hand of the lover of your soul is joy indeed.


Forever in love.

This is real, this can happen.

Marriage is a Covenant for life.

Love and kisses and holding hands are part of being in that covenant.

It is not a fairy tale.

It is joy indeed.





Note: All the pictures of my grandparents holding hands, I took, and they did not notice! They were engaged in a good conversation with my children at the family table. It was not easy, but I am so glad I did.

Please keep them in your prayers...my grandma is struggling with health issues, and my grandpa is still finding strength to hold her hand.




These are some related posts that you might like to read:

From my Reading Corner -on Marriage-
Thoughts for Wives
Our Marriage, Our Dance

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Offering up Thanksgivings

 19.9.10

Today, a day in which I love to write my favorite list, a list of thanksgivings,  I am writing a different kind of post.




As my farmer friends have taught me, I am gleaning, gleaning questions and then I am bringing them to my quiet time to answer. Paper and pen are my instruments and to my Lord are my words directed.He knows my heart. He knows I am still learning contentment, (because gratitude is that, it is all about contentment, right?) and sometimes I need questions that will help me see clearly where my heart is on this matter.




These questions are not my idea, these I gleaned while reading Matthew Henry's book, some are textual and some I wrote inspired on his. I invite you to read and re-read them and meditate and then, would you join me in offering up thanksgivings for all God's goodness and the many blessings we have received from Him?



1. Has not God made a hedge of protection about you and your house, and all that you have?

2. Have you not health in your family, sickness kept or taken from the midst of you?

3. Does not God bring plentifully into your hands, and increase your substance?

4. Have you not your table spread, and your cup running over, and manna rained about your tents?

5. Is the vine by the house-side fruitful and flourishing, and the olive plants round the table green and growing?

6. Are the family relations comfortable and agreeable, not broken nor embittered, and shall not that God be acknowledged herein who makes every creature to be that to us that it is?

7. Shall not the God of your mercies, your family mercies, be the God of your praises, your family praises, and that daily?

8. Have you not a name better than any other name, "Child of God"?

9. Have you not joy and peace that the world cannot quench?

10. Have you not the Gospel?

11. Have you not within your home not only one, but many Bibles to read and study?

12. Have you not time given to you to do what God asks you to do?

13. And if you are going walking through the Valley of Death, have you not precious promises given by your Heavenly Father who never fails?

14. Did not God opened a way for us to His presence through His Son?

15. Shall not the God and Savior be praised and thanked every day?

16. Have you not seen His eyes watching over you?




"Whatever is a matter of our care, let it be the matter of our prayer; and let us allow no care which we cannot in faith spread before God. And whatever is the matter of our rejoicing, let it be a matter of our thanksgiving; and let us withhold our hearts from all those joys which do not dispose us for the duty of praise"    Matthew Henry

May we learn contentment while offering up thanksgivings to our God today.

Under His sun and by His grace,


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Flowers for You, so that You Will be Reminded...

 18.9.10

Walking through this market was a joy. The smell of fresh lavender and all the bright hues of so many flowers, were a feast for any one passing by.

Enjoy the sight and walk with me through the flower's  market in Amsterdam.























We see this beauty and yet, we still worry... why?

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,  yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:25-34 ESV

May you find in His word faith for today; just look at the flowers and be reminded...


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Who is Becky?

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Becky
If I am happy it is because of God! God, in His sovereign grace, has called me out of darkness into His Admirable light. He has opened my eyes and has shown me the way to Eternal Life. He has set my feet on a journey, and now I am walking Daily on My Way to Heaven. I did not find Jesus, He found me. I did not seek Him, yet He called me. I did not love Him, yet He loved me. I deserved death and He gave me Life. This is the place where I keep a journal of my life under His sun and by His grace!
View my complete profile

Borrowed Words

"It becomes us to spend this life only as a journey toward heaven... to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end and true happiness?"

Jonathan Edwards

"I am still pondering God's greatness in His creation. I have so many questions that I would like to ask the Lord about the universe, creation, the fall of man... But when I'm in heaven, I wonder if I will even remember them. At that time, being in the presence of God will be enough. I'm thankful that I can look forward to that day."

-Persis

“Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.”

- Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart



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