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Guard Yourselves With Gratitude!


Today is new day, a brand new day no one has ever lived; a day in which we are awaken to new opportunities, to new mercies... isn't that incredible?

I want to share with you this verse and what John Piper says about it and gratitude, (I recommend you to read the whole sermon)

"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ."             Col 2: 6-8

"...thankfulness is an essential guardian of the soul, and therefore we should guard ourselves with gratitude. Evidently we are fair game for the devil when we don't abound with thanksgiving. Unless the song of thanksgiving is being sung in our hearts the enemy outside will deceive his way into the city of our soul, and the enemy sympathizers within will make his job easy. So for the sake of your own safety, strive to fill your heart with thanksgiving! Guard yourselves with gratitude!"

So I will keep on counting the impossible... His mercies over me which I do not deserve!

1172. My Beloved... keeping my heart.

1173. Friends who help me think out..

1174. My friends who love sound doctrine so passionately.

1175. Not one, but several books on my nightstand.

1176.  Cappuccinos for two.

1177.  A morning in the woods... and my oldest son teaching my little one how to climb trees from the roots!

 1178. Dogs who bring so many laughs!

1179.  Light shining so beautifully through some old logs!

1180.  My daughter, her guitar, her songs... her beautiful life!

1181. My Beloved helping my little one build a doll's house with a cardboard box.

1182. Pretty flowers in my garden

1183. I am so grateful that even though we live in a busy, busy, big, big city... I wake up every morning to the song of many birds!

1184.  A new day, a new week, new mercies!


Now you know... guard your soul, give thanks to God!

Share with us, what makes your soul sing for joy and gratefulness today?

Under His  Sun and by His grace,

Are you memorizing the Word of God or planning to start doing so? Well, don't miss my giveaway!

Related Page:
Endless Gifts, the Way of Contentment


Let Your Light Shine! by John MacDuff


"let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5: 16

There are many things connected with the Christian's
pathway—which worldlings cannot comprehend. They
know nothing of the high and hidden walks of spiritual
experience. What is said of the workings of the divine
life in the soul—is regarded by them as foolishness
and fanaticism.

Its internal principles,
its constraining motives and impulses,
its heavenly aspirations,
its rapturous bliss, and
its agonizing struggles—are things which
these strangers cannot comprehend!

But still, there is much which they are able to
understand—such as . . .
whatever is consistent in character;
whatever is honest and straightforward between men;
whatever is kind and compassionate in behavior;
whatever is forbearing and forgiving under insults
and injuries.

Such features, when unostentatiously exhibited—excite
their attention, and, generally, call forth their praise. The
manner in which the ordinary duties of life are discharged,
is something so tangible—that it lies within the province of
their own observation. These things they can understand;
and it is of the highest importance that all who profess to
be Christians, should be distinguished by an exhibition of
these practical fruits of righteousness..

May the Lord strengthen you with all might, according to
His glorious power—"that you may live a life worthy of the
Lord and may please Him in every way—bearing fruit in
every good work, growing in the knowledge of God!"

Have a most blessed Lord's Day.

Are you memorizing the Scripture? Read about my giveaway here!

Remember that you are more than welcome to use every single shot under "Scripture and Snapshot"in this blog  as your wallpaper.


-P2R Week 8- How to Memorize the Scripture and a Giveaway-

Week 8 :: Philippians 2:12-18

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed,
so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you,
both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God
without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast to the word of life,
so that in the day of Christ
I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.

17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering
upon the sacrificial offering of your faith,
I am glad and rejoice with you all.

18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

What a joy, what a blessed joy, it is to know that once the Lord calls us and justifies us, He doesn't leave us on our own! After we are justified He is still at work in us for His good pleasure (not my life ideal!).

He wants us to obey, but He gives us the power to obey. He commands us to be holy just as He is Holy, but He sanctifies us.  So in our daily walk with the Lord we are called to obey and at the same time we can rest assured that our Salvation doesn't depend on our performance.

MacArthur says,

"In Philippians 2:12–13, Paul presents the appropriate resolution between the believer’s part and God’s part in sanctification. Yet he makes no effort to rationally harmonize the two. He is content with the incomprehensibility and simply states both truths, saying, in effect, that, on the one hand, sanctification is of believers (v. 12) and on the other hand, it is of God (v. 13)."

One of the things we must do daily to work out our own salvation is as "simple" as stop complaining!

Read carefully verse 14,

"Do all things without grumbling or questioning"

When we live in discontentment we are definitely more prone to grumble all day and question every thing that comes to our lives. 

When we stop giving thanks to God we start to look at all the circumstances around us with a bittered spirit and we then stop growing in grace; and instead, we start to grow more impatient with our husband, children, parents, etc.

The next verse ties this up with strong cords... 

What is OUR MOTIVE for not grumbling and questioning everything around us? 

The only acceptable motive is this: A strong desire to please a Holy God; to be blameless and innocent before Him.

Seems like an impossible thing?  Yes, it is impossible for the unregenerate, but the children of God have hope; we can pursue a life without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. We have hope because God is still at work in us, and because when everything around us seem to be shaking and falling apart we can hold fast to the Word of Life and not perish. What a wonderful news this is! O how, my heart leaps for joy!


Now I want to share a few notes to ENCOURAGE you to memorize a whole book of the Bible...

1. It takes time, but NO more than you would think; no more than the time it takes you to visit few blogs, or check Facebook... so, if that is what you need to leave on the side in order to pursue this great blessing, by all means, do it!

2. Carry it around. It is great to have the book you are memorizing printed and pasted in a Moleskine because you can carry it around all day, everywhere. Timmy Brister has put together Philippians and Ephesians for this purpose.

3. Write it down. My friend Anne, who is also memorizing Philippians suggested this to me, and it has proved to be a great help. I have a journal fr that purpose and I try to write from memory several times the verses or chapters several times. (at least once a day).

4. Mutter it all day long. While cooking, folding laundry, driving.. fill your mind, your heart with the Word; meditate on it day and night and you'll see how much your speech and thoughts will change!

5. Study it. This is a very important and profitable thing to do; buy a commentary of the book you will be memorizing and study it along. I study the comments on the verses I will be memorizing that day as part as my devotions. This not only helps me to get the most of the book, but it also helps me remember the verse. As I repeat it during the day, word by word, slowly so I won't skip a word here and another one there, I know the meaning of those words, I understand the context and the purpose of those verses more clearly. For this purpose I bought the Journible that corresponds to the book of Philippians, and I copy the verses I have memorized and on the left  pages,  I jot down the notes from the commentary I am studying. (Read more of the Journibles here and  here)

6. Be transformed by it. Let the Word change YOU!

Because I really want to encourage you to start this wonderful discipline of memorizing whole books of the Bible; I want to give away the Journible for you to start copying and jotting down your study notes.

What you need to do?

*Just leave a comment here and be willing to DO IT (memorize any epistle, or any other book that has a Journible to accompany it see the options here just mention which Journible you would like to have).

* Please, don't sign in if you plan to put this in a dusty bookshelf :) (Only US, Canada and Mexico, please. If you live in a different country than these, and you own a Kindle, you can participate also... I will give you something else but related!)

* If you are already memorizing Philippians and would like to participate, you are more than welcome to do so!

* You can invite friends you think might be interested in memorizing the Scriptures  to participate in this giveaway. Feel free to pass the voice around!

I will choose a winner next Saturday, March 5... be sure to come back then! This giveaway is now closed! :)

Under His Sun and by His grace,



Lemon Tart with Rasperries for the Weekend -and some links and a book recommendation-


I want to share with you a great recipe I found last week, and turned out GREAT! Keep in mind that this tart is delicious cold so, you may want to make it at least 8 hrs before you plan serving it.

You can find the recipe  here;  the only thing that we changed was adding lots of raspberries at the end, and believe me... the combination of the lemon, and raspberries is phenomenal.

Now, as for the weekend links...

Petra's pen has written a beautiful poem, Homophones.

Diane has a great, well... excellent post on Calvinism that speaks for me too, please read it here, What's in a Name?

Diane also brings to us words of comfort from the hand of Mrs. Spurgeon, Thanksgiving Street.

Rebecca's Theological Term of the Week is an important one, Hyper- Calvinism

And one more little thing...

I am starting to read this book:

I am so grateful for the authors... this is a book we all need to read as our children grow into adulthood. Remember how many books you and I used to read on childrearing when our children were all little? Well, now I have a son who is almost 18 and is leaving for college this summer {lump in my throat} and I am grateful I found this book in which I am learning the art of being a mom to a young adult man.

May your weekend be full of moments in which you find yourself thinking on Him and His Word!


A Godly Marriage -Borrowed Words from Douglas Wilson-


The Wilson's books on the family are just a blessing to me. I appreciate the fact that they write not in a simplistic way, pointing you to methods; rather, they go beyond the methods to the core of our Christan living: our Theology.

What we believe, what is rooted in our hearts and minds is what will determine how we live under the sun every day; how we respond to various circumstances, how we parent our children, how we talk with our friends, how we relate with our brothers and sisters, with what attitude we walk to the kitchen and in the laundry room and... how we love our spouse.

In Douglas Wilson's book, For a Glory and a Covering. A Practical Theology of Marriage, he says,

"A Godly marriage occurs when a man and a woman both die to themselves, and are raised to the life that seeks the best interest of the other in all things. This is the only kind of godly marriage there is. And when we give all away in this manner, we discover that we receive all. We learn to give in order to receive, in order to be able to give some more. And we are  married to someone who is doing the same thing. 

Now, it is not possible to live this way without an applied incarnational knowledge of what the Holy Trinity is like. As we turn away from these sins, we must necessarily turn toward God Himself. And in turning to toward Him, we are learning to imitate Him, as dearly loved children (Eph.5:1)."

Now let's read Wilson's definition of marriage,

"So what then is marriage? Marriage is a form of death in separation and resurrection in union. When God created the world, He immediately set about fashioning the world by means of division. He separated man  into male and female and pronounced it all very good. But He divided for the sake of  richer union, and for the sake of division itself. What is the principle of this kind of union? The answer is covenant- specifically, covenantal partaking. The bond that ties division and union together is a covenant bond; marriage is based on covenant realities. "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man, and the head of Christ is God" (I Cor. 11:3).

...Covenant headship bridges the division and accomplishes union... Authority is the principle of union, not the principle of separation. Authority (biblically understood) is what brings them together... In other words marriage is defined by partaking."

Some other quotes worth looking at are these:

"Being a married Christian is a function of simply being a Christian. In other words, we should not expect to find a set of marital "techniques" that are unrelated to the task of living as a Christian generally. For the unmarried, the best preparation for future duties is a pleasant embrace of current duties. For those who are married, there is no way to grow as a husband or wife in Christ apart from growing in Christ period."

On words...

"Words are not abstract entities with an ethereal life of their own in Dictionary Heaven. Biblically considered, words are spoken in a particular place at a particular time, and full understanding is only possible for those who by grace understand the world in this same way. Words in this respect are like the Word. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (Jn. 1:14a). The glory of words is therefore revealed only when they are enfleshed and particularized. This means that the words were given to us in order to  be set in place like fine jewelry: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover  upon an obedient ear" (Prov. 25:11-12)...

Since words only gain fill meaning when set in a specific context, husbands and wives must learn to speak to one another carefully - but there are two kinds of "carefully". You should not have to be careful because you are handling a high explosive that might go off at any time. Rather, you should be careful because you are jeweler of words . you are setting fourteen-carat words in the appropriate place, and when you are done, it will be worth ten thousand dollars. This is the right kind of "carefully".

... So we must be diligent students of words in our marriages, understanding all the nuances of our speech."

Now, if you have a question you may want to ask Doug Wilson or his wife Nancy they encourage you to do so here.

Have a most blessed day!

Buy Here


Out of the Land of Hurry - a Tale for Moms-


Time runs incessantly by like a waterfall, violently. Clock and Watch seem to have the power over the days of men, they are such cruel rulers. The Sun and the Moon are no longer the Masters of the biological clock of the people in the Land of Hurry. Tic Toc; Tic Toc is the sound that can be heard all over the land, no time for listening to the birds' song or watching squirrels, or kissing longer, or hugging tighter. Moms run from here and there, tirelessly, dragging feet and children. Dads go and go and go....

- But wait!

- Wait? Who dares to say THAT word in this Land of Hurry?

- It is me,  Quiet-Slow-Mom

- Are you talking to me? Sorry... I don't have time to stay, I have to go. So many things in my list. I just can't wait!

- Wait, please. Please, listen to me...

For some strange reason  Rushing-Busy-Mom always in a hurry stopped. For the first time in months she stopped and even felt her heart pumping blood through her body, and without even thinking stared for a moment at a few small beautiful flowers beside the road, and felt her little daughter's hand holding hers.

Quiet-Slow-Mom said,

-I used to walk like you, enslaved by the cruel Clock and like you, I loved to be running all day. It made me feel... so... productive. Yes, I felt more important if I could handle more things than I wanted to do. I murmured a tiny prayer whenever I had time and sometimes  I read a Bible verse that had been on my fridge for years. Yes, I had the same endless excuses, the little ones, the laundry, the money, the husband, the Bible study, the bills, the gym, the so longed for "Time-For-Me", who, by the way, is the most shrewd deceiver around Moms.  But one day I stopped... well actually , He made stop...

-He? I barely remember any of His Words... It has been so long...I haven't have time.

- Yes, He made me stop; the Owner of my Days; the One who fixed the Sun and Moon in place to give us a day to work and a night to rest. He spoke clearly to me, I remember well. It was one day when he opened my ears to hear my voice, my dialog. I was scared. The two words that my children were listening from me  all day long were terrifying: Hurry Up! 

Rushing-Busy-Mom had a lump on her throat and a tear made of minuscules particles of wasted time, rolled down from her cheek. 

Quiet-Slow-Mom kept on saying,

- When I realized how many times I had spoken those words I broke into pieces. I knew in that moment that those words I kept saying all day, all days were exactly the opposite of what my heart longed for... I did not want to rush the hours, I did not want to make the time pass by so quickly, I did not want to hurry the moments... O Beautiful Moments that were disappearing without no one noticing them, and I just let them go, while Clock and Watch observed, and they laughed at me.

Rushing-Busy-Mom sat on the grass, and held her baby girl in her arms who was now sleeping. She took her tiny hands and took a moment to see how much her hands had grown and how beautiful her hair was.  The rays of the Sun were particularly beautiful that day... or so they seemed. She looked at Quiet-Slow-Mom and whispered to her...

- Do you think it is possible, really possible, to stop living under the cruel, rude, and powerful dominion of Clock and Watch? Is there a way out of the Land of Hurry?

- Yes, there is a way out of the Land of Hurry. It is that tiny door over there; it is just like the Door to Paradise which is narrow; it is a door through which you must enter on your knees, face down, with a contrite spirit... slowly, very slowly. You must leave behind all that doesn't matter and walk through it humbly. When you hear the Owner of Time, the One who holds the days of mankind in the palm of His hand calling you, do not hesitate and walk through it. He will teach  you to number your days; He will teach you to live wisely in the Land. He will help you to kiss longer and hug tighter, and slow down to play and read a book. He will renew your strength every day with the power of His Word; when You come to meet Him early in the mornings you will find out how to live in this frame of time, serving Him and not Clock or Watch. You will find rest under His shadow and peace under His wings. You will  soon find yourself loving more, smiling more, baking more, making love more... It is when we stop and deliberately seek Him that Time stops ruling our days and we start living, fully living under His sun and by His grace...


Gratitude Monday -In Peace and Trials-


It happens again, it is my friends going through tough times while we are enjoying a peaceful and calm season. My friend's mom is in the hospital, my other friend has lots of economical problems, and so on... and the question comes to my mind:

Why Lord?

Why not me?

And I type these words with fear because,  who will stand in the day of  trouble? Only the one who is holding fast to the Word of God will stand firm... am I? Am I ready for the days of trouble that might lay ahead?

I pray I will.

Meanwhile, while peace and joy, and health and bread, are in our home I feed my soul, I memorize the Word, I sing praises, and give thanks... I fill my "spiritual tank", because  who knows what tomorrow may bring?

Please, dear friends, don't take me wrong, I am not expecting hard times... I am just being realistic. The Lord brings his children through trials, through fire, through valleys to see what is in their heart and to show Himself powerful to them.

Today God's providence has us laying on green pastures, and I am grateful for that.

1151. I am grateful for green pastures.

1152. I am grateful for friends whose faith encourages us around them.

1153. I am grateful for the perseverance of the saints.

1154. I am grateful that even though we are called to walk at times through dark valleys, He is our Pastor and never leaves us.

1155. I am grateful for friends who teach us to recite a poem when all our children are sick.

1156. A family whom we have not met, and will soon become a family to our son.

1157. Babies  growing in the womb. It never ceases to amaze me how this can happen!

1158. Having lunch with a friend I have not seen in more than 17 years!

1159. Planners and calendars...

1160. Eating lunch at my parents' home every Monday.

1161. Strolling with my little one through beautiful flowers in a garden.

1162. Reading time...

1162.  Brown Sugar, coffee, and my daughters beside me!

1163. Phone calls from my Beloved in the middle of the day.

1164. My children's kisses.

1165. I am so grateful that I don't have free will.

1166. I am grtaeful for my sister.

1167.  A great book on my nightstand. (I will soon post a review!)

1168. Chocolate melting in my mouth! (Isn't it wonderful that we can actually taste?)

1169. I am grateful for the challenge to become addicted to my Bible!

1170. Unutterable Grace.

1171. I am grateful for you... for visiting, for reading, for loving... thank you!

What makes you sing for joy today?

What are you grateful for this very moment?

Share with us so we can praise God with you today!


Praying the Psalms -Psalm 84-


Psalm 84

My Soul Longs for the Courts of the LORD

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah.

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise!


Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
As they go through the Valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
They go from strength to strength;
each one appears before God in Zion.
O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob!


Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed!
For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O LORD of hosts,
blessed is the one who trusts in you!


Lord, that I may love your dwelling place,
your courts more than anything else on earth;
more than anything else in my heart.

Lord, only you can put a song of joy in my heart;
only you can make me sing your praises,
only you can fill my mouth 
with songs and hymns that will be pleasant unto you.

Father, O Father in Heaven, thank you,
thank you because You have opened a way for me
to come to your presence, 
to dwell in your courts,
to sit at your table
and enjoy your presence.

How unworthy I am, O LORD, 
and yet You cleansed me;
You clothed me with your righteousness,
You set a place for me at your table,
in your precious dwelling place.

How blessed I am
to be counted among those 
who are welcome to your dwelling place!

How blessed I am 
to have my strength renewed in You!

How blessed I am
to know that you give ear to my prayer!

O LORD, You alone are my shield.
You alone are my safe place.

Father in Heaven,
help me live my days,
my moments,
in your courts;
praying all day,
meditating in your Word,
longing for nothing or nobody else
than You.

Lord, deliver me from walking into the tents of the wicked.
Be my Sun that I might not walk in darkness.
Be my shield against the enemy.
 Bestow your favor and honor upon me today,
that I may glorify Your name in all I do.

Thank you, O Lord, 
because You do not withhold any good thing from your children.
O LORD of hosts,
that I may never fail to place my trust 
in You, keeper of my Soul.


Dear friends, I remind you that you are more than welcome to use all the Scriptures and Snapshots you see in this blog as your wallpaper. (Just let me know in the comment box that you will do so, thanks!)

I took today's picture at Ghent, Belgium.


He Made Himself Nothing -P2R Week 7-




Week 7 :: Philippians 2:5-11


"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men.
 And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
- Philippians 2:5-11

How can you repeat day after day these words without having a lump on your throat and not falling to you knees in prayer... "{He} made himself nothing..."

This is the mystery we just can't grasp with our limited mind, yet it is a Truth we must believe if we are to be saved, and a model we are commanded to follow: "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus..."

John MacArthur says,

"In light of the profound reality of Jesus’ full and uncompromised deity, His incarnation was the most profound possible humiliation. For Him to change in any way or to any degree, even temporarily by the divine decree of His Father, required descent. By definition, to forsake perfection requires taking on some form of imperfection. Yet without forsaking or in any way diminishing His perfect deity or His absolute holiness, in a way that is far beyond human comprehension, the Creator took on the form of the created. The Infinite became finite, the Sinless took sin upon Himself. The very heart of the gospel of redemption is that the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Although that infinitely marvelous and cardinal gospel truth is impossible to understand, it is necessary to believe."

He descended to save sinners like me, He came to rescue me when I was running away from Him and did not look for Him. This is where Grace meets us, in our sin not in our self-righteousness!

I keep muttering these words, I meditate on them while cooking and walking. I am commanded to have this same mind, I am commanded to humble myself, to make myself nothing, to be obedient to the point of death.

This doesn't come easy. I love my flesh, my skin.... isn't this the way I was taught by the secular media and the modern evangelical churches in which I grew up? 

We don't work toward having a good self- esteem, that is already there. Naturally we love ourselves more than God. We are never inclined to make ourselves nothing, to descend, to bow, to make ourselves servants.

Think of the moments your husband is sick, or when your children ask you to read them one more story, or when your neighbor needs help... does saying no to yourself comes easily? Not for me. 

The gospel calls us to live dying in our every day walk. It is not something mystic, it is there in your kitchen, in the marriage bed, in the moments that are woven together that we must make ourselves nothing. Yes, this seems like foolishness to the unsaved, but it is the message of the Cross. I must lay down my life, my minutes to God by serving those around me.

MacArthur says,

"It is the attitude of selfless giving oneself and one's possessions, power, and privileges that should characterize all who belong to Christ. They should be willing to loosen their grip on the blessings they have, which they have solely because of Him. Christians are set apart from the world as children of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. Yet they must not clutch those privileges and blessings. Instead, like the Lord, they must hold them loosely and be willing to sacrifice them all for the benefit of others"

and then he says,

"Christians obviously can't empty themselves to the degree that the Lord emptied Himself, because He started so high and Christians start so low. Believers have infinitely less to empty themselves of. Even what they have is given to them by grace. Believers are obligated to follow the Lord's example by emptying themselves of everything that would hinder their obedience and service to Him."

Isn't the home the perfect place to practice this? Isn't among our family that we find the best opportunities to practice emptying ourselves so that His name might be exalted?

I am learning; I do not want to let these opportunities pass by ...


Our Husband, Our Brother in Christ


Friday is a good day to visit friends or have friends over... today I am so happy to introduce you to a dear friend of mine who is visiting with us today, Anne. I still remember when I met her at a Veritas Press Teacher's Training; since then I have admired her; she is a godly woman, who loves her family, Latin, reading books by the dozen and pencils. Anne has been a great encouragement to me this year as we are together in the Partnering to Remember Project memorizing Philippians.

Thank you, Anne...

By today’s standards, my husband and I married at a very young age. He was 22 and I was 21, and we’d finished college only the day before.We knew little about what was ahead, but we received solid, biblical counsel in those early days and ever since. We’ve now been married for 21 years, and I count it all grace from a merciful and good God.He has held our marriage together through many military deployments, and has allowed us to grow up together and raise two children. He has made sure we’ve had solid, biblical teaching and fellowship. I am only a recipient of His grace and certainly no expert.One thing I know for sure is that God put me and my husband together on a path toward heaven, and the way we live here matters for eternity.

As I consider the marriage relationship in light of what God’s Word tells us, I think there is a tendency to compartmentalize and forget that the marriage relationship isn’t the only relationship I have with my husband. Yes, Scripture is clear that when two believers marry each has certain responsibilities and roles:the husband is to love his wife like Christ loves the church (oh, how impossible this seems!), and the wife is to love and respect her husband and submit to him. Apart from the Lord, these are overwhelming and undoable tasks.

But as my husband and I have been recently memorizing Philippians together (memorizing Scripture together with my husband is something I really wish we’d started long ago!), I am reminded that all of the other exhortations in Scripture about relationships among believers apply to husbands and wives as well.Here are just a few of them from Philippians, as Paul wrote to the believers there who were partners with him:

"~Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ… that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel" (Philippians 1:27)

"~Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3)

"~Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." (Philippians 2:4)

And a few from elsewhere in God’s Word:

"~ And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works" (Hebrews 10:24)

"~I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3)

"~Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him, who is the head, into Christ" (Ephesians 4:15)

"~Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)

So, I am more than my husband's wife, and he is more than my husband. We are fellow believers, brother and sister in Christ, partakers together of grace. We are being made ready for heaven as we live our lives together. We are to be partners in every way – physically, mentally, spiritually.We are to be “of the same mind”, “in full accord”, “striving together for the faith of the gospel.”We’re to speak the truth in love to each other, giving counsel and admonishing when necessary, strengthening each other’s weaknesses, and pointing each other to Christ. And we’re to remember that, as Paul Tripp has said,

“Christian marriage is one flawed person living with another flawed person in a fallen world with a faithful God.”

We wives tend to extremes.We nag our husbands when we want something to change or when we are offended, certainly speaking, but not in love. Or in silence we feed bitterness as we stew and brood over an offense whether that offense is real or only imagined.I think that if we more carefully considered our role as our husband’s partner, as a fellow believer and partaker of grace, we’d be more likely to avoid those extremes.Maybe that would help us to remember that our husbands are on the path to heaven, too.

Perhaps we wives would do well to take some time and consider our husbands as brothers in Christ.In light of this relationship, how can I encourage him in his walk? How can I strive together with him? What are some practical ways I can count him as more significant than myself? Am I lacking humility? How can I build him up, strengthening his weaknesses? How can I help make his job as my husband easier? How can I pray for him? In what ways can I show him grace? Is there an offense or sin that I can overlook? Or do I need to, as Paul says, speak the truth in love?

It’s a privilege to share my life with the man God gave me, and to grow old with him, holding his hand as we walk this life as partners in every way. God has truly been good to me. And it is at once both amazing and daunting to consider that our partnership has eternal implications. May we partner together for the faith of the gospel for His glory.


©Anne Malone; if you wish to use these lines contact Anne at  Europeanne


The Christian Wife, by J.R. Miller


This month we have been talking about marriage; so I think it is important to consider what are some characteristics of the Christian wife that we should not forget; and because it is Thursday of Borrowed Words, we'll read J.R. Miller's words on this topic. (I know it's long, but please, don't skim read it; take the time to read and carefully consider these words.)

Ball Point Drawing by Andrea Joseph

"It is a high honor for a woman to be chosen from among all womankind, to be the wife of a godly and true man. She is lifted up to be a crowned queen. Her husband's manly love laid at her feet, exalts her to the throne of his life. Great power is placed in her hands. Sacred destinies are reposed in her keeping. Will she wear her crown beneficently? Will she fill her realm with beauty and with blessing? Or will she fail in her holy trust? Only her married life can be the answer."

"What is the true ideal of a godly wife? It is not something lifted above the common experiences of life, not an ethereal angel feeding on ambrosia and moving in the realms of imagination... The true wife needs to be no mere poet's dream, no artist's picture, no ethereal lady too fine for use—but a woman healthful, strong, practical, industrious, with a hand for life's common duties, yet crowned with that beauty which a high and noble purpose gives to a soul."

J.R. Miller goes on to list several characteristics of a godly wife:

1. Faithfulness.

"A true wife, by her character and by her conduct, proves herself worthy of her husband's trust. He has confidence in her affection; he knows that her heart is unalterably true to him. He has confidence in her management; he confides to her the care of his household. He knows that she is true to all his interests, that she is prudent and wise, not wasteful nor extravagant... Every true wife makes her husband's interests her own...When burdens press upon him—she tries to lighten them by sympathy, by cheer, by the inspiration of love. She enters with zest and enthusiasm into all his plans. She is never a weight to drag him down; she is strength in his heart to help him ever to do nobler and better things."

2. Housekeeper.

"Love may build its palace of noble sentiments and tender affections and sweet romances—rising into the very clouds, and in this splendid home two souls may dwell in the enjoyment of the highest possibilities of wedded life; but this palace, too, must stand on the ground, with unpoetic and unsentimental stones for its foundation. That foundation is good housekeeping. In other words, good breakfasts, dinners and suppers, a well-kept house, order, system, promptness, punctuality, good cheer—far more than any young lovers dream—does happiness in married life depend upon such commonplace things as these!

Bad housekeeping will soon drive the last vestige of romance out of any home! The illusion which love weaves about an idolized bride, will soon vanish if she proves lazy or incompetent in her domestic management. The wife who will keep the charm of early love unbroken through the years, and in whose home the dreams of the wedding day will come true—must be a good housekeeper!"
Andrea Joseph's Illustration with Coloured Pencils

3.Generous and Warm Hearted.

"{I}t is in the dark hours of a man's life, when burdens press, when sorrows weigh like mountains upon his soul, when adversities have left him crushed and broken, or when he is in the midst of fierce struggles which try the strength of every fiber of his manhood—that all the radiance and glory of a true wife's strengthful love shine out before his eyes! Only then does he recognize in her—God's angel of mercy!

In sickness—how thoughtful, how skillful, how gentle a nurse is the true wife! In struggle with temptation or adversity or difficulty—what an inspirer she is! In misfortune or disaster—what lofty heroism does she exhibit and what courage does her bravery kindle in her husband's heart! Instead of being crushed by the unexpected loss, she only then rises to her full grandeur of soul. Instead of weeping, repining and despairing, and thus adding tenfold to the burden of the misfortune—she cheerfully accepts the changed circumstances and becomes a minister of hope and strength. She turns away from luxury and ease—to the plainer home, the simpler life, the humbler surroundings, without a murmur!"

4. Prudent.

"Are there little frictions or grievances in the wedded life? Has her husband faults which annoy her or cause her pain? Does he fail in this duty or that? Do differences arise which threaten the peace of the home? I
n the feeling of disappointment and pain, smarting under a sense of injury—a wife may be strongly tempted to seek sympathy by telling her trials to some intimate friends. Nothing could be more fatal to her own truest interests, and to the hope of restored happiness and peace in her home. Grievances complained of outside—remain unhealed sores. The wise wife will share her secret of unhappiness with none but her Master, while she strives in every way that patient love can suggest—to remove the causes of discord or trouble."

5. She Will Look Well to her Personal Appearance

"No woman can be careless in her dress, slovenly and untidy—and long keep her place on the throne of her husband's life. She will look well to her inner life. She must have mental attractiveness. She will seek to be clothed in spiritual beauty. Her husband must see in her ever-new loveliness, as the years move on. As the charms of physical beauty may fade in the toils and vicissitudes of life, there must be more and more beauty of soul to shine out to replace the attractions which are lost. It has been said that "the wife should always leave something to be revealed only to her husband, some modest charm, some secret grace, reserved solely for his delight and inspiration, like those flowers which give of their sweetness only to the hand which lovingly gathers them." She should always care more to please him—than any other person in the world. She should prize more highly a compliment from his lips—than from any other human lips.

6. She is a Woman of Character.

"She can be a good wife only by being a good woman. And she can be a good woman in the true sense only by being a Christian woman. Nowhere but in Christ—can she find the wisdom and strength she needs, to meet the solemn responsibilities of wifehood. Only in Christ can she find that rich beauty of soul, that gemming of the character, which shall make her lovely in her husband's sight, when the bloom of youth is gone, when the brilliance has faded out of her eyes, and the roses have fled from her cheeks. Only Christ can teach her how to live so as to be blessed, and be a blessing in her married life!

"Human love is very precious—but it is not enough to satisfy a heart. There will be trials, there will be perplexities, there will be crosses and disappointments, there will be solicitudes and sorrows. Then none but Christ will be sufficient! Without him, the way will be dreary. But with his benediction and presence—the flowers which droop today will bloom fresh again tomorrow! And the dreams of early love will build themselves up into a palace of peace and joy for the solace, the comfort and shelter of old age!"


Octavius Winslow's Book -Chapter Five, Trial a Help Heavenward -


Octavius Winslow Archive

What a great little book Octavius Winslow wrote, Help Heavenward; I would really like to encourage you to read it. Grace Gems has the whole book on line; and believe me, the chapters are short and full of encouragement for the believer.

Here are my favorite quotes and some of my reflections on chapter 5, Trial, a Help Heavenward.

“That we must through much tribulation enter into the
kingdom of God.”—        Acts 14:22.

If God's providence has you going through a season in your life which is characterized by trial, be encouraged today as you read the words of this godly man that reminds us that trials in the life of the believer are a blessing, because they draw us closer to God.

"We should have a more vivid conception of the power of affliction as an ingredient of holiness if we kept more constantly in remembrance the fact that all the afflictive, trying dispensations of the believer are covenant dispensations— that they are not of the same character nor do they produce the same results as in the ungodly. They are among the “sure mercies of David.” In the case of the unregenerate, all afflictions are a part and parcel of the curse, and work naturally against their good; but in the case of the regenerate, they are, in virtue of the covenant of grace, transformed into blessings, and work spiritually for their good. Just as the mountain stream, coursing its way, meets some sanative mineral by which it becomes endowed with a healing property, so afflictions, passing through the covenant covenant, change their character, derive a sanctifying property, and thus become a healing medicine to the soul."

How different are these words than the ones preached in many pulpits today! How comforting it is to know that because of God's Grace, because He has called us to be in His covenant, trials help us heavenward. He is with us, He is working in us through each one of those trials. It is all about our relationship with Him; our sanctification, our loving Him more than anything in this world. It is about being able to say, "The Lord is Shepherd I SHALL NOT WANT..."

"Trial, too, increases our acquaintance with Christ. We know more of the Lord Jesus through one sanctified affliction than by all the treatises the human pen ever wrote. Christ is only savingly known as He is known personally and experimentally. Books cannot teach Him, sermons cannot teach Him, lectures cannot teach Him; they may aid our information and correct our views, but to know Him as He is, and as we ought, we must have personal dealings with Him. Our sins must bring us to His blood, our condemnation must bring us to His righteousness, our corruptions must bring us to His grace, our wants must bring us to His fullness, our weakness must bring us to His strength, our sorrow must bring us to His sympathy, and His own loveliness and love must attract us to Himself. And oh, in one hour, in a single transaction, in a lone sorrow, which has brought us to Jesus, who can estimate how rapidly and to what an extent we have grown in a knowledge of His person and work, His character and love? I need not enlarge upon other branches of spiritual knowledge which trial promotes—how it increases our personal intimacy with God as our loving Father and Friend; and how it opens our understanding to discern the deep things of God in the Scriptures, so that the Bible in the hour of affliction appears like a new revelation to us. Oh yes, times of trial are times of growth in experimental knowledge."

Trials are seasons in which we can know Him in a way that we would not know Him otherwise. Trials are seasons in the life of the Christian where he can not only see what is inside of him, but he can also meet God in a new and beautiful way through fervent prayer.

"Trial quickens us in prayer, and so effectually helps us heavenward. The life of God in the soul on earth is a life of communion of the soul with God in heaven. Prayer is nothing less than the Divine nature in fellowship with the Divine, the renewed creature in communion with God. And it would be as impossible for a regenerate soul to live without prayer, as for the natural life to exist without breathing. And oh, what a sacred and precious privilege is this!—is there one to be compared with it? When we have closed the door,—for we speak now of that most solemn and holy habit of prayer, private communion,—and have shut out the world, and the creature, and even the saints, and are closeted in personal, solemn, and confiding audience with God, what words can portray the preciousness and solemnity of that hour! Then is guilt confessed, and backslidings deplored, and care, unburdened, and sorrow unvailed, and pardon sought, and grace implored, and blessings invoked, in all the filial trustfulness of a child unbosoming itself in the very depths of a father’s love, pity, and succour. But precious and costly as is this privilege of prayer, we need rousing to its observance. Trial is eminently instrumental of this. God often sends affliction for the accomplishment of this one end—that we might be stirred up to take hold of Him."

When trials come, let us see an opportunity to grow in our devotions, to be drawn closer to the One who loves us with perfect love and works all things for good in the life of His children. Let us rest in His arms through prayer and the meditation of His Word; let us see beyond ourselves and up to Him, who is able to sustain us and present us blameless at the day of Christ before God, the Father.

"Trials are necessary to wean us from the world. Perhaps nothing possesses so detaching, divorcing an effect in the experience of the Christian as affliction. The world is a great snare to the child of God. Its rank is a snare, its possessions are a snare, its honours are a snare, its enterprises are a snare, the very duties and engagements of daily life are a snare, to a soul whose citizenship is in heaven, and whose heart would fain be more frequently and exclusively where Jesus, its treasure, is... But God in wisdom and mercy sends us trial to detach us from earth, to lessen our worldly-mindedness, more deeply to convince us how empty and insufficient is all created good when His chastening is upon us, to intensify our affection for spiritual things, and to bring our souls nearer to Himself."

May God open our ears to hear His Word of comfort today and eyes to see Him sustaining us through the storm.

“Lord, whom have I in heaven but Thee? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee. 
Thou hast stricken and wounded and laid me low, 
but Thou wilt comfort, heal, and raise me up again. 
Righteous art Thou, O Lord, 
when I plead with Thee; 
yet let me talk with Thee of Thy judgments.

Let this trial detach me from the world, 
wean me from my idols,
transfer my heart to Thee, 
and speed my soul with a quicker step

Thanks to Matthew Blair @The Octavius Winslow Archive, who invited his readers to read this wonderful book.


The Marital Cup -by Elizabeth DeBarros-


Today we celebrate the gift of marriage, today we stop and intentionally kiss longer the one our soul loves; today we give thanks for the gift of marriage!

Today is special too, because it's Monday, the day this space is dedicated to give thanks to the Lord for His never ending mercies, so today, I give thanks for the gift God has given my dear friend, Elizabeth, a gift with words and and a passionate love for The Word. 

Thank you, Elizabeth,  for sharing today with us.

Still life with glassware and porcelain covered bowl, Willem Kalf 1662

Marriage is like handblown glass, delicate in substance but strong in construction. It can hold the vintage of years gone by. A cup blessed and preserved by God.

While love is as strong as death, marriage is fragile if only for the fact that two fallen individuals, a man and a woman brought together as one, commit to an exclusive bond for the rest of their days, come what may. Knowing that a covenant designed by God has His backing brings much-needed assurance.

But no marriage is unlike the first, where sin crept in to take its toll. Adam and Eve endured the worst — one son murdered the other, with God presiding as Witness and Judge. I imagine that as parents, partners and lovers, they fell into each other's arms that night, searching for consolation from an unbearable wound, already aware that bitter herbs change the taste of things.

What keeps a marriage? Sustains it through life's trials, cares and woes? Certainly not the froth left over from an elaborate wedding ceremony. As exciting and wonderful as the customary fanfare, wedding attire, rich foods, lavish gifts and honeymoon are, eventually helium dissipates, styles change, dishes break and pictures fade. None last, except perhaps in memories, a grace given when clouds ensue. And when they do, the strength of man proves weak indeed.

And apart from inviting family and friends to witness the ceremony and share in the festivities, what compels a man and a woman to stand before a crowd and declare that they will stay together, "to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part?"

Only the nearness of God.

Our culture trends toward having the greater focus be on the wedding event — the more outlandish the better — ceremony only secondary to the trappings.Whether staged in a desert, on a rollercoaster, suspended from bungee cords or underwater, it's all but forgotten that when vows are exchanged, God is the unseen Officiate. Even Christians need reminding of this in a day when selfishness runs rampant in the streets, and "freedom of choice" seeks to permeate our thinking to the point of abandoning all reason for the sake of pleasure and the pursuit of happiness. As comforting and wonderful as marriage can be, it's ultimately a sacrifice and a crucible and less often a pleasure dome.

Without strong Biblical encouragement, we leave ourselves open to temptation by subtly diminishing the gift He sewed into the fabric of society to remind us of the mystery between Christ and the Church:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and 
hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
This mystery is profound,
and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 

-Ephesians 5:31-32 (ESV)

Ultimately, marriage is for the glory of God. It's not about happiness as much as it's about holiness as He works through life's circumstances to mold and shape us, conforming us into His image. Not only this, but He's the third strand in the cord, serving as our strength and very present help. He whose eye is upon the hearts of all men isn't blind. He sees every sacrifice, gesture, trial, hardship, desire, hope and dream. And He collects every tear in His bottle, storing them up in remembrance, keeping watch on the covenant made in His Name.

So lift up your marital cup to the Lord. Reflect through the glass on His faithfulness and the memories you've made, even the ones that stretched you in all directions, and ask yourself, "By Whose design?" Then bow lower still. Bless the partner of your youth by recounting your vows and enjoying one another. Understand that God is just as near today as He was when you both stood upon the altar before a future unknown — except for certain grey hair.

And remember that the cup belongs to Him. Ever the expert viticulturist patient to make perfect the bouquet of a fortified wine, let Him refresh it, fill it anew, pour out a blessing. Savor the long finish. He reserves the best for last.


Details on Painting

©Elizabeth DeBarros. If you wish to use these lines please contact the author at Finding the Motherlode

Another guest post by Elizabeth:

Celebrating the Incarnation of Our Lord


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Who is Becky?

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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!
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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."


“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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