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We All Are Clay Vases

 30.5.11

Katie Lloyd Photography*




The church building's doors were wide opened, and as we got in,  people came to us and gave us a warm welcome. Some faces we only get to see once a year, so we hugged hard;  some other faces were new, and touched our lives profoundly.


My little one held my hand hard and her eyes were all filled with tears as she saw in the row in front of us a beautiful family,  a family that taught me more than all the words that were spoken from the pulpit. Six biological children and one little adopted girl (from about 2 years old to 10); only one of the children had both arms; most had none. 


Seeing them broke my heart to pieces. You know how I have been reading about suffering, affliction, trials; how I have been memorizing the Word and mediating on James' and Paul's words to the church (in the epistle to the Philippians) concerning affliction. But suddenly, I had a living epistle in front of me.  A father kneeling low to hug his son and whisper with him the Catechism; a little boy holding the  hymn book with his only minuscule arm for his sister who had no arms. Mom was holding her precious Chinese girl (of about 2 years old) as she praised God, and kissed her lips. Smiles were exchanged between all the family members at all times. It was clear that even though they could not hug each other, they had learned to love with their eyes, in a deep and beautiful way. After the Lord's Supper, mom and dad sat together, he whispered something to his wife's ear and they smiled with their eyes closed and tenderly he embraced her.


As the church service was dismissed, they turned to us and gave us a warm welcome. What a beautiful smile this young mom had, and it surprised me that after crossing a few words she said she was sorry that they had to leave to some other state in the middle of the week, because they would have loved to host us for dinner! 


We all are clay vases, all different, all made with different purposes. Some are strong, some are weak, some are fragile, and some others, some that may seem to be broken and the world might despise are full of fresh water. These vases are chosen by God to teach us a lesson. I pray I  will not miss learning it.


Today I am grateful for the Maker of vases that can hold His grace. 




Becky 






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*Thanks to Katie Lloyd for granting me permission to use her image. 
You can always buy her prints here.

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Saturdays are for Drinking the Perfect Watermelon Agua Fresca

 28.5.11



Saturday is here and believe it or not, as you read this, I will be flying up in the air to another country again. 

I did not want to leave without sharing with you the recipe for an "agua fresca", it is very tasty, easy to make and beautiful  to see. So, I am pretty sure you will like it so much that you will be making it many times this summer.

You need:

1/2 of a large watermelon. 
some fresh mint leaves.
1 lime
sugar to taste (it depends on how sweet you like it. For a half watermelon I used 1/4 cup)
crushed ice



How to do it:

Take the watermelon pulp (get rid of the seeds) and put it in the blender little by little, with the mint, the lime juice and sugar. You might need to add a little bit of water lo loosen it.

Serve in the hollow watermelon and decorate with some fresh mint leaves.



To serve:

Crush ice and put some on each glass, serve immediately; and don't forget to make it pretty with an leaf of mint.





Hope you have a most blessed Saturday, dear friends!

Becky... on the go!




I must say that my daughter helped me to take all these wonderful pictures!

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Traveling... again!

 27.5.11

My Daily Journey -through my lens-

Dear friends, my family and I will be away for almost two weeks. I will try to find the time to post something here, but meanwhile, I wanted to let you know that you will be in my heart and prayers. You can always follow my photography blog, My Daily Journey -through my lens-, where I enjoy sharing pictures from our travels.

I am super excited for all the friends I will get to hug and all the laughters we will share these coming days. All good things come from above, and I am grateful for each one of them.

Under His sun and by His Grace, 

Becky



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Seeing God's Hand in our Afflictions

 26.5.11



This week's Borrowed Words come from different Puritan authors. I have taken these quotes from our family devotional, Voices from the Past. It is my prayer that you will find comfort as you read these words, and that you'll be drawn to the Father.

From Thomas Brooks :

"I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it"
Psalm 39:9


"David looked at through secondary causes to the first cause, and was silent. The sight of God in an affliction is irresistible effective to silence the heart, and to stop the mouth of a gracious man. It is the duty of gracious souls to so act under the greatest afflictions and saddest providences. This is a prudent holy silence. It sees God, and acknowledges him as the author in all of our afflictions. 'The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away' (Job 1: 21)... Those who see the hand of God in their afflictions, will, with David lay their hands upon their mouths (2 Sam. 16: 11-12) If God's hand is not seen, the heart will fret and rage under affliction...  When afflictions arrest us, we shall murmur and grumble until we see that it is God that strikes. We must see him as King of kings and Lord of lords and stoop under his almighty majestic hand"


Again, from Thomas Brooks:

"For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation"
Psalm 62: 1

"A gracious prudent silence under the afflicting hand of God includes a holy quietness and calmness of mind and spirit. It shuts out all inward murmurings of the heart. Such a soul is submissive to God. All passions are allayed, tamed, and subdued. It was a Father who put those bitter cups in your hand. It was love that that laid those heavy crosses around your neck. When God's people are under the rod, he makes by His Spirit and word sweet music in their souls, and allays all tumultuous motions and passions. This holy silence humbly acquits God of all blame and injustice."


I know, O Lord, that your rules are righteous,
and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.
Psalm 119: 75


And from Puritan author, Thomas Case, we read:

"“If anyone would come after me,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Matthew 16: 24

"We are strangers to the cross. When it comes to pass we either despise the discipline of the Lord or else we faint by it. If affliction is moderate we are apt to despise it, but if the rod fetches blood, presently it is intolerable, and we begin to faint, and cry out in our passion, 'Was ever sorrow like my sorrow?' Sifferings have obtained an ill name in the world, but God's rod and love may stand together. God teaches his people in afflictions. He teaches us to feel compassion toward others who are suffering. We are prone to be insensitive toward others when we are at ease in our Zion. He also teaches us to prize our outward mercies and comforts more, and yet to dote upon them less. We are to be more thankful for them, but less ensnared by them. Next, God teaches us self-denial and obedient submission to his will... One way or another God works his children into a sweet, obedient frame. At length, God brings his children to subscribe: 'What God wills, when God wills, how God wills; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.'  Finally,  we can learn humility and meekness of spirit. Pride naturally runs in our veins, and it is nourished by ease and prosperity. By trouble we come to know our own heart. God seeks to develop meekness in his people by affliction, then save them from affliction"


Under His shadow, learning with you,

Becky







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Preparing Our Hearts for Affliction

 25.5.11

Annie Pliego


We are reading the book A Place for Weakness by M.Horton, over at my friend Elizabeth's blog, and because of all the travels, I have not been able to post my weekly chapter review here (I highly recommend you to read this book, it is very important!). Today, however, I want to share some things that I have found along the way about affliction in other sources that I am also reading.

Some believers have gone through much and long lasting suffering in their lives, some others have not. God has chosen different paths for everyone of his children, all for His glory and to sanctify us.

The most terrible thing that I have gone through was when my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer when I was about 12 yrs old, but it turned out to be a wonderful story, because of God's mercy on her. Today she is alive, strong and full of energy to even play all day with my children, and cook all of our favorite meals.

I live in peace, my soul is at rest. But I have learned in the Scriptures and by seeing my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ that affliction comes to the saints. And when it comes, we better be prepared and not surprised. I am not looking forward to it, neither do I seek it (no way!) but I have learned that we must prepare ourselves for that day; and we must teach our children from their early years about affliction.

Memorizing and studying* James has been such a tremendous blessing to me. James 1 tells us many things about affliction; the Lord reveals to us through this saint's words many important ways on how we should prepare for afflictions.

For example see these:

1. We should count it (affliction) all joy.  v. 2

2. We should KNOW why God afflicts his people. And here I just keep thinking how being diligent in the study of the Word and prayer are the only way for us to KNOW what God wants us to KNOW. v.3-4

3. Being double minded is a sign that men might not be really Christians;  the double minded woman will sure be tossed away like an ocean wave when affliction comes. (v.6-7)

4. We must never think too much of ourselves, of our position, of our comfort, we WILL pass away.  None of us will stand on this earth forever. We will die. We must live for the eternal not the temporary. (V. 9- 11)

5. We must be ready to persevere under trials. Trials, afflictions, the testing of our faith will come sooner or later and in different degrees, we must be ready to stand strong in the Word that day. (v. 12- 16)

There are so much more teachings on this chapter, but I think this summarizes clearly what James has to say ( I would really like to encourage you to read and study James this week).

So, we sit at the family table, and while enjoying a beautiful evening with a table full of food, and laughters around it; we talk about suffering, about the affliction of the saints.  We don't want our children to be surprised if one day God decides to lead them through the Valley of Death. We have seen so many families that the only thing they taught their children about God is "Jesus loves you and wants you to be happy". Even the children's Bibles that I see sitting in the "Christian bookstores" have titles like "God's Word for Beautiful Princesses Like You"  No wonder that when these girls grow and affliction comes the way they get mad at God and throw their fists against Him; their parents lied to them, teaching them a watered gospel; which knows no affliction.

This morning as I was reading my Bible, I read these words on Psalm 119: 92:

If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction.

This is a master key that will open a way out to our afflicted hearts: delighting in the Word of God will help us not to perish even through the hardest circumstances.
Today, if you are walking in affliction,my dear friend, I pray for you (you can leave me a comment, or send me an email saying you want me to pray for you -and no, you don't have to share your trials openly-) and if you are enjoying a time of peace, health, prosperity, don't waste it. Go deep in the Word, pray, pray, pray, lest you fall in the snares of  prosperity.   Fill your soul with the Word, make it your delight, rise up early and bless your Maker!

Becky


* I have been studying the epistle of James using John MacArhur's commentary, which I highly recommend.














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Praying for Preserving Grace

 24.5.11



I have shared in the past with you about my favorite prayer companion, The Method of Prayer by Matthew Henry; and today I want to share a prayer I prayed this morning as part of my devotionals with you:

We must pray for grace to preserve us to the end 
and to fit us for whatever lies before us between this and the grave.

Lord, rescue us from every evil deed and bring us safely into your heavenly kingdom; 2 Timothy 4:18(ESV) being kept from stumbling, may we be presented blameless at the coming of your glory with great joy. Jude 1:24(ESV)

Lord, make us increase and abound in love for one another and for all, so that our hearts may be established blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13(ESV)

If Satan demands to have us that he may sift us like wheat, yet let Christ’s intercession prevail for us that our faith may not fail. Luke 22:31-32(ESV)

Until we are taken out of the world, let us be kept from the evil one, John 17:15(ESV) and sanctified through your truth: your word is truth. John 17:17(ESV)

Build us up, we pray, in our most holy faith, and keep us in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 1:20-21(ESV)

Grant that we may continue to call on you as long as we live, Psalm 116:2(ESV) and until we die, may we never put away our integrity from us; let us hold fast our righteousness and never let it go, and may our hearts not reproach us for any of our days. 


Amen
Becky

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Gratitude Monday

 23.5.11

"What shall I render unto the Lord 
for all his benefits to me?" 
Psalm 116:12



Monday is here, and for me it is a joy to take a day to give thanks to God publicly for all the mercies He has bestowed upon us as a family.

I like what MacDuff has to say on respect to gratitude:

"The Christian, as he journeys onwards in the pathway of life, ought frequently to look back, and standing, as it were, on the shadowy side of the hill, review the way by which God has led him. If we would keep alive our gratitude--if we would have it to increase more and more, until, like a holy flame, it burns within us--we must often, in thought, retrace the varied turnings and windings of our earthly pilgrimage. We are so prone, amid our daily duties and our converse with the world, to forget and overlook the benefits received, that only by a careful and frequent retrospect, can we continue, from day to day, cherishing a spirit of true and ever-increasing thankfulness to God. But, the oftener we make the review, the greater cause will we have for saying, with David, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my father's house, that you have brought me hitherto?"


For me, Monday is the day I make a stop and look back, and give thanks to Him, my God and Maker, the Father of lights from whom all blessings flow.

Would you praise God with me today?


#1259- 1267


A precious log. Knots of time, colors and patterns that grab my attention. How can simple things can be so pretty? I am grateful I have eyes to see this. 


Sharing the table with friends whose eyes I had not seen before. O the gift of being together, and hugging! I am so grateful that online friends and students are real!





The joy of having a precious daughter who laughs and enjoys the time we spend together.

Memories.

A delayed canceled flight, a simple and clean bed to spend the night, no clean clothes, a hot shower,  perfume testers at the airport, a piece of lost luggage,  coffee, my husband's hug, laughs, tired bodies, a found piece of luggage.

Being back home and finding my Mom's delicious food on the table; hugs and kisses from the rest of my children, and the embrace of my Dad.

Last week of school. I am grateful for Veritas Press Scholars Academy, for each one of my students, for each one of my children's teachers,  for the way they have influenced my children's lives. 
I am grateful to see how God has helped me to memorize His Word, and meditate on it day and night.

Thankful for the ONE gift I did not ask for, as the Puritan prayer says,

"Unsought Thou hast given me the greatest gift,
the person of Thy Son,
and in Him thou wilt give me all I need"


May we look behind and give thanks to God for all the benefits He has given us, and for all the things that He has withhold from us. 

May God help us to step into a new day with nothing less than a grateful heart, and may His Spirit help us to do all things without grumbling or complaining, so that we may be blameless, innocent children of God  in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom, by His infinite gracem we shine as lights of the world.

Praising God with you today, 


Becky







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But God... by Casey Lute a Book Review

 18.5.11

Cruciform Press has published another great book: But God... by Casey Lute. This is a wonderful book that deals with the two words in the Bible that I have always underlined and highlighted on my Bible: But God...

Cruciform Press


In his new book, Casey Lute goes through different key passages in the Scriptures that points us to those "But God..." moments that change everything.

"To the left of “But God” in Scripture appear some of the worst human atrocities, characterized by disobedience and rebellion. To the left of “But God” is hopelessness, darkness, and death. But to its right, following “But God,” readers of Scripture will find hope, light, and life. Following God’s intervention, the story of Scripture becomes one of grace, righteousness, and justice....  

'But God' marks God’s relentless, merciful interventions in human history."

Lute's style is very readable, you really won't want to put the book down, until you finish it.   Lute is very clear but not simplistic. He quotes and points to many different sources. I really think this is a book that I would have enjoyed more if it were longer.

This book also helped me greatly to see a wonderful way to preach the gospel with unbelievers.  What a marvelous way to talk about God's redemptive plan sharing through all the "But God... moments" in history. If it were not for those two words we would be dead and without hope.

"But God..." is also an excellent source to share the doctrines of grace with those who are not familiar with them.  In a very simple way to understand, Lute's way of sharing the redemptive story, draws the reader to the conclusion that men are absolutely incapable of saving themselves, unless God intervenes; unless we have a "But God..." moment in our life.

Few of my favorite quotes are these:

"Some say “God helps those who help themselves,” but the Bible says the exact opposite: God helps the helpless. God helps those who, left to themselves, would die in their sins. He even helps those who hate him and who, by nature, continually oppose him. He does this because he is not like us. By nature, he is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6)."

"If we believe the Bible’s teaching that we have been saved simply because God chose to save us, shouldn’t this stir us up to help those in need, even those who do not deserve it? Should it not make us kind and patient toward others, and far less tempted to be critical of those who do not “measure up”? Should we not be the most loving, encouraging, forgiving, and compassionate people on earth? The doctrine of election calls us to teach others the truth in love, not flee them in fear, not reject or look down on them in pride."

"The God Who Loves So does God love us because we are lovable? Quite the opposite. We all followed sin, Satan, and self. Apart from God’s gracious intervention, we would have remained objects of his wrath instead of recipients of his grace. But God chose to show grace, and in doing so, he chose us."


This is a book I would definitely recommend for those who been amazed by those two words in the Bible; and also for those who doesn't know the powerful meaning of "But God..."


Becky


An advanced electronic copy of this book was provided by Cruciform Press for review purposes.



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What About a Pears, Ginger and Lemon Zest Cobbler?

 17.5.11

I am enjoying a wonderful time in Colorado Springs with my Beloved and one of our daughters, who turned 16 years old last week. I am grateful to the Lord, for providing this beautiful time for us to share laughters, hugs and chocolates!

So, I thought, that since I am not having lots of time to blog, this would be the perfect time to share with you all a recipe that I just love! (reposting from my former blog).

Enjoy!

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I want to share with you this great recipe; I got inspired in a red big book that my dear friend, Jen, gave me a few years ago, however, I made several changes, because I never use solid vegetable shortening and I love cranberries and cheese!

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do.




Pear, Ginger and Lemon Zest Cobbler.

What You Need:

10 ripe pears. Do not peel them, just core them and cut them into thick cubes.
2  tsp grated fresh ginger...my favorite!
1/2 c. plus 3 tsp of sugar
1 tbsp.  fresh lemon juice...I actually plucked a lemon from our beautiful tree for its juice.
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup  dried cranberries
2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup of butter
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
Cheese, any kind of Manchego or Gruyère; several thick slides.




How to do it:

1.  As always, pre-heat the oven to 425º F (220ºC). Butter a large casserole or 2 soufflé dish.

2. In a bowl, combine the pears, ginger, 1/2 cup of sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and dried cranberries.  Enjoy the aroma as you spoon into the dish.

3. In another bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder,  1 tbsp of sugar, and butter. Work these ingredients with your fingertips, (this is a great time to call in for little hands' help!)  until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

4. In a very small bowl beat the egg lightly and milk; stir into the other mixture. Knead, and knead, you might need to add a little bit more flour just to form a soft and nice dough. Not sticky, please.

5. Break off portions of the dough (as if you were to make cookies) and place them on top of the fruit. cover all the fruit and then sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the dough. Can you imagine it now? Yummy!

6. Bake until well browned, 35- 40 mins.

7. Serve immediately along with 3 or 4 slices of your favorite cheese.



Forgot to mention that this cobbler goes great with a French press of strong coffee.

Enjoy with  your family and good friends.

Every good gift comes from above, from our Heavenly Father.

 Becky




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The Rest by James Smith

 15.5.11



 "There remains therefore a rest for the people of God."
Hebrews 4:9

These was a rest for Adam in Paradise — which he lost by sin.

There was a rest for Israel in Canaan — which many forfeited by unbelief.

There is a rest for the Christian in Christ — which can only be enjoyed by faith.

And there is a rest for all the saints in Heaven — to which we can only be admitted at death.

To one of the two last, the Apostle refers; some think to the former, and some to the latter. We shall consider the words as referring to Heaven:
our Father's house,
our Savior's home, and
our eternal dwelling-place!

To the weary and way-worn — there is something delightful in the thought of REST, and they love to think of Heaven as the place where they shall "rest from their labors."

REST gives us the idea of . . .
repose — the calm, quiet repose of the soul;
refreshment — the refreshment of the exhausted spirit after conflict, sickness, or toil;
restoration to vigor — after debility, lassitude, and fainting.

Heaven will be a rest . . .
from sin — which will no more grieve us;
from sorrow — which will no more trouble and distress us;
from fears — which will no more harass and perplex us; and
from conflicts — which will no more agitate and suppress us.

It will be a rest . . .
with God in his glory,
with Jesus in his immediate presence,
with saints and holy angels in full perfection and blessedness.

This rest is FUTURE — it remains for the people of God.

This rest is the object of our hope and DESIRE. We look forward to it, with holy longing and cheering anticipations.

This rest is PERFECT — free from all mixture of anything that will agitate, give pain, or cause grief.

This rest is UNINTERRUPTED — nothing will ever occur to disturb, distress, or agitate us more.

This rest is GLORIOUS — as bright as the meridian sun, as balmy as the most pleasant morning, as glowing with holiness, splendor, and majesty.

This rest is ETERNAL — and this is best of all. The possibility of a change, of a return to former scenes — would spoil all. But that rest will be enduring — as changeless as the Divine nature, and as glorious as the Divine perfections.

Blessed be God for such a rest for the weary, suffering, and downcast believer in Jesus! Oh, to keep the eye fixed upon it, and the heart expecting it — amidst all the troubles and trials of time!

This rest is FOR the redeemed people of God. Not for the Jews as such, nor for the Gentiles as such — but for the Lord's people. The people He has chosen for himself, as says the Apostle, "God has chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." The people He claims as his own, being set apart for himself in his eternal purpose, redeemed to God by the blood of his Son, out of every nation, country, people, and tongue. He claims them by his Holy Spirit in the day of his power. The people whom He himself teaches, as Jesus said, "It is written in the prophets — they shall be all taught of God, everyone therefore that has heard and learned of the Father, comes unto Me." Divine teaching is educating for eternity, and God thus educates all his own people. The people He prepares — for Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Jesus is gone to prepare the place for the people — and the Holy Spirit comes to prepare the people for the place. To this end, He creates them anew in Christ Jesus, and makes them fit to he partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

They are now a poor, tried, tempted, and restless people; strangers and pilgrims upon the earth, as all their fathers were.

Satan tempts them,
sinners try them,
fears harass them,
Providence perplexes them,
and they often cry out, "O that I had wings like a dove, then would I fly away and be at rest!"

Believer, let the prospect of this eternal glorious rest, cheer you in toil and trouble! Your work will soon be finished, your trouble will soon come to an end, and then the rest — the glorious rest, remains for you! Let it encourage you to labor and suffer: labor for Jesus, who is preparing the rest for you; suffer in the cause of Jesus, acquiescing in his will who once suffered for you, and now rests as you will soon.

Think of the Hebrew believers — what they suffered, and how they suffered; they "joyfully accepted the confiscation of their property, because they knew that they had better and lasting possessions."

Let your Heavenly rest, quicken your pace homewards! You are going to a rest — a perfect, uninterrupted, and eternal rest; a rest in Heaven, a rest with Jesus, a rest in the presence of your God forever; therefore gird up the loins of your mind, and press on towards the mark, cheered by the prospect at the end of the race.

Remember, Christian, this rest is SECURE, for Jesus has taken possession of it for you. "I am going," said He, "to prepare a place for you." "Where," said the Apostle, alluding to Heaven, "Where the forerunner has for us entered, even Jesus." Yes, Jesus is gone there for you, He has taken possession in your name, He is preparing your place, and will soon come and receive you to himself!

Remember too, that it is NEAR — very near. Perhaps much nearer than you may think.

You may be sighing, sorrowing, striving, wrestling, doubting, fearing, and cast down today — and tomorrow you may be in your Heavenly rest!

Today, you may be lying like Lazarus, at the rich man's gate, full of sores; tomorrow, you may be in Heaven!

Today, you may be dwelling in Mesech, or in the tents of Kedar; tomorrow, you may be basking in the beams of Immanuel's glory!

Today, you may be on the bed of sickness, suffering, and pain; tomorrow, you may be in the presence of Jesus, where there is no more pain, neither sorrow nor crying!

Who can tell how near we all are to our Heavenly and everlasting rest?

Remember also, that your very trials, toils, and sufferings here on earth, may SWEETEN your rest to you! And that soon, very soon — you may be rejoicing over your present sorrows, and praising God for what now fills you with grief and sadness. Things will look very different there — from what they do here. Never, never forget, then, in your darkest nights, in your most trying days, in the midst of every storm and tempest, when passing over burning sands and under a scorching sky — that there remains a rest for the people of God, and a rest for you!

"Arise and depart; for this is not your resting place, because it is defiled, it is ruined, beyond all remedy!"

"There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary are at rest!"

But, "there is NO REST, says my God, to the WICKED!" His soul is restless now, and, dying as he is — he will be restless forever. "And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night!" O think of an eternity of unrest! Think of an eternity of toil, agony, and woe! Think, and so think as to accept and act upon the invitation of Jesus, who is now at this moment saying unto you, "Come unto me, and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest unto your souls!"

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May we find today, dear friends, rest in His presence.

Have a most blessed Lord's Day!

Becky






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The Lord Gave and the Lord Has Taken Away by Thomas Brooks

 11.5.11

Thursday of Borrowed Words...

We are reading around our family table, Voices from the Past: Puritan Devotional Readings, and yestrday after dinner, we read a devotional by Thomas Brooks (1608- 1680), which I thought it was proper to share with you, because it is fitting with our reading of the book, A Place for Weakness by M. Horton, over at Elizabeth's blog.

May we have humble souls....





"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord"
Job 1: 21


"The humble soul will bless God under misery as well as under mercy, when God frowns as when he smiles, when He takes as when He gives, under crosses and losses as under blessings and mercies. The humble believer looks through all secondary causes, and sees the hand of God. He lays his hand upon his heart and sweetly sings 'Blessed be the name of the Lord'. The language of the humble soul is: 'If it is your will that I should be in darkness, I will bless you; and if it is your will that I should be again in light, I will bless you; if you comfort me, I will bless you; and if you afflict, I will bless; if you make me poor, I will bless; if you make me rich, I will bless' The humble soul sees the rod in his Father's hand; but also the honey on the top of every twig. He sees sugar at the bottom of the bitterest cup, and knows that God's house of correction is a school of instruction.The humble soul knows that the design of God in all things is his instruction, reformation, and salvation....

O the pride of men's hearts when the rod is upon their backs! There are many humble professors while the sun shines, while God gives, smiles and strokes. But when he frowns, and strikes, O the murmurings of proud souls! They kick when God strikes. But the humble soul wisely and patiently bears reproof. The proud scorns the reprover and his reproofs too. Pride and passion ho armed; touch them ever so gently, yet, like the nettle, they will sting you; deal roughly with them and they will become violently hostile."


Becky


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A Little Piece of My Life

 10.5.11

I thought I would share today a piece of my life with you in the form of a letter...

Dearest Friend,

How grateful I am for you today; I give thanks to my God for friends who encourage me to walk in the faith like you do.

I am very happy this day because in Mexico, we celebrate Mother's Day today, yes, we celebrate it every May 10th. My children woke me up with kisses and hugs, with cards and words that filled my eyes with tears. I am grateful also because my mom is coming today to have a nice lunch with us. My little one, who longs to grow to be a chef, will be cooking for us some cannelloni, filled with ricotta cheese and spinach. We are looking forward to that!

My oldest son will have this morning a presentation of his senior thesis on his online school.  Have I told you how much we have been blessed by this online school? Yes, I am sure I have told you that before; having godly teachers influencing our children is a wonderful gift, one that we don't take for granted. I pray our son will do a great job; he has been preparing himself for this all year round. My prayer is that God may help him to grow into a man who uses his words wisely and to bring glory to God.

This week is also our daughter's 16th birthday! I am so proud of her; being the mom of such a precious young lady is my joy. She loves her family, is very patient with her sister and loves photography; in fact Daddy bought her a new camera for her birthday which she is already using. You can see this beautiful picture she took on Sunday to celebrate motherhood.

Annie Pliego Photograhy


As you may recall I joined a wonderful project in January entitled Partner 2 Remember in which we devoted ourselves to memorize the epistle of Paul to the Philippians. I tried to keep you posted on my advanced, but while I was working behind the scenes in the Doctrines in the Kitchen series, I did not write about this project. Well, let me tell you with great joy that I did memorize Philippians! I could not believe it did happen! Oh my dear friend, I must tell you how many times I thought I would not accomplish it, but God who is rich in mercy had mercy on me and helped me to persevere. He even put friends on my way to pray for me like Mrs. Hankins, who proved to be a faithful friend. Now I can taste the fruits of a hard labor and Oh,  how sweet they are! I am still reviewing my memory project, so you will see me carrying my little Moleskine at all times with me! I encourage you, as I have done in the past, to start doing this; to start working hard to fill your heart and mind with the Word of God, our only sure hope in a world that hates Him.

Well, this week I just started to memorize a new book of the Bible, the epistle of James,  along with some friends; this time we are doing it in Spanish. But, if you want, you could join us too. We will take 17 weeks for this project; which means that we will only have to memorize approximately one new verse daily.  I am so excited!

Last week, I had the opportunity to go on a trip with my husband and one of my daughters, so as you can imagine; I have many papers to grade, books to read and groceries to buy! And you want to know something? Next week I will be traveling again! and...yes, after a week back home, we all we'll travel to our family vacation to meet friends we love dearly. I share all this with you, because, as you can imagine, I don't know how often I'll be posting during May on my blog. Remember, that you can follow my journey in pictures on my photography journal. You'll know, however, that I will be around, doing what God has set before me to do! 

You asked me what I have been reading lately: Let me tell you,  I read The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge, a book I highly recommend; and did I ever told you that I worked on a review? You can read it here, if you are interested. I am almost finished with another excellent book by Tim Challies, The Next Story. A must read I would  dare to say; a book that all Christians who use technology must read, yes, even we, moms  and grandmothers who blog or love to read blogs.  And of course, I am enjoying a great conversation hosted by my dear friend Elizabeth; several of my wonderful friends are meeting over at her blog once a week to discuss a book that you probably won't pick at the library; it is a book that teaches about the doctrine of suffering. The book is entitled, A Place for Weakness by M. Horton. And we already discussed chapter one

My dear friend, I long to see you face to face and share a good cup of coffee with you soon, yes, on the same table and seeing your eyes and listening to your laugh.

Meanwhile, keep me in your prayers as I keep you in my prayers too,

Your friend always,

Becky


P.S. I forgot to mention that I bought a new pair of walking shoes, some special shoes that promise to help me walk and exercise effectively and more ...We'll see how they do that! ;)

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Praying the Psalms - Psalm 32-

 9.5.11

I am back! We had a wondeful time in Vancouver, Canada; and it was a joy to visit some of our friends who live there. We took our little girl with us and she enjoyed this special time with Mom and Dad for herself.

Annie Pliego

Mondays are beautiful, after the Lord's Day, we have our hearts full and our mouths ready to praise Him for all His benefits. I like to set apart this day to give thanks to our Father for the little things that make our days special, but more than that, more than gratitude for the flowers in bloom, and a wonderful trip, and a fridge full of food; I am grateful for the forgiveness of my sins.

That is what makes all the difference. Many who doesn't worship the true God give thanks as well for the little things in life every day, many keep journals and lists as well, but they don't know the greatest gift of all: Forgiveness of sins. 

This is the greatest gift of all, and I don't want to miss how important it is. I am so grateful that my sins have been washed away, that I am justified, that God forgave me and gave me new life. 

I am blessed indeed!



Blessed Are the Forgiven
A Maskil of David.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,

whose sin is covered.

Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,

and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away

through my groaning all day long.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,

and I did not cover my iniquity;

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Therefore let everyone who is godly

offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;

surely in the rush of great waters,

they shall not reach him.

You are a hiding place for me;

you preserve me from trouble;

you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;

I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,

which must be curbed with bit and bridle,

or it will not stay near you.

Many are the sorrows of the wicked,

but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.

Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,

and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!


O Lord, I am grateful, grateful because you have blessed me in spite of all my iniquities. 
Thank you, because you have forgiven my transgression; 
because my sin has been covered with your blood.

Thank you, because of Jesus' sacrifice you don't see my sin but Him, who is my Redeemer.
Thank you, because you don't count up my iniquity, but count me righteouss through the blood of Jesus.

Don't let me walk in deceit.
Draw me to you when I sin.
Give me a contrite heart, 
a humble spirit willing to ask forgiveness.

Don't let my heart be hardened, O Lord.
Don't let my body grow weary,
let my find, at the foot of the cross,
forgiveness and hope.

Father, that I may come to you in prayer,
in prayer day and night.
That I may find you,
that I may find in You alone my hiding place,
my strong tower.

O Lord, preserve me,
surround me,
instruct me,
teach me,
counsel me,
and help me to obey,
to follow your voice today.

I am glad in you today, O Father!
You are my joy.
You are my song,
You alone are my God,
and in You alone my soul
is satisfied!

I am forever grateful for the song of deliverance which you have put in my mouth!

Becky

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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!
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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."

-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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