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Praying the Psalms -Psalm 40-

 31.7.11


Psalm 40

My Help and My Deliverer

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.

Lord, teach me to wait patiently on you, to  wait and not sin; to wait in You knowing that You will not leave your children in the pit of despair, or sadness. Thank you because you are our Saviour, You alone can bring us out from the miry bog. You know it is impossible for us to walk out on our own from situations like this one; Lord you remember our nature, our weaknesses and always have mercy on us. Help me wait for you with a humble and submissive heart.


Lord, thank you because you not only draw us out from the pit, but you set our feet upon a mighty Rock; upon Jesus Christ, the everlasting Rock, the foundation of our faith,  the Cornerstone of our lives; and you will, I have hope on this, You will certainly put a new song in our mouths. O God, don't permit us to remain silent; help us to praise your name, even now.


Father, that your name may be exalted today, that your name may be glorified as I put my trust in you today; I pray that many will see and fear your name, and be saved. Use me a  vessel to bring glory to You.

Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

Lord, what a wonderful promise this is, that you bless me when I put my trust in you. O Lord, I long for your blessing. Your blessing that comforts, that strengthens, that fills our souls. Father, open  my eyes to see your wondrous deeds and thoughts toward us and help us say as David said, "none can compare with you!"  Open our mouth not only to sing your praises, but to tell of your wonderful deeds; to proclaim your goodness and rest on you.

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
Then I said, "Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."

Only Jesus delights perfectly on your Law, only His obedience is perfect, we are so bound to this flesh that so many times find no delight in doing your will. Father, forgive us and work in us that we may be willing to obey with gladness. Father, help us see your glory in the cup You have set before us to drink. Let Jesus be our example and let us gladly walk on the Way He has set before us.

I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.

 God of all mercies, You are faithful, You are my deliverer, my soul finds hope in your steadfast love and faithfulness. You alone, O God are worthy to be praised for ever and ever. I don't want to restrain my lips from declaring how wonderful you are, how good you are, how merciful you are.

As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
For evils have encompassed me
beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.

Thank you, Father, because you will not restrain your mercy from me, from your own. What a comfort it is to know that your steadfast love and faithfulness will indeed preserve us through this dark valley.  When my heart fails, yours doesn't. You are the Great I Am; and your promises are yes, and amen; and those are my only hope.

Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, "Aha, Aha!"

Yes, Lord, yes. Be pleased to deliver me; O LORD, make haste to help me! I need you, yes, every hour, every minute, every second, I need you! Come help us! Let all the snares of the devil be futile against me; let me stand firm until I see your face. Don't let me be ashamed, don't let Satan hurt me; make haste to help me, O LORD! 

But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!

Father, my Father, I seek you. I seek you in the morning, at noon, and in the night. I lift my eyes to you, for only you can rescue me and restore in my heart the joy and peace that surpasses all understanding.  O God, that we may lift our hands and cry continually, "Great is the LORD!" 

Thank you, my God and my King that even though I am poor and needy, you don't forget my name, you incline your ear and hear my prayer; thank you that you lift me up in your hand and think of me. 



You alone, are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!

In Jesus' precious name,


Amen


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Blogging About Your Kids

 29.7.11



From what we live with our children day by day we learn so many things, so many lessons that could not be learned in another different way. However, I have seen that many women like to share too much on their blogs (or Facebook) about these lessons in a very "specific and detailed" way; and I am sure it is neither wise nor God-honoring to be sharing every one of our children's faults and mistakes, and the way we react to each one of them, just to "bless others with our experience".

Maybe your son is 10 yo; and he doesn't even read your blog right now; maybe if you ask him, he will say that he doesn't really care if you write about *that* specific situation between you and him. BUT, he will grow, and he will read, and the most probable thing is that he will not be happy with what he'll see on your blog. Be careful.

This doesn't mean that you are being a hypocrite; it means that you are being prudent and wise. We all agree (I hope!), that it would not be correct to sit on a coffee shop with your friends to talk about the latest "terrible things" your children have done, and how mad you got, and how you managed to control your temper. Why then, we don't feel uncomfortable when we read these stories? Or when some of us decide to write them?

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the heart of the wicked is of little worth."
Proverbs 10:18-20

You and I are not perfect, our families are not perfect; we all know that,  and even though it is OK to write about the lessons we learn in our daily life; and about the grace we have found in those difficult day-to-day circumstances, we must be very wise and prudent, because we don't  want to share unnecessary details that others might find "encouraging", but at the end will harm our children's heart.
"Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered."
Proverbs 11: 13

The easiest way to relate to this is to think... "What if my husband had a blog, and he decided that he would write about those words I said to him last night, and the way he lost his patience with me and how the Lord helped us through?" Yes, I am sure you would not enjoy that. Let us think on what we write about our children. Our children are more important than our readers; and we need to remember that must keep certain, many things under our roof, covered because we love them so much.

Happy blogging!



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The Excellency of the Bible by Isaac Watts -A Poem for Children-

 28.7.11


The Excellency of the Bible

Great God, with wonder and praise
On all thy works I look;
But still thy wisdom, power, and grace
Shine brightest in thy book.

The stars that in their courses roll
Have much instruction given;
But thy good word informs my soul
How I may climb to heaven.

The fields provide me food; and show
The goodness of the Lord;
But fruits of life and glory grow
In thy most holy word.

Here are my choicest  treasures hid,
Here my best comfort lies,
Here my desires are satisfied,
And hence my hopes arise.

Lord, make me understand  thy law.
Show what my faults have been;
And from thy gospel let me draw
Pardon for all my sin.

Here would I learn how Christ has died,
to save my soul from hell:
Not all the books on earth beside
Such heavenly wonders tell.

Then let me love my Bible more,
And take a fresh delight,
By day to day read these wonders o'er,
And meditate by night.


*Divine and Moral Songs for Children by Isaac Watts

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Doctrines in Action -Beyond the Kitchen-

 26.7.11

Katie Lloyd Photography


A friend of mine, who professes to be a Christian, trying to bring some comfort to my family last week, called me and was surprised to hear me saying that we were finding comfort in God's Sovereignty; in knowing that God had the days of our baby Faith counted, and that it was God himself who had decided to bring her to Him before she could see the light. My friend insisted that God would not do such a thing.

If you have followed my blog for a little while, you have probably noticed that I like to insist, to persuade my readers to study the Word of God, to dig deeper into the Scriptures, to pursue  sound doctrine; not necessarily in order to be able to point out those who teach wrongly, but to be able to grow in Christ and stand firm in the day of trouble. And now, more than ever, I affirm this truth: What we believe today, when the waters are calm, will either sustain us or bring us to despair the day in which our faith will be put to test.

Because, yes, our faith WILL be put to test sooner or later.

We believe that God is reigning supremely over all; He is sovereign and good to His people. He is Omnipotent and at the same time mindful of His children. We believe that God is Faithful, and never breaks a promise, so if He has said that all things work for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose; then the home-coming of Faith was something good.

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified." Romans 8:26-30

No, we have not asked "Why, LORD?" lifting our fists against Heaven; and we have not done this, first of all because the Lord has restrained us from sinning against Him; and secondly because we know Him. We know His character, and we rest assured in the sound doctrine of God's Sovereignty.

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

"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

Why should the nations say,
“Where is their God?”

Our God is in the heavens;
he does all that he pleases."

Psalm 115:1-3

My friend has obviously a difficult time when trials to come, she has a hard time trying to solve the puzzles, and to give answers to all the "why's" that assault her mind and heart. In her theology God is All-Powerful, but only until the Devil shows up, and messes up all things. Then God appears again and transforms all things, all the mess, into something good.

While the "problem of evil" is there, and we have no explanation to it (because the Bible doesn't tells us about it) we do have an answer to it: God is Sovereign and All-Powerful and has conquered the evil one.

Dead doesn't have a sting anymore, however, it still hurts; but we keep on pressing with our eyes fixed on Jesus towards the resurrection of our bodies and the day when we will be with all the saints in Heaven where tears will be shed no more.

"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained." Philippians 3:12-16

I don't know where you are standing today, where you are grounded, but remember that the trial of your faith will come; you better start preparing yourself for it even now.

Doctrine, the body of beliefs that you have now, will not only accompany you in the kitchen but also to the funeral of those you dearly love.

Under His sun and by His grace, 



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A Birthday Meditation

 25.7.11


"How great has been the mercy of my God to me... I trace his goodness from my birth to the present moment.

I was born in a land where the gospel can be preached—when I might have been born in heathen darkness.

I was instructed to read God's holy word—when I might have been left like others, in nature's ignorance.

I was preserved in Christ Jesus during the years of my unregeneracy, when many who were born about the time I was, have been cut down and consigned to the grave.

I was called by the sovereign grace of a covenant God, when running post-haste to eternal destruction!

I was taught by the Holy Spirit my sinful state, the value of my soul, the need of a Savior, the way of escape, and the freeness of salvation.

I was given a saving interest in Christ, and feel love to his dear name, and obtained a knowledge of his saving work.

I was kept by his mighty power in the midst of temptations, persecutions and snares, to publish the glad tidings of salvation.

I was sent to proclaim to poor sinners round the danger they are in, the glorious salvation of the cross, and Jehovah's boundless love. Blessed with many seals to my ministry in different parts of the land, and with repeated testimonies of the power of the word in the hearts of the people of God.

I was preserved from my depraved heart, the various errors that lead multitudes astray, and the opposition of all my foes.

I was supplied with every temporal mercy, gospel privilege, and promised blessing.

I was brought through innumerable trials, difficulties and distresses, to the glory of Jehovah's grace.

I was spared, notwithstanding my hardness, rebellion and backslidings, until I am forty years of age.

I appear before God this morning—willing, heartily willing, to be, to do, to suffer whatever he sees proper, so that I may but be kept from sin, and dishonoring his dear name and gospel.

When I reflect upon WHAT I WAS, how circumstanced, and situated, and view the way the Lord has led me, what he has done for me, and what he has done by me—I am astonished! O, that I did but feel humbled, grateful and thankful—as I desire to be filled with love to God, zeal for God, and concern to glorify God. I want to be entirely devoted to him, body, soul, and spirit, that my all may be for him and not for another. When I consider my coldness, carelessness, and ingratitude, I cannot but wonder that the Lord has not long ago disowned me! But blessed be his holy name,

"Whom once he loves—he never leaves.
But loves him to the end!"

He changes not—therefore I am not consumed.

O my soul, lay low before the Lord under a sense of your manifold infirmities and follies, and seek grace from Jesus to live holy, righteously, and usefully in this present evil world.

Gracious Lord, grant unto your servant light to see your will, power to do your pleasure, love to follow you wherever you go, and an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of my Lord and Savior. O give me an increasing love to souls, success in your work, and growth in grace, that my own personal concerns be not neglected! O make me like my Savior in spirit, temper and conduct!

See, gracious God, I do afresh on this my birthday, surrender myself entirely to you to be your servant, to be used as you please, and to be led where you will! O grant that I may serve you with a son's heart, a bride's affection, and a servant's submission! Lord, take me, and enable me to remember evermore that I am yours! May I leave myself and all my concerns in your hands, and go about your business. O save me from every snare, from every foe, and from my wretched self! Get glory in me, by me, and through me—for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.

*edited from the words of James Smith (1849)

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Being Christians on Weekdays -Something to Think About on the Lord's Day-

 24.7.11


Being Christians on Weekdays

J. R. Miller, 1888


How to carry our religion into all parts of our life, is the question which perplexes many of us. It is not hard to be good on the quiet Sundays, when all the holy influences of the sanctuary and of the Christian home are about us. It is not hard, in such an atmosphere, to think of God, and to yield ourselves to the impact of the divine Spirit. It is easy then to accept the promises and allow them to entwine themselves about our weakness, like a mother's arms about feeble infancy. Most of us have little trouble with doubts and fears, or with temptations and trials, while sitting in the peaceful retreats into which the Sunday leads us.

Our trouble is in carrying this sweet, holy, restful life—out into the weekday world of toil, anxiety, strife and pain. Ofttimes with Monday morning—we lose all the Sunday calm, and resume again the old experience of restless distraction. The restraints of godliness lose their power, and the enthusiasm for holy living, so strong yesterday, dies out in the midst of the world's chilling influences, and we drop back into the old bad habits, and creep along again in the old dusty ways.

The Sunday has lifted us up for a day—but has no power to hold us up in sustained elevation of soul. The duties we saw so clearly, and so firmly determined to do, while sitting in the sanctuary, we do not feel pressing upon us today with half the urgency of yesterday. Our high resolves and our excellent intentions have proved only like the morning cloud and the early dew. So our religion becomes a sort of luxury to us—a bright unreal dream only which for one day in seven, breaks into the worldliness and the self-seeking of our humdrum lives, giving us a period of elevation—but no permanent uplifting.

It is only as when one climbs up out of a valley into the pure air of a mountaintop for one hour, and then creeps down again and toils on as before, amid the mists and in the deep shadows—but carrying none of the mountain's inspiration or of the mountain's splendor with him back into the valley.

Yet such a life has missed altogether, the meaning of the religion of Christ—which is not designed to furnish merely a system of Sunday oases across the desert of life, with nothing between but sand and glare. Both its precepts and its blessings—are for all the days. He who worships God only on Sundays, and then ignores him or disobeys him on weekdays—really has no true religion. We are perpetually in danger of bisecting our life, calling one portion of it religious and the other secular. Young people, when they enter the church, are earnestly urged to Christian duty, and the impression made upon them is that Christian duty means reading the Bible and praying every day, attending upon the public means of grace, taking active part in some of the associations, missionary or charitable, which belong to the Church, and in private and personal ways striving to bring others to Christ.

Now, as important as these things are, they are by no means all the religious duties of any young Christian, and it is most fallacious teaching that emphasizes them as though they were all.

Religion recognizes no bisecting into sacred and secular. "Whether therefore you eat, or drink—or whatever you do—do all to the glory of God." It is just as much a part of Christian duty—to do one's weekday work well—as it is to pray well. "I must be about my Father's business," said Jesus in the dawn of youth; and what do we find him doing after this recognition of his duty? Not preaching nor teaching—but taking up the common duties of common life and putting all his soul into them! He found the Father's business in his earthly home, in being a dutiful child subject to his parents, in being a diligent pupil in the village school, and later in being a conscientious carpenter. He did not find religion too spiritual, too transcendental, for weekdays. His devotion to God—did not take him out of his natural human relationships into any realm of mere sentiment; it only made him all the more loyal to the duties of his place in life.

We ought to learn the lesson. True religion is intensely practical. Only so far as it dominates one's life—is it real. We must get the commandments down from the Sinaitic glory amid which they were first engraved on stone by the finger of God—and give them a place in the hard, dusty paths of earthly toil and struggle. We must get them off the tables of stone—and have them written on the walls of our own hearts! We must bring the Golden Rule down from its bright setting in the teaching of our Lord—and get it wrought into our daily, actual life.

We say in creed, confession and prayer—that we love God; and he tells us, if we do—to show it by loving our fellow-men, since professed love to God which is not thus manifested, is not love at all. We talk about our consecration; if there is anything genuine in consecration, it bends our wills to God's, it leads us to loyalty that costs, it draws our lives to lowly ministry.

"One secret act of self-denial," says a thoughtful writer, "one sacrifice of selfish inclination to duty—is worth all the mere good thoughts, warm feelings, passionate prayers, in which idle people indulge themselves."

We are too apt to imagine, that holiness consists in mere good feeling toward God. It does not! It consists in obedience in heart and life to the divine requirements. To be holy is, first, to be set apart for God and devoted to God's service: "The Lord has set apart him who is godly for himself." But if we are set apart for God in this sense, it necessarily follows that we must live for God. We belong wholly to him, and any use of our life in any other service—is sacrilege, as if one would rob the very altar of its smoking sacrifice to gratify one's common hunger. Our hands are God's—and can fitly be used only in doing his work; our feet are God's—and may be employed only in walking in his ways and running his errands; our lips are God's—and should speak words only that honor him and bless others; our hearts are God's—and must not be profaned by thoughts and affections that are not pure.

True holiness is no vague sentiment—it is intensely practical. It is nothing less than the bringing of every thought and feeling and act—into obedience to Christ! We are quite in danger of leaving out the element of obedience, in our conception of Christian living. If we do this, our religion loses its strength and grandeur—and becomes weak, nerveless and forceless. As one has said, "Let us be careful how we cull from the gospel such portions as are congenial, forge God's signature to the excerpt, and apply the fiction as a delusive drug to our violated consciences. The beauties and graces of the gospel are all flung upon a background of requirements as inflexible as Sinai, and the granite. Christ built even his glory, out of obedience."

Now, it is the weekday life, under the stress and the strain of temptation; far more than the Sunday life, beneath the gentle warmth of its favoring conditions—which really puts our religion to the test and shows what power there is in it. Not how well we sing and pray, nor how devoutly we worship on Sunday—but how well we live, how loyally we obey the commandments, how faithfully we attend to all our duties, on the other days—tell what manner of Christians we really are.

Nor can we be faithful toward God and ignore our human relationships. "It is impossible," says one, "for us to live in fellowship with God—without holiness in all the duties of life. These things act and react on each other. Without a diligent and faithful obedience to the calls and claims of others upon us—our religious profession is simply dead! We cannot go from strife, breaches and angry words—to God. Selfishness, an imperious will, lack of sympathy with the sufferings and sorrows of other men, neglect of charitable offices, suspicions, hard censures of those with whom our lot is cast—will miserably darken our own hearts, and hide the face of God from us."

The one word which defines and describes all relative duties is the word LOVE. Many people understand religion to include honesty, truthfulness, justice, purity—but do not think of it as including just as peremptorily: unselfishness, thoughtfulness, kindness, patience, good temper and courtesy. We are commanded to put away lying—but in the same paragraph, and with equal urgency, we are enjoined to let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil-speaking be put away, and to be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another. The law of love in all its most delicate shades of application— to attitude, word, act and manner—is the law of all true Christian living.

Thus the religion of the Sunday, like a precious perfume, must pervade all the days of the week. Its spirit of holiness and reverence, must flow down into all the paths of every-day life. Its voices of hope and joy, must become inspirations in all our cares and toils. Its exhortations, must be the guide of hand and foot and finger, in the midst of all trial and temptation. Its words of comfort,, must be as lamps to burn and shine in sick-rooms and in the chambers of sorrow. Its visions of spiritual beauty, must be translated into reality in conduct and character.

So, in all our life, the Sunday's lessons—must be lived out during the week! The patterns of heavenly things shown in the mount—must be wrought into forms of reality and act and disposition and character. The love of God which so warms our hearts as we think of it—must flow out in love to men. We must be Christians on Monday—as well as on the Sunday. Our religion must touch every part of our life—and transform it all into the beauty of holiness.


I pray I will not forget, not even for a moment, that I am living in the Sacred, under the Shadow of the Almighty,

 Have a most blessed Lord's Day!


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Lessons from the Furnace - Prayer-

 23.7.11



This past week has been the most difficult season in my life; as you know our good, wise and sovereign God had very different plans that those we had for my precious niece, Erica Faith who died in labor with apparently no reason.

My friend Elizabeth has said it well,
"God needs no editor: the Author of Life has penned the preface, acknowledgments, introduction, setting, theme, characters, suspense, conflict, tragedies, triumphs, plot twists, and conflict resolution on first draft."

We have cried with our face to the ground, and in the midst of our tears and sobbing, we have quietly learned many things.

One of the many things I have learned, is how valuable it is the prayer of the saints. How comforting it is to know that saints are interceding for you when you are walking through the Valley of Death; when Dragons spout fire against you, and the Shadows of Darkness seem to be all around you.

I have cried, and thank God for each one of you, who have stand with us through this hard providence. Thank you with my whole heart.

But I have also asked the Lord forgiveness because so many times I have not stood in the gap with my fellow brothers and sisters who are walking through difficulties until they are able to see the light. Many times they have asked me to pray for them and I have certainly done so, three, four, maybe even more than five times... but then I move on. Now I see, that one or two hours of prayer are not enough; that when a sister asks you to keep her in your prayers, is because she needs a fellow Christian who is willing to help her carry the burden. O how we need to live a life of prayer! This is also part of what it means to live in the Sacred. We must live seeking God's face all day long, interceding with fervor for all the saints who are going through trials. The Valley of Death is dreadful indeed, and the prayers of the saints make it smoother.

"praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints..."  Ephesians 6:18 ESV
James Smith said,

"A real Christian has sympathy with all true believers. They are taken up into his heart, and are included in his prayers. For them he praises God, and for them he pleads with God. As one with Christ, he is one with them. As interested in Christ, he feels interested in them. They may be poor and needy, they may be oppressed and despised, they may be weak and feeble—but they excite his admiration, and draw forth his love."

I pray that God will make me a woman who intercedes for others with perseverance. That I won't fall asleep while others are crying in a sleepless night.

Samuel once said these words that have been in my heart these days,

"Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you..." I Samuel 12: 23 (read the context here)
 and J.R. Miller says concerning this verse,

"Perhaps we are not accustomed to think of praying for others in just this way, as a duty, the omission of which is a sin against God. We think of it as a privilege—but scarcely as a part of love's solemn duty. We are in danger of narrowing our prayers to ourselves and our own wants. We think of our own sorrows and trials, our own duties, our own work, our own spiritual growth, and too often do not look out of the window upon our friend's rough path or sore struggle. But selfishness in praying is one of the worst forms of selfishness. If ever love reaches its best and purest, it ought to be when we are standing before God."

and if I want you to call me your friend, I must remember that,

"Friendship without prayer lacks a vital quality. There is no other duty of friendship which rests upon us with deeper obligation, than this of intercession. We know that we sin both against God and against our friend, when we cease to show him kindness in word and deed. No kindnesses shown in act are so important and so essential a part of friendship, as prayer for our friend." J.R. Miller

Under His sun and by His grace, longing that He will find me persevering in prayer,


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A Psalm for the Day of Trouble

 17.7.11


Psalm 77

In the Day of Trouble I Seek the Lord

To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of Asaph.

1 I cry aloud to God,
aloud to God, and he will hear me.
2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
my soul refuses to be comforted.
3 When I remember God, I moan;
when I meditate, my spirit faints.
Selah

4 You hold my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
5 I consider the days of old,
the years long ago.
6 I said, "Let me remember my song in the night;
let me meditate in my heart."
Then my spirit made a diligent search:
7 "Will the Lord spurn forever,
and never again be favorable?
8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased?
Are his promises at an end for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he in anger shut up his compassion?"
Selah

10 Then I said, "I will appeal to this,
to the years of the right hand of the Most High."

11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your wonders of old.
12 I will ponder all your work,
and meditate on your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy.
What god is great like our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
you have made known your might among the peoples.
15 You with your arm redeemed your people,
the children of Jacob and Joseph.
Selah

16 When the waters saw you, O God,
when the waters saw you, they were afraid;
indeed, the deep trembled.
17 The clouds poured out water;
the skies gave forth thunder;
your arrows flashed on every side.
18 The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind;
your lightnings lighted up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was through the sea,
your path through the great waters;
yet your footprints were unseen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.


We are mourning the loss of my precious infant niece,  please remember us in your prayers as we grieve.

"God of all comfort, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, grant the consolations of your Holy Spirit to all comfortless and afflicted souls. Make us be rooted and grounded in faith, armed with the breastplate of Christ's righteousness, furnished with the helmet of an unwavering hope, and provided with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of Truth, by which we shall triumph over all enemies. Amen"

Reading the Psalms with Luther, Psalm 77

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How to Close the Day With God -Part 4-

 14.7.11

With this post I finish the series, How to Close the Day with God, adapted from Matthew Henry's book, A Method for Prayer.



An excerpt from An Evening Prayer for a Family:


"Most Holy, and blessed, and glorious Lord God, whose we are, and whom we are bound to serve; for, because thou madest us, and and not we ourselves, therefore we are not our own, but thine...

Thou art our Benefactor, the God that hast fed us, and kept us all our life unto this day. Having obtained help of God, we continue hitherto monuments of sparing mercy, and witness for thee that thou art gracious, that thou art God, and not man; for therefore it is that we are not cut off.

One day tells another, and one night certifies to another, that thou art good, and doest good, and never failest those who seek thee, and trust in thee. Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and of the evening to praise thee.

We confess we have sinned against thee; this day we have sinned and done foolishly: O GOD, thou knowest our foolishness, and our sins are not hid from thee; we misspend our time, we neglected our duty, we follow after vanities, and forsake our own mercies. We offend with our tongues: are we not carnal and walk as men, below Christians? Who can understand his errors? Cleanse us from our secret faults.

We pray thee give us repentance for our sins of daily infirmity, and make us duly sensible of the evil of them, and of the danger of them, and let the blood of Christ, thy Son, which cleanseth from all sin, cleanse us from it, that we may lie down to night at peace with God, and our souls may comfortably return to Him, and repose in Him as our rest.

Do us good by all the providences we are under, merciful or afflictive: give us grace to accommodate ourselves to them, and by all bring us near to thee, and make us fitter for thee.

We commit ourselves to thee this night, and desire to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Let the Lord be our habitation, and let our souls be at home in him.

Refresh our bodies, we pray thee, with quiet and comfortable rest, not to be disturbed with any distrustful disquieting cares and fears; but especially let our souls be refreshed with thy love, and the light of thy countenance and thy benignity, which is better than life.

When we awake, grant that we may be still with thee, and may remember thee upon our beds, and meditate upon thee in the night-watches, and may improve the silence and solitude of our retirements for communion with God and our own hearts; that when we are alone, we may not be alone, but God may be with us, and we with him.

And forasmuch as we are now brought one day nearer our end, Lord, enable us so to number our days, as that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Let us be reminded by our putting off our clothes and going to sleep in our beds, of putting off the body, sleeping the sleep of death, and making our bed in the darkness shortly, that we may be daily dying in expectation of it and preparing for our change, that when we come to die indeed, it may be no surprise or terror to us, but we may with comfort put off the body and resign the spirit, knowing whom we have trusted.

Do for us, we pray thee, abundantly above what we are able to ask or think, for the sake of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, who is the Lord our Righteousness. To him with the Father and the eternal Spirit, be glory and praise, now and for ever. Amen.

May you find rest in Him, the Prince of Peace, tonight,


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Related Articles:

How to Close the Day with God -Part 1-
How to Close the Day with God -Part 2-
How to Close the Day with God -Part 3-

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Destroying Idols in Our Heart

King Asa of Judah Destroying Idols by Françoise de Nomé

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21)

Calvin said it well: “Hence we may infer, that man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.”

That is you and I. Yes, you and I are not only busy cooking, and planning our homeschool year, and keeping a clean house, and helping our friends in need; we are not only busy with all the errands that make up our day to day life. We are, sad to say, busy forging idols in our hearts.

Idolatry is a sin, a very dangerous sin, which kills us, and draws out the sap of our lives little by little, if we don’t do something about it.


Keep reading at Desiring Virtue, where I am a guest blogger today...


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Desiring Virtue

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How to Close the Day With God -Part 3-

 13.7.11

Katie Lloyd Photography

It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
Psalm 127:2

"This duty of closing the day with God, and in good frame, I know not how better to open to you, than by going over the particulars in the text, in their order; and recommending to you David's example.

1. First, let us retire to lay us down: {we}shall lie down in the evening...and rest in the time appointed for rest; and not turn day into night, and night into day, as many do upon some ill account or other.

One rule for the closing of the day well, is to keep good hours: every thing is beautiful in its season. I have heard it said long since, and I beg leave repeat it now, that

Early to bed, and early to rise,
Is the way to be healthy, and wealthy, and wise.

We shall not take it for granted, that unless some necessary business, or some work of mercy, or some more than ordinary act of devotion, keep you beyond your usual time. And let us lay down with thankfulness to God, and with thoughts of dying; with penitent reflections upon the sins of the day; and with humble supplications for the mercies of the night.

2. Secondly, when we lay us down, our care and endeavor must be to lay us down in peace.

Let us lie down in peace with God; for without this there can be no peace at all... Dare not to sleep in that condition, in which thou darest not die.

3. Thirdly, having laid ourselves down in peace, we must compose ourselves to sleep. I will lay me down and sleep.

What good Master do we serve, that allows us time for sleep, and furnisheth us with conveniences for it, and makes it refreshing and reviving to us?

4. Fourthly, we must do all this in a believing dependence upon God and his power, providence and grace. Therefore I lay me down in peace, and compose myself to sleep, because Thou, Lord, makest me dwell in safety."
*Excerpt from Matthew Henry's, A Method for Prayer, Third Discourse (emphasis mine).



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Related Articles:

How to Close the Day with God -Part 1-
How to Close the Day with God -Part 2-
A Prayer for Tonight: Lord, Hear My Evening Supplications

Visit Katie Lloyd Photography shop here.


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A Prayer for Tonight -Lord, Hear My Evening Supplications-

 12.7.11



"Your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Most High: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." Luke 6:35

I will arise and go to my Father, and will say unto Him —

"MY FATHER, I would seek to end another day with You, looking up for Your promised blessing. How wondrous are the words, just read, from the lips of Your dear Son! You condescend not only to invite all to draw near to You in filial trust and confidence, but you call them "children," yes, "children of the Most High." Your kindness is, like Yourself, illimitable. An earthly father would long ago have disowned and disinherited me. But I listen to the amazing assurance — "He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil." Past evil and demerit and sin have not excluded me from hope of pardon, or involved the forfeiture of favor and love. You have "devised means by which Your banished one may not be expelled from Your presence." You are ever waiting to be gracious; not willing that any should perish, but that all should turn from their wickedness and live.

Anew would I wash, this evening, in the opened fountain. Lord, take away my unthankfulness, and attune my lips to the never-ceasing song of Your redeemed — "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift!" Deepen within me, a sense of my obligations to Christ for all that He has done and suffered on my behalf. May it be my habitual desire to love Him more and serve Him better — my soul a consecrated altar, and my life a living sacrifice"

I would thank You, too, for Your many temporal mercies, the many tokens of Your unmerited goodness in my daily lot. While other hearts and homes are clouded with sorrow, or saddened with poverty, or stricken with suffering — You have caused me to lie down by the green pastures, You have led me beside the still waters. Your goodness and mercy, like two guardian angels, are still following me, as they have followed me until now. I may well accept Your love and faithfulness in the past, as pledges and guarantees for the future. Blessed be Your name, that that future — the morrow — is unknown. Better still, that it is in Your hands; that all which concerns me and mine, is planned and ordered by You; and that You have promised strength for the day.

I pray for any who especially stand in need of my prayers: for those in the thick of the spiritual conflict, environed with many temptations; for those laid on couches of sickness and suffering; for those passing through the shadowed valley; for those mourning their "loved and lost." Make them, severally and individually, partakers of Your own everlasting consolation and good hope through grace.

Hear these my evening supplications; and enable me to close the day by uttering, with ever-growing reverence, the filial ascription — my Father.

"MY Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. May Your kingdom come. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."

A Book of Private Prayer for Day and Night by J.R. MacDuff (1890)

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From Anne's Kitchen to Yours - Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheescake-

I am so happy to introduce you to my dear friend Anne; a wonderful woman, who loves the Lord and her family; she is crazy about books, loves Latin, History, grammar and happens to travel a lot.

Thank you, Anne for sharing this delicious recipe with us today, my daughter will go crazy for it!



Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 T. unsalted butter, melted (It really needs to be unsalted)
4 (8-oz) blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 T. flour
½ c. sour cream
1 t. vanilla
15 Reese’s cups – chopped (I put them in the freezer first so they’re easier to chop)
more Reese’s cups for garnish

Mix graham cracker crumbs and melted butter together and press onto bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour, sour cream, and vanilla. Pour half of batter into crust-lined pan. Sprinkle chopped Reese’s on top. Pour remaining batter over the top.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 225 and bake for one hour. Let cool completely on baking rack.

***Immediately*** after removing from oven, I run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan. This keeps it from cracking as it cools. After it cools, chill overnight. Remove from pan, garnish, and serve.


 It has been great to have all these friends of the Doctrines in the Kitchen share these wonderful recipes with us! Thank you to each one of you!



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How to Close the Day With God -Part 2-

 11.7.11

Shiloh Photography

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

"A holy security is another blessed fruit of God's favour. Thou, Lord, makest me to dwell in safety, when the light of thy countenance shines upon me I am safe, and I know I am so, and am therefore easy, for with thy favour wilt thou compass me as with a shield (Ps. 5:12)...

Nothing is more dangerous than security in a sinful way, and men's crying peace, peace, to themselves while they continue under reigning power of a vain and carnal mind: O that the sinners that are at ease were made to tremble: Nothing is more foolish than a security built upon the world, and its promises, for they are all vanity and a lie; but nothing more reasonable in itself, or more advantageous to us, than for good people to build with assurance upon the promises of a good God, for those that keep in the way of duty, to be quiet from the fear of evil; as those that know no evil shall befall them, no real evil, no evil, but what shall be made to work for their good; as those that know, while they continue in allegiance to God as their king, they are under his protection...

God will speak peace to his people, to his saints; he will fill them with joy and peace in believing; his peace shall keep their hearts and minds; keep them safe, keep them calm.

As we must begin the day with God, and wait upon him all day, so we must endeavor to close it with Him."

An excerpt from Mathew Henry's; A Method for Prayer, Third Discourse.


My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:5-8




May His peace reign in us as we lie down and sleep this night.

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Related Articles:

How to Close the Day with God -Part 1-

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How to Close the Day With God -Part 1-

 10.7.11


I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep:
for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8

"If God lift up the light of his countenance upon us, as it fills us with a holy joy, it puts gladness into the heart more than they have whose corn and wine increaseth, so it fixed us in a holy rest, I will now lay me down and sleep. God is my God, and I am pleased, I am satisfied, I look no further, I desire no more, I dwell in safety: Or in confidence; while I walk in the light of the Lord, as I want no good, nor am I sensible of any deficiency, so I fear no evil, nor am I apprehensive of any danger. The Lord God is to me both a sun and a shield; a sun to enlighten and comfort me, a shield to protect me and defend me.

A holy serenity is one blessed fruit of God's favour; I will now lay me down in peace and sleep. While we are under God's displeasure, or in doubt concerning his favour, how can we have any enjoyment of ourselves! while this great concern is unsettled, the souls cannot but be unsatisfied. Hath God a controversy with thee? Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eye-lids, until thou hast got the controversy taken up; Go humble thyself, and make sure thy friend, thy best friend (Prov. 6:3)... Are thy sins pardoned? Hast thou interest in Christ's meditation? Doth God now in him accept thy works? Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thine wine with a merry heart (Eccl.9:7). Let this still every storm and command, and create a calm in thy soul.

Having God to be our God in covenant, we have enough, we have all; and though the gracious soul still desires more of God, it never desires more than God; in Him it reposeth itself with a perfect complacency; in him it is at home, it is at rest, if we be but satisfied of his loving kindness; abundantly satisfied: There is enough in this to satiate the weary soul, and to replenish every sorrowful soul (Jer. 31:25), to fill even the hungry with good things, with the best things; and being filled, they should be at rest, at rest for ever, and their sleep here should be sweet."

*Excerpt from Matthew Henry's, A Method for Prayer, Third Discourse. (emphasis mine)

Good night, my friends.


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Next Article in the Series:

How to Close the Day with God -Part 2-


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Sunday's Psalm -Psalm 96-


Psalm 96

Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!

Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity."

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.




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Summer Children's Art Gallery -Nino DeBarros-

 9.7.11

I am so happy to have Nino sharing with us today his art. He is a very talented young man (10 yo), who loves to play with his watercolors and know how to take advantage of those accidents that the water makes. I share with him the passion for watercolors.



Nino says,

This picture that I made was actually an accident. I was with my aunt in our kitchen playing around with watercolors when I splashed some blue watercolor onto my piece of paper. Then I spread the watercolors around, and I saw that I happened to make a wave.
Nino, thank you very much for sharing your gift with us today.

A godly man, Octavius Winslow, penned these words about the ocean and I am sure you will enjoy reading them today:

"You grand and beautiful old ocean! upon whose brow time has impressed no wrinkles--flowing on in your majesty and power, in your soundless depths and boundless reach--washing with your waves every shore--whitened with every sail, and bearing upon your bosom earth's costliest treasures! you are to me the image and the emblem of the ocean of DIVINE LOVE--the Triune love of God the Father, of God the Son, and of God the Holy Spirit--full, limitless, free--restoring a heaven forfeited, and extinguishing a hell deserved. And, as I tread your pearly shore, muse upon your vast expanse, and listen to your sweet music murmuring at my feet, you shall raise my thoughts to Him who made you, fixed your bounds, pencilled your dimples, fanned your wavelets, controls your rage, and bids you do His pleasure."

Blessings on your weekend, my dear friends.








Join the fun, submit your child's art work here.

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Two Giveaways. Two Books. Two facebook Pages.

 8.7.11

I wish I would be here today
Isn't this an amazing shot? I wish I could be there even now! I love Katie Lloyd 's Photography, she is very talented and I just love all the prints on her shop. You have seen her art featured here several times (and will still see it in the future), and I wish you to know that I have her permission to do so. Thanks Katie!

Our Friday looks pretty ordinary, with the exception that we are not eating home, but are planning to eat in a Mexican taco place that my children and their friends (our two hosts from the USA) really enjoy. And for those of you who doesn't know, we live in Mexico, so when I say a Mexican restaurant please, forget about the stereotype you have in mind. I am talking about great food here.

I still have to finish ordering the books for the new school year, and cleaning our school room. Let's see how much I can do today.  I really want to do this hanging book display for our little girl's books; I just wished my mom were not in Canada, so she could help me! (Yes, I know it is easy, at least it looks easy, but I must admit that the needle, the sawing machine and things like that are not my friends. I love projets that involve fabric and glue. Sorry to disappoint you.)

Tutorial here

Well, now to the exciting part of this post: We (Diane @Theology for Girls and I) are hosting a fun giveaway on The Doctrines in the Kitchen Facebook page in which I am giving away one of my favorite books:

Read description at Monergism Books


and on the new Theology for Girls Facebook Page, Diane is giving away another excellent commentary, that has blessed my soul (actually the one I have, was a gift from her!). Plus, you will be excited to know that the book will be signed by Robert Bucknell (who happens to be Diane's husband), the artist of the Spurgeon portrait on the cover.

Read more of the book here


OK, now the crazy part. How to enter? You must *Like* BOTH pages on Facebook and leave a comment under the one giveaway that interests you, saying that you would like to enter this giveaway. You can be interested in both, so feel free to leave a comment on both!

All this is fun, but I know that some of my faithful readers, friends, do not have a Facebook account, and I don't feel it is fair to leave you out; so IF YOU DON'T HAVE A FB ACCOUNT, you can still enter the giveaway of The Commentary on Esther and Ruth. Just leave a comment on this post saying that you will like to enter, and I will gladly throw your name in the hat.

Winners will be announced next Friday, July 15. 

Well, believe it or not I have not had coffee this morning so I will treat myself with some.

Under His sun and by His grace,



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An Open Letter to my Friend Diana -and to all who are considering homeschooling-

 7.7.11



My Dearest Diana,

I wish we could have time to sit and talk for hours over a cup of tea, about our homeschooling experiences. But, since a vast ocean separates us, you'll have to drink a cup of tea at 5:00 o'clock whilst I drink a cup of strong coffee in the morning.

You mentioned to me in a comment yesterday, when I wrote about how we homeschool not because we are stronger, that you would love to hear more about our experiences of home-schooling;  so I thought I would share some of our journey here, in the form of an open letter, because maybe, just maybe, there is someone else out there, who would like to hear about it too.

Yesterday I said that,  "I have learned some grace, and today I don't dare to speak against those who send their children to schools (either Christians or not), because as I see my children walking in the ways of the Lord I can not say that it is because "we have done all things right" that they are godly. No, we know that it is because it has pleased God to give our children a heart for Him. It is grace, all grace." So, why in the world did we choose to homeschool our children? Why I love to encourage my friends to do it? 

The answer is this: The reward of doing it is too great to let it go.




I will never trade all the wonderful moments that my children and I have lived together, all the moments reading on the couch, all the projects, and paintings; all the discoveries, the authors we have met together. The laughter, their "I did it!" look. A hug and a kiss when the multiplication tables are not easy to memorize, the words of forgiveness spoken, the tears and kisses. All growing side by side.

Our oldest son is leaving for college this summer, you know that, and as you can imagine my heart is heavy with the thought of it; however I just look behind and smile at all the memories we have built together; I am so happy and grateful that I have been there for him, with him, close to him all these past years. I have not wasted the minutes with him. What we have now is a strong relationship, and I give thanks to my God for it.

My dear Diana, we have chosen this journey, because we want to be there, not only to create beautiful memories, but because we want to teach them what a public school can't, and that it is that God, His Word, reigns supremely over all subjects. I remember the time when Isabel and I were reading the Iliad, and read the moment when Helen leaves her husband; she was so surprised; and even though she is tender in age, we talked about how dreadful sin can be. I perfectly remembered whispering thanks to God. In a public school, she might have read the same story, even from a better story teller that me, but to the many questions she had,  I had the Word of God ready to bring her to God's worldview.



Private Christian Schools (real Christian schools and not only nominal) are a great option too for many families who can't homeschool. We have decided, as you may recall, to enroll our oldest children  in an Online School, which has proved to be a huge blessing to us. We don't have in our country the option of co-ops, so for us this has been the perfect option.  The teachers are godly and the academics are rigorous, two things that we value. And of course, we also value the wonderful friendships that the Lord has brought to our lives through it; from our little one to my husband, we all love our friends in that wonderful community.

Now, homeschooling is not a "piece of cake" it involves hard work and lots of prayer. When people ask me what is the hardest thing about homeschooling; I always say: "Dealing with my flesh everyday" And it is true! If I lose my temper, it is not because they are not giving me the correct answer, it is simply because I am not exercising patience. So, yes, this journey has helped me grow in the Word, and has helped me see many areas of my life that need to be changed, many sins that need to be mortified. But at the same time, it has helped me see, as I wrote yesterday, that when I am weak He is always strong.

So, Diana, this is why I love homeschooling, and the reason why I would do it over and over again. I like this saying that I have, "Deciding to start homeschooling is tough, but thinking about quitting is impossible." And maybe, after all this,  you are asking, "Becky, what does your children say?" Well, they say they want to do it with their own children as well. That, my friend, is a great reward, don't you think?

My dear friend, it is my prayer that you and your husband will be led to the best option for your family; one that will bring Him glory.

Love you dearly,


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We Homeschool Not Because We are Stronger

 6.7.11



Challies has been talking about homeschooling, and it is always interesting for me, living in a country where homeschooling (Mexico) is practically non existent, to see from "afar" all the debates and divisions that this subject brings.

We are a passionate homeschooling family, and in the first years of our homeschooling journey I thought every Christian should homeschool their children, and I was hard on those who didn't; thank God I have learned some grace, today I don't dare to speak against those who send their children to schools (either Christians or not), because as I see my children walking in the ways of the Lord I can not say that it is because "we have done all things right" that they are godly. No, we know that it is because it has pleased God to give our children a heart for Him. It is grace, all grace. Homeschooling is not the way to God; nor the way to be saved, nor the way to secure that our children will grow in grace. Salvation belongs to the Lord, not to the homeschooling families.

We homeschool our children not because we are stronger; maybe it is because we are weaker. Maybe it is because we want to *do* something to ensure that our kids will walk upright. It is a great danger, if we think that because we are a homeschooling family, we will in turn, see godly results in our children. God forbid! It is not by what we do or not do, it is because it pleases Him to bring our children to Him.

I am not stronger because I am a homeschool mom. In fact, these past 10 years, I have seen in my own life how weak I am. How much I weary and wander. Teaching our children to walk in the ways of the Lord is a gigantic task, one not suitable for those who claim to be strong, but for those who are weak and dare to say "Lord, this seems impossible, how can I do this? Come, help me! I depend on you." 

I remember how our story began; our oldest (who is going to College this fall) was 8 years old, he was attending a private school (not Christian) and was a happy boy with many friends, and very good grades. But we were not happy with the things they were teaching him; so that summer my Beloved and I talked about homeschooling, we prayed, and cried. We did not know anything about homeschooling. There were no homeschool book fairs, or support groups or co-ops. We were two weak people asking God to help us raise our kids in His Word.

One night as I was crying and praying, the Lord reminded me of a passionate prayer of my youth: "Lord, use my life. I want to serve you full time. I want to change lives" I knew this was the answer to that prayer. So this weak couple, with trembling knees, began a journey that has become the most rewarding one; the most delightful one; the journey in which over and over again we have seen how when we are weak He is strong.

Because of His amazing grace,



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From Michelle's Kitchen to Yours -Breakfast Muffins-

 5.7.11

Michelle who blogs at Losing Michelle sent me this wonderful recipe for breakfast muffins to share with you; and as soon as I received it, I looked for the first opportunity to bake them for my family. The result: Big smiles and crumbs all over the table.



BREAKFAST MUFFINS
By Michelle Sneed

1 pound of sausage
1 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
1 can of cheddar cheese soup
3 cups of Biscuick
2 tbs of butter/margarine
3/4 cup of milk

Brown your sausage and drain.
Mix with shredded cheese and Bisquick.
Add butter, milk, and soup and stir.

Spoon into a greased muffin tin and bake approx. 20 minutes. Makes 24!

I usually bag up 12 for the week and throw twelve in the freezer to pull out on Sunday for church! Makes preparing for worship much easier!


NOTE:
In my country we can't find Bisquick, so I found this way to substitute it:


Biscuit Mix Substitute
For each 1 cup biscuit mix (like Bisquick) called for in a recipe, use 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening.

Happy baking!


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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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