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Gift Wrap Prayers for Your Husband

 31.1.12

Praying for our husband is a gift we can give him, a beautiful thing we can do every day. However, for me it seemed difficult at times because I always found myself praying the same prayer over and over again.



The best way to pray effectively is praying in accord with the Scriptures, praying the Word of God is the only way we know we are praying the way God wants us to pray; so I decided to try this little book to start praying more effectively for my husband:  Prayers of an Excellent Wife, by Andrew Case.

This book has helped me to pray in so many different ways that I had not prayed before for my husband based on the Scriptures. It has opened my heart to pray more specifically for things that I never used to pray. It has been a blessing to me.

One thing that I would like to make clear here, is that just like with any other of my favorite prayer books, I use these prayer companions as models, as mentors, as springboards to help me pray more effectively, using my own words.

Let us give our husband the gift of a praying wife behind him, every day, all days....

"O Triune God,
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
May You be to my husband his rock and his fortress and his deliverer, his God, his rock in whom he takes refuge, his shield, and the horn of his salvation, his stronghold. You alone are worthy to be praised.

By Your mercy bring him out into a broad place; rescue him, because You delight in him. Put all your rules before him, and may he never put your statutes away from him. For it is You who light his lamp; O  LORD my God, lighten his darkness. Make him abide in this precious promise: 'This GOD- His way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all those who take refuge in Him.'

Give him the shield of your Salvation, and with Your right hand support him, and with Your gentleness make him great. With Your perfect law, O LORD, revive his soul. With Your sure testimony make him wise. By Your right precepts cause his heart to rejoice. And may Your pure commandment enlighten his eyes.

Keep him, your servant, also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over him! Let the words of his mouth and the meditation of his heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 18 and 19)"

May His grace abound in us as we learn the privileges of being wives who constantly pray and intercede for their husband.









Get the Book:

You can download this book for your Kindle almost for free , or you can download the pdf (also free) here, (as well as other prayer books) at the author's website, His Magnificence.

On this series:

Gift Wrap Respect for Your Husband

 *******************

edit from the archives...



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Praying the Psalms -Psalm 63-

 29.1.12



Psalm 63

    A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.


1 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
   my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
   as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
   beholding your power and glory.
3 Because your steadfast love is better than life,
   my lips will praise you.
4 So I will bless you as long as I live;
   in your name I will lift up my hands.
 5 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
   and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
6 when I remember you upon my bed,
   and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
7 for you have been my help,
   and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
8 My soul clings to you;
   your right hand upholds me.
 9 But those who seek to destroy my life
   shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword;
   they shall be a portion for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
   all who swear by him shall exult,
   for the mouths of liars will be stopped. 



God, my God, sometimes it is your will to bring your people to a dry land. Sometimes coming to the desert means passing through trials, other times it means that we feel as if You were distant and we were forsaken.

What to do Lord, in times like this?

What to do when the heat is burning, the mind can't think clearly, the heart is weary and the eyes can't see clearly? What to do when You seem afar? Should we hide ourselves under a rock in the desert, and just wait with the face hidden between the hands until the fiery sand storm passes by?

David was there, in the desert, running away to save his life. He was weary in a land where his thirst couldn't be satisfied but there, in that desolate place he called on you. In the desert he lifted up his eyes and looked upon you in your Sanctuary and saw your power and glory. Jesus was also brought by Your Spirit to the desert, no water touched his lips for forty days, and yet in the driest land, where the devil met him and tempted him, He found strength and vigor in your Word. You alone satisfied Him.

Father, I don't ask that you won't take me to desert. I just pray that when you take me there, I will call upon Your Name, I will thirst for You; that my flesh won't fall into sin seeking to be satisfied with any other thing rather than You and your Word.

God, don't ever let me forget that your steadfast love is better than life. Better that breathing, better than all the beautiful moments I might live; better that the best gift it has pleased you to give me. Better than a song in the night, and times of prosperity. Better than all the kingdoms of this world, better than all those things that promise me satisfaction but draw me far away from You.

Even when the winds blow hard against me, when the sand storm won't let me open my eyes, I ask you, God, my God, lift my head and let me see your power and glory. Even when my eyes are cracking from lack of water and my mouth doesn't find a way to pronounce a word because its dry, even then, let me sing your praise.

Lord, I will bless you as long as I live. I will, not because of my will power; not because I try hard, but because You have promised that nothing, not even the most dreadful deserts will be able to separate me from your perfect Love.

Thank you for hope, thank you because You don't keep your people forever in the desert land. You always bring us to a time of feasting and rejoicing; a time when our soul eats at your table and is always satisfied. Thank you because you always provide times when our lips can't contain your praises. When joy overflows, and gladness is our companion.

Night comes, always. A gift from Your hand that we may rest and think, and meditate on your Word and in all we have said and done. Night is a gift from you always. In the times of desolation as well as in the times of prosperity, night comes and we come to our bed and You are there.  And no matter, Lord, in which season of my life I am in the night, I always see how You have been my constant help. How you have kept me and my children in the shadow of your wings. 

I cling to you, my God. I cling to you as much as a woman clings to her man; as much as much as a the baby to her nursing Mom. I cling to you in the desert and in the land in which honey and milk overflows. In both places I need you or I die. Uphold me with Your right hand. Sustain me when I am weak, hold me tight when I am fainting.  Hold me with Your mighty hand when temptation comes, when the devil tempts me.  Give me victory and fill my mouth with your praises, that I may rejoice in You and be satisfied in You alone, my God and King.

Amen



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A Song That Makes Me Close My Eyes When I Listen -Cara a Cara by Marcos Vidal-

 27.1.12

Marcos Vidal has composed some of my all time favorite songs. He is an wonderful Spanish musician and the words to his songs are incredibly rich. I  can just listen to some of his songs over and over again without getting tired and then, in a minute, I find myself crying.

I have tried to find the lyrics to some of his songs in English to share with you, but I have not had any success. So I have decided I would do this for you -and especially for my Spanish students who are a joy for me to teach- 








Solamente una palabra
Solamente una oración
Cuando llegue a tu presencia O, Señor
No me importa en que lugar
De la mesa me hagas sentar
O el color de mi corona
Si la llego a ganar

Only one word
Only one prayer
When I come to your presence O Lord
I don't mind which place
You want me to sit at your table,
Or the color of my crown...
if I even get to have one.

Solamente una palabra
Si es que aún me queda voz
y si logro articularla
en tu presencia.
no te quiero hacer preguntas
sólo una petición
y si puede ser a solas mucho mejor

Only one word,
If I still have voice
And only if I can only articulate it
in your presence.
I don't want to ask you questions,
Just bid you one thing,
And if it could be just you and I alone even better.

Sólo dejame mirarte cara a cara
Y perderme como un niño en tu mirada
Y que pase mucho tiempo
Y que nadie diga nada
Porque estoy viendo al maestro cara a cara
Que se ahogue mi recuerdo en tu mirada
Quiero amarte en el silencio y sin palabras
Y que pase mucho tiempo y que nadie diga nada
Sólo dejame mirarte cara a cara


Only let me behold you face to face,
And get lost like a child in your gaze.
And that time won't stop,
Not one saying anything
Because I am beholding my Master face to face.
Let my memories be drawned in your gaze,
I want to love you in silence and without saying any word.
And that time won't stop,
Not one saying anything
Only let me behold you face to face.



Solamente una palabra
Solamente una oración
Cuando llegue a tu presencia O, Señor
No me importa en que lugar
De la mesa me hagas sentar
O el color de mi corona si la llego a ganar
Sólo dejame mirarte cara a cara
Aunque caiga derretido en tu mirada
Derrotado y desde el suelo
Tembloroso y sin aliento
Aún te seguiré mirando,  mi Maestro
Cuando caiga ante tus plantas de rodillas,
Déjame llorar pegado a tus heridas,
Y que pase mucho tiempo y que nadie me lo impida
Que he esperado este momento toda mi vida



Only one word
Only one prayer
When I come into your presence O, Lord.
mind which place you want me to sit at you table,
Or the color of my crown if I ever get one,
Only let me see you face to face
Broken and from the ground,
trembling and without breath,
I will still be beholding you, my Master.
When I fall on my knees before your feet,
Let me cry holding your wounds,
And that time won't stop,
And that no one would stop me,
'Cause I have been waiting for this moment all my life.



Longing for the day in which my eyes will behold His,

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Memorize by Heart, Live by It -An Introduction to Titus-

 26.1.12



My Moleskine is ready. I am ready. I want to hide these words in my heart, and chew them, and be transformed by them, and be mastered by them.

Are you planning on joining us? May I suggest you two things to help you be ready -besides having your PDF files printed and ready to go; having a Bible commentary ready,  and a journal to copy the Epistle-?

1. Read Titus from beginning to end once this week -in one sitting- and once next week (Our project officially starts on the Lord's Day February 5).

2. Read the introduction to the book. (This week I am reading from the Introduction of the ESV Study Bible to the Epistle of Titus)

"The theme of Titus is the inseparable link between faith and practice, belief and behavior."

It is also interesting to find out how Paul referred to Titus in other Epistles, consider for example these two verses:

Titus was a comforter:

"For even when we came into Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were afflicted at every turn—fighting without and fear within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,  and not only by his coming but also by the comfort with which he was comforted by you, as he told us of your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced still more. " 2Cor. 7:5-7
Titus had a compassionate heart and was willing to serve the Church.

"As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.”  But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord." 2 Cor. 8: 15-17


I can't but smile at these words after considering certain words of phrases that we have dismissed from our vocabulary: "thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus."

UPDATE: I forgot earlier to include this quote from J.I. Packer's book, A Quest for Godliness; The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life


"Before and after you read the Scripture', says Baxter, 'pray earnestly that the Spirit which did indite it, may expound  it to you, and lead you into the truth.'

Also, Scriptures teaches us our duty. Its instruction is for practice. It must be studied, therefore, for the purpose of setting our lives in order. And God will only prosper our study if we continually exercise ourselves to live by what we learn. Then our knowledge will deepen and expand; but otherwise it will run out into sterile verbiage and mental error...

He who would interpret Scripture aright, therefore, must be a man of reverent, humble, prayerful, teachable and obedient spirit; otherwise, however tightly his mind may be 'stuffed with notions', he will never reach any understanding of spiritual realities"



Now is your turn; search the Scriptures and find more about Titus and his partnership with Paul.


Coffee is awaiting as well as a day with 24 hours to do what God has prepared for me to do. Have a most blessed day, my friends!


Under His shadow,



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Clinging to Christ's Word

 25.1.12

One of my favorite authors, Octavius Winslow (1860) said,


"Oh, cling to Christ's Word, as the mariner to the plank, as the mother to her infant, yes, as a humble believer in that divine and gracious Savior who has said, "Him that comes unto me I will in no wise" literally, "I will never, no, never, cast out."


And when I don't know
what is the best advice to give, 
what to say or
how to pray;
I meditate on Christ's Word, 
I cling to it.
I repeat it to myself;
because O, how much I need to hear it, 
to drink from it, 
to be established on it.

There is no other way
to build my trust in Him,
unless I cling to His Word.


Source


Source


Source


Today cling to the Word of God, hold fast to it, embrace it and don't let it go...


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On Learning the Art of the Handwritten Note -and a Winner-

 24.1.12




The journey on the Vast Ocean of Words continues and I am so happy that I am not sailing alone. Thank you, dear Friends, for joining me. You make it even more special.

Among the books I have planned to read on this journey is the one I started reading yesterday evening with one of my daughters: The Art of the Handwritten Note; A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communication by Margaret Shepherd. We enjoyed the preface and the first chapter so much that I just thought I would love it if you and I could have the opportunity to sit on a beautiful café to talk about this. Oh how I would love it if I could read some parts of it aloud to you (Yes, and you would finally get to hear my Mexican accent!) But well, let us pretend we are there... a little street in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, and you are listening to me as I read to you...

"The handwritten note has so many virtues that you ought to reach for pen and paper first, before you pick up the phone or move the mouse. In contrast to a phone call, a handwritten note doesn't arrive demanding to be read when you've just sat down to dinner; it courteously lets you know who sent it even before you open it; you won't be annoyed by the sounds coming from the pens of compulsive note-writers at the next table in your favorite restaurant... And in contrast to e-mail, a handwritten note looks beautiful and feels personal; you won't get an electronic virus from opening a handwritten note nor find a list of last week's lamebrained jokes. You can still write a note by candlelight when your electricity fails, and mail your note while your server is down."


"When a handwritten note comes in the mail, people pay special attention to what it says. It announces beyond a doubt that the reader really matters to you. Your handwritten insures that your words will be read and thought about in a way that can't be mimicked by print, e-mail, or voice."



"Furthermore, the handwritten note does more than inspire the reader who reads it; it inspires the writer who writes it. Your words not only look better when you write them, but the act of writing them enables you to choose better words. You'll probably be pleasantly mysteriously surprised to find that the flowing line of pen and ink lets you express yourself in ways that key tapping just doesn't allow."

"A handwritten note is like dining by candlelight instead of flicking on the lights..."



What do you think? Do you have the habit of writing handwritten notes? Any thoughts on this?

*********************

As I promised, today I am announcing the winner of Douglas Wilson's Book, Wordsmithy. Are you ready?

The winner is:

SUZANNE!

Suzanne, please send me your mail address at dailyonmywaytoheaven at yahoo dot com; I would love to send you your book soon.


Have a joyous week and take the time write a few beautiful and thoughtful handwritten notes.

Always under His shadow,


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Grateful for Changes to an Unchangeable God

 23.1.12

"Holy Spirit, influence my heart, and tune my tongue, that I may gratefully give thanks unto the Lord, praising him not only with my lips — but with life. O for grace from God, that I may daily give thanks to God, and speak of his goodness, and celebrate his mercy, in every possible way!" James Smith (1858)


1475. I am filled with gratitude to my Unchangeable God because in the different seasons of our lives, through all the daily changes that happen as our children grow and as we become, in a sense, only spectators of what the Lord is doing in their lives, we can trust that His plans for them are unchanging.




1476. I am grateful for those songs that you can sing all day long, over and over again (and children that just smile at you... and by now also know the words for the songs by heart)

1477. Surprises.

1478. Friends over for lunch.

1479. Healthy parents.

1480. Sunlight coming through my window as I read my Bible.

1481. The expectation of doing this.

1482. The best comfort food ever (and always satisfying).

1483. These words spoken by one of my dearest friends, "You become afraid of the future, only when you start trying to look beyond today" So true. Didn't Jesus said it too: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."?

1484. A mid-term exam week over.

1485. Long conversations and longer hugs.

1486. Our family devotional book: We Shall See God

1487. That He hears me and hides me under His wings.

1488. My life, how He has changed me and how He has given me the desire to "daily give thanks, and speak of his goodness, and celebrate his mercy, in every possible way!"


Under His sun and by His grace,



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Praying the Psalms -Psalm 17-

 22.1.12

@Shiloh Photography



Psalm 17
A Prayer of David.

Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
From your presence let my vindication come!
Let your eyes behold the right!

God of Mercies, how I thank you that your mercies are new every morning,
that I can come to you, before the Holy, Holy, Holy,
through the blood of the Lamb.
Thank you for Jesus, 
Thank you, because if what He has done  for me,
you turn your ear and hear my cry.
Thank you because you turn your ear ti my prayers.
Lord, cleanse my lips.
You have cleansed me, and that is a miracle!
That with your eyes you see not my sin, 
but the righteousness of Christ in me...
O Lord, there are no words to express my gratitude.


You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.

Thank you for Jesus. My Lord and Saviour,
the only One who has never sinned,
who when in the midst of a heavy suffering,
did not opened his mouth to sin!
Father, forgive me, forgive those hidden sins in me,
and teach me, 
and help me.

You have visited me at night, 
in my bed, you have reminded me of your Word 
that pierces the hearts of men.
Your Spirit has stirred up my conscience, 
Help me to hold fast to your paths,
Help my feet not to slip.


I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me; hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O Savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.

God, what a wonderful thing this is,
that I can call upon you and know that you will answer me!
father, incline your ear to me;
hear my words.
Wondrously show your steadfast love,
to me, to my husband,
to my children, to my children's friends.
Stretch your hand and save us from our sins;
stretch you hand and hold our lives...


Keep me as the apple of your eye;
hide me in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked who do me violence,
my deadly enemies who surround me.

Father keep me, keep my family, your Church;
keep us as the apple of your eye.
Hide us, hide us, hide us,
in the shadow of your wings,
from the wicked, 
the temptations of our heart,
the lust of the flesh,
the desires that are not according to You.
O God, hide us under your wings,
that we may be safe,
and find perfect contentment there.

They close their hearts to pity;
with their mouths they speak arrogantly.
They have now surrounded our steps;
they set their eyes to cast us to the ground.
He is like a lion eager to tear,
as a young lion lurking in ambush.


Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him!
Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
from men by your hand, O LORD,
from men of the world whose portion is in this life.
You fill their womb with treasure;
they are satisfied with children,
and they leave their abundance to their infants.


Father, let me not forget my enemies,
those who have wronged me,
I pray for them.
I pray for those who are like lions,
trying to destroy your Church,
Father have mercy on them and save them.


As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness;
when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness. 

This promise, these verses,
Lord, how comforting they are.
To behold your face in righteousness,
to be satisfied,
to fight sin no more.
How I long for Heaven, for You!


In Jesus, my Righteousness,

Amen

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Three Ways to Keep Watching -Finding Delight in God's Word-

 21.1.12

Source 
Music by Laura Story


"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I Thessalonians 5: 16- 18
This week I found in the Scriptures three ways to keep watch, and to do the will of God in any circumstance (and just in case you are wondering what is God's will for your life, read the Bible verse above once more)

Rejoice always

Pray without ceasing

Give thanks in all circumstances


Seems so simple, doesn't it?

May we all learn to keep watch and do not sleep,


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Running the Race: On Memorizing Titus by Elizabeth Hankinks

 20.1.12


Elizabeth has been a good friend to me; we have worked together in encouraging one another to memorize the Scriptures for over a year now. Elizabeth has put a lot of effort into putting together the epistle of Titus, our first memory project of the year, in three PDF files for your convenience. I am very happy to have her as a guest today. Be encouraged and join us!


As I reflected upon our Philippians memorization project, I began to see that memorizing long portions of Scripture was much like running a race (a fitting metaphor, I think, because that is to what Paul compares our spiritual journey). I started out with some uncertainty as to whether or not I could complete such a large goal. However, I was also full of energy and excitement as we began. As we progressed, it began to feel like an uphill battle, constantly fighting the flesh. It was as though my mental “muscles” were burning with the strain of the “exercise”. I cried out to the Lord in anguish, “I cannot do this, but I know that this honors You. Please, help me!” It went on like that for some time...constantly crying out to Him to carry me along. Toward the end of the project, came another “burst of energy”...renewed vision, excitement, and commitment. Throughout the project, as we memorized each chapter, I was amazed at what God was allowing and enabling our minds to retain. At the conclusion of the project, I found myself simply astounded at His grace and the way that He carried me through. It was truly evident that we work because He is at work in us (Philippians 2:12-13).

I know that I should not have been amazed; He wants us to know His Word more than we want to know His Word, and He has given us His Holy Spirit to make this possible. He also knits us together with other believers who encourage us, pray for us, etc., especially when our strength and/or faith are weak. (Thank you, Becky!!! You have been a huge means of grace in my life through this endeavor!!) God does not promise that the race will come easily, but He is faithful!

In A Godward Life, John Piper writes: “I have never heard anyone say, ‘The really deep lessons of my life have come through times of ease and comfort.’ But I have heard strong saints say, ‘Every significant advance I have ever made in grasping the depths of God’s love and growing deep with him has come through suffering’ (pg. 287).

Truly, memorizing large portions of Scripture is not suffering...quite the contrary, but it does require much effort, at times. However, the rewards far outweigh the “cost”. Just as Scripture says, “...train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially those who believe” (1 Timothy 4:7b-10, ESV).

It is with this in mind that I pray that many of you will consider the benefits of memorizing Scripture and strive alongside us, setting your hope on the living God. We’ve compiled a booklet for those of you who wish to have something small to carry along with you throughout the day. (To allow maximum space for a readable font, the margins are rather narrow so many of you may have to check a box saying “Fit”, “Fit to Page”, “Fit to Size”, or something similar. You can find folding instructions to make the single printed page into a booklet at the PocketMod site.)

Additionally, if this is your first time attempting to memorize an extended portion of Scripture, you may find John Piper’s method (borrowed from Andy Davis’ booklet, “An Approach to Extended Memorization of Scripture) helpful. This is what was shared with us upon the commencement of our Philippians memorization project and has been a beneficial guide to me, personally.

Elizabeth

*********************

Click on each of the following links to download the PocketMod. (I, Becky, cut it and instead of folding it, I pasted it on my Moleskine. The size works beautifully too)

Titus Weeks 1- 3

Erratum:

Week 1 - verse 1: is missing "of the faith" after "for the sake" and before "of God's elect"

Week 3 - verse 15: is missing the word "but" after "nothing is pure" and before "both their minds"




Titus Weeks 4-6


Titus Weeks 7-9



Our general schedule, as we had announced last week, is as follows:

Week 1 ~ Titus 1:1-4
Week 2 ~ Titus 1:5-9
Week 3 ~ Titus 1:10-16
Week 4 ~ Titus 2: 1-6
Week 5 ~ Titus 2:7-10 (A short "grace" week for those who need to play catch up.)
Week 6 ~ Titus 2:11-15
Week 7 ~ Titus 3:1-7
Week 8 ~ Titus 3:8-11
Week 9 ~ Titus 3:12-15
To see more recommended resources on how to enrich your memorization time go here.

We would really love it if you could join us, it will be a blessing!



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Grilled Peaches and Figs Pizza

 18.1.12

Source
Sorry, don't keep looking, I don't have a nice photo for this yummy recipe. Actually let me tell you that a few months ago I got a book- that I am planning to read and eventually use- on how to photograph food, but it is still sitting on one of my bookshelves. I have not yet figured out how to multi-task cooking and photography. It is always the same, I remember about the picture just when we finished eating, and I don't think a plate with crumbs will make a good photo. So I ask you to bear with me and use your imagination. Believe me this is very yummy!


You will need your favorite pizza dough, and for each pizza:

2 large ripe, but not too soft, peaches (cut in thick slices)
3 firm figs (cut in fourths)
Parmigian cheese, the real thing and thinly sliced. (as much as your family likes)
5 slices of prosciutto or jamón serrano.
some fresh leaves of basil.
olive oil.
pressed garlic for the base.
tomato paste.

Don't forget to pre-heat the oven at 250ºC (yes, it is your turn to do the math here, unless you are Canadian or Mexican like myself) Consider that most recipes will ask you to put your pizza dough in the oven for about 10 mins. before putting all the toppings.

Now, in a large skillet in high flame, grill the peaches and figs until caramelized (be careful, do not overcook!), can you just imagine the flavor! Well, get your bottle of olive oil and drizzle a little bit over it. Remove from the flame and set apart.

Wendy Hollender artist
Spread tomato paste (not too much, I used only a little), garlic, some olive oil, the fruit, prosciutto, cheese, and basil (in that order) on top of your pizza (that by this time should be cooked somehow).

Bake for 15 mins or until cheese is soft. Real Parmigian cheese sliced won't melt like a Mozzarella, you want to keep that in mind.

Enjoy with a good glass of wine.

Life is a feast because God has set a table before His children; let us enjoy the good things He has provided for us!




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On Words Like Contemplation, Meditation, Thanksgiving, Religion and a Few More

 17.1.12



One of the many reasons I have decided to sail into the Vast Ocean of Words is that I would love it if we could be free again (like the Puritans, for example) to use words like contemplation, meditation, thanksgiving, religion, experience, emotion, hearing, silence, without being accused of promoting a false religion. I know, I know, context reigns, but let's be sincere here. Many today have come to the point that the moment they see such words, they stop reading and just label the author as a terrible mystic (and there you have it,  another forbidden word: mystic)

So yes, I will be brave and I will take the risk (today and in the near future) and will use those words to say, for example:

I am a religious person who loves to contemplate God's creation, and meditate on His Word in silence. (and no, I am not a Pantheist)I love it when I can hear God's voice speaking to me in His Word. The whisperings of the Holy Spirit through the day reminding me of a Bible verse,  a person to pray for, or a hymn to sing.

I love to give thanks, one thousand times to my God when I see the gay colors in nature, the rainbow across the sky, my husband and children. I love that God made sex for His glory and I love the marriage bed. I am amazed that God used the allegory of marriage as his favorite to describe our union with Christ.

The experiences I have lived are real, and so are the emotions. I don't ignore either of them, I face them, I deal with them. I bring them subject to the Word of God; I crucify those that oppose themselves against God's Word and at the same time I cherish those that have helped me grow more in the faith.

I am not ready to give up the use of these words. They are rich and God-given to us; and maybe it is time for us to redeem them instead of censuring them by locking them up in a dark dungeon. Instead of excommunicating them from our vocabulary, we could start using them, I am sure many times those are just the right words we are looking for.

And to follow the advice of the experts in the craft of writing, let us look at some etymological definitions:



Meditation c.1200, "contemplation; devout preoccupation; devotions, prayer," from L. meditationem (nom. meditatio), from pp. stem of meditari "to meditate, to think over, consider."

Contemplation c.1200, "religious musing," from O.Fr. contemplation or directly from L. contemplationem (nom. contemplatio) "act of looking at," from contemplat-, pp. stem of contemplari "to gaze attentively, observe," originally "to mark out a space for observation"

Thanksgiving 1530s, "the giving of thanks," from thanks (n.) + giving. The noun thanks is attested from mid-14c., from the verb thank. In the specific sense of "public celebration acknowledging divine favors"

Religion c.1200 "conduct indicating a belief in a divine power," from L. religionem (nom. religio) "respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods," in L.L. "monastic life" (5c.); according to Cicero, derived from relegere "go through again, read again," from re- "again" + legere "read" (see lecture). However, popular etymology among the later ancients (and many modern writers) connects it with religare "to bind fast" (see rely), via notion of "place an obligation on," or "bond between humans and gods." Another possible origin is religiens "careful," opposite of negligens. Meaning "particular system of faith" is recorded from c.1300.

Zinsser recommends in his book, On Writing Well, that one of the best ways to end a piece of writing is with a good quote, so my friends,  because I want to be a diligent student and this is my workbook, I'll close with a few words of Spurgeon,

"There is something exceedingly improving to the mind
in a contemplation of the Divinity--
It is a subject so vast,
that all our thoughts are lost in its immensity;
so deep, that our pride is drowned in its infinity.

Other subjects we can compass and grapple with--
in them we feel a kind of self-content,
and go our way with the thought, "Behold I am wise."

But when we come to this master-science,
finding that our plumb-line cannot sound its depth,
and that our eagle eye cannot see its height,
we turn away with the thought, that vain man would be
wise, but he is like a wild donkey's colt; and with the
solemn exclamation--
"I am but of yesterday, and know nothing."

No subject of contemplation will tend more to humble the
mind, than thoughts of God."

Grace upon grace,





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Please, take the time to read an excellent follow up to this conversation at Tried by Fire: Disarming the Gut Reaction

Trisha also wrote some wise words about "those dirty words" here.

Update: Diane at Theology for Girls has another great  post that goes hand in hand with all these: Isn't it Time that We Stop  Devouring One Another?


Painting by J.M.W Turner, The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up, 1839

You still have time to enter the giveaway of Douglas Wilson's book, Wordsmithy here.

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We Do Not Lose Heart

 16.1.12

I am still thinking on these verses in which I found such a great delight last week, and today I found out that Rachel has been pondering on them too. And look at what she made, isn't it pretty? Perfect to keep in a place to see all day.



Do not lose heart today, dear friends. His grace is sufficient to uphold us and renew our strength.

"Hast thou not known? 
Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth, 
fainteth not, neither is weary? 
There is no searching of his understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; 
and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, 
and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; 
they shall run, and not be weary; 
and they shall walk, and not faint."

Isaiah 40-28-31


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Praying the Psalms -Psalm 9: 1-2-

 15.1.12

@Melissa Deming printables. Used with permission

O Most High God, a week starts today and I pray, please give me the grace to cultivate a grateful heart. Let my thanks, each one of them, be heart felt. Help me not to say "Thank you, Lord for this or that", without really being thankful from the bottom of my heart.

Father, how beautiful it is to see that having a grateful heart towards you will naturally lead me to proclaim all your wonderful deeds, to bring glory to you. Let my children, my friends, my neighbors, my church family, the poor in the corner, let all of them hear from my lips how wonderful are your deeds among your people!

I am excited to start a new week, seven brand new days in which I can be glad and rejoice in you. Seven days in which I will keep my eyes open to see your mercies, all new, all wonderful, all good. Seven days in which I don't want to miss the opportunity to give you thanks with all my heart.

This Lord's Day I will open my mouth in the church, among the saints,  and I will sing the praises of your name, O MOST HIGH!

Amen



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Thanks to Melissa for giving me permission to use today's beautiful image.

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Finding Delight in God's Word - We Don't Lose Heart-

 14.1.12



This week during my Bible reading I read 2 Corinthians, and I was greatly encouraged to see that Paul used twice in this epistle the phrase, "we do not lose heart".

"But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart."

2 Corinthians 3: 16- 4:1 ESV

 In this first instance, we are reminded that we do not lose heart because it has pleased the Lord to set us free and to remove the veil from our eyes so that we see his glory. We do not lose heart because we know we are being transformed into the same image of Jesus. We do not lose heart because we know that our God is a merciful God.

In that, my friends,  I find great delight!


The second time Paul uses this phrase is here:


"Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

2 Corinthians 4: 13-18 ESV
Here we are reminded that we do not lose heart because we have an unshakable hope: we know that we will be resurrected and will be with Jesus in Heaven. We do not lose heart because we are grounded in the Word and live with our eyes fixed on the eternal things.

This is a truth that makes my heart sing.

Delighting in Him with you today,


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Memorize by Heart, Live by It -An Invitation to Memorize Titus-

 13.1.12


Elizabeth Hankins and I met when we memorized Philippians together with Tim Brister's group: P2R last year. After that big project, we journey together through the book of James, and let me tell you that the time we spent in those books, meditating on them daily for several weeks was life changing. I must admit, just to encourage you,  that even though I was able, by God's grace,  to persevere and finish both books,  I attempted to recite both of them to my sister this past Holiday and I couldn't do it without hesitating! From this I learned two lessons:

1. It doesn't matter. The time I spent digging the books, studying them, mediating on them was a time well spent. The Word of the Lord doesn't return void. Never.

2. I need to review more and more what I have already memorized because I really want to be able to recite those books fluently next time I see my sister.

Elizabeth and I are now ready to start a new memory project this year: the book of Titus, and we would love it if you decide to join us.

We think we should be able to memorize Titus by paragraphs (5-7 verses), however, there are a couple of paragraphs that will probably need to be divided into two sections. We are thinking that we can do it in nine weeks, which would have us finishing up around Easter Sunday.

The general schedule (that Elizabeth put together for us) is this:

Week 1 ~ Titus 1:1-4
Week 2 ~ Titus 1:5-9
Week 3 ~ Titus 1:10-16
Week 4 ~ Titus 2: 1-6
Week 5 ~ Titus 2:7-10 (A short "grace" week for those who need to play catch up.)
Week 6 ~ Titus 2:11-15
Week 7 ~ Titus 3:1-7
Week 8 ~ Titus 3:8-11
Week 9 ~ Titus 3:12-15


We will start on the Lord's Day, February 5, and God willing we'll finish on Easter Sunday, April 8. Sometime soon we'll be sharing a PDF for you to carry in your purse, car, pocket, etc. or maybe you want to cut it and paste it on a Moleskine.

If you want to join us I would really recommend you to get a good Bible commentary on Titus and a journal. Each week copy the weekly verses and jot down your notes from the commentary you are studying. This is one of my favorite parts of these memory projects.

You may want to check these resources:


From the archives of this blog: How to Memorize the Scriptures 

This photo shows my copy book (where I also jotted down the notes from the commentary I used), my journible and memory Moleskine that I used when memorizing Philippians.





I will be using this commentary through the project:
(Ligonier carries the paperback edition)


If you rather listen or read to some sermons consider these:

John Piper has a few sermons on Titus.

John MacArthur's sermons are found here.

C.H. Spurgeon's sermons are available here.



Have a most blessed day, my friends!

Oh wait!  I almost forgot to tell you about these beautiful -and free- printables that Melissa has made for you!



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Songs That Make Me Close My Eyes When I Listen

 12.1.12

My friend Kim wrote a few days ago a post with this title and I just loved it, don't you? So I asked her if she would let me use it at least once a month to share here some of the songs that make me close my eyes when I listen... she said yes, and I am happy to do it today.







Ligonier








Which songs make you close your eyes?


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Read All the Books in the Bible - A Little Bit of Encouragement-

 11.1.12



Have you chosen a Bible plan to follow this year? I am very, very happy with my reading plan because it allows me to have all the flexibility I love, and at the same time it helps me not to leave out books like Amos or Numbers. Sisters, no matter which Bible Reading plan you follow, I encourage you to put every effort to read all the Bible this year (or most of it!), not only the Psalms.

Today I am sharing the way I have learned to read those "difficult" books over at Desiring Virtue. Would you come over?


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Have you read about my journey into the vast Ocean of Words and entered your name for the giveaway of the book Wordsmithy by Douglas Wilson?



Desiring Virtue

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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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