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An Advent Lesson on Gratitude

 4.12.13

Some words from John Calvin to meditate on this season, which for us should be a season marked primarily with thanksgiving:

"For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation." Luke 1:49-50 
"If our hearts and minds were truly stirred by the thought of God's particular gifts and mercies to us, we would most certainly be led further, to the point where we would praise him overall for his power and goodness." "When, however, we are dealing with God, thee is nothing about Him which does not humble us in the presence of his transcendent majesty, and which does not testify in some way to his glory. His power, wisdom, infinite kindness, and righteousness are brilliantly displayed both in heaven and on earth. God's name will always be holy. Only our ingratitude stops us giving the honour he deserves, and our ingratitude will not go unpunished."
"All of us, I repeat, must not only praise God for the good things he has given us and for the blessings he has poured out on us; we must also take a longer view, and observe the evidence of his kindness on every hand, so that our mouth may always be open to glorify him. This should also be the mark of our common unity. We prove that we are true members of the church when we rejoice in our neighbor's prosperity, just as we ought to show sympathy when they suffer trouble. For whoever rejoices in another's prosperity is at the same time led to glorify God. This is the proper way to apply Paul's injunction in the first chapter of 2 Corinthians: 'Let thanks from many lips be given to God when good is done to any of his servants.' "

"We can thus be sure that God's goodness is always open to us, and that He will not cease to guide us both in life and death, until he has accomplished our salvation. This is because God cannot be defeated. his purpose is constant: always he continues to do good for us, for his generosity knows no bounds, and his gifts and graces are without repentance, as Paul assures us in the eleventh chapter of Romans.

In order to share in God's gifts, we must first begin with the promise he holds out to us. We must lay hold of it by faith, and allow it to take firm root within us. For only through faith can we remain obedient to God and walk in his fear... The fear of God which Mary speaks about here is the fear that keeps covenant with God."

"The fact that God takes and chooses instruments at will does not undermine our claim that it is he who does all things. We humans, however, are so wicked, that whenever we see lesser means operating we assume that God is idle in heaven! And we are so mindless that when our hunger is fully satisfied by the bread that comes from the earth, we do not have the wit or wisdom to look up and give God thanks!"

May we be drawn to walk this Advent season with wide-open eyes and grateful hearts. This is the only response for all of those who have seen Him, the Son of God, in the Garden of Eden, in the Wilderness, in Bethlehem, on the Cross and in our daily lives reigning with glory.

Peace, 



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The Fool Says in His Heart there Is No Christmas

 3.12.13

The Simple Man says in his heart,

Peace!

Joy!

Hope!

Believe!

And buys a Tree and
decorates the halls,
and wraps gifts,
and plans a meal.

But his words, 
his coming and going are all empty.
His house shines with a thousand  lights,
but his heart is darkened with a thousand sins.

How can one possible
proclaim Peace and Joy without Christ?
How can you have true Hope,
if you just believe and try by all means to leave God,
the object of our faith, out?

The Fool says in his heart,
"There is no God!"
The fool says in his heart,
"There is no Christmas"
For Christmas without Christ is

Peaceless.

Joyless.

Hopeless.

If your Believe lacks the direct object: God,
then your believe is futile.

The Peace we proclaim this season,
is the Peace that is only found when
Jesus, God Incarnate, comes and
breaks us down and we fall on our knees,
and with a repentant heart we pray,
and He hears us and makes Peace with us.

The Joy we proclaim this season,
is the Joy that never fails because it is grounded
in the God who has come,
and has conquered death
and sin,
and gives Life Everlasting.

The Hope we proclaim this season,
is the Hope that is anchored in God's Word,
and not in empty wishes,
in vain thoughts.
It is a Hope that will never
disappoint us,
but will walk us all the way through valleys and hills.

Believe, yes, but believe in God,
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Believe in Him who became man,
and humbled himself unto death,
and death on the cross.

Believe in Him, who is not longer in a tomb,
but is sited at the right hand of God
making intercession for us. 
Believe in Him who has the power to
give Life,
the One who gives us Living Water,
so that we may never thirst.

Believe in Jesus,
the Prince of Peace,
Our true, unshakable Hope,
The giver of Joy.

Believe in Him,
and then join us this Christmas,
and let us proclaim together,
so that all may hear:

Peace!

Joy!

Hope!

Believe in Christ!

Our Savior has come!

Alleluia!



©Jim LePage Art & Design






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An Advent Lesson on Friendship

 1.12.13

Source
As I was taking out the books we have for the season, I came across a favorite of mine: Songs of the Nativity: Selected Sermons on Luke 1&2 by John Calvin and decided that I wanted to re-read this Advent (I had not read it since 2010).

The first sermon corresponds to the passage of Luke 1:39-44 in which Mary rises after receiving the amazing news the angel brought to her, and goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth. As I read the passage and Calvin's comments I could not help but see how much we can learn here about godly friendships (I am aware that Mary and Elizabeth were not friends but cousins, however the principle is the same). When Elizabeth comes and hears what the Lord is doing in Mary's life she -filled with the Spirit of God- praises God and calls Mary blessed. She knows that God has chosen to give her cousin a greater gift, and she rejoices with her and praises God for that miracle.

If we have been born again, we have already been filled with the Holy Spirit, and that is what can make us be good friends to our sisters and brothers in Christ. It is because Jesus is in us that we can rejoice when we see the gifts our Father has bestowed upon our friends, and can honestly rise up and call them blessed.

Mary receives the not-ordinary-at-all news from the angel: she will be the one to bear the Son of God in her womb! And her first response once the angel departs is to run and seek her friend -and cousin- Elizabeth. Oh, how wonderful it is when the Lord gives us a blessing, an unexpected grace that we cannot keep silent about, and we just want to run to our closest friend and share the joy of that blessing with her. And what a comfort it is to know that our friend will certainly rejoice with us and will call us blessed.

I love that Calvin points that "whenever we speak about what God has done, we should strive to show how much we depend on him alone, and how all we have comes freely from his bountiful hand." We must never forget that, for if we do we might fall in the temptation of boasting and wanting our friends to see us and not our Father, the Giver of all the good things and gifts He has chosen to freely give us.

How much we still need to learn about how to be good friends to others. Sometimes, I think, it is easier to mourn with our friends in their losses and trials than to rejoice with them in their prosperity and victories. How much we need to learn from Elizabeth; she has her own miracle growing in her womb, and yet, she does not try to compare her gift with Mary's. Because she a woman filled with the Spirit of God, she rejoices with her and assures her one more time of the Word of God. She speaks God's promises to her friend and humbles herself as she rejoices to see how the Lord has dealt with both of them.

This season as we start to re-read the story of the Incarnation, it would do us well to remember that, as Calvin writes, the Spirit not also gives us different gifts but "works in each of us, sometimes more fully, sometimes less, in order to teach us that all things come from Him, and that on Him alone we depend."

Many times we respond in arrogance when we see how the Lord blesses our friends and secretly murmur and point to their many faults, but Calvin reminds us, "The fact that others might have faults should make us still more humble...To see the gifts which God has given to our fellow men ought to stir us up to greater zeal."

When we grow and really practice this "Elizabeth principle," when we learn to value God's gifts in our friends and we bless them and bless the One from whom all blessings flow, then this attitude "will help maintain unity and harmony among us, as we better learn to bear with one another... So a bond of peace and brotherhood exists whenever we make the most of the gifts God apportions those around us."


May this Advent be a season of seeing Him again in His Word, and seeing Him in the gifts He has freely given our friends,



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Friday Stuff (For the I-Am-Not-Going-to-the-Mall-Today-Kind-of-Women)

 29.11.13

Minimalist Baker Pumpkin Pie
 We are so grateful! We have had a wonderful time up here in Tennessee this week; our friends have opened their home and hearts to us in such a beautiful way that I honestly feel super spoiled. Not to mention that we have eaten the most amazing food (and just for the record, I am enjoying a slice of pumpkin pie and a cup of Wilbur Cocoa Breeze Blend coffee even now), and had spent so many bonding hours in the kitchen together that I think someone needs to write an ode to the Kitchen soon.

Now some Friday Stuff for those of you who chose to stay at home today instead of going into the craziness of a mall:

On Advent Reading:

There are so many good Advent companions nowadays that I won't even try to recommend you all of our favorites but here are a few of them:

 God Rest Ye Merry: Why Christmas Is the Foundation for Everything by Douglas Wilson


Some other free -and great- online readings for the season are these:

Good News of Great Joy by John Piper

Readings and Devotions for Advent, the Twelve Days of Christmas, and Epiphany


On Christmas Gifts: 

I have not bought one yet,  but hey! I already know how I want to wrap all my gifts! Hope that counts as being a good and on-time planner.

Here are some pretty gift tags that you may want to print -in case you are also hoping to be a good planner this year.

On Disappointments: 

The moment you reach page 167 of a book you are liking a lot and read the words the author -which is a woman- uses to start a paragraph: "A few times a year,  I officiate a wedding..." That, my friends,  is disappointing moment.  I won't lie, I still love the many words she has right, but I would be very careful when reading her books. All Truth is God's Truth, but all words to be true must be proved by Truth itself.

On Changes: 

They always come and make us grow. Changes stretch us, and help us see how much we still need to change ourselves.

Changes help us to be challenged, to put in practice what we say we believe, to humble ourselves and raise us up. We must have a heart willing to open the door to them and welcome them into our lives. God will use them for Hid glory and our good.

On Fake Bread:

I am humbled and grateful to be a guest on my friend Diana's blog. I am writing an exhortation to Pilgrims like me, who at times are tempted to eat fake bread...

"Remember this, dear Pilgrim, the food in exile, the food of self-righteousness, the bread made out of rocks, will never, never, satisfy us. It only feeds the idols of our hearts but never our soul. All bread made with our own efforts will always leave us empty, it never nourishes us, it will always kill us." Continue reading here.



Praying God will grant you a restful weekend, dear Friends,


Under His Sun and by His grace,


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Retro-Blogging (1st Time I do a Meme on my Blog)

 22.11.13

I miss blogging and I miss you, my dear readers (especially those who are not on FB). But it is OK, your life -and mine- has continued to go on happily with out any of my posts, and that is good. There is so much to read now, right?

But here I am, prompted by my friend Lisa and her idea to go back to the good ol' days of blogging in which there were no big rules on what to write and what not to write. And, Oh, especially to go back and re-build the community we had. Blogging "just because we enjoy the give-and-take, the community, the conversation" that is a good enough reason to open this space again.  So hopefully, and with no big aspirations at all, and no numbers (like Trisha said) to keep track of, but instead, keeping in mind all the good things and the good friends that come around in this, my little blogging world, I am back. Welcome again, my Friends!

So for the fun of it, and because it is Friday, and because I feel we need an ice-breaker, I will join Lisa in this Meme:

Here’s 7 things you may not know about me:

1. I generally don't like memes. I remember thinking to myself -more than once- that I would never do one on my blog (or FB).

2. I still have trouble deciding if I should use "in" or "on." See #1, I changed that "on"  before "my blog" three times. I am still unsure if I made the right choice (I am hoping that you one of the things you already know about me is that English is my second language).

3. The more I travel, the more I wish I could avoid planes and airports. I like window seats so that I can close the window and pretend that I am not flying.

4. I dream with having my own little Café shop-with a wonderful atmosphere, of course- in which I would serve the best breakfast in town (which of course would not be in Mexico City, because you all know we would love to move to some other place....).

5. I am an extrovert and sometimes I wish I would be an introvert. Maybe that is the reason why I LOVE to have introvert friends. I learn so much from them!

6. I don't have a favorite color, or restaurant, or kind of food, or book, or anything! My little one (9yo) has learned to ask me, "Mom, what is your favorite color *today*?"

7. I love Ann Voskamp and I apologized to her for the words I spoke -and wrote- that were harsh and graceless. There, I said it. So if you see me linking to her blog now and then, please don't think that I have abandoned the Reformed faith :) As with the rest of my fellow brothers and sisters, Ann and I don't always agree, but we continually sharpen and encourage each other to live a holy life before God, and that is a blessing.

So, here you go, this was fun and I am happy to be back.


Thanks, Lisa!


Under His Sun and by His grace,



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How Do You Serve Warm Bread?

 27.9.13



You might be familiar with the setting: four moms waiting for their girls' dancing class to be over while chatting about many trivial things. So, yes, I was there, except that the conversation was not trivial this time; the Lord had answered my prayer and He had opened a door for me to start sharing the gospel with them (one of them, a very nice hardcore atheist).

After many questions and many answers, I told them how the Gospel, the Kingdom of God, is like bread coming out of the oven and served with butter and honey on top, that for me that was an excellent way to describe it. They smiled, and one of them, the one who knew many "Christians" already looked at me and said, "I have never heard the Christian life, the gospel, described that way, with such an excitement, with such joy. But now I am thinking that many do not want to take that warm slice of bread with butter and honey because the hand that is offering it is so dirty, so filthy that you don't dare to touch it, no matter how good and delicious the bread might be."

I pray that as we have these ladies and their families over in our home in the weeks to come, as we open our lives before them, as we serve them, as we converse, as we extend our hands with the Gospel towards them, they will see clean hands reaching out to them. I pray they will have eyes to see how our hands and hearts have been cleansed by the Gospel, and then they too will take the Bread and eat, and have Life.

"Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." John 6:35

"Scripture teaches us that the gospel must be preached to creation, and declared to every nation. From this, some have falsely assumed that in between our sermons and declarations the gospel must be absent. But the gospel is always present because the Spirit is present around our tables, in our homes, and the Spirit is present because Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father. The Spirit fills the room with fumes, and gospel preaching flicks the lighter." Grace Agenda Conference: Gospel Presence

Under His and by His grace,



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Intrusive Grace

 27.7.13



Grace! We call for it,
We say we need it, 
And at times we invoke her,
As if we were
Calling for a bird's magic song
When we are called to
Repent and change,
But choose not.


Grace! We hide behind this word
All of our unrepentant sins,
All our dirty jokes,
Our open trespasses.
The limits we've
Intentionally broken and
We expect -demand- the rest of our
Brothers and sisters,
To love us.

Can't they see,
Can't they hear that we are
Saying "Grace"?
Grace!

Grace! We call for it
We say we need it
And at times it seems
That we are calling for it
As if we were calling
Our tamed dog.
"Sit here! Go out!
Move! Stay!"

Grace! Four letters.
Four letters that we have abused.
A short word in which we have
Hidden our responsibility,
A powerful word that we have vandalized,
We have striped it from its meaning.
We have used to hide cowardly our sins,
We have made it our flag to ask for tolerance.

Grace!
   Grace!
      Oh, Grace!

And when Grace,
True Grace comes.
It's song is one of war.
It is never tamed.
It shatters our world.

Grace! True grace never asks
Permission to come in.
It is intrusive.
It rescues the one
      who is in chains.
It opens the eyes of he
      who loves darkness.
It gives life to the dead.

It is a light.
A bright light
That brings out all lies,
All bad habits,
And shameful behaviors.
All false reasonings,
And comfortable sins
Cannot hide from it.

 Grace! It brings us to our knees,
       to repentance.
It empowers us to fight
       the good fight against
       our flesh and sins.
 It is like a strong wind that blows
        where it wants.
        Nothing can stop it.

Grace!
  It is piercing.
     It is painful.
        It points us to our guilt
            And then to the Cross.

That is Grace.

Grace destroys,
    In order to build.









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Thankful on my 42th Birthday

 25.7.13

Waking up to a new day is always good, and waking up to a new year is such an incredible blessing. I am so very grateful!

My heart bursts as I meditate in the many ways God has blessed my life, and again I can only say with a grateful and humble heart, "Why me, God?"



Today I am grateful for....

The lessons He has taught me, the sweet and the bitter ones.

For the many times He has drawn me to repentance and has forgiven my trespasses.

I am grateful for the friends He has given me, each one different, yet everyone very special, hand-tailored to help me grow in Christ.

Having friends that are much wiser than I am, friends who have taught me through their example -and have encouraged me- to hold my tongue, to pray more, to be humble, to be quiet, to persevere, to speak the truth in love, to stand firm in the Truth when the easiest way would be to do otherwise. I am grateful for each friend who has been there to teach me, to mentor me, to help me become the woman I am now. Thank you for living your lives as open books that I can read and from whom I learn so much. I love you, each one of you.

I am grateful for the years I have been given to serve breakfast, and lunch, and dinner to my 4 children. But even more, I am grateful that God gave me His Word to nourish their souls each day.

Now two more of my children are leaving to college and I am so grateful to see them ready to embrace what lies ahead. I am grateful for every hug, every kiss, every tear, every conversation, every song sang, and every melody played. As I hold them tight and I swallow hard, and tears fall I am more than anything else, grateful. So grateful for each moment shared together.

I am so grateful that when they were little ones God delivered me from the two words that kill the beautiful moments: "Hurry up!" Oh, how grateful I am that by his Grace, we learned to slow down. In a sense, it does feels that Time did fly by rapidly, but I am grateful it didn't escape from our hands. We have lived fully and that is a blessing.

When I think of the many ways I have failed to fully trust and obey God, of the times I ignored the warnings He clearly showed me, I can only be grateful for the way He disciplined me and forgave me, and  held me. Oh how grateful I am that His sovereign hand never ceases to direct our ways even through our shortcomings!

That God is Sovereign overall, that He is in charge of my children's stories, that I can rest assured that He will finish the work He has begun in them makes me burst in gratitude.

I am so grateful for my Man. For the way he has loved me and chose me day after day. I am blessed to be his and to know that he is mine.

I am grateful for the times of waiting. For the times of quiet. How much they have helped me grow!

For friends that pray.

For songs in the night.

For my little one that looks up to me with a smile and holds me tight. How much I love her and how much we still have to share! I am grateful for each moment that awaits for us and for the grace to live fully each day and every opportunity we'll be given to make memories.

For the Church of Christ that knows no boundaries.

For bread in the oven and wine in the glasses, and friends and family to share it with.


God is good and His faithfulness endures forever.

To God be the glory!






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How Do You Tell His Story to Your Children?

 16.7.13



As I read Psalm 145 this morning I kept thinking of the amazing privilege that we have as parents to tell God's story to our children. We know that it is our responsibility before God to do so, but how are we doing that?

Go to Psalm 145 and meditate on it. Isn't it a great psalm that teaches us how are we to tell our children about God's wondrous works? This Psalm is a song of joy, of victory, of praise. I cannot imagine the Psalmist telling his children about the kingdom of God with a monotonous tone and making of that time the most boring of the day.

Consider for example, how would we speak to our children about "the might of God's awesome deeds" (v.6)? Do we get excited when we "pour forth the fame of His abundant goodness"  (v.7)? Do we sing aloud in the car, in the kitchen, at church of his righteousness (v.7)? 

When we tell them the good news that "the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love," when we tell them that "He is good to all, and his mercy is over all He has made" (v.8-9), do we get excited? Or do we repeat those amazing truths as something that is already known by all Christians?

I get so excited (and so very grateful!) when I read that God wants me to "speak of the glory of his kingdom and of His power to my children" (v.10-12). Oh, what an amazing privilege! I don't want to miss that opportunity! God has appointed us, parents, to make known to our children His mighty deeds (v. 11-12), all of them, those in the Bible, those in our lives, those in Church history, those in the community where He has placed us.

I want to tell my children over and over again that God's Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom. That the gift of growing up in the Covenant is a treasure, a privilege, a gift like no other. That throughout all generations His dominion endures. Oh, to tell them a thousand times "how faithful our God is in all his words and how kind He is in all his works! (v.13).

When the trials come I want to encourage them with God's word, I want to be ready to tell them how "the Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down." When times of hunger come, I want to encourage them with the Scriptures and remind them that He "gives food in due season," and that He is extremely generous and opens His hand and delights in satisfying the desires of those who fear him (v.15-16, 19).

What a privilege it is to be able to tell them that "the Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth!"  To share the gospel with the children that God gave me over the family table, in the car, in the porch is a delightful command from God. Isn't it amazing that God has purposed that from this mouth that many times speaks ungraceful words shall come the most amazing news! Oh,  to be the one that tells them that "the Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy." I want to be ready. I don't want to miss any of the opportunities that I have been given every day to do so.

"My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, 
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever." (v.21)



Under His Sun and by Grace,


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Homeschooling Conversations -Hundreds of Them-

 11.6.13


Photo credit: Lillian Rachel


Conversations about homeschooling, hundreds of them!- around coffee tables and the same questions over and over again (and I've wondered if there is a book out there entitled, "Questions to Ask a Homeschool Mom and her Children" that everyone has already read), and the looks, and the trying to persuade you to quit (for your children's sake, and your own sanity), and the words: socialization, find-time-for-yourself, tolerance, really? have all been present every time. And of course I learned the correct answer to each of those questions, actually I had two kind of answers for each question: the simple, for the lady waiting on line in the supermarket or for the couple across our table in a business banquet; and the long one, for the moms that were also waiting with me for the gymnastic training or music lessons to be over.

And people asked all these questions and many looked down at us, and kept their eyes on us (even though they pretended not to be spying into our lives) because they were, in a certain way, expecting us to fail in this life experiment. So let me take a minute to answer the real question behind all those hundreds questions: Why did you start doing this?  To have smarter kids? No way. To have well socialized kids? Nope. So that they would not be "contaminated by the world." Probably you haven't realized that sin dwells in the heart of a lovely child, of a dad, of a mom; there is absolutely no need to look for it outside your own home. Or maybe you homeschooled your kids to keep them from all heart-breaking stories? No, no.  The reason to  start  -and persevere- on this journey has to be one that is so strong that becomes part of who you are. And what reason is strong enough to make us wake up early every morning, and help us keep pressing on when our heart faints and the tears run, and we know we have failed, and we just don't know what lies ahead, but this: to bring up our children in the Covenant of God? Yes, yes! This is the real, strong reason behind the many books on the table, and the planners, and the board on the wall, and the mold growing in the cream-cheese in fridge (on purpose, of course). All these rhythms of life have become ours because we wanted -each day- to feed our children's souls with God's Word and hundreds of stories and we wanted to teach them to see the stars, and the ocean, and the Greeks, and the Aztecs, and Reubens, and Frida Khalo all through the light of the Scriptures. All through one lens: Truth. We wanted to live the daily, beautiful, God-given life together under God's grace, under His Covenant.

And we are grateful, so incredibly grateful for the work of the Spirit in each one of our children and for the many ways in which He has faithfully kept them in His Covenant. We rejoice in our loving God and in His ways. We can proclaim with a loud voice: God is indeed faithful! He delights to keep His covenant. He is a God that loves to save children, families, and bless the generations of the righteous.

It's already summer and this one will be different. We'll pack the suitcases of two of our children who will be moving  2626.54 miles away from home, and I already miss them but to know that they are walking in the Covenant of Grace is enough to make my heart swell with gladness and rest assured that God will finish what He started in them -in us, in me-

"Wisdom is an ambitious woman. In Proverbs 8 she describes how she’s a catch. The knowledge to get power, wealth, competence and circumspection is hers, yet she delights to teach from her home. When Jesus says, Wisdom is vindicated by her children, his statement assumes that Wisdom is a homeschooling mom." Dr. Michael Collender


Under His sun and by His grace,




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Searching for a Recipe: Best Thick, Soft, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies-

 7.6.13

Double Chocolate Chip Cookie
Yes, I have a big craving, and not, I am not pregnant. But I am searching for the perfect recipe for soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies that remain true to its name -even after they are not longer warm. I have tried several recipes but they all are thick, soft and chewy only when you eat them right from the oven, and then... hardness...

If I were in Moscow, Idaho, I wouldn't have that problem because I would buy all my cookies from the Sisters Cookies Company, which are amazing. But since I don't live there -and I can't order food from another country- and I love thick, soft, chewy cookies I need to find a recipe to bake right here in my own oven.

Now, by any chance do you happen to have the recipe that won't break my heart? ;) Would you share it us in the comments below? Maybe the link?


Thank you!


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A Summer Project (and Yes, I am Still Here)

 6.6.13

¡Hola!
 
A very short version of my June status: Sometimes you don't mean to take a Facebook or blogging  break, rather it just shows up and you don't fret about it but happily embrace it, and all is good.

Now Summer is here and lots of things will be going on here, and even though I am not planning on disappearing, I don't know how often I will be blogging here.

But...

My Daily Journey: Through My Lens
I have decided to take my camera once more and start a new photography project: A Summer Around the Table. Hopefully, and with the help of my Beloved and my daughter, I will learn more about how to take beautiful pictures of food and moments around the table (which if you have followed my blog for a while know by now how much I LOVE to share about the Family Table).

Blessings, sweet friends!


 


Under His sun and by His grace,


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In Grace, By Grace, and Under Grace -On Raising Our Children -

 24.5.13



My Man and I were talking in the car -trapped in traffic-, the tears and fears, and thousand questions were all there. It was 12 years ago, in that car, that we decided we were going to start homeschooling our children (three at the time). This was way too crazy for us to do, we personally didn't  know any family doing this, we had really no idea on how to start or if it would work or not. What about socialization? And paper work? All those questions -and many more- were in our minds -in our hearts-. But it seemed that we didn't have any other choice if we wanted to provide to our children an education that didn't divorce our beliefs with what they were being taught at school. Not one Christian school was around for us to even consider that as an option (even now, there are only a few "Christian schools" that are only "Christian" in name -we live in Mexico City, remember?).

I tucked my children in bed that night, Santiago was 8, Annie 6 and Nico 4 (Isabel only existed in the plans of God at that time). And I kissed them with the kind of kiss that is mingled with tears. We loved our children, and we knew we had to be purposely involved in their education if we wanted to bring them up in the Covenant. That night, in my dreams, the Lord reminded me of a prayer I had prayed over and over in my teenage years, "Lord, I want to serve you full time. I want to be used by you to change the world, to fight for Your Kingdom, to be a godly influence in the world, to reach many, to touch lives." And you know what? I remember how I cried so much every time I prayed this prayer because all the ideas I had about ministries that will change the world were always doors that were impossible to break through,  no matter how hard I tried to bring them down they remained closed. But this night was different. As the Lord reminded me of that prayer of my youth in my dreams, I knew He was graciously answering my prayer in a much unexpected way: I was given the opportunity to change the world, to fight for the Kingdom, to be a godly influence, to reach many, to touch lives by reaching to my children first.

Morning came and new mercies too. We still had a huge list of questions, fears, doubts, but the direction of the Lord for our family was clear. There was not turning back. And many new mornings came and each one brought new mercies with it.

Today classes are officially over at VPSA (one of the most important ways God answered to my fears!), and Annie and Nico (who decided to graduate earlier) finished highschool and will be joining Santiago in College next Fall. I look back now and cannot see anything but grace upon grace. Every day with them has been a day we started and finished in grace, by grace, and under grace. All our doubts and fears, and questions never conquered us, and not because we were too smart, or too disciplined, or too savvy, or had a great support group and many friends, nor even because we had the kind of faith that moves mountains. Oh no, we didn't! We conquered the doubts and fears, and questions because we knew we were small and our God big. We took everyday five little stones and faced the Giant face to face, knowing in whom we had put our trust.  We obeyed and we trusted in Him because the well of mercy and grace never dried up.

Today I look at them, two young men and a young lady. And I see how they love each other with genuine love, how they long to be always together, how they support one another, how they enjoy being with our little Isabel. I see them well grounded in love and in the faith. I see them too raising their eyes to the horizon, getting hold of their own Sword and ready to fight Giants and Dragons. They are arrows ready to pierce the enemy. They are blessed warriors who long to build families and have their own quivers filled with children and raise them up in the Covenant of Grace.

And I give thanks to my God, because isn't that the only natural response to a Grace-filled life?

Now I see Isabel, and think of how her journey will be very different. And because God hasn't changed His orders for us, we'll remain in this path. Again I have fears and doubts, and questions. Again I have tears in my eyes as I think of only having one child in our little homeschool. Again I think that this is crazy.  And yes, as my friend Ann says, I have "soul-amnesia."

This time the encouragement comes not in a dream. The Lord used my son, Santiago, to remind me of the goodness and faithfulness of our God. He recounts the blessings, the answer to our prayers. "Mom, remember how you had no idea how you were going to teach us Logic, and Rhetoric, and Physics, and Algebra? Remember, Mom, how God provided for us an online school -a brand new school at the time- that was clearly an answer to your prayers [and how we found that school! An old catalog handed to me by someone who didn't know anything about Classical Education and was given this catalog by a missionary when he left...]. Mom, remember this.... remember when... Remember, He will lead you now and show you what to do with Isabel. It will be good."

So I look back and recount His blessings. And it is amazing how looking back and remembering His goodness, His hand leading us every day, gives us hope for the day ahead. I cling to my Rock one more time and I hold my peace.

It has been a long way, and it was lived day by day, minute by minute. Fully there, and fully aware that if the Lord didn't build these children up, all we were doing was in vain. This has been a journey of grace and will continue to be so. I have messed things up many many times, I am a woman with many flaws. Many times I get behind in Math, and I'm not happy to do all the hands-on projects, and get -pretty ugly-mad- at them. But God, in spite of all my faults and shortcomings has heard my prayers and my cries and has given us grace to start each day, grace to continue, and grace to finish well. We have planted faithfully and have watered the seed of the Word in their hearts every day, all day, but God, and only God can make each seed grow and give fruit. And He has done so faithfully and I know He will continue to do it in this new stage of our family.

Today I remember this prayer of my youth, "Lord, I want to serve you full time. I want to be used by you to change the world, to fight for Your Kingdom, to be a godly influence in the world, to reach many, to touch lives."  And I see how God has answered it as I look at each one of our children.


Under His Sun and by His grace,



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Under the Shadow of His Wings

 14.5.13



 
Shadows


The shadow of the past,
The shadow of wrong decisions,
Shadows that hunt
In a spring day appear.

Shadows,
Bleak,
Gaunt,
Doleful,
Is there a way to hide from them?

A greater Shadow
As bright as the Sun?

A burning Shadow
Consuming all shame?

A Shadow that cures
All fears and tears?

Oh, that I may abide
Underneath it!

Under the Shadow of the Almighty,
I will make my refuge,
I will set my tent there
And not be moved.

The Lord hides His own
In the Shadow of His wings,
Until all storms of destruction
By the sound of His
Invincible voice 
are silenced to death.

No shadow can make me tremble
For under the Shadow of the Mighty God
I stand.
No Devil will dare to seek me
When under the Shadow of God The Father
I pray assured.




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Time to Do What the Lord Wills

 9.5.13


Photo Print by Laura Evans on Etsy

Some encouraging -and convicting- words from the pen of Elisabeth Elliot on the Discipline of Time:

"My times are in thy hand..." has become a part of my life. When the Lord has left me in agony of waiting over some decision, these words have put me a rest. His timing is always perfect, though it seldom seems to me, for my temperament longs for previews of coming attractions."

"There is always enough time to do the will of God. For that we can never say, "I don't have time." When we find ourselves frantic and frustrated, harried and harassed and "hassled," it is a sign that we are running on our own schedule, not on God's"

On our way too long to-do lists:

"But the lists must be reviewed daily with the Lord, asking Him to delete whatever is not on His list for us, so that before we go to bed it will be possible to say, "I have finished the work You gave me to do.""

Are you feeling frustrated and worried about your endless lists of things to accomplish and places to go? Maybe it will be a good idea to be reminded of these simple truths:

"Frustration is not the will of God. Of that we can be quite certain. There is time to do anything and everything that God wants us to do. Obedience fits smoothly into His given framework. One thing that most certainly will not fit into it is worry."

"Direct your time and energy into worry, and you will be deficient in things like singing with grace in your heart, praying with thanksgiving, listening to a child's account of his school day, inviting a lonely person to supper, sitting down to talk unhurriedly with wife or husband, writing a note to someone who needs it."

"People wish they had more leisure time. The problem is not too little of it, but too much of it poorly spent."

On our time spent with the Lord:

"Time management...begins for the Christian with time set aside for God. Other things cannot fall into a peaceful order if this is omitted."

All these quotes come from the book, Discipline: The Glad Surrender.



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The Family Table (Against a "Fast-Food" Kind of Theology of our Meals)

 7.5.13



“Every time you place a meal on the table with quiet satisfaction, you are sharing the joy of the Creator at the creation of the world when he declared everything good.” Tim Chester 

We all want to teach our children–and their friends–what the Christian life is and how we live it, but we may find ourselves asking, “How can we do this effectively?”

I say without a doubt: Let’s show them at the Family Table. Theology and Worldview are best taught around the Family Table when presented along with warm blueberry bread and bacon on the side. Yes. I am serious. It works.
 

Today is my turn to share about the importance of the Family Table over at Desiring Virtue. Please, come and read.







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Praying Ephesians - Ephesians 4:17-32-

 5.5.13

©Shiloh Photography


Father, I praise your name, your goodness, your mercy which lead us to repentance. Thank you, because you draw us to you and in drawing us to you You change us. Thank you for your Word, a double-edge sword, that pierces into our soul dividing darkness from light. I praise your steadfast love, my Lord, the one that pursues us until we are transformed!

My God, help me not to walk in the futility of my mind only let your light, your Truth shine in me, into my mind and heart delivering me from a darkened understanding. Oh, Father, how I pray that you will give me a humble heart willing at all times to admit and repent from all sin and error in me so that I may not grow a hardened and callous heart. Deliver me from all sensuality, from a greedy desire to to practice sinful habits that I have welcomed many times as "part of my natural way of being." Oh, that I may not forget, not for a moment, the way I have learned Christ! Father, I ask you today to help me put off daily my old self which is full of deceitful desires that draw me away from your Kingdom of Light. Give me discernment and a heart willing to obey what I know that the Holy Spirit is calling me to do; help me to be diligent in the habit of practicing discernment, first and foremost, within my own heart which is deceitful above all things. Create in me, day after day, a heart that is willing to put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Yes, in true righteousness and holiness, not in the one that is deceitful, fake, and raises from a puffed-up heart filled with nothing but filthy self-righteousness.

Help me, today, Father of Truth, to put away all kinds of falsehood: lies, slander, deception, flattery, gossip, and to be diligent in pursuing truth. Lord, that I may be true to the Word, true to myself, true to my convictions. That I may be willing at all times to speak the truth with my brothers and sisters remembering that we are indeed members one of another. Help me remember that spoken truth should always be spoken with the goal in mind to help each other grow in every way into the likeness of Christ.

Oh God, give me a quiet and gentle spirit, one that has learned to overcome the kind of anger that makes me sin. Father, that I may always have a heart whose natural response is to forgive and forgive, and forgive. Transform me daily in the light of your Word, that I may be in all areas of my life, different than the one I used to be when I did not know you nor the Gospel who transforms and gives life.

Deliver me, Lord, from all corrupt talking which only brings death and kindles enormous fires. Help me day after day, situation after situation, to speak -and write- only those words that are good to build up others, words that give grace to those who hear them. Help me to fill my heart with your Word even more, so that out of the abundance of my heart I may always speak.

Oh, Lord, deliver me from grieving your Holy Spirit by whom I have been sealed for the day of redemption! Deliver me from having deaf ears and blind eyes that won't let me hear and see where your Spirit is leading me. Deliver me, oh Lord! That all my life, even the deepest meditations of my heart may be pleasant to you.

God, only you, through the power of the resurrection and the power of the Holy Spirit within me can help me put away all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander, along with all malice. Only in you can I overcome sin, and I give you thanks for the provision you have made for us to conquer and not live in bondage of any kind of sin anymore. Let my life, Father, be characterized by kindness, by forgiveness never forgetting that God in Christ forgave me.

In Christ, my Redeemer who lives and reigns forever more,

Amen


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Humble Orthodoxy -Not a Review-

 4.5.13


Source -A Conversation with Josh Harris
 How can one possible write a review of a book that comes as an answer to your prayers? It is not possible.

One of my most insistent prayers this past year has been in form of a question, "God, how can I possible embrace Truth and don't miss loving my neighbor -the one who believes things contrary to your Word-? How can I possible do that in a way that will honor you and the Truth you have entrusted to your Church and not sin against you by not loving others?" 

Joshua Harris in his little book, Humble Orthodoxy, doesn't provide all the answers to this dilemma, but he does go to the heart of it. He boldly admonishes us with the Scripture against spiritual (orthodoxy) pride and reminds us that we have been called to embrace humility.

The message of this book cannot be ignored, nor the call to fall on our knees in prayer asking forgiveness for the times in which we have, "in the name of discernment," puffed ourselves up.

The moment I closed the book I made my mind to live by this resolution:

The more I disagree with someone, 
the more I will pray that the Lord will bless him. 
The more we disagree with each other, 
the more I will ask the Holy Spirit to help me be like Job, 
who prayed for his "friends" (who in reality only acted as his enemies), 
and not be an accuser like the Devil himself, 
but as Jesus who is always interceding for us.

All this is burning in my heart because I believe in a God that changes people -starting with me-. I believe in a merciful Father who hears our cries and brings us -each one of us- to repentance. I believe that even though we have been commanded to avoid those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that we have been taught in the Scriptures (1), we are also called to love them by interceding fervently for them -and for us too, so that we might be delivered from all spiritual pride and presumptuous attitudes which we all know are like the evil of idolatry (2)- I believe that if God has not "given-up" on me, I will never "give-up" on any person, but I will keep on praying with hope for them. God is good and God is able to save and open our eyes.

Some of the quotes that I underlined and circled, and pointed with arrows are these:

"Reading 2 Timothy reminds me of the sad reality of falsehood and lies. I wish I lived in a world where beliefs were like different flavors of ice-cream -no wrong answers, just different opinions. But that's not the world we live in. We live in a world in which God's true revelation and the smooth words of charlatans and false prophets compete for our attention..."

"Love for God and love for neighbor require us to oppose falsehood. There is nothing more unloving than to be silent in the face of lies that will ruin another person. Sometimes love demands that we say, "This philosophy, no matter how plausible or popular, is not true. This person, no matter how likable, gifted, or well intentioned, is teaching something that contradicts God's Word; therefore is untrue."

"When it comes to orthodoxy; it's not about you or me. The truth is not our truth; it comes from God. And the ability to uphold it with loving humility comes from him too."

"The message of Christian orthodoxy isn't that I'm right and someone else is wrong. It's that I'm wrong and yet God is filled me with grace. I am wrong, and yet God has made a way for me to be forgiven and accepted and loved for eternity. I am wrong, and yet God gave his Son, Jesus, to die in my place and receive my punishment. I am wrong, but through faith in Jesus, I can be made right before a holy God."


"Sound doctrine is vital. Godly example is essential. But they are not enough. Apart from humility of heart, we will be like Pharisees and will use the truth as a stick to beat other people over the head. And God will be dishonored in that. If we would honor God, we must represent truth humbly in our words, in our demeanor, and in our attitude."

"One test for whether we're pursuing humble orthodoxy is this question: Are we giving as much energy to obeying and being reformed by God's Word personally as we are to criticizing its detractors?"
And beside that quote I wrote this, "The spread of egalitarianism in the church concerns me and grieves me terribly. BUT, I must ask myself, am I living my role as a submissive wife in a way that faithfully represents the model of the church and Christ? Am I daily pressing on to become a godly wife who seeks to bring glory to God and honor and respect to my husband in all I do? Am I living in such a way that by my attitude as a wife, people around me can see a picture of the gospel?"

"Truth that is divorced from personal practice is hypocrisy, and living truth becomes a living lie when we fail to obey it ourselves."
Harris quotes Trevin Wax who said,

"There's a difference between having a critical mind that carefully evaluates and having a critical spirit that loves to tear down and belittle."

"We can demonstrate a humble orthodoxy, holding on to our identity in the gospel. We are not those who are right; we are those who have been redeemed."

I would like to keep this book at hand, in the "medicine cabinet," so that any time I feel the temptation to be arrogant and critical instead of prayerful and merciful, I will read it and be reminded of what God's Word clearly says.

Praying in hope,



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(1) Romans 16:17
(2) I Samuel 15:23 


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Proverbs 2: Three Ifs

 2.5.13

Shiloh Photography


Proverbs 2 is without any doubt one of my favorite proverbs and this morning as I was reading it I noticed three important ifs (v.1-4)  that lead us to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (v.5-8). Three ifs that will help us understand righteousness and justice (v.9).

"My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to
understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures..."
Proverbs 2:1-4 (emphasis mine)

If you receive my words...

The only way to receive God's Word is with a humble and quiet heart. A proud heart, an unteachable heart will never have an attitude of inclining his heart and ear to attentively listen to what God is saying.  We need a quiet heart, a quiet spirit to listen humbly to what the Lord is saying in His Word.  I have many times sinned by trying to quench God's voice and choosing instead to listen to my own heart's desires or anxieties. I have sinned when I have not taken heed of the warnings that God gives us in His Word, when I have been stubborn and have embraced my own thinking as the correct one. And you know what? Those times I have sinned in this area is because I did not come to the Word with a humble and a quiet heart that is always ready to listen both the encouragement in God's Word as well as His warnings and admonitions.

If you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you...

Again and again, we see this principle all over. How can I possible treasure up God's Word within me if  don't purposely do something about it? Memorizing the Word is the only way to meditate on it day and night. And if you think you can't memorize it, well, read it all day long. Carry the Word with you, have it open on your kitchen counter, on your coffee table in your living-room, download Apps on your mobile that will help you treasure it all day long. As John Piper said, "Let the Bible bring you back to reality over and over during the day."

If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding...

James told us the same thing: "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." The key word in both passages is "call." We must call, we must ask God for it, knowing that He is the source of all Wisdom. There is no wisdom apart from Him. Let us not deceive ourselves, sisters, we know no better than God. Before calling your friend asking her for an advice, first search the Scriptures and go to your Heavenly Father in prayer. He has promised to generously give us the wisdom we need to live in this beautiful, crazy, and at times confusing world when we call for it, when we diligently seek it in prayer. The more wisdom I need the more prayer and the more reading of the Bible I need.

If you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures...

So we need a humble heart to receive and treasure God's Word, we also need to call out to God for wisdom. Now how are we going to do this? Diligently, putting all effort in our quest for wisdom. It doesn't just happen. It is not like our justification in which we don't have to do anything to become children of God, no here we are called to action. We must seek it and search it as for silver and hidden treasures. It is a life long pursue, it a day to day endeavor. It is hard work. It means that we might have to wake up earlier to make time for reading the Scriptures and praying. It means that we must purposely bring our heart and thoughts in submission to what God says throughout the day. There are no shortcuts. If we want to grow in wisdom we must strive for it and seek it with all diligence.

Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God...

Please read verses 5-8. See? Isn't it amazing that the Lord does give wisdom? He has stored  sound wisdom for simple women like me!  When we listen attentively, when we call for it, when we search for it as for hidden treasures we come to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.

Then you will understand righteousness and justice...

Now read verses 9-22. Look at these promises: wisdom will sure come to our heart and knowledge will be pleasant to our soul as a result of God answering our prayers. Discretion will watch over us and understanding will guard us (and watch and guard are strong verbs, they are definitely not passive ones!)

In verses 12-29 we see that when wisdom comes we will be able to discern and be delivered from the way of the evil and of men of perverted speech that deceive with their many words.  We will be delivered from the forbidden women (who always leads to idolatry and foolishness that drives men -and women alike- away from the covenant).

The last three verses give us a glimpse of the end of both the wise and the fool. And I know I want live and end my days walking in the way of the good, keeping to the path of the righteous. I long to live uprightly and in all integrity before my God. I want to live a wise life, so I will remember to listen humbly, to search the Scriptures, and to pray.

May God help us,


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Mid-Week Links -On False Teachers-

 1.5.13

Because being obedient to God's Word concerning the many warnings against false teachers is not an option, I am sharing three links to help you remember the great importance of this issue.

J.C. Ryle Quotes
 J.C. Ryle's Eight Symptoms of False Teachers*

1.  There is an undeniable zeal in some teachers of error–their “earnestness” makes many people think they must be right.

2. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge–many think that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe to listen to.

3. There is a general tendency to completely free and independent thinking today–many like to prove their independence of judgment by believing the newest ideas, which are nothing but novelties.

4. There is a wide-spread desire to appear kind, loving, and open-minded–many seem half-ashamed to say that anybody can be wrong or is a false teacher.

How would you recognize counterfeit Christianity? Seven Traits of False Teachers

In 2 Peter 1 we read about genuine believers. And in 2 Peter 2 we read about counterfeit believers. If you put these chapters side by side you will see the difference between authentic and counterfeit believers.

And also from J.C. Ryle, The Best Safeguard Against False Teaching.

"What is the best safe-guard against false teaching? Beyond all doubt the regular study of the word of God, with prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit."


May God have mercy on us, lest we may fall into deception.



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 *Via Tim Challies



 

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Praying Ephesians -Ephesians 4:1-16-

 28.4.13


@Katie Lloyd Photography

Father, thank you for your Word which is perfect and pure, and which teaches us how to walk as Christians in this fallen word. Father, I ask you to forgive me because many times I have not walked in a manner worthy of the calling to which I have been called with all humility and gentleness, with patience.

Oh Lord, help me, through the Grace that saved me and sustains me, to walk every day with all humility. Forgive the many times I have looked down on someone; forgive when I let pride and self-righteousness have dominion over me. Forgive me when I walk haughtily, with a heart blind with arrogance. Give me a humble heart, a teachable heart, the heart of a servant.

Forgive me when I don't walk or speak with all gentleness. Forgive me for my harsh attitudes, for my rudeness. Work in me, Oh Lord, and create in me a humble and gentle heart. Let my words be sweet to you and to those around me.

Father, forgive me when I lose my patience, when I want things to be done promptly and my way. Lord, help me! That I may not see my loss of patience as something that is not grievous to you. Help me to see how it shows the condition of my heart that doesn't want to wait for your perfect time. Father, help me to wait in silence knowing that my hope is in you. Help me to trust in you at all times knowing that you are sovereign over the time frame in which we live.

Lord, teach me to bear the burdens of my brothers and sisters in love, help me to persevere in prayer for them, to intercede, to remember with a compassionate and grateful heart those who are going through trials. Help me to reach toward them in love to help them with their burdens. Help us, Lord! Forgive me, O Lord, when I have turned and have decided not to bear with my brothers in Christ with love. Give me a heart that reaches in prayer and hands that reach to serve promptly and with a joyful heart.

Father, that I may eagerly seek to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. That I may not forget that there is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. That I may not forget that you alone are over all, and through all and in all. Help me, please, Oh Lord. Help me, to be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace without compromising the Truth as revealed in the Scriptures. Lord, help me, because this is so hard to do in this era in which many voices are raised and a dense cloud of confusion makes it hard for us to discern how to do this. I need you, Lord. I need you, so much!

Father, thank you for the grace that you have bestowed upon each one of your children. Thank you for the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, the teachers, all given in time to equip us for the work of the ministry, to build up the body of Christ until we all -each one of us- attain the unity of the faith and come to the full knowledge of your Son, Jesus Christ. Father, thank you because in the Word, in the prophets and the writings of the apostles, through the exposition of your Word, we can grow in grace into mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Graceful Father, help me to hold fast to the Truth, to the words that have been revealed in the Scriptures, deliver me, deliver us from an apathy towards your Word, which will restrain us from growing in grace. Help me, Lord, to hold fast to your Word in a time in which deception keeps knocking at our door disguised as piety and is adorned with seductive words. Help me, help us, so that we may not be like children tossed to and fro by the waves and carried away by every new wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes that seems so inviting.

Oh, God, help us, help me! That I may dare to speak the truth in love for the sake of building and not tearing down. Help us, help me, to hold fast to your Word, to the unchangeable Truth in a time in which people, even in the Church,  are trying to redefine what your Word clearly teaches. Lord, it would be so easy to fall into deception, help me!

Father, this Lord's Day I intercede for your Church. Help us grow joined and held together by your Truth. Help us, work properly and function as one body. Make us grow in all submission to our Head which is Christ Jesus, and help us build ourselves in love to bring glory to your Name.

In Jesus' Name, our Lord and Savior,

Amen


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Declaring War on Anxiety -A Meditation on Job-

 24.4.13

Canon Press
Continuing with more wise words from Toby J. Sumpter's book, A Son for Glory (the context is Job 2-3):


 "Paul himself disagrees with a stoic passivity to every event in our lives, and he does not contradict himself. He says, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6-7). Paul does not say that we should not be anxious because God is in control and does whatever he pleases (though there is a sense in which that is true). Paul says that we should not be anxious because we are constantly pouring out our anxieties to God. Paul instructs the Philippians about how to fight anxiety through prayer. This is the same exhortation that Peter gives his readers. They ought to cast all their anxieties on God, because He cares for them (1 Peter 5:7). Paul is making the same point. There is to be thanksgiving, but faithful prayer does not ignore anxieties and pain. Faithful people will let their requests be made known to God; they will cast their anxieties upon Him. Also notice the goal of voicing these fears and pains and anxieties to God: the peace of God... Crying out to in anguish and fear to the God of heaven is not giving in to anxiety; it is declaring war on that anxiety. It is refusing to give up the fight.

Job is going to go on fighting for the rest of the book. Job is a warrior... Faith looks to God in hope, but faith is not blind, and faith is not lifeless. Faith doesn't pretend it doesn't hurt, and faith isn't apathetic about the gifts -friends, family, health- that God has given us. Faith loves those gifts of God, and when they are threatened or taken away, faith cries out to God, "Why are you doing this?" Faith is hungry for goodness and justice and mercy. Faith is the woman who won't stop bringing her requests to the master, because he is the master and because he is the Lord."



Praying without ceasing and giving thanks...




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Job Consecrated His Children Daily to God- A Meditation-

 22.4.13

"His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually." Job 1: 4-5

Jim LePage Art and Design
Toby J.Sumpter in his book, Job through New Eyes: A Son for Glory says,

" [S]in is also a directional thing, a geographical reality, a sort of teleology. Literally, the verb in the Hebrew means "to sin" means "to miss the mark"; it means you've veered off the path. To sin is to be going in the wrong direction, to be in the wrong place.

So what does Job do? Job is saying, God, I'm not sure what my sons have been doing, but want to reorient them to you again. I'm not sure where they've been , I'm not sure what they've said. I'm not sure what's going on their hearts, so I'm offering them back to you again. This one for my firstborn son, this one for my secondborn son, this one for my thirdborn, and I am offering them up to you. I remind you of them. Consider my sons, and draw them into your presence...Job did this regularly."

And so do I.


Amen.



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Elisabeth Elliot and Nancy Wilson on Journal-Keeping

 18.4.13



This very much summarizes what I believe on journaling...

"I was very cautious about what I put in the journals. I don't think it was because I feared someone else would discover my secrets. I think I was afraid to articulate, even for myself, feelings I might have to get rid of. Better to stick  with what God was saying to me than what my heart was saying. It seemed the safer course. I do not repudiate it now. The only way to build a house on the rock is to hear the Word (I couldn't have heard it if all I listened to was my feelings) and then to try to do it..."

Elisabet Elliot, Passion and Purity (p. 54)

Nancy Wilson also wrote a while ago two posts on journal-keeping that are worth considering:
Part One. Part Two (if you only have time to read one, read part two. It is excellent -a must I would dare to say-.

"[W]e should and must guard our tongues in all things spoken and written: “He who guards his mouth preserves his life” (Prov. 13:3). Psalm141:3: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” Our pens need watchmen and guards just like our mouths. And the fact that a journal is “private”does not mean the words can be left unguarded." -Nancy Wilson

"Life is short. Write good words." -Nancy Wilson




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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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