August 31, 2009

Moriah Is 21 Months

Moriah is now 21 months and she's still with us. :-) Sometimes I think she would rather be somewhere else, but her patience will pay off in the future. :-)

The two teeth on the top that are filling in the gaps have come down almost completely now. A third new tooth on the bottom is filling another whole and we're waiting for the companion on the opposite side to show itself. She has graduated into size 5 shoes and 24 month clothing. She takes the stairs like an adult sometimes and her personality is large enough to match. She loves to climb on to chairs, the sofa, anything she can swing her leg over. And she absolutely must stop every time to buckle an open buckle. She loves to go outside. Her energy reminds me of boys, very rambunctious, loud, running everywhere, etc.

We continue to do flash cards - early, informal homeschooling - and she is doing very, very well. She picks up new words everyday in passing and is singing The Alphabet Song up to "J" with correct pitch and everything. :-) "L" through "P" is a little difficult, but she knows "Q" through "Y" well also. She amazes us all the time. She has the desire to do it and she loves to learn.

Potty training is coming along. We, as parents, could be a little more consistent but she is doing well. When we're out and about, she can hold her bladder up to 3 hours! When we're home, she doesn't hold it more than 30 minutes usually. That's a bit frustrating, but it's a hurdle that will be overcome with time, I suppose.

Here lately she's been throwing temper tantrums and it's thrown Jeramy and me for a loop. We're not exactly sure how we should deal with it. When someone leaves our home, she runs, throws herself down and begins to scream/cry loudly. When Jeramy or I leave her in the nursery at church, she kicks and screams . . . hard. She will calm down after a few minutes, but all of her exhibition can be dangerous and this is NOT! the behavior we want to encourage. We are currently ignoring her whining and complaining. But with the tantrums, do we spank her? Or restrain her? Deal gently with her? Reason doesn't communicate with a two-year old, but we're open to experienced ideas if you care to comment.

Other than that, she is still a fun little girl. This is a funny face!

There are new pictures from this month in the right sidebar.

August 29, 2009

Scriptures For Saturday

I will cry to God Most High,
To God who accomplishes all things for me.
Psalm 57:2

This passage hit me today as I was reading along. Notice the utter dependence on God, looking to Him only, resting on His power and ability to accomplish all things. See that this verse is not speaking of the health/wealth prosperity "gospel" preached today in some churches, but in the context of the remaining verses of the Psalm and the book as a whole, it speaks of spiritual things: refuge, salvation, mercy, lovingkindness, grace, strength, vindication, the application of righteousness and holiness. This verse reminded me of the following two passages:

Bless our God, O peoples,
And sound His praise abroad,
Who keeps us in life
And does not allow our feet to slip.
Psalm 66:8-9

In Him you also, having heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation - having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise who is given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:13-14

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:4-6

Salvation is a work completely begun and finished by Almighty God. God's grace for salvation is not a reward for repentance, it is the cause. And likewise the application of sanctification and perseverance in the faith. We can rest in the accomplished work of Christ on the Cross knowing that God is the one who keeps us from straying out of His hand.

"My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."
John 10:29

Voddie Baucham: Biblical Womanhood

Check this out! This is Voddie's exposition of Titus 2. It's in eight parts, but y'all know that Baucham is worth listening.

August 27, 2009

Fearless Friday

When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
What can mere man do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4

"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."
Matthew 10:28

August 26, 2009

House Update

Some exciting progress has come about on the house! Today we were told that the Bank has scheduled an appraisal on the house for this Friday, then afterwards they will decide what course of action they will take after that. So, we're very excited! Perhaps we will be in that house by the end of September; that's our goal. We remain cautiously optimistic, but hopeful. We look forward to hearing any more news early next week.

August 25, 2009

A Most Valuable Ministry

From Creation, women were designed to minister to their families - to aid their husbands, to house developing babies in the womb and nurture them as they grow. To be a wife and a mother is a sacred, God-created, God-ordained calling that only women call fulfill. Women are the crowning achievement of Creation! It wasn't "very good" until God fashioned Eve from Adam's rib. Feminism in any realm, secular or evangelical, robs women of the peace and joy rewarded with obedience to God's created order. When women try to "have it all" they become like a jack-of-all-trades: not a expert in anything. They compromise the time with their families to compete with the providential role of men. And for what? The sake of pride.

I just read a chapter by Thom Schreiner from the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and wanted to include this encouraging excerpt:

Probably one of the most significant ministry roles for women, although it is not their only role, is their role as wives and mothers. Paul says that mature women are to “train the younger women to love their husbands and children” (Titus 2:4). One thinks of the godly mothers in Scripture like Sarah, Hannah, Ruth, and Mary. What a significant role they played in the history of redemption as wives and mothers! Their influence on their husbands and children is still not fully known to us. Countless unknown wives and mothers have had a tremendous impact on their husbands and children, and the influence of these women will only be revealed on the day of redemption. What a tragedy it is that women’s role as wives and mothers is often viewed as second best today! God has ordained that most women will find the greatest fulfillment in these very callings, and those who do should also realize that the example of their lives, lived faithfully with “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4), will have a lasting effect on many others around them. (pp. 223-224)

August 24, 2009

Putting Off Idols

Sometimes there are seasons where the Holy Spirit draws new light on the holy perfection of God and brings conviction of many sinful patterns all at once. This might leave one to feel almost desperately overwhelmed by the sense of personal sin. These periods of brokenness and humility are excellent because they remind us to remain focused on Christ. These seasons drive us to our knees, perpetually, to seek His forgiveness, mercy and grace.

When we are stripped of all pride and false pretense of our own human strength, then God can use us more mightily because it is HIS power at work in us.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Jeramy has said this often, "God gives us more than we can handle so that we learn to depend on Him and He gets all the glory." Why? If God only gave us what we could handle then we wouldn't depend on Him at all, He would not receive any glory from what we could accomplish in our own strength and we are tempted to either boast in our success or wallow in self-pity (un-applauded praise) for what we've suffered.

After these seasons of renewed vision for the holiness of God there is, likewise, a renewed realization of empowerment to walk as Christ walked and put off these various idols. God's Word tells us that any time we sin, we are presenting ourselves as instruments of unrighteousness (Romans 6) and worshiping an idol (Romans 1).

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

Some idols are easier to put off than others. One major idol is the fear of man or people-pleasing. Should we care only about God's opinion of us, which He has already made clear in His Word, then sin would be a whole lot less appealing and we would be driven on toward holy, reverent, joy-filled character all the more.

August 23, 2009

Easy Cheeseburger Pie

I got this recipe from Menus 4 Moms. It's easy and yummy. Enjoy.

Easy Cheeseburger Pie

1 lb. ground beef (90/10 lean)
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 oz. can of green chiles
4 oz. shredded cheese
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup Bisquick Heart Smart mix
2 eggs
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brown the beef and onions. Drain. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper and green chiles. Pour into a greased 9-inch pie plate or (1 & 1/2) casserole pan. Spread the cheese over the meat. Beat together milk, eggs and Bisquick until smooth; pour over meat mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with ketchup.

1/8 pan serving yields 235 calories. One tablespoon of ketchup is 20 calories.

I have another recipe similar to this one but I don't recall where I got it from.

Cheeseburger Casserole

2 tbs. oil (optional)
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
8 oz. tomato sauce
8 oz. shredded cheese
1 & 1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup Bisquick
3 eggs

Combine beef, onions and fat until thoroughly browned. Drain. Add salt, pepper, tomato sauce and ketchup; heat thoroughly and pour into 9-inch pie plate or casserole pan. Spread cheese over meat. Beat milk, eggs and Bisquick until smooth; pour over meat mixture. Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

August 22, 2009

Wives Like Sarah and the Husbands Who Honor Them

When an opportunity permits, I am continuing to read Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. I just finished reading chapter 10 with the above title. It is an exegetical study on 1 Peter 3:1-7 by Wayne Grudem. This was very meaningful for me because it speaks primarily of a wife's submission. Here is a brief outline of the 14-page chapter.

I. Directions to Wives
A. What Submission Does Not Mean
1. Submission does not mean putting a husband in the place of Christ.
2. Submission does not mean giving up independent thought.
3. Submission does not mean a wife should give up efforts to influence and guide her husband.
4. Submission does not mean a wife should give in to every demand of her husband. This is consistent with other passages where God's people have disobeyed a human authority and been approved by God for so doing.
5. Submission is not based on lesser intelligence or competence.
6. Submission does not mean being fearful or timid.
7. Submission is not inconsistent with equality in Christ. A wife's submission to her husband therefore is more like the submission of Christ to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:28), the submission of one to another who is equal in importance and essence.

B. What Submission Does Mean
1. Submission is an inner quality of gentleness that affirms the leadership of the husband. A wife willingly submits to her husband's authority and leadership in the marriage, making a choice to affirm her husband's leadership within the limits of obedience to Christ. It includes a demeanor that honors him as leader even when she dissents. The "gentle and quiet spirit" is not insistent on one's own rights, is not pushy or selfishly assertive and does not demand one's own way. Such a "gentle and quiet spirit" is the result of continual trust in God to supply one's needs and God delights in being trusted.
2. Submission involves obedience like Sarah's. This is imitating the pattern of submission and trust in God she exhibited.
3. Submission acknowledges an authority that is not totally mutual. This is more of a mutual consideration and deference that means that the husband is to be unselfish in his exercise of leadership in the family and the wife is to be unselfish in her submission to and support of that leadership. The husband is never told by NT authors to submit to his wife.

C. The Old Testament Examples of Submission
The lives of holy women who hoped in God adorned themselves with a gentle and quiet spirit. The verb tenses in Greek indicate a repeated action over time, in other words, they were continually adorning themselves in this way.

D. The Rewards of Submission
The rewards Peter mentions are that the unbelieving husband may be won to Christ and the believing wives will be daughters of Sarah, sharing in the special dignity, honor and God's special approval that she received. The greatest reward will be the combined joy of honoring God and receiving His favor.

E. The Universal Rightness of a Wife's Submission to Her Husband
The attractiveness of a wife's submissive behavior even to an unbelieving husband suggests that God has inscribed on the hearts of all mankind the rightness and beauty of role distinctions in marriage.

F. The Beauty of Submission
Submission to rightful authority is beautiful and right in God's eyes. Specifically within marriage, the beauty of a wife's submission is evident to unbelievers, who are attracted to Christ through it. The beauty of this submission is evident to God, in whose eyes it is of great worth.

II. Directions to Husbands
A. What Considerate Leadership Is Not
1. Considerate leadership does not mean harsh or domineering use of authority.
2. Considerate leadership does not imply equal sharing of leadership in the family.
3. Considerate leadership does not imply lesser importance for a wife.
4. Considerate leadership does not mean always giving in to a wife's wishes.
5. Considerate leadership is not optional for husbands.

B. What Considerate Leadership Is
This is "living together according to knowledge" which may include anything that is beneficial to the marital relationship gained through study in the Word and private fellowship as a married couple. It also signifies the giving of honor just as God does to those who are weaker or less honored in the world's perspective.

C. The Reasons for Considerate Leadership
(1) Because there are differences between the husband and wife - she is more vulnerable to being hurt by a selfish, domineering husband. (2) The husband and wife have equal standing before God in terms of eternal salvation.

D. The Rewards of Considerate Leadership
The prayer ministry of the husband will not be hindered but helped and God will answer them.

August 21, 2009

Funny Friday

How big is your book?


August 20, 2009

Today's Celebration

While Moriah was playing today she stopped, stood still and began to push. But after the first push she stopped, looked at me and said, "pee pee pah," (potty). So I acted quickly, grabbed Lily, took down the baby gate and we all headed upstairs. I had no idea if she had finished going in her diaper or if she was telling me that she needed to use the potty. When I took her diaper off it was still clean and dry! :-) She sat on the potty and peed. When she stood up she began pushing again and I told her to sit down, which she protested, but obeyed. After a few minutes . . . Yay!

I took a picture, but I thought to spare you viewers who would prefer not to see it. We ran around her bedroom laughing, tickling, clapping and jumping up and down. Hopefully the celebration will tell her how much this is a GREAT thing! :-)

Last month Lily had two teeth on the bottom beginning to come out. Although you could feel the sharp edge on her gums, they were not protruding enough to appear in a picture, but now you can see them. :-)

August 19, 2009

The Children of Caesar

The Children of Caesar is a two-part recorded seminar by Voddie Baucham which first addresses homeschooling then addresses adopting a Biblical model in the home. Each talk is very well researched and expounded. His passion and logic are evident and fully founded and supported by Scripture. It is an excellent seminar and I highly recommend it. I had no idea that so many young adults are lost to worldviews introduced in public schools. I had some idea before . . . but had not considered the gravity of it until getting married. You're able to watch some clips on YouTube.

August 17, 2009

Everything Is Theological

Is it possible to separate what is spiritual from what is physical? Is it possible to go read the Bible and live life completely disconnected from what was read?

In one sense, yes. There are many people who go to church, listen to solid exegetical sermons, read the Bible (even daily) and divorce the gospel from their practical living. These individuals don't consider their sinful patterns in terms of personal sanctification (i.e. they still gossip, lust, and indulge the flesh after hearing convicting sermons about the same issues).

However, the true answer is no. God, who is spiritual, created everything that is physical. So then, the physical cannot be estranged from the spiritual. (See Genesis 1:1ff, Romans 1:20, Colossians 1:15 and 1 Timothy 1:17.)

"Wait . . . but I'm no theologian!" Ahh, but you are! What one thinks about God is theological by definition, for everything we say and do reflects an implied theology of God whether we admit it or not. This always manifests itself in our behavior towards Him and His Church. What we believe about God ultimately dictates how we live day-to-day.

For example, if we don't think that God is powerful, then our actions will reflect that. We will not pray. We will not depend on His strength and grace to make it through the daily grind; we will rely on our own strength. We will conclude that there are hearts that are just too hard for God to change, and we won't evangelize. Eventually, we will surmise that the gospel is impotent; over time we may even reject the faith.

In another example, if we don't think that God is omnipresent, then we convince ourselves that we can go on sinning because God doesn't see. We will begin to doubt the existence of God, for to be God is to be omnipresent. Moreover, if we think that God is not all-together wise, then we will concoct our own means when difficult situations arise. Soon, we succumb to some type of naturalistic humanism.

Again, another example: Equating the love of God with benevolent sentimentalism instead of with objective authoritative truth is destructive. To do so denies reason, power, righteousness, and justice because such absolutes are founded upon an Absolute God who has spoken to us in an intelligible way. That individual will eventually become a moral relativist, which is the philosophy that says whatever is good to you is good and what is right for one person is right for that person. It's just another form of religious pluralism, which, ironically is a religious system in and of itself that has made itself a form of absolutism without an absolute on which to be grounded. This person may not condemn homosexuality, abortion, pornography, alcoholism, anxiety, bitterness or anger, but they will create other things to condemn. They will arbitrarily condemn whatever they personally disagree with. In reality then, they are being exclusive and not inclusive, for the denying of one thing is by default the endorsing of another.

Again we ask: Why does it matter what we think about God and how we understand His methods in redeeming humanity? Can't we truly enjoy fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ without all the intellectual stimulation? Why do we need to define terms? Why can't we all just believe what we believe without letting there be division amongst us? "Can't we all just get along?"

If we follow that line of reasoning, we set ourselves up for a false peace. For example, if we don't want to differentiate between arminian and reformed theological viewpoints, then how do we evangelize? What will we say? What will we avoid saying? How could we possibly have a clear conscience that we are speaking the truth of the gospel in love? What benefit is there to the believer to know the manner in which God applies salvation? The answers to these questions will dictate behavior.

Ultimately, knowing God rightly will empower us to love Him as He truly is. The more we worship Him as He truly is then the more we are transformed into His image (2 Corinthians 3:18). This then allows us to operate freely in the realm of His righteousness, liberated from the bondage of sin.

(This post was written with help from my wonderful husband:-)

Why I Love Lily

I love Lily because she's usually always happy and content. She is low maintenance and easy-going. She doesn't complain or whine. She's always happy to see me. She is gentle and sweet. Rarely does she cry. She eats her feet. She gives me hugs. I love to see her smile, hear her laugh and watch her suck her thumb. I love to see her jump in her Jumperoo. I like to see her cross her ankles while sitting, just like a little lady. She brings out the (hidden) sweetness in me. She brings me joy.

August 15, 2009

A Psalm & A Song

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
"Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

Psalm 46 NASB

August 14, 2009

Why I Love Moriah

I love Moriah because she was the immediate blessing of my marital union with Jeramy. I heard that in Old Testament times, immediate conception was an indication that the marriage was ordained by God - like a rubber stamp of approval. She is the sign that our marriage was God-ordained and blessed.

During my pregnancy with her I was so worried about miscarrying because of similar stories people would tell me. I prayed so much that this child would come into the world. At our first ultrasound when I heard her heartbeat, I was filled with joy and excitement. I marveled at the new life that was growing inside me. For years I thought that it would *weird* me out (another person sharing my same body), but weird was definitely not one of the emotions swirling around my head - it was more like nausea. I was excited to have ultrasounds and to hear the heart beating at all my doctors visits. When I felt her moving for the first time, awe struck me again. Wow. Later it became more like somersaults, which was just a preview of what was to come. :-)
I had a mental image of what our child would look like. We wanted to be surprised about the gender of our child, but I knew that he or she would have a medium brown complexion, strong, curly, oily, beautifully perfect black hair, and brown eyes, . When Moriah was born, that's exactly how she looked. From the beginning she met all of my expectations - beautiful. Moriah takes great photos. I love it when all the tangles are out of her hair and the curls lock up nicely. I love to see her in pretty dresses.

I love that Moriah was very easily trained to sleep through the night early on. From about 10 or 12 weeks old she would consistently sleep 7 to 8 hours a night with regular recurring naps during the day. Her nighttime sleeping continued to increase and now she sleeps about 11 to 12 hours a night with a 2.5 to 3 hour nap during the day. Yes, that is VERY much a blessing!

Moriah's physical development has always been great. She is physically strong, bright, intelligent, and interested in helping. She cleans up her toys and picks up food from the floor. She starts and unloads the dishwasher. She loves music and has never really been bothered when I need to practice with her present. She has never rejected going to other people for temporary care and behaves well for others. She feeds herself. She goes safely up and down the staircase. She wants to be independent and clothe and bathe herself. She willingly shares her toys with others.

I love to hear her laugh. I love to see her run with excitement. (She kind of waddle-runs, swinging her arms back and forth, yelling "hey!" as she goes. It's really funny.) I like to see her dance and jump around on the sofa. I like to see her pretend and talk toddler language to her toys. I am very glad to know what she is saying, when she speaks english. I love it when she is excited that I've come home or when she first sees me after waking up. I love to see her smile and happy. She is affectionate to the family and she is gentle with her baby sister. I love it when she says, "Mommy." I like to read to her while she sits in my lap.

She is getting increasingly more comfortable with the potty and is holding her bladder longer! I love that I don't have to change so many of her diapers. :-) And I love it when she listens and obeys.

In the future, my joy will be increased because I will be more sanctified as she mirrors myself back to me. Indeed I would not be who I am now if she were not here.

Funny Friday: PB & J

Get ready to dance!

August 13, 2009

Why I Love My Husband

I love Jeramy because he is a man in every sense of the word. He is a mature gentleman who takes responsibility for his actions and willingly leads, provides a safe home and food on the table. He opens doors for me. He compliments me on my appearance. He makes his ideas, feelings, actions known to me and seeks my opinion also. He cooks and cleans. He kills the occasional roach and mosquito. He carries heavy things for me. He is strong and gentle. He has told me that meekness is controlled strength. He exhibits this very well. He bridles his tongue from harsh, negative words and complaining. He speaks the truth in love.

He is a strong believer who provides spiritual leadership in our family. He pursues Christ-like holiness and has always encouraged me in this also. He memorizes large portions of Scripture. He exposes the vanity of worldly philosophies. He has loved me and shown me forgiveness time and time again. He understands that love, faithfulness and perseverance go hand-in-hand - that they cannot be separated. He has taught me, by many proofs, that the universe is young (Answers in Genesis), that A.D.D. is not all it's cracked up to be (S-I-N). He confesses and repents when he has sinned. He shows me grace and does not separate the spiritual with the daily physical demands of life. Christ and His resurrection are real to him. He loves Christ more than He loves me.

Jeramy provides financial leadership, works very hard and sacrifices a lot. He left behind a cushy job as an Air Force Officer (Captain J.W. Anderson) as a single man for a ministry education with the responsibilities of marriage. He worked jobs well below his pay grade and sacrificed purchases he would have otherwise made in order that I might remain home. He has received ridicule and endured much disrespect from family, friends, coworkers and strangers. He painted houses. He laid tile. He cleared brush. He mowed fields. He risked his own life delivering smelly pizzas down Castor Drive and other bad neighborhoods receiving little to no tips. He scrubbed baseboards. And now he deciphers the foreign accents of hysterical individuals on the phone dispatching police officers as directed. And it's because of his efforts that we are debt free and remain debt free, even as we pursue buying our first home together.

Jeramy is a wonderful, loving, affectionate, involved father. He willingly changes diapers. He is actively involved in potty training. He celebrates milestones. He enjoys comforting the girls when they cry. He loves to just sit and rock with them. He makes faces, plays games, reads flashcards and feeds them. He bathes them and combs their curly, tangle-filled hair. He willingly stays home with them while I exercise or run errands. He is patient with them and is never harsh towards them. He disciplines them appropriately. He tells them often, "Daddy loves you."

The number one reason why I love Jeramy is because he first loved me. When I wasn't yet committed to him, he was willing to be committed to me. He considered me a virtuous woman (still trying to figure that one out) and ignored the reproach he would receive marrying a black woman. During our courtship he sought to keep us both pure sexually. In this way I knew that his love for me was genuine and not based on simply fulfilling physical desires. He initiated the hard conversations about lifestyle, finances, staying home, homeschool, foreign missions, birth control, family size, etc. He has defended and protected me. He writes love letters. He comforts me when I'm discouraged. He gives me neck, back and foot massages. And no matter how much I nag him and forget all of the wonderful benefits of being married to such a man - I can take comfort knowing that he will never leave me because it gets hard or run to the arms of another woman. He has made it very clear, because of Christ's example toward the Church, that there is no circumstance short of death where he would abandon me. He has taught me that love is not just a happy sentimental feeling when circumstances are good the the object of your affection is behaving benevolently - it is a die-hard commitment for another person. He has fleshed this out by his words and his actions in that even when we are not getting along he still tells me he loves me.

And there are many other things I could say . . . just know that he is the better half in this marriage.

August 12, 2009

A Sober Taste of Mortality

Last night we saw a lightening storm over Duluth and Lawrenceville as we were driving home from the Northchase Apartments. The clouds were dark and threatening. Sudden bright, pure white flashes of light would randomly (more like sovereignly) light up a cloud here and there. It was awesome to watch! Whenever I watch or hear lightening I think of mortality and how much we are utterly dependent on God for our very breath.

Lightening really sobers my thoughts concerning my trust in the Lord and His sovereign will. It forces me to accept God's sovereign will because I have no control over whether or not I'm hit with the next bolt. I've learned to "make peace" with God when I'm caught in a lightening storm, because it could be my last moment. I think this because my house back in VA was struck by lightening 3 times in 5 years!

The first time lightening struck our house, it was a perfectly calm night in the summer, no rain to be heard at about 11:00 pm. I sat in the den watching TV when suddenly what sounded like cannon fire and drums blasted loud in my right ear, the window-lined sunroom next to me was all ablaze with the most brilliant white light I've ever seen! My heart skipped a beat. And just as quickly as it had come, it was gone. And all our house was awakened. My Dad sat straight up in bed from having been asleep next to my Mother and he, Mom and I began wandering around the house bewildered. Then Mom noticed the faintest brush of smoke flying across the ceiling upstairs and sought the phone to call for help. When the line malfunctioned, she ventured across the street to make the call. It turns out that a large bolt of lightening forked and struck our TV antennae and the tree next to our house, causing a fire in the attic immediately above my bedroom.

After the wonderful men in red exterminated the flames, insurance kicked in, and I lived in the basement that summer while the repairs were completed. Needless to say, we got a lightening rod to ground our house. And lightening has since and always caused me to wonder at the awesome power of God and be mindful of my own frail existence.

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deeps in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD;
Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.
Psalm 33:6-9

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Psalm 8:3-4

August 10, 2009

It Is So Much Easier

  • to complain rather than be grateful;
  • to keep peace rather than make peace;
  • to rely on human effort rather than divine grace;
  • to be unrestrained rather than self-controlled;
  • to say what we think rather than bridling our tongue;
  • to think of me rather than you;
  • to envy the unrighteous rather than count our blessings;
  • to indulge the desires of the flesh rather than walk in holiness;
  • to veg in front of the TV rather than read God's Word;
  • to do things our way rather than yield to God's means and ends.
The Law came in so that the transgression would increase;
but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more . . .
Romans 5:20

Grace swallows up our weaknesses, overpowering them to allow us to live righteously unto eternal life in Christ Jesus!

My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9

August 9, 2009

New Beginning


I adore thee and abase myself.
I approach thee mindful that I am less than nothing,
a creature worse than nothing.
My thoughts are not screened from thy gaze.
My secret sins blaze in the light of thy countenance.
Enable me to remember that blood which cleanseth all sin,
to believe in that grace which subdues all iniquities,
to resign myself to that agency which can deliver me from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
Thou hast begun a good work in me
and canst alone continue and complete it.

Give me an increasing conviction of my tendency to err,
and of my exposure to sin.
Help me to feel more of the purifying, softening, influence of religion,
its compassion, love, pity, courtesy,
and employ me as thy instrument in blessing others.
Give me to distinguish
between the mere form of godliness and its power,
between life and a name to live,
between guile and truth,
between hypocrisy and a religion that will bear thy eye.
If I am not right, set me right, keep me right;
And may I at last come to thy house in peace.

(The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions. Ed. Arthur Bennett. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1975. pp 174-175.)

August 8, 2009

For Grace, Not Despair

O Lord, rebuke me not in Your wrath,
And chasten me not in Your burning anger.
For Your arrows have sunk deep into me,
And Your hand has pressed down on me.
There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your indignation;
There is no health in my bones because of my sin.
For my iniquities are gone over my head;
As a heavy burden they weigh too much for me.
Psalm 38:1-4

There have been times in my walk with Christ where the Holy Spirit makes me aware of a boatload of sinful tendencies all at one time. Discontentment, ungodly easily provoked anger, lack of self-control, self-centeredness, selfishness, lack of love, gluttony, ungratefulness, unbridled tongue, bitterness, resentment and pride. Any attempts to repent and overcome these sins in order to walk in holiness by my own strength utterly fails. At this, a new temptation arises - despair. But the Holy Spirit does not make me aware of these things to cause me despair - He does it so that I will repent, yes, but rely on His strength through the grace of Jesus Christ instead of my own human efforts at behavior modification. It's kind of like a heightened sense of what some unrepentant people think before they can come to Christ, "Let me get my life together first - then I'll come to Christ." But the Gospel is not about behavior modification, that's the business of psychologists. Christ takes utterly useless, wickedly abased people and transforms them into vessels of mercy for His glory. He is in the business of heart transformation.

Repentance is still important for the daily practice of walking in the holiness and righteousness of Christ, but the crucial thing to remember is to rely totally on the grace of God and not mere human strength and human effort. The divine spiritual realm is needed to overcome the physical stronghold of sin. What is spiritual created everything that's physical - what awesome power lies in the hands of our Great God! How then could I possibly rely on physical strength and fallen human will to accomplish a divine work begun and completed in the Spirit?!

Wretched woman that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death?

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Romans 7:24-25

When Satan tempts me to despair
and tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
to look on Him and pardon me.

August 6, 2009

Our Best Baked Beans

This past Sunday we had a fellowship meal at church and I prepared Baked Beans. I tend not to think that much of baked beans because after you eat them, well . . . you know. Jeramy and I are on a strict budget - looking forward to our first home - and I needed something inexpensive (!) to bring. Also, I think the Crock Pot is an excellent way to have something easy and wonderful prepared that will still be warm when consumed.

My Mom, after cleaning more as she was getting settled, gave me a stack of cookbooks. One of them is entitled: Rival Crock Pot Cooking! So, I'm very excited about this book and I found this baked beans recipe in it. Jeramy said they were the best baked beans he's ever had and he's not one to really like baked beans! They were pretty tasty and after church, there was only about 2 spoonfuls left, so I know others liked them also. Enjoy.

Our Best Baked Beans
5 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled
2 cans (16 oz each) baked beans, drained
1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup hickory-smoke BBQ sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)

Mix all ingredients in crock-pot. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 12 hours (or high for 2 to 3 hours). Yield about 1 1/2 quarts, 6 to 8 servings.

The beans I prepared Sunday were slightly modified. I didn't have any bacon, but used a ham bone with lots of meat instead. The canned beans were in tomato sauce, so I used that instead of all the ketchup. (I did this to save a little $$. We buy organic ketchup because there's no hydrogenated oil or high fructose corn syrup in it.) Before heading off to church though, I did mix a little into the pot. I didn't figure out the calories for this one.

August 5, 2009

Empty Entertainment

Here is a passage that convicted me from Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Several women from our church are getting together every other week to discuss and study this book together. This book is good because it repeatedly references the Word, directing us to study it in it's context.

We entertain ourselves with reading material, movies, TV programs, and music that reflect worldly philosophies and legitimize profanity, immodesty, and immoral behavior, never stopping to contemplate that in so doing . . .
  • we are desensitizing our conscience and developing a tolerance for sin;
  • we are increasing our appetite for sin and diminishing our hunger for holiness;
  • we are erecting a barrier in our fellowship with God;
  • we are programming our minds to think the world's way (and how we think will ultimately determine how we live);
  • we are increasing the likelihood that we will actually act out the things we are seeing and hearing;
  • we are developing an unbiblical view of sexuality that may ultimately rob us of our virginity or destroy our marriage;
  • we are increasing the likelihood that our children and grandchildren will become profane and immoral. (pp. 94-95)
We don't watch TV and we cancelled our cable several months ago because we did watch it. :-) I would sensor the things I watched and had a total distaste for the profane and immoral things. But I found that watching other programs would leave me feeling more discontent. For example, after watching "10 Years Younger" or "What Not to Wear" I feel very motivated to go out and get a new wardrobe, some liposuction and electrolysis. Then I would get further frustrated because I can't spend any money on new clothes, etc.

But, if I spend more time in God's Word (exactly the place I need to spend as much time as possible), I am encouraged to be content with what I have, no matter how little or how much material blessings God has given. These programs, as "safe" as they may seem, diminish Kingdom values and perspectives. I still battle the flesh over discontentment, but at least by remaining attached to the Vine, who is Christ, I have more than enough ammunition.

August 4, 2009

Waiting On The Lord

Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
Psalm 33:20-21

Jeramy and I are a little anxious to hear back from the bank concerning our offer on the second house. We really don't want to continue looking at homes and visualizing what could and could not be our first home together. Our realtor told us that it could take the bank up to a month to get back to us before we can even begin to haggle over the price of the home. This leaves us a bit frustrated because we are on a timeline to get out of our apartment the last day of our lease, September 30. Now, we are not so sure whether we should notify our rental property of our situation and continue renting on a month-to-month basis or just continue on the course which we have set, trusting that maybe God will work things out and that our timing might be His timing. I don't know.

As I read through the Psalms, attempting to grasp more of the heart of God that completely and totally trusts in Him and Him alone, the Spirit reminds me that such a heart waits for the Lord. The psalmist is completely content in whatever the Lord wills in His sovereign plan and design. It reminds me not to be anxious.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

The hard part about waiting, the real foothold of anxiety, is that we're not in control of this situation. But, we can run to the One who is. He has blessed us to be in this financial position and made this opportunity possible for us. So many things had to happen in order for this time to be upon us, all of which were ordained in God's plan! Will I trust Him now with the unknown? He has never given me reason to doubt that He doesn't have my best interest in mind: that I would walk in the righteousness of Christ, regardless of whatever material blessings He may give or take away.

"Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised!"
Job 1:21

August 3, 2009

A Brief Update

Sunday afternoon, fairly soon after arriving home from church, Jeramy scooped up Moriah again to catch the potty before releasing anything solid. Well . . . success!! After regaining her bearings, Moriah did poo in the potty a very significant amount! Yay Moriah!!! Every time she uses the potty, that's one less diaper we have to change! :-D

I'm debating on whether or not to spend the money on training pants for her, cloth or disposable. Either method will be expensive. Currently as Jeramy and I are attempting to secure a new home, our efforts are concentrated on sacrificing the good for the great and seriously buckling down on our budget. We have been sensibly frugal since we met, but now, even more so. I don't mind. I would rather have a house in a month than a Wendy's frosty today. I guess that's delayed gratification for you.

Lily had her six month check-up and shots today. She will be 7 months tomorrow, the fourth. She weighed in at 14 lbs 11 oz and 26 and 1/2 inches long. She has two teeth very visible on the bottom. She is also sitting up unassisted very nicely on occasion. She still loves her Jumperoo very much. This month she has started to play with her feet - attempting to grasp them whenever lying down or breastfeeding. Lily has also started sleeping on her belly. She rolls from her back onto her belly easily, but still hasn't figured out how to roll, unassisted, from her belly to her back. When she gets tired, she grunts really loudly, like she's moving furniture. She has begun to eat some vegetables: carrots, peas, squash, green beans and today, sweet potatoes. So far, so good.

See the new pictures in the right sidebar.

August 1, 2009

Many Thanks

Jeramy, Moriah, Lily and I had such a good time visiting in Statesboro. We really want to thank Grandma and Granddaddy Anderson for all of the many kindnesses they showed to us. They gave us the gift of creamed corn - a TRUE labor of love! They cooked such wonderful meals (as always!) and allowed us to invade their home - whining toddlers, teething infants, cloth diapers and all!

I was also very excited for the extended family to see how Moriah has grown into a very active little girl and to meet our very sweet little Lily. We received visits from Great Grandma Gladys, Aunts Janis, Tammy and Sherri and cousins Hope and Justin. Uncle Stephen (Jeramy's brother) and girlfriend Tina got to see the girls too and that was precious also.

And I cannot go without saying this: Mrs. Anderson's Blueberry Cake was totally awesome! THE best (non chocolate) cake I have ever had, ever! Please, Mrs. Anderson, make that cake again for Christmas or my birthday. It is soooo good! Have you ever thought of mixing blueberries in with the cake batter also?

Thanks so much again for opening your home to us. Your hospitality is unparalleled.