Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Free Spurgeon Download in December

Every month Christian Audio has a free download. This month it is Spurgeon's Morning and Evening (January - March).

Click here to get your free download.

Sign up for their newsletter and you will be sent a notification of each month's freebie. Their selection is usually a very good choice!

Like I always say. . .free is a good price.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Great Video. Goes to show how a positive word could possibly make someone's day. Think and talk positive!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Epson Artisan 800 Photo Printer Giveaway

Yet another giveaway! This one will end on November 12 and is offered by SimpleMom. This printer is truly not only amazing but versatile as well!

Update: TWO GIVEAWAYS!! I found that Blissfully Domestic is also offering this as a giveaway on their site. Their drawing ends at midnight on Sunday, November 16. Both links are listed below. PLEASE NOTE that this is updated information. I previously indicated that this drawing ends on Monday.

This printer has so many features, I can really say that this may be the best thing since sliced bread.

I do a number of assorted jobs from my home. This printer would certainly be a great asset to have. I do some graphic work, including flyers and business cards, as well as work for attorneys and realtors. Having the ability to scan (high resolution) and fax (black AND color) in the same machine is fantastic.

I sell CDs in craft shops. Right now I can print to CDs and DVDs using LightScribe technology but am limited because I can't get the bright colors I would like have to display a realistic sample on the CDs. This printer will allow you to print CDs/DVDs with a professional quality in vibrant color.

When you print on photo paper, you will create smudge, scratch, water and fade resistant photos. You'll also have photos that stand up to humidity, moisture and spills. You can even load paper as small as 4" x 6" so they are ready to put in your albums or send photos to friends and family.

Wi-Fi® & Ethernet networking makes it easy for the entire family to use this printer using both wired and wireless networking!

This all-in-one printer scans up to 4800 dpi, faxes and prints. It is also a very fast printer which can print up to 38 ppm black and color and photos in as fast as 10 seconds! Talk about high quality resolution, you can print up to 9600 x 9600 dpi!

The printer has a 3.5” tilt LCD touch screen that makes it easy to view, crop, and edit your photos.

If you want to print from your camera or cell phone, it is possible with the built-in PictBridge port. If you want to print from your memory card, it accommodates over 2 DOZEN different types of cards!

This printer uses the Claria Hi-Definition Ink which is a revolutionary new six-color, dye-based ink technology that delivers unsurpassed image quality and long-lasting results. Claria is tailor-made to fit the needs of the discerning photo enthusiast. It provides vivid, true-to-life colors with a wide color gamut that's ideal for printing your best shots. You only replace the actual color(s) you run out of - no more wasted ink!
High capacity cartridges are available that provide about 60% more prints than a standard cartridge

An ethernet and power cable are also included along with some sample pieces of 4×6 photo paper. You are able to print as soon as it comes out of the box.

For those of you who homeschool, it prints ruled and graph paper - no need to buy a full pack or pad when you can print out what you need as you need it!

Click here to see a full list of the features of this printer

Click here to see a video showing the features of this printer

The only problem I think I'd have is keeping my teenaged daughter, who loves to take photos, from "hogging" this printer!

The SimpleMom Drawing has ended

Click here to reach Blissfully Domestic and enter their drawing

Estimated "street" price - $299

Monday, November 3, 2008

Powerful Words from an Abortion Survivor

I don't understand how someone can claim to be a Christian yet be "pro-choice". The unborn baby does not have a choice, yet it becomes a matter of life and death for them. This child is created in God's own image yet this young life isn't valued.

Over 95% of the abortions performed in the world today are with women who simply do not want to have a baby. Less than 5% of abortions in the world today are for the reasons of rape, incest, or the mother's health at risk. Less than 1/10 of one percent of the abortions done in the world today are where the mother's life is at risk.

This is an utmost evil. Even in the more difficult 5% of instances (rape, incest, life of mother at risk), abortion should never be the first option. The life of a human being in the womb is worth every effort to allow a full term birth.

Even if the really may be the situation of trying to save a mother's life, we need to remember that God is a God of miracles. He can preserve the life of a mother and a child despite all the medical odds being against it.

It is never medically necessary to intentionally kill a baby inside the mother's womb. There is a big difference between trying to save a mother's life, resulting in a baby's death, and intentionally ending the life of a baby in a mother's womb.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you. Jeremiah 1:5

Science agrees with what we are told in the Bible. It tells us that human life begins at the time of conception. From the moment fertilization takes place, the child's genetic makeup is already complete. Its gender has already been determined, along with its height and hair, eye and skin color. The only thing the embryo needs to become a fully-functioning being is the time to grow and develop.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16
I recently read that since Roe v. Wade allowed abortion to be legal in our country, that over 40 MILLION babies have been killed.

These are powerful words from an abortion survivor, Gianna Jessen. She researched the abortionist (he had to sign her birth certificate so she knew his name) and he claims to have performed over 1,000,000 abortions and considers it to be his "passion".

Victorian Premier John Brumby says he's "pleased to see legislation to decriminalise abortion pass through the upper house." Outcome on October 10, 2008 was that abortion was decriminalized in Australia - Read the article here

The War on Abortion:

Abortion is a reprehensible thing. We have decided to play God and snuff out these innocent lives. We need to pray and cry out to Christ to forgive us for being so complacent about the mass murder of millions of babies. It is nothing short of infantacide.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Acceptance and Encouragement

Acceptance is being patient and enduring. Don’t upset a friend because you cannot accept something about them. We can continue to assist them by shining our light, but we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. If we are loving the same Lord then what is the problem? Should we allow trivial differences to bring problems in our relationship with others? Jesus came to bring us love, not rules and regulations.

Always keep the gospel first and foremost in your mind.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:3-5

We have the divine word of God spoken in Jesus Christ and through the power of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 13, Paul went on to speak a word of encouragement. He said, "We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers, he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus." How's that for a word of encouragement? God promised and God fulfilled the promise! Jesus was raised from the dead. God continues to work in and through us and because of God's great work in us, we can speak the Good News to others. We can speak a word of encouragement in the midst of a world that needs it so desperately.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wow! Long time, no post!

Didn't realize it has been so long since I have posted!

Just finished teaching a citizenship class. It was good to read and reflect back on our history and our founding documents. I have recently reviewed America's Providential History and The Light and the Glory again - both AWESOME books. I've also been listening to some of the Vision Forum history CDs. A new thing that I have had a chance to review was Drive Thru History. I have previously seen the shorter versions on DVD, but this is the curriculum. These are SOOO funny! A great way to keep kids who aren't psyched about history and keep them engaged.

I figured that since I was teaching the class and my kids need to learn about US history anyway that it was as good a time as any to brush up on my own information. Interesting how many things I had forgotten - not to mention the new things I have learned.


Watch out Baptists - don't let this happen to you (just see what has already crept in at those "seeker sensitive" churches):

The elderly priest, speaking to the younger priest, said, "You had a good idea to replace the first four pews with plush bucket theater seats. It worked like a charm. The front of the church always fills first now."

The young priest nodded, and the old priest continued, "And you told me adding a little more beat to the music would bring young people back to church, so I supported you when you brought in that rock 'n' roll gospel choir. Now our services are consistently packed to the balcony."

"Thank you, Father," answered the young priest. "I am pleased that you are open to the new ideas of youth."

"All of these ideas have been well and good," said the elderly priest, "But I'm afraid you've gone too far with the drive-thru confessional."

"But, Father," protested the young priest, "My confessions have nearly doubled since I began that!"

"Yes," replied the elderly priest, "And I appreciate that. But the flashing neon sign, 'Toot 'n Tell or Go to Hell' canNOT stay on the church roof."

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Thoughts for Today

Well. . .today Mark had a scout pancake breakfast fundraiser at the Methodist church. Since I was over that way I figured that we could go to church at our old church - Cypress Lake Baptist. I couldn't believe how many people told me that they had been thinking about me over the last 2 weeks. I haven't been there in over 2 years! Ruth even broke down in tears and, among other very touching things, said that she really missed having me there. Alma said that every time they drive past our old house (she didn't know we moved) she thought of us. I was somewhat surprised at the degree of love they showed me.

It was really sad to see how few people were there. Except for Alyssa, I don't think there was anyone else in church under 40 and the average age was probably around 60! The first person I saw was Wayne, Paula is in complete remission from cancer, Brent Jr. is now regularly coming and is living back home, Jo was there (I hadn't talked with her since her husband died), Ellie is using a walker now, Ernie is still doing the sound (none of his kids or Cheryl were at church, though). Mary York and the Rutledges weren't there. It was great to talk to some of these older couples and widows. Apparently the pianist they hired isn't playing there any more so Paula was playing. I forgot to ask how her vertigo was. I know that it was something that plagued her for so long. Linda wasn't at church either. I had heard previously that her health isn't very good. Brownie was there. I had heard that she was in the hospital recently but I wasn't able to get down to Health Park to see her.

Since there were so many people that stopped to speak with me I was the last person out. I had the chance to speak to Pastor Harvey after the service. He knew I was going to Grace because I sent a letter saying that I had joined another church so they could remove my name from the church roll. He said that he and Pastor Ascol don't agree on their theology. He said that "Tom is more reformed than I am". Interesting, because now that I have become more familiar with the label "reformed", I wouldn't at all classify him as reformed doctrinally. He said that the one thing he respects, though, is that Pastor Ascol is a supporter of evangelism.

I asked what his views on some other items were and was very surprised to hear some of his answers. After talking for a little while, I found that there are many subjects that he chooses not to preach on because since different Christians have differing opinions, he would rather not go there because of the potential controversy. He would rather preach on a text that might relate to "life" and then explain what some of the Greek or Hebrew words mean or talk about the geography and how it would relate to the text so that people can "contextualize" it. He said that although he believes in the doctrine of election and predestination, he believes that a person has the free will to do the choosing. I don't ever remember him preaching on election, predestination or mentioning free will (in 13 years). As a matter of fact, I don't remember him preaching on any text in Romans at all (not to say that it didn't happen, but I don't remember any). He said that he got the Amazing Grace DVD that Tom sent to the SBC pastors and told me that he had one by Jerry Vines that I should see. He didn't tell me the name of it, though. Although he didn't say it in so many words, by what he did say, I got the impression that he thinks that the facts have been altered on the DVD so it isn't a true historical picture.

It was also interesting to note that his sermon didn't have a picture of the gospel at all. At Grace I have gotten so used to EVERY sermon coming back to the gospel that it ended up reflecting a stark difference between the two. At the end of the service when they had an "altar call", Alyssa asked "what is he doing"? Apparently she didn't remember that part of the service. Interesting because she was 14 when we left and she had seen it her whole life. I guess it made more of an impact since we don't have an "altar call" at Grace.

All in all, I left appreciating where I am more than ever. I am left wondering how I was able to be satisfied for so long with so little. It has come full circle and I am back to hearing doctrine that I heard growing up. Things that I didn't realize I wasn't hearing until I heard them again.

I do think that the next time Mark has a Sunday morning fundraiser at the church, that I'll plan on going. In the past I didn't want to miss the services at Grace so I passed on having Mark participate in the fundraiser. It was nice to talk with everyone - I had spent so many years there and they have seen my kids grow up. It was good to say "hi".

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Lord, please help me understand what is going on in my head

Lord, please help me understand what is going on in my head. I know that a lot of things have been going on in my life the last couple of years, but I am recognizing that my personality seems to be changing. I think that as I write this prayer, I need to just do some thinking with my fingers to try to better understand what's going on. . .

I used to be a strong, self-assured person. I was the eternal optimist. I was almost always exceedingly joyful – happiness seemed to spill over, even when problems came my way. My ex-husband used to get upset with me and would say things like "the glass isn't always half full - it's usually half empty or less". I enjoyed life. I didn’t need to look for happiness; it was just part of my life. What happened? Why is it that I need to be intentional and seek You out to regain my joy?

I find myself being this weepy wimp that is regularly sad and depressed. The slightest thing seems to bring me to tears. Why? I never used to cry. Even when I was on a diving team and hit my back on the diving board when I was practicing a new dive and forgot to dive out because I was concentrating on getting more height I didn’t cry! Years later I found out how badly I had injured my back when I saw the x-rays. When my parents got divorced I didn’t cry. Except at the mediation appointment in 2003, I didn’t cry at any time during my divorce proceedings (and they lasted from 1999 to 2003). What is different now? Lord, please help me understand!

I find comfort in very little these days. The only thing that I really enjoy these days is being at church, when I’m reading and talking to You, and teaching the ESL classes. I wish we had services at the church every day of the week. I so look forward to going. I even find myself sticking around after the services because I don't want to go home. I regularly am one of the last people to leave church. I don't want to leave this place where I get such joy. I had a great time at the Ligonier Ministries conference a few weeks ago – I didn’t want it to end. Why is this? Why can’t I seem to find happiness in other things? It seems like I just put on this happy “face” other times. I have gotten very good putting on this "face". I'm sure that not many people would even be able to know that it isn't genuine. It has gotten so bad that sometimes it seems comforting to be sad. . .I get into this “funk” and just want to wallow there. . .why would it feel comforting to feel sad? I can’t understand it. Is it because I am allowing sin to overtake me?

I have lost interest in so much. I have always been the type of person who is always busy, but it’s somehow different now. When I worked in New York City I'm sure that I was perceived as having a Type A personality. I probably worked at least 70 hour weeks then I had an hour by train each way to work (not mention the walk or subway ride between Penn Station and Rockefeller Plaza and the drive from Princeton Junction to my home). In New York you get paid a great salary and have great benefits, but the requirements of a job are a lot. I loved working. Even in college I always got an overload permit so that I could take 21 credit hours of classes each semester. On top of that I worked to pay my bills. I did get financial aid, but that covered my school bills so I needed to supplement it. I was on my own since I was 17 and needed to stay there during the summer and all breaks. I always lived in an apartment off-campus. I had turned into a career student - there 5-1/2 years as an undergrad then started working on my MBA - and loving every semester! I was only 2 classes short of getting a 2nd undergrad degree with a minor before I started my masters' work. At the time I worked on my masters' I also went to the local community college and started working on an Associates in Automotive Technology (which I loved! I still wish I had taken the class where we rebuilt an engine).

I’m still extremely busy, but I find myself doing more alone type activities. Even with work I can do a lot from home – just accessing the office from my computer in the house. I not only am doing more alone type activities, but I seek them out.

I never was the “girlfriend” type of person, but now I seem to avoid being around people except when I’m at church. Why do I seem to be keeping people at arms-length? I have this internal dichotomy going on because I also seem to have this great longing to talk to someone. I have found myself sending a few e-mails to both my pastor and his wife about things that are going on. Why? I know he is extremely busy and I’m sure there are far more important things for him to take his time with than some petty things going on with me. Why am I bothering him? He has been very gracious about it and hasn't made mention of it, but I know I can't continue doing this - it isn't right of me and I know he is far too busy to have me continue.

Even with everything I have told him, I still haven't even touched on my deep inner turmoil - I have only touched the surface. I know I value his opinion about things and You have greatly blessed him by giving this great wisdom and discernment (both things I am praying for). His wife is my daughter’s Sunday School teacher and so somehow when I type an e-mail it seems right but later I wonder why I did it. It isn’t like we are friends, but she just seems very approachable.

I have had a couple of meetings with my pastor and one with him and his wife. I do appreciate their taking the time to talk with me and I do feel they were productive meetings. When all has been said and done though, I am left thinking that they must think that I am really screwed up in the head. That I am SO not together (why would it matter what they think? why do I want to put a "face" on this?). I have found myself on occasion not wanting to look them in the eye because I am embarrassed at their knowing such personal things about me. It doesn't seem right that I feel this way. Again, why? Why do I want to cling to my problems and personal dilemmas? Why is it that I can only seem to feel totally free to talk when it is to You alone, Lord?

At the meeting I had with both of them (which was yesterday), my pastor asked how they could pray for me. I have so many things that I wanted to say but just blurted one out. Later I thought about it and then sent off an e-mail with some of the things I am praying for that have been huge for me. After I sent it I regretted that I said so much. Why couldn't I leave it at the one thing I said in our meeting?

Lord, you know that a number of the things I mentioned were about my relationship with You. Why couldn't I leave these requests to be between You and me? I, again, was left feeling that I said way too much. I also feel very uncomfortable with how I stated things. When I am praying or writing out prayers to You, I can pour out my heart. When I re-read the e-mail I sent, the way I wrote about the things I am praying about seemed so self-righteous. The words I chose seemed so fake to actually say it in that manner to someone - it was the way I am in my private thoughts and in my private written and spoken prayers to You, but in re-reading the e-mail it seemed weird to put it in writing this way to a person. I know that when I am actually praying I talk in much more detail, but even these short snippets I listed seemed so sanctimonious in writing to another person. Again, seeing my pastor and his wife tonight, knowing how personal I was when writing my prayer requests, seemed embarrassing when I saw them in person. Why do I have this thing about sharing things with someone? Why would I be embarrassed about sharing prayer requests in the manner I use when I am praying in private? That, also, somehow seems so wrong.

I am becoming obsessed with reading. The things that I am reading are good books – actually great is a better way to describe them. I am finding myself even reading when I am at a long stoplight (I haven't, however gotten to where I was when I was a kid and read even while I was walking around). I can’t seem to get enough. Lord, I am learning so much through the books that You have brought my way, but am I overdoing it? I’m reading Puritan authors, I’m reading books by fantastic godly men, I’m listening to great sermons and programs on my iPod, I’m still persevering with my in-depth Bible studies, I’m learning so much about You. . .. How much is too much? IS there such a thing?

I used to love playing piano – sitting down for hours at a time was something I regularly did (and loved doing). Now I rarely touch the piano. It seems like when I am giving a piano lesson is really the only time I play. Why? I used to get so much joy from playing. The few times I have sat down at the piano lately I play a song or two and then can’t seem to bear playing anymore. I know that I have had some problems with my eyesight and having difficulty reading the music, but this was a passion of mine. What happened?

I find that my emotions are on a roller coaster. I’m up, I’m down (more down than up). The highs are very high but the lows are lower than they have ever been. Is this just a season I’m going through? Is part of this health related? Is part of this because I’m not eating right? I know that I am eating a lot of pasta, rice and potatoes and not much in the way of fruit and vegetables because they are cheap. My food budget for the family is about $80/month right now. I would venture a guess that there have even been months where I have spent less than that.

I know that I have been regularly getting fevers – no clue as to why I am having them. I don’t feel sick, I am just hot. I'm not uncomfortable (except that a number of times my eyes are burning). Interesting . . .my son seems to notice it more than I do. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure if I would have really realized it if it weren’t for him. Is it because it has been going on for so long that I haven’t noticed?

My tremors have been getting worse (although last summer was much worse than it is now, but I think that was a temporary thing more related to my lack of sleep). My migraines have been coming back on a regular basis. When I was at the conference I had a major one. One thing that I noticed was that I had a bulge in the back of each side of my head. Once the migraine subsided, the bulges went away. It was weird that the headache only lasted a couple of days - it totally disappeared that Sunday night (not the gradual lessening of it over many days). It was also interesting that during the seminar sessions that Saturday morning they totally left me and I was able to completely concentrate on what the speaker was saying. Once each session was over it came back. Is there some sort of fluid building up in my head that is creating some sort of pressure? The drive home took about 5 hours because I needed to stop so often to rest my eyes because the pain emanated from the back of my head through to my eyes. I am finding that I am often taking 25 or more Advil a day to keep my back and head from hurting so much.

Lord, looking over what I have just typed, it seems like I am a major basket case. Wow! When I put everything down in one place it sounds absolutely pathetic. What's even worse is that there are more things I could have listed. Is it because my relationship with You isn't where it should be - that I wouldn’t have these internal conflicts going on if it were? I don't feel this is the case, but why AM I having these conflicts? Where am I going wrong? What do I need to do to get to where I should be? Am I writing this so that I can get a better grasp about what is going on? Why is it that sometimes I seem to want to avoid even thinking of my problems with myself?

Thomas Watson wrote that "afflictions are a friend to grace" and that "they augment grace. The people of God are beholden to their troubles; they would never have had so much grace if they had not met with such severe trials. Now the waters run and the spices flow forth. The saints thrive by affliction as the Lacedemonians grew rich by war. God makes grace flourish most in the fall of the leaf." Lord, why is it that you had me read this tonight?

I know that You want us to be filled with joy and praise; that You want us to live joyful lives. These feelings of sadness are so intense, though. Job said that if we pray and remember our blessings, You will restore us to joy and righteousness (Job 33:26). David wrote that the study of Your Word can bring us joy (Psalm 19:8). David also realized that he needed to praise You even in the midst of despair (Psalm 42:5). I am spending extensive times studying Your Word. I am praying like I have never prayed before in my life. I am trying to praise You.

It seems the more I try to draw close to You the more I feel so detached from "life" - like an outsider looking in.

Lord, please help guide me to get my head together. Please help me know what I need to do. I am so confused. Please help me!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Help Me Know How to Pray for My Children

Lord, my prayer for today to ask for wisdom in knowing how to pray for my children. You are great and mighty. You are my God. You are One and there is no other. You alone are able to meet the deepest longings of my heart. You alone are worthy of my worship and devotion. You are sovereign and nothing that I can do can thwart your purposes.

Oh, God, I know that you are a gracious God. Your goodness, grace and mercy flow freely from you. I am earnestly seeking after You. As is stated in II Peter 3:18, I ask, Lord, to help me "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever." I wish to forget about this world and all it's temporary pleasures, and be obedient to Your Word.

I know that you have brought others alongside to pray with me for my children. Thank you so much for that. This has helped lift this great burden that I have been carrying alone for so long. I know that my tendency is to clam up and shut down. I realize that a part of this is probably related to guilt and shame. Part of it is also that I end up feeling so exposed. I find that when I do talk with someone I have great regrets later that I ever opened my mouth. I have started reading a small book which has a writing by Arthur Hildersham and am dragged down by the weightiness of the fact that I am charged with the souls of my children. What a great load to bear!

I know that somewhere inside I do have a longing to talk with someone - someone to share my deepest thoughts and concerns with. I know I resist having any close friends and haven't really had one for over 20 years - that I keep people at arms' length because that is the easiest way to keep from being hurt, but I do have this emptiness inside. I know how to be a friend to someone, but seem unable to let someone be a friend to me. I ask that you guide me in knowing when, to whom, and what to say. I am ever looking for wisdom and discernment in this area. I wish to have the discernment I not only need to know Your will, but Your truth. Let me know what You desire. I wish to make decisions that honor You.

As is written in II Corinthians 12:9, “'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." I ask that you heal my pain and free me to discover what You can do. Please keep me always remembering the power of the gospel. It is so easy to get bogged down in sinful self-pity. I need to keep remembering to look upward and not inward.

Please help me not to give up - to keep praying through my tears. I know I often become discouraged and bogged down in life’s cares. Sometimes it seems overwhelming. Please give me the strength to carry on. As is written in I Peter 5, I need to cast all my cares upon You. I do know that You care for me. I know that You, Lord, will sustain me and You will never let me fall. You are able and willing to take everything that threatens to overwhelm me and use it for my benefit. I ask You, Lord, to take the pain and disappointment from my heart and set me free to live in faith. I am trusting You to work a miracle in order to meet the needs of those I love.

I pray that You would bring others into the lives of my children to show them the error of their ways and the reality of sin in their lives. Thank you for the people at church and Patty who have had the courage to open their mouths and say words of correction to my children. I rejoice that you have provided these people in my life. Often I feel like my kids think I am out of touch with reality because so many other people in their lives are giving them conflicting information; that what I am telling them is out-of-date and old-fashioned and has no place in today's world. I find that they discount what I say because so many other people are telling them that they (my kids) are right and I am wrong. Please help me protect my children from these ungodly influences in their lives. I know I can't shelter them forever and with the proliferation of various types of technology, they will always have these other influences. Please help me know how to handle each situation as it comes up. I ask, Lord, that you keep Your hand of protection over them even as they make bad decisions. You are the Rock that is stronger than I am. I want to protect my children, but I cannot do it without Your help.

Lord, I pray that You would draw my children unto You. I pray that my children will come to know Jesus as their Savior and friend. This is my greatest request. I wish to say, as is stated in III John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." I wish for my children to have the "peace that passes all understanding" - this can only come from You.

Lord, I wish to fully live a Christ-filled life. Please let my children see the difference that Jesus has made in my life through my actions, words and deeds. Please let me reveal and reflect You in everything I do and say. I wish for my children to see You in me and that they would covet a true relationship with You. As David Livingston used to pray, I wish that I "might imitate Christ in all his imitable perfections" so that I might be more and more conformed to Your image. You are the very source of all holiness and perfection. I ask that You give me a passion for Your holiness. Pleae give me grace to immitate You in Your holiness.

I know that my sincere prayer has great power. Please help remind me to take more time out for prayer and fasting; the souls of my children are at stake. Help me to better manage my time so that I can regularly set aside days for this. At this time of great need I know that one day every week would not be uncalled for. Please don't let me let "life" get in the way of my spiritual needs and that of my family. I am asking, Lord, that you keep reminding me of Your Lordship in my life. Please help keep me humble. Please also keep me cognizant of the sin in my own life that I need to confess daily.

In Romans 8:28, Your Word says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I am clinging to this promise. I know that at all times You are working for my own good and for Your glory.

I also cling to the promise you made in I Corinthians 10:13 where you said "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." I know that you will not let me fall. I am trusting You to equip and sustain me. Help me persevere - pressing on "toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. " (Philippians 3:14)

Lord, please help me always celebrate Your goodness and mercy. I know that your hand is in this and I must seek Your will. Please grant me patience, love and understanding during these trying times.

Psalm 90:14-16

“Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,
That we may rejoice and be glad all our days!
Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us,
The years in which we have seen evil.
Let Your work appear to Your servants,
And Your glory to their children.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Psalm 67

Psalm 67

God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth. Selah

Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
Then the earth shall yield her increase;

God, our own God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Blessed are the Peacemakers"

Evening Verse

"Blessed are the peacemakers:

for they shall be called the children of God."

Matthew 5:9

This is the seventh of the beatitudes: and seven was the number of perfection among the Hebrews. It may be that the Saviour placed the peacemaker the seventh upon the list because he most nearly approaches the perfect man in Christ Jesus. He who would have perfect blessedness, so far as it can be enjoyed on earth, must attain to this seventh benediction, and become a peacemaker.

There is a significance also in the position of the text. The verse which precedes it speaks of the blessedness of "the pure in heart: for they shall see God."

It is well to understand that we are to be "first pure, then peaceable." Our peaceableness is never to be a compact with sin, or toleration of evil. We must set our faces like flints against everything which is contrary to God and His holiness: purity being in our souls a settled matter, we can go on to peaceableness.

Not less does the verse that follows seem to have been put there on purpose. However peaceable we may be in this world, yet we shall be misrepresented and misunderstood: and no marvel, for even the Prince of Peace, by His very peacefulness, brought fire upon the earth. He Himself, though He loved mankind, and did no ill, was "despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief."

Lest, therefore, the peaceable in heart should be surprised when they meet with enemies, it is added in the following verse, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Thus, the peacemakers are not only pronounced to be blessed, but they are compassed about with blessings. Lord, give us grace to climb to this seventh beatitude!

Purify our minds that we may be "first pure, then peaceable," and fortify our souls, that our peaceableness may not lead us into cowardice and despair, when for Thy sake we are persecuted.

—Morning and Evening / Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Duggar Family with 17 Kids

A call for wisdom and discernment

Proverbs 2:1-11

"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, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

"For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.

"Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you."

Proverbs 3:13-35

“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.

”The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.

“My son, do not lose sight of these - keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’ - when you have it with you. Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD, but the upright are in his confidence. The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.

“ The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My grace is sufficient for thee

II Corinthians 12:9

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Monday, March 10, 2008

May the Lord, Mighty God, Bless and Keep You Forever

The Jim Bob Duggar Family, stars of the Discovery Health Channel’s number one hit-special, “Raising 16 Children,” perform “May the Lord, Mighty God, Bless and Keep you Forever” to the tune of “Edelweiss.” During an earlier hour-and-a-half session with this home schooling family of sixteen, festival attendees got a powerful glimpse into the way a large Christian family works together as a team in a successful project of national impact. The Duggars humble testimony of trusting God for children was an inspiration to many.

Update - they now have 17 children.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

May Christ dwell in our hearts with his indestructible joy

"Father, it is a great comfort to us that you and your Son are never glib and never gloomy. We delight in the truth that you can be infinitely happy without being callous to our pain. We stand in wonder that the light of Jesus' joy makes a rainbow in the tears on his face. We long to be like this.

We want to be strong and unshakable in the joy of our faith. But we don't want to be oblivious to the grievousness of our own sin or the pain of other people's distress. O God, fulfill in us the purpose of your Son in promising that his joy would be in us and that our joy would be full.

Make the fruit of the Spirit - joy - flourish in our lives. Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love that we may rejoice and be glad in you. Waken our slumbering souls from the sleep of listlessness. Take away the lukewarmness of our hearts. Fan the flame of zeal for the glory of your name.

May Christ so dwell in our hearts with his indestructible joy that day by day we are conformed more and more to his glad image. And so may we be a place of refuge and eternal refreshment for a hopeless, joy-seeking world of people who do not know they are starved for the glory of the gladness of God in Jesus Christ. In his name we pray, amen. "

John Piper - Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ

Isaiah 44:3

Isaiah 44:3

"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants."

What I'm reading. . .

Here is an update of books I'm reading. . .

· The Bible Lessons of John Quincy Adams for His Son

· Poems for Patriarchs: The Verse and Prose of Christian Manhood - Edited by Douglas Phillips

· Parents in Pain: Overcoming the Hurt and Frustration of Problem Children - John White

· The Godly Man's Picture - Thomas Watson

Devotional I have added: The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions - compiled by Arthur Bennett (bummer - he doesn't credit any of the writings with the writer)

I've gone back to my old habits of always having a book with me. If I ever need to wait for the kids or for an appointment, I always have a book with me. This is a habit I had when I was growing up (although I was worse then - I would even read while walking around). It's weird. . .I can't seem to get enough reading in. It's been many years since I have read so much. At the rate I am reading now I will read at least 60 books this year.

Lord, You're blessing me with such good reading material. I know that you are guiding me in my selections. Many of these have been exactly what I have needed to read at this time. Please help me keep You always in my thoughts and to help me become more like You. Please help my life to reflect You.

2 Corinthians 4:7-18

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Our Sufficiency in Christ

"A Story is told about William Randolph Hearst, the late newspaper publisher. Hearst invested a fortune in collecting great works of art. One day he read about some valuable pieces of art and decided that he must add them to his collection. He sent his agent abroad to locate and purchase them. Months went by before the agent returned and reported to Hearst that the items had at last been found – they were stored in his own warehouse. Hearst had purchased them years before!

"That is analogous to the alarming number of Christians today who are on a desperate search for spiritual resources they already possess. Theirs is a futile quest for something more. It’s a heretical fire fanned in part by the false notion that salvation is insufficient to transform believers and equip them for Christian living. Those thus influenced believe they need something more – more of Christ, more of the Holy Spirit . . .But as we have been seeing, to have Jesus is to have every spiritual resource. All we need is found in Him. Rather than attempting to add something to Christ we must simply learn to use the resources that are already ours in Him."

Our Sufficiency in Christ - John MacArthur

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Valley of Vision

From The Valley of Vision
Arthur Bennett

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Blessed be the Lord!

"Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!"

- Psalm 72:18-19

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Meditations with Sibbes

I have started reading some of the Puritan authors. I have read the Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes and The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel so far. I have also been doing some other reading online. There are so many "nuggets" to reflect upon in these writings! I think that from every now and then I need to list some here so I can come back from time to time and reflect upon them again. Here are a few to start:

"Physicians, though they put their patients to much pain, will not destroy nature, but raise it up by degrees. Surgeons will lance and cut, but not dismember. A mother who has a sick and self willed child will not therefore cast it away. And shall there be more mercy in the stream than in the spring? Shall we think there is more mercy in ourselves than in God, who plants the affection of mercy in us?

"But for further declaration of Christ's mercy to all bruised reeds, consider the comfortable relationships he has taken upon himself of husband, shepherd and brother, which he will discharge to the utmost. Shall others by his grace fulfill what he calls them unto, and not he who, out of his love, has taken upon him these relationships, so thoroughly founded upon his Father's assignment, and his own voluntary undertaking? Consider the names he has borrowed from the mildest creatures, such as lamb and hen, to show his tender care. Consider his very name Jesus, a Saviour, given him by God himself. Consider his office answerable to his name, which is that he should `bind up the broken hearted' (Isa. 61:1). At his baptism the Holy Ghost rested on him in the shape of a dove, to show that he should be a dove like, gentle Mediator. Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed

"Sibbes . . .wrote, 'We commonly grieve the Spirit of God when the mind is troubled with a multitude of busyness; when the soul is like a mill where one cannot hear another; the noise is such as takes away all intercourse.' That is to say, when we fill our lives with things other than spiritual concerns, we bring grief to the blessed Spirit. Activity is not synonymous with spirituality, as popular Christian culture would have us believe. Rather, we are called to humble dependence and meditation upon the Spirit. As Sibbes said, 'This grieves the Holy Spirit also when men take the office of the Spirit from him,' that is, when we will do things in our own strength and by our own light. We all too willingly, go about our Christian tasks in our own strength, never realizing that in doing so, we become our own end, and with a theft of God's honor our activities become meaningless." Commentary on Sibbes' Writings by Rev. Joel R. Beeke (http://www.puritansermons.com/banner/beeke01.htm).

"The Holy Spirit being in us, after he that prepared us for a house for himself to dwell in and to take up his rest and delight in, he doth also become unto us a counselor in all our doubts, a comforter in all our distresses, a solicitor to all duty, a guide in the whole course of life, until we dwell with him forever in heaven, unto which his dwelling here in us doth tend." Richard Sibbes, Volume 4

"We should judge of things as to whether they help or hinder our main purpose; whether they further or hinder our judgment; whether they make us more or less spiritual, and so bring us nearer to the fountain of goodness, God himself; whether they will bring us peace or sorrow at the last; whether they commend us more or less to God, and whether they are the thing in which we shall approve ourselves to him most. We should also judge of things now as we shall do hereafter when the soul shall be best able to judge, as when we are under any public calamity, or at the hour of death, when the soul gathers itself from all other things to itself. We should look back to former experience and see what is most agreeable to it, and what was best in our worst times. If grace is or was best then, it is best now. We should also labour to judge of things as he does who must judge us, and as holy men judge, who are led by the Spirit. More particularly, we should judge according to what those judge that have no interest in any benefit that may come by the thing which is in question; for outward things blind the eyes even of the wise. We see that papists are most corrupt in those things where their honor, ease, or profit is engaged; but in the doctrine of the Trinity, which does not touch on these things, they are sound. But it is not sufficient that judgment is right. It must also be ready and strong. " We should judge of things as to whether they help or hinder our main purpose; whether they further or hinder our judgment; whether they make us more or less spiritual, and so bring us nearer to the fountain of goodness, God himself; whether they will bring us peace or sorrow at the last; whether they commend us more or less to God, and whether they are the thing in which we shall approve ourselves to him most. We should also judge of things now as we shall do hereafter when the soul shall be best able to judge, as when we are under any public calamity, or at the hour of death, when the soul gathers itself from all other things to itself. We should look back to former experience and see what is most agreeable to it, and what was best in our worst times. If grace is or was best then, it is best now. We should also labour to judge of things as he does who must judge us, and as holy men judge, who are led by the Spirit. More particularly, we should judge according to what those judge that have no interest in any benefit that may come by the thing which is in question; for outward things blind the eyes even of the wise. We see that papists are most corrupt in those things where their honor, ease, or profit is engaged; but in the doctrine of the Trinity, which does not touch on these things, they are sound. But it is not sufficient that judgment is right. It must also be ready and strong. Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed

The victory lies not with us, but with Christ, who has taken on him both to conquer for us and to conquer in us. The victory lies neither in our own strength to get it, nor in our enemies' strength to defeat it. If it lay with us, we might justly fear. But Christ will maintain his own government in us and take our part against our corruptions. They are his enemies as well as ours. Let us therefore be `strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might' (Eph. 6:10). Let us not look so much at who our enemies are as at who our judge and captain is, nor at what they threaten, but at what he promises. We have more for us than against us. What coward would not fight when he is sure of victory? None is here overcome but he that will not fight. Therefore, when any base fainting seizes on us, let us lay the blame where it ought to be laid. Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed

Here is a link where all of Sibbes writings can be downloaded for free: http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Puritans/Richard-Sibbes/

Monday, March 3, 2008

American Memory

This is from the Library of Congress. Note to me: this link will be useful when we study US Government

American Memory/A Century of Lawmaking For a New Nation: US Congressional Documents and Debates

A great collection of source documents. . .

"I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."

This is another one worth remembering and is so timely. . .

Morning Devotional for March 3 from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening

"I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."
- Isaiah 48:10

Comfort thyself, tried believer, with this thought: God saith, "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." Does not the word come like a soft shower, assuaging the fury of the flame? Yea, is it not an asbestos armour, against which the heat hath no power?

Let affliction come-God has chosen me. Poverty, thou mayst stride in at my door, but God is in the house already, and he has chosen me. Sickness, thou mayst intrude, but I have a balsam ready-God has chosen me. Whatever befalls me in this vale of tears, I know that he has "chosen" me.

If, believer, thou requirest still greater comfort, remember that you have the Son of Man with you in the furnace. In that silent chamber of yours, there sitteth by your side One whom thou hast not seen, but whom thou lovest; and ofttimes when thou knowest it not, he makes all thy bed in thy affliction, and smooths thy pillow for thee.

Thou art in poverty; but in that lovely house of thine the Lord of life and glory is a frequent visitor. He loves to come into these desolate places, that he may visit thee. Thy friend sticks closely to thee. Thou canst not see him, but thou mayst feel the pressure of his hands. Dost thou not hear his voice? Even in the valley of the shadow of death he says, "Fear not, I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God." Remember that noble speech of Caesar: "Fear not, thou carriest Caesar and all his fortune."

Fear not, Christian; Jesus is with thee. In all thy fiery trials, his presence is both thy comfort and safety. He will never leave one whom he has chosen for his own. "Fear not, for I am with thee," is his sure word of promise to his chosen ones in the "furnace of affliction. "

Wilt thou not, then, take fast hold of Christ, and say- "Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead, I'll follow where he goes."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Lord, I stand in awe of you

Lord, today I am thinking of You and Your majesty. Recognizing how You are a sovereign God. I am remembering Your providences upon me with praise and thanksgiving. The mercies you have bestowed upon me are innumerable. The grace You have shown unmeasurable. You are so good and wonderful. You prove Your faithfulness over and over (and over and over).

Lord, I know of Your incredible love and know you only want the best for me. You always watch over me. . .protect me. . .care for me. You know the number of hairs on my head. You were here before the mountains were brought forth and will be here long after the earth has fallen away. You always were and always will be.

The heavens show your glory, power and majesty. They are glorious examples of your handiwork. The mountains quake before You. I wonder at your power, wisdom and infinitude. You have control over everything. Everything I have done and everything I will do are known by you. I have been saved by Your grace.

I give You the glory for releasing me from my prison cell of sin. I find great joy and peace in the power of The Gospel. Your love never fails. Your love forgives. In my natural state I do not seek you, I do not love you and I don't desire you. You sought me out and brought me to You. Your grace is abundant and your mercy is overflowing.

Lord, You are holy. You are righteous. You are perfect. You are just. I know You demonstrate Your love daily in my life. I give You all the glory for everything You have provided for me, even for every breath I take. You are faithful.

Your wisdom is profound. There is none wiser than you. You have an infinite tenderness. You know what I need and what is best for me even when I don't know.

I am taking time to observe and meditate on the workings of providence. Everything is ordered by You. It would be an incredible sight if I could see the whole design of Providence at one long look - it's incomprehensible what You have ordered and arranged. My view is so short and imperfect, yet I see how excellent and sweet your Will is.

I recognize and acknowledge Your sovereignty and marvel at Your nature. I see Your Hand in everything. You sovereignly ordain everything that comes to pass; there is nothing that happens outside of Your sovereign will. In Ephesians 1:11 you tell us that our inheritance has been predestined and You work all things according to the counsel of Your will.

"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted." (Job 42:2)

Even though so much of your sovereign will remains hidden, I know that your revealed will is perfect.

As I immerse myself in Your Word, I see Your glory shine through.

I recognize Your attributes. You are strong. You are divine. You are the Most High. You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are omnipotent. You are an Almighty God and an Everlasting Father. Your kingdom will last forever.

"As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." (Psalm 42:1-2a)

You ARE my Lord and my God. You are my Saviour. I praise You with all my heart and soul. I long to serve You and glorify you all my life. I lift my hands and eyes to the heavens to worship You.

Lord, please let me continually have joy and show praise for You. Remind me always how in Your righteousness You delivered me and You rescued me. You are my rock and my fortress. Please help me to proclaim Your wondrous deeds. Show me how I can better praise You. Let me praise You more and more. Let me continually seek Your face. Please let me enjoy You.

"Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again." (Psalm 71:19 - 20)

Lord, please remind me often of these truths. Keep me ever looking upward.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What I'm reading. . .

I know that a few months ago I listed what I was listening to and meant to list what I was reading. That was over a dozen books ago. I need to remember to update this from time to time. It's always interesting to look back and remember what I was reading.

Currently I'm reading these:

The Supremacists / Phyllis Schlafly Note to me: find something else she has written - I'm enjoying her writing style
Future Grace / John Piper Note to me: This is only the 2nd book by him I've read - keep more books by him on my list - very easy reading style
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment / Tim Challies
The Truth of the Cross / R. C. Sproul
Jesus the Evangelist / Richard Phillips
The Bruised Reed / Richard Sibbes Note to me: download a few more of the Puritan authors from http://www.puritanlibrary.com/

Pilgrim's Progress

Well. . .I'm getting ready to start a re-read of Pilgrim's Progress. I was thumbing through the book and can't remember some of the parts - this tells me it's time to read it again. I have never read the second part - Christiana's Story - so I think it's high time to read it now. Note to me: Make sure I have the second part by the time I finish the first part. Check the bookshelves - I may already have a copy that has both parts.

My Soul Is Sad and Much Dismayed

It is interesting learning old hymns. The words for this one were written in 1779.


My soul is sad and much dismayed;
See, Lord, what legions of my foes,
With fierce Apollyon at their head,
My heav’nly pilgrimage oppose!

See, from the over-burning lake
How like a smoky cloud they rise!
With horrid blasts my soul they shake,
With storms of blasphemies and lies.

Their fiery arrows reach the mark,
My throbbing heart with anguish tear;
Each lights upon a kindred spark,
And finds abundant fuel there.

I hate the thought that wrongs the Lord;
O, I would drive it from my breast,
With Thy own sharp two-edged sword,
Far as the east is from the west!

Come then, and chase the cruel host,
Heal the deep wounds I have received!
Nor let the pow’rs of darkness boast
That I am foiled, and Thou art grieved!

Words: Will­iam Cow­per, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779).
Music: Ab­bots­ford, Ca­thol­ische Geist­liche Ge­sänge (An­der­nach, Ger­ma­ny: 1608)

Help keep me from doing and saying foolish things

Lord, I ask you today to help keep me from doing and saying foolish things. Sometimes I do things on impulse and when I do I usually regret having done them.

Please help me learn that it is usually better to not say anything at all, and at the minimum I should learn to hold my tongue (or my fingers when typing) for some time in order to take the time to sit back and reevaluate everything before I say or do anything.

Please help me to do more listening than talking.

Proverbs 21:23 "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles." (NKJV)

fool·ish (fōō'lĭsh) adj.

1. Lacking or exhibiting a lack of good sense or judgment; silly: foolish remarks
2. Resulting from stupidity or misinformation; unwise: a foolish decision.
3. Arousing laughter; absurd or ridiculous: a foolish grin.
4. Immoderate or stubborn; unreasonable: foolish pride; foolish love.
5. Embarrassed; abashed: I feel foolish telling you this
6. Insignificant; trivial: spent all their money on foolish little knickknacks

stu·pid (stōō'pĭd, styōō'-) adj.

1. Slow to learn or understand; obtuse.
2. Tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes.
3. Marked by a lack of intelligence or care; foolish or careless: a stupid mistake.
4. Dazed, stunned, or stupefied.
5. Pointless; worthless: a stupid job.

n. A stupid or foolish person.

[Latin stupidus, from stupēre, to be stunned.]

American Heritage Dictionary

I think the first and second definitions of “foolish” fit me as well as the second (and probably also the first and third) definition of “stupid” and seem to have defined my life lately. In the infamous words of Forrest Gump: "stupid is, as stupid does".

Proverbs has several chapters about the stupidity of pursuing man's wisdom over God's. Any time I turn to my own understanding and neglect to seek God, I get in trouble. I want to seek Your wisdom but then I keep doing and saying things where I decide to pursue my own wisdom in situations.

So many times lately I have silently told myself "shut up, stupid" (and oh, how many times I have ignored myself!!). I want to choose the path of wisdom, not stupidity. Please help guide me in this path.

Remembering an old comedy sketch. . .I think it was a Bob Newhart episode - or maybe it was Bob Newhart on Saturday Night Live, maybe it was someone else. . .I really can’t remember, but if I recall the episode, a person came in for counseling where there was a 2 minute consultation for $5 and after that it was free. He heard the problem without interrupting. Since he didn’t want to continue the counseling session after the 2 minutes (because he wouldn't get paid for it), he gave his professional response which was “STOP THAT”. Lord, please remind me to “STOP THAT”! Edit: In rethinking this, I think the sage advice he gave was "DON'T DO THAT!".

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” I stand ready for reproof and correction. . .

Give me Your mercy, I pray, for the times when I have foolishly disregarded Your guidance.

Please grant me patience, love and understanding. I desire to know and live according to the will of God as revealed in the Scripture, which can be summarized best as “be holy for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

I am trying to immerse myself in the written Word of God, saturating my mind with it. I am praying that the Holy Spirit will transform me through the renewing of my mind, so that the result is what is good, acceptable and perfect - the will of God. Please help guide me.

Please also help me get some sleep. It has been so illusive lately. An hour or so and I wake up. I have so many thoughts going through my head that I can't get any rest. Thank you, though, for the extra time it has provided for prayer.

Thank you also for giving me peace about some things that have been going on in my life.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

WW II Pics - In library book! Wow!

I guess I have been noticing WWII pics since Phil went to Germany and sought out old WWII locations from pictures he studied. This is a great find! Who would ever have imagined that you could find something like this at a library book sale!

WWII photos found at a library sale

Woohoo! I figured out how to put a description to a link on this site! So easy - how could I have missed it?!

Young Eagles

I keep forgetting about the Young Eagles program. I guess if I list it here I'm more likely to remember. The website is http://www.youngeagles.org/. Mark keeps asking but I keep forgetting. . .

Reminder to me. . .call Richard at
(941) 575-2446 to confirm the March program - make sure it is still on the second Saturday of the month. Also get pass code again for the security area at the airport to watch the guys build their experimental aircraft and confirm that they are still there Monday - Friday from 8:00 - noon.

I guess this online journal is a good way for me to keep a "virtual memory" for ongoing programs! LOL!

Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies

Okay. . .this one's especially for Alyssa. The Today Show today featured this recipe so I had to go to epicurious.com to get it. Reminder to me. . .pick up the ingredients so I can have them on hand to surprise her when she's been behaving (actually I guess I only need the chocolate). Second reminder to me. . . mill some extra amaranth and freeze it to have on hand for this recipe.

Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1-3/4 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
(5) 1/4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath), coarsely chopped

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool mixture to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto sheets, spacing 2-1/2 inches apart. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 15 minutes.

I wonder if this would be a good freezable recipe to do as a monthly cooking recipe. . .

"God, that comforteth those that are cast down"

Talk about timely. I have found that it is amazing how many times these daily thoughts are just what I need to read. . .

I just felt I had to copy this. . .I know that this is one thought that I will want to come back to. I know that if I don't list this here I won't remember what day it is from (to enable me to go back to this calendar day to review the thought).

February 20
Morning Verse
"God, that comforteth those that are cast down." 2Corinthians 7:6

And who comforteth like Him? Go to some poor, melancholy, distressed child of God; tell him sweet promises, and whisper in his ear choice words of comfort; he is like the deaf adder, he listens not to the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely. He is drinking gall and wormwood, and comfort him as you may, it will be only a note or two of mournful resignation that you will get from him; you will bring forth no psalms of praise, no hallelujahs, no joyful sonnets. But let God come to His child, let Him lift up his countenance, and the mourner's eyes glisten with hope. Do you not hear him sing--

"'Tis paradise, if thou art here; If thou depart, 'tis hell?"

You could not have cheered him: but the Lord has done it; "He is the God of all comfort." There is no balm in Gilead, but there is balm in God. There is no physician among the creatures, but the Creator is Jehovah-rophi. It is marvellous how one sweet word of God will make whole songs for Christians. One word of God is like a piece of gold, and the Christian is the goldbeater, and can hammer that promise out for whole weeks. So, then, poor Christian, thou needest not sit down in despair. Go to the Comforter, and ask Him to give thee consolation. Thou art a poor dry well. You have heard it said, that when a pump is dry, you must pour water down it first of all, and then you will get water, and so, Christian, when thou art dry, go to God, ask Him to shed abroad His joy in thy heart, and then thy joy shall be full. Do not go to earthly acquaintances, for you will find them Job's comforters after all; but go first and foremost to thy "God, that comforteth those that are cast down," and you will soon say, "In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul."

—Morning and Evening

Thinking about the "do not go to earthly acquaintances" part. . . I know that going before the Lord is where I have been turning and generally I have been resistant and uncomfortable talking with others (although I know that sometimes lately that somehow I haven't been able to help myself and said things I regretted later). I know that sometimes I should talk with others but need to know when it is appropriate. "Go first and foremost to thy God . . .. In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul."

Thank you Lord, for letting me read this today. I am going to You and asking for You to give me consolation and comfort.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Help me in my confusion and desperation

My prayer today, Lord, is that you'll help me in my confusion and desperation. It seems like everything is tumbling down around me. It also seems like the closer my walk is with you, the more things are falling apart in my personal life.

You are The Creator of the universe, a just and sovereign God. One who shows mercy and grace when it is not warranted or deserved. The Alpha and Omega. I know that You are faithful and true. Please help me keep the truths I know about you to sustain me.

I am so grateful that you have shown me changes I can make with our family devotions and how my son is embracing those changes. We are getting so much more out of Your Word and our knowledge of You with these changes. It's good for both of us.

I regularly find myself reduced to tears because of situations that have been coming up that I am seemingly powerless to do anything about. I generally have thought of myself as a strong and independent person - one who can easily handle things that come my way. I now find myself prostrate before you - a weak person totally dependent on you. I hate feeling needy - but I am.

Please help me to find strength each day to do what I need to do.

Thank you for helping me to continue with my reading through the Bible. This is the first time I have been so consistent and not gotten distracted and off track. If I continue, I'll be done in less than a year - ahead of my original schedule.

Thank you for the wealth of books you have brought my way in recent months. The titles you have shown me have been so timely and the content so helpful. Thank you for bringing me back and reminding me of my love of reading.

You know what my difficulties are and what matters are coming before me.

I know you want us to be filled with joy and praise (Philippians 4:4 and Romans 15:11 come to mind). It is not so easy. I know that through you I can attain it. I need to make a conscious effort to not be so absorbed in myself, but rather take the focus off myself and put it on You and others. I know that the sin that remains in me tries to keep me so self-absorbed; please help me fight against it.

In Philippians 4:6 you say "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." I am humbly coming before you praying for your help. You know the problems I am having with my children and with my finances, not to mention the dozens of other things that just seem to keep coming my way.

I want so much to have my children have a love and appreciation for you, to know Your splendor, and that they will be convicted of their need of Your saving mercy on their souls. They need to realize that they are sinners in need of a Saviour. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a proper understanding of Your love is the only true cure. Please reveal Yourself to them and help them seek your love and forgiveness. Please also help me know what to do during this time of their rebellion. Please help me make good decisions when they are testing me. They may hurt me and disappoint me, but somehow I cannot stop loving them. I also can't live their lives for them. My strength and hope has to come from You. Please keep me strong and hopeful. Please keep reminding me of the power of The Gospel.

Please help me stay in The Word - thank you that this has been the one thing that I continually look forward to each day. I know that emotions can lead me astray, but Your Word stands firm and unchanging. I know that I'm holding even tighter to you because of these trials and temptations that I am undergoing.

In 1 Corinthians 10:13 it says, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." I know that through Your strength, I will be able to bear whatever comes my way. Please keep reminding me of this promise and of Your faithfulness.

In reading Psalm 90, I am reminded of how short our days are and how we waste them. Please help me to make the most of each and every day.

Prayer is a powerful weapon. Please help me continually pray for my children. Please give me peace about them. Continuing in Philippians 4 in verse 7 "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."

Please also help me always keep these verses in mind: John 14:13-14 "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. " and 1 John 5:14-15 "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."

Lord, you have a purpose for everything that happens. Even when these things come my way, please help me remember that and keep me from the sadness and frustration that so often has been coming my way.