Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Almost Back...

I know I've been on a bit of a "blogging break" lately...

I've LOTS to blog about-- there are big doin's at our house!!-- but I've been taking some time away from the computer to read some other materials, pray, and think through a few things.

I received something in my email today that I wanted to pass along to you, to give you a heads up about a radio broadcast that will be on tomorrow and Friday. I know I don't want to miss this.
I've been greatly concerned about what I've heard and seen so far, and though I haven't posted the recent videos about Oprah that have been circulating on blogs and email in recent months, I do have some concerns and thoughts (which I expressed during a chat with her at the wax museum last fall. As you can see, she seemed pretty receptive to what I had to say, LOL.)

This is what I received today from Revive our Hearts:

"On May 1-2, Nancy DeMoss, Pastor Erwin Lutzer, and Dr. Don Whitney respond to Oprah's recent endorsement of Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. Listen online Thursday and Friday as they expose these deceptions and lead listeners to the Truth.

Women in massive numbers across the planet look to Oprah Winfrey as a friend, an inspiration, and a spiritual mentor. In case you’re not aware, she has been taking her worldwide audience of millions through spiritualist Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth. Here’s a taste of what they’re proclaiming:

"I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many more paths to God other than Christianity. . . . I don’t believe that it's the only way, with 6 billion people here on the planet."

"If you go deep enough in your religion, then you all get to the same place. . . . The important thing is that religion doesn't become an ideology. . . . The moment you say 'only my belief' or 'our belief' is true, and you deny other people's beliefs, then you’ve adopted an ideology. And then religion becomes a closed door."
-Eckhart Tolle

Learn more about what Oprah and Eckhart Tolle are advocating/teaching.

"Learn to Discern" with our new resource on culture and spirituality: "How to Recognize and Respond to Error in the Culture."
Oprah is on a crusade–in earnest–to help women find hope and “truth.” Millions of people (including many "Christian" women in our evangelical churches) are buying into this tragically false teaching. Here are three ways to pray:

1. Ask God to rescue Oprah and those buying into this line of thinking.
2. Thank God for pastors and Christian leaders who are stepping forward, exposing lies, and giving the gospel in love! (Pray for more to join them.)
3. Ask Him for a widespread reformation and revival among Christian women—for a great return to Jesus—and for a fragrant living out of the faith by these revived women

Thank you for joining us in this effort to lift up Christ and to equip women to recognize the difference between Truth and error. Pray that hundreds of thousands of Christian women will rise and stand as true women, and eclipse this "movement" of Oprah's...for the good of women, men, and children, and the glory of God.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Wes Ward
Director of Media and Marketing

If you don't normally get a chance to listen to Nancy DeMoss, I would encourage you to visit her site and at least read the transcripts or listen online to these shows in particular.

I have missed you!! I'll be back very soon... to jump back into blogland and share about what God has been doing in our family. He is SO good!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Taking Time

I've been taking time away from the computer this week in order to devote more time to pray about a few things...

God is at work!

He is good, all the time!

I hope you are having a wonderful week.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

God's Provision for Sin

Another excellent week of discussion over at Lux Venit for chapter 3 of The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. Due to an out-of-town trip at the end of this week, I didn't have my post ready yesterday but I'm not going to let that stop me from chiming in on this chapter and encouraging you to share your thoughts as well!

I won't do a recap of the chapter as, again, Leslie does a superb job of that. I hope if you're reading this you've either just come from there or are headed there... her thoughts, and the other posters she links, are excellent and so insightful. I have found it so helpful to read others' perspectives on this book.

This week's chapter was titled, "A Wife's Understanding of Sin." Whoa. That's a biggie, and I'm so glad she goes there early in the book. Earlier this week I saw a t-shirt at WalMart that said, "I Feel A Sin Coming On." I sort of "tsk-tsk'ed" it when I walked by, but as I shopped I realized I could wear a shirt like that! We all could! But for those in Christ, we are free not to commit that sin. I am not a slave to it anymore. And, it just occurred to me that "feeling a sin coming on" is actually a gift of His grace, because then we can take the "way of escape" that He has promised. That is true freedom, indeed!

One of the most valuable tools I have gained from reading Peace's books is the "Put Off"- "Put On" dynamic, based in Ephesians 4:22-24:

"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; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

I first saw this concept introduced in her book, Attitudes of a Transformed Heart. The concept, as she explains it, is that "we are to put off wrong thoughts with God's help by putting on righteous thoughts." She rightly points out that "wrong, sinful thoughts do not descend upon us out of the blue. They begin with our sinful heart." (see Matthew 15:16-20) In this chapter of The Excellent Wife, she provides a wonderful chart of wrong, sinful thoughts which are common among many wives, and right, Godly thoughts that can replace them. So, so helpful.

I think for many years I repented of my wrong thoughts, but only halfway. I thought I was genuinely sorry and fully confessed it to God. But, as she points out, "the repentance process is not complete until you replace it [the wrong thought] with a godly, righteous thought. Then you will have "put off" a self honoring thought and will have "out on" a God-honoring thought."

As this relates to my marriage, I have seen over and over how issues that have effected our relationship have come right down to my own wrong, sinful thinking. As you might imagine, that came as a complete shock to me! I thought he had the problem, of course! The longer I walk with the Lord, though, the more I see my own sin, and my own need for His grace. I am increasingly grateful for Christ's atoning work for me on the cross. I am more and more in awe of the 1 John 1:9 forgiveness that He offers me each day. That's one of the reasons why I chose the verse I did for the top of my blog. His mercies are new every morning. And He created the world as He did so that it's morning somewhere all day long! His forgiveness and mercy are available moment by moment.

One quote I love from this chapter is, "Christians have to be "...transformed by the renewing of their minds" (Romans 12:2) As we work at it, the Holy Spirit supernaturally enables us. Eventually the godly response becomes the automatic response." Imagine, a godly response by default! Amazing!

That's an excellent wife, indeed.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

This n' That

I didn't post a Menu Monday again this week. Sometimes I'm too busy livin' it to blog about it, and yesterday was one of those days! I finally caught a few moments to sit down and blog. We wrapped up school awhile ago and the roast is almost ready. There, now you know what we're having for dinner. :)

Once again I've got a mishmash of thoughts running through my head, so here's a peek at a few of them...

We had a wonderful meeting on Friday with the precious couple who runs the orphanage in Africa where our soon-to-be daughter is. I cannot tell you how profound it was to listen to them speak about their ministry and see the video (less than one day old-- I love technology!) of the new baby home they have just completed. It is amazing! We got to see where we will be staying when we go. (There are guest quarters on the second floor of the baby home.) There were four families there, one of whom had recently gotten their referral and one that was to see the picture for the first time yesterday. We caught a vision of the amazing work that God is doing over there, we prayed and cried together. It was a wonderful time. I got that tingly feeling in the pit of my stomach that I always get when I can tell God is up to something BIG. He is so, so good. (You may have noticed that I'm not being as specific about our child's birth country in my posts any more... After a couple of sticky situations for other families due to TMI in blog posts, I'm a bit leery of posting too many specifics for now... If you're just now reading and have any questions, feel free to email me!)

We decided last week that our sweet daughter will be returning to China again next month, all by herself once more. This time it will only be for 13 days, not 5+ weeks! Whew! I knew after her first trip to Africa that this was her "bent." But it's hard to think about sending her so far away. Without me, that is. :) She will be traveling with our wonderful college team from our church, and their precious college pastor who also is the campus pastor at one of our church's campuses. I love, love, LOVE him and his wife, and so many of the students on the team. She traveled with them when she went two summers ago and although she was only 12 they acted like she was one of them. When we traveled with them last summer I saw what neat friendships she had made. She will be staying with our dear missionary friends while she's there, and working among a people and in a country she has come to love. I know she'll be in good hands. Most of all, she'll be in the hands of her Heavenly Father who loves her more than I do! She'll be gone from May 17th through the 31st. Will you please be in prayer for her? And for her mother?


I came across this story last week on John Piper's blog. It is absolutely amazing.

I am praying for this family who is in Africa bringing home their boy/girl twins. My husband came across this blog and it sounds like she is having some health issues, and it sounds like this has been quite a journey for them!


Yesterday we spent most of the afternoon dealing with a wasp in the house. Usually we just swat them and deal with them, but this one was w-a-a-ay up high in an art niche/window. He just wouldn't come down and we couldn't get on with school while he was just up there... lurking... waiting... So, we pelted the area first with rubber bands from a rubber band gun, then rolled up socks, then a couple of hacky sacks. Finally it flew down and, well, met its end. My kids have named it Hector ,Jr. But now my sweet husband has to get the TALL ladder and get up there and retrieve all of the debris. There. That story was for anyone who has the impression that we have an orderly and efficient household.


Speaking of chaos, my daughter and I are addicted to Jon and Kate + 8. It is a Discovery Health channel show about a family with a set of twins and a set of sextuplets. Anytime my life seems out of control I just watch that show! What an inspiration they are! I found their family's website and found out that they are believers with a wonderful testimony.


I came across this story about the "praying dog."

Perhaps I should let CNN know that I've got a dog who reads the Bible! I walked into the family room one morning a couple of weeks ago and this is what I saw:

His expression is saying, "ExCUSE me... you're interrupting my quiet time. And,by the way, have you seen my highlighter?"


Did you see this last week on American Idol? (I know you see D*olly P*arton, but just click it and there's a cool story before she sings.) Oh my WORD:

We've never watched ::voteforJason:: AI until this year. :::voteforJason::: We probably won't watch it again, but we have a special reason for watching it this season. :::voteforJason:::

I can't wait to see Idol Gives Back tomorrow night! It looks like it is truly doing some good!


Well, there's my mishmash. I hope your week has gotten off to a great start!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Lord's Prayer

"I used to think the Lord's Prayer was a short prayer; but, as I live longer, and see more of life, I believe there is no such thing as getting through it. If a man in praying that prayer were to be stopped by every word until he had thoroughly prayed it, it would take him a lifetime."
~ a 19th century pastor and theologian

For the past couple of months my kids and I have been studying the Lord's Prayer. As God so often does, He weaves things together in a way I never could have. We had been learning the Lord's Prayer, or "Pater Noster" in Latin as part of our Latin curriculum. Right about the time they were truly "getting it" in Latin, I began to wonder if they truly knew and understood it in English yet! So, we took some time to read, study, and memorize it. Providentially, God arranged for Nancy Leigh DeMoss to begin a wonderful series on the Lord's Prayer and we began to listen to the podcasts. I cannot tell you how her teaching has expanded my understanding and love for this prayer. We've been taking a couple of mornings a week to listen to her teach and it has been wonderful. Her series began in February and the first broadcast is found here. The entire series will be available on CD and mp3 beginning next week here. You can subscribe to her podcast here.

Then, as God also often does, He added something just for fun. I received this in an email last week from my sweet Mom, from whom I inherited the inability to listen to children sing without crying. I just can't do it. Apparently the sound of a child singing activates my tear ducts. So if you share this "gene," grab a tissue. This is just too precious:

Friday, April 04, 2008

God's Protective Authority

While we were out of town, I missed week one of Leslie's reading group over at Lux Venit, but I'm jumping right in for week two. We are reading The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's not too late for you to pick up a copy and join us for this great discussion! Leslie's post on chapter two is here, and has a wonderful synopsis as well as her discerning thoughts. I will not duplicate her chapter summary, but I'll just post some of what hit me between the eyes (which is what this book does, repeatedly!)

This chapter reminds us of what we need to know about God: He is gracious, righteous, and compassionate. He has limitless strength and understanding. He is at work in our lives RIGHT NOW. He wants wives to be joyful and fulfilled. In short, God is good. All the time. All the time, God is good. I have to remind myself of that everyday! As Peace puts it, "God is good and He does all things well, including rule over His creatures." I always agree with statements like that when I read or hear them, but how often my doubt and fear betray that I don't truly believe it at times.

After laying the groundwork, explaining God's character and work and in the life of the Christian wife, Peace gets to the heart of the matter:

"The way for you to experience this fullment is for you to actively choose to place yourself under the authority of your husband. Thereby, you are really placing yourself under God's protective authority."

I struggled with this concept for many, many years. If I'm being honest, being "under my husband's authority" simply did not compute for me. When we got married, in fact, my husband was a much younger Christian than I was. And I was supposed to be under his authority? What if he got it wrong? What if he didn't read his Bible everyday? What if he neglected to pray about certain issues? Surely God wouldn't want me under the authority of someone not as "spiritual" as myself, right? As a result I took on the role of being my husband's Holy Spirit! (To this day, he'll ask me, "Are you tired?" when he senses that I'm trying to be the Holy Spirit for him, an exhausting undertaking for a human ;) That's because, for many years, I misunderstood what that "authority" truly meant, and where my husband's authority ended. I don't intend to fully explore that topic in this post, but this statement from Peace points to where my wrong thinking was: "No husband has absolute authority over his wife because God is the absolute authority. For example, if your husband asks you to lie for him, you must refuse because God's authority overrides your husband's. Therefore, when you are under your husband's (limited by God) authority, you are really putting yourself in the safest possible palce- in God's will. God loves you and He is good. You need not be afraid." She continues, "Even though God's authority is protective, this does not guarantee that your husband will always do the wisest or most godly thing. It does mean, however, that regardless of what he does, God is working in your life to "conform (you) to the image of His Son." (Romans 8:29) and God can be glorified."

My husband has never asked me to lie (as her example stated) but it gets to the heart of my basic fear... what if my husband didn't fully follow the Lord's leading in a certain area? Well, that's not my deal. That's his deal. And it's his deal because that's how God structured it. My deal is to fully minister to my husband, and to not react from a prideful heart that sees my ministry to my husband as demeaning or secondary to other callings in my life. God IS perfect, and I can completely trust that He knows what is best, even though my husband is not perfect. In spite of my husband's imperfections, God has chosen to put me under his authority. I come from generations of really strong women. In fact, I consider myself a strong woman. (Strong-willed is more like it!) Over the years as I've read verses on submission, I've reacted negatively. I still do, at times. As Peace puts it, "It is not uncommon for women today to be upset by these verses. If they are, they may not have been taught what these verses mean, or they may be reacting from a prideful heart that has been influenced by the world's way of thinking. These verses in no way mean that a woman is less valuable or less intelligent than a man.... There are simply some responsibilites and burdens that God does not intend for women to have. A truly wise woman will accept that, appreciate it, and submit graciously to God's plan of protection for her."

"You may never comprehend all the reasons why God doeas what HE does, but you can trust that HE knows better than you what you really need. Keep in mind that you will never be what God wants you to be until you place yourself under God's plan by coming under the authority of your husband."

Just how much of my life do I want to live outside of God's will and plan? I do not want to flop one toe outside of where His grace and protection is!

God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.


Helpful scriptures on this topic:
Genesis 2:18, Psalm 147:3-5, Romans 8:28-29, Proverbs 31: 13,18, 25,28,29, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 12:1-2, Romans 6:6-7, 1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:23, Colossians 2:9-10, 1 John 2:16, Ephesians 6:10-13, 1 Timothy 2:12-14