Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A thought worth thinking about....

....by Thomas Watson

"Jesus Christ went more willingly to the cross than we do to the throne of grace".

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful for other bloggers


The following article was written by Rachel Jankovic and when I read it on CBMW, I couldn't help but republish it here. It's a great encouragement to us weary mommies!:

MOTHERHOOD IS CALLING

A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, "Wow! You have your hands full!"

She could have just as well said, "Don't you know what causes that?" or "Are they all yours?!"

Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn't have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won't be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.

A Rock-Bottom Job?

The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.

Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.

If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom "baby itch"? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can't do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?

It's Not a Hobby

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.

Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another-and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.

Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die-and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.

Run to the Cross

But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.

Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.

The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.

The Question Is How

The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us-freely?

It isn't enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won't. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.

Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.

Hands Full of Good Things

When my little girl told me, "Your hands are full!" I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: "Yes they are-full of good things!"

Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.

Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring...I think

Day two of spring in Hood River:


What Bryan thinks of day two of spring :):

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Still kicking!


I have decided that it does not matter where we are, or the circumstances that surround us, or the season of life we might be in...when you have six kids life is just BUSY!:)

You would think that, in moving to a new town, our lives would have slowed down dramatically. Not this family!:) We have been so blessed by the people in my parent's church...their love, care, new friendship, and fellowship! It has blessed our socks off! Add to that busy school days (both at home with Titus and Caleb and at Horizon), the start of baseball (Micah and Samuel both made the majors and are on the same team!) and job hunting...and we are wondering how the day ends so quickly!

And, of course, there is the sweet reality that my parents live only 5 minutes away (what a fun, new experience to just "drop in" on my mom to give her a hug and an "I love you"!) and the gift that it is to see them more often! Speaking of gifts, this past weekend, we had the sweet gift of dear friends from Canada stopping by for a night on their way home from being down south! What a whirlwind of wonderful!

My emails have piled up, my blog has been neglected, and extra time has gone on a vacation without me...but I am so thankful and so happy for exactly where God has us!

Tonight, I'll leave you with an amazing, EASY fried rice recipe that I found on about.com this past week:

Ingredients:

* 1 - 2 green onions, as desired
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon salt
* Pepper to taste
* 4 tablespoons oil for stir-frying, or as needed
* 4 cups cold cooked rice
* 1 - 2 tablespoons light soy sauce or oyster sauce, as desired

Preparation:
Wash and finely chop the green onion. Lightly beat the eggs with the salt and pepper.

Heat a wok or frying pan and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the eggs. Cook, stirring, until they are lightly scrambled but not too dry. Remove the eggs and clean out the pan.

Add 2 tablespoons oil. Add the rice. Stir-fry for a few minutes, using chopsticks or a wooden spoon to break it apart. Stir in the soy sauce or oyster sauce as desired.

When the rice is heated through, add the scrambled egg back into the pan. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the green onion. Serve hot.




Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A drink offering


Do you ever read God's Word, come to some words you're not sure about, make a quick assumption, and then move on? I am guilty of that.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit will often nudge my heart and prick my conscience so that I go back and make sure I know what God's Word is saying and not assume that I know.

That happened to me this past week as I was reading Philippians 2:17 where Paul says:

"Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all."

I honestly thought that "poured out as a drink offering" referred to being wasted or used up needlessly. Boy, was I wrong...it's way more amazing and beautiful than that!

A drink offering referred to the "topping off of an ancient animal sacrifice...The offerer poured wine either in front of or on top of the burning animal and the wine would be vaporized. That steam symbolized the rising of the offering to the deity for whom the sacrifice was made".

Paul was saying that, even if his sacrifice seemed like nothing more than the "topping off" of the sacrifice the Philippians had already made, he rejoiced. What's amazing about that is, as we look at Paul's life, the sacrifices he had made were HUGE! The things he gave up or endured for the cause of Christ seemed beyond what others were called to sacrifice. And yet, to Paul, he didn't care about recognition. He didn't care if his sacrifice went almost undetected (vaporized wine) while the Philippians sacrifice (the actual animal) seemed great...he only cared that "in every way...Christ is proclaimed", that He is glorified, that He is seen as of surpassing value. WOW!

I couldn't help but think of myself. Motherhood (and, I dare say, much that we do in life) can often be a thankless job. Many times, I feel like the sacrifices I make go unnoticed by the very people I am seeking to serve and it can be frustrating, disappointing, and discouraging! Then, if I start to listen to myself, I can quickly feel sorry for myself.

God's word is often like a needed spanking to my soul! And Paul's example of humility shines bright. Yes, my sacrifices may be like the drink offerings of old...vaporized and gone before anyone even notices while the big hunk of meat remains behind for someone else to take credit for.:) But, when I think like that, I am thinking with the wrong goal in mind. If, in all that I do, I am seeking to do it for the glory of God and nothing else...then, like Paul, I won't care how unnoticed my offering may be, how quickly my sacrifice seems to vaporize. Why? Because that vapor has turned into "a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God" (Phil 4:18).

I can't say it any better than MacArthur said it in the Philippians study guide, so I'll close with his words:

"Selfless service for Christ is a sacrifice only in the sense of being an offering to God. It is never a sacrifice in the sense of being a loss. A believer can sacrifice nothing for the Lord that is not replaced with something infinitely more valuable and gratifying (2 Cor. 4:17). It is always an exchange of the lesser for the greater. What he forsook was mere "rubbish"; what he gained was Christ and the immeasurable blessings of salvation and eternal life (Phil. 3:8-11). The reason many believers know little about Paul's kind of joy is that they know little about his kind of sacrifice."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Our New "Digs"

There is something about seeing where another person lives to make them not feel so far away. Hopefully, these few pictures will make us feel a bit "closer to home", wherever you may be!:)View of Mt. Adams from our front windows and kitchen window.






View of Mt. Hood from our driveway!:)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Oh Lord, Save Our Children


Bryan and I had the blessing of some sweet fellowship last night at one of our church's small groups. What an encouragement to our hearts!

I was looking through the chapter they are on in the book they are working through, "Christ's Call to Discipleship" by James Montgomery Boice, and I read a really sobering quote by JC Ryle. He said:

"Learn, then, that the mere possession of religious privileges will save no one's soul. You may have spiritual advantages of every description; you may live in the full sunshine of the richest opportunities and means of grace; you may enjoy the best of preaching and the choicest instruction; you may dwell in the midst of light, knowledge, holiness, and good company. All this may be, and yet you yourself may remain unconverted, and at last be lost for ever."

I couldn't help but think of our kids, as did others in the group last night. God calls us to "train up our children in the way they should go"...and we are to seek to be faithful to that calling. But, at the same time, we cannot save them. That is solely the work of God. There was a time when I took great pride in having a little group of "ducklings" that had learned to obey their mom. And, trust me, there is much to be said about obedience and having a home in order and I am thankful for the calm and joy that learned obedience has brought to our home. BUT, the Lord has also humbled me greatly.

You see, I often attributed their behavior to MY hard work, MY consistency, MY perseverance. Many times, I failed to recognize that it was the Lord who strengthened me to work hard, it was God's consistent love and faithfulness, and it was His grace and mercy that enabled my kids to obey. I wasn't always depending on God like I should have.

And now, they don't follow along like little ducklings the same way they used to. They are spreading their wings a bit more each day. With each new morning, I become more and more aware that they need Jesus...and only He can save them! I am seeing more and more that God has called me to one hundred percent faithful dependence on Him.

Yes, I am to "toil with all His energy that He powerfully works in me" as Paul writes in Colossians. Yes, I am to strive to "dazzle them with Jesus" each day, as Elyse Fitzpatrick beautifully describes it. BUT, in the end, the only one who can grab hold of their hearts is the Lord.

And all that leaves me with only one place to go...to the feet of my Savior...in prayerful dependence on Him. Pleading for the salvation of my kids...but also thanking Him for His sovereign plan and design...that their eternal souls do not rest on my shoulders, but in His and His hands alone.

It's beautiful, it's humbling, it's total dependence!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

First Day of School....at Horizon


Yesterday, March 6th, was the kids first day at their new school, Horizon Christian Academy.

We all woke up to a fresh blanket of snow!

It's fair to say that the kid's first day was an adjustment day. They missed the friends they had left behind and were a little overwhelmed at learning the "ins and outs" of a new teacher, class, and curriculum. I am so thankful for the teachers God has given them, here, and their help and encouragement to the kids as they make their adjustments.

Day two (today) brought them home with bigger smiles! They are figuring things out and making new friends. It takes time...and, as we try to always remind the kids...when Jesus is our very best friend, it doesn't matter where we go or what life is like, because He is always there! All that He brings into our lives is for the purpose of making us more like Him and helping us depend on Him and Him alone!

We are so very thankful for the opportunity to send them to Horizon!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purposes that prevail.”
Proverbs 19:21


Saturday night, the Lord purposed for Grace and Micah to get the flu. As a result, the kids did not start school on Monday. It was not as we had planned...but we are thankful that God’s ways prevail. By the grace of God, no one else has come down with the flu and, having the extra day proved to be a sweet blessing. It gave us time to get last minute school supplies, visit the school and meet the kid’s teachers, and just feel a bit more rested and all-around ready for our new routine.

As I went to bed on Saturday night, I was reading in Philippians 4. Verses 4-5 say:

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Those very words were going through my head as Bryan and I were awakened in the middle of the night and up for the rest of the night. My conversation with God went something like this:

Rejoice?
Yes, even in this.
Be reasonable?
Yes, be gracious and be content with where I have put you right now. I am with you.
But Lord, we were excited about going to church...and what about school on Monday? What if this goes through the whole house and we spend all week sick? Lord, you know this is a big week for the kids.
Stop! Don’t worry about anything. Talk to Me about it. Cast your cares on the Me. Thank Me for being in control. Rest in the peace of knowing that I cause all things to work together for good. Be still!

God’s Word doesn’t get more living and active than that, now does it?!:)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Can't help but think....


....that while we spent yesterday moving our furniture and belongings into our house...many in the midwest spent the day in "hiding" as their belongings were destroyed and scattered by tornadoes.

It puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Unloaded!


I can't believe I am writing this...but all 5 1/2 tons of our "house" is out of the container and into the house and garage! And yes, that is the actual weight!:) There are sore bodies walking around tonight...but we are soooo thankful for God's sustaining strength and continued grace. We have been blessed, too, by the love and care of the people here at my dad's church. Our hearts are full! We truly do "feel" the prayers of the saints! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

We Made It!


It's been a long day...but we are in Hood River, Oregon safe and sound!!!

We stopped by to see our "new home" :) and, with some help, got the U-Haul unloaded.

We are staying at my parent's house tonight and will wait for the arrival of our container tomorrow.

We are so thankful for God's protection today and for all of your prayers!!!