December 31, 2009

Year's End

O Love beyond compare,
Thou art good when Thou givest,
when Thou takest away,
when the sun shines upon me,
when night gathers over me.
Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,
and in love didst redeem my soul;
Thou dost love me still, in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.
Thy goodness has been with me during another year, leading me through a twisting wilderness,
in retreat helping me to advance,
when beaten back making sure headway.
Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead;
I hoist sail and draw up anchor,
with Thee as the blessed Pilot of my future as of my past.
I bless Thee that Thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.
If Thou hast appointed storms of tribulation, Thou wilt be with me in them;
If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation, I shall not drown;
If I am to die, I shall see Thy face the sooner;
If a painful end is to be my lot, grant me grace that my faith fail not;
If I am to be cast aside from the service I love, I can make no stipulation;
Only glorify Thyself in me whether in comfort or trial, as a chosen vessel always for Thy use.
The Valley of Vision (204)

July 31, 2009

It's July, Now What?

So it's the end of July and I still have not decided what to do. My life has been crazy and turned upside down since I last blogged. Just a summary:
  • Our beloved church family ended on February 15, due to a lack of numerical growth, thus a lack of money.
  • We had to start the very emotional process of finding a new church family.
  • By God's grace and by March, we found one!
  • However, it was in Vallejo, another city, another county, an hour away.
  • We believe that you should live in the community where you also attend church- don't know if I can support this one Biblically, so let's just call it a personal preference that we feel strongly about.
  • In fact, we feel strongly enough about living in your church's community, that by May we decided to uproot ourselves and move.
  • So, right now, in this bizarre economic market, we find ourselves house-hunting on a regular basis. Driving to Vallejo at least four times a week which is a minimum of eight hours drive time weekly!
  • Then, we started school in July so we wouldn't get behind when we moved.
  • Thus, I have even less time to blog now than I did then, but...

I'm not entirely prepared to let it go, I really enjoy writing and having this little creative spot, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I am not ready to let go yet, so maybe what I'm telling all few of my faithful followers is- I'm back!

March 7, 2009

Where to Go From Here

As you can tell, I have not blogged in a while. I've just figured out that I am not a woman who can do it all; at least, I can not do it all well. Yet I am unwilling to touch "permanently delete." So, don't expect anything from me until July. That gives me time to wrap up school and consider what the Lord would have me do.
If you have ever visited my site and/or do regularly, yet never leave a comment, please consider doing so if you like what you see and/or the Lord uses it in your life. If I am reaching only two people, I can accomplish far more in private emails than blogging. It is also an encouragement. When I visit "smaller" blogs, I always try to leave an encouraging note regardless of if I know the person or not. Hey, encouragement is a Biblical practice!
Until July,

February 3, 2009

Truths for a Tuesday

The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

February 2, 2009

Monday's Moody Musings- Who am I?

I am a debtor to God's grace and forgiving mercy; but I am not a debtor to His justice, for He will never accuse me of a debt already paid.
Charles Spurgeon

January 27, 2009

Truths for a Tuesday

O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh faints for You,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary, beholding Your power and glory. Because Your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:1-4

January 20, 2009

Truths for a Tuesday

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4

January 19, 2009

Monday's Moody Musings

I'm a little concerned that my post on devotions was intimidating. So let me give you a reality check into my life:
For some reason, God gave me an automatic alarm clock in my body and it's one of those that wake you up gradually. So, when I am supposed to wake up at 5 a.m., my inner alarm might start waking me up, say 45 minutes earlier; this morning it started going off around 4:20. A lot of days it might only be 15 minutes earlier and sometimes I even get to sleep through until the real buzzer goes off promptly at 5 a.m.
I don't get up with the inner alarm. I'll lay there thinking, sometimes drowsing, sometimes praying, sometimes running over my memory work. And today I rolled out of bed a few minutes before 5. But this morning was a no coffee, no tea, no hot beverage treat to greet me and make the morning appealing, instead it was plea to God that He might be my only pleasure this Monday morning.
And it all felt pointless. My brain was so stupid with sleep there was no way I could concentrate on God's attributes, so I just read Psalm 19 and Proverbs 19 and caught up with the devotionals from A Godward Life that I had missed over the weekend. My prayers were flat, non-existent. I could see the truths in Scripture, but my mouth, or rather my pen as I normally write my prayers, just couldn't connect. Grace that there is a Spirit interceding for me is all I could think. Because I did say to my husband, "Mornings like this seem so pointless." And yet it wasn't.

Today was discipline. Discipline that was as painful as the four mile walk in 32 degree weather that was my next event for the day. Last week my partner and I could barely get three miles done in an hour, today we added a mile and finished in 59 minutes! Yup, the cold helped.

But it was discipline, just like getting up to be with God, to devote that time to Him, to love Him and desire Him despite my exhaustion, to choose to go without temporal pleasures as a way of saying, "You're my pleasure, my delight, Holy Father."

In A Godward Life, John Piper talks about "discipline and spontaneity" (56) in Bible reading. Discipline moves us steadily through our reading, spontaneity moves us "to a part of the Bible that we sense will meet a particular need" (56). We need both because they are both "powerful encouragement{s} for faith" (56). But we don't always get both, as Piper says, "Sometimes in the midst of discipline, unexpected power will spring forth, and the line between spontaneity and discipline disappears" (56).

There was nothing spontaneous today. And this study of God's attribute has been more discipline than not. I was also too ambitious. I cannot do this study in one month and delight in it. And then I war with the nature that God gave me, as it will throw my whole schedule off for the year to keep studying these attributes into February. But that's the spontaneity of it. The point is to know this gracious God, not to accomplish my schedule through teeth-gritting discipline. And when I was discouraged last week because I was unable to relate these attributes to my life and they certainly didn't seem to be humbling me, I just uttered the simple prayer, "Open the eyes of my heart, satisfy me with Your steadfast love in this endeavor," and somehow the lines between the discipline and spontaneity have blurred. He has heeded my cry for help and I am starting to see truths about who God is.

So today was discipline and maybe tomorrow will be also, but I have been given faith to know that there will be spontaneity and some days my prayers will flow and I will lose myself in the great God of the universe.

January 16, 2009

Malcolm Charles Moody

It's Malcolm's 14th birthday today. He's my Malcolm in the middle, my enigma child. I have to empty his pockets of knives before he goes to the movies, yet he will watch five hours of Pride and Prejudice with his sister and her girlfriends- and enjoy it. He's my karate-kicking, piano-playing, guitar-picking son. He loves his fat, furry cat and adores his new corn snake. He can't still for more than a couple minutes and yet he's memorized all of Phillipians and is half-way through James. He recited Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" and got a standing ovation and tears. But he can't remember to clean the catbox. He makes me laugh; he makes me cry... he's my Malcolm.

January 14, 2009

Why I'm Not Blogging Today

  • I got behind in my memory work and needed to spend the time catching up
  • I needed to spend a lot of time working with Matthew who just was not getting "it"
  • I was having a lot of fun subscribing to podcasts for my new iPod
  • I haven't cleaned my bedroom or bathroom for I don't know how long
  • I need to make cookies and read to my kids
  • Honestly, I need to be a wife and homeschooling mom and I am not getting up any earlier just to fill this need to blog.

So, I've gotten a bit unbalanced and I'm not really even ahead enough with posting to make it look like I'm here when I'm not, so the honest truth is I can't do it all and right now I have to do other things. I'd like to be back soon, so you could ask God to grant me the grace to do what I need to and also be able to come back here.

January 13, 2009

Truths for a Tuesday

Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing! Psalm 100:2

January 12, 2009

Monday's Musings on the Attributes of God

One reason I like Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology is because it is devotional in nature. At the end of each chapter, Grudem includes questions for personal application, a portion of Scripture to memorize, and a hymn that is appropriate to the doctrine discussed in the chapter. For God's incommunicable attributes, he gives the following hymn:
"Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise"
Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.
Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
All praise we would render; O help us to see
'Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee!
Author: Walter Chalmers Smith, 1867

January 10, 2009

What's for Dinner?

This recipe is from Don't Panic- Dinner's in the Freezer: Great Tasting Meal You Can Make Ahead. The premise of the cookbook is that it doesn't take much longer to make two, three, or more dinners than one. Thus for each recipe the authors give not only the ingredient list for one meal but multiples. They also give instructions for "cooking day" and then "serving day." Lots of tips on how to freeze are also included. I prefer this style of cooking because if you use this cookbook once or twice a week, and make enough for three meals each time, in just a few weeks a mom will have a nice stockpile of frozen meals waiting for those days when time just does not permit cooking. The authors also point out that if a dinner serves six and you have a family of three, just by doubling the recipe you will get four dinners.
This meal is one of Hannah's favorites. I will give the recipe for one meal and then my variations at the end. It is also really quick and easy. We had it this week when our new carpet was being installed and we were going to be gone all day.

Woodland Park Italian Beef
serves 8-10
2-3 pound roast (rump, chuck, or pot)
1-2 large onions, sliced
1-2 green peppers, diced or sliced
1-2 16 oz. jars Pepperoncini peppers, sliced
1/2 - 1 cup water
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper, sprinkled on top of roast
French rolls, sliced
provolone or mozzarella cheese slices
Cooking Day Instructions:
Cut roast into approximately 4x4 chunks. Put meat into crockpot with onions and green peppers. Sprinkle with the pepper and pour the entire jar/s of Pepperocini peppers over the meat. Cook on high for one hour and on low for eight hours. The last hour or so of cooking shred the beef. This can be done by taking the chunks out and tearing them apart with two forks or using the forks inside the crockpot.
Serving Day Instructions:
Thaw meat and gently reheat. Place rolls open on baking sheet. Place a slice of cheese on each half of roll and place under broiler until melted. Top with beef and serve.
We like to eat potato wedgies with these.
My variations:
  • We only use one jar of Pepperoncinis and that makes it plenty spicy. I think you could even use less. I've also always used the whole Pepperoncinis and just been too lazy to slice them. But finally I found Mezzetta Deli-Sliced Pepperoncinis at Safeway and they were actually less than the whole on sale.
  • Everywhere you see underlining like rump indicates what I used.
  • I started this recipe at 8 a.m. and we ate dinner at 6 p.m. I actually never used the high setting this time. You can't overcook this one, thus I would suggest it can be cooked on low for 8-10 hours. If you don't prepare it until noon or so just cook it on high for a lesser amount of time.
  • When I made this the other day, I had forgotten to purchase green peppers. So I only put in the beef, Pepperoncinis, pepper and water. While shopping I bought a bag of frozen sliced peppers at Trader Jo's for $1.99. When I got home, I quickly sliced an onion while some olive oil was heating in a saute pan on the stove. I threw the onion, and semi-thawed peppers in the pan and let them cook till they were turning golden brown to black on the edges. This was delicious! And that bag of pre-sliced peppers was a huge time saver for this occasion.

January 9, 2009

Morning Needs

O God, the Author of all good,

I come to Thee for the grace another day will require for its duties and events.

I step out into a wicked world,

I carry about with me an evil heart,

I know that without Thee I can do nothing,

that everything with which I shall be concerned,

however harmless in itself,

may prove an occasion of sin or folly,

unless I am kept by Thy power.

Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe.

Preserve my understanding from subtilty of error,

my affections from love of idols,

my character from stain of vice,

my profession from every form of evil.

May I engage in nothing in which I cannot implore Thy blessing,

and in which I cannot invite Thy inspection.

Prosper me in all lawful undertakings, or prepare me for disappointments;

Give me neither poverty nor riches;

Feed me with food convenient for me,

lest I be full and deny Thee

and say, Who is the Lord?

or be poor, and steal, and take Thy name in vain.

May every creature be made good to me by prayer and Thy will;

Teach me how to use the world, and not abuse it,

to improve my talents,

to redeem my time,

to walk in wisdom toward those without,

and in kindness to those within,

to do good to all men,

and especially to my fellow Christians,

And to Thee be the glory.

Valley of Vision (218)

January 8, 2009

In the Morning with God II

Most weekdays I'm up by 5 a.m. I've been trying to discipline myself to greet the Lord immediately with His Word; sometimes all I can do is groan, "Incline my heart to Your testimony and not to selfish gain," other times I can actually say, "This is the day that You have made, I will rejoice in all that this day holds and be glad in it!" I make my way out to the kitchen to greet four cats in various degrees of starvation, turn the coffeemaker on, and start feeding the cats, the dog, greet the fish, and make Eric's lunch while the coffee brews. If he's lucky and I'm not moving like molasses, I may even make breakfast for him. But the goal is to be sitting in my chair, wrapped in a blanket, coffee in hand, ready to hunt for gold.
I start the day with a devotional by John Piper from his book, A Godward Life, I have returned to my beloved practice of reading through Psalms and Proverbs. I just can't get enough of those two books. Proverbs I read through in a month, a chapter a day. In Psalms I have done lots of different things: reading three Psalms a day in order to read through the book six times a year, to my current schedule- a Psalm a day. That will allow a person to read Psalms twice a year. When depression is a frequent guest in your life, Psalms are the sure fire antidepressant. Then I get into my focus study and here is how I divided it up for the year:
  • January- study the attributes of God using Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, chapters 11-13, and John MacArthur's Topical Bible. Create a 31 day chart for use in prayer.
  • February- study the doctrines of grace (election, calling, justification, perseverance). Because of the scope of this section I will be studying one a month. I will start by reading Saved by Grace by Anthony Hockema and continue to use Systematic Theology and the Topical Bible.
  • March- calling
  • April- justification
  • May- perseverance
  • June, July & August- study the doctrine of sin. No beach reading here! I am taking three months because I want to read The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgard and then hopefully tackle Sin and Temptation by John Owens. This is where I'll probably stop blogging and you will never hear from me again. I will also continue to implement Systematic Theology.
  • September- time for a break. Because I am a parent, I do find the study of Proverbs vital. Thus I will be doing a short study by Katherine Nielson and using Derek Kidner's commentary on Proverbs.
  • October- prayer. This is another vital component of devotions and Christian living. In 2008 I read Working with God by Edward Hiebert and it was tremendous. I had gone into the bookstore to purchase D.A. Carson's Spiritual Reformation and the Master's seminarian convinced me to get the other- I've always wanted to thank him for the powerful effect that book had on my life. And so this year I will use Spiritual Reformation.
  • November- when C.J. Mahaney recommended laughing, he also recommended the book, Surprised by Laughter: The Comic World of C.S. Lewis by Terry Lindvall, so I will read it and then counter it with A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life by William Law.
  • December- what better way to finish the year then to read of Christ and so I will read through A Harmony of the Gospels which basically has you reading through all four gospels at the same time so that the events are coordinated.

I then finish my time by reading a prayer from The Valley of Vision and right now I often read a poem from Grace in Winter by Faith Cook. She has taken excerpts of Samuel Rutherford's letters and put them into poetry.

This is what comprises my Bible reading/study portion of my devotions. There are other components, such as meditation, memorization, and prayer. Those topics are for another day.

*Most of the above mentioned books I already own and they appear in the reading widget on the side bar. If they don't it is because I have not bought them yet; when I do they will appear on my widget. To insert links into each title was really too daunting of a task today.

January 7, 2009

In the Morning with God

At the beginning of 2008, Girltalk had posted a New Year's series on resolutions. My favorite one was Keeping One Resolution and, as the idea was to grow in godliness, I thought I would study humility and contentment. The more I studied, the more I thought these two traits were really different sides of the same coin, then realizing my poverty. But, hey, if you want to get rich you have to work.
Sometime during the latter part of the year, I made it to C.J. Mahaney's little book, Humility: True Greatness. After spending the better part of the year reading Puritan authors like Jeremiah Burroughs, Mahaney was sweet relief. And it was from him that I devised my Bible study plan for 2009.
In his book, Mahaney presents three ways to pursue humility: things to do "as each day begins," things to do "as each day ends," and things "for special focus." I have clipped a 5x8 sheet in my Bible to remind me how to start and end the day, thus I decided to focus, focus, focus.
Mahaney lists five areas of focus:
  • Study the attributes of God (87)
  • Study the doctrines of grace (90)
  • Study the doctrine of sin (92)
  • Play golf (94)
  • Laugh often and laugh often at yourself (94)

And that's the bare bones skeleton of what I will be studying over the year, yup, even the golf. Over the next few days, I will put the flesh on this skeleton and let you see what the body looks like.

C.J. Mahaney, Humility: True Greatness, (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books, 2005), 63, 79, 87.

January 6, 2009

Puddle Jumping

I did decide to take an extra week of school off. Maybe because I haven't been between worlds long enough, been painting walls too long, and maybe because I could and I wanted to see grins of delight on the kids' faces- it was almost like I'd announced a trip to Disneyland. Not quite, but almost. And now, I can get to sharing about devotions or quiet times.
I'd been re-reading some old notes of mine and noticed some scribblings, "Devotion- devoted to God." Unfortunately, I hadn't noted where I'd found that particular bit of wisdom, a failing of lots of my notes, so I looked it up in the dictionary. I was delighted and surprised to read the different definitions, so many of which really describe the seriousness yet eagerness that a life devoted to God should portray. Please note, all I am doing is sharing how I am spending my morning moments with God. I am not saying, "This is the way, do what I do." Rather, I love spending time with God; I even collect devotional plans and have a huge file in addition to books about quiet times. Then, I love talking about God, how He works in my life, how I love to worship Him, and how that changes in my life from time to time.
I've read through my Bible several times since I was a teen. Usually I do it in a year. I've also done other things but for the last several years I've read through the Bible. In 2008 I used The Literary Study Bible and I really did enjoy it; especially since Hannah was also reading it and we could discuss the Rykens' commentary. But come fall I was bored. I also struggle with reading the Bible in several different portions- I was reading four different chapters each day- I like to start in Genesis and read straight through, just my preference. So I finally purchased How to Enjoy Your Bible by John Blanchard. And while it does deserve a review, that will have to wait. Suffice it to say, Blanchard writes, "...there are others who have followed one method of Bible study for so long that the whole exercise has dengenerated from the methodical to the mechanical, and now has no sense of adventure, progress or achievement...these are tragic situations because the Bible is not only wonderfully rich in the variety of its content, it also lends itself to many different methods of reading and study." (128). I had become rote in my Bible reading and it showed. It was time for a drastic change.

Truths for a Tuesday

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Psalm 37:3-7

January 5, 2009


The state of being dedicated, consecrated, or solemnly set apart for a particular purpose.
2. A solemn attention to the Supreme Being in worship; a yielding of the heart and affections to God, with reverence, faith and piety, in religious duties, particularly in prayer and meditation; devoutness.
3. External worship; acts of religion; performance of religious duties.
4. Prayer to the Supreme Being.
5. An act of reverence, respect, or ceremony.
6. Ardent love or affection; attachment manifested by constant attention.
7. Earnestness; ardor; eagerness.
Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language

January 2, 2009


"...What satisfies are not the gifts of God, but the glory of God- the glory of His love, the glory of His power, the glory of His wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth."
John Piper, A Godward Life (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah Publishing, Inc., 1997), 23.

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

O Lord,

Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed in Thy presence, in Thy service, to Thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour, that I may not be one moment apart from Thee, but may rely on Thy Spirit

to supply every thought,

speak in every word,

direct every step,

prosper every work,

build up every mote of faith,

and give me a desire

to show forth Thy praise;

testify Thy love,

advance Thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,

with Thee, O Father, as my harbour,

Thee, O Son, at my helm,

Thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,

my lamp burning,

my ear open to Thy calls,

my heart full of love,

my soul free.

Give me grace to sanctify me,

Thy comforts to cheer,

Thy wisdom to teach,

Thy right hand to guide,

Thy counsel to instruct,

Thy law to judge,

Thy presence to stabilize.

May Thy fear be my awe, Thy triumphs my joy.
Valley of Vision (206)