December 17, 2012

Lines of Truth (7)

Chapter 7     Security    Psalm 125

pg 81  "Better than a city wall, better than a military fortification is the presence of the God of peace."

In all the ups and downs of Israel's history - they are always God's people.  God is there - always - regardless of how we feel or what we choose.  Our security lies in who God IS, not in what we feel.

pg 83  "Discipleship is a decision to live by what I know about God, not by what I feel about him or myself or my neighbors.

Evil is never permanent, it is always temporary.  It may be long in our view, but we have the promise of 1 Cor. 10:13.  God will not allow more than he will allow and He is always faithful and will provide for us.

pg 85  "Discipleship is not a contract in which if we break our part of the agreement, he (God) is free to break his; it is a covenant in which he establishes the conditions and guarantees the results."

Matt 6: 25, 31, 34 - our life with God is secure.

November 28, 2012

Laundry-Bath Remodel

Taking a break from my book posts. :-)

Over the last couple weeks here we've done what may be our last remodeling project in this house.  We did an over-haul of the half-bath/laundry room on the first floor. 
This room hasn't been touched since I was very pregnant with J - and she'll be 15 next week.  When we moved here it was a full bath with a tub and in a loving gesture from my husband to my very largely pregnant self - Steve and my Dad ripped the bathroom apart and put my washer/dryer on the first floor.  Yay!
Now it was in desperate need of some updating and beautification.
We opted to hire a friend to tile the floor for us - VERY smart move!  Mike was able to do the floor in 2 days where it'd probably have taken Steve & I at least a week.  It's beautiful and I love the way it looks.
The walls are painted a soft cocoa-gold color called "Renoir Bisque" and the trim is white.  We replaced the vanity & all the accessories and Steve installed 2 new light fixtures as well.  The accents are a brushed nickel that is really sharp I think.

I think it's very pretty and I'm very thankful to have it finished!

November 20, 2012

Lines of Truth (6)

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction (purchase here)

Chapter 6   Help

Psalm 124  (New International Version) 

 A song of ascents. Of David.

If the Lord had not been on our side—
    let Israel say—
if the Lord had not been on our side
    when men attacked us,
when their anger flared against us,
    they would have swallowed us alive;
the flood would have engulfed us,
    the torrent would have swept over us,
the raging waters
    would have swept us away.
Praise be to the Lord,
    who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
    out of the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
    and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

p. 67  God is on our side, God is our help

p. 69  God's help is not a private experience, it is a corporate reality - not an exception among isolated strangers, but the norm among the people of God.

p. 70  Don't hesitate to ask hard questions of teh scriptures - doubts & questions must be asked & wrestled with in the light of disbelief & be overcome by the truth of God so we can believe solidly in the truth of God's word always.  The Psalms show us 'warts & all religion", not just the pretty surface stuff.

p. 74  "In the details of the conflict, the majestic greatness of God becomes revealed in the minuteness of a personal history.  Faith develops out of the most difficult aspects of our existence, not the easiest."

p. 75  "We are traveling in the light, toward God who is rich in mercy and strong to save.  It is Christ, not culture, that defines our lives.  It is the help we experience, not the hazards we risk, that shape our days."

November 8, 2012

Lines of Truth (5)

Chapter 5 - Service            
Psalm 123
To you I lift up my eyes,
    O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants

    look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant
    to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    till he has mercy upon us. 
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
    for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough
    of the scorn of those who are at ease,
    of the contempt of the proud.

p. 57  "A psalm is not a lecture; it is a song. In a psalm we have the observable evidence of what happens when a person of faith goes about the business of believing and loving and following God."

p. 60  We must look up to God to find ourselves in the proper position, the posture of servitude.  This is the beginning - we must realize our position in relation to the Creator of everything.  He is above.  Second comes our expectation in faith - that God means to transform us for our good.  He is the master potter at work on the clay that is our lives - until He has finally shaped a redeemed life - a vessel fit for His kingdom.

p. 63  There is an urgency to serve the Master instead of being enslaved by the things of this world.

p 64  We must learn to use our freedom appropriately - under the lordship of our merciful God.  A servant of Christ is the freest person on the planet.

October 28, 2012

Lines of Truth (4)

 Chapter 4   Worship                  Psalm 122

p 45  There is one sufficient reason for going to church - God.

p 46 talks about worship being the most popular thing that Christians do - I wonder about this -  I  suppose that he may be correct as you certainly see more bodies in church services than you do in bible study groups or serving in a mission context.

p 47  ".. the powerful history - shaping truth that God forgives our sins and makes it possible to live without guilt and with purpose."

p49  worship (corporate) provides a framework for how we are to do life - we know where we stand

p 49-50  worship is commanded in Scripture, we don't worship because 'we feel like it'.  "Feelings are completely unreliable in matters of faith"

"The Bible wastes very little time on the way we feel" ~Paul Scherer,
                                                                                The Word God Sent p166
 p 50  Worship centers us on the Word of God - the decisions of God.
The biblical word "judgement" means "the decisive word by which God straightens things out and puts things right."

p 51  The word "pray" in the Hebrew of Psalm 122 is the same as "ask" as we 'ask' for seconds at dinner or for directions when we are lost.

p 52  "Shalom, peace, is one of the richest words in the Bible"  "It gathers all aspects of wholeness that result from God's will being completed in us.  It is the work of God that, when complete, releases streams of living water in us and pulsates with eternal life."

p 52  Shalvah = security    the root meaning is leisure 
Security of being at home in a history that has the cross of Christ at its center.
"It is the leisure of the person who knows that everything is all right because God is over us, with us, and for us in Jesus Christ."
"It is the leisure of the person who knows that every moment of our existence is at the disposal of God, lived under the mercy of God."

October 18, 2012

Lines of Truth (3)

Chapter 3     Providence           Psalm 121

Times of trouble are inevitable - we will need help.

p.37  A look to the 'hills' ends in disappointment - help comes from the Creator... not the creation.

p 38  "No literature is more realistic and honest in facing the harsh facts of life than the Bible."

p 39  The only serious mistake we can make as Christians is the one Psalm 121 prevents - the mistake of supposing that God's interest in us waxes and wanes in response to our spiritual temperature.

p. 40  "Psalm 121 says that the same faith that works in the big things works in the little things."

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

October 11, 2012

Lines of Truth (2)

  A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson is a study through several Psalms that are known as "The Song of Ascents", specifically Psalm 120 through 134. 

Chapter 2 - Repentance - Psalm 120

p 21  A person has to be thoroughly disgusted with the way things are to find the motivation to set out on the Christian way.
Psalm 120 is the song of such a person - the cry of pain that penetrates through despair & stimulates a new beginning ~ a journey to God which becomes a life of peace.

p 24  "The truth about what is wrong with the world is that I and the neighbor sitting beside me have sinned in refusing to let God be for us, over us and in us.  The truth about what is at the center of our lives and of our history is that Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for our sins and raised from the tomb for our salvation and that we can participate in new life as we believe in him, accept his mercy, respond to his love, attend to his commands."

p 25-26  Repentance is not an emotion.  It is not feeling sorry for your sins.  It is a decision.  Repentance is a decision to follow Jesus Christ and become His pilgrim in the path of peace.

p 29  Repentance is the first word in Christian immigration and sets us on the way to traveling in the light. It is a rejection that is also an acceptance, a leaving that develops into an arriving, a no to the world that is a yes to God.

In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.  ~Psalm 120:1
If I am honest - I know that only the Lord will ALWAYS answer when I cry out to Him. 

September 18, 2012

Lines of Truth

I am a collector of words... I love books, and I love to make notes when I read especially marvelous books.  There is something about the copying or re-writing of things that strike a chord that seems almost impossible to resist.  As such, I have pages of notes, journal books, and random single sheets of paper floating about that contain words and phrases - snippets of wisdom - verses of scripture - lines from books - some verbatim quotes, some paraphrases. 
There are times when I am utterly convinced that the simple act of putting pen to paper to personally scribe the wisdom I hope to add to my already cluttered brain will make the difference.  Sometimes it does... sometimes it doesn't.  There are days when the scrawl is illegible and days when the loops and flow of ink are beautiful.  I've been doing this for as long as I can remember.

I have decided that I'm going to share my collected lines from  A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson, as I go along through the book.  I failed when I attempted to blog through Ann Voskamp's book because I was attempting to answer questions in a reader's guide.  I think that it was because I wasn't simply going with what I felt was important - if God is dealing with me over something, or trying to teach me a lesson... that is what I will be drawn to write down.  In the act of typing/writing these again, perhaps they will etch deeper into my labyrinth of gray matter and remain.

Chapter 1 - Discipleship
**note - some things are directly quoted, others are paraphrased or my take - page #'s are noted where I have them in my notes.
- harmful to Christians is the assumption that anything worthwhile can be acquired at once - the assumption that if something can be done at all, it can be done quickly and efficiently  (pg 11)
- there is a great market for religious experience - but there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue and little inclination to sign up for the long apprenticeship in holiness  (pg 12)
- "The essential thing 'in heave and earth' is... that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living." ~Friedrich Nietzche (pg 13)

Disciple - people who spend our lives apprenticed to our master, Jesus Christ
Pilgrim - people who spend our lives going someplace ~ going to God by the path of Jesus.

September 14, 2012

Change like a deluge

There have been quite a few changes in our lives recently.  Some of it has felt like standing beneath this waterfall and being told to catch every drop... with a Dixie-cup.  It hasn't been easy... it hasn't been a lot of fun most of the time... but God is so faithful that I'm beginning to feel like the waterfall might be looking more like this now.
Still changing and coming at us pretty quickly, but not unmanageable by God's grace and not feeling like I'm drowning - which is such a gift!
I am looking forward to the coming months... seeing this in my future....
Because God's grace flows like a river over my life and I'm going with that flow on the greatest adventure.  I trust the Guide... because of His promise.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."~ Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings on the journey~

September 3, 2012

It makes me smile

This is a close up of my new bedspread as it was back-lit with sunshine on the clothes line. 
Here it is with no back lighting.  The color is sort of between the two photos - a buttery yellow that is cheerful and soft.
It makes me so happy! 
It's a cotton (old-fashioned) bed spread - the kind with fringe around 3 sides and it pulls up over the pillows - I found way way on clearance from the LL Bean outlet store in Nashua.  I love to sit on it in the morning when I'm doing my devotional time and run my bare feet over the top of it.  It feels like summertime & vacation to me.  Like being at a cabin that your grandparents have by the ocean or the lake or up in the mountains.
I'm sure this makes no sense to anyone else... but it brings me such happiness that I wanted to share a slice of silly smiley-ness.  I think everyone should have things in their home that make them smile...  just because!

Blessings on the journey~

August 30, 2012

Theme Reading

I'm reading several books at the moment...nothing new there.  But there is a theme in my reading right now... discipleship.  What does it mean to really be a follower of Jesus. 

Two of the books that I'm reading right now are proving tremendously helpful, instructive, convicting, insightful and comforting.  Sound conflicting & confusing?  You ought to live in my head! Kidding!  There are enough people in their right now to populate a small town - no more vacancies.

Anyway - I'm reading these:

Cost of Discipleship is a 'classic' among many in the Christian community.   I'd been listening to an audio version but really wanted to have the hard copy in my hands to absorb better.  I borrowed it through inter-library loan... hoping to keep in for a few weeks to really get a good grasp and not just a read-through.
This book was recommended by Shaun Groves a while ago... I got a copy and it sat on my shelf for a while.  I started it a few weeks ago and have been going through it slowly.  It's amazing.

Happy reading!

Blessings on the journey~

August 6, 2012

Quotable ~ C.T. Studd

J was re-reading "Radical" today and was so struck by this quote that she read it aloud to me and I was so struck by it that I had to share it.

"Too long have we been waiting for one another to begin! The time of waiting is past! The hour of God has struck! War is declared! In God’s Holy Name let us arise and build! ‘The God of Heaven, He will fight for us’, as we for Him. We will not build on the sand, but on the bedrock of the sayings of Christ, and the gates and minions of hell shall not prevail against us. Should such men as we fear? Before the world, aye, before the sleepy, lukewarm, faithless, namby-pamby Christian world, we will dare to trust our God, we will venture our all for Him, we will live and we will die for Him, and we will do it with His joy unspeakable singing aloud in our hearts. We will a thousand times sooner die trusting only our God, than live trusting in man. And when we come to this position the battle is already won, and the end of the glorious campaign in sight. We will have the real Holiness of God, not the sickly stuff of talk and dainty words and pretty thoughts; we will have a Masculine Holiness, one of daring faith and works for Jesus Christ." ~C. T. Studd  (Missionary to China, India & Africa)

Blessings on the journey~

August 3, 2012

Prayers from the Pews

I'd seen some posts about this book before the release and then read several reviews after the release as a Kindle book.  I was impressed and intrigued as I've been reading Terri Lynne for a while and always learn something from her writing.  God has used her writing to teach me a lot in fact.

I think it was last week when someone posted on facebook that the book was available for free that day so I snatched it up (or down?) for my Kindle.  (It's only $4.99 now)    And during my morning quiet/devotional time I've been reading it... pondering, praying, absorbing.  This small book is just amazing so far. 

Yesterday I reached 56% done (that is just how Kindle measures things - I have no idea if it translates into real pages or not).  This is the part of the book where it begins to be prayers for our church - God's church - The Bride of Christ ... all based on scripture in the book of Acts.

Yesterday I prayed this page:
"And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart..." ~Acts 4:32 NASB

Lord, we pray our faith fellowship will be bound with one heart - a heart that seeks You, is passionate for You, longs for You alone.  As we grow in one heart for You, fill us with great love and compassion for one another as well.  Cause us to lay down our own agendas, plans, and desires.  Let them be replaced with humility and love that places others ahead of ourselves.  May we be so consumed with loving and serving that people know it can only be explained by You. Amen.

And today was this and it just took my breath away:
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit..." ~Acts 4:2

Lord, we pray that Your church will be filled with the Holy Spirit.  God, that we will be guided by the Teacher and Counselor You have sent to us.  We ask that Your Spirit fill us with the fruit that only comes from You - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.   We pray that , as Your beloved Bride, we will be a radiant picture of Your love for teh world around us.  Keep us, O Lord, from arrogance, competition, and strife between other congregations.  Cause us to walk in one mind, be of one heart, and be ever guided by one Spirit. Amen.

I know that in Christ there are no accidents... nothing passes through my life that is not part of what He has allowed for me.  This book came just now for me because it was the time I needed it most.  Terri Lynne shares her personal journey of hurts and joys in church during the first part of the book and even though I have not walked the same journey, I found much that resonated with my heart and life.  She writes with kindness about difficult things and shares honestly without being harsh at all. 

I look forward to praying through the rest of this book - for my own church body and the Body of Christ world-wide.  She is a wounded and wandering Bride in many places and only Christ's loving touch will restore her and make her ready for the time when He comes to bring her home.

Blessings on the journey~                                                                 Photo credit: & stock images

July 27, 2012

Hebrews 12

Hebrews 12 (ESV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
    nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
18 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19 and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

July 26, 2012

Jesus is Never Snarky (or... an apology)

I offer sincere apologies to anyone who reads my Facebook posts and was upset by one post from yesterday (that has since been deleted).  I am truly sorry for my choice of words yesterday and have already had face time with the Lord over it, so now I'm doing the electronic version for anyone who cares.
Yesterday in a snit of self-righteousness and frustration I posted something on Facebook that was definitely snarky in tone and probably rude.  One of those motivations is definitely a sin that I'm continually having to struggle with and repent of and the other... hmmm... have to get back to you on that.
I read an amazing blog post by Teri Lynne and was both inspired and irritated.  You can read the post she wrote here.  She's pretty awesome a lot and I generally find helpful insights in her writing.
So.. back to my response.  I was inspired because God has been really impressing on me over the last year or so that we don't have to be some super-saint or have some amazing talent to be useful for Him.  We just have to be willing and say 'yes' when an opportunity presents itself.  Please note that I do not think that these opportunities arise by accident - GOD is planning all this - it says so in scripture "For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10.
I was irritated because I'm struggling with a nasty funk of feeling like there are lots of fat sheep in our churches being only consumers without doing anything or sacrificing anything (Dietrich Bonhoeffer has been in my head lately too).  I'm really sure that Jesus got his hands dirty when He walked this earth and maybe we don't actually have to get physically dirty to serve for His kingdom... but we have to get out of the chairs.  Even in small ways - like Teri Lynne talked about.
So.  I apologize for being snarky and rude. 
But I do NOT apologize for the feelings that I'm wrestling with about how to live a better story for Jesus, and to DO what I say I believe.  I don't want to waste this short life that God has given me (yes - John Piper is in my head too) -  when I can choose to do something that may somehow make a difference.

What will you choose?
Joshua 24:15 "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Blessings on the journey~

July 20, 2012

Books Suggestions

No surprise that I love to read.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have something of a mild addiction to books.  I love books.  I own tons of books and my kids own tons of books so it is not a shock that we have bookcases in most rooms of our home (including two bookcases right in the kitchen) or if there is no bookcase, there are stacks of books on tables/floors/etc.  It's just how we live and I think it is pretty marvelous even though I admit to days when it makes me a tad crazy.

I thought I'd start sharing some suggestions for books that I've loved in case anyone is reading that needs/wants a suggestion and hasn't had me rave about something to you in real life.  If you are a friend nearby and I have something still in my possession that you'd like to borrow, let me know and I'll see if I can hunt it up for you.  I'm happy to loan my books as long as you promise to make a sincere effort to give it back when you finish.  Deal?

This book I read a few years ago and it began something in our lives.  After I'd finished it, Steve read it and discovered while he was reading it that an engineer friend at work was reading the same book.  I love when God does stuff like that.  Voddie is easy to read, very real and I'm deeply impressed with his ability to share his heart and challenge the reader to seek what God is setting for standards and follow them.  You can buy this at CBD of course (one of my favorite vendors for books!)

J and I both read this one recently - we borrowed it from the library.  It was really fast read - a few hours at most.  A marvelous, amazing story/journey for this family.  Parts made me cry and many parts made me laugh out loud.  Definitely worth the time.

You knew this one would be here.  I've talked about it before of course.  Ann's book continues to deeply impact my life.  I'm still involved in studying through this one with an amazing group of ladies.  Warning to anyone who dislikes poetry or has a hard time with lots of imagery in writing - you will be hard pressed with this one.  Ann has a poet's soul and her words are true to her soul.  I do think it is worth the effort though.  I don't see how anyone could read this book and not be blessed and challenged and perhaps truly changed.

That is all for today.  I have some cookies to finish baking for Steve and my kids.

Blessings on the journey friends~

July 9, 2012


It is always nice to get away... and sometimes I wish we could stay away longer!