Archive for October, 2007

Trusting in the Victor

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Here’s another kernel of truth from Bob Hoekstra at Day by Day Grace:

Jesus taught these truths when He was here upon earth. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). It is absolutely certain that the world will bring to us all many troubles and trials. Our fully sufficient hope is the Lord Jesus Christ. The world came against Jesus with all of its plots and ploys. Our Lord and Savior never succumbed at any point. He is the one we are to rely upon, in order to walk in victory ourselves. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Trusting in the victor allows us to walk in His victory.(emphasis added)

Isn’t it easy to look at ourselves in disappointment when we have fallen short of God’s holy standards (or have actually gone beyond and done what is out-and-out wrong), and think, “I really have to do better than this.” It’s as if we don’t really believe that we are sinful, fallen people who need the Lord to regenerate us and sustain us. We really think, “I can do better next time.” What this amounts to, practically speaking, is a rejection of God’s testimony about who we are, and what our true condition is.

What to do? The best course of action is the Biblical course of action. When I fail, when I do what is wrong, I need to confess that to God, and I need to admit to Him what it is I have done: I have sinned.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. – I John 1:8 – 10.

I love God’s promise to His Old Testament people who looked forward in faith to their comming Messiah:

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
28b . . . Ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
29a I will also save you from all your uncleannesses . . . – Ezekiel 36:26 – 29

That’s what I desire: That the Lord would save me from myself, and especially from deceiving myself with the thought that “I’m not all that bad.” I need the Lord to save me, and to sustain me.

Autumn fields

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

One of our children loves roaming the countryside, and loves photography. He probably took these photos last autumn. If he were posting them, they would be edited in some fantastic way, but I like the photos as they are.

Found a cartoon site

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

This is how I feel sometimes, really. I want to say something (hopefully something worth reading), because one of YOU might check my blog, but I just don’t have a really good idea at the moment. So, I get on with things, and hope something “blog worthy” will arise. Pretty silly. 😛

I like the following cartoon, too:

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

But this one is even better!

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Psalm 127

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

This reminds me of a stylized Family Tree, which seemed a suitable illustration for my latest posting of Psalm 128, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to add the clip art from Word when I was editing the post, so . . . Here you have Psalm 127 from the Scottish Metrical Psalter, instead. I think the family tree idea is still suitable (see verses 3 – 5):

1 Except the Lord do build the house, the builders lose their pain:
Except the Lord the city keep, the watchmen watch in vain.
2 ‘Tis vain for you to rise betimes, or late from rest to keep,
To feed on sorrows’ bread; so gives he his beloved sleep.
3 Lo, children are God’s heritage, the womb’s fruit his reward.
4 The sons of youth as arrows are, for strong men’s hands prepar’d.
5 O happy is the man that hath his quiver fill’d with those;
They unashamed in the gate shall speak unto their foes.

Psalm 128

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

First, from the King James version of the Bible:

1 Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
5 The LORD shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life.
6 Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.

Next, from The Psalms of David in Metre, according to the version approved by the Church of Scotland and appointed to be used in worship:

1 Bless’d is each one that fears the Lord, and walketh in his ways;
2 For of thy labour thou shalt eat, and happy be always.
3 Thy wife shall as a fruitful vine by thy house’ sides be found:
Thy children like to olive-plants about thy table round.
4 Behold, the man that fears the Lord, thus blessed shall he be.
5 The Lord shall out of Sion give his blessing unto thee:
Thou shalt Jerus’lem’s good behold whilst thou on earth dost dwell.
6 Thou shalt thy children’s children see, and peace on Israel.

Some Time Back, Then Back to the Present

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Hmm . . . How long ago was this picture taken? Was it two years ago? Three? You girls will have to remind me. Here we see Lydia, Kayla and Rebecca.

Here is a current picture of a mischievous-looking Rebecca, a calm and contemplative-Kayla and a sweetie-pie Lydia.

I thank the Lord for these dear ones, who add spice to my life. (Dear family not pictured on today’s blog: I love you, too! 🙂 )

Looking Unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of Our Faith – Hebrews 12:2

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

Well, here I am again, telling you how much I enjoy Bob Hoekstra’s Daily Devotional at Blue Letter Bible.

This morning’s portion brought to mind the apostle Paul’s words in Galatians 3:1-3:

O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Emphasis added.)

Most Christians would agree that God is the One who graciously has reconciled them to Himself, not they who have succeeded in earning their own salvations through their good works. HOWEVER, when it comes to sanctification and growth in grace, isn’t it easy to fall into the trap of LEGALISM? By this I mean, thinking that my “good” works of devotion and piety are the cause of my sanctification.

Here is a brief quote from the devotional:

Now, where are we to go for more faith (for the developing of our faith)? Jesus is the source for this need as well: “Jesus…the…finisher of our faith.” The one who brought faith into being in us now wants to perfect our faith (to bring it on into mature development) in the same manner that He began it. Initially, we had to have Jesus revealed to us to have faith authored in us. Now, we must have a continuing revelation of Him through His word, if our faith is to be increasingly built up.

Soup’s On!

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Minestrone Soup (Serves 30)


First Ingredients:

5 pounds beef stew meat

Olive oil for skillet

¼ cup McCormick Beef Base (this is a condensed, pasty form of bouillon that requires refrigeration)

1 cup water

2 bay leaves (remove when the meat is tender)

10 whole allspice (remove when the meat is tender)

First sauté the beef stew meat in the olive oil until browned. Add the water and beef base. Once this boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 2 ½ hours, until the meat is tender.

Next ingredients:

2 ½ cups chopped onion (or ½ to ¾ cup of dehydrated onion)

5 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)

13 or 14 cups water

More beef base (I think I used ¼ cup)

5 or 6 stalks celery, thinly sliced

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 small head cabbage, shredded

40 ounces of canned beans, such as pinto beans or kidney beans

2 or 3 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (depends on how tomato-y you like the soup)

4 teaspoons Italian seasonings, such as oregano, basil, marjoram (or seasonings of choice)

2 ½ cups fine pasta (optional)

Once the stew meat is tender, cut it into smaller bits, if desired, and store in the refrigerator while you prepare the broth.

Stir the beef base, onions, garlic, celery, diced potatoes and dehydrated vegetables into the water and simmer until vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Add the pasta and stir frequently, until the pasta is done (Follow package directions.).

Add the cooked stew meat, the canned beans, and the Italian seasonings, and heat thoroughly.

Serve with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, and crackers, if desired.

Christianity and Cultural Transformation

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I heartily agree with the answer Phil Ryken (of Reformation 21 fame) gave to this question:

Does Scripture call the local church (by which we mean the local church as the local church, not as individual Christians) to the work of cultural transformation?

He begins by stating:

There is a sense in which the answer to this question must be “no.” The church’s primary calling is to preach the gospel and to worship God in the ministry of the Word, the sacraments, and prayer. While the worship of God and the proclamation of the gospel have a transforming influence on the surrounding culture, this does not happen directly, but indirectly, as the people of God live out the implications of their faith in every aspect of life.

Yet there are also ways in which the answer to this question must be “yes.”

His answer is short, but thought-provoking.

God’s Blessings Through Living by Faith

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I really enjoyed this morning’s Devotional by Bob Hoekstra at Blue Letter Bible. I hope it will be uplifting to you, too.

(This image from the site Irish Stuff was one that came up when I searched Google Images for “blessing”, and is displayed for your viewing pleasure.)