Friday, April 30, 2010


Hello, sisters! God is so amazing, isn't He? I was up late/early again this morning, listening to the wind whistle through the trees and the rain pound on the roof. When I went out later in the morning, the earth smelled so fresh and fragrant-- that unique aroma that only God can create. At noon, as I was out and about with my kids, the sun broke through the overcast sky, casting its brilliant rays to the ground. I smiled. "God is good."

I enjoy these simple things so much because I know that God takes great delight in His creation as well. The praise I lift to my Creator is found in John's Revelation, chaper 4:11
"Thou art worthy, O Lord,
to receive glory and honour and power:
for thou hast created all things,
and for thy pleasure they are and were created."
I delighted in creation this morning-- and listened to the Lord speak to me. The scent of the rain reminded me to put on the fragrance of Christ, and the sun piercing the cloudy sky reminded me to let my light shine for Him.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Late Night ~ Early Morning Thoughts

I began studying the book of Romans this morning-- it's just after 3 am, and I couldn't sleep. I've been so-- grieved-- I guess is the word-- over the state of our fallen world. I simply cannot comprehend WHY so many people can deny the existence of God! They have no reverence for Him-- even some people who profess Christ express no desire to live for Him! Year by year, decade by decade, our world continues to sink even deeper in degradation. The increase of people who have the audacity to deny, shake their fists and spit into the face of the very One Who created them and sustains their lives grieves me. Fellow sisters and brothers that live for themselves and ignore or water down the Word of God for the sake of being labeled "intolerant" grieves me.

The first chapter in Romans deals with the ways of fallen man. Even though this was written in the era of the decadence of the Roman Empire, it reads like today's newspaper.

"Because that, when they knew God,
they glorified him not as God,
neither were thankful;
but their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
and changed the glory of the incorruptible God
into an image made like to corruptible man....
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness
through the lusts of their own hearts,
to dishonour their own bodies between themselves;
Who changed the truth of God into a lie,
and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator,
who is blessed forever, Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections;
for even their women did change the natural use
into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman,
burned in their lust one toward another;
men with men working that which is unseemly,
and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,
God gave them over to a reprobate mind,
to do those things which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication,
wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness;
full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity;
whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud,
boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
without understanding, covenant breakers,
without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful;
Who knowing the judgment of God,
that they which commit such things are worthy of death,
not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
Whew! That's quite the eye-opener, isn't it? Scripture is crystal clear about God's attitude towards sin. He simply does not tolerate it! He's too holy and pure to look past it. In fact, verse 18 of Romans 1 says "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness."

I don't say this gloatingly or with an attitude of "Well, they'll get what's coming to them." We're all made of the same stuff! Mankind is both a religious sinner (ungodly) and a moral sinner (unrighteous). The unrighteous man lives as if there were no will of God revealed, and the ungodly man lives as if there were no God at all. God's wrath is against both the ungodly and the unrighteous.

Those ungodly, unrighteous men hold-- or suppress-- or deny--the truth of God's righteousness.
Verses 19-20 clearly show that these men deny the existence of God, even though God has:
1. Revealed Himself in nature.
Psalm 19:1 states: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shewth his handywork." Think about it-- the "vastness of space declares the magnitude of God! The energy of a thousand suns is but a token of His divine energy! The perfect timing of the planetary movement declares His precision! And yet, the multifaceted declaration of the heavens only begins to show the great glory of God! The firmament displays the most visible evidence of God's presence in the universe!"

This gives man the ability to draw the conclusion that there is a Supreme Creator-- therefore man has been given sufficient knowledge of God to make him responsible to God! Only men made in the image of God posses a wonder-- an awe-- a "basic idea of God and His righteousness." They are, in fact, "without excuse".

Which brings us to the next verse and the next witness of God's existence-- "Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God."
2. God reveals Himself to man's conscience.
God has planted in the heart of every human being the knowledge that there is a righteous God. Even though the ungodly, unrighteous man know that there IS a God that deserves to be glorified, they willfully choose not to do so. They are more than willing to accept the good things of nature from the hand of God, but are not thankful for them.

Because they want to deny the proof of God's existence, these men develop a reasoning process, or philosophy of what they want to choose to believe. However, these philosophies only plunge them deeper in darkness. They exult their human reasoning over the wisdom of God, which is foolish. This is why they have to create a god that suits them. They have, in fact, "devised their own concept of divinity, and have placed it above the one true God." Since they have suppressed the truth God has revealed in nature and in their own conscience, God has given them over to a reprobate (undiscerning) mind. Although Scripture tells us that "God isn't willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance", He knows that not everyone wants to.

How it must grieve Him to give them over to a reprobate mind-- allowing them to continue in their sin! "The effects of their (Not God's!) abandonment result solely from the corruption of the human heart; this cannot be blamed on God."

This depraved world is quite aware of God's displeasure of their sin. This is why they both flaunt and excuse it. "Even though they are fully cognizant of the consequences of their sin, they continue to defy the Lord God of heaven and take great pleasure in keeping company with those that do the same."

Now here's where I get blown away-- yet God still loves them! Psalm 103 has to be my favorite passage in the Bible. Check this out:

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger,
and plenteous in mercy.
He will not always chide;
neither will he keep his anger forever.
He hath not dealt with us after our sins;
nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as the heaven is high above the earth,
so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Like as a father pitieth his children,
so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
For he knoweth our frame;
he remembereth that we are dust.
As for man, his days are as grass;
as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone;
and the place therof shall know it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting
to everlasting upon them that fear him,
and his righteousness unto children's children;
To such as keep his covenant, and
to those that remember his commandments to do them.
The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens;
and his kingdom ruleth over all!

Notice a theme there? To receive God's mercy, grace and forgiveness, one must be willing to acknowledge God for who He IS and admit his need for a Savior. It amazes me how simple it is!

Not only does the simplicity amaze me, but what amazes and humbles me most is to realize that God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to become sin for us! So that-- when we trust in Him as our Savior-- we might obtain the righteousness of God!

It's humanly impossible to understand that kind of love-- that kind of mercy-- that kind of grace--that kind of redemption-- yet I'll thankfully, humbly and joyfully embrace it wholeheartedly!

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name!"

I praise you, my Jesus! My Redeemer, my Deliverer, my Savior and King!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Simply Dad's Favorite Casserole


2 c, uncooked noodles
1 lb. lean hamburger, browned
1/2 c. diced onion, sauted in 1 T butter
1 c. cottage cheese
1 c. milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1 beaten egg

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water just under al dente. Drain. Mix the browned hamburger, onion and cottage cheese together. In a greased 2 qt. casserole, layer 1/3 of the noodles and 1/2 of meat mixture. Repeat, ending with noodles. Combine milk and soup together. Pour over top of casserole and sprinkle with grated cheese. Pour beaten egg over cheese. Bake, covered, at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until golden.

This was one of my mom's go-to meals when I was growing up. She usually served peas on the side as well as the constant plate of bread and butter that went with every meal. I remember her serving strawberry Jello with Cool Whip as dessert.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Grace of Time Together

Wow, sisters! After a LONG hiatus, I'm glad to be back in my book study! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I went to visit my mother and my best friend from college. I had an enjoyable, relaxing time! Once I returned home, however, I just couldn't get into the groove with daily blogging. I'm glad to have continued my study ~ just didn't get it on the computer. So let's dive into the next chapter of extending grace to our children ~ by giving the gift of time to our kids.

Mrs. Clarkson writes "...I've also realized that my dreams [for my children] are not what really motivate my children to become the best they can be. What matters to them is my loving presence.... If I want them to be open to my messages, I need to be willing to serve them ~ to voluntarily give up my rights and my time to meet their felt needs ~ just as Jesus was willing to give for His disciples."

Think about how Jesus must have felt the night before His crucifixion. He knew from the beginning of time exactly what He was going to have to endure to redeem the souls of mankind. Please read Isaiah chapter 53. Try to imagine the magnitude of what was on Jesus' mind that evening. Yet, He still took the time to minister to His disciples. Please read John 13:1, 3-5. Jesus knew that each man (excluding Judas) was going to have to die for the kingdom just He was about to do. He didn't order them to do His will ~ He simply served.

Here was the King of the Universe, the Eternal One, the Creator, in the flesh ~ washing the grime and dust off the feet of His friends. He later broke the bread and served each one of them for the celebrated feast of the Passover.

If I want to teach my children about the grace of God, then "I must recognize that my love and service to them must come before any of my great words, my teaching and training. My time, my attention is what builds our relationship and prepares them to listen to what I have to say. Only then, once the wells of their need are filled with the grace of being loved, will my words to them about God's grace finally make sense."

"Serving" our children, of course, doesn't mean that we let them order us around or give into their whims. That certainly wasn't Jesus' example. The disciples knew He was their leader. Jesus commanded their obedience, but He didn't do it by pulling rank. He put their welfare second only to the will of the Father.

Giving our children this gift of grace requires commitment and a sacrifice of time, love and heart service. Consider Philippians 2:7-8.

So, what are some ways I can serve my children? Well, first we must have the proper affection for them. "Shelly, what are you talking about? Of course I LOVE my children!" Titus 2:4 tells us that mothers are "to love their children." Doesn't sound too revolutionary, but yet the Greek word used for love here is phileo. That means that I am to have an affectionate love, a love that cherishes its object. It is a friendship love, a love that enjoys children, a love that likes them!

In the book A Woman After God's Own Heart, Elizabeth George writes about a woman whose heart is overflowing with motherly affection. In fact, she dedicates two chapters to this godly mom! She encourages us to have:
1. A Heart that Prays ~ By doing so, it will draw them even deeper into our hearts.
2. A Heart that Provides ~ "A heart overflowing with motherly affection lovingly and graciously provides the necessities of life for her precious family."
3. A Heart that is Happy ~ "You create the atmosphere of the home with your attitudes."
4. A Heart that Gives ~
a. It's our role! "Someone has to undertake the wondrous task of having the family become a work of art."
b. Give generously! "She who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and she who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully!" (2 Corinthians 9:6)
c. Give expecting nothing in return.
5. A Heart of Fun ~ "Living in your home should be an absolute ball for every family member."
6. A Heart that Celebrates ~ "We have to be mothers; we have to do the duties, so why not go the extra mile and turn the mundane into a celebration?"
7. A Heart that gives Preferential Treatment ~ "Titus 2:4 teaches us that our husband and children are to take priority over all other human relationships and responsibilities."
8. A Heart that is Focused ~ "Beware of double-booking." In other words, don't try to focus on other people and our children at the same time. Here is an example Mrs. George gave. A mother was having a difficult time with her teenage daughter and was seeking counsel from Mrs. George via telephone. After 20 minutes of conversation, Mrs. George heard the mother say, "Oh, hello, honey." When Mrs. George asked the mother who it was, the mother said coolly, "Oh, it's only my daughter." The message this mother sent was loud and clear. Her phone call was more important than her God-given daughter.
9. A Heart that is Present ~ "Our presence in the home is important. No dollar amount can ever be put on the value of our presence at home after school, in the evening, at night, and on weekends and holidays."
10. A Heart that is Quiet ~ "A loving mother whose heart is quiet never broadcasts any harmful or critical information, not anything general and nothing specific about her children."

I want to extend the gift of grace to my kids by giving my time to them! I want them to know they are valued and treasured. After all, the Lord entrusted them to me!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Best News EVER!

Hello, Sisters! I have the best news a mom can share! Yesterday during homeschool, my son came up to me, visibly upset. "Honey, what's the matter?" I asked my newly-turned eight-year old.
"Mom, I don't know for sure if I'm going to Heaven. What if you and dad and my sisters get to go, but I don't? I don't want Jesus to leave me behind."
"You can know for sure, Son. Do you want me to tell you how?"
He nodded. Not too long after, the angels were rejoicing!
What a precious gift and tremendous blessing I received! Not only to lead my son to the Lord, but to share the blessed hope and peace that comes from knowing that no man can pluck me from the hand of Jesus! As believers, we can rejoice that we are eternally safe and secure in the hand of the Father AND of the Son! (John 10)
Praise the name of Jesus!