Gospel Truth

I have been working on this post in my head and my heart for over a week now, so I’ll apologize in advance for its getting a little bit heavy.   I won’t make any apologies for my boldness, though, because… well, Paul never did!

For the most part, I am absolutely loving this DVD that Lindsay picked out for our girls while she was here. It is a live worship service aimed at kids, and the music is wonderful. Pippa can sing a few of the choruses already and almost every word of Rainbow, the song Linz introduced us to while she was here. The slower songs are incredibly worshipful, and when I watch it with the girls, I find myself singing along and even getting a little tearful (always a good sign for me).

Between the songs, the worship leaders take turns sharing a Bible verse that is relevant to the song they are about to sing. Great again! I love that they keep the music grounded in Scripture, even if some of the lyrics to get a smidge off-topic.

But. (You knew there would be a “but”, didn’t you?)

After one of the slower, more thoughtful songs, one of the worship leaders gives a “gospel” talk and an invitation for the kids to become Christians.  I was so, so disappointed with the “gospel” that was being presented to these kids (and to mine, right in my living room!)

I want to qualify what I’m about to say with a million disclaimers because I have no intention here of being critical of or villanizing these people in any way. I believe they have hearts for the Lord; I simply do not believe they have chosen their words very carefully or understood the gospel accurately enough. I also believe that the way they presented the gospel is the way it is presented by a lot of children’s ministries, and possibly by a lot of churches as well, but I do not believe it is a gospel that saves.

Several great Christian authors, among them the girltalkers, have written of the importance of preaching the gospel to oneself daily.  Not only are we apt to forget, if not constantly reminded, how much we are in need of saving, but we are also quick to lose sight of exactly what took place in the moment of our salvation.

There were two main phrases used in this DVD to describe what one must do to be saved: “ask Jesus to be your friend” and “ask Jesus into your heart”. These phrases are as familiar to the average churched person as the words “Jesus” and “Christian”, and yet neither one is found anywhere in the Bible. There is certainly a kernel of truth in each of them: God does earnestly desire our friendship, in a sense, and through the Holy Spirit, we do have Christ in our hearts once we are saved. But neither of these is the means of our salvation.  I waited and hoped for something to be said about recognizing our own sin, or about Jesus’s death on the cross in our place, but it simply wasn’t there.

Scripture speaks for itself as to what the true “good news” is about Christ:

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul writes this:

1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you; unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, (emphasis mine).

We may feel as though our greatest need is for a true friend, or for someone or something to fill the great void in our hearts, and I believe that is what some ministries might be appealing to.  But in fact, we have a much greater need, whether we realize it or not: we need to be saved.

Romans 3 says this:

22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (my emphasis again)

Scripture is clear and my own heart testifies that I am a sinner.  That all of us are sinners.  We must understand and believe that we suffer from this illness before we are in a position to joyfully accept its cure, but, *praise God*, through Christ there is a cure!

Christ, who lived a perfect, sinless life, died in my place so that I don’t have to.  I can only be made right with God by faith in that truth, by God’s grace and nothing that I can do myself.  I guess for some, this is a tough pill to swallow, but I think it is the sweetest news I have ever heard.  It is heavy and deep, yet simple enough for a child to understand and believe, and there is no need to water it down.  In fact, we are in grave danger of preaching a gospel that does not save if we do.

I intend to make it a habit to rehearse this truth to myself, not only so that I will be clear about it when I have the opportunity to share it with others, but also so that I am reminded each day to live my life in praise to the One who saved me.

And just so you believe me that I really do love *almost* everything about my new DVD, I will end with one of our favorite songs.  Pippa calls it ‘the sleepiest one’!

The Ten Commandments: Where Are They Now?

On Sunday morning, our overview of the Old Testament in church brought us to Exodus 20: the Ten Commandments, and I have been desperate to blog about it ever since!

“1 And God spake all these words, saying, 2 I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any likeness [of any thing] that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them, for I Jehovah thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation of them that hate me, 6 and showing lovingkindness unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath unto Jehovah thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Jehovah blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.12 Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.”

Our pastor took a little tangent from his sermon to address the current debate surrounding removing the Ten Commandments from classrooms and courtrooms. I wasn’t taking notes, so you’ll just have to settle for a healthy mixture of paraphrased sermon and my thoughts on the matter.

When our pastor began talking about the ‘Commandments Debate’, I have to admit I began to fidget in my seat a little.  The truth is, it’s not an issue I’ve ever really felt was worth fighting for, and I was a little afraid I was going to be told that I ought to feel that it is.  Instead, he articulated (*way* better than I could have) exactly how I’ve always felt about this issue (and so many others like it that many Christians take up arms about in the political arena), and went on to put these amazing commandments into their proper context for a redeemed person.

God never intended the Ten Commandments to fix society, or even to fix individuals.  No one can cure their own sin problem by obeying these commandments or any list of rules, and God certainly knew that when He gave them to Moses.  These rules would do two things: show the people the extent of their own sin, and give an already redeemed people (freed, in the Israelites’ case, from slavery to the Egyptians, and in the Christian’s, from slavery to sin) a picture of God’s holiness to model their lives against.  In either case, these rules are not for society; they are for God’s people.

There is undeniably some value in people being aware of the Ten Commandments – I am certainly not suggesting Christians should grab their picket signs to have them removed from public display.  But there is also a very real danger that those who do not know of God’s incredible grace in sending Christ might get the impression that if they are keeping these rules, they can earn God’s favor.  If we want to display this list of rules for the outside world to see, wouldn’t we do better to also display Christ’s own words regarding these commandments right next to them?

From Matthew 5:

“21 Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 but I say unto you, that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment; and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council; and whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of the hell of fire.

27 Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 but I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

In fact, as difficult as it is to keep the Ten Commandments, they are only the tiniest tip of the iceberg that is God’s standard of holiness.  We are doing Him and those around us a huge disservice if we present these commandments as some sort of divine self-help guide.  The fact is, we cannot help ourselves.  We can only be right with God because Jesus lived the perfect life that we could not, and died to pay the penalty that we could not pay.  Christ earned our salvation, because we could not.  We cannot restore our broken relationship with a holy God by following rules.  The relationship can only be restored by complete faith and trust in the One who never broke any of the ‘rules’.  No exceptions.

So where does that leave the Ten Commandments?  Is the believer in Christ off the hook for trying to live these commandments because He already did?  If you’ve ever been tempted by this thought, check out Paul’s reiteration of the Ten Commandments to the church woven through this passage.  I was once again blown away by the consistency of God’s Word when I heard these verses with fresh ears.  God’s standards have never changed, although on this side of eternity, they seem to get higher all the time as we grow in the knowledge of His holiness.  How amazing that His grace is big enough to cover all of my failings!

Ma Nishtana?

Those who celebrated Passover this weekend will probably know that the title of this post, taken from a popular Passover song, translates to (roughly, I’m sure): “Why is this night different?” The song’s answer to this question comes in several verses about the traditions of the Passover meal, but I (naturally, or this would be very short post indeed) have my own answer.

Passover, of all the Jewish holidays, has always stood out to me as the really exciting one, the one that I could relate to best, and perhaps the one I imagined I knew the most about. The story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and the plagues that culminated in a strike against all of Egypt’s firstborn is one that every Sunday-school-goer (willing or otherwise) will know. It has always interested me that Jewish people still celebrate (quite rightly) God’s deliverance of His people from this unthinkable plague by way of the blood of an innocent and perfect lamb.

To the Christian, this event, although completely literal and true in its own right, also paints a beautiful picture of God’s provision of His perfect Son, whose blood covers over our sins. I was just discussing some of this a few months ago with my friend Dana (see, Dana? If you had a blog, I would totally have linked you just then. See what you’re missing out on? Of course, I could always edit the link in, if, say, you wanted to start your blog with a post about your Passover festivities this weekend…), and then today we were blessed to hear a whole sermon on this very topic.

Our guest speaker today, Roger Wambold, director of Hebrew Christian Fellowship shared some amazing insights into the Passover festival, and almost as soon as he started speaking, I was blogging in my head. Such fascinating stuff!

So, open up to Exodus 12, grab a cup of coffee and have a read of some of my favorite new insights into the Passover festival, in no particular order:

  • If a household was too small to have its own lamb, a provision was made (in verse 4) that one lamb could serve for more than one household. In this way, *no one* of God’s people, regardless of age or socio-economic standing, was excluded from God’s provision of safety from the coming destruction.
  • The lamb was taken from the other lambs and “kept” for four days before it was slain (verses 5-6). Apparently during this time, the lamb would become a part of the household, almost like a pet. It was a time for scrutiny to make sure he was absolutely flawless. I couldn’t help but think of those who were friends of Christ’s during His earthly ministry, observing His perfect, sinless life, but at the same time growing attached to Him as a friend and beloved brother. I can’t begin to imagine their shock and denial when His true purpose (dying on the cross) was revealed.
  • The blood of the lamb was to be applied “on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses” (verse 7). Can you picture it? A dab of blood on either side of the door and one above? What a visual image of the cross! Amazing.
  • The people of Israel were to follow the above instructions, and then stay in the house until the plague had passed by. *But* this was only to be done once. The instructions for remembering the Passover as a festival for the generations do not involve reapplying the blood to the doorposts. This one time application of blood was completely sufficient for all the generations to come.

Throughout his message, Rev. Wambold repeatedly asked the question, “Who would *not* take advantage of this provision?” Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that *all* of the Jews took God up on His plan of protection. They knew there was no other means of escape, and they recognized His grace in providing this means of rescue.

In John 1:29, John the baptist says this of Christ: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Check out some other New Testament references to Passover here and here. In Christ is the complete and perfect fulfillment of everything that first Passover was about. We all, like the Israelites trying to escape from Pharaoh’s heavy hand, are facing death, but God has provided an escape at great personal cost. Christ was the ultimate, perfect, spotless Passover lamb, utterly innocent but brutally killed. We apply His blood by faith that He has completely paid the penalty for the sin of the world. For my sin. For yours, if you believe.

Rev. Wambold concluded his sermon with these words:

“Who would not want to take advantage of the marvelous provision Christ has made? Good question.”

Good question, indeed.

Mom… Interrupted

phone.jpgI can’t remember who it was that once said that being a pastor is a ministry of interruptions (maybe Wayne? but I’m not sure…). He described a typical day in his earlier days of being a pastor. His plans were to spend a couple hours in study, then a couple more in sermon preparation before attending an afternoon meeting. Noble goals, to be sure. He said that he used to get frustrated with the steady stream of interruptions that took over his day: perhaps unexpected hospital visits, congregation members calling to disagree with something in the sermon, or e-mail after e-mail detailing lengthy prayer requests to add to the prayer meeting’s agenda.

But gradually, God made it clear to him that all of these interruptions weren’t getting in the way of his ministry, they were his ministry, and from then on he did his best to welcome whatever God allowed to come into his day, knowing that it was one of God’s ways of showing him what was most in need of his attention at that moment.  Of course the sermon still had to get written, the meetings still had to be attended, but whatever came in between was equally worthy of his time and energy.  Obviously, since he thought it was worth sharing with us, this isn’t only true for pastors.

Every day that we are at home, a wonderful thing happens at around 2 o’clock. The babies go down for a nap, and Pippa, after a short bit of alone time with Mommy, goes to her playroom for some “quiet time.”  Peace and tranquility settle over our home, and I settle into my to-do list for the afternoon.   Today, I had hoped to get done three eBay listings and two blog posts (this was not one of them, by the way).  As I type this, it is almost 4:30, I need to start thinking about dinner, Pippa is watching Big Cook, Little Cook on DVD, the little ones will be up any minute, and I have not done a single thing on my list.

The good news is, that’s okay!  In the last two hours, I have sent an e-mail to Trevor (he likes that, and I don’t do it enough), talked to my mother-in-law on the phone (love her!), taken Pippa to the bathroom no less than four times (quiet time, schmiet time!), read and replied to an e-mail from my dear friend Carol, and oh! I did start an eBay listing as well.

It would be easy to think that I didn’t get anything done today, but I know that I have done what God had for me to do this afternoon.  Ephesian 2:10 tells me this:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 

It is a valuable thing for me to remember that God prepares the good works He has for me each day, and I don’t. Of course there is value in having a plan for how to spend my time (goodness, I’d lose the whole day playing on the Internet otherwise, and sometimes do anyway!)  I love knowing, though, that when an “interruption” arises, whether a welcome phone call or message from a dear friend or a little girl just needing a minute with Mommy, that it is from the Lord, and every bit as worthy of my time as what I wanted to accomplish.  Maybe more.

Virtuosity Revisited

gemscopy.gifI must have read Proverbs 31 about twenty times since I mentioned it the other day.  I promised to write something more about it, and I was sure at the time that I had plenty of insights to share, but the truth is, I’m stuck.  To do it justice I would need to blog about one or two verses at a time, since there is not a single aspect of this virtuous wife that I can look at and think, “Well, I’ve got that one under control.”  Every single verse contains something I need to work on.  If these verses were my to-do list, it would not have a single check on it.  Oh, dear.

But then it occurred to me: this is what the Christian walk is all about. I read God’s Word. I become aware that He is Holy God with standards so impossibly high that I could never reach them. Ever. And then, if my heart is where it ought to be, I remember that this Holy God loves me anyway.  That He knows I can never reach His standard, but that there was One who did.  And that His death and resurrection meant that I am forever freed from the judgement I deserve for *not* being who God says I ought to be.

Then, as I glance back at the same words that once condemned me, I remember this:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

So, here’s what I can do through Christ who strengthens me for all the good works He has prepared for me (Ephesians 2:10).  I can be the kind of wife who will bring happiness and security to my husband, never being a burden to him, but always lightening his load (verses 11-12).  I can help him to be all that God wants Him to be (verse 23).  I can look after all the affairs of our home (27a), feeding all the hungry little mouths here (15), and then looking to see who else might be hungry around me (20). With my spare time (27b), I can look to see how I might bless my home financially, either by stretching the pennies that my husband works so hard to bring home, or by thinking how I might bring in some more pennies (16, 19, 24) without compromising my purpose as a wife and mother.  And above all these things, I can remember that my beauty comes not from any of the physical things I might sometimes concern myself with, but from a heart that fears the Lord (30).

It is a tall order, to be sure, but it is not my order to fill.  It is only mine to submit to the God who will shape me into this woman.  I pray that I will have a willing heart, even if it does come to getting up at 6 AM every morning!

Amazed By the Word… Again

50-dollar-bill-new-front-back.jpgThe Word of God is still full of surprises to me, even after 25 years or more of learning and reading it.  I have mentioned before (here and here) how my Ladies’ Bible study in Isaiah has been impressing on me just how well the Bible substantiates itself and sets itself apart as a divinely inspired book.  Check out what I picked up at today’s study, our last of the semester and a review of all we have learned.

It was the very end of the study today, and we were all just throwing out our last thoughts, when someone said, “I think God could have given us just Isaiah, and that would have been enough.”   Then someone else said, “Yeah, did you know that Isaiah is called the ‘mini-Bible’?”

No, I did not, thought I.  And this is what I then learned.

There are 66 books in the Bible (I knew that part). The first 39 are the Old testament, which, in general, tells the story of God’s law and resulting judgment on His people.  The last 27 books are the New Testament, which tells the story of God sending His Son as a redeemer to  buy back His wayward people.  It tells of His forgiveness and mercy, and the comfort His people find in Him.

Isaiah is a book of 66 chapters (I knew that, too, just never did the math). The first 39 tell of Judah’s rebellion and God’s resulting judgment on them. The last 27 tell of God’s plan to redeem His people through a suffering servant, and of the mercy, comfort, and peace that will result when His people learn to rely fully on Him and nothing else for their salvation.

Are you amazed yet?

Of course, I had to go home and check this out for myself (you know, like the Bereans).   Sure enough, chapter 39 ends up like this:

“5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: 6 Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the Lord.  7 And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.   8 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good. For he thought, There will be peace and security in my days.”

In spite of Hezekiah’s relief that this wouldn’t take place in his own lifetime, the outlook isn’t all that cheery there. Then chapter 40 begins like this:

“1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

If you want to read the whole chapter, it just gets better and better.   I suddenly feel as though I need to go back and do the whole study again.  I am in awe.  Each new truth that I discover about how God’s Word holds together as a unit is like a water mark (or whatever they do nowadays that’s even more clever) on money.  It’s just too hard to fake these things.  It would be enough for me to know God’s hand in my life and His grace in my heart, but I thank Him today, once again, for going so far to satisfy my mind with the reality of His Truth.

A Funny Old Day

My plan for Easter Monday was to take my time putting the house back together after the holiday weekend and getting everyone ready in time for my dear friend Jen coming for lunch. My water heater, however, had other plans. On Friday night we were all snuggled up to watch Lost on DVD, when we heard an unusual sound coming from the heating closet. It was leaking, but we didn’t worry at first, just switched off the hot water and got back to our date night. Since it was Easter weekend, we were out so much that we hardly missed having hot water. We just quietly hoped that, like so many other things in our home that have almost gone wrong, it would just sort itself.

On Sunday afternoon, I asked Trevor, “Can we just switch the hot water back on so I can run the dishwasher?”  We both thought it would be fine, just for a couple of hours, but no, lots of leaking right away, quick-switch-it-back-off type situation.  So, reluctantly, we came to the conclusion that I would have to call someone first thing Monday morning.

I must say, we both felt such a peace about this huge expense cropping up so unexpectantly. The Lord has been so faithful in the finance department lately. We were spared a huge expense on our heater about a month ago when a very inventive repairman managed to fix it with a pair of pliers. Also, thanks to a complicated set of circumstances, we recently had a large pay out from a fender bender which we had no intention of using to fix the car in question (only cosmetic damage.) So, the Lord really went before us on this one, and as much as we had other ideas of how to use that check, we want for nothing.

Little did I know when I called the heater people at 8 AM in my PJs with morning breath and only two of the girls even awake let alone dressed or fed that they would (for once!) dispatch someone “within the half hour” and that my home would not be my own again until four and a half hours later, after having this new family member installed.

Having no hot water and a stranger in your home doesn’t really facilitate a whole-house clean-up, but I managed to get it together enough that I wasn’t embarrassed for Jen to see it when she got there. After all, she was here to see me and the girls, drink coffee, and feed us gooey brownies, not to inspect my home for dust bunnies. (Goodness, I hope so anyway!)

And all that we did! It was a lovely afternoon. The girls (even Pippa) indulged us by taking lovely long naps in the afternoon leaving us to ponder deep philosophical issues like debt, birth control, dating, marriage, homeschooling, and most of all the things of the Lord. Seriously. Over coffee! What a joy it is to spend time with friends who lift my eyes up to Him, and she always does.

Amazing Grace: A Musical Review

51eagreeysl_aa240_.jpgWell, if you came here hoping to see me sporting dance shoes and singing show tunes, then you’re in for a disappointment.  If, in fact, you were hoping to hear my thoughts on my current favorite CD in the whole world, then you’ve come to the right place!

This CD,  Amazing Grace: Music Inspired by the Motion Picture, was an inspired gift from my wonderful hubby and has been in the CD player of my van for the better part of a year (I’m very loyal when it comes to music.  And jewelry.  And purses.  Jeans.  Lipstick… I guess I’m just very loyal).  I am honestly not tired of it yet.  I look forward to car trips that are just me in the girls so that I can sing at the top of my lungs listen to this CD in a comtemplative and worshipful frame of mind. As an unexpected and happy consequence, the girls now love it too, and can both sing the choruses of most of the hymns right along with me.

This CD is not a proper soundtrack.  It doesn’t have actual music  (score) from the movie.  Instead, it features modern recordings of great old hymns by contemporary artists.  What could be better?

So, in no particular order, my favorites from this album:

  • It Is Well, sung by Adie and Jeremy Camp – This one has the distinction of being the song that, when the intro music starts, Romilly immediately announces, “Mommy, this you song!”  This is my favorite hymn anyway, so I’m a  little biased, but this is a really great recording.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Are nailed to the cross, and I bear them no more!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, oh, my soul!

I just love the idea of talking to my own soul, and showing it who’s boss on days when it doesn’t feel inclined to remember what has been done for it.  Lovely!

  •  All Creatures Of Our God and King, sung by Bethany Dillon and Shawn McDonald – This one gets off to a slow start, but not in a bad way, just in a thoughtful sort of way.  Then there’s a fun little twist in the middle that I just love.
  • Holy, Holy, Holy, sung by Steven Curtis Chapman – Well, Steven and I go way back.  He was my jogging buddy in college (in my walkman, that is, can you imagine actually jogging with Steven Curtis???)  This is an absolutely beautiful arrangement of this hymn, which, again, is a favorite anyway.
  • Just As I Am, sung by Nichole Nordeman – Hmmm… is this really a hymn or is it a modern hymn that they’ve thrown into the mix hoping to fool me?  I’ve never heard it before, anyway.  No matter.  It is a beautiful song with lyrics that remind me of where I’d be without Christ every time I listen to them.
  • My Jesus, I Love Thee (Tis So Sweet), sung by Bart Millard – I guess, again, it’s the hymn itself that I love here.  This one just really speaks to me.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take him at his word;
Just to rest upon his promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord.”

  • I Need Thee Every Hour, sung by Jars of Clay – This song is really the special one for us.  It’s Pippa’s song.  I really don’t even remember how it became Pippa’s song,  I guess she just told us one day that it was her favorite, and it stuck.  Now, when it comes on, literally as soon as the first few notes of the intro have been played, Ro announces, “That Pippa’s song!  Pippa, that you song!”  For a while, she’d even get upset if anyone else tried to sing along, but we’re all allowed to sing now.  I tried to get a video of them singing in the car, which is just the cutest, but it’s not the safest thing to do while driving, and the one day I had my mom with me to get it the camera was playing up.  So, here is a reenactment at our table.  I think the girls are a little mesmerized by the crazy patterns on the computer screen, as they’re a bit less enthusiastic than usual.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: go buy this CD!  I could say something about almost every song.  (Although, if I had to award one, the Not-So-Much Award would go to Natalie Grant’s Fairest Lord Jesus.  It’s just a little too… Evanescence-y.  Not that I mind Evanescence, but this has got to be the most cheerful hymn I know, and why add angst into a song that is totally angst-free?  Don’t get me wrong, though, I still belt it out.)  I really do feel that, provided the kiddies are relatively content in the back, I actually get to worship while I’m driving, and I get to where I’m going feeling more joyful and peaceful than when I left home.

By the way, if you ever happen to see me driving and belting out my Amazing Grace CD, please don’t tell me about it. It is really one of the greatest joys of my life to sing in the car, and if I had any idea how ridiculous I look to other drivers, well, it might just spoil it for me a little bit.

I’ll leave you with this verse from David Crowder’s recording of Rock of Ages:

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress;
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;    

Wash me, Savior, or I die.

He Says, She Says Saturdays: Why I Blog

normal_ink-quill.jpgAs I write this, my poor sweetie has been in bed for the better part for the last 18 hours, so I’m not at all sure we’ll be hearing from him today, but I’ve taken the liberty of choosing what I thought would be a pretty easy topic for us to address, even with a slightly foggy brain.

*         *          *         *          *

As I write this, it is now Monday morning, Trevor is back on his feet and at work (he’s such a trouper!), and a power failure on Saturday night combined with a super-busy Sunday kept either of us from doing any blogging this weekend.

On to the topic at hand.  I guess I’ve already touched on this a bit here and there.  We’ve had a website since Pippa was born that has primarily showcased photos, but has also served as a record for us of what we did when, what the girls were doing at different ages, and what life was like for us at any given time.  Once Pippa started talking, I began to feel that photos just weren’t capturing her enough, I needed somewhere to write.  A lot.  My technological whiz of a husband set this blog up for me, I had no sooner written my first post then I discovered Romilly was hot on Pippa’s heels in the talking department.   In the process of writing my second post, I ran into some technical glitches that ended up keeping me quietly frustrated with blogdom for the next several months.

During that little hiatus, in addition to having a baby and enduring what felt like an eternity without a well-functioning computer, I spent some time seeing what some other people were using their blogs for. I began to see the appeal again, and Trevor and I had several conversations that went something like this:

Me:  I think I really want a blog.

Him: You already have a blog.

Me:  Oh.

I think what  I was trying to express, albeit in very  simple terms, was that I wanted  (a) a pretty blog, (b) a blog that I knew how to add pictures to and that wouldn’t (just occasionally, on a whim) put an entire paragraph into one enormously long straight line (anyone else have this issue with WordPress???), and (c) a blog with a bit more purpose, that would be worthy of spending my time on.

So here I am now.  I guess that was more of a history than  a reason.  Probably there are some posts that don’t fulfill any of these purposes, but here is why I blog now:

  •  To remember.  As I said in my very first post, I don’t ever want to forget this sweet sweet time in my life, or the way my girls are right now.  I know I can’t hold onto it forever, but I also know one day I will cherish the moments I record here.
  • To celebrate.  Something about turning a thought, conversation, or event into a blog post somehow makes it bigger and more significant.  Blogging makes me notice the little things that make life wonderful and thank God for them, and even the ones I never get around to turning into posts are more note-worthy for my having that mindset.
  • To think deeply.  A mom of three little ones doesn’t often have the mental energy, the time, or the brain cells to think deeply about life, but blogging forces me to make the effort.  In the process, I can (sometimes, hopefully) turn my thoughts upward and see how God is present and working in my life.  There is so much real meaning hiding behind the apparently mundane tasks of a wife and mother, and I don’t want to miss that while I’m caught up in the middle of it all.

I wonder why he blogs…

My Kind of Party

Ultimate Blog Party 2008
Welcome! If you’re here because of the Ultimate Blog Party, I look forward to ‘meeting’ you! If you’re just here because you’re one of my five (six maybe?) regular readers, then you are probably wondering what on earth this post is all about. Well, it’s a big old party right inside my computer! How great is that? I just love that I can write this post in my PJs, and then hop around visiting everyone else’s parties in my PJs too (if, in fact, you are wearing your PJs right now, then this must be your kind of party too!) I’m a little late getting in on this, since I only figured out today how to put the little Blog Party button in my sidebar. (I’m pretty new to blogging, so I feel like I should be putting words like “button” and “sidebar” in quotes, but I’m resisting. Happily, thanks to this party I now know what a “widget” is, too. Sort of. Almost. A little bit.)  To get us in the party mood, here is one of our girls’ favorite toys that we get to endure play with over and over again at our home.  Lucky us.  Feel free to sing along!

I suppose an introduction is in order, especially since I’ve never officially done that on my blog.  My name is Jodi.  I am recently(ish) 30.  I am blessed to be married to an amazing Englishman who loves the Lord.   We are both eternally thankful for God’s love for us.  You can read more about my faith by clicking on any of these highlighted words or by clicking the God category at the side.

We have three wonderful little girls under the age of four (my “baby” was three and a half yesterday!) The big girls tend to steal the show most of the time. Here they are in some transfer T-shirts I made them (more on them to follow!)

This photo really captures their personalities, since Pippa is our thoughtful, reserved little English rose (okay, some of the time), and Romilly is the crazy American chatterbox.

Little Bea sure is starting to give the big girls a run for their money, though. She can steal the show back from them just by being in the room.

Well, what is a party without cake? And what is a cake without icing? Hey, let’s just skip to the icing, okay? I’ve never done a giveaway before, so this seemed like a good occasion to have my first. Here’s the deal. You hop around a little bit and see if you can find a post that gets you thinking, or makes you laugh, or warms your heart or something, then come back to this post and leave me a comment about it (and make sure you include your e-mail address, please).  You can even just tell me you like this post, because it has a free giveaway – I’m not fussy about the comment love!  I will choose one at random using Amanda’s patented random number choosing system, and I’ll post the winner here (and e-mail you, too!)  The winner will receive, as quickly as I can put one together, a personalized transfer T-shirt or onesie with your little one’s name (or yours, if you like) in a street sign or a book title or wherever I happen to find your little one’s name.  (Like the ones my big girls are wearing above.)  Details are all totally negotiable, and we can discuss after you win!  Again, make sure you leave your comment on my party post, or I might not find it for the drawing, which will be after this whole sha-bang is over.

In addition to my little giveaway, there are tons of prizes being offered at the main prize page.  My favorites from the list are 80, 101, and 7 (in no particular order), but of course I’d be delighted to win anything at all, especially something cute for my girlies!

Lovely to meet you!  Love the PJs!