Tuesday, 30 June 2009

True Woman Tuesday - Week 3

True Woman TuesdayWelcome to Week 3 of the True Woman Tuesday study being hosted by my cousin Tammi over at Valleygirl. And wow, was this a convicting week for me!

Lesson 7 was titled Measured Words and was based on Proverbs 31:26

She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. (NIV)
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (NASB)
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly. (The Message)
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. (NLT)

Nancy points out that here we are, all the way at verse 26 and this is the first verse that mentions this woman talking. I think that's pretty important. This woman is not known for shooting her mouth off. She is know for her servant's heart and her compassion, but not for her frequency of speech. And when she does talk - it's deliberately, with wisdom and clothed in kindness and love.
Isn’t it sad that we’re so much more careful about the words that we say outside our homes than often we are inside our homes?
Oh how painfully true this often is. There are sooo many verses in the Bible that speak of the tongue - how powerful that one little body part can be. It can be used for good and it can be used for evil. It can build up and it can tear down.
I want to say that no matter how many domestic skills you have, no matter how well you can cook and clean and sew, no matter how creative you are, no matter how efficient and organized you are in your home, no matter how capable you are in your workplace or in your home environment, no matter how clean your house is, no matter how beautifully decorated your home may be, you can destroy it all with one little instrument called the tongue.
And it's so important to realize the words we say are a reflection of our heart.

I think this is often a pretty big struggle for women. I know that I personally need to work on this! I need to correct my children in love and with kindness - teaching them immediately, instead of waiting until they're on my last nerve. And if I am upset, to stop and wait before speaking. Words, and the damage they can do, last a lifetime. And it's not just the words themselves, it's the tone in which they are said. That is really the area I need to work on. Tone of voice is huge!

Lesson 8 it titled What Does Your Home Communicate? and is based on verse 27.

She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (NIV)
She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. (NASB)
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive. (The Message)
She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. (NLT)

As women, we need to be knowing what's going on in our household. We need to be in tune with our children and our husband. We need to have eyes on the back of our heads!

We need to know both physically and spiritually - which is why we need to be praying for our family, and that God would reveal things to us that we need to address. Catching things early on is key - and we won't do that if we're not really tuned in. The first part of vs 27 is a good reminder of the importance of this!

The second half of that verse is where it gets convicting. To not be idle or lazy. To be on task and get things done - not just think about getting things done, not procrastinating about getting things done. Just doing it! Flylady has helped me with this a bit, but this is still a work in progress. I need to keep my priorities my priorities, and everything else needs to be secondary. First things first.

Am I talking on the phone instead of taking care of my household? Perhaps more to the point for me, am I on the computer instead of taking care of my household?

I have found that the days I am diligent and take care of the stuff that has to be done - there often does end up to be time to do the fun stuff. But it doesn't seem to work so well the other way around.

And the thing is, everything we do - the way we live, the way we keep our house, the way we spend our time - all of it, reflects on ourselves, our husbands, our families and most importantly on Christ. We are a witness at all times in all things. I don't want to let Him down.

Lesson 9 is called "High and Holy Calling" which continues to focus on vs 27.

Prayer is such a huge responsibility and priviledge for us as we watch over our households.

I loved this quote...

What a blessing it is for a man to know that back home there’s a wife who’s watching and praying on his behalf, and praying that as he goes out into that world, God will protect him and God will keep his heart pure.

Ladies, if you’re not going to pray that for your husband, who do you think is going to pray that for him? Who’s going to watch and pray for his soul? You can protect him in that way, and you protect your children as you watch and pray. Ask the Lord to show you things that you need to be alert to, in their lives.

I want to be that blessing for Nathan and our children.

The woman in this passage - well, Martha Stewart has nothing on her! She can sew, make things from scratch, she has all kinds of skills and abilities. Yet it is not these skills and abilities that make her a virtuous woman. It's her heart. Her heart is centred on her home, and it's focused on serving God by serving her family.

We cannot allow ourselves to define success the way the world does. Success should not be defined by what we do outside the home - on a career, or on a volulnteer job, on something we "do". To be successful as God defines success, we need to have a heart for our home. And this means that we are a support and help to our husbands, and a servant in our homes. This obviously does not mean that we do every little thing, but we need to manage it. And we need to train our children to do the same. We need to be lovers, givers, servers - this is our high and holy calling.

Attending Bible Study doesn't make you spiritual, memorizing verses doesn't, teaching Sunday School doesn't - all of those are good things and, if we have have the time, are worthy things to do - but what makes you spiritual is living out a heart that is dedicated to God.

Another quote I loved...

What you’re doing in that home may not seem very important. It may not seem very meaningful. It may not seem very fulfilling. Where did we get that word? Fulfilling— everything today has to be fulfilling. That is so selfish!

The question is: Are you fulfilling God’s purpose and God’s plan for your life? Not: Are you fulfilling what you want to do with your life? If you want ultimate joy and ultimate happiness, then set yourself to do the will of God, and you will find there is, long-term, nothing more fulfilling.

And, finally, here is Proverbs 31 from The Message - I rather enjoy this version.

Proverbs 31

Speak Out for Justice
1The words of King Lemuel, the strong advice his mother gave him:

2-3 "Oh, son of mine, what can you be thinking of! Child whom I bore! The son I dedicated to God! Don't dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders.
4-7 "Leaders can't afford to make fools of themselves, gulping wine and swilling beer, Lest, hung over, they don't know right from wrong, and the people who depend on them are hurt. Use wine and beer only as sedatives, to kill the pain and dull the ache of the terminally ill, for whom life is a living death.
8-9 "Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!"
Hymn to a Good Wife
10-31 A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons, and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it, then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work, rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work, is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.
She's quick to assist anyone in need, reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows; their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing, and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant, and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household, and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her; her husband joins in with words of praise:
"Many women have done wonderful things, but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades. The woman to be admired and praised is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves! Festoon her life with praises!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

He gives and takes away

He gives and takes away.

This week has contained more than it's share of taking away.

There were, of course, the deaths of famous celebrities Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.

There were also two deaths that hit much closer to home for me.

This past Father's Day Sunday, a 49 year old father of 4 collasped shortly before crossing the finishing line of the local marathon alongside one of his two daughters. After remaining in a coma for several days, he passed away on Friday. His family are members of my in-laws church where we attended for a short time.

And this past week, a couple from our church had their moment of greatest joy turn into a sudden tragedy. Wes and Ashley gave birth to their firstborn daughter on Monday, but something went wrong during the delivery and baby Ciara (pronounced Sierra) died on Friday. I cannot begin to imagine the pain these parents are going through and the long road they have ahead of them.

Just over 2 short months ago, Mike & Kristen lost their daughter Georgia to SMA.

Stellan continues to struggle in out out of the hospital with SVT.

Just over a year ago, Todd & Angie Smith (from the musical group, Selah) said goodbye to their fourth daughter Audrey just hours after her birth.

I have lost two babies to miscarriages early in pregnancy and I lost my first dad when I was just 2 years old.

As I mentioned in this previous post on the same subject, most of this life's tragedies are a result of the fall of man, the direct result of sin. Even creation was disfigured as a result of the fall - resulting in natural disasters and more minor annoyances like weeds and mosquitoes. Until Jesus comes to take us home, we have to live on this less-than-perfect earth - experiencing all the high and lows that go along with it.

But God is sovereign, He is still on His throne.

And He weeps with us during these times of intense sorrow and grief. One day...... "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4

2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 16-18 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.......That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Jesus is coming back. And when He does, He will wipe away every tear, He will right every wrong, and we who enjoy an imperfect relationship with Him here on earth, will finally celebrate a perfect relationship with Him for all eternity.

Thankfully, in the meantime, we are given opportunity to experiences glimpses of the joy awaiting us. Our family, our friends, music, art, a good book, a delicious meal. All just a taste of the perfection awaiting us in heaven.

But no matter if we are currently experiencing joy or sorrow - Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He alone is worthy of our praise.

Job 1:21 The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.

I've always loved the song Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns (I pretty much like everything by Casting Crowns!).

I was sure by now
That You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
stepped in and saved the day
but once again, I say "Amen," and its still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear you whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God that gives
And takes away

I'll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You herd my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't Find you

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear you whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God that gives
And takes away

I'll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I lift my eyes into the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of Heaven and Earth

I lift my eyes into the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of Heaven and Earth

I'll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
Every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Like most songs, this was inspired by real life events and it is a truly remarkable story. You can read the story behind this song here.

And please, pray for the families I mentioned above. That God would give them the comfort and peace they so desperately need.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

New Bible story

I discovered a new story in the Bible as I was reading my One Year Bible reading plan yesterday!

Did you know that Jesus' miracle of feeding the 5000 is not the first miracle like that?

It's true - check out Elisha and the feeding of the 100!

2 King 4:42-44 A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. "Give it to the people to eat," Elisha said."How can I set this before a hundred men?" his servant asked. But Elisha answered, "Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: 'They will eat and have some left over.' " Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

Here is the feeding of the five thousand and the feeding of the four thousand.

I just think that's really cool. :)

And it's also really sad that I didn't know this story was in the Bible. I'm really glad I decided to read through the whole thing. This is not the first new story I've come across and I'm sure it won't be the last!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

True Woman Tuesday - Week 2

True Woman TuesdayWelcome to the True Woman Tuesday bible study! Check out my cousin Tammi's website (by clicking on the True Woman button) for links to the other ladies doing the same study - some good thoughts there.

This week we're going through Lessons 4 - 6.

First of all, here is Proverbs 31 in the New International Reader's Version (today's study verses are bolded)...

Proverbs 31

The Sayings of King Lemuel
1 These are the sayings of King Lemuel. His mother taught them to him. She spoke them as if they came from God.

2 She said, "My son! My very own son! The son I prayed for!
3 Don't waste your strength on women. Don't waste it on those who destroy kings.
4 "Lemuel, it isn't good for kings to drink wine. It isn't good for rulers to long for beer.
5 If they do, they might drink and forget what the law commands. They might take away the rights of all those who are beaten down.
6 Give beer to those who are dying. Give wine to those who are sad and troubled.
7 Let them drink and forget how poor they are. Let them forget their suffering.
8 "Speak up for those who can't speak for themselves. Speak up for the rights of all those who are poor.
9 Speak up and judge fairly. Speak up for the rights of those who are poor and needy."
The Noble Wife
10 Who can find a noble wife? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband trusts her completely. She gives him all the important things he needs.
12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
13 She chooses wool and flax. She loves to work with her hands.
14 She is like the ships of traders. She brings her food from far away.
15 She gets up while it is still dark. She provides food for her family. She also gives some to her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it. She uses some of the money she earns to plant a vineyard.
17 She gets ready to work hard. Her arms are strong.
18 She sees that her trading earns a lot of money. Her lamp doesn't go out at night.
19 With one hand she holds the wool. With the other she spins the thread.
20 She opens her arms to those who are poor. She reaches out her hands to those who are needy.
21 When it snows, she's not afraid for her family. All of them are dressed in the finest clothes.
22 She makes her own bed coverings. She is dressed in fine linen and purple clothes.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate. There he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen clothes and sells them. She supplies belts to the traders.
25 She puts on strength and honor as if they were her clothes. She can laugh at the days that are coming.
26 She speaks wisely. She teaches faithfully.
27 She watches over family matters. She is busy all the time.
28 Her children stand up and call her blessed. Her husband also rises up, and he praises her.
29 He says, "Many women do noble things.But you are better than all the others."
30 Charm can fool you. Beauty fades. But a woman who has respect for the Lord should be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned. Let everything she has done bring praise to her at the city gate.

Lesson 4 focuses on Proverbs 31:11 & 12

NIRV - Her husband trusts her completely. She gives him all the important things he needs. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
NIV - Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
NLT - Her husband can trust her and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
NKJV - The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.
AMP - The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil. She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her.

Oh how I want those words to describe me! For Nathan to know that he can trust me completely, have full confidence in, rely on me, to know that I will comfort, encourage and do him only good as long I have breath within me. That is truly my desire - to be faithful in all things (both big and small) and to be trustworthy.

Obviously faithfulness in the big things are important. Keeping yourselves for each other alone - physically and emotionally, speaking highly of our husbands, instead of putting them down, especially in front of others (this one, I'm happy to say, I'm actually pretty good at - course he makes it easy since he's such a fabulous and involved dad and husband. See, there I go again! Ahem). Confiding in him (not complaining to him!) and keeping his confidences. Praying for him. Protecting his reputation. Presenting a unified front to the children.
When she gives direction to the children, she represents the heart of her husband, and he can trust her. When he’s gone from home, she’s going to be implementing his heart in the home.
But faithfulness in the small things is important too. Some things I know I need to work on, and that I know Nathan would appreciate, are.....
1) remembering to lock the patio door.
2) keeping the house more picked up
3) keeping up with the bookwork and not letting it get behind
4) not being late (ok, maybe that one's not so small!)

And why does a godly woman do her husband good and not evil? Obviously because she loves him. But there's more. There's a deeper and more compelling reason...
She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. Why? Because she’s a covenant-keeping woman; she’s a woman who’s made a vow, and her vow was first to God.
By being faithful in our commitments to our husbands, we are being faithful in our commitment to God. If you are a follower of Christ you have made a commitment to live for Him and His glory. The marriage union is a wonderful covenant relationship instituted & created by God himself - it is very good! And if you are married, then you stood up before God and your family and friends, and committed yourself to this man and this man only for the rest of your lives together. He needs to be a priority, second only to God.

This can be a hard thing for moms and especially for moms with young children. Obviously there are seasons in life where your children's needs will have to come first (infants immediately spring to mind:). But overall, we cannot let our lives revolve around our children - or in twenty years once they're out of the house we won't even recognize the man lying next to us, for our purpose will be gone. And nothing is better for our children than to see the security and stability of a husband and wife committed to each other - and living like it!

Here's another quote that can be a bit of a sensitive issue...

This man can trust his wife to meet his physical needs. He has no need of spoil. He has no need to seek marital intimacy elsewhere because his wife is faithful. Whether she feels like it or not, she is committed to be a giver in the physical aspect of their marriage, to meet his needs sexually.

Ladies, let me just say here, if you don’t meet your husband’s physical and sexual needs, there’s another woman somewhere who would be happy to. And you may end up putting him in a position where—not justifying, not excusing, his sin—but you may make him more vulnerable to temptation and to immorality if you are not faithful to him in even your physical and sexual relationship, as a giver.

This is a pretty personal topic obviously, but I just have to say that I couldn't agree more with this quote. We had a speaker at our church's women's retreat that said something to the effect of "Ladies, your husband didn't marry you to have a best friend. He married you (partly) to have sex with you. He wants and needs to have sex. Who do you want him to have sex with?" I think some of the older ladies just about fell off their chairs during that particular session :)

I'd like to end this discussion about this lesson with this quote...
A godly wife inspires a man to be worthy of her devotion. He rises to that because he knows he has a woman who is an asset, not a liability—a woman who supports, encourages, and helps him in every way possible.
Again, this is all only possible by the grace of God.

Lesson 5 is about a godly woman's work and focuses on Verse 13 (NIV) "She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands."

This verse talks about a godly woman working hard. And she works hard in her home.

Titus chapter 2 teaches us that women are to be home-workers—workers at home. That’s what the Word says. That’s what the Scripture says.

Now, that doesn’t mean—and we’ll see in this passage—that there is no other place that a woman works. But the first place that she works is in her home. Until she has cared for the needs of her home, she has not got the right to go out and tend to the needs elsewhere. The core, the central place of her ministry, of her work is out of her home......

Now, she and her husband will work together, and I realize there are some situations where, for reasons due to break up of homes or whatever, there may not be a man to be a breadwinner or where a woman may not be physically able to minister in these practical ways to her family. But we’re talking about the ideal, about God’s plan, which is that it is an honor and a privilege and a blessing and a high and holy calling for a woman to tend to the practical, physical affairs of her home.

As godly women, we need to recognize the honour and privilege that is ours. And if we are mothers, we are truly working for eternity. The work we do will have eternal significance! That's a daunting and frightening thought in some ways -what a huge responsibility! And yet it is also a rewarding thought.

Often mothers think that because they are not bringing in the paycheque that what they do in the home is not contributing and not worthwhile. I hear so many women who say they just can't wait to go back to work once their kids are in school, because they feel like they have not been useful at home, and that now they can finally contribute to the family.

That just makes me so sad. As women we have a huge responsibility to our families in the home. This contribution is absolutely not worthless, it is truthfully priceless! If you are feeling worthless or down because you don't "add anything" to the family coffers - know this - it is not of God. It is NOT of God.

We need to accept our responsibilities and then perform them to the best of our abilities - with the right motive and the right attitude. Of serving the Lord, of serving our husbands and our children. Of training them up in the way they should go. Of providing a haven for them to come home to.

We absolute need to have our quiet times with God and we need to commit to serving Him with all our hearts. And then that commitment needs to come out in practicality.

And here I have to admit I have a ways to go. I know that I struggle with laziness and simple procrastination. I need to listen to my own teachings to my girls - we do what we need to do before we do what we want to do. I need to stop thinking of all the stuff that needs to be done and just do it. I need to waste far less time on the computer. That's definitely a "want" category. I really need to make a rule for myself that "playtime" on the computer does not happen unless certain tasks are taken care of. So - this will be a major focus for me as I strive, with God's help, to grow as a woman of God.

Lesson 6 is about working joyfully and continues in verse 13 pretty much dealing with one specific word - eager! Verse 13 - She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.

So, we've committed to doing the work. Now, how are we going to do it? With a martyr attitude? Or with joy? Because we have to or because we want to? With resentment or with a servant's heart of love?

No doubt, most of the work in the home is mundane drudgery. That's encouraging eh? If we think of it like that, it will feel like that. We need to refocus, we need to "rephrase" that, we need to look at it through the lens of Colossians 3:17

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I am blessed (blog title!) to be a wife, and in particular to be married to Nathan. I am blessed with 4 delightful and healthy children. I am blessed with a beautiful house, a hard-working husband who provides for us, material possessions, a Christian extended (and extended!) family, people who love me. I want to bless my family. I want to bless my husband and my children. And one very important way I can bless them is to work for them. And, in the case of my children, teach them to work as well. To work eagerly, as to the Lord! My work in the home is a gift to my family. A gift given out of the joyfullness of a heart filled with the love of Him who created my hands for such tasks as these.

This following quote just about brought me to tears...

Let me ask you right now to stop and look at your hands. Just look at them. If you’re a Proverbs 31 woman, or becoming one, as we are committed to becoming together, your hands may not be model’s hands. You may not have perfectly manicured nails. But let me ask you this: Are they serving hands? Are they hands that you’re using to bless and to minister in practical ways to the needs of others?

If they are, then though they may not be beautiful hands, they’re hands like the Master’s. See, Christ’s hands were nailed to a cross. He endured that, out of love, out of the heart of a servant, for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the plan of redemption.

Can I say that when you serve your family with your hands, when you work with your hands, when you clean and cook, whatever you do with your hands around your home, you’re doing it for the sake of the Gospel. You’re doing it so that your children may know what Jesus looks like, so they may be drawn to Him, so they may want to know Him.

2 Chronicles 15:10 “But you, be strong, and do not let your hands be weak, for your work,” if it’s done as unto the Lord, “will be rewarded!”

It will be.

And all the women said "Amen!"

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

True Woman Tuesday - Week 1

True Woman Tuesday
Welcome to Week 1 of the True Woman study!

The first few weeks of the study are focusing on the Proverbs 31 woman. Isn't this the woman we love to hate? OK, not hate. But, seriously, I've never enjoyed reading this passage. It just seems to point out all my flaws and all the things I'm not doing right as a wife, as a mother, as a woman. This study has already shown me that I've been looking at this the wrong way.

First off, she challenges us to read through this chapter once a day. I haven't done it once per day, but I have read it several times, and I've been reading it in different translations each time, which I've really enjoyed.

Here is the passage in the Contemporary English Version.

Proverbs 31

What King Lemuel's Mother Taught Him
1These are the sayings that King Lemuel of Massa was taught by his mother.
My son Lemuel, you were born in answer to my prayers, so listen carefully.
Don't waste your life chasing after women! This has ruined many kings.
Kings and leaders should not get drunk or even want to drink.
Drinking makes you forget your responsibilities, and you mistreat the poor.
Beer and wine are only for the dying or for those who have lost all hope.
Let them drink and forget how poor and miserable they feel.
But you must defend those who are helpless and have no hope.
Be fair and give justice to the poor and homeless.
In Praise of a Good Wife
10A truly good wife is the most precious treasure a man can find!
11Her husband depends on her, and she never lets him down.
12She is good to him every day of her life,
13and with her own hands she gladly makes clothes.
14She is like a sailing ship that brings food from across the sea.
15She gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and for her servants.
16She knows how to buy land and how to plant a vineyard,
17and she always works hard.
18She knows when to buy or sell, and she stays busy until late at night.
19She spins her own cloth,
20and she helps the poor and the needy.
21Her family has warm clothing, and so she doesn't worry when it snows.
22She does her own sewing, and everything she wears is beautiful.
23Her husband is a well-known and respected leader in the city.
24She makes clothes to sell to the shop owners.
She is strong and graceful, as well as cheerful about the future.
26Her words are sensible, and her advice is thoughtful.
27She takes good care of her family and is never lazy.
28Her children praise her, and with great pride her husband says,
29"There are many good women, but you are the best!"
30Charm can be deceiving, and beauty fades away, but a woman who honors the LORD deserves to be praised.
31Show her respect-- praise her in public for what she has done.

I love that this passage begins with instructions from a mother to her son on what to look for in a wife. We have already started talking to our girls about how important a decision it to decide who you're going to marry, and what kind of person they should look for.

First of all - this passage describes a woman. This particular woman is a wife, and a mother, but first and foremost she is a woman after God's own heart. So, this passage is not just for moms or wives - it's for all women.

From lesson #1...
what does it look like to say, “I’m a believer in Christ; I’m a follower of Christ; I believe the gospel”? How does that affect the way that I view all of life? How does that affect the way that I respond to pressure? How does that affect the way I treat my children or my husband? How does that affect the job that I have or don’t have?

How do I make decisions? What do I give? What do I save? In my financial habits, in my moral habits, in my TV-viewing habits, in my use of my computer, in my friendships, in my use of free time . . . I mean, just diet and exercise! How does my relationship with Christ inform and affect and impact every single area of my life? Because if Christ lives in me (and if I’m a child of God, He does; His Holy Spirit does live in me), then He’s supposed to be in control of every area of my life.

People shouldn’t be seeing and experiencing (insert your own name here). They ought to be seeing and experiencing Jesus Christ

Have I given complete control of every area to God? Have I made Him my Lord or is He "just" my Saviour. Our relationship with Jesus only begins when we invite Him into our hearts as our Saviour. In order for Him to be our Friend, we need to get to know Him better - through His Word, through prayer, and through fellowship with other believers. In order for Him to be our Lord, we need to relinquish control of our lives to Him. This is hard to do sometimes, and truly is an ongoing, daily thing.

Lesson 2 speaks about this passage being like an ideal portrait of womanhood. THIS is what we need to strive for - not the portrait that the world has painted. Not the women in the magazines or on TV. We need to stop society from dictating to us what and who we are to be, what we are to do, whether we are to stay at home or whether we are to go to work or some combination of the two. We need to look to God's word and focus on that ideal, not the world's ideal. And the two will be different. In fact, if they are not different - something is wrong with how we're interpreting the Bible.

Here's another quote that really struck me....

She’s a woman in process. She’s a woman who’s growing. And she’s a woman who, like most of us, often finds herself taking three steps forward and two steps back. You see, spiritual maturity is not so much where you are as the direction in which you’re headed. And here’s a woman who’s in process; she’s in direction.

Now, no woman can be like this ideal Proverbs 31 woman. At least, not on our own....

Anything we do try to do on our own in our striving and efforts is not pleasing or acceptable to God. The only way we can ever please God is through the righteousness of Christ, through His excellency. He’s the only One who has ever measured up to God’s standard of holiness. So here’s the first statement: No woman can be like this woman on her own.

But here’s another statement that sounds like the opposite, and it’s just as true. Any woman who is a child of God can be like this woman. Any woman who is a child of God can be like this woman because Jesus lives in us, and He’s the One who fulfills the righteousness of God. So as we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, you and I can be a virtuous and excellent woman.

Our first priority needs to be pleasing the Lord. Truly, everything else flows from that one decision.

Our next priority needs to be showing the love of God to those around us - our husbands, our children and others.

And really - that sums up the greatest commandments......

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." Matthew 22: 36 - 40

And, a third bottom line is....

Then she’s a woman who has a servant’s heart. That strikes me as I read this passage, that she’s utterly selfless. There are hardly any references to her doing anything for herself. Now our culture would tell us that makes a miserable woman. But I just read that passage. Does that sound like a miserable woman to you?

Here’s a woman who has joy. You see the world has sold us a bill of goods. It has told us that if you look out for yourself then you’ll be happy. But look at all those women out there looking out for themselves. Are they happy? It’s the women who live for God and others, who serve, who are the women who are truly joyful.

Again, this is not something that can be done in our strength. But if we rely on God, and take it one day at a time, one step at a time, sometimes even one moment at a time - He will transform us. He's promised to do so.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

In Lesson #3 we start focusing on verse 10: A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.

A virtuous woman (KJV), a wife of noble character (NIV), a virtuous and capable wife (NLT), a virtuous wife (NKJ), a noble wife (NIRV). The word virtuous is apparently hard to translate from the original Hebrew. It means a woman of strong character, a woman of valour.

Strength of character is what produces the other strengths, everything flows from a strong character rooted in a heart that yearns to please God.

Again, we need to work on becoming this type of woman. And when (not if!) we fail, we need to pick ourselves us, repent, and push on.

One huge admonishment in this lesson was that the way we live greatly impacts the kind of man our husband will become. If we want our husbands to be men of integrity, a men of virtue, noble men, men after God's own heart - we don't need to try to change them, we don't need to tell them how they need to improve, we don't need to nag or beg or chastise. We need to model it. We need to bless our husbands and bring out the best in them. We need to allow God to mold us into His image.

Of course, men are responsible for their own actions, not us. But we most definitely are responsible for our actions. Being this type of influence on our husbands, impacting them in this way - that is a gift for our husbands. Worth more than diamonds or rubies.

your worth is not found in what others think of you. It’s not found in what your husband thinks of you or what others say about you, but your true worth and your true value are found in your inner character and walk with God.

If you have joined this study, please post your thoughts and share them with us so we can learn from each other and support each other. If you're just wanting to join now, you can catch up by reading the links above, and then sign up so you can start receiving the emails and join us next Tuesday for Week 2.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Menu Monday

Monday - taco salad
Tuesday - Community BBQ!

Remaining days....
bbq chicken (didn't have it last week)
homemade pizza (didn't have it last week)
bbq sausage (didn't have it last week either - apparently last week's Menu Monday was not followed at all!)

Once again, if you have a Menu Monday post, or a post about recipes or food in general, please link your post to Mr. Linky!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

True Woman Tuesday

True Woman TuesdayMy cousin Tammi is hosting True Woman Tuesdays starting this coming Tuesday.

From Tammi's blog...

The True Woman site, study, and events were the ministry inspiration of Nancy Leigh DeMoss, who also founded the Revive Our Hearts ministry several years ago, "calling women to Freedom, Fullness, and Fruitfulness in Christ."

The True Woman 30-Day Makeover seeks to help women:
* Discover and embrace God's created design and mission for their lives
* Reflect the beauty and heart of Christ to their world
* Intentionally pass on the baton of Truth to the next generation
* Pray earnestly for an outpouring of God's Spirit in their families, churches, nation, and world
You have the option to read or listen to the broadcasts - whichever suits you best. Even though it's a 30 day makeover, the plan is the stretch it out over 10 weeks. The emails are received daily, so you can read or listen at your leisure, and we'll discuss three studies each week.

To get started, read and sign the True Woman Manifesto and sign up for the 30 Day Makeover.

Here's Tammi's plan for how we're going to do this study together...

For each study, simply jot down what you think are the key points, questions you may have had about what was said, your favourite quotes (remember, each lesson is written out in full as well, so it's easy to find those quotes if you forget to write them down while listening!), any special encouragement you received from any of the lessons, etc. There are no specific study questions, but I think we can have a good discussion even without. We're all different and I know we'll all be convicted, admonished, encouraged, and inspired by different portions.

There will be a Mr. Linky so that it will be easier for each of us to visit each other's posts. Please make an effort to visit the other participants so that we can all be better encouragers for each other.
If you're interested, sign up TODAY in order to get the 1st three emails that we're discussing on Tuesday. Even if you don't sign up today, still do it - you'll have the next week's studies way before next Tuesday, so - no excuses! :)

Are you ready to join us for True Woman Tuesdays? I'd love to see you there/here!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Crazy Eights Hoopla

Well, my cousin Tammi high fived me for the Crazy Eights hoopla. And since she called me by our extended family's nickname for me, little Tammy, I guess I'll do it :)

Eight things I'm looking forward to:
1) warmer weather!
2) going out on a dinner & a movie date with Nathan again sometime soon
3) our 13th anniversary coming up in July
4) going on a girl's night out with my best friend Candace
5) taking the kids to the City 3hrs south in mid-summer
6) taking our older 2 girls out separately for back to school shopping and lunch, just the 2 of us
7) going to Disney World again next April
8) watching my kids grow up (how long term was this allowed to be?:)

Eight things I did yesterday:
1) 30 Day Shred of course!
2) laundry
3) tidied the house a bit
4) went to Candace's for lunch to celebrate Olivia's birthday with her friend Amber
5) phoned Candace after I got back so we could actually get some visiting down after putting Jacob down for a nap :)
6) went to Subway for supper
7) took Emma & Sophia to watch a hockey final game live
8) watched PVR'd version of the Stanley Cup Final after we got back - 1st time in a long time that the team we were cheering for actually won!

Eight things I wish I could do:
1) play the violin
2) have more patience, especially with my children
3) be more consistent, proactive and intentional in my parenting
4) own a grand piano
5) visit our sponsored children
6) be more consistent with keeping my house tidy
7) sew really well
8) practice what I preach - ie doing what I have to do before doing what I want to do, especially when it comes to doing chores

Eight shows I watch:
1) Criminal Minds - favourite show!
2) The Unusuals - cause it's a cop show, but more unusual :)
3) The Office - cause it's hilarious
4) Seinfeld - hilarious classic
5) Amazing Race - I'd LOVE to be on this show (except for the leaving your kids behind part)
6) Survivor - could never be on this show!
7) Apprentice
8) Law & Order - the original

Eight people hi-fived:
1) Sarah - because she's supposed to be posting every day now and might need some ideas
2) Sandy - same as #1 :)
3) Nicole - cause she's from Australia
4) Jessica - because she won my first ever blog giveaway
5) Jobina - because she's one of my newest IRL friends
6) Pam - because now that she's finally graduated she has tons of free time :)
7) Andrea - because my sister Andrea was already hi-fived by Tammi, and I need another Andrea :)
8) anyone else reading this that would like to do it - you've just officially been hi-fived!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Tammy's Shred Challenge

I'm taking it up a notch!

Check it out at my new blog (see button on top left of this blog) or just click here.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Not Me! Monday

Yesterday (Monday) night I did not make a disastrous supper. Nope, not me!

I didn't decide to make breakfast for supper simply because I couldn't come up with anything better and easier on a night I was going out for coffee with some former Bible study girls. (And we certainly did not stop going to Bible Study this year. Nope, not us!).

I definitely didn't run out of Pam cooking spray, since I always check that I have all ingredients on hand before I start cooking. It therefore follows that I did not have to put some EVOO into my Pampered Chef spray bottle instead and it did not get completely clogged rendering it useless. That wouldn't happen to me.

I didn't have to resort to making pancakes after making only three waffles, the third of which did not fall apart as we attempted to get it off the waffle iron. And I definitely didn't feed the broken one to my baby - nope, not me!

And, of course, I didn't start to do a slow burn while this was happening. Oh actually, that was the white waffle sauce. I mean, wasn't the white waffle sauce. Because I certainly wasn't distracted enough by my non-stick nightmare to forget about stirring the white sauce almost constantly so the milk wouldn't burn to the bottom of the pan. Nope, not me! And that pan is definitely not still soaking in hot water and soap in an attempt to soften up the burned mess that used to be the bottom of my pot. Nope, definitely not.

And I definitely did not snap at my husband who asked if I was using a waffle recipe to make pancakes and whether I checked them before taking them off the griddle. I did not let him know that he could finish making supper if he thought he could do a better job - and I definitely did not let him do so. Nope, not me!

I did not snap at my children who did not say whine "I thought we were having waffles?" as they stared at the pancakes on their plates. Nope, not me. After all, I am the epitome of a perfect parent and never lose my cool in front of my children and most certainly do not snap when asked a perfectly reasonable question.

Which means, of course, that I did not have to apologize to my kids before leaving for said coffee date. I did not have to ask for forgiveness and my girls did not have big grins on their faces as they cheerfully forgave their crabby mom.

And I did not relish every minute of that girls nite out - nope, not me!!

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can normally head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week, however she didn't get around to doing her post this week, so you'll have to wait till next week. I just couldn't wait to post this for that long - nope, not me!

Waffle white sauce recipe

As requested, here is the recipe for waffle white sauce. This is excellent served over waffles or pancakes with virtually any type of fruit - I prefer strawberries!

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups milk

Beat the eggs and sugar, stir in vanilla. Turn on heat to medium, add butter and stir till butter melts. In a measuring cup (or the Tupperware Quick Shake - perfect for no lumps for all gravies!!) whisk cornstarch into milk. Whisk into egg mixture. Heat till boiling so it thickens, stirring continuously (or the milk burns onto bottom of pan). Serve warm over waffles and fruit. Hmmm, delicious!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Menu Monday

Here's the list of meals for the week ahead

breakfast for supper - pancakes and strawberries and white sauce
bbq chicken
bbq sausage
bbq hot dogs
chicken quesadillas (I know it's been on my plan a couple weeks in a row now and I still haven't done it!)
homemade pizza (last week I tried 1/3 whole wheat and we just didn't like it, so we're going to stick with white flour)

So - I have benefited from planning out my meals lately. How bout you?

I've decided to do a Menu Monday Linky. You can link your own Menu Monday post (or Menu Tuesday, I don't care which day!), but I'm expanding things a little. You may also link any food related posts for the most part. Your tried and true recipes. A blurb about freezer meals or once a month cooking. Anything food related is welcome on this Linky! I'm hoping this will help me (and you!) come up with new ideas for meals for our families.

So - please, post and link away!

Don't forget - when you add your URL, put the one in that links directly to your "Menu Monday" related post, that way we don't have to search for it when we click on it. Thanks!!

A slow fade - how it starts AND how to stop it

Evil, I believe, is a choice. We embrace or reject it. It comes at us in insidious guises, and we make decisions that push it back or let it edge closer. It never tires and never sleeps; it's there every day - crouching on our doorsteps, hoping for a cozy place to shack up.

This is from a book I read recently called "The Best of Evil" by Eric Wilson.

Similar thoughts to the quote I posted in my recent review of the Children's Life Journal
The truth is, no marriage instantly disintegrates, and no one suddenly falls away from Christ. For that matter, no one dies from an eating disorder after missing a day or two of meals.

It could better be described as a slow decline—gradual spiritual starvation, barely even discernible to the outside observer. The malnourishment of God's sons and daughters happens over time, as they eat less and less. Then, in their weakness, they do something that shocks everyone, finally revealing what was really going on in their spiritual lives.

And the song by Casting Crowns - Slow Fade

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

So often it's all the little things that we let add up to one big bad decision that alters the course of our life, and without fail, the lives of those we say we love.

The small bad decisions we make.

The nondecisions we don't make.

Choosing to remain silent instead of standing up for what's right because we didn't want to stick out from the crowd.

Laughing along.

Spending time on what's good instead of on what's better.

Focusing on wants instead of needs.

Not turning off the TV when we should.

Focusing on outward beauty instead of inward purity, loveliness and strength of character.

Being reactive instead of proactive in regards to our faith and our lives and perhaps most importantly, in teaching our children.

Making excuses for our bad habits.

Following the crowd. Not thinking for ourselves.

Allowing the media to control our mindset and worldview and our time.

Allowing anger to turn into resentment and bitterness.

Ignoring our conscience until it falls silent.

Letting the Bible gather dust on the bookshelf because we're too busy to take time for Someone who we've claimed is priority #1.

Every day little decisions that we think are inconsequential. They're not.

I've seen too many families crumble in this slow fade and it breaks my heart.

I don't know about you - but I want to resist the evil crouching at my doorstep!

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

I don't want a slow fade ending in destruction.

I don't want to suffer a slow spiritual decline.

So I will commit to being in the Word because
daily fresh bread can change all of that. Regularly dining on fresh bread makes for a stalwart, strong, developed army—the only kind of force that will always make a difference in this world.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

We need to. For us. And for our children.

Generational sin is a reality. But nothing is impossible with God. With His help, old patterns CAN be broken. But what's even more amazing - faithfulness is rewarded a thousand-fold!

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Exodus 20:4-6

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands. Deuteronomy 7:9

And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul . Deuteronomy 10:12

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Sunday, 7 June 2009


Check out Jessica's site for a poster giveaway - a poster of your favourite photograph!

Check out Wild Olive Tee's site for another giveaway - credit for 3 tees!

And here's a jewellery giveaway.

Or don't - cause then I have a better chance of winning.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Children's Devotional Review - Children's Life Journal

At our church's women's retreat about a month ago, the speaker (Carol Rischer - phenomenal!) brought along some Life Journals in case anybody wanted to buy some. They have ones for adults, teens and children.

I purchased the Children's Life Journal for Emma. She loves it!

The journal had a reading plan for different ages. Kids age 8 and under read the first (pink) column of Scripture (usually 2 or 3 verse), kids age 9 & 10 read both the first and second (yellow) columns of Scripture (about 6 verses) and kids 11 & 12 read all three columns (purple is #3) and that's around 15 - 20 verses long. And of course, they can read beyond their age group if they want to!

The Journal contains clear instructions on how to use the book.

Step 1: Find the Scripture for the day in the Bible Reading program.
Step 2: Read the passage. They recommend a Children's translation - we have a New Reader's Version, so we use that. It's definitely easier for them to understand.
Step 3: Here is where they use SOAPY.

S - Scripture - the kids can pick one verse (or even part of a verse) that they want to focus on. They write it down in the S section.
O - Observe - here they write what the scripture means
A - Apply - here they write what God has just said to them through His Word, how this verse applies to their life
P - Pray - they write out a prayer to God
Y - Yes! I will be different today because of what I have just learned!

They also write in today's date and give their lesson a title.

Step 4: They go to their Table of Contents and write in the entry by date, Scripture, title and page#. This way they can easily find the lessons they learned by topic.

Step 5: Turn to the Prayer List and write in a prayer and then pray for what they've written.

Emma is really enjoying doing this journal. The first week she did it all by herself every night. Since then, I've been trying to do it with her every night, to make sure she's understanding the scripture correctly. I let her do the apply and pray parts herself (sometimes giving her suggestions if she needs). I love some of the things she's written. Here are a few of her entries...

Scripture - Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Observe - Love God at all times and think about God at all times.
Apply - I'm going to get out there and sing HALLELUJAH to the Lord.
Pray - Dear God Help me to remember that your alweez there to love me and help me. Help me to love you more.

Scripture: 2 Thess 3:3b God will guard you from the evil one.
Observe - God will protect us from Satan (bad old Satan)
Apply - it's a good thing God's around. I'm sticking with Him. He's my bodyguard.
Pray - Dear God, Thank you for protecting us from the evil one. Amen

The teen version is similar, it just has a larger scripture passage in the reading plan.

The adult one is also the same and is available in black, green, blue & teal colours. This scripture reading plan will take you through the entire Bible in one year. It also comes with 12 perforated scripture memory cards.

They have one for new believers as well - the reading plan is streamlined for those just getting familiar with the Bible.

I am still on target with my reading through the bible in one year plan, but I definitely plan on getting this journal for myself for next year. I think journalling at the same time will have huge benefits.

Consider part of the answer to this question on their websites FAQ's list.

Why Is It So Important to Do Devotions Every Day?

What would the people in your church look like if they snacked on meager food morsels during the week and ate only one good meal on the weekend? You know the answer, don't you? You'd find yourself surrounded by emaciated, gaunt people in desperate need of nutrition.

And how would these undernourished believers fare against a demonic adversary? Can you imagine how this army would look? You'd see threadbare skeletons with hollow cheeks and sunken eye-sockets, lined up like phantoms. Weakened by famine, that shriveled militia could barely stand at attention; each would struggle to find the strength to keep his or her bony frame upright.

Could this "army" conquer an opposing force?

No way. No earthly general would send them out to fight.

Well, then, how about the army of the Lord? What of those who gather on Sunday mornings? Are they spiritually nourished to fight the battles ahead? Considering what most members of God's army subsist on—an occasional tidy snack from a devotional book and perhaps an average-sized meal on Sundays to satiate conscience—you'd have to conclude that God's fighting force has some serious training to do.

Have you ever wondered why marriages seemingly crumble overnight, and—out of the blue—Christians leaders fall to luring temptations?

The truth is, no marriage instantly disintegrates, and no one suddenly falls away from Christ. For that matter, no one dies from an eating disorder after missing a day or two of meals.

It could better be described as a slow decline—gradual spiritual starvation, barely even discernible to the outside observer. The malnourishment of God's sons and daughters happens over time, as they eat less and less. Then, in their weakness, they do something that shocks everyone, finally revealing what was really going on in their spiritual lives.

Did you know that more than 80 percent of those who call themselves Christians read their Bibles only once a week? And that's usually on Sundays, at church. They come to church to get their spiritual fill, and then snack on devotional tidbits for the rest of the week (if even that).

I wish for just one day God would change the way our eyes work, so we would see ourselves spiritually. We'd see most American churches filled with skeletal, hollow-eyed saints, looking as if a gust of wind would blow them away like tumbleweeds.

Which is why, when some new trend floods America and pushes our nation further away from God, further away from our spiritual roots, the church is unable to withstand the tide. We simply don't have the strength.

So what's the solution? ....

If we eat only once a week, it's no wonder the church is weak and struggling. But daily fresh bread can change all of that. Regularly dining on fresh bread makes for a stalwart, strong, developed army—the only kind of force that will always make a difference in this world.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Menu Monday

Last week ended up get changed around a LOT, so I'm getting to re-use the ones I thought up for last week that didn't get used.

Today - homemade pizza

bbq chicken
taco salad
bbq sausage burgers

Wednesday is Olivia's 4th birthday so we'll likely be taking her out for dinner.

Friday is Olive Garden!! It's my BIL's 30th birthday and my inlaws always take the family (sans kids!) out for dinner for the 30th.


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