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Faith

Faith

we dare not be sinners

“He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“At Sunday worship, as in every dimension of our existence, many of us pretend to believe we are sinners. Consequently, all we can do is pretend to believe we have been forgiven. As a result, our whole spiritual life is pseudo-repentance and pseudo-bliss.

When will we acknowledge that we need not and cannot buy GOd’s favour? When we will acknowledge that we don’t have it all together and happily accept the gift of grace? WHen will we grasp the thrilling truth of Paul, “Someone is reckoned as upright not by practising the Law but by faith in Jesus Christ” (Galatians 2:16)?

The deadening spirit of hypocrisy lives on in prelates and politicians who want to look good but not be good; it lives on in people who prefer to surrender control of their souls to rules rather than run the risk of living in union with Jesus.”
-Brennan Manning

Reading Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel and alternating between feeling pierced through by my own religiosity and then elated by the wonder of GRACE!

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Faith, Family

real manhood

“The thing is: Real Manhood means you hallow womanhood. A woman isn’t a toy to amuse your lusts, a thing to aggrandize your ego, a trophy to adorn your manhood. A woman is of your rib, who birthed your rib, who cupped your rib, who is meant to be gently cherished at your rib, at your side.

The culture of boys will be boys — means girls will be garbage and you were made for more than this, Son. Your Dad and I believe boys will be godly and boys will be honoring and boys will be humble.”

-Ann Voskamp {here}

Pondering this afternoon the responsibility it is to raise a real man. God be with us.

Faith

grace for today

Today I’m having one of those defeated sort of days… nothing is going wrong externally, but internally things are a bit of a mess.  I’m sure you too know this kind of day.

 

So anyway, it seems like exactly the right time to take part in the Joy Dare and count a few gifts.  Bad day or not, they still abound.

 

3 Gifts Found in Silence:

1.) Sleep (so restorative)

2.)  Space (to breathe, to think, to listen)

3.)  Perspective

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Faith, Family

Memorization

This was the response I got from JUno today when I got out some of her school work. She knows she isn’t allowed to say no to me, but apparently I neglected to specify that she could not spell it at me either. Such a cheeky bug!

Justus’ school curriculum includes poetry memorization, and as we were working on some giant poems, Justus kept surprising me how fast he would learn them! The curriculum had me reading him the poem a couple times a day- that’s it, then later he could attempt it himself, and after 3-4 days he could say it on his own- nearly word perfect.

We had been working on memorizing scripture verses, one a week, on and off for a long time. Retention and comprehension wasn’t always perfect though, so when I saw his abilities with the poems I decided to give it a try with scripture.

Now instead of one verse a week, we are memorizing one larger chunk a month. While they work on handwriting (key for Miss Distraction, she needs mindless work to keep her hands busy while her brain listens), I read the verses three times in a row. That’s it! I just read it, three times in a row, each morning, probably 4 days a week. By week 2 they had it fully memorized, but we kept at it for the rest of the month just to be sure.

Our first chapter was Psalm 23:

Justus is a memorizing rock star!

Juno knows it as well, but if she recited it three times in a row she would always leave out different parts. She’s a slippery one to nail down on anything when you ask her straight up for some kind of response. If I showed her a picture of a number 4, she’d say it was a 7, but later when she saw it in say a number line, she could totally point to the 4 and know it was a 4. She’s tricky like that. Makes schooling super fun. lol

Anyway, we had about 6 different takes, all with varying portions left out, but mostly I kept ruining them because I was mouthing the words. It’s SOOOO hard not to! Like feeding a baby without opening your own mouth for each bite you offer. :) Juno is fiercely independent and needs no help thank you very much!!!

We settled on this take, even though she left a couple parts out.

I’m still trying to choose this months portion, I started with Isaiah 40:28-31, but not sure if that’s the right one.

Faith

the sheer bounty of a gracious God

“For grace proclaims the awesome truth that all is gift.  All that is good is ours, not by right, but by the sheer bounty of a gracious God.  While there is much we may have earned– our degree, our salary, our home and garden and a good night’s sleep–all this is possible only because we have been given so much; life itself, eyes to see and hands to touch, a mind to shape ideas, and a heart to beat with love.  We have been given God in our souls and Christ in our flesh.  We have the power to believe where others deny, to hope where others despair, to love where others hurt.  This and so much more is sheer gift; it is not reward for our faithfulness, our generous disposition, or our heroic life of prayer.  Even our fidelity is a gift.  “If we but turn to God”, said Augustine, “that itself is a gift of God.”  My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”

-Brennan Manning

Faith

Whom shall I fear?

The new Chris Tomlin cd Burning Lights is out and this was a popular one from that album they were singing at the youth retreat this weekend. I like it because it reminds me of one of my favourite verses, Psalm 139:5- “You have enclosed me behind and before and laid your hand upon me”.

I trust in You, Lord.

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Faith, Family

without complaining

Jon and I have started watching the Growing Kids God’s Way series together, and the very first session was exactly as they said- like drinking from a fire hose!

One of the biggest areas we are currently working on/struggling with is trying to train our kids to obey without complaining or arguing. This is obviously more of a reflection on us than it is on the kids, because we should have already been on it. No worries, we are now. And in tonight’s DVD, they mentioned this subject while talking about explaining to our children the moral reason why they should obey or behave in certain ways. In this scenario Anne Marie quoted Philippians 2:14a- “Do all things without grumbling or questioning”, followed up VERY IMPORTANTLY with the reason why: “that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

Aha.

Good for me to remember the reason why I am training them to obey without complaining or arguing, so that I do not lose heart. And great for me to train the positive into my children. When we obey without complaining or grumbling we are pure and shine as lights in the world. I’ve been drilling the negative- DON’T ARGUE with mom, but this gives me a whole new discussion and training to have with them, and something for their little hearts to hold on to- some motivation and understanding- the moral reason why.

Oh I love this course!

PS- the above photo is a fake grumpy face! lol Jon challenged me that I was posting something on the negative side in regards to the kids almost immediately after saying I wasn’t going to, which I actually don’t think I am in this case- but anyway, just thought I should mention the face is a fake! :)

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Faith, Life

anyone can do his work, however hard

Robert Louis Stevenson,

“Anyone can carry his burden, however heavy, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all that life really means.”

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Faith

shock my boots off

“He didn’t make me an introvert because He wanted me to stay inside. He made me an introvert so He could shock my boots off by the way He’d never stop chauffeuring me to all the crazy places He needed me to go.”

from Flower Patch FarmGirl

I’ve read a lot on introverts lately- and began wondering if we sometimes use it as an excuse. Made uniquely, but all called to GO.

Faith, Life

urgent prayer request

Please follow Lisa’s blog for updates!

Somewhere around 18 weeks ago, I stood on my back deck crying on the phone with one of my dearest friends as we celebrated and shared together in the shock and wonder that a new life was growing inside her. I remember us both agreeing that this sweet surprise was obviously God’s plan, and that He knew every one of her days and her purpose before we even knew of her existence.

And today, that same dear friend and I cried together on the phone repeating those words… that God had planned this little girl’s life, that her body was crafted by Him, without mistake, and that each of her days were planned and numbered before any came to be.

3 weeks ago Lisa Colley texted me following her 20 week ultrasound to tell me that she had fallen madly in love with her baby GIRL! The very next day the midwife contacted her to say they had seen something during that ultrasound, an abnormality with the baby’s heart, and could she please schedule a fetal echo-cardiogram. She did, and we began praying. One special friend even committed to fast a day each week in prayer for this new life.

Yesterday morning while I sat in the hospital waiting for my own little girl who was in surgery (for tonsils and adenoids), I received a text saying they had finished the ultrasound and were waiting for the results, but that the abnormality (a narrow valve coming off a ventricle) was definitely apparent- even to her and Jason (her husband). They were currently waiting to meet with the doctor to hear what the results meant.

It’s weird, as pessimistic as we all can be sometimes, and how easy it is to google the worst case scenario, you still somehow expect to never hear it. The worst case scenario is always for someone else. I know I expected to hear that upon closer inspection- the baby’s heart looked just fine! Or perhaps that they’d need to closely watch to make sure she would outgrow it, etc etc. But even though this is still kind of beyond comprehension, they heard instead, “let me show you a picture of a normal heart, and now let me show you what your little girl’s heart looks like…”

Critical Aortic Stenois.
In Lisa’s words,
“Our baby has Critical Aortic Stenois which means
that the valve coming off her left ventricle is way too narrow, and at birth
would not be able to allow enough oxygen-rich blood to pass through to
sustain her life.

So she will need some serious medical intervention, either now while she is
still in the womb, or immediately after she is born. There is also a
possibility her heart could fail her now or at anytime, so as you can
imagine Jason and I are feeling like we have been hit by a Mac truck.”

And yet despite this, Lisa and Jason are already looking for and sharing evidences of God’s grace. Acceptance of God’s control and His plan. A supernatural peace in knowing that all things are filtered through God’s hand and the comfort of His presence. I’m kind of totally in awe. So encouraged by them. And so thankful for them, their testimony and faith and God’s great grace.

Tomorrow morning at 8am they will meet with a surgeon in Toronto who will hopefully find Lisa and their baby girl to be a good candidate for surgery while she is still in the womb. If so, this surgery could be done as early as friday or saturday. The surgery is experimental and fairly new in Toronto, but holds the best chances for their daughter’s heart to grow healthy instead of to continue to damage itself further each day.

I’ll include an email below that explains a bit better (my brain is currently struggling to function after a night of little sleep with my little tonsillectomy patient), but I wanted to ask of anyone who reads this- to please please pray. And also, if you know Lisa and Jay and have their email address, please let them know you are praying. And if you want their address, email me and I will forward it to you. Let’s cover the Colley family over and over with our love and support and prayers.

Here’s the email sent out after one of our pastors met with them…

Hey All,

Just wanted to give you an update on Jason and Lisa Colley. I just got back from a pastoral visit at their house and its been a rough day for them – asking that you’d pray for them, and that we get them into our prayer channels. What a joy to pray with them today.

They were told today by the Pediatric Specialist at the Hospital that their baby girl (due date December 15) has pretty significant heart problems in the left ventricle. I won’t go into the details they were telling me about whats not working, but suffice it to say that its as serious as serious gets in the world of cardiac issues. What they are dealing with as of today from the medical community is that the baby could die at any time now up until the estimated delivery date; and that even if she makes it, she would be rushed into urgent heart surgery right away for a procedure that won’t actually fix it…more of a temporary intervention that could prolong the years and hopefully set her up for a heart transplant mid life. Its really quite overwhelming news to get. They have to make some decisions about seeing a specialist in Toronto who is working on an experimental procedure that would be done in the womb soon, but only has a 25% success rate.

Praise God that we have hope in Jesus Christ who has a sovereign plan for this girl, a plan that won’t be thwarted for any reason; a High Priest (Hebrews 4:14ff) who has called us to pray boldly and come to his Throne for mercy and grace in our time of need and who has called us to pray persistently (Luke 18:off). I am reminded of the fact that as parents we are stewards of these children for the Lord’s glory. So, just wanted you all aware so we can be an encouragement to them and be praying alongside them. Id encourage any of you to reach out to them over the next few weeks as the waiting gets hard.

Leo

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written
in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:13-16