Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Newest Sox Fan

This little lady, who was born last Thursday at Boston's Franklin Park Zoo, was named on Monday, one day after the Boston Red Sox World Series victory. She will officially be known as "Sox" in honor of her home team. At birth, "Sox" weighed 154 pounds and measured 6 feet 2 inches tall. Isn't she a darling? If you like kids and babies (and who doesn't?) go to this photo gallary and see some other really cute little Red Sox fans.

I would like to take this opportunity to humbly admit to my several friends who were on the side of the winners that they do indeed have the better team. I have a feeling that one fan in particular is going to try to make my life miserable over this whole thing, but he will not succeed. Congratulations to Boston, who I understand also has quite a few Christians on the roster, as do the Rockies. I admit to that also. (Sorry, inside joke.)

Maybe next year at least one of the teams will win that I root for in the playoffs. My goodness, this was a bad post season for me. Well, there goes October--I was so hopeful when it started.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Halloween Note

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God... I Corinthians 10:31-32

Just a few years ago when I was a young girl, Halloween was a big holiday in the small town I grew up in. We had a big parade down the main street with all kinds of costumes abounding. Adults took part in it too. Late in the evening, after the parade was over and kids were in the bed, it was a big thing to have some silent masked person come to your home wherein an extended "guessing game"took place. You would actually let this "unknown" person into your house! I have to admit that this holiday was a good deal of fun for me and putting together a costume to wear required a good bit of creativity--it was before the factory made ones were as readily available as they are today. Normally we would use items from around the house.

Well, those days are a thing of the past. After becoming a Christian and thinking about the true nature of this day, especially now, my husband and I made the decision that we could no longer celebrate it with a clear conscience. Our oldest daughter was four then, so it has been her lot and that of her sister not to have this day be one that was on our yearly list of celebrations. Others I knew made a different decision and I'm not here to discuss the controversy over whether we should or should not observe this day. Like everything else, it's something we should pray about and make sure that we want to follow the will of the Lord as we pray.

But I am here to make a suggestion if I could. It may or may not be useful for someone, but I thought I'd tell you about something we did in the early years of our abstention. There were lots of children in the neighborhood then, and we had a general friendliness with the people on our street and those bordering us in the back. The gospel can be an offense to the unsaved in and of itself, yet we didn't want to be offensive. So, here's what we did: A lady we knew offered pretty pencils to children who would come back on Thanksgiving (which they never did), and we decided to expand on that idea. When our many trick or treaters came to the door, we would tell them as nicely as we could that this was the one holiday that we didn't celebrate, but if they would return on Thanksgiving, we would give them a little gift for that holiday. Of course, they didn't come for their gifts, but on Thanksgiving morning, we would go to the homes of the ones whom we knew well, and take little gift cello bags of novelty toys, a pencil or bookmark, and a lollipop. A simple gospel tract with a Thanksgiving theme would be included. We'd give the gift(s) to a parent, and I tell you, each and every time there was a positive response. We felt we had made a stand for our convictions, but were still leaving the door open to share the gospel with our neighbors.

I don't know what God ever did with all of that, but for us, we firmly felt that we were serving Him. There are very few children around our neighborhood these days, at least none that we know well. I think most of the people in our area only take their children to parties or to the homes of friends. So we don't do it anymore.

I hope some of you may be able to use this idea in your situation, or think of some other way to seize the opportunity to witness for Christ, without taking part. If you have any ideas, let others know with a comment. For our family, even if we didn't take our kids out and only gave out tracts when others came to the door, we still felt that we would be taking part in it so we took this route instead. Hope this helps someone who is struggling over the whole matter. And, of course, I'm not suggesting that there's anything wrong with doing nothing at all, to the glory of God. Many folks are most comfortable with that.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Standing in the Gap

Our friend Sparrow has done it again. You see, she has this gift which enables her to create beautiful banners and images. This time she has used her gift on behalf of the persecuted church, by creating the lovely image displayed above. The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is fast approaching and we're recruiting prayer warriers and bloggers who'll help make this known to others. Won't you help? The Day of Prayer is set for November 11th and our persecuted brothers and sisters surely would appreciate it if there were a multitude of saints storming the gates of heaven on that day. You could make a post about it and/or you could get a banner to put on your sidebar. Please skip over to Sparrow's site for more details and to get the banner.

I'll not post a hymn this week, because I want this post to stay on top for several days. I did run across a hymn that is called "Home of the Soul" recently. I have never heard it sung, but I was touched by the words of the final stanza. Some of our persecuted brethren have already been martyred; some are imprisoned; others live in fear in their homes. These words are for them and for us:

O how sweet it will be in that beautiful land,
So free from all sorrow and pain,
With songs on our lips and with harps in our hands,,
To meet one another again.
~Ellen H. Gates

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Everything But the Kitchen Sink!

Everything has been working in our house this week--except the kitchen sink. We've had a TERRIBLE jammo deep in the pipes and the sink has been unusable. We couldn't use the washing machine either because when the water would spin out, it would go all over the kitchen floor! That's exactly what happened to me Monday night when I was making my corn muffins! What a mess! But now I'm happy because it's fixed!! My husband and his nephew got the the pipes unplugged, during which time pipes broke, etc. etc., but as of now my handyman hubby has done whatever and now I can use the sink again!!! (My husband's not a plumber, carpenter, mechanic, or electrician by the way, but he will hang in there with any of these things here in our own home until he gets it. Usually, he does, even though I often worry it will never get done. And often it happens after much frustration on both our parts, I must admit.)

But do you know what? This has been a blessing. During the past forty-eight hours my thoughts have gone to the people in California who have no homes left at all, let alone a kitchen sink. Then I turned my thoughts to so many people in all parts of the world who have never had running water. And now that I can use the sink and washing machine again, I ponder afresh how merciful God has been to us to give us what we do have, we being no more deserving than those who don't. So, I thank the Lord for having taken away my sink for a couple of days to help remind me how nice it is to have it. At least tonight, I won't take it for granted.

Now we're all a bit weary, but hope to relax this evening with the first World Series Game. Rooting for the Rockies!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Unstoppable Force

News reports are mind boggling as we read about the fires in Southern California. Fed by intense winds, these fires are chasing people from their homes at a rate that has never been seen in the state at any prior time. I think almost a million people so far. There is so much to pray for these days, isn't there? I have no close family in California, but request prayer for the people there. I have a very good bloggy friend at my other blog named Mishel who is very much impacted. Her husband is a firefighter and has been off fighting the fires in one area and their daughter Ashleigh is expecting a baby any time now. They are keeping us all on the edge of our seats in their family. Please pray for them and for the families of other bloggers who I know of who are out there too. Don't know if any have lost their homes yet.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Better Late Than Never

My son-in-law doesn't have a blog, but he sure does read ours!! In fact, we get teased a lot by him about it. He called me this evening to tell me they're adopting a new child, named "www." Even though he gets on our case (his wife, me and his sister-in-law) about our blogging, I know he enjoys reading what we've got to say.

Well, he had a birthday today and Mom forgot to give him his due here. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. S! The Lord bless and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you. We love you! If you want to read the cute little poem and picture his wife posted for him, visit over there.

Note: This is not a picture of my son-in-law, but a picture of men who are in his line of work. (He's a land surveyor, working in an engineering firm's office.)

Now It's Nigeria

He seems like a nice young man as we look at his picture here. Just 24 years old and a Sunday school teacher. The breaking news today at the Persecution blog is that he can be added to the list of Christian martyrs for this year. And it wasn't just him--there was another one too. They have been in Turkey, Pakistan, India, Sudan, Afghanistan, and many other places. Now it's Nigeria. Just thought you might want to go and read about it here. Some people skim over posts like this one; it's not pleasant to think about these things. Unfortunately, though, these are signs of the times and I think the Lord wants us to be aware and to beware.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Come Thou Almighty King

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14

We worship a triune God. The Trinity is a difficult doctrine to understand, but how can we understand an infinite God with our finite minds? Following are three important questions from the Catechism for Young Children, which we use in our family. (We sell this little booklet at our home business--see the information on the sidebar.)

Q. 6. Are there more gods than one?
A. There is only one God.

Q. 7. In how many persons does this one God exist?
A. In three persons.

Q. 8. What are they?
A. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. [Holy Spirit]

How can we explain such a thing? Our God is one, but yet at the same time He is three. It's a mystery. We can't explain it or rationalize it. It "transcends human reason and fleshly wisdom" as one person put it. But we'll humbly believe it and teach our children this doctrine because it's true. It's clearly taught in God's Word and we accept it by faith. So this week, let's worship our triune God through the words of this beautiful hymn:

Come, thou Almighty King,
Help us thy name to sing,
Help us to praise:
Father, all glorious,
O'er all victorious,
Come, and reign over us,
Ancient of days.

Come, thou Incarnate Word,
Gird on thy mighty sword,
Our prayer attend:
Come and thy people bless,
And give thy Word success;
Spirit of holiness,
On us descend.

Come, Holy Comforter,
Thy sacred witness bear
In this glad hour:
Thou who almighty art,
Now rule in every heart,
And ne'er from us depart,
Spirit of power.

To the great One in Three
Eternal praises be,
Hence evermore.
His sovereign majesty
May we in glory see,
And to eternity
Love and adore.

It's a wonderful sound when this hymn is sung by a church full of worshiping saints who don't hesitate to lift their voices high in praise to their Lord and King. That when it ministers most to me. The tune is here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What shall I call this?

I think maybe the Globetrotters would like to sign him up. Got a title for this one? I really can't think of one. As you've probably noticed, sometimes I have trouble with titles and names. He's a parrot by the way. This occurrence took place in China, which was having a week long National Day holiday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Who Shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

For I am persauded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:35-39

Like most Christians, I have certain passages of Scripture that are particular favorites. But if I had to single out one, this would be it. This is the passage I love most in all of the Word of God. I just felt constrained to post it today. My husband came home from a preaching service last night and he made my heart burn inside me. He had been so gripped by the sermon that he had just heard that he could barely contain himself as he was trying to relate it to me. You may remember the two missionaries whom we knew who were murdered several weeks ago in the country they were serving in. Well, the man who preached the sermon last night was a close friend of theirs and had seen them just hours before their death. His sermon was from this text. You can just imagine. Apparently, when Pastor D. finished preaching, nobody got up. Nobody said ANYTHING. Only the sound of people blowing their noses was heard. Finally, another pastor got up and said that probably the best thing for everybody to do was not to engage in idle chatter, but to go home and pray with their families. My goodness. I wish I could have been there to hear it too.

Guess what Pastor D. pressed hard on the people's hearts? THE PERSECUTED CHURCH. THE PERSECUTED CHURCH. Now I know I wish I'd been there. Folks, we have no idea what some of our brethren are going through because of their love for Christ. People are actually WILLING to suffer for Him. And they ARE suffering for Him. That's because like the Apostle Paul, these saints are PERSUADED. If we can't suffer--at least not yet--let's remember our commitment to prayer. Let's have them in our hearts, so we can REALLY pray.

I missed going to our church's ladies Bible study today, so I didn't get to pray with my sisters about some of the needs in the Voice of the Martyrs magazine, which we do monthly. (You might want to think about doing that in your ladies study.) Also, I'd like to suggest that you make a note on your busy church calendar about the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. This is no time to split hairs over some of the many petty arguments we have in the Church here in America. Let's get on our knees and pray for our brethren together.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Onward, Christian Soldiers

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 2:3

I could tell I wasn't feeling very inspired today, so I decided I would choose for my Saturday hymn whichever one happened to be today's devotional in my Kenneth Osbeck book. This is such a helpful devotional for anyone who likes hymns as much as I do. It's entitled Amazing Grace: 366 Hymn Stories for Personal Devotions. It's a nice way to go through the year--reading the stories about the authors and the writing of many of our familiar hymns. I've gone through it a couple of times and now I use it as a reference.

So, you already know the title of the hymn and you can see I can't seem to get away from this soldier/warfare theme. That post I made on "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?" back in September probably impacted me more than it did anyone else who may have read it. I guess it was mostly because of the recent killings of the two missionaries I knew, but also because of what I keep reading in the news and at the Persecution Blog. It would be much easier if we didn't know about what's going on with Christians around the world, but I think our Lord doesn't want us to "bury our heads in the sand," as my husband often says about things.

This hymnwriter is not particularly well known, but what an offering he has made to the Church! His name was Sabine Baring-Gould, a Church of England minister. Here is his account of the writing of this hymn:

"It was written in a very simple fashion, without thought of publication. Whitmonday is a great day for school festivals in Yorkshire, and one Whitmonday it was arranged that our school should join forces with that of a neighboring village. I wanted the children to sing while marching from one village to the other, but couldn't think of anything quite suitable, so I sat up at night resolved to write something myself. "Onward, Christian Soldiers" was the result. It was written in great haste, likely in less than 15 minutes."

It was written for children! You know how much I love hymns which were written for the young, don't you? Have you ever tried singing these familiar words while marching around your house wih your little ones in the rear, perhaps even taking turns as leader? The front runner can wave the Christian flag as the marchers weave through the rooms. Look at what wonderful truths their young minds will be assimilating as they go! They'll be learning that Christ is the real leader against a real foe, that there is a real battle going on, and that the Church is a mighty army. Do you want your children to know these things? Well, let this song help you to teach them!

Onward, Christian soldiers,
Marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus
Going on before:
Christ the royal Master
Leads against the foe;
Forward into battle,
See, his banners go.

The rest of the lyrics and the tune are here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Nanna's Love

Thanks to my friend Sparrow for this very sweet surprise gift!!! I had to show it to everybody!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Young Fan

Don't you think that it's a shame that they put a Philadelphia Eagles shirt on my poor unsuspecting granddaughter? This was the doing of her father, who purchased the shirt at an Eagles training camp earlier this year. There's nothing I can do about it, since her Nanna is the only New York Giants fan in the family. Her PopPop, a devoted Eagles fan, of course would think it's great, but I think she'd look much better in a Giants navy and white shirt. Well, I must admit she did look cute on Saturday when we went out, and her pink bow on her head and her pink flowers on her shoes did make her look very girly.

My first week in October did not go quite as well as I'd hoped when I made my post on last Monday. The Phillies were eliminated, the Yankees lost their first two games (but came back to win one last night, thankfully), the weather has been hot and humid, and the mosquitoes are still abundant. But how important is all this anyway, right? We enjoy sports in our family, but no matter what the outcome, we were able to go to church yesterday and worship our God. This will never be affected by who wins any baseball or football game.

The blessing of knowing Christ and what He's done for us can never be taken from us by any of life's circumstances, be they a small matter such as sports or one of life's many trials. That's why I encourage all of us who know Him to not let anything hinder us from going to worship each Sunday. In the midst of all that life brings, we are surely going to hear something that will point us heavenward. The morning message yesterday was entitled "Up to Jerusalem", and I wrote a few of my thoughts on this on my other blog, if you'd like to go there to read it.

So, I intend to keep rejoicing in the Lord, no matter who wins or loses in sports and no matter what the weather is like. AND even while I'm still enduring my mosquito bites!

Friday, October 05, 2007

About Awards and a Hymn

But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

The World Book Dictionary in our home gives this definition for the word "award": "Something given as a reward, payment, or the like, after careful consideration; prize." I am very thankful to Barbara of Tidbits and Treasures for kindly giving me the above Excellence in Discipleship award, which originated at Dan King's Management by God blog where you can learn more about it.

Awards are one of those things in life that are blessings. We all like to receive them; they are good things. And I would venture to say that we all like to give them as well, because we like to give good things to others. At least as Christians, we should. But the last time I received one of these good things, I struggled. I wrote a post about it on July 30th, which expressed my heart about the whole matter.

This current award has to do with being a disciple of Christ. It was originally given to five recipients who "share the message in their own creative ways." Again, as before, I know so many bloggers who are sharing the message in innumerable creative ways: some are sharing the message by writing beautiful poetry; some by posting hymns and Scriptures; some tell interesting stories and apply them to the things of God; some are telling about happenings in their families, making application to biblical truth; some are writing fantastic devotionals; some are honoring God in the midst of trials; some are even using photography to honor the Creator; and on and on. So, I'm chicken. I don't want to pick out just five of these folks and I do NOT want to name names, because sure as anything, I'll leave out somebody that I'll kick myself for not mentioning.

One of the nice things about this is that eventually most folks will be picked for a particular award as it circulates, and usually it does finally reach most of the deserving blogs, but I can't bring myself to pick out just a few. So, my apologies to Barb and to Dan for not passing this on properly. I'm really thankful for it, and again, I think it's a good thing.

And our real reward is in heaven, right? Our Savior is the One who deserves all the glory and honor! All praise to Him! Hallelujah! I think I'll use this opportunity to post my Saturday hymn a day early and the second stanza of this one seems just right. For the rest of the stanzas of "Look, Ye Saints, the Sight is Glorious" and the tune, go here.

Crown the Saviour, angels, crown him;
Rich the tropies Jesus brings;
In the seat of pow'r enthrone him,
While the valt of heaven rings:
Crown him! crown him!
Crown the Saviour King of Kings.
~Thomas Kelly

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It's Not Fair!

This is an addendum to my last post. I and quite a few other people are very agitated with Major League Baseball (MLB) right now. Did you know that the playoffs are not being telecast on regular TV but only on paid TV, such as cable or satellite or by whatever other name it may be called? Once again, MLB has shown itself to be more concerned about making big bucks than it is about fans or about the sport itself, which once could accurately be called America's favorite pastime. It can't be called that anymore. Through the years, more and more people have gotten tired of what has become of professional sports with the high priced superstars and massive stadiums, and baseball is taking the biggest slide in that area. Well, this TV thing is not going to help.

Since we are folks that do not have paid TV, we'll be listening on the radio. But then I thought about it: Do you know what? This is a hidden blessing. This will take me back to the happy days of my youth. I grew up in a household where sports were a big deal. My mom and I, don't ask me why, were the only Yankees fans in a household and in a neighborhood of Dodgers enthusiasts and it was a lot of fun! But those memories include a roomful of people crowded around the RADIO to listen to every pitch with intense excitement. If you ventured out to go to the corner store, gas station, neighbor's house, etc. the same sound of the radio tuned into the World Series could be heard. So listening to the game today and in the days to come will be reminiscent of my childhood. AND it will also be better because I can continue on with my dinner preparations and other household chores without being tempted to park myself in front of that TV monster. And I don't have to look at any commercials!!!! If I had time, I could even do some needlework without having to look up!

So, as is true of all of life, oftentimes the thing we think of as being unfair, is just another of God's blessings. In my Bright Gems book I have a chapter called "Not Complaining" and one of the devotionals in that chapter has the same title as this post. I need to preach the same message to myself as I do to the children: We should always trust the Lord to do what is best for us, even though sometimes it will not seem to be fair. And I must say that includes whatever happens in our lives, including matters as unimportant as baseball.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Welcome, October!

Yay, it here! My favorite month of my favorite season. Crisp cool weather, rich warm colors on the trees and elsewhere, mosquitoes begone (they love me), our bird feeding operation returning full force, and the BASEBALL PLAYOFFS!

And in case you didn't hear and in the event that you care, THE PHILLIES ARE IN THE PLAYOFFS! There is a lot of celebration going on in my neck of the woods since this is quite an unusual occurrence. Just to set the record straight, I am a long standing Yankees fan (Giants in football), but I always root for the Phillies unless they're playing the Yankees, which never happens because usually the Phillies never make it far enough to play the Yankees. As I'm sure EVERYONE knows, The New York Yankees have won more World Series than any other team with a whopping 26 and they've been in the World Series 39 times! Ahem. You must admit that's impressive. But hurray for the Phillies, my next favorite team!!! They took advantage of a tremendous collapse by the Mets (my condolences to the Mets fans) and now they're in! Go Phillies! To help explain better why I'm also a Phillies fan, read this post from earlier this year. Oh, and I wonder what the Phillie Phanatic is doing right now. I heard he fainted behind home base this past Thursday when the Phils went into a tie for first place.

Oh, and by the way, the Yankees are in the playoffs too--again. Let's see if either of my two teams make it through the first round and if by some miracle they end up facing each other, I know my heart will be torn!

Have a good week folks. Talk to you soon. Now off to homeschooling and housework wearing my red and white in celebration! (I guess tomorrow I better wear the old navy and white.)