Monday, February 28, 2011

What are you reading?

Right now, I'm reading Jon Acuff's new book, Gazelles, Baby Steps, and 37 other things Dave Ramsey taught me about money. It's funny! It's a light-hearted book to have sitting around to read occasionally, especially if you've listened to any of Dave Ramsey's seminars. I picked it up because I loved Acuff's first book, Stuff Christians Like, and I read his blog almost daily.

I'm also reading Growing Up Christian by Karl Graustein. It's been a good read so far. I think it will be helpful to read with my kids when they're teenagers. It's about making your faith real and not just living on your parent's faith.

I'm not reading any adult fiction right now, but I just bought The Last Block in Harlem by Christopher Herz after I asked on Twitter what I should read next. It's not a book I'd ordinarily pick up, but I think it will be good for me. I will probably start this tonight. I'll let you know what I think.

With the kids, we are reading Caddie Woodlawn. So far so good! We're reading it at night before bed. My girls love the adventurous spirit of Caddie. They wish they could live on a prairie. I would miss the plumbing. And electricity. And Facebook. And hot showers.

Then for school, we're starting Mr. Revere and I this week. I hope it's as entertaining as it looks. So far, the historical fiction books we've been reading have been very fun to read.

So, what are you reading?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Toliver's Loaf of Bread - minus the snuff box

I love reading. I hate baking. But, in honor of finishing the book Toliver's Secret, the kids and I baked 2 loafs of white bread. I used this recipe.

The dough was so sticky and gooey it was impossible to kneed. I was getting very frustrated until the girls and I started laughing about it. We looked like monsters with slimy hands. I would have taken a picture, but my hands would have stuck to the camera.

We finally got the risen dough into the loaf pans, and the finished product looked beautiful. It tasted ok, but it was chewy and heavy. I wouldn't want to make it again.

So, I need a little help here. What are the secrets to perfect bread? Did I add too much extra flour? If so, then how in the world was I supposed to kneed that sticky, pasty substance? I should add that I don't have a bread maker or fancy mixer.

On a good note, we loved the book. I was almost in tears of relief and excitement at the end myself!

We are learning American History this year by reading literature, with a combination of Beautiful Feet, Truth Quest, and Sonlight suggestions. It has been so much fun! In fact, we are enjoying the Revolutionary War so much and have so many good books to choose from, we might just stay here the rest of the school year.

Have you read anything inspiring lately? And... how do I fix the bread?


In the mood for an inspirational historical fiction book? Check our Becky's new novel Surrender.

Want a creative way to teach the 23rd Psalm to your children? Becky wrote a devotional titled Duncan's Journey that is now available!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Online Home School Expo & Free Stuff!

 Have you heard about the Online Homeschool Expo? I just found out and registered right away. The amount of stuff you get just by signing up is well-worth the $29 ticket, plus you get to listen live and download the MP3's of all the speakers.

I downloaded my freebies today. I'm really excited to start reading them! Especially the one on juggling a home-based business while home schooling.

HomeWork: Juggling Home, Work, and School Without Losing

You also receive a year's membership to the HLA, which is something I've been planning to join but haven't gotten around to.

I hope to "see" you there!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

All I Have Is Christ!

Welcome to Theology Tuesday, where we discuss essays that I'm writing for a NANC Counseling exam.  Today I'll begin a three part series in Soteriology. If you're like me, you might be scratching your head at that word. I'll do the dictionary work for you: It's the study of the doctrine of our Salvation.

Is Theology as dry and dusty as an old moth-ball-ridden library? Well, it can be, I guess, but studying this over the three-weeks time left me dancing... and there's no room for dust when you're kicking up your heals to this!

(A friend said these theology posts are too long... but hang in there! It's worth it!)

So... to begin!  

Part one:  “Justification by faith alone.”  Discuss the meaning of this phrase.

First, I’ll define a few important terms. Justification means “to declare righteous.”  What does that mean?  To be righteous means “morally upright, without guilt or sin.”  We know that none of us are righteous. We all have sinned and have the guilt associated with that. Romans 3:23 says that everyone has sinned, and Romans 6:23 says that the wages, or punishment, for our sins is death. So how are we, as guilty sinners, ever to become righteous?

The answer is that we can’t become righteous by ourselves. The Bible describes us as being dead in our sins. (Ephesians 2:5). A dead man cannot bring himself back to life again, just as a smashed spider cannot wake himself up and begin to crawl again. We need something outside of ourselves to change us and breathe life into us again.    

No amount of good works or noble actions can erase the bad mistakes. They are constantly accumulating in our life. The good does not out-weigh the bad. In fact, the good things we do only condemn us more, because in doing them, we acknowledge that there is a right and wrong way to live, and so often we choose the wrong way. (Romans 2:14-15).

This is the beauty of the cross. Jesus, as God, came as a man and did indeed live that perfect, righteous life. (Romans 5:19). He was morally guilt-less and upright. Legally speaking, he had not earned the punishment associated with sin, which is death and separation from the Holy God. However, he allowed himself to die so that God could place the wrath that we deserve for our sins onto Him.

Now, God’s Word says that if we believe in Jesus and His death and resurrection from the dead, God will do two things: First, He will remove our sins from us; sins in the past, present, and future. “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Ps 103:12). This means that we “have no penalty to pay for sin, including past, present, and future sins... we are not subject to any charge of guilt or condemnation.” (Grudem 724-725)  “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn?” (Rom 8:33-34).  (Note: This is the part where I started dancing in my chair!)

It doesn’t end there, however. If it did, we would be morally neutral. Our sins are removed, but that is not all. God then goes one step further and places the righteousness of God through Jesus onto us. Just as Adam’s guilt was placed, or “imputed,” onto us, and our sins were imputed to Christ on the cross, so now His righteousness is imputed to us. “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19).

It is evident from the Bible that this is a gift of God and not something we can earn on our own. (Romans 3:24). As mentioned already, we were dead in our sins, and it was God that made us alive. “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). It wasn’t after we cleaned ourselves up that He died for us. It was while we were still sinners.

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1). There is no room for a faith and (fill in the blank) approach to God’s grace. Fill that blank with baptism, going to church, giving to the poor, or being a good person.  Romans 3:20 is clear that no one will be justified by following the law. This is repeated clearly again in Ephesians 2:8-9. “For by grace you have been saved, through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast.”

When we have faith in God, we are choosing to not depend on ourselves for our salvation. As Grudem explains, we essentially say, “I give up! I will not depend on myself or my own good works any longer. I know that I can never make myself righteous before God. Therefore, Jesus, I trust you and depend on you completely to give me a righteous standing before God.” (Grudem p 730).  This is the beauty of the Gospel.  It is the beauty of the grace of God, and it should cause us to love Him all the more.


Now, are you ready to dance? This LONG blog is ending with a song that you should turn up and sing loudly based on this awesome truth.  Now, it may not really be a DANCING song, I'll post one of those later, but it's one that fills your heart with thankfulness.

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You


Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pages 722-732.

Righteous. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

So I Married a Visionary

I often tell my friends that one day I'll write a book, So I Married a Visionary.

I am sure it will be a best-seller. The thing is, I can't write it yet because my Mr. Wonderful is still coming up with adventures for our family!

For example, what do you do when you own a Construction Company, and your tools are spread out at various sites? Well, when you get an urge to work on a household project, like running gas lines for the dryer and rerouting the ducts, you just have to improvise. Is your ladder at someone else's project? Then you make do.

Call it Extreme Construction. He's a nut. With a Visionary in the house, there is never a dull moment.

Uh oh, I just heard him tell one of our kids, "I'm going to ruin mommy's scissors by cutting this." Ugh. His clippers must be at another site as well. Oh well!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Save 20% on Surrender

Save 20% on Surrender!

If you were interested in purchasing Surrender, now is the time to buy.

Lulu is having a 20% off sale, through February 21st. Enter code HAPPY305 at check out. Order Here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Building Boxes and Breaking Them Down

I have a confession:

I love creating charts, schedules, and plans.

And then I think I love breaking them just as much as I love planning them.

Maybe it gives me some strange sense of freedom when I can bust out of the box and do my own thing! I know in my mind that I am the designer of the box, and I don't have to tell myself what to do. There is no submission/sin issue when it's all just me.

Don't get me wrong - some boxes I've made for myself have been very helpful. Like grocery shopping once/month, or laundry once/week. Those have rocked my world, and I love those boxes.

Boxes I make for my kids that they use work great too. Like in the mornings, my girls each have their own check list of seat work and chores that they are to complete before they do anything else, and though it took time to train them, they have perfected it. I am so proud of them!

How about the checklists I make for myself for a morning routine? Yeah, I think my seven year old is more disciplined than me in this area.

So now, I'm about to start yet another busy season of life. I have added a lot to my plate that I can see is about to start rolling. Usually I can keep the plates spinning, but lately I've found myself needing more time for writing and the beginning phases of promoting my book, Duncan's Journey.

I know in my head that I need to set up a schedule for myself; for when I teach the kids, when I clean, when I work, and when I play.

I know that.

But in the back of my mind, I'm telling myself, "You can make a pretty, color-coded schedule Becky, and post it in the office, but you won't follow it, and then you'll just feel guilty for not doing what you told yourself to do."

Is this maddness?

So, please tell me I'm not alone here.

Who else loves the planning sometimes more than the actual doing?

I'm stepping off the vulnerability chair now. I need to go do the dishes. Yes, I was "supposed" to do my dinner dishes immediately after dinner last night, but they are still in the sink because I worked on my website last night instead of doing my dishes, and went to the park today and then took a nap.

Ahhh, yet another perfect example. But the dishes will get done eventually, and all will be well. Life keeps moving. Maybe it's not such a big deal after all.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"When do we eat?" Looking Forward to Relationships in Heaven.

My pastor just finished a series titled "The End Is Near." My family -- parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles cousins -- have had fun discussing it around the dining room table on Sunday afternoons.

We've all been brought up with a Pre-Trib Rapture mindset, waiting for the trumpet to blow. I have always thought that I might as well be. It's the optimism in me. I'd like to think I don't have to go through the tribulation, and hey, that's optimistic, unless of course I'm proven otherwise when the sky starts to fall.

But in talking about the possibility presented that there won't be a pre-trib rapture, I started asking questions. "How do we get on the white horses?" "What happens during the thousand years?" "What about those who die during it?"

And most importantly:

"When do we eat?"

Isn't there supposed to be a big wedding feast? Sitting around talking with friends and eating for a thousand years?

Because really, (aside from looking forward to savoring and worshiping Jesus), I can't wait for the eternal friendships that Heaven will bring.

My sister in law laughed, "You don't care how or when it happens, you just want to have lots of people and food!"  Amen, sister!

I love friends. I love people. It's a huge passion inside of me. The downside of this is that nothing lasts. I was not the kid who had one best friend from kindergarten to high school. When circumstances or activities changed, so did my friends, even the very special ones.

It only gets more complicated as adults. When you get married, what do you do with your opposite sex friends? Then, not only do relationships have to match with my personality and time and schedule, it's a huge bonus if the spouses get along and the children don't hate each other.

Many times friendships revolve around ministries or a sports team or your job or convenience of location or (fill in the blank). And then just when you're really getting to know someone, they move, or change ministries, or send their kids to a different school.

Honestly, it can all be pretty discouraging. I can see why so many people get to middle age and are lacking in friends.

But I'm a social addict. That means I need people, so I will fight harder than most to make sure it happens. Isn't it sad, that I look at friendships as having to "fight" for them?

The upside? I know that one day, we will have an eternity to catch-up in Heaven. As I saw one friendship sliding away, I encouraged the friend with these words: "I'm looking forward to visiting your mansion a lot in Heaven."

Can you even imaging perfect relationships? No lies, hidden agendas, secret thoughts, or awkwardness? No gossip or slandering or betraying. No back stabbing. No thinking one thing and finding out another. No impressing or unhealthy competition. No limit on time.

Ahhh... now that sounds Heavenly.  Regardless of how the end happens, the bottom line is, it will happen. And by trusting in Jesus, I can have confidence that this "heavenly ideal" will be a reality. He came once, and He promised to come again. Now THAT is something worth getting excited over.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

When life throws you on your knees

A couple of weeks ago, our daughter K disobeyed, and I was devistated. Both my husband and I were. It caught us off-guard, and I was in tears, at a loss as to how to handle the situation. I collapsed on the floor and rested against the couch.

On my knees.

And I realized, this is what has been missing.

I pray for my kids, occasionally, but most days, I think I can do it on my own. I know how to be a parent. I've read the books and have been to seminars. I have my "techniques" down perfectly, and I can share them with others.

But when it comes down to it, I realized again that I can't do it on my own. I am an imperfect human being who will mess up. I will fail them. I will be inconsistent. I will lose my temper. I will give bad advice.

What I need to teach her is what I've not been doing myself. I need to teach her to not try to be good on her own strength, because she can't. None of us can.

So I repented there on my knees, of trying to do it on my own, and my husband and I prayed for her. I am embarrased to admit that our time spent on our knees together for our children has been very limited.

Then I repented to her, and I asked for forgiveness for not setting a good example of relying on God's strength.

How many times I do I tell my kids, "Jammies, Teeth, and Bed" when I'm tired? Then after a quick blanket prayer for everyone, I rush out of the room and move on to more important things... like Facebook.

Well since that night, my habits are starting to change. I want to spend those precious, quiet moments praying over them. It's a perfect time to seek out God's help for each of their lives. As they hear me talk to God on their behalf, I pray they'll be strengthened and grow to love and depend on Him more.

Practically speaking, I even posted a page of verses in the bathroom for me to read through as I'm getting ready in the morning. It is a plain reminder that I need Jesus's help in every area of my life, and my kids do too.

I have seasons of prayer and seasons where I lack. Do you go through this too? How do you stay consistent in relying on God's power? Coasting isn't an option... we need to be seeking His daily bread -- well -- daily.

Friday, February 11, 2011

NY2LA - Get Up and Clean

We like to have cleaning time to music.  My sister in law just introduced me to this song, NY2LA by Press Play... and we can't get enough of it!  I've asked her to teach us a dance to it.  (Just to do in the privacy of our home of course... I'm not looking to join the dance ministry!) :)

Alone Time with Mom

Four kids seems like an army to some, while just the beginning for others. For us, it's perfect. However, I will say that it can be challenging to make time for all of them. Home Schooling is a huge blessing when it comes to this because I need to do work individually with each of the children, but I doubt they count math problems as "mom time," even though I think they should. They probably see me more as "teacher."

When my daughter turned 9, I started getting up a little earlier with her on Friday mornings. We are reading Beautiful Girlhood together. It is such a delightful book! These mornings are priceless. During our alone times, we opens up her heart. Just this morning, she shared with me all the lessons she's learned, now that she's nine, that she didn't know back when she was only eight. I'd share them here, because they are so sweet, but then, I don't want to break her confidence.

When she was only five.
The chapter we discussed was on sincerity. We had moments of tears when she realized she hadn't been a sincere friend, or as she remembered occasions when others were not kind to her. I shared some of my own struggles with this. There have been times when someone I thought was a friend turned out to be the opposite, and times when I haven't been a true friend myself. We ended acknowledging that we need to ask God to make us more loving, since love comes from God.

I haven't figured out a good plan to spend regular time with the others, but I try and get moments in when I can; helping me cook, playing a game, reading a book. I would like to be more proactive about it. I suppose I could designate a different morning of the week to each child, but then I'll lose my morning time in prayer and Bible Study, and getting up even earlier just seems like an unthinkable thing for this night owl.

For awhile last year, I gave each child a day of the week, and on their day, they got 30 minutes with mom. It worked really well! It just sort of dropped by the wayside. I'm sure, though, no one would complain if I started it up again.

What about you? Did your mom spend special time with you? If you are a mom, do you try and spend time alone with your kids, or is it not a priority? Overall, knowing that they are loved and cared for matters most of all, whether it's alone or together as a family. Give your kids an extra hug today!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mila's Daydreams - Beautiful Creativity!

I recently received an email spotlighting Adele Enersen's Photography. When her daughter was little, she tried to capture what she was dreaming about during naptime. These are brilliant! You'll have to go out to her site to see them all close up.

Prepare to be amazed and delighted. She has a book coming out in 2012, with stories to go with each picture. I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

3D Book Cover

I just used this site to follow a tutorial to make a 3D Book Cover for Surrender:

What do you think?

What are you reading?

Right now I'm reading a biography on Amy Carmichael. I love her passion. It fascinates me how many missionaries struggle with health issues, and yet they persevere. I can't wait to read it to my kids

I am starting Toliver's Secret with my kids today. We just finished Johnny Tremain, which was long, informative, exciting, but had a sad ending. My kids aren't really keen on sad endings. However, I think the good of the lessons learned in the book outweighed it. Besides, I explained that war is sad, and we are so thankful for the bravery of the men who fight to keep us free.

Every day I read these two blogs: 
  1. Stuff Christian's Like by Jon Acuff
  2. Twenty-Two Words by Abraham Piper
I am impressed with the creativivity that goes into these posts every day!

Have you heard of my new book, Surrender, that I just self-published today? You'll be hearing about it for the next few days, since, after all, it's pretty important to me. You can find out more about it at my website:

What's on your reading list right now?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Surrender, A Novel, Now Available for Purchase!!

It's official!  The novel I wrote last summer is now available for purchase!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

   Growing up as a strong-willed girl in the early 1800's, Annabel Turner believes the harsh rules of her high-society life are suffocating. She longs for a world free of hypocrisy and pride, where she can make her own decisions that are fair and just.
   When her world gets turned upside down not once - but repeatedly - by circumstances out of her control, she learns to whom she must ultimately surrender.
   A love story, but more than that, it is the saga of life. We all want love and passion, but we gain security by placing our hearts in the only One who will never leave us or forsake us.  

"Upon the close of the story, I thought, 'I wil not read a better book than this for a long time.' Surrender captured my attention from the first page and kept me engage throughout the entire story.  Emerick does a fantastic job of developing the character of Annabel as she learns to trust in God.   You will feel as though you've experienced the highs and lows of her life as you would with a dear friend.  Surrender yourself to this irresistible book!" C. Pugh

"A beautiful story of one who yields to Divine purpose and experiences the trials, pain, joy and ultimate redemption that results!" --S. Moran

"It was great to see such period-appropriate inner struggles that so closely mirror what we struggle with today, such as hypocrisy, materialism,  fear of man, and pride.  The suspense and twists continued until the end of the book. I loved it!" -- R. Holliday

"Surrender was both compelling & thought provoking. It was hard to put down & motivated me to think about my own 'surrender' issues." --Ivy

"Surrender challenged me to trust the Lord with all aspects of my life, even those that are very difficult.  As I finished reading, I prayed that Surrender would fall into the hands of the right people so that its radically inspiring message could be spread to others." -- A. Hogan

Grilled Cheese - Success!

After yet another failed attempt at making grilled cheese, I posted the following on facebook:

"I am going to abandon the idea of making grilled cheese. I always burn it. I don't care what anyone says, I am WAY to distractable to sit and focus for the 15 minutes it takes. Goodbye, Grilled Cheese! Hello, cold cheese sandwiches!"

I received 22 comments--it was really funny--as though I had declared war against grilled cheese, causing people to come out in defense of the gooey, cheesy goodness.

So today, I followed my Aunt Carol's Comment:

"It takes me five minutes to make a grilled cheese. I don't know if gramma Bobbie remembers, but she said mine were the best. I preheat the frying pan, put the cheese on the bread, butter both sides, then put it in the pan with a lid over it about 2min, flip, 2more min, then serve.You can't deprive the kids of grilled cheese,at least while we can still afford it. Praise the Lord!"

During the 2 minutes, I set the timer, and I waited patiently.  The result:  Perfect Grilled Cheese!

After 32 years, I finally know the secret.

Miracles, Prophecies, and Tongues

It's theology Tuesday, and I'm in part 5 of a series of questions on Bibliology for my open-book NANC Counseling exams.  These have not been reviewed yet and are my first take on the subjects.  Comments are appreciated and welcome!

Question:  Many Christians today speak of continuing revelation.  Relate this concept to inspiration and sufficiency of Scripture.  Relate this concept to the issue of miracles, prophecy, and tongues.

Continuing revelation is the idea that God will continue to speak to us today, revealing new information.  It must be made clear, however, that the Word of God is sufficient for us to know about God and follow Him, growing to look more like Him.  John 16:12-15 says that the Spirit will guide us into all truth while glorifying Jesus.  Since Jesus is the Word made flesh (I John 1), then the Spirit will use this Word to give us the mentioned truth - and all of it.  II John 9 says that we are to obey the teachings of Christ, which are found in the Word.

The Word of God is unique compared to other revelation because it was inspired by God - meaning the very words and ideas written were given through the Spirit by God Himself.  I Timothy 3:16 tells us that all of the scriptures that we have in the Bible were breathed out by God and are useful for us today.  God used the Holy Spirit to bring to mind all that Jesus had said while on earth, (John 14:26) and Paul wrote in Acts that it is the word of God that will build us up (Acts 20:32).

That being said, other revelations are spoken about in the Bible, and God uses promptings, dreams, and visions to accomplish this.  In the New Testament, the word “prophet” was used not to indicate one who spoke the very words of God, but “one who speaks on the basis of some external influence.”  Often in that time period a prophet was considered a spokesman, a word which “simply expresses the formal function of declaring something which is not his own.”  They were not speaking the very words of God.  For example, when the disciples at Tyre, through the Spirit, encouraged Paul to not go to Jerusalem, he did not listen to their advice.  Grudem writes, “He never would have done this if this prophecy contained God’s very words and had authority equal to that of Scripture.” (Systematic Theology, p 1052)

The words of someone prophesying now, then, are merely human words and are not equal to God’s.  Prophecy is not predicting the future but “telling something that God has spontaneously brought to mind.” (Grudem p 1049)  Therefore, the prophecy that we are encouraged to “earnestly desire” (I Cor 14:1) is not speaking words that are equal to scripture.  To the contrary, it must always be subject to scrutiny by the scriptures.  We are told to test the spirits because many false prophets are in our world. (I John 4:1-6, I Thess 5:19-21)

The gift of speaking in tongues requires a definition.  It means speaking a language that the speaker does not understand -- either a known language or a spiritual language.  In contrast to prophecy, which is a word from God to men, speaking in tongues is a word from men to God, consisting of praise and thanksgiving (I Corinthians 14:2, 28).  It is supposed to be in alignment with God’s word at all times. 

Tongues are only to be spoken publicly when there is an interpreter, but we are encouraged to seek after this gift in private, though not all will have this gift (I Cor 14:5, 28).  When used publicly, it is essential that what is said be in-line with the gospel that has already been preached by the word of God.  (Gal 1:6-10)  True believers, when speaking in the spirit, will not curse the name of Christ (I Cor 12:3).

Miracles, while mentioned in the New Testament as being a part of the church (I Cor 12:28), are to serve as a sign of God’s power, bringing the glory to Him alone, and not the person involved in the act.  Physical acts of healing only come from Jehovah Rophe, the God who heals, and all glory goes to Him.  Though these events are exciting, they are not required for saving faith, which is being certain of what is not seen.  (Hebrews 11:1)

God gave us His word because He wants us to trust in Him and not our own hearts.  If we could receive something from God that trumped His Word, we would be in great danger of being deceived.   We are encouraged to follow His commands and are warned against following after our own hearts (Numbers 15:38-40).  Proverbs 14:12 says that following our own wisdom and what seems right in our minds actually leads to death. 

At the end of the Bible, Revelation 22:18-19 says, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”  Though this is referring to the book of Revelation, God planned His Word perfectly and He purposely put the contents in order.  It is not a coincidence that these verses are found at the conclusion of the entire Word of God.

If we have a feeling about something, it is just that - a feeling - that cannot be trusted, and must be measured against God’s holy and perfect Word, which has been given to us for the building up and sanctification of the saints (Acts 20:32).

Smith, Bill  “What's the Harm in Continuing Revelation?” accessed October 5, 2010

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p 1049-1083
Sanders, Phil “The Word is All-Sufficient”  5/5/08, accessed October 5, 2010

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pick Your Passion

A few weeks ago, I read the book Unplanned and then attended a prayer event at my church where a portion of the time was spent praying for Life.  I immediately checked the website to find out how I could start counseling women there as a volunteer.

And then the next Sunday at church, the AWANA quiz team talked about the awesome effect AWANA has on the lives of children.  Reminiscing about my own personal AWANA days, I thought, "My kids need to do that next year."

And I'm reading right now a biography of Amy Carmichael who served the unloved in India, and my heart has swelled for the unreached.

And we attended a Campus Crusade for Christ event this Saturday and I was impressed w/ the idea of ministering to these kids newly away from the nest.

And then this Sunday I saw pictures of children and women in Cambodia who need the basics of life.  I heard a plee for the inner city ministry our church has with Kids Church.  I spoke to a women who was on her way to Haiti to bring home a child.  And I was recently approached to counsel in a group setting a class for women who are struggling in their marriages.  In the hallway, men and women were handing out information about supporting our troops.

And our sermon this Sunday by our Missions Pastor Nate Irwin was on the passage of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25.  It was a call to serve others: clothe the needy, feed the hungry, and visit the sick and imprisoned.  Oops, I haven't been to prison or hospitals much lately, need to add that to the list...

And, and, and, and...  The ministry options are endless, aren't they?

I'm often jealous of those who have a single passion.  Evangelizing in the city.  Supporting a school in Nicaragua.  Serve at a food pantry.

Beyond my duties as laid out in Titus, to love my husband and children and be busy at home, how do I choose what to get involved in?  There are so many needs!  It can sometimes be paralyzing!

I'm of course going to be praying about this with my husband and kids. 

But what about you?  Do you have a single passion?  How do you decide which areas to get involved in?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Smartest Man I Know!

I love my husband.  I asked him to clear a path today for our guests coming to our Super Bowl Party.  He just stared at me like I was crazy. There are 4 inches of ice and then snow on top.

I just peeked outside, and he came up with the perfect solution to getting the path cleared... use a heater!

When I first looked, the heater was aimed at the side walk w/ a wheelbarrel on top to keep the heat in.  The ice was softened and cleared in about 30 minutes!!!

Yeah, I know, I've got the best!! :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super-Fast Dinner: For THOSE days...

It's 5:08. The kids will be coming inside soon from the cold snow. My husband will be on his way home. The Toddler will be rousing from his later than usual nap.  I have a pounding, aching, splitting headache that appeared out of nowhere and put me on the couch for a couple of hours.

Dragging myself up, I am thankful for this super easy dinner recipe that will be on my table tonight.

  • 1 Polish Sausage
  • 2 Cans Green Beans
  • 2 Cans Potatoes, sliced

Cut up polish sausage and dump in pot with cans and the liquid.  Simmer 30 minutes.  DONE.

(Do not simmer too long or the sausage will lose all its flavor.)

Does dinner get any easier than that?  I usually double the recipe because my kids all want seconds.  And if I only have whole canned potatoes, I dump the juice in the pot, slice up the potatoes really quick, then throw them in.

It's now 5:15.  From pantry to table by 5:45.  Priceless.
Publish Post

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Two little valentines

My son and his friend... two of the cutest little valentines ever! :)

Science with Pancakes

Breakfast & Science Experiments!  That’s my kind of multi-tasking!  I found this recipe on  It was delicious!!!  The pancakes were incredibly fluffy, and we were able to have a science lesson on fermentation.  We're going to try to make plastic out of milk next! 

A few notes about the pancakes:  We tripled the recipe and only had a couple left over.  I also added a splash of vanilla.

Fluffy Pancakes

 5 Stars!
Submitted By: kris
Photo By: momto2lilbugs
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 25 Minutes
Servings: 4
"Tall, fluffy pancakes are delicious served with butter and syrup or top with strawberries and whipped cream for a real treat. "
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
cooking spray
Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Skunks: By Abby

My 9 Year Old just wrote a little poem about skunks so I thought I'd share it.

Skunks eat bugs,
They don't give hugs.
If you get too close,
Just plug your nose.
When you're asleep at night,
They're up... all right!

This reminded me of my Aunt Nancy who had a skunk as a pet.  It was adorable.

Crying Wolf

Ice Storm 2005
Monday morning, shelves of bread and milk were emptied from our grocery store.  Lowes sold out of generators by 10 AM.  You would have thought they were giving away gas.  Lines stretched across the parking lot at Costco, and rather than free, they raised the price by 22 cents/gallon.

The weather industry was predicting a huge ice storm across the midwest, including central Indiana where I live, and everyone was making preparations for a huge week-long, state-wide power outage.

Well, as usual, it wasn't as bad as predicted.  Better safe than sorry I suppose, right?

It seems, though, that every time I turn around, the weather is predicting either buckets of freezing rain, 12 inches of snow, golf ball sized hail, or massive tornadoes that will wipe out the neighborhood.  Thunderstorm Watch.  Tornado Watch.  Winter Storm Warning.

And of course I thought of the boy who cried wolf.  In this case, however, it's different, because there COULD be the bad weather - it's happened before - so we'd rather be prepared than stranded.

Then I read Revelation 15:3-4.  (Adapted for prayer by Face to Face.)

Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Righteous and true are Your ways,
King of all the nations!
Who will not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy,
All nations will come and worship before You,
For Your righteous acts have been revealed.

Then it hit me... at any moment, God could release the ice from heaven - not a lot, just two inches - and destroy our power lines and take away our comforts that we take for granted.  Heat, Electricity, Running Water, Phone Lines.  The convenience of a refrigerator and freezer.  The ability to drive wherever we want whenever we want.  Facebook, blogging, twitter.  (I'm speaking to myself here.)

At any moment, it could all be gone, with just a little frozen rain.  Who will not fear Him?

I am confident that I am safe in the arms of my God, in disaster or ease, danger or peace.  However, it is good to remind myself occasionally that this world I've created around myself could be gone, just like that.  Am I finding peace in IT or HIM?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Photo Contest

If you love it, come vote for my entry in the Shutterfly Photo Contest.

(The picture might look familiar... I'm using it as the book cover for my book, Surrender.)

Theology Tuesday: If a turtle were on a fence post...

It's Theology Tuesday!  We're in part four of a five part series on Bibliology.

Compare and contrast the Bible and its authority to general revelation and its authority.

We learn about God through His written word, His Spirit, nature, and our consciences.  These different avenues for knowledge, however, are not equal in terms of authority and salvation.

We know we learn about God and who He is through nature by the passage in Romans 1:20 which states that God’s invisible qualities can be seen so clearly that people have no excuse for their lack of belief.  This is “general revelation,” meaning it gives knowledge of God’s existence, character, and moral law, and it is available to all of humanity.  God’s creation testifies about His existence.  If you were to walk past a fence post and saw a turtle on top of it, you would wonder who put it there.  The same is true for creation.  When looking at the intricacies and marvels of this world, the question is the same: “Who put us here?”

Inside each person is the knowledge of good and evil.  Apart from the law, men live imperfectly by their own moral standard as they think is best.  The fact that they try and create rules for what is good and what is bad is a sign that there is a true good out there.  Thus, by their own design, they are setting standards that they cannot follow, thus proving their own fallen nature. 

Romans 2 says:
“For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my Gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”  (Rom 2:14-16)

With this general revelation then, all mankind has a choice as to who they should worship.  However, they have chosen to not honor Him as God or give Him thanks, and instead they worship the creature instead of the Creator.  (Romans 1:21, 25)  General revelation, then, brings condemnation, but it does not bring the hope of Jesus.  That is where the word of God comes into the picture.

God’s word gives the details of God’s plan for salvation, because faith comes by hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).  A few verses earlier, we are told to confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead in order to be saved (Rom 10:9).

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us concerning the Son.  Jesus said that the Spirit would lead us into all truth (John 16:13).  However, the Spirit does not work apart from or in contrast to Jesus, who is the Word, and therefore will only support what is in the Word and not add to it.  Jesus said, “He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.”

So though God’s presence is made evident through general revelation so that all men are without excuse, salvation is found through the Word, who is Jesus Christ.  Therefore, the final authority on life and goodness does not come through nature or our own ability to reason, but through the Word of God. 


Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p1242