Monday, June 26, 2006

The Way We Were

This was a chart we received in Sunday School last week, and I found it to be a great help. To prevent the self-righteousness as was evident in the Pharisees of Christ's day, a good hard look at "the way we were" before Christ is imperative... possibly daily. I thought I'd post this chart, because I want to print it out and glue it in my Bible to stimulate such introspection in my own heart more often. Why? Because it causes me to be more grateful for what Jesus accomplished when He breathed His last and said, "It is finished". The following is some of what was finished by His pure life and sacrificial death:

  • Far Off (Eph.2:13)
  • Old Self Corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit (Eph.4:22-24)
  • Darkness (Eph.5:8)
  • Fornicators, Idolaters, Adulterers, Effeminate, Homosexuals, Thieves, Covetous, Drunkards, Revilers, Swindlers: "such were some of you" (see 1 Cor.6:9-11)
  • Lustful - sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, etc. (see 1 Peter 4:2-3)
  • Domain of Darkness (Col.1:13)
  • Alienated, Hostile in Mind, Engaged in Evil Deeds (Col.1:21-22)
  • Dead in Transgressions with a 'certificate of debt' (Col.2:13-14)
  • Immoral, Impure, Passionate, Evil, Greedy, Idolatrous, Angry, offering wrath, malice, slander and abusive speech from our mouths (Col.3:5-9)


  • Brought Near (Eph.2:13)
  • New Man... in righteousness and holiness (Eph.4:22-24)
  • Light (Eph.5:8 and Matt. 5:14)
  • Washed, Sanctified, Justified (1 Cor.6:9-11)
  • No Longer "Lusty" (1 Peter 4:2-3)
  • Delivered From Darkness (Col.1:13 "conveyed into the kingdom of light")
  • Reconciled, Holy, Blameless and Above Reproach (Col.1:21-22)
  • Made Alive... forgiven of all trespasses (Col.2:13-14)
  • Putting Off: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language, lies (Col.3:5-9)

I find the pictured opposites astounding... especially the opposites of Colosssians 1:21-22.... to think that we are seen as holy, blameless, and above reproach. This allows us to say with the psalmist,

The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His ordinances were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me. I was also blameless with Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.

With the kind Thou dost show Thyself kind;

With the blameless Thou dost show Thyself blameless;

With the pure Thou dost show Thyself pure;

And with the crooked Thou dost show Thyself astute.

For Thou dost save an afflicted people; But haughty eyes Thou dost abase. For Thou dost light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness. (Psalm 18)

A Perk To Being A PW

So what's a PW, you ask? A Pastor's Wife.

And what perk could there be to such a role? Many. But today I want to highlight just one. I am grateful for the added understanding/ dimension/ perspective I receive from my husband's formal teaching. The added perspective because I know him better than any other person and with such nearness, comes a better understanding of his words as he expounds God's word. With such nearness, comes the understanding of his conviction of the truth - the deepness meant by certain tones of voice, the earnestness placed on particular phrases with (often subconciously placed) body language. With such nearness, comes the communion of soul as his heart is pleading with believers and unbelievers to understand words, when words are sometimes lacking to express the things of the spirit.

I've been cognissant of such added dimension twice in the last 2 weeks, and since they are actually correlated, I thought I'd share them.

First, last Sunday, Dan was working his way through Ephesians 2:4-10, and in his comments, he looked at the greatness of God's mercy and grace. He emphasized how God's GREAT mercy is highlighted by our incredible low state as sinners (verses 1-3). As we continued through the passage, God's GREAT grace is equally impressive in verse 8.

It struck me for the first time, that one of the greatest things about my testimony is not necessarily my salvation - though I am incredibly grateful to face eternity in heaven and I am full of praise for my redemption. One of the greatest things about my testimony is that it demonstrates God's character. I was struck afresh with God's delight at manifesting his GREAT mercy and GREAT grace.... highlighted by saving a dark, dead, immoral, impure, evil and corrupt girl named Marlene. You see, God relishes in showcasing HIMSELF. And it is not arrogant for Him to do so, since He is completely justified in doing so - He is God, after all. Plus His very character is worthy of praise and worthy of exalting. And one of the best ways for Him to "show off" the attributes of mercy and grace and love and faithfulness and forgiveness and patience and....(I could go on)... is by saving a human (such as myself), since we are the absolute opposite.

Well, hubby was sharing this, and I'd be curious if others in the class were able to share the plea of his heart, as I was privy to. It' s the same when we share depth of meaning with our spouses when we're talking with a group of people about a topic that is dear or sensitive to our lives in a "secret" or "intimate" or "private" sort of way. We all have these things that we share. Sadly, I fear, it is often the negative or difficult that we can "share a look" or "nudge an elbow" about, rather than the encouraging or helpful.

I'm thankful that this has made me mindful to listen even more intently as my husband teaches and preaches... so that I can partake in just a bit more of what God has enlightened his mind with, from the Word. This not only affords me the opportunity to know my husband more, but my Abba too. Now that is truly a perk worth writing about:)

Coffee Cup Verse

Psalm 1:1,2

How blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

BUT his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Coffee Cup Verse

Here's a verse I encountered in my daily reading that the seer Hanani spoke to Asa. I found part of it good for contemplation, and thus it has become my coffee cup verse for the week.

2 Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of the Lord
range throughout the earth
to strengthen those whose hearts
are fully committed to him.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Outreach and Evangelism: One and the Same??

Tim Challies has some really helpful comments about "outreach" and "evangelism" today, in his article called, "Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God". Some highlights include:

"There is clearly a significant difference between outreach and evangelism. They are both noble actions and bring honor to God. It is important to realize, and this should be clear through the descriptions, that they are not synonymous. The greatest difference is that evangelism is primarily a message while outreach is primarily an action."


"The message is delivered not through outreach, but through evangelism. It is simple enough to attract people to a message through outreach, and we can gather a large group of people through simple outreach, but we may not have evangelized them, even if they fill the pews of our churches."


"Do you wish to fulfill our Lord's great commission? Then go boldly, sharing this foolish, offensive gospel message, knowing that it carries in it the very power of God. Trust and believe that in so doing you are bringing honor to our Lord and Savior and doing your part to build His Kingdom. Reach out to the lost, but ensure that you always leave them with the message of the gospel. Actions may draw them, but words are necessary to convey the message through which God saves His people."

This article has made my mind chase around the motives and methods of such programs as Pioneer Girls, Alpha, and our Kick-off Sundays or Stampede Breakfasts.

What are your thoughts on his article?

Laundry Day Tips

I try to save energy, where I can. My mom was the best teacher for this. When it comes to laundry, a lot of energy goes into drying clothes. Naturally, fresh air is the cheapest dryer to run. But if you don't have a clothesline, consider this:

Toss your clothes into the dryer for 10 minutes. Remove the heaviest items (jeans, towels, any shrinkable fabrics, button-up shirts, etc.) and place onto hangers. I let these dry in my laundry room on a rod. Resume the dryer load with the lighter items, which should just need another 5-10 minutes.

By the way, besides saving energy, you also might save yourself some ironing too! I find most pants, tops, and sweater look great and are ready to fold neatly once they're dry.

Green Thumb Tips

Got my hands on Lois Hole's Vegetable Favorites - a must-have for gardeners in Alberta. It has specific information on a host of vegetables, arranged in an easy-to-read format. The photos are helpful, as are the problem sections for each crop.

Here are just a few tips from our former lieutenant governor and gardener extraordinaire:

Spinach: 1. spread blood meal along the row to encourage a larger, more succulent crop

2. consider planting spinach between rows of taller-growing vegetables, as it has a tendency to bolt (go to seed) in too much hot sun

Carrots: 1. never add fresh manure; it may produce rough, hairy roots and will cause forks and splits

2. try this trick: mix radish seed with your carrot seed before sowing. Vigorous radish sprouts will easily push up through the earth, breaking the way for the carrots. Radishes mature earlier, and as they are harvested, space is left for the carrots to grow.

Peas: 1. pick peas when they are young and tender for best flavour. Peas which become too old for fresh eating can be left on the vine until dry, and used in soups.

2. be gentle with plants when picking, as the vines are brittle and break easily - causing the plants to stop growing.

Zucchini: 1. water deeply once a week during dry spells

2. water around the base of the plants, not over them, and try to do so early in the day to allow plants to dry before nightfall. Avoid splashing dirt onto the leaves; many diseases are harboured in the soil and can be transferred.

3. pick twice weekly to increase yield

Beans: 1. try to plant in a site where beans or peas have not been planted for at least a year to keep disease problems lower

2. adequate watering is most important during and immediately after flowering, and once pods have formed, in order for the plants to produce a high yield of evenly-shaped beans

Coffee Cup Verse

Yup! I'm back! Took a week off. Busy with some ridiculous things... maybe I'll blog about it later. But to keep up my verse for the week to contemplate, let's consider the following:

Colossians 3:23,24
Whatever you do,
do your work heartily,
as for the Lord rather than for men;
knowing that from the Lord you will receive
the reward of the inheritance.
It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Coffee Cup Verse

Proverbs 21:2
All a man's ways seem right to him,
but the Lord weighs the heart.

What Do I Do With The Gospel?

Lately, I've been pondering the gospel.

What exactly would be considered "the gospel message"? (See my husband's post, The Simple Gospel, for discussion on that question). How does the gospel affect my life - as a wife, a mother, a child of the King? (Check out Girltalk's post called Mom, Remember the Gospel).

Christians are called jars of clay, into which the gospel has been placed. Consider 2 Corinthians 4:4-7:
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure (ie. the gospel) in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

So what do I do with this treasure?

Check out what the Bible itself tells us to do:

Matt.24:14 "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come."

Mark 1:14 "Repent and believe in the gospel."

Acts 20:24 "To testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God."

Rom. 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel,..."

Rom 15:16 "... ministering as a priest of the gospel of God"

1 Cor. 9:14 "... proclaim the gospel"

1 Cor. 9:18 "... offer the gospel without charge"

1 Cor. 9:23 "... do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it."
2 Cor. 9:13 "... confession of the gospel of Christ"

Gal. 2:2 "... submitted to them the gospel"

Gal. 2:5 "that the truth of the gospel might remain with you..."

Gal. 2:7 "... entrusted with the gospel... "

Eph. 1:13 "after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation... "

Eph. 6:19 "to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel"

Phil.1:5 "participation in the gospel"

Phil 1:7 "in the defense and confirmation of the gospel... "

Phil 1:16 "I am appointed for the defense of the gospel"

Phil 1:27 "only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel"

Phil 2:22 "furtherance of the gospel"

Phil 4:3 "... have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel"

Col. 1:23 "and not moved away from the hope of the gospel"

1 Thess. 2:2 "we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition"

1 Thess. 2:4 "entrusted with the gospel"

1 Thess. 2:8 "we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our lives"

1 Thess. 2:9 "we proclaimed to you the gospel of God"

2 Tim. 1:8 " join me in suffering for the gospel"

Philemon 1:13 "minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel"

1 Peter 4:17 "what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?"

So to sum up God's thoughts on what we should do with His gospel:
we are to

  • preach it
  • believe it
  • testify solemnly to it
  • not be ashamed of it
  • minister as a priest to it
  • proclaim it
  • offer it without charge
  • do all things for the sake of the gospel
  • be partakers of it
  • confess it
  • submit it
  • have it remain with us
  • listen to it
  • make it known
  • participate in it
  • defend it
  • confirm it
  • conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of it
  • further it
  • struggle in it's cause
  • not be moved away from it's hope
  • speak it
  • impart it
  • suffer for it
  • be imprisoned for it (if necessary)
  • and obey it.

WOW!! Feeling a little convicted? I was too. Please take the time to consider, confess your areas of failure to God, and move towards treating this treasure as it was intended in your life. I know I will need to move differently today than I did yesterday, and with the Holy Spirit's power, God can use this clay pot to touch others with His good news. Blessings, fellow clay pots as you do what you can with the gospel.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

My 2 Trees- In Bloom

So I've got the picture uploaded finally. Sadly the blooms are almost all gone already. I must say, they were particularly beautiful this year. We had a flood go through our town last year after years of near-drought conditions, so our trees are singing this summer.

My time in the garden is at an all-time high right now. We put a vegetable patch in 2 weeks ago, which will add to the work outside. But I am hopeful for a crop of lettuce, etc. There is nothing quite as quick as hopping into the backyard to do your grocery shopping. And no one can beat the freshness.

Blessings to all you gardeners out there. May the Lord grant you sunshine and rain to make your crops break open the storehouses.

Proverbs Bites

As I was reading through Proverbs 16 and 17 today, I came upon some real morsels of food for thought. Thought I’d just post them and let some of you snack on your way.

16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.

(Prayed for my trip to Cotsco today, my fencing endeavor around my garden – post sure to come, the wedding shower gift I need to purchase, to name a few of my plans for the day.)

16:5 The Lord detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished
(A good reminder about the destiny of all those "good people" that live an unrepentant & proud life around us in the supermarket, in our neighbourhood, and possibly in our homes. It is only the humble - those acknowledging their sinfulness and need for a Savior - that stand behind Christ's robe of righteousness and have the hope of heaven.)

16:32 Better a patient man than a warrior,
a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.
(This should prove helpful with my "warring" sons... we are definitely in need of understanding of this verse in our home!)

17:3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart.

(A good reminder to examine my own heart... as our pastor said on Sunday... to look at the motives with which we live.)

17:4 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam,
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
(Again, great for the children. But also helpful when we are hurt by others. Goes well with Jesus' "turn the other cheek".)

18:2 A fool finds no pleasure in understanding
but delights in airing his own opinions.
(A great check in the blogosphere.)

18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Thank you Jesus for being that friend. And thanks to many of you, who have become close friends to me:)

Biking Gone Mad

Okay, it's been 6 days since the training wheels came off, and my boy's becoming a kamikaze (sp?). I warned him about being careful yesterday, because he could hurt himself and scrape his knees. (I'm his mom, of course I'm supposed to say things like this.)

What does he say, but "mom, it doesn't matter to me. What matters is that I get better and better on my bike. Faster, turns, all that stuff."

Ah, the invincibility of youth. I remember having that same attitude about cliff-jumping at Calibogie Cliffs in Ontario. Are we simply fools, as youngsters? I guess sometimes only time and God's grace can make us wise.