Monday, June 30, 2008

Giants (a bit long, but worth the read!)

"It is when we are in the way of duty that we find giants...There is a prevalent idea that the power of God in a human life should lift us above all trials and conflicts. The fact is, the power of God always brings a conflict and a struggle. One would have thought that on his great missionary journey to Rome, Paul would have been carried by some mighty providence above the power of the storms and tempests and enemies. But, on the contrary, it was one long, hard fight with persecuting Jews, with wild tempests, with venomous vipers and all the powers of earth and hell, and at last he was saved, as it seemed, by the narrowest margin, and had to swim ashore at Malta on a piece of wreckage and barely escape a watery grave.

Was that like a God of infinite power? Yes, just like Him. And so Paul tells us that when he took the Lord Jesus Christ as the life of his body, a severe conflict immediately came; indeed, a conflict that never ended, a pressure that was persistent, but out of which he always emerged victorious through the strength of Jesus Christ.

The language in which he describes this is most graphic. 'We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might be manifested in our body.'

What a ceaseless, strenuous struggle! It is impossible to express in English the forcible language of the original. There are five pictures in succession. In the first, the idea is crowding enemies pressing in from every side, and yet not crushing him because the police of heaven cleared the way just wide enough for him to get through. The literal translation would be, 'We are crowded on every side, but not crushed.'

The second picture is that of one whose way seems utterly closed and yet he has pressed through; there is light enough to show him the next step. The Revised Version translates it, 'Perplexed but not unto despair.' Rotherham still more literally renders it, 'Without a way, but not without a by-way.'

The third figure is that of an enemy in hot pursuit while the divine Defender still stands by, and he is not left alone. Again we adopt the fine rendering of Rotherham, 'Pursued, but not abandoned.'

The fourth figure is still more vivid and dramatic. The enemy has overtaken him, has struck him, has knocked him down. But it is not a fatal blow; he is able to rise again. It might be translated, 'Overthrown, but not overcome.'

Once more the figure advances, and now it seems to be even death itself. 'Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.' But he does not die, for 'the life also of Jesus' now comes to his aid and he lives in the life of another until his life work is done.

The reason so many fail in this experience of divine healing is because they expect to have it all without a struggle, and when the conflict comes and the battle wages long, they become discouraged and surrender. God has nothing worth having that is easy. There are no cheap goods in the heavenly market. Our redemption cost all that God had to give, and everything worth having is expensive. Hard places are the very school of faith and character, and if we are to rise over mere human strength and prove the power of life divine in these mortal bodies, it must be through a process of conflict that may well be called the birth travail of a new life. It is the old figure of the bush that burned, but was not consumed, or of the Vision in the house of the interpreter of the flame that would not expire, notwithstanding the fact that the demon ceaselessly poured water on it, because in the background stood an angel every pouring oil and keeping the flame aglow.

No, dear suffering child of God, you cannot fail if only you dare to believe, to stand fast and refuse to be overcome."

--taken from my favorite devotional, Streams In The Desert, by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, "written during her six years of missionary work in Japan and China-particularly the six years she nursed her husband while he was dying"

Friday, June 27, 2008

Good Muffin Recipes

These look like some good muffin recipes from the Hillbilly Housewife blog, if you're interested! I plan to make and freeze some. CLICK HERE.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Unsearchable Riches

This is a post from another blog-a friend of a friend. The man who writes this blog lost his beautiful, young wife this year. They had been missionaries in Ethiopia and she and their children were home in the States for a visit. While here, she was killed in a car accident. I encourage you to read his blog. This is a copy of a post that I dare you to read without either crying or just feeling really convicted! :) The original post here.

"I asked Jamie to jot down some thoughts from the past couple of days. Jamie is a sixteen-year old that I attend church with in New Albany. He and his brother Joseph are two of the four guys that accompanied me on this trip. Please forgive the format...we are dealing with 3rd world technology.

Unsearchable Riches

There is more poverty in this land than I could have imagined. There have been
many times that I have wanted to sit down and weep. But the riches of Christ
shine brightly in the face of poverty. The poor and beggarly souls are invited
to stretch out their poor and withered hands to the Savior.
The bitter cup of poverty is a small taste of the emptiness of the soul, and
the hopelessness of the poor is nothing compared to the hopelessness of the
enemy of Christ. To be without God is to be without hope. But God, who is rich
in mercy, is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.
We have been given so much; we have been given all things in Christ. Why are
we so slow to take up our crosses and follow Him? When He commands us to leave
all and follow Him, it is like telling a prisoner to leave His chains, the
debtor to leave His debt, and the beggar to leave His scraps so that He might
come to the feast. Oh, that we might live as beggars and pilgrims in this life
that we might be kings in the next. We might beg ourselves rich by the grace
that is in Christ.
Ultimately, the rich have nothing more than the poor. Either we have Christ,
or we have nothing. What are all the treasures of this life when we die?
Christ is all in all. "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where
moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for
yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where
thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19-20) We who have nothing are
freely offered to buy the pearl of greatest price.
Look to the face of Christ, not the hand of providence. The LORD is all love
to His people. There have been moments were I questioned the sovereign love of
God to the Christians in Ethiopia. But it is high treason against the King to
lodge bitter thoughts about Christ. Circumstances may be dark to our eyes, but
the Sun of righteousness is all light. "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is

The Power of A Mother's Love

"...Soldier, statesman, scholar, divine; every man is a child to his mother, to the last; and it is the best that is in a man that keeps him always in this childlikeness toward his loving mother. Were it not for the power of a mother's love, that best and truest side of a man's nature would never be developed, for the man's good and for the mother's reward. It costs something to be a good mother; but there is no reward which earth can give to be compared with that love which a faithful mother wins and holds from the son of her love. Oh! if good mothers could only know how much they are doing for their children by their patient, long-suffering, gentle ways with them, and how sure these children are to see and feel this by and by, the saddest of them would be less sad and more hopeful, while toiling and enduring so faithfully, with perhaps apparently so slight a return."

-from Hints on Child Training by H. Clay Trumbull
-the photo is my friend Jen and her baby boy, Lincoln

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Modesty Heart Check-Carolyn Mahaney

This came from the Girl Talk blog. click here It has convicted me and made me think twice. I think I will post this on my mirror. By the way, the swimming nuns have nothing to do with this article...but they ARE dressed modestly for the beach! ha! :)

Modesty Heart Check

Carolyn Mahaney
Nicole Whitacre
Kristin Chesemore
Janelle Bradshaw

“…Women should adorn themselves in respectable
apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with
braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
but with what is proper for women
who profess godliness—with good works.”
~1 Timothy 2:9-10

Start with a Heart Check…

“How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress
and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent
of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way
she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood? Is
it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshipping God? Or is it to call
attention to herself and flaunt her beauty? Or worse, to attempt to lure
men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshipping God will consider
carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe
and appearance.”
John MacArthur

What statement do my clothes make about my heart?

In choosing what clothes to wear today, whose attention do I desire
and whose approval do I crave? Am I seeking to please God or
impress others?

Is what I wear consistent with biblical values of modesty, selfcontrol
and respectable apparel, or does my dress reveal an
inordinate identification and fascination with sinful cultural values?

Who am I trying to identify with through my dress? Is the Word of
God my standard or is the latest fashion?

Have I asked other godly individuals to evaluate my wardrobe?
Does my clothing reveal an allegiance to the gospel or is there any
contradiction between my profession of faith and my practice of

Before you leave the house, do a modesty check. (What are
some things you should look for as you stand in front of your

From the top…

When I am wearing a loose-fitting blouse or scoop-neck, can I see
anything when I lean over? If so, I need to remember to place my
hand against my neckline when I bend down.

If I am wearing a button-down top, I need to turn sideways and
move around to see if there are any gaping holes that expose my
chest. If there are, I’ve got to grab the sewing box and pin
between the buttons.

The same check is needed if I am wearing a sleeveless shirt.
When I move around, can I see my bra? If I do, I need the pins

Am I wearing a spaghetti-strap, halter, or sheer blouse? Not even
pins will fix this problem! Most guys find these a hindrance in
their struggle with lust. It’s time to go back to the closet.

Can I see the lace or seam of my bra through my shirt? In this
case, seamless bras are a better option.
More key questions: Does my shirt reveal any part of my
cleavage? Does my midriff show when I raise my hands above
my head? Is my shirt just plain too tight? If the answer to any one
of these questions is yes, then I need to change my outfit.

Moving on down…

Does my midriff (or underwear) show when I bend over or lift my
hands? If so, is it because my skirt or my pants are too low? Either
my shirt needs to be longer or I need to find a skirt or pants that sit

I also have to turn around to see if what I’m wearing is too tight
around my back side, or if the outline of my underwear shows. If so,
I know what I have to do!

And as for shorts – I can’t just check them standing up. I need to see
how much they reveal when I sit down. If I see too much leg, I need
a longer pair.

The “sit-down” check applies to my skirt or dress as well. And I must
remember to keep my skirt pulled down and my knees together when
I’m seated.
And speaking of skirts, watch out for those slits! Does it reveal too
much when I walk? Pins are also helpful here.

Before I leave, I need to give my skirt a sunlight check. Is it seethrough?
If so, I need a slip.

Finally, I must remember to do this modesty check with my shoes on.
High-heels make my dress or skirt appear shorter.

And don’t forget – this applies to formal wear as well.

A note on swimwear: It’s not easy but you can still strive to be
modest at the pool or beach. Look for one-piece bathing suits that
aren’t cut high on the leg and don’t have low necklines.

Modesty-Mary Mohler

"...Don’t blame the men around you who happen to be unfortu­nate enough to be within sight and say that they need to get their minds out of the gutter. Proverbs 30:20 says, “This is the way of an adulterous woman; she eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’” Ladies must remember what battles men face to stay pure as they are stimulated visually by women. They should never have it flaunted in their faces and to have it done at church is an abomination…..

Am I saying that my teenaged daughter cannot wear jeans, tee shirts, shorts, a bath­ing suit or skirts that are above her knee? No, there are times when certain garments within those categories are appropri­ate.

Am I saying that never, ever, not even once can she wear a halter top, tube top, cropped top, mini skirt, skin tight shirts, anything that shows cleavage or midriff, hip-hugger jeans and shirts that don’t meet, that she can’t even go into an Abercrombie store, that she can’t keep Clinique in business when she is 14, and that her Sunday clothes are going to be different from her other clothes? Yes, that is exactly what I am saying. Unlike the discount store whose tags say, “there are no rules,” her father and I believe there are rules. There are absolutes. There is a line that you just don’t cross. I hasten to add that it wouldn’t matter if her father was a seminary president or a ditch digger, the rules would be the same.

Do I sound like an authoritative parent? Good. Parents are to love, shepherd and nurture their precious children but they are also commanded to teach and admonish them, because they are still children. They need direction. So many parents have the nurturing part down, but they abdicate the whole authority issue. They allow their daughters to go out and “go along with the crowd, express themselves and develop their own personalities,” and when they come in looking like harlots, the parents throw up their hands and say, “She doesn’t seem to think like we do about fashion.”

Mothers of sons have often asked me, “What can we do? We don’t have daughters that we can influence, but we have sons that are looking at how your daughters dress.” Men of all ages struggle with this. It is our job as mothers of daughters to make sure that our daughters’ appearances are not causing males to stumble or causing females to point to them as examples to make their cases.

Richard Baxter, the great Puritan preacher, said to women, “And you must not lay a stumbling block in their way, nor blow up the fire of their lust, nor make your ornaments snares but you must walk among sinful persons as you would do with a candle among straw or gunpowder, or else you may see the flame which you would not foresee, when it is too late to quench it.” What a timely warning.

On the one hand, there is a world that says there are no rules and anything goes. Then you have some libertarian type Christians who cry, “Liberty, liberty, we are not under law, we are under grace. It doesn’t matter. Wear whatever you want to…”

Does God care how we dress? Yes, He does. He cares about every aspect of our lives. We are called to holiness, holiness in what we do, what we say, where we go, how we act, how we think, what we listen to, what we read, what we sing, and yes, how we dress. Scripture bears this out. Read Ephesians 5:8-10, 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 and 1 Peter 1:15 for starters. May God give us both the desire and the wisdom to live lives that are holy in every aspect. A lost world is watching." Mary Mohler

for the whole article, click here

to read a very convicting and encouraging excerpt from the book, Biblical Womanhood in the Home, on the topic of True Beauty by Carolyn Mahaney, click here

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Gabby and baby Lincoln

Well, it's been a fun few weeks with shooting (with a camera, folks!) little ones! :) I love it. This past week, I got to do some pictures of adorable 2 year old, Gabby, and her brand new brother, Lincoln. You can head on over to my photo blog (click here) for more of them. Their parents are friends of ours, and after the photo shoot, we got to stay for a great dinner. (I think I might start making that part of my contract!) :) They live on some lovely property, and we even got some shots of Gabby in the strawberry fields...which actually ended up being where we spent most of our time with her..she couldn't get enough! :)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Muscles

Lizzie was showing off her muscles yesterday to her daddy and said, "Look, daddy... I have big muscles...except, they're mushy!"

I'll have to use that line sometime! :)

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Faith of Abraham

I was reading this passage this morning and it made me cry. Yes, I cry alot, but that's not the point of this blog post! :)

I have to tell you, also, that it IS from the NLT. Sorry, but it's easyfor children and mothers to understand! :)

"Abraham NEVER waivered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was FULLY CONVINCED that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham's faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. It was recorded, for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God." Romans 4:20-25

I guess it made me I FULLY CONVINCED that God will do what he says, or does my faith waiver? His faith grew stronger, I just tend to get weary of waiting. Isn't God so good to give us examples of those who have gone before us to encourage us to keep trusting, keep pressing on. I'm sure that Abraham had no idea that his life, his faith, would be encouraging others thousands of years after his death. What about us? What will be our legacy?

"The only learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings." -George Mueller

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Baby Anna

Well, she's not technically a baby anymore...she turned one! And, I had the privilege of taking her one year old pictures. We had a lot of fun, and she was so cute, that I have no idea how to pick my favorites out of the hundreds that I have that turned out great! I take too many pictures, but I always think...better safe, than sorry! :) What a beautiful baby girl! :) I'll be posting some more of her on my photo blog tonight.

I love this picture

You know, sometimes you just take a picture and really like it. Maybe no one else does, and you're not sure why, but you just really like it. This is one of those pictures for me. I was taking some pictures at church for some new church signs they're making. This was one I took as an option for our youth group sign. Probably won't be the one, but I just like it every time I look at it. Anyhow, thought you all would love to see it, too! :)