Friday, December 31, 2010


photo © kari mcgrath 2008

I have been re-reading what I consider to be one of the best books I have ever read...Spiritual Depression by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. This book is a collection of sermons he preached on consecutive Sunday mornings at Westminster Chapel in London, where he was preacher. He was also a medical doctor. D Martyn Lloyd-Jones retired from Westminster Chapel in 1968 and died in 1981.

I have not been reading through it chapter by chapter this time, but rather just referencing it at various chapters. These sermons cover such topics (dealing with depression) as temperaments, feelings, false teaching, being weary in well doing, dwelling on the past or the future, chastening of the Lord, trials, contentment and everything in between. He goes over reasons a Christian may be spiritually depressed and then gives you ways to deal with that particular area of struggle. It always culminates in preaching the gospel to yourself, rather than listening to yourself. I highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you struggle with depression or not. My temperament is such that I do struggle off and on with mild depression. I am very introspective. It's been a great help to me at various times in my life and one I'm sure I will reference for the rest of my days.

This morning I read the chapter on "Feelings." I leave you with these last few paragraphs from this chapter:

"...If you want to be truly happy and blessed, if you would like to know true joy as a Christian, here is the prescription-'Blessed (truly happy) are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness'--not after happiness. Do not go on seeking thrills; seek righteousness. Turn to yourself, turn to your feelings and say: 'I have no time to worry about feelings, I am interested in something else. I want to be happy but still more I want to be righteous, I want to be holy. I want to be like my Lord, I want to live in this world as he lived, I want to walk through it as He walked through it.' You are in this world, says John in his first Epistle, even as He was. Set your whole aim upon righteousness and holiness and as certainly as you do so you will be blessed, you will be filled, you will get the happiness you long for. Seek for happiness and you will never find it, seek righteousness and you will discover that you are happy--it will be there without your knowing it, without your seeking it.

Finally, let me put it this way: 'Do you want to know supreme joy, do you want to experience a happiness that eludes description? There is only one thing to do, really seek Him, seek Him Himself, turn to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If you find that your feelings are depressed do not sit down and commiserate with yourself, do not try to work something up but-this is the simple essence of it-go directly to Him and seek His face, as the little child who is miserable and unhappy because somebody else has broken his toy, runs to its father or its mother.

So, if you and I find ourselves afflicted by this condition, there is only one thing to do, it is to go to Him. If you seek the Lord Jesus Christ and find Him there is no need to worry about your happiness and your joy. He is our joy and our happiness, even as He is our peace. He is life, He is everything. So avoid the incitements and the temptations of Satan to give feelings this great prominence at the centre. Put at the centre the only One who has a right to be there, the Lord of Glory, Who so loved you tat He went to the cross and bore the punishment and the shame of your sins and died for you. Seek Him, seek His face, and all other things shall be added unto you."

(p. 117-118, Spiritual Depression, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Suffering as a Christian

photo © kari mcgrath 2008

"..It was no exaggeration when [John] Bunyan wrote, 'Our days have been days of trouble, especially since the discovery of the Popish plot, for then we began to fear cutting of throats, of being burned in our beds, and of seeing our children dashed in pieces before our faces.'

What, then, would he say to his people to prepare them for the probability of their suffering for Christ? Would he say, with the old-fashioned liberal, 'I believe that pain and suffering are never the will of God for his children?' Would he say with the modern day open theist, 'Christians frequently speak about 'the purpose of God' in the midst of a tragedy caused by someone else...But this I regard to simply be a piously confused way of thinking?' No, this would have been biblically and pastorally unthinkable for John Bunyan, whose blood was 'bibline.'

He takes his text from 1 Peter 4:19, 'Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their soul to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.' Then he explains the text with these observations:

It is not what enemies will, not what they are resolved upon, but what God
wil, and what God appoints, that shall be done...And as no enemy can bring
suffering upon a man when the will of God is otherwise, so no man can save
himself out of their hands when God will deliver him up for his glory...We shall
or shall not suffer, even as it pleaseth him...God has appointed who shall
suffer. Suffering comes not by chance or by the will of man, but by the will and
appointment of God.' "

(from The Hidden Smile of God, John Piper)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

"...Oh, how surprised angels were, when they were first informed that Jesus Christ, the prince of Light and Majesty, intended to shroud himself in clay and become a babe, and live and die! We know not how it was first mentioned to the angels, but when the rumor first began to get afloat among the sacred hosts, you may imagine what strange wonderment there was. What! was it true that he whose crown was all bedight with stars, would lay that crown aside? What! was it certain that he about whose shoulders was cast the purple of the universe, would become a man dressed in a peasant's garment? Could it be true that he who was everlasting and immortal would one day be nailed to a cross? Oh! how their wonderment increased! They desired to look into it. And when he descended from on high, they followed him; for Jesus was 'seen of angels', and seen in a special sense, for they looked upon him in rapturous amazement, wondering what it all could mean. 'He for our sakes became poor.' Do you see him as on that day of heaven's eclipse he did ungird his majesty? Oh, can ye conceive the yet increasing wonder of the heavenly hosts when the deed was actually done, when they saw the tiara taken off, when they saw him unbind his girdle of stars, and cast away his sandals of gold? Can ye conceive it, when he said to them, 'I do not disdain the womb of the virgin; I am going down to earth to become a man?' Can you picture them as they declared they would follow him! Yes, they followed him as near as the world would permit them. And when they came to earth they began to sing, 'Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men.' Nor would they go away till they had made the shepherds wonder, and till heaven had hung out new stars in honor of the new-born King. And now wonder, ye angels, the Infinite has become and infant; he, upon whose shoulders the universe doth hang, hangs at his mother's breast; he who created all things, and bears up the pillars of creation, hath now become so weak that he must be carried by a woman! And oh wonder, ye that knew him in his riches, whilst ye admire his poverty! Where sleeps the newborn King? Had he the best room in Caesar's palace? hath a cradle of gold been prepared for him, and pillows of down, on which to rest his head? No, where the ox fed, in the dilapidated stable, in the manger, there the Savior lies, swathed in the swaddling bands of the children of poverty!....

...Oh, Son of Man, I know not which to admire most, thine height of glory, or the depths of thy misery! Oh, Man, slain for us, shall we not exalt thee? God over all, blessed for ever, shall we not give thee the loudest song? 'He was rich, yet for our sakes, he became poor.' If I had a tale to tell you this day, of some king, who, out of love to some fair maiden, left his kingdom and became a peasant like herself, ye would stand and wonder, and would listen to the charming tale; but when I tell of God concealing his dignity to become our Savior, our hearts are scarcely touched. Ah, my friends, we know the tale so well, we have heard it so many times; and, alas, some of us tell it so badly that we cannot expect that you would be as interested in it as the subject doth demand. But, surely, as it is said of some great works of architecture, that though they be seen every morning, there is always something fresh to wonder at; so we may say of Christ, that though we saw him every day, we should always see fresh reason to love and wonder and adore.."

(C.H.Spurgeon, "The Condescension of Christ", Spurgeon's Sermons)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Saving Money with After Christmas Sales

Good article HERE! Of course, I'd have to add that the best way to save after Christmas is to stay at home! :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things....

Recently, Shane asked that we turn the TV off Monday-Wednesday nights, when the kids go to bed, so that we can just read.

It's gotten us both back into reading more, and I will tell is something I look forward to lately. When the days are long, and I'm tired, I know respite is coming!

The kids go to bed, the Christmas tree lights are on, with light music playing in the background, drinking hot tea, and reading on the couch with the man who thrills my's become one of my favorite things.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things....

One of my favorite boy in his favorite blue and yellow striped pajamas. :)
(sigh...can I just keep him like this?)

Merry Christmas week (almost!)

Wow! Christmas is next week! How did this happen? This Christmas season has FLOWN for me! Sorry I haven't written in awhile. It's been busy around here, and at times in the past few weeks, my mind has been distracted.

We still haven't sold our house in Kentucky. I realize this is God's will for us, and we continue to trust our God, that He has a greater purpose for us in NOT selling it at this time. This causes us more and more to rely on Him and humble ourselves before Him. He is in control. We trust that. At the same time, we are weak and frail and struggle through it, reminding ourselves daily of who He is and that He changes not. However, He has given us peace and we know He has good in all of this for us. I'll keep you updated!

This has been a simple Christmas season. And, I'm thankful for that. We haven't been bombarded with 'hustle and bustle.' It's a simple "giving" Christmas..which means, we're not giving alot to our kids and family! :) But, we realize this is good for them. :) So, I really haven't been running here and there buying. So, I guess that's kept it low-key.

We had a some sweet new friends here loan us one of their Christmas trees. Shane brought back four Christmas totes from Kentucky last time he went as a surprise to me. :) He just kind of randomly grabbed a few and made sure to get the ones with our stockings (the only thing I asked him to bring back). He surprised me with our manger, however he left "baby Jesus and His family" back in Kentucky! :) ha!

We decided just to put up some white lights on the tree, a fabric garland I made years ago in California (when we had no decorations!), and make paper snowflakes to keep it simple. I found some green burlap I had bought last year and used as a table runner and used that as our tree skirt. However, I think it's one of my favorite trees we've had. :) Simple is good. I guess it just felt "homey" to me, somehow. With all the snow coming down in Northern Indiana, it's been a very comfy Christmas. We are home. We have each other. We have Christ. I couldn't ask for more.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

1000 Gifts (166+)....

166. not one, but FOUR free Colts (vs. Dallas) tickets. Hubby gets to take the kids. They'll never forget that. Thank you to my Lord and our very giving, kind new friends.

167. patient, gentle husband, who leads me in the ways of the Lord

168. that the dark days are gone and for now I see light

169. snow, glorious snow!

170. a great 24 hours with our dear friends, Jacob and Jama, and sweet boy, Isaac

171. that God is bigger than my pride or jealousy or discontentment

172. a pantry and fridge/freezer full of food

173. that all of our NEEDS are met

174. a free (to borrow) Christmas tree, that fits our living room just perfect! Thank you, J.H.!!

175. for paper snowflakes

176. salvage grocery store...helping me save lots

177. christmas movies

178. knowing you're not alone when you struggle

179. that God knows the plans He has, and His ways are not our ways, so even when we don't understand, we can TRUST

180. the Jesse Tree Advent, reminding me of the whole story

181. that He chose me before the world was formed, in spite of who He knew I was

182. for family...ones that are close, ones that are not-so-close right now (emotionally, physically)..we are thankful for all of them, and love them all dearly, and pray for them all

183. the anticipation of Christmas morning

184. children...I realize that any holiday wouldn't be as fun without them

185. restoration

186. little boy cheek to rest my cheek on...ahhh

187. church is tomorrow

188. freedom from the need to overspend this Christmas season

189. homemade deep dish pizza that hubby loves...I love making him happy

190. clothes on my laundry room floor..means we have more than enough

191. a clean kitchen (thank you sweet hubby)

192. good books

193. my new ESV study bible..thank you honey, merry christmas to me!

194. the freedom to homeschool my children..even when it's hard..especially when it's hard, because it pushes me to grow past my impatience and selfishness

195. encouragement