Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No longer desolate....

This was part of my Matthew Henry reading last week. I thought it was beautiful and it reminded me of some favorite passages in Hosea 2 and Isaiah 54 so I wanted to share it. I hope this word picture encourages you too.

As most of you all who read my blog probably know, I'm a single woman (for now) so much of what I share is related to the struggles of the single woman who is trying to figure out where she fits in, to follow the Lord and wait on Him in her calling. The Lord has given me a desire to share a lot of my heart and walk with Him on this blog. As I've said before it can be hard and scary to be so transparent, and I feel so unqualified to do this with so many struggles of my own, but I hope the Lord will use it to help someone. Because of all this I'm excited to share with you that my dear friend Jenny and I are planning to share several posts on singleness, on the role God has for us as single women. Please stop by her blog today to read the first post, and stay tuned:-) as tomorrow I'm sharing my very first guest post which will continue the series on her blog! Before I go I also want to thank all of my married readers - you all are very welcome here too:-). Thanks to everyone who reads, follows, leaves encouraging comments, and prays for me. Please know that you have a sister in the Lord who is praying for you too.

Source: images.google.com via Stefanie on Pinterest


"Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzi-bah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.  For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee."


Isaiah 62:4-5



"...He shall call her his spouse....this is a yet greater honour, especially considering what a forlorn condition she had been in. Her case had been very melancholy. She was called forsaken and her land desolate during the captivity, like a woman reproachfully divorced or left a disconsolate widow. Such as the state of religion in the world before the preaching of the gospel—it was in a manner forsaken and desolate, a thing that no man looked after nor had any real concern for.
 It should now be very pleasant, for God would return in mercy to her. Instead of those two names of reproach, she shall be called by two honourable names. First, She shall be called


Hephzi-bah, which signifies, My delight is in her.....a proper name for a wife, who ought to be her husband's delight.  And here it is the church's Maker that is her husband: The Lord delights in thee. God by his grace has wrought that in his church which makes her his delight, she being refined, and reformed, and brought home to him; and then by his providence he does that for her which makes it appear that she is his delight and that he delights to do her good.



Secondly, She shall be called Beulah, which signifies married, whereas she had been desolate, a condition opposed to that of the married wife, "Thy land shall be married, that is, it shall become fruitful again, and be replenished." Though she has long been barren, she shall again be peopled, shall again be made to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children.

She shall be married, for... as a young man marries a virgin that he takes great delight in, is extremely fond of, and is likely to have many children by.... Her God (which is much better) shall betroth her to himself in righteousness. He will take pleasure in his church: As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, is pleased with his relation to her and her affection to him, so shall thy God rejoice over thee: he shall rest in his love to thee; he shall take pleasure in thee, and shall delight to do thee good with his whole heart and his whole soul. This is very applicable to the love Christ has for his church and the complacency he takes in it, which appears so brightly in Solomon's Song, and which will be complete in heaven."
Matthew Henry


Sharing with Emotions on TuesdaysHomemaker By ChoiceHandful of Heart Monday Proverbs 31 Thursdays,  Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers, Titus 2sdays,Wise Woman link up,  Growing Home  Far Above Rubies, My Inspiration Friday , Heavenly Homemakers, Making A Home,   A Holy Experience Women of Noble Character,  Encouraging One Another Thought Provoking Thursday,, Serenity NowBest Post of the weekWord Filled Wednesday, A Handful of HeartThe Better Mom,  Imperfect Prose,, Welcome HomeHope in every seasonGracefulOn Your heart Tuesday, Beautiful Mommy Feetand Soli Deo Gloria
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Monday, January 30, 2012

For when we feel broken....




"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are 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 also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body."
2 Corinthians 4:6-10




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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Psalm 96


 "O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.
 Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
 For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
 Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.
 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
 Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice
 Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth."


Stop by and visit my friend Jenny's blog, A Mother's Heritage, where she also shares a beautiful Psalm each Lord's day.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Lord will be your light....

Beautiful promises from my Matthew Henry reading in Isaiah 60:





"Thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, shalt know it by experience; for such a salvation, such a redemption, shall be wrought out for thee as plainly discovers itself to be the work of the Lord, the work of a mighty one, for it is a great salvation, of the Mighty One of Jacob, for it secures the welfare of all those that are Israelites indeed." They before knew the Lord to be their God; now they know him to be their Saviour, their Redeemer.


"The sun and the moon shall be no more thy light. God's people, when they enjoy his favour, and walk in the light of his countenance, make little account of sun and moon, and the other lights of this world, but could walk comfortably in the light of the Lord though they should withdraw their shining. In heaven there shall be no occasion for sun or moon, for it is the inheritance of the saints in light, such light as will swallow up the light of the sun as easily as the sun does that of a candle."


 "The happiness here promised shall know no change, period, or allay: "Thy sun shall no more go down, but it shall be eternal day, eternal sunshine, with thee; that shall not be thy sun which is sometimes eclipsed, often clouded, and, though it shine ever so bright, ever so warm, will certainly set and leave thee in the dark, in the cold, in a few hours; but he shall be a sun, a fountain of light to thee, who is himself the Father of all lights, with whom there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning,"


And the days of thy mourning shall be ended, so as never to return; for all tears shall be wiped away, and the fountains of them, sin and affliction, dried up, so that sorrow and sighing shall flee away for ever. Those that are entitled to this happiness, being duly prepared and qualified for it, shall never be put out of the possession of it.

 "It may seem to be delayed and put off so long that we are out of hopes of it; but, as the Lord will do it, so he will hasten it, will do it with all convenient speed; though much time may pass before it is done, no time shall be lost; he will hasten it in its time, in the proper time, in the season wherein it will be beautiful; he will do it in the time appointed by his wisdom, though not in the time prescribed by our folly. And this is really hastening it; for, though it seem to tarry, it does not tarry if it come in God's time, for we are sure that that is the best time, which he that believes will patiently wait for."



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Friday, January 27, 2012

Walking with the Lord....

The other day  I was shocked to see on facebook that someone that I know, from what now seems like another life, had died. As I read the announcement and all the comments from this person's friends it made me sad. There was no mention of the Lord, of where she was now, of hope of any kind. It got me thinking though, wondering what would be said if that was me, about how we never know which day might be our last, but most of all of the need to stay close to the Lord.

I think staying close to the Lord and realizing that I have my own walk with Him was one of the biggest lessons I learned over the past year. That I'm not my parents, my siblings, my friends, I'm not responsible for what others do, but for my actions, for my choices. That I can't control what other people do, but I can control my reactions to them. This section below taken from Francine River's Lineage of Grace has stayed with me ever since I first read it years ago:


Source: images.google.com via Stefanie on Pinterest

"When fear threatened to overwhelm her, she set her mind upon  the Lord, comforting herself with the thoughts of what God had already done for her. She sang Psalms to her son  - and clung to the promises in them. And every time she did these things, she felt an inner peace. The Lord was her shield, her deliverer, the lifter of her soul. Not her husband. He was only the man she loved, not the God she now worshiped.....Two years of suffering had awakened her. And so, she went down on her knees daily, bending her head to the floor each morning when she first awakened so that she could thank God for His blessings, and ask for His guidance. She prayed constantly that God would protect her husband and give him wisdom.....She was no longer a child filled with dreams, but a woman tempered by hardship and sorrow....when she lay down at night.....she praised God for all the day had held, both good and bad.

Every time her husband would add another wife or concubine to his harem the hurt would rise in her again. But she learned not to expect perfect love from him, for to have those expectations only increased her suffering. She refused to give in to the emotions tearing at her heart and remembered the source of  love. She turned her attention to God and His faithfulness to his people. She loved her husband, and she could still feel suffering, betrayal, confusion, and loneliness. 
But she was no longer in despair, no longer without hope. The Lord God of Israel taught her about love, faithfulness, forgiveness, provision, protection, peace, and compassion. Every time somone wounded her, she turned to God for healing and comfort. And the Lord was always there. For His love was perfect."
~ Unspoken by Francine Rivers


I love how she responds to suffering and that's the reaction I wish I always saw in myself when I have to deal with pain, letdowns, hardships and disappointments. It's a comfort to know that all the promises she speaks of are true for all those who love the Lord.

"Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
 For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great.
 What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose.
 His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth.
 The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.
 Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net."
Psalm 25:8-15

Sharing with  Homemaker By Choice Growing Home  and  Weekend Whatever.



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Thursday, January 26, 2012

In the kitchen...

Though I don't seem to talk about it much on this blog, along with reading, and babies, and blogging, cooking and simply working in the kitchen are things I've always enjoyed. I grew up cooking and baking for my family of 15, and now I do most of my cooking in the E''s kitchen. Over the past week I finally got around to trying some of the recipes I've been pinning on pinterest:-). These rolls were quite a hit - so easy, fast, and yummy!  My brother and I enjoyed some of them for lunch, and the rest went to friends. I posted on facebook that I was making them and two of  my other friends also decided to mix up a batch that day!

The granola recipe below looked and sounded so good that I had to try it. Emily, Beka, and I had fun mixing it up and getting creative with a couple ingredient substitutions. I'm looking forward to enjoying some for my breakfast:-)

30 Minute Rolls Recipe 

1 C plus 2 Tbsp warm water
 1/3 C oil 
2 Tbsp yeast
 1/4 C sugar 
1/2 tsp salt 
1 egg
 3 1/2 C flour
 Heat oven to 400 degrees. In your mixer bowl combine the water, oil, yeast and sugar and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Using your dough hook, mix in the salt, egg and flour. Knead with hook until will incorporated and dough is soft and smooth. (Just a few minutes) Form dough into 12 balls and then place in a greased 9 x 13 pan and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden brown.





Ingredients: 4 cups old fashioned rolled oats (use gluten free if your sensitive to gluten)
 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup sugar substitute of choice (I used real sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
 1 tsp baking powder
 3/4 cups pumpkin
 1/2 cup applesauce (I used homemade applebutter since we didn't have any applesauce)
 3 tablespoons sugar free maple syrup (or honey or agave nectar) (I used honey)
Optional add-ins: 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, 1 cup honey teddy grahams lightly crushed

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry using a spatula, (or your hands), until everything is well combined and oats are coated with wet ingredients.
 2. Place granola on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, then stir granola around. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the granola is golden brown and is crisp. Take the granola out of the oven, and let it cool completely on the baking sheet. Stir in additional white chocolate chips or teddy grahams at this point if  desired. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Trust...


"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."
Job 13:15

"This is a high expression of faith, and what we should all labour to come up to—to trust in God, though he slay us, that is, we must be well pleased with God as a friend even when he seems to come forth against us as an enemy. We must believe that all shall work for good to us even when all seems to make against us. We must proceed and persevere in the way of our duty, though it cost us all that is dear to us in this world, even life itself. We must depend upon the performance of the promise when all the ways leading to it are shut up. We must rejoice in God when we have nothing else to rejoice in, and cleave to him, yea, though we cannot for the present find comfort in him. In a dying hour we must derive from him living comforts; and this is to trust in him though he slay us."
Matthew Henry on Job 13

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wise children...


Sometimes I have a post that comes very much from my heart. Those are the ones that I find it very hard to click on the publish button. It makes me feel vulnerable putting so much of myself 'out there' and also scares me that someone who doesn't know me in real life might think from my writing that I have it all together. Let me tell you, I don't. I'm imperfect. I struggle. I cry. I write, and talk at myself, and even get talked at by loved ones when I need it! But when the Lord helps me, teaches me, shows me things - I want to share. That's what this blog is about, sharing the things that have helped and encouraged, and sometimes excited me, in my walk with the Lord. This post was one of those that I was scared to publish....


Source: google.com via Stefanie on Pinterest


.....It's on our Lord's day morning's sermon  preached on 2 Timothy 3:15: "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." In many ways it was directed at the numerous children and parents in our congregation. I found myself feeling blessed that we have a pastor who cares so much about the souls of the little ones....and I would highly recommend this as one your family could listen to together. 


Yet at the same time I have to confess that sermons like this leave me feeling sad and wistful - I pray for the day when the Lord gives me my own children to love and teach. But as Pastor was speaking on how all of us have someone, or many 'someones' looking up to us and watching us I realized something which changed my feelings. Or perhaps I should say the Lord showed me something.....but I stopped and thought about my situation. The Lord has placed me in a church with dozens of young children and given me various opportunities over the past years of helping with different ones. But most of all He's put me in a family with seven children whom I love very much. It hit me -  
He has given me children. 
Not in the normal way, but for now they are a huge part of my life. I was given a new resolve, with the Lord's help, to do my best, to focus on this responsibility, to invest in, and pray for them. I realized I could embrace this season and give it my best. Or someday I can look back on it and see that I wasted a lot of time and energy that could have been spent in God's service, on longing for tomorrow and all that it held. Even looking back now I can see so much that God has taught me in this time, about Himself, about living in a Christian family, and what that means, ways of serving Him, and on and on. That's not to say I don't still want a family of my own, that I won't pray for that, or even ever feel sad, or cry - if I said any of those things I wouldn't be being honest, but I'm thankful God gave me a different way of looking at this, and that - for now - he has blessed me with family.

I should also say that there was so much more to the sermon than what I just shared. It was a blessing in many ways for many people and I hope you can listen.



Sharing with Emotions on TuesdaysHomemaker By Choice, Handful of Heart Monday Proverbs 31 Thursdays,  Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers, Titus 2sdays,Wise Woman link up,  Growing Home  Far Above Rubies, My Inspiration Friday , Heavenly Homemakers, Making A Home,   A Holy Experience Women of Noble Character,  Encouraging One Another Thought Provoking Thursday,, Serenity NowBest Post of the week,Word Filled Wednesday, A Handful of HeartThe Better Mom,  Imperfect Prose,, Welcome HomeHope in every seasonGraceful, On Your heart Tuesday, Weekly Blog Hop, Thankful Thursday, Finding Graceand Soli Deo Gloria



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Monday, January 23, 2012

Miscellany Monday

Just for fun I thought I would join in at Miscellany Monday this week -

1. It's gray and rainy today - as it has been a lot this winter. I'm not complaining though, I'm grateful I haven't had to drive in snow or ice yet:-)

2. I'm looking forward to reading this! I just watched the movie Courageous again with the Es on Friday and it's so good even if it does make me cry. That's the kind of man I want to marry someday if the Lord wills.


3. I'm enjoying this little guy so much. He gets cuter every day and is so much fun to be with. There's something so special about baby smiles, a baby holding out his arms to you, or crawling across the room to you and pulling himself up on your legs to be picked up. I'm so thankful the Lord has given me babies to love.


4. I'm still working on Isaiah in the Matthew Henry commentary challenge. This section from chapter 57 really stood out to me:

"....He will have a tender regard to those who, being in affliction, accommodate themselves to their affliction, and bring their mind to their condition, be it ever so low and ever so sad and sorely broken—those that are truly penitent for sin, who mourn in secret for it, and have a dread of the wrath of God, which they have made themselves obnoxious to, and are submissive under all his rebukes. Now, First, With these God will dwell. He will visit them graciously, will converse familiarly with them by his word and Spirit, as a man does with those of his own family; he will be always nigh to them and present with them. He that dwells in the highest heavens dwells in the lowest hearts and inhabits sincerity as surely as he inhabits eternity. In these he delights. Secondly, He will revive their heart and spirit, will speak that to them, and work that in them by the word and Spirit of his grace, which will be reviving to them, as a cordial to one that is ready to faint. He will give them reviving joys and hopes sufficient to counterbalance all the griefs and fears that break their spirits. He dwells with them, and his presence is reviving."

5. I love getting packages in the mail - especially when it's a fun surprise:-). This arrived from my sister on Saturday:-). Those of you who know me in real life:-) know I raised dairy goats with my siblings when I was younger (and that I love chocolate) so this was a good gift!


6. I loved this thought on living for eternity from Ann Voskamp's blog last week.
 "There’s a way to do work that lasts forever. Just do everything with love."
Speaking of blogs, I just discovered this one 365 Devotions for Unmarried Women and am looking forward to following it through the year.

7. I'm feeling so blessed by yesterday's sermons at church! The one sermon on children from the morning service I hope to share a post on sometime soon. In the afternoon we reached 1 Samuel 30. I'd been looking forward to this because it contains a favorite verse about David encouraging himself in the Lord his God. I hope you can go listen.

8. This week looks to be busy. We're back in the swing of the school schedule, plus normal work, projects, a meal to cook for friends, and some reading....hope you all have a blessed day.





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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Psalm 95


"O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,
 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.
 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:
 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest."


Stop by and visit my friend Jenny's blog, A Mother's Heritage, where she also shares a beautiful Psalm each Lord's day.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

A meditation....




Q. What improvement ought we to make of Christ’s incarnation?

A. To claim him as our own, in virtue of his wearing our nature, saying, “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given,” Isaiah 9:6; or, which is the same thing, to follow the practice of Ruth, in lying down at the feet of our blessed Boaz, saying, “Spread thy skirt over me;” that is, take me, a poor bankrupt sinner, into a marriage relation with thee, “for thou art my near kinsman,” Ruth 3:9.


~A  catechism question that I got from our catechism class many Lord's days ago and thought was beautiful.



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Friday, January 20, 2012

Comfort....






















             
             What is thy only comfort in life and death?

That I with body and soul, both in life and death, 
am not my own, 
but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; 
who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, 
and delivered me from all the power of the devil; 
and so preserves me 
that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head;
yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, 
and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, 
and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him.

Question 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism



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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hope....

This verse from Psalm 42 is on my mind today. Yesterday, providentially Jenny talked about it with us in morning family worship, then unknowingly Mr E went to the same verse that evening. We decided the Lord wanted us to meditate on that particular passage!









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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1