Archive for the ‘deeper things’ Category

Sweet reminder

April 8, 2010

Good friends of ours are in Argentina planting a church.

A little while ago Leann posted this ABCs of Christian Parenting list on her blog.

I’ve been wanting to share it since I read it, but for some reason, until recently, when I tried opening her blog I would get re-directed to another site.

Now that it’s fixed I’m so glad to post this here.

Make sure to head over to Leann’s blog to keep up to date with their little family, the oh-so-dashing Mr. Parker and sweet-as-can-be, London Kate, as well as their blog about life in Argentina.

The ABC’s of Christian Parenting

A – Affirm who your children are in Christ.
B – Build a foundation of love and trust.
C – Communicate openly and often.
D – Discipline consistently and fairly.
E – Expect the best of them.
F – Forgive frequently.
G – Give unconditional love.
H – Help them to grow spiritually.
I – Invest time in them.
J – Join in family night fun.
K – Keep Christ central in your home.
L – Live what you teach.
M – Make your home atmosphere positive.
N – Notice and commend achievements.
O – Organize family vacations
P – Pray for them faithfully.
Q – Quote Scripture when appropriate.
R – Release them as they’re ready.
S – Set a good example.
T – Train them well in the ways of the Lord
U – Understand their God – given gifts.
V – Value each child individually.
W – Welcome creativity.
X – eXplain why when you say no.
Y – Yearn to see them become all they can be.
Z – Zero in on Christian values.

Thank you again for sharing this Leann!!! Love you friend!!

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late night…

April 2, 2010

He came…it was foretold…and He came…to ransom sinners…to lay down His life that this clay pot and many others would have the opportunity of a lifetime…to move from slavery to death into life as a bond-servant to Almighty God…He came…and gave up all…for clay pots…

But, as is the case on many occassions, I’ve found another source that puts it better.

The other day I mentioned the new CD that came in the mail…and this song is so appropriate…a reminder…to not forget how a relationship with God Almighty was made possible…

Redemption Song

Voice of mercy, breath of God

Life from life, sustaining us

Earth below and skies above

Beautiful redemption’s song


Melodies like morning rise

Darkness leaning toward the dawn

Into our sorrow sings the light

A beautiful redemption song


Hallelujah, love is come

Hallelujah, God with us

Hope restored and death undone

Beautiful redemption song


Weeping will not last the night

Nor will sadness be for long

Joy was born of sacrifice

Beautiful redemption song


Let the wounded come and see

Empty grave and lifted stone

Sinners saved and captives free

A beautiful redemption song


Hallelujah, love is come

Hallelujah, God with us

Hope restored and death undone

Beautiful redemption song

Beautiful redemption song

Beautiful redemption song
And…very soon…an interview (!!!) with the very talented Adie Camp and an opportunity to win Just You and Me, her latest album. But…in case you just can’t wait to hear Redemption Song for yourself…you can purchase the full album here or via the always convenient I.Tunes!

Have a blessed weekend as you celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus!

Tofu can wait

March 31, 2010

You know how I love getting stuff in the mail.

Especially when I know it’s coming…I rush to the mail box when I see the mail Jeep pull up.

Sometimes I’m an early bird and the package I’m waiting for hasn’t arrived.

Today, our mail carrier didn’t disappoint.

But, first…a glimpse into my heart over the last few months…and how it’s culminated in the last few days.

A few months back I began a series titled, “When the Church Forgot Eternity”…and then I stopped…I just wasn’t ready…it was sounding bitter…

That was not what I needed to communicate.

But the message remained…always resurfacing in my quiet times…in my heart…and on my mind as I seek to raise up little people in the ways of the Lord.

Some of the questions that played over and over…

Why do we have SO much and still seek out more?

Why do we live in relative oblivion to the needs around us…both near and far…?

Why do we, as Christians, justify luxury upon luxury for ourselves…especially when it’s opposite what Jesus calls us to?

Why do we forsake the Biblical principals that are so direct yet still assume that the grace promised to those who follow Jesus will be applicable to us when one day we stand before His throne?

Why do we allow a culture of bigger, better, more, more, more drag us in…to the point that we disobey the One who paid such a high price to ransom us from the world around us?

And from the why’s…from the why’s I turn inward…

What do I do?

How do I live in light of Paul exhorting the church then, and me today, to “have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

How do I then live…in light of truth revealed?

What needs to go…from my life…my heart…my habits?

How do I pass this on to our little people as we go about our day to day?

Not out of misunderstanding that we’ll attain what He’s freely promised…but IN RESPONSE.

Swirling…all these questions…before the throne of God…in the discussions between my husband and I when the little people are in bed and the house is semi-picked up.

Then yesterday I went back…back to this blog…not to check for updated posts…but to get info to pass on to someone else…not knowing then how badly I needed this message reiterated.

And I started reading…because Katie has posted a few times since the last time I was introduced to her blog several months ago…and this post in particular got me.

It’s the message that’s been spoken to my heart over the last long while… it was there too.

An exhortation from a girl who has so evidently given up all and taken up her cross to follow her Savior.

It’s not going to look like that for me.

The Word is clear that I’m to love my husband, my children…be a worker at home (Titus 2:3-5)…but it doesn’t mean I’m exempt from obedience to everything else Jesus commanded.

I’m not.

Matthew 25:32-46 is just as applicable to me in my circumstances as it is to Katie…in Africa.

And then this…back to why I was again like a garfield cat…

🙂

…waiting for the mail to come…

An album, that as I type, is reiterating the eternal perspective that MUST be set aflame daily…a woman who lives in fellowship with her Lord…with her husband…a mother and shepherd of her children’s hearts…

And the album is good.

Exhorting.

Encouraging.

Inviting me to sit at His feet in spite of the laundry sitting at mine.

The message that’s being kindled as I listen is needed.

The heart of God through Adie.

But I don’t want to put words in her mouth…I want you to hear from her for yourself.

And that’s why I’m really looking forward to sharing her words with you soon.

Plus.

Her album.

One of you will get a copy to pop in your CD player…so you can listen and be encouraged for yourself.

Now you know why the meal from the other night is on the sidelines today.

Why our thrift store finds and trip to the zoo are in the green room.

Something else came up.

A bit nearer to my heart than the latest recipe or bargain…those things will be there for me to share tomorrow.

This. It couldn’t wait.

Stay tuned…for tofu, $10 coffee tables, how we enjoyed the heat wave that swept through Colorado for 10 minutes yesterday…and Adie…the message God’s put in her heart.

I’m sure she’ll be a blessing.

memorable moment & training tips

March 25, 2010

(Giveaway details here)

A memory is formed in an instant…

But with baby brain, even the sweetest memories are bound to be forgotten without proper documentation…

Hope, Seth, and I were headed downstairs this morning.

I was carrying three of these…

Two of these…

This (Hope insisted Seth wanted to take it with us)…


My phone.

Oh, and one of these…

As in my super smiley little mister

Hope was carrying this…


When she turned to me at the top of the stairs and asked me to carry these…

Because, as she put it, “Mama, you please carry these for me…my hands kinda too full”.

…smile and sigh…

“darling girl…of course I’ll carry them for you.”

—–  *  —–

Yesterday I mentioned that we’re in the business of planting seeds around here. Little veggies yes, but more importantly God’s Word in our little peoples hearts.

The mind of a child is incredible you know. The ability to recall and memorize is at its absolute best right now.

So we’re trying to make the most of it.

Trusting that God will produce as much or as little fruit in their lives from the seeds we’re planting as He wills, but also knowing we’re called to train them up.

There are three verses that have really shaped our approach to training up our little people:

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” ~Romans 10:17

and

“So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” ~Isaiah 55:11

and

“Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” ~Psalm 119:11

Alright…that’s the foundation.

From there a couple of conclusions were drawn:

1. Part of training is helping our little people hide the Word of God in their hearts. At no other time in their life will their mind be more of a sponge than now so we’re starting now…we’re not worried about them “getting it” all right now but we certainly want to plant that little seed now so it’s there for God to grow into a producing truth throughout their life when He sees fit.

Here’s a side note…when I was very small…4, maybe 5…my mom played these Kids Praise CDs in the car for us. One of the songs was Ephesians 4:32…to this day I can remember the tune and “lyrics” of that song…couldn’t tell you much of anything I learned in high school or college but I can remember that song. And, more importantly, it being planted there has allowed the Lord to bring it to my recollection numerous times throughout my life at just.the.right.moment.

2. Faith comes by hearing. I’m not sure about this. I’ll be the first to state that it’s just one of my many theories…but I can’t help but wonder if  many a Christian parent takes for granted that their first mission field is to their children?

Bible studies are great.

Ministering in your church is great.

Participating in world wide missions are great.

But first and foremost, our children need us to shepherd and minister to them because until they profess Jesus as Lord and Savior, begin walking in surrender to His will, they are in need of hearing the Gospel again and again and again.

3. And this is where I sigh the biggest sigh…God is responsible for the fruit. Thank you Lord it’s not my responsibility to make something happen! But…that is no excuse to not participate, to plant, and to tend.

There…I will now put my soap box back in the corner and get on with it.

🙂

Here are the resources we’re using around here to provide planting opportunities…they’re all a means to an end…the end being constant planting of Scripture in little people hearts…trusting in the God of the Word to take it from there.

1. Steve Green’s Hide ‘Em In Your Heart Bible verse CDs and DVDs, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2

-Brace yourself for a trip back to the early 90s! Contemporary Christian artist Steve Green and a slew of little people sing Bible verses as they sport their neon attire! I love both of these sets because the CDs are great for the car while the DVDs make for a great mid-morning video. The kids play and act out a skit according to the theme of the verse. Bottom line, what Hope is hearing and retaining is Scripture. Plus the skits provide conversation starters while we’re watching!

2. Playtime Devotions

– I sent this to a friend…rightfully so she thought the devos were a little cheesy…I think they’re a little cheesy…and I’m cheesy! But again…a means to an end. We do a handful of these together as a family before Alex leaves to go to work each morning. And because Hope is able to speak pretty well, Alex will say a part of the verse, let her repeat it, say the rest of the verse, let her repeat, and then give the address…which she repeats. Want to know something? She’ll ask for specific devos according to the Bible verse. Seeds are being planted.

3. Jesus Wants All of Me Prayer Edition

Oswald Chambers. Did you know he came to know the Lord under the teaching of Charles Spurgeon? Yep. Sound stuff. And this little book is the daily devos from Chambers daily devo, My Utmost for His Highest, written in the language of little people. However, cue the broken record…it’s a means to an end…Hope listens and repeats the verse and prayer that’s included with each devo.

4. My Utmost for His Highest, Jesus Wants All of Me

This one is on my list of books to check out…the only difference between this book and the one listed above is that it doesn’t include the prayer at the end…and I’ll be honest, it’s a blessing to be able to lead Hope in prayer every day with the simple format that’s given in the other book. That said, I’d still like to check this one out.

5. Songs for Saplings

– I have purchased a great many ABC Bible verse CDs and this is my favorite…for one reason: it includes the verse address in the song. I like that…helps me to remember them better that way.

6. Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers

– These books were sent to us by our good friends the Stimson’s just before the little mister arrived. They’re theologically sound and provide a great opportunity to discuss a few of the bigger topics in the Bible.

7. My ABC Bible Verses

– Nearly the last time with the broken record…each verse starts with the corresponding letter in the alphabet and includes a story to illustrate the verse. This book provides an opportunity for discussion and more importantly an opportunity to read/recite the corresponding Bible verse.

Hope is currently stuck on E…”Even a child is known by his deeds” ~Proverbs 20:11…good verse.

8. And finally, Bible verses throughout our home that we can read and repeat as we see them throughout the day.

It’s just about planting. As I was gathering the links to these resources I came across this quote:

“To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect.” John Owen

Well said. A good reminder that though we’re called to participate and train, it is only by the power of God in us that will enable us to do so day in and day out.

*Any resources you’re using? I’m always looking for ways to expose our little people to the truth of God’s Word…so if you have any on your bookshelf or in your CD player that you just love, please share!

deeper things: the heart of Jesus

March 22, 2010

This song is such a reminder to me of the deep love that was shown through Jesus…impartial…knowing no societal bounds…I am so thankful this Monday morning to know that this is who sits at the right hand of God.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” ~Philippians 2:5-8

deeper things: “and binding Jesus”

March 11, 2010

Yep…that’s what it says…right there in Mark 15:1.

Crazy isn’t it? They bound the Son of God. God…as in the One who created all things. Yep. Bound Him.

That leaves one thing unstated yet obvious: He allowed it.

It would be crazy to conclude otherwise.

And in Philippians Paul writes, “have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus”.

What attitude? Among other things, Jesus allowed Himself to be bound by mere mortals…by the ones HE CREATED.

Did you catch that part? The part about Him…creating…?

He gave up His rights. His rights to heaven and all its glory. He gave it all up to rescue us.

What attitude? The one that accepts that I have no rights to x, y, and z.

No rights.

If I am really His.

Then why live like I’m above how Jesus lived? Why live like I have rights to x, y, and z? Why?

Because I’ve forgotten I’m a clay pot.

Meant to be filled and poured out at the discretion of the Potter.

Just a clay pot.

If I’m His, containing a great treasure is certainly part of the equation, but how silly to mistake the clay pot to be the treasure.

Silly…foolish…misleading…no rights.

“Woe to one who quarrels with his Maker – an earthenware vessel among the vessels of the earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘Has he no hands?” ~ Isaiah 45:9

deeper things: Contentment by Rosemary Shaumburg

March 5, 2010

This was too good to not share. All of it. Rosemary is the wife of counselor and author Dr. Harry Shaumburg (he wrote this book and this book). I hope her wisdom challenges you.

Twenty years or so ago I stood in my tiny kitchen in New York City preparing dinner for my husband and two sons. I had the radio on, listening to an interview with Francis Schaeffer. He made a statement that burned into my head and heart:

“If I’m not content, it’s because I am not letting God be God or I have ceased to be thankful.”

Those words came to me during a period of great discontent. We had had significant and long-term issues to deal with concerning the health of our children. I hated living in the city without so much as a blade of grass for them to play in, even at the park. Life just seemed utterly difficult in every way. I could not make sense of it, nor come to terms with what God was doing—or not doing.

Dr. Schaeffer’s statement played in my mind like an endlessly cycling tape. It was obvious that I was not content. As for letting God be God, I knew that I wanted him to do things he wasn’t doing. I had accused him of inactivity in our lives. He seemed rather inattentive when it came to good things. Plenty of bad stuff happened, but we were very lacking in what I would have considered his “blessing.” As for thankfulness, I had a very short list.

Hearing Dr. Schaeffer make that statement on the radio as I chopped vegetables in my tiny kitchen was no haphazard incident. It was definitely God at work in my life, very faithfully, as he had been all along. He was about the business of changing me, not my circumstances—which happened to be the exact opposite of what I had in mind, hence my discontent. That moment marked a huge step forward in my thinking and my mind being changed regarding God’s purpose and my/our circumstances.

Since that time I have had plenty of opportunity (thousands of times, I’m sure) to revisit that statement. Discontentment seems to live just barely beneath my skin, ready to erupt at a microsecond’s notice. When it does, I have to deal with the fact that I am not letting God be God, or I have ceased to be thankful. Probably both, since I’ve found that I can’t really do one without the other. Recognizing discontentment immediately and renewing my mind with what God has revealed about himself in Scripture and who I am in light of that has the spontaneous effect of thankfulness. When I understand who God is, I am happy to turn all over to him with a thankful, grateful heart.

An overall attitude of contentment affects every aspect of life, great and small. I don’t think it is so much a matter of ‘looking’ for things for which to be thankful. That seems artificial to me, and when I’ve tried that, it peters out pretty quickly. Genuine contentment is spontaneous, an outcome of loving God’s sovereignty. If meditating on God’s character is the starting point in dealing with my discontent it has a true foundation rather than making out a ‘thankful list’, helpful though that may be.

1 Timothy 6:6-7 says, “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” The godliness comes first. It is–and I know this a scorned word these days—foundational. Without godliness, all we’re left with is trying to manage our own happiness. That can work for a while, but it will not endure when the going gets tough.

deeper things: confession

February 24, 2010

It is not for me to decide whether you should confess your sins to a priest or not…but if you do not, you should at least make a list on a piece of paper, and make a serious act of penance about each one of them. There is something about the mere words, you know, provided you avoid two dangers, either of sensational exaggeration – trying to work things up and make melodramatic sins out of small matters – or the opposite danger of slurring things over. It is essential to use the plain, simple, old-fashioned words that you would use about anyone else. I mean words like theft, or fornication, or hatred, instead of ‘I did not mean to be dishonest’, or ‘I was only a boy then’, or ‘I lost my temper’. I think that this steady facing of what one does know and bringing it before God, without excuses, and seriously asking for Forgiveness and Grace, and resolving as far as in one lies to do better, is the only way. ~ C.S. Lewis

What I would give to have been a fly on the wall in this man’s brain…he and Oswald Chambers both…

lessons over coffee…uh…blocks

February 16, 2010

“And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.” ~ Colossians 3:13 9

This morning Hope and I were building towers and such with this great little block set she has. I had just finished constructing the quaintest little neighborhood, per her instructions, when she began to move one of the little bridges. This…well, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself…here is a shot of the neighborhood just prior to the bridge re-location*:

Now, as I was saying, this bridge re-location, as you may have well guessed, caused the two blocks nearest it to move…my daughter is the sweetest little thing and noticed this problem at once.

“Oh, my fault…I fix it…”

Hope is incredibly talented however, she is only 2 and her fine motor skills are still being fine tuned. Consequently, this attempt to reposition the two misplaced blocks led to further shifting of the rest of our cozy-but-slowly-being-dismantled-neighborhood…see for yourself:

At this point that still, small voice started speaking right to my heart and it said something like this, “See darlin’…this is what happens when you take what I’ve created and set up with a certain structure and start playin with it…even you’re best intentions skew what I’ve determined to be best.”

And it got me thinking about sweet Hope and her helpful little heart to fix what she’d just rearranged. It was an accident. She’s 2. I know she’s just playing…don’t get hung up on that because those things are not  the point :). What is the point is that so often I come to the Word of God and interact with it in a manner that skews it’s original form…I may not even be doing it intentionally or with a malicious heart, just as Hope wasn’t trying to mess up her little neighborhood. But none the less, anytime I come to the Word of God and intentionally or unintentionally don’t submit myself to it as is, I’m messing up something that’s as it should be. The lesson that I heard this morning… “you come to Me and put yourself under My authority as I specify…not as you interpret”.

And let me tell ya…that’s not a lesson I’ll be hearing for the last time…but, as the picture below depicts, I know when I don’t, I’m 100% guaranteed to create a mess of whatever it is I’m a part of…this is a shot of the blocks post-I’m-getting-too-frustrated-Mama-and-so-I’ll-just-demo-the-neighborhood:

So while it’s nuts to think Hope meant any harm by demoing the entire little neighborhood, it’s also fair to say that not always do I go out intending to reinvent what the Word of God says or tweak/neglect parts that would most certainly affect my desired circumstances, plans, etc. for my life. However, what is most certain is that a mess has been made. Thankfully, my heavenly Father is so quick to rebuild what I’ve undone and heal what I’ve wounded if only I’ll come to Him and repent…commit to walk again under His terms, His way.

*These shots were staged to mimic the original neighborhood, tear down, and total demo…wasn’t Hope sweet to oblige??!!

what’s in a name?

February 10, 2010

As of today we have had the honor of naming two little people. Both times we felt that their names were “it”. And I can say with total honesty that x amount of years ago, over a good game of MASH, I wouldn’t have gone with the names we picked…never even hit my radar. But we knew that it was important that we give our children names with meaning first and foremost…and decided names we just “liked” would be better suited for dogs.

Anyway, Hope’s (Elizabeth…or “litl bussiss” as she says it) means “waiting with the expectation of fulfillment because my God is an oath”…the ‘because’ is an add in to connect the two…how appropriate a reminder. The book of James tells us that we will experience trails, “Consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)

Well, let’s just say I’ve seen first hand some of those trials that James was referring to and I’m 100% sure that if I didn’t know God and wasn’t waiting on Him to fulfill His promises, in His time and way, I wouldn’t so much as consider any of them joy…but because of who my God is…a covenant keeping, just, righteous and merciful God, I wait…with expectation…that He will do what He says He will do.

Her name was easy…naming a boy…not so much…

BUT…then it happened…

Alex was currently enrolled in an evening Old Testament class and had just come home…I…was asleep. Side note, Alex looks at a pillow out of the corner of his eye and dozes off. Me, well let’s just say I’m as opposite of that as you can be…if I’m fortunate, a good night has me out after about 20 minutes of good thinking paired with wonderings of why I can’t go to sleep. So I knew it had to be good when he showed up from class and woke my tail up!

“Stace, what do you think of the name ‘Seth’?”

“Huh…?”

“Yeah, he was the son born to Adam and Eve after the whole mess with Cain and Abel…it means ‘established by God’…what do you think?”

“Oh…” (I don’t really like it but Alex is really enthusiastic about it and the meaning is great…but I just don’t know…)

I was pretty dead set on Benjamin…and I had it in my mind that come hell or high water when little boy Paxson arrived that would be his name…

Well…you know the rest…September 18, 2009 Seth Christopher Paxson joined our family…”established by God in Christ”…that’s the whole of it. Awesome isn’t it!???! And what’s even better is that each of these little people, with their very big names, entered into our family at a pivotal time in our marriage that can be summed up by their very big names! So we really think God named them…if He formed them and did all the knitting it makes pretty good sense that He also had names for ’em!

But more on that another time…back to my question…all this responsibility of naming people over the last hand full of years has had me wondering about the meaning of names. And one question in particular REALLY interests me…who came up with all of them? And better yet, how did said determiner-of-name-meanings get his or her definitions to stick? Was there Skittle bribery involved!?! With Biblical names was it decided later on down the road, based on what he or she went through? We live with our names our whole life but I can honestly say it wasn’t until faced the responsibility of giving names to our kiddos that the magnitude of it hit me…THE.REST.OF.THEIR.LIVES! 🙂

So…do share a story or two about names? Do you like yours? Did you ever wish your mom and dad had picked out some other name (for a long time I wanted to be named Tracy…big switch huh?)? How’d you come about naming your little people?