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Archive for June, 2012

 

One of my favorites…

 

Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you—

not because they are nice, but because you are.

~Anon.

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Dad,

You have kindly gifted your family with your sense of humor, your sense of integrity, and your sense of industry.

You love the Lord and love your family (as your genealogy room attests).

I love that you collect state highway maps, Bossons heads, bottle openers, and Schlitz memorabilia; and I love that you are still a farm boy at heart.

You have lost two wives and have shown what it is to suffer, but not lose faith.

You are a kind, humorous, hard-working, low-tech, easy-going, generous man.

I thank our heavenly Father for you dad.  God has been gracious to me through you!

I love you a lot.  Happy Father’s Day.

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What is the difference between lust and love?

Simply put…

Lust is me-focused and will seek an object (or present itself as one) to fulfill its desires.

Love is other-focused and will look for and protect what is good for the other, often to his or her own hardship or loss.

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Our church uses the ESV (English Standard Version) version of the Bible and there are many whom I respect promoting it.  I’ve carried the 1984 NIV (New International Version) since nearly 1984, but translation questions have been raised and the newer NIV versions are disappointing in their commitment to gender neutrality.

Because of these reasons, I am going to order an ESV Bible.  Our household already has the ESV Study Bible and everyone else in my family has made the leap to the ESV.  So I am looking forward to having my own, as I begin again to read through the Word of God.

With this new beginning, I hope to make a habit to consistently pray before I read.  Two acrostics have crossed my desk recently, both of which model “praying the Word to receive the Word” as son-in-law Andrew Jacobson puts it.

Andrew proposes the following acrostic: D.E.S.I.R.E.

DDelight my heart increasingly in you.

EEnlighten my eyes to see more of your glory.

SSatisfy my soul to be replenished by your truth and promises.

I  – Ingrain your truth in my heart that I might fight off sin.

RRenew my mind to be conformed to Christ and not the world.

EEquip me with every good thing that I might do your will.

In prayer form, it might look like this:

I pray God, through your Word, that you would…

… increase my delight in You, that I might receive the desires of my heart [i.e. God, himself] (Psalm 37:4);

enlighten the eyes of my heart that I might see your glory and greatness in increasing measures (Eph. 1:18-19);

satisfy my weary soul that I might be replenished by your truth and promises (Jer. 31:25);

ingrain your Truth in my heart that I might be able to fight sin (Psalm 119:9-11);

renew my mind so that I would not be conformed to this world but transformed into the image of Christ (Rom. 12:2);

equip me with every good thing that I might be able to do your will (Heb. 13:21).

In When I Don’t Desire God, John Piper, likewise, introduces a memorable and helpful acrostic for what to pray before reading Scripture: I. O. U. S.

 I   Incline my heart to you, not to prideful gain or any false motive. (Psalm 119:36)

OOpen my eyes to behold wonderful things in your Word. (Psalm 119:18)

UUnite my heart to fear your name. (Psalm 86:11)

S Satisfy me with you steadfast love. (Psalm 90:14)

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”

[Painting: Vincent Van Gogh]

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Years ago when I was a mother to one, I heard a devotional that urged us to read through the Bible for each of our children.  This caught my heart and I have done it for each of my four; filling their margins with notes to them that the text suggested.

Now today marks the 7th time I’ve read through the Bible cover-to-cover.  The word of God is truly living and active (Heb. 4:12).  The Holy Spirit teaches me new things every time I read it as I am a different person each time.  My age and stage and experiences have changed since last I read, and God is always faithful to speak to me according to my need.

Today, at the end of God’s Revelation to John…by the time I get through all the horrors of the Last Days (Revelation 8-16) and arrive at Revelation 22, I am almost on my feet, cheering.  For the Redeemed, Revelation 22 is the best ending to any book you’ll ever read:

 

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!  (vv. 12-14, 17, 20)

 

[Illustration: Ron DiCianni]

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Here’s an item I just read this morning from the Sonlight curriculum forum.  In light of these recent housekeeping posts, I thought it was timely and practical.

Q:  I sense that the atmosphere in our home and between the children is being adversely affected by mild chaos. How can we achieve a smooth running, peaceful contented home school life? Anyone?

A: One thing that revolutionized our house was to stop worrying about who had what chores and when and how often and rotating. Each child was assigned one room and their own room (even if they shared). They were as completely responsible for that room as they can be for their age.

For example, my second child has the living room, including all picking up/cleaning, vacuuming, etc. And his room.

Any time it is messy, they need to be cleaning it up. Us adults help them from time to time, but the majority of it is the child’s responsibility.

 

[Illustration: Beatrix Potter]

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I promised yesterday to share the website that helped me overcome my C.H.A.O.S. (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome).  It was at this site that I first learned my “condition” even had a name and that, as you know, is the first step to recovery.

FlyLady.net (FLY–Finally Loving Yourself) was the site that afforded me my first real housekeeping break-through.

Fly Lady (Marla Cilley) has a similar story to mine…to many of yours, I’m guessing.  Her break-through came with the simple commitment she made to end her day with a clean and cleaned-out sink.  Her book, Sink Reflections, is her personal story and contains some of those first lessons that are the bedrock of her wonderful approach to housekeeping, de-cluttering, and self-keeping.  Her website includes links to her Fly Shop as well as links to other on-line life coaches (i.e. style, diet and meal planning, etc.), but her site stays pretty true to its tagline:  Your personal on-line coach to help you gain control of your house and home.

Marla offers gentle guidance in developing housekeeping routines which she calls FLYing Lessons.  “Shine your sink” is her first lesson, but also foundational are directives to get dressed down to your lace up shoes, swish & swipe your bathroom daily, declutter 15 minutes a day and take regular breaks.  She guides the newbie in what she calls Baby Steps, 31 lessons (a month’s worth) to begin FLYing.

Fly Lady has divided the home into zones and her followers are given daily email to-do lists, called Flight Plans.   Each zone is given a week’s attention, getting through all the zones in a month.  This week’s focus is Zone 3—The Bathroom and an Extra Room.

There is so much more to this site, though, than just zone cleaning—

* Detail Cleaning check-off lists for the zones;

* Weekly Home Blessing Hour;

* FLYing lessons for Payroll SHEs (working Side-tracked Home Executives) ;

* Control Journals;

* Habit of the Month (this month, drink your water);

* Anti-Procrastination Days – days to tackle those put off projects;

* Crisis Cleaning schedule;

* Fly Kids Challenge—a daily task for children to manage their own spaces [See my “Teaching Work” shortcomings (see June 13 post)]

I rarely go to the site these days, though, and my daily Fly Lady e-mails often end up in my computer’s trash.  This is only because so many of her teachings have been internalized and have already done good service in giving structure to how I approach my own home now.  Unless it’s an infrequent Crisis Cleaning for company, I rarely clean my whole house or floor in one day.  I break down the house into manageable areas and progress throughout my home.  I even break down my bathroom chores into a three-day process which helps me not d-r-e-a-d those duties like I used to.

“You can do anything for 15 minutes” is one of Fly Lady’s most famous quotes and the one that most affected me.  Marla taught me the trick of literally setting a timer for 15 minutes and pouring myself heart and soul into a targeted area (whether zone work or a “Hot Spot”).  It is really a marvel how much can be done in those quick 15 minute bursts.

Some other encouraging Fly Lady quotes include:

* Not housework, but home blessing (“This is my home and I deserve to have a wonderful place to live, this blesses my home, and my family and me!”)

* Housework done imperfectly still blesses my family.

* You can’t organize clutter; you can only get rid of it!

* I don’t have to be perfect to be loved and my home does not have to be perfect to be lived in.

* What doesn’t matter just doesn’t matter!

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My dear mom set the standard for me.  Her home was always clean and tidy.  Unfortunately I learned the standard, but did not learn the system.  Her clean house was very important to her (and I’m grateful I grew up with order), but it wasn’t always easy for the rest of us to attain.

My two sisters and I learned how to work while growing up.  In fact, I fear I was not as skilled as my parents at holding my own children to a regular schedule of work; meaningful work that would have benefited the family and eased the load on my husband and I.  In my heart I longed to develop this, but in practice, I was not consistent.

My sisters and I had regular chores that were expected of us.  We laugh (and marvel) today at our after-dinner routine.  My mom would not even say a word; she would just get up and remove herself to the living room, her hard work done for the day.  My sisters and I knew then that the kitchen was ours to clean.  We created our own systems of what was fair in regard to who did what jobs, but we knew the standard and would not dream of leaving the kitchen until the work was done to our mom’s expectations.

During summers my dad carefully left a list of jobs on the counter for us girls before he left for work.  These were outside jobs on our 10-acre truck and hobby farm.  We knew they needed to be done before he got home that evening, but more accurately they needed to be done before we did anything of our own choosing that day.  We laugh (now) about the hard nature of many of these outside jobs that my dad required of us, but acknowledge that we usually rose to the occasion and in the process learned life-long work skills and unwittingly had our character developed in the process.

It is a great regret of mine that I lacked courage, creativity, and intentionality in equipping my own children with a similar skill set.  I did not give them consistent opportunities to do hard things for the benefit of the family, thereby leaving to chance the development of that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that comes from a day’s work done and done well.  Who knows, perhaps this teaching will skip a generation and somehow my children will acquire what I lacked to teach and train their own children; that they would expect of them meaningful, regular jobs to the benefit of the child himself and to the family as a whole (see June 14 and 15 posts).

Well, while my sisters and I did our outside jobs, mom was working hard managing her housework and her gardens.  Unfortunately, this meant we did not learn her system for effective housekeeping.  What’s more, early in my marriage, I rejected the critical model my mom had employed which brought about results, but made for a rather uptight family, always sure we were not meeting the standard.

Expectedly, I floundered in my housekeeping.  I maintained my home with a lick and a prayer, putting out fires rather than being systematic.  I was suffering from an impossible standard with no tools to attack my duties in a logical, manageable manner.  Later I learned that I was suffering from a condition called C.H.A.O.S—Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome!  You can maybe imagine, then, how it seemed the clouds lifted and the birds and angels began singing when I stumbled upon a website that would finally give me hope and direction.

It is this website I will introduce in my next post.

 

[Illustration: We Help Mommy, Eloise Wilkin, c. 1959, Random House, Inc.]

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After addressing his disciples’ troubled hearts and promising to send them a Helper, Jesus asks them to rejoice with him because he will soon return to his Father. a   For the past 33 years, Jesus had bore the form of a servant, having made himself nothing. b Jesus, who had existed with the Father in perfect, loving union from eternity past, will finally reunite with his Father in their co-equal, “God is love,” c relationship.  Will you rejoice with me, he asks. “If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father.”

To understand Jesus’ excitement about returning to the Father, d we turn to no lighter subject than the doctrine of the Trinity, as gleaned from the writings of Jonathan Edwards. We are reminded that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have existed from all eternity.  Jesus is begotten of the Father (not born).  As Pastor John Piper put it, Jesus “eternally stands forth in a perfect image and radiance of the Father. His nature has an ‘exact imprint’ in the Son. His glory has a full ‘radiance’ in the Son. e So they are equally God, of the same divine nature, but different in role…”

This is helpful.  I plan on using this illustration when I teach my 3rd graders this fall.  We always begin our year reviewing foundational truths, one being the Trinity.  It’s still being roughed out in my mind, but I think I’ll use a mirror to discuss a perfect reflection and to discuss the original that is needed to “beget” the reflection of the original; as long as the one exists the other exists.

Edwards goes on to discuss the pure delight between the Father and Son which proceeds as the third person of the Trinity, namely, the Holy Spirit.  “Between the Father and Son exists a mutual love, joy, and delight, a ‘pure act,’ or the ‘Deity in act,’ which is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the love of the Father and Son for each other, the love that ‘quickens and enlivens’ creation and created spirits, and comforts God’s people.”

This relationship is beautifully seen at Christ’s baptism.  When Jesus comes up from the water, the heavens open and Jesus sees the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and the delight is obvious as the voice declares, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” f

 

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. g

 

a John 14:28

b Phil. 2:7

c 1 John 4:8

d Hebrews 12:2

e Hebrews 1:3

Matthew 3:16-17

g 2 Cor. 13:14

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We were in Minneapolis this weekend helping my daughter and family move down the hall from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom apartment (more Calvin time too).  This move is just one more example of God’s kind provisions for this young family.  They will certainly benefit from a little more space and it will allow parents and baby to have their own rooms.

We visited my son’s church Sunday in downtown Minneapolis, Bethlehem Baptist.  Pastor John Piper taught on John 14:25-31.  His message as usual gave me much to consider.  Let me share two teachings that have attached themselves to me.

 

(1) John 14:30 “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming.  He has no claim on me.”

Jesus explains to his already worried friends that Satan, who entered Judas, a is coming; Satan is coming and the events of the next 24 hours will be set in motion.  However, Jesus assures his followers that Satan has no claim on him.  What is about to happen is not of Satan’s doing.  The tempter and accuser has no claim on Jesus, a sinless man.  There is no chink in his armor, no hook, no allurement by which Satan can entice Jesus to sin or accuse him before the Father.

I want you to know, Jesus says, and I want the world to know that demonic betraying and demonic denying and demonic lying are not ruling this night. Love is ruling this night. I am obeying the Father (verse 31b) “so that the world may know that I love the Father.”

 

(2) John 14:31 “…I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.  Rise, let us go from here.”

Jesus himself sets the evening in motion by finishing his quiet time with his disciples with the resolute command, “Rise, let us go…”  Using a contemporary phrase, Jesus is saying in effect, “Let’s roll.”

Before they depart, though, Jesus would have his disciples know the motivation that will cause him to accomplish what his Father has asked of him.  The motivation is none other than a visual for the world – that they may know that he loves the Father.  “God so loved the world,” c and that will be demonstrated in the next day.  But here we see that Jesus so loved the Father that he would endure the upcoming day to declare it.  This sinless One would willingly become our sin and absorb the wrath of his Father upon that sin.  Yes; he would do as commanded…so all would know that Jesus loves his Father.  This eternal love was put on display for all the world to see, and because of it our salvation was secured.

The cross was not at root the coercion of evil; it was the compliance of love. The roots of the cross reach back before creation into the eternal Godhead where the God the Son has always infinitely loved God the Father.

 

Oh, we have a great Savior!

 

a John 13:27

b Rev. 12:10

c John 3:16

 

[Painting: Gerbrand van den Eeckhout (1621-1674)]

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