Archive for July, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mom

Happy birthday to my dear, beautiful, funny, encouraging, hard-working, thrifty, creative mom, Myrna Mae Anderson LeClerc (1942-2004).  I love and miss you very much.

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I’ve seen t-shirts that say “Jonathan Edwards is My Homeboy” which makes me laugh.  Well…Jonathan Edwards is my Facebook friend.  I, therefore, receive occasional posts which included this insightful one-liner:

“This world is all the hell that ever a true Christian is to endure, and it is all the heaven that unbelievers shall ever enjoy.”

C.S. Lewis puts a twist on this in The Great Divorce, his treatise on heaven and hell.  He wrote:

“That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.1

“And of some sinful pleasure they say ‘Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences’: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of sin.

“Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness.

“And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say ‘We have never lived anywhere except Heaven,’ and the Lost, ‘We were always in Hell.’ And both will speak truly.”

1 [This is why John Piper says we are more than conquerors.  We not only are conquerors, ultimately triumphing in eternity because of Christ, but more than conquerors as he turns even our earthly agonies to his great purpose of bringing us good and him glory.]

Returning to Edwards, we are challenged to consider our given path and its ultimate end when we read his one-liner within its context, the sermon he wrote, “Dying to Gain,” when he was but 19 years old.  I stumbled upon an excerpt of the sermon on a beautiful gem of a site called Tolle Lege, meaning (which I love) “Take up and read.”  The blog’s author, Nick Roarke, shares the context for Edward’s one-liner which should cause us all to pause and consider our ends:

“What a vast difference is there between the death of a child of the devil and a child of God! The one leaves all his troubles and afflictions behind him, never to feel them more; the other, he leaves all his pleasures behind him, all the pleasure that ever he will enjoy while God endures.

The one leaves all his temptations forever, but the other instead of that falls into the hands of the tempter, not to be tempted but to be tormented by him. The one is perfectly delivered from all remainders of corruption; the other, he carries all that vast load of sin, made up of original sin, natural corruption, and actual sins, into hell with him, and there the guilt of them breaks forth in the conscience and burns and scorches him as flames of hell within.

The filthiness of sin will then appear and be laid open before the world to his eternal shame. Death to the true Christian is an entrance into eternal pleasures and unspeakable joys, but the death of a sinner is his entrance into never-ending miseries. This world is all the hell that ever a true Christian is to endure, and it is all the heaven that unbelievers shall ever enjoy.

‘Tis a heaven in comparison of the misery of the one, and a hell in comparison of the happiness of the other. The sinner, when he dies, he leaves all his riches and possessions: there is no more money for him to have the pleasure of fingering; there is no more gay apparel for him to be arrayed in, nor proud palace to live in. But the Christian, when he dies, he obtains all his riches, even infinite spiritual, heavenly riches.

At death, the sinner leaves all his honor and enters into eternal disgrace; but the Christian is then invested with his. The one leaves all his friends forever more: when he sees them again at the resurrection, it will be either glorifying God in his justice in damning him, or else like furies ready to tear him.

But the other, he goes to his best friends and will again meet his best earthly friends at the resurrection in glory, full of mutual joy and love. The death of a believer is in order to a more glorious resurrection, but the death of a sinner is but only a faint shadow and preludium of the eternal death the body is to die at the great day and forever more.

So great is the difference between the death of the one and the other, ’tis even as the difference between life and death, between death and a resurrection. Wherefore, now you have both before you—the glorious gainfulness of the death of a Christian, and the dreadfulness of the death of a sinner—or rather you have life and death set before you, to make your choice: therefore, choose life.”

[Illustration: Marvelous Journey by Dehong He]

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A relatively new favorite hymn for me based on Psalm 51, a psalm of King David written after Nathan the prophet confronted David about his sexual sin with Bathsheba and effective murder of her husband.

First, the psalm (ESV)…

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Now the richly beautiful hymn…

The traditional words come from the Psalter of 1912.  The modern hymn was put to music in 1997 by Christopher Miner and was made popular by the group Jars of Clay.

I have two favorite lines in the hymn. One is taken from v.4 of Psalm 51 “I confess Thy judgement just; speechless, I Thy mercy trust.”  This is the heart of repentance, recognizing how our sins assault a holy God.  They are odious to him and affront the very nature and character of Him who created us.  Our sins, all of our sins, are ultimately against God himself and he is just and right in meting out punishment.  In our carnal state we can do little else, but stand without a defense.  However, for those who have received Christ, his sacrifice has purchased the mercy we need and that mercy is as trustworthy as the God who provides it.

The second line I love is taken from v.13 of this very public confession.  After being forgiven and restored, David finds hope that “sinners then shall learn from me, and return, O God, to Thee.”  This is the power of humbling ourselves before God and our fellow men, relying on the very nature of God to grant us mercy, and training our tongues to “sing aloud of his righteousness” (v. 14).   This is God doing what he does best, converting all things for our good and his glory.

God be Merciful to Me

1. God, be merciful to me;
On Thy grace I rest my plea
Plenteous in compassion Thou,
Blot out my transgressions now;
Wash me, make me pure within;
Cleanse, O cleanse me from my sin.

2. My transgressions I confess;
Grief and guilt my soul oppress.
I have sinned against Thy grace,
And provoked Thee to Thy face.
I confess Thy judgement just;
Speechless, I Thy mercy trust.

3. I am evil, born in sin;
Thou desirest truth within.
Thou alone my Savior art,
Teach Thy wisdom to my heart;
Make me pure, Thy grace bestow,
Wash me whiter than the snow.

4. Broken, humbled to the dust
By Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice,
And in gladness hear Thy voice;
From my sins O hide Thy face,
Blot them out in boundless grace.

5. Gracious God, my heart renew,
Make my spirit right and true.
Cast me not away from Thee,
Let Thy Spirit dwell in me;
Thy salvation’s joy impart,
Steadfast make my willing heart.

6. Sinners then shall learn from me,
And return, O God, to Thee
Savior all my guilt remove,
And my tongue shall sing Thy love
Touch my silent lips, O Lord,
And my mouth shall praise accord.

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How many attributes of God could you name if pressed?  To know the attributes of God and claim them in our prayers for those we love is a mighty tool. When we implore God, on our loved one’s behalf, for their reliance on and awareness or understanding of God’s character and nature, we do not pray amiss.  I believe I could recognize the attributes of the Lord, but I’m sorry to say that I could not recite very many off the top of my head.

My son-in-law, Andrew, shared this prayer guide from Moms-in-Touch International.  It is titled “Praying God’s Attributes for Your Children,” but I think it is a useful list for any intercessory prayer, including prayers for ourself.  It is arranged alphabetically which is nice.  I don’t think I would pray down the list as much as keep the list in my Bible and refer to it according to the need of the one for whom I’m praying; praying back the Scripture texts to the Lord (see “God is able” below).

God is able – has sufficient ability or resources
[2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 3:20-21; Hebrews 7:25]

May __________ know that You are able to make all grace abound to him/her, so that in all things at all times, having all that __________ needs, he/she will abound in every good work. (2 Cor. 9:8)

God is our comforter – who consoles, reassures helps and assists
[Psalm 23:4; Matthew 5:4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5]

God is compassionate – caring, loving, empathetic
[Psalm 116:5; Psalm 145:8-9; Lamentations 3:22-23]

God is our confidence – the One in whom we believe; have assurance; trust and rely
[Psalm 71:5; Proverbs 3:26 ;1 John 5:14-15]

God is our counselor – who gives us advice, guidance, and direction
[Psalm 119:24; John 14:16-17; John 14:25-26]

God is our defender – who protects from danger, attack, or harm; who guards and shields
[Deuteronomy 10:17-18; Psalm 68:5; Psalm 72:4]

God is everlasting – eternal; the same yesterday, today, and forever
[Psalm 90:2; Psalm 145:13; Isaiah 40:28]

God is faithful – reliable, constant, loyal, unwavering, steadfast, dependable
[Psalm 33:4; Psalm 145:13; Lamentations 3:22-24]

God is our Father – a parent and protector and adviser
[1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 6:18; 1 John 3:1]

God is our fortress – a fortified place, a stronghold, a place of security
[Psalm 18:1-3; Psalm 59:16-17; Psalm 62:6]

God is our friend – attached to us by affection or regard; a supporter and confident
[John 15:13-15; James 2:23; Luke 5:20]

God is glorious – who has and deserves glory; famous, beautiful, splendorous, magnificent
[Nehemiah 9:5b-6; Psalm 72:18-19; Psalm 145:5]

God is good – virtuous, excellent, upright
[Psalm 25:8; Nahum 1:7; John 10:11]

God is gracious – full of grace, kindness, mercy, compassion
[Nehemiah 9:31; Psalm 86:15; Psalm 145:8]

God guards – protects from harm or danger; keeps watch over us and keeps us secure
[Psalm 91:11; Psalm 97:10; Isaiah 52:12]

God is our guide – who shows the way by leading, directing, or advising
[Nehemiah 9:19; Psalm 23:1-3; Psalm 48:14]

God heals – restores us to an original purity, integrity, or health
[Psalm 30:2; Psalm 103:1-5; Isaiah 53:5]

God is our helper – who assists, aids, eases or relieves
[Deuteronomy 33:26; Psalm 18:6; Psalm 121:2]

God is holy– spiritually perfect or pure; sinless, deserving adoration
[Isaiah 5:16; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 15:4]

God is our hope – our confidence and trust, our expectation, our desire
[Isaiah 40:28-31; Lamentations 3:21-25; Romans 15:4]

God is just – who is right or fair, impartial, correct, true, upright
[Psalm 9:7-8; Romans 3:23-26; Revelation 15:13]

God is the King of Glory – powerful; deserving great honor and praise
[Psalm 24:7-10; Luke 19:38; 1 Timothy 1:17]

God is life – who constitutes our very existence—our physical, mental and spiritual experiences
[Nehemiah 9:6; John 5:21; John 6:47-51]

God is light – our spiritual illumination, enlightenment, and our truth
[John 8:12; Psalm 119:105, 130; 2 Samuel 22:29]

God is love – who is strong and has intense affection, benevolence, kindness, and tenderness
[Psalm 136:1-9; Ephesians 3:16-19; 1 John 3:1]

God is the master planner – who has the perfect program or method worked out before hand
[Isaiah 25:1; Isaiah 46:10-11; Jeremiah 29:11]

God is merciful – full of mercy, kindness, and compassion
[Deuteronomy 4:31; Daniel 9:9; 1 Peter 1:3-5]

God is mighty – who has and shows great power, skill, strength or force
[Psalm 62:7-8; Psalm 147:5; Jeremiah 32:19]

God is the miracle worker – who performs unexplainable and supernatural acts
[1 Corinthians 16:8-12; Psalm 77:11-14; Jeremiah 32:20]

God is a mountain mover – who can do the impossible
[Isaiah 40:3-5; Matthew 17:20-21; Mark 11:22-24]

God is patient – long-suffering, understanding, persevering, constant
[Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Peter 3:9]

God is pure – without blemish or fault; holy, sinless, perfect
[Psalm 19:9; James 3:17; 1 John 3:2-3]

God is our purpose – our goal and intended outcome; the reason for which we exist
[Proverbs 19:21; Ephesians 1:11-12; Philippians 2:13]

God reigns – who exercises sovereign power and rule
[Exodus 15:18; 1 Chronicles 16:31; Psalm 47:8]

God rescues – saves and delivers
[Psalm 91:14-16; Proverbs 11:8; Galatians 1:3-4]

God is a revealer – who makes known or brings to view; discloses
[Daniel 2:19-23; 1 Corinthians 2:9-10; Revelation 15:4]

God is righteous – just, true, honorable, blameless, and upright
[Psalm 71:14-19; Psalm 116:5; Psalm 129:4]

God is our rock – which protects from harm or danger and who keeps watch over us, keeps us secure
[Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 18:2; Matthew 7:24-25]

God is our Savior – who saves, rescues, preserves from harm or danger and keeps us safe
[2 Samuel 22:3; Psalm 68:19; 1 John 4:14]

Jesus is a servant – who serves
[Matthew 20:25-28; John 13:14-17; Philippians 2:5-8]

God is our shepherd – who cares for, guards, guides and tends sheep
[Isaiah 40: 11; Ezekiel 34:14-16; Revelation 7:17]

God is our shield – our means of defense and protection
[2 Samuel 22:1-3; Psalm 84:11; Proverbs 2:7-8]

God is sovereign – above or superior to all others; who controls everything and can do anything
[2 Samuel 7:22; Psalm 71:5; Jeremiah 32:17]

God is our strength – a firmness of will, character, mind or purpose and is our power to resist force
[2 Samuel 22:33; Nehemiah 8:10; Philippians 4:13]

God sustains – protects from harm or danger, keeps watch over us and keeps us secure
[Psalm 18:35; Psalm 54:4; Psalm 147:6]

God is our teacher – who guides, instructs or imparts knowledge
[Job 36:22; Psalm 32:8; Isaiah 48:17]

God is trustworthy – worthy of confidence; reliable, faithful, dependable
[2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 19:7; Psalm 111:7-8]

God is truth – who is real, actual, fact, full of integrity, honest
[Psalm 119:160; Isaiah 45:19; John 14:6]

God is understanding – who is empathetic and recognizes with tolerance our nature and/or situation
[1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 147:5; Ephesians 1:7-8]

God is wise – who has discernment, understanding, and knowledge
[Job 12:13; Jeremiah 10:12; Romans 11:33]

God is worthy – who has worth and value; honorable, admirable
[1 Chronicles 16:25; Psalm 18:3; Revelation 4:11]

_____     _____     _____

In times of specific need, several attributes can inform our particular situation with Truth from God’s Word.   The following groupings are not exhaustive, but are given as examples.  I would love to hear if anyone has other themes they see running through the list of attributes.

Assurance of God’s Reliability

God is able
God is our confidence
God is everlasting
God is faithful
God is our hope
God is life
God is the master planner
God is our purpose
God reigns
God is sovereign
God is trustworthy
God is truth
God is wise

God Tends Our Wounded Spirits and Troubled Minds

God is our comforter
God is compassionate
God is our confidence
God is our counselor
God is light
God is merciful
God is patient
God is a revealer
God is our Savior
God is our strength
God is trustworthy
God is understanding

God is Personal

God is our Father
God is our friend
God is our guide
God is our helper
God is our shepherd
God is our teacher

We Flee to Jesus for Peace and Protection

God is able
God is our confidence
God is our defender
God is our fortress
God guards
God is just
God is the master planner
God is mighty
God is the miracle worker
God is a mountain mover
God reigns
God rescues
God is a revealer
God is our rock
God is our Savior
God is our shepherd
God is our shield
God is sovereign
God is our strength
God sustains

Praising God’s Attributes

God is glorious
God is good
God is gracious
God is holy
God is the King of Glory
God is love
God is pure
God is righteous
Jesus is a servant
God is sovereign
God is worthy

God Created and Keeps Our Physical Lives

God is able
God is our confidence
God heals
God is the master planner
God is mighty
God is the miracle worker
God is a mountain mover
God reigns
God rescues
God is a revealer
God is our rock
God is our Savior
God is our shepherd
God is our shield
God is sovereign
God is our strength
God sustains
God is trustworthy


[Painting: “A Mother’s Love” by Ron DiCianni]

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Dana, 1983 CROP

Here’s a post from Ray Ortlund, lead pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee.  Even though it is addressed to men, I’m a bit nostalgic today and with a few pronoun changes it works for me as I remember the husband of my youth.

_____     _____     _____

“Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” a

It does not say, “Rejoice in your young wife,” though that is biblical and delightful. b  It says, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth” — that girl you married when you both were younger.  By now, time has gone by.  Maybe a lot of time.  But nothing important has changed.  She is still that girl who gave herself to you on your wedding day.  She put herself in your arms.  She could not have been more vulnerable and trusting.  Remember that.  Dwell on that.  Marvel at that.

Remember how you used to laugh and have fun, because you so liked each other?  You can have that again.  Go back there.  Yes, so much in life has changed.  You both have seen trouble and sorrow, maybe more than you ever dreamed you would.  But you still have her, and she counts for more than all the troubles in the world.  Look at her.  Look closely.  Notice how much about her has not changed.  Dwell on that.  Think about her faithfulness to you through the years, despite your weaknesses and failings, through the many hardships, all by the grace of God.  Meditate on the divine mercy she represents to you.  Let your heart melt again, and rejoice in God and in her.

Your marriage is not a prison, and you have not received a death sentence — except to your selfishness.  Your marriage can be a God-given source of rejoicing.  How wonderful of God that release from shallow Self is a pathway into ever deeper joy with her, as long as you both shall live.

_____     _____     _____

Dana, 1983 CROP2

Ladies, besides recalling the things that made you fall in love with your husband, it has been suggested by at least one author that we take stolen opportunities to really look at our husbands now and again.  Find a vantage point unbeknownst to him and try to use fresh eyes to really look at him.  [For some reason I remember this author suggesting to observe our husband’s hands as a window to the younger man we married years ago.]

With a bit of creativity, Dr. Ortlund can remind us women, too, that nothing important has changed.  He is still that boy who did all those funny, kind, sometimes crazy, things to make you love him—and it worked!  He is still the same boy who caused you to see life with him as better than life without him and to joyfully tie your fate to his—“all my fortunes at thy foot I’ll lay and follow thee my lord throughout the world.” c

Remember that.  Dwell on that.  Marvel at that.

And Dana…I still would and do (including “plight thee my trough”).

a Proverbs 5:18

b Deuteronomy 24:5

c Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet: Act 2, Scene 2 (Juliet to Romeo).

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This is a beautiful virtual reconstruction model of Herod’s temple complex in Jerusalem constructed by UCLA and the Israel Antiquities Authority with music by Lynn Job.


The temple represented here is the one spoken of in the New Testament built by Herod the Great, c.19 AD.  It was actually a rebuilding and enlargement of Zerrubbabel’s temple built c. 536 BC, and meant to rival and supersede Solomon’s sacked temple built in the 10th century BC.


This is the temple in which Jesus was found speaking to the elders when but a boy of twelve. It is this temple in which He drove out the marketers and opportunists who aimed to profit from their people’s religious obligations. And it is this Temple in which Jesus entered and taught his last week before his death. c   And when the Bible says Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem,” d it is imaginable that he had this temple in mind, as he resolutely gave himself to his mission—to become the once and forever, acceptable sacrifice for mankind. e


Although the scale of this temple was magnificent, it was only a mock version of Moses’ wilderness tabernacle f or what Solomon’s temple g had once been, for the glory of the Lord h was absent from this palatial complex.  Indeed, this temple’s most holy chamber was empty.  It was meant to house the ark of the covenant, i the covenant that God had made with his people.  This ark upon which God claimed his mercy seat and upon which God’s glory had descended in bygone days, had long since been lost to the Jews.  When the high priest entered this chamber once a year, he entered an empty room and could only imagine the awe-inspiring event this must have been for his predecessor priests.


This does not mean that there was not true faith in Israel in Herod’s day.  We read of the dear old widowed Anna who “did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.” Upon seeing the baby Jesus in the temple, she gave thanks to God and began to prophesy “to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.” j


There was the righteous and devout Simeon who had the Holy Spirit and who was waiting for the “consolation of Israel”—the rescue and hope to come through the Lord’s Christ.  It was this Simeon who recognized God’s salvation in the newborn Jesus as he was brought by his parents to the temple for circumcision.  Simeon knew Jesus to be the awaited deliverer—“a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” k


Of course there was Mary l who “found favor with God” and her just and obedient husband Joseph, m as well as the priest, Zechariah, and his good wife, Elizabeth, who were “both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” n


The temple was designed by God to be a microcosm for the people of Israel, an earthly representation of a greater reality—the Lord’s actual presence in his heavenly courts as witnessed by Isaiah. o It was to be a tool for the people; a visual reminder of the heavenly reality.  But it was also to be a physical place of sacrifice and atonement.  By it, the Messiah might be recognized p in his perfect, once-and-for-all sacrifice and atonement for the people as he fulfilled for all time the original meaning of the temple sacrifices.


Of course, many missed this.  As we humans are want to do, the Jews made a religion of their worship and attached so many rules and regulations to it that it was a burden too heavy for the common person to carry.  Some of Jesus’ harshest words were for the religious leaders of his day, who forced the Jews into this bondage of legalism and snuffed out the joys of knowing and serving the Lord. q


These religious leaders, these Pharisees and experts of the law put on a great show of devotion, but they themselves were not able to benefit from the Good News that came to them “because they were not united by faith with those who listened.” r  Their dictated religion had simply become a checklist of do’s and don’ts with no need for faith or dependence on God.  And as we are told, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” s


So it was to this dark, dry shell of worship and sacrifice that our Savior came.  But praise be to God, He came to make a new agreement—to make dry bones live again and to put his spirit in his people. We should not be surprised that such a thing can happen, for it was Jesus, speaking of himself, who declared to the judgmental Pharisees, “something greater than the temple is here.”


Luke 2:41-51
Luke 19:45-46
Matthew 21:23 – 26:2
d Luke 9:51
e Hebrews 9:24-26
Exodus 40:34
1 Kings 8:11
h 1 Samuel 4:21-22
Exodus 24:10-22
j Luke 2:36-38
k Luke 2:25-35
Luke 1:30
Matthew 1:19-25
Luke 1:5-25
Isaiah 6:1-4
p John 2:19-22
Luke 11:37-54
r Hebrews 4:2
Hebrews 11
t Ezekiel 37:1-14
u Matthew 12:6

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“I must have the Savior indeed, for he is my All.  All that others have in the world and in religion and in themselves I have in thee — pleasures, riches, safety, honor, life, righteousness, holiness, wisdom, bliss, joy, gaiety and happiness . . . . If a child longs for his father, a traveler for the end of his journey, a workman to finish his work, a prisoner for liberty, an heir for the full possession of his estate, so in all these respects I cannot help longing to go home.”


Howell Harris, quoted in D. M. Lloyd-Jones, The Puritans (Edinburgh, 1987), p. 300, as blogged by Ray Ortlund at the Gospel Coalition.


[Photo:  The Way to Heaven by Rosita]

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I  r-e-a-l-l-y  like this idea!  My niece, Melissande, just posted this on Facebook; I think it was found on Pinterest.  I like this a lot because it makes the child responsible for the consequences of his actions and the child does a job to benefit the household (as opposed to paying a fine or something like that).  It also offers choices.  The child decides for himself whether the item is worth “buying” back.  If so, he is given the choice of which chore to do to get the item back.  If not, mom and dad then know which things can “go the way of the world.”

The only thing I might add is an expiration date, such as “items will be gone after 3 weeks” or “…gone at the end of the month,” etc. so items don’t accumulate for months on end.

Next to the pick-a-chore envelope, the sign on the bucket reads:


You left it out.
Mom picked it up.
She’s got your stuff;
You’re out of luck.

To get it back
Must do a chore;
Again it is yours
Just like before.

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As I cleaned my tubs today, I thought it might be time to humble myself and share my three-day process for cleaning my bathrooms (yes, three days).  I’ll leave it to my sisters to decide who I am talking about when I speak of my cleanie-sister.  I’m sure it will boggle her mind to know that it takes me three days to clean my bathroom.  What can I say?  It works for me.

I actually won a bridal shower prize once by describing the horribleness of cleaning the bathroom—all the different jobs and cleaners and tools that are needed to do one small, distasteful room.  Maybe my revolutionary system came by Fly Lady’s trick of pecking away at our tasks by setting a timer for 15 minutes and putting heart and soul into the job for that short time; maybe it came by an interruption that caused me to stop my odious chore mid-way.  Whatever it was, cleaning bathrooms has not been nearly as daunting as it was in my earlier housekeeping days.

My three-day system does two things for me.  It helps me begin and it helps me end.  When I know that I only have to do my tubs today, I am much more willing to get started.  After that, having already begun, and having gotten the very physical job of scrubbing the tubs behind me, I know that I am nearer to a clean bathroom than I was yesterday, and with a little more effort the next couple of days, I’ll have a pretty clean, sparkly bathroom soon.

I have found it works for me to keep all of my bathroom cleaning supplies in a caddie under the sink of my main bathroom.  If we had bathrooms on several floors, I’d keep a set of supplies for each floor in a bathroom there.  In this way, supplies are near the task for day-to-day maintenance (see below).  I do all the bathroom tubs in the house on Day 1, all vanities/toilets Day 2, etc. carrying only the necessary cleaning items for that day from room to room.

Below, are my routines for thoroughly covering the bathroom.  This is just one way that bathrooms can be done, it is not a law.  Really, whatever works for you…works.

So without further adieu, here is the main frame:

Day 1: Tubs
Day 2: Vanities and Toilets
Day 3: Floors

_____     _____     _____



Mildly abrasive cleaner (ex: Softscrub);
Clean sponge with a scratch-free abrasive side;
Soapscum Remover and/or Mold & Mildew Remover (ex: Tilex)

You need to get in there with bare feet.  Wet the walls down.  Put Softscrub onto sponge and work all surfaces except the two-foot, front of the tub.  Work top to bottom, doing a panel-at-a-time, working around the surround.  Rinse all surfaces, making sure the Softscrub gets rinsed off.  Step out of the tub and on hands and knees, scrub that two-foot tub-front and the floor of the tub.  Rinse.

I don’t do my chrome yet as I’m not using that product today, but I will take my sponge and wipe the tops of picture frames and quickly wipe down my door panels.  I also check to see if the shower curtain or doors need a spray down with either of the Tilex sprays.

Change out bath towels and shower wash cloths.


Mildly abrasive cleanser (ex:Softscrub);
Sponge (same as above);
Old toothbrush;
Windex and drying cloth;
Anti-bacterial wipes (ex: Clorox wipes);
Toilet bowl brush

Anti-bacterial spray (ex: Lysol Bathroom) with baby wipes can replace Clorox wipes;
My favorite cleaning cloths are simply white washcloths that come in a package of, maybe, 12/$2.50 at WalMart or the like.  I wash them in hot water with Biz bleach and our socks.

Vanities—Softscrub the porcelain and put a bit on the toothbrush to clean around fixtures and the caulking; rinse and wipe clean.  Quickly run sponge around baseboard tops to remove dust; rinse out sponge.  Wipe down vanity top and doors (NOTE: Softscrub will leave a film that is hard to clean off the flat surface, so use sparingly; a counter spritz of Lysol Bathroom cleaner first may be desired).  Windex the mirror, light fixtures, and chrome fixtures on sink and in tub. (NOTE: Sometimes I’ll run out into the adjoining master bedroom to do the mirrors there or wipe the picture frames in the hall outside the main bathroom, etc., since I already have a damp cloth ready to be used.)

Toilets—Use Clorox wipes on tank cover items, then, put on gloves and wipe all porcelain surfaces (tank, lids/lips, and body).  I use about 4/toilet.  These wipes must be thrown, not flushed.  Even though the floor will be cleaned tomorrow, use wipes on the floor around the toilet, because as Jeff Campbell says in his book Speed Cleaning, it is preferable to be “on our hands and knees, eyeball to eyeball with the toilet, only once.”  Wet toilet bowl brush and drizzle Softscrub around it; scrub inside of bowl.  Flush to rinse out brush.  (NOTE: I leave brush lid cocked and I drain the holder several times to aid drying before storing for good.)

Change out hand towels and wash cloths near sink.


Vacuum cleaner with attachments;
Floor cleaner (ex: Mr. Clean);
Small bucket;
Floor cleaning sponge (NOT the sponge used Days 1 and 2);

Put rugs outside to be shaken; clear floor of all items.  Vacuum floor, using attachments to get into corners and small spaces.  Put some Mr. Clean in bottom of bucket and fill with hottest water possible.  With gloves and floor sponge, get down on hands and knees and starting at the farthest point away work towards the door.  While floor is drying, empty garbage and replace with clean bag; shake rugs outside if possible, and/or vacuum rugs inside (then vacuum floor underneath when rugs are lifted).  Replace all floor items.


Fly Lady suggests a Swish and Swipe each day in our bathrooms.  When using a bathroom, take inventory of its state.  If needed, do a quick wipe of the sink or the mirrors; empty the garbage; sponge flat surfaces in the tub; brush the toilet bowl; do a quick vacuum (perhaps when vacuuming adjacent rooms in the house); etc—whatever needs attention.  Mostly, just be aware of your space and deal with small jobs before they get larger.

I know my three-day system forfeits that one glorious day of an all-clean bathroom, but I gain a cleaner bathroom in the long haul as I am more willing to get started and do so more often.  Also, instead of just that one day, I get three days of clean smells in there.  I have found that my work really doesn’t devolve very much during the three days, so I get a pretty good looking bathroom in the end and am left with time and energy to accomplish other things in and around this otherwise tedious chore.

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When I stand before the throne of God Almighty,
I have only one defense.
It is a person; One who represents me before the judgment bench.  His name is Love itself.
He lives forever and will forever plead my case—
My name is ever before Him, on his hands and on his heart.
And I know this…that while He is in heaven, I am welcome there.

Sometimes Satan tempts me to hopelessness.
Although I can hide it from others, he accuses me of that which I am guilty.
In moments like that I turn my mind’s eye toward heaven and I remember my advocate there.
He has already dealt with my ugly inside.
In fact, it is because this sinless One willingly bore my punishment, that my sinful being is free from condemnation.
For the righteous and just God was satisfied to expend his wrath for sin on this, his dear Son.
Because of this there is no left-over wrath directed at me…and I am set free from my death sentence!

Look at Him there!  He was slain as a sacrifice on an altar; but now He is risen!
Because of Him, I am declared perfect, without one charge against me;
yes, because of Him—this unchanging One who calls himself “I AM,” this great grace-giving, glorious king!
With my life joined to his, I cannot die the second death.
Why? because He alone purchased life for me.  How? by shedding his blood when mine was required.
Now there is no longer me and Him.  There is only Him…in me.
He is the long-awaited deliverer, He is the One who saved me, and He is my God!

_____     _____     _____

Before the Throne of God Above
by Charitie Lees Smith (1841–1923)
[One of my favorites]

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

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