Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Awry Plans Redirected

Wow!  This week has been a doozie!  Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps."  That was definitely the case this week!  Of course, it always is, but it seems to be more evident when God's directives are completely contrary to our plans.

Our Plans:
     -Monday:  Paint & rehang the porch swing
     -Tuesday:  Woodworking (Michael), spend the night @ Beth & Chris'
     -Wednesday:  Visit a dairy farm, go berry picking, & make jam
     -Thursday:  T.E.A. time, sew a new skirt, couples' Bible study
     -Friday:  Grocery shopping, clean house

God's Directives:
     -Monday:  Call from Mama, pack to go to LA, shelter @ Michael's mother's house through a tornado warning
     -Tuesday:  Leave very early, take care of house business, see family, spend the night with Daddy
     -Wednesday:  Leave for home even earlier, doctor's appointment for Michael, crash exhausted for afternoon/evening nap
     -Thursday:  Lunch with Sweet T & Sommer, raging migraine that won't quit
     -Friday:  Load up the dogs & head to the hospital parking deck to take shelter for a few hours under yet another tornado warning, begin reading Pilgrim's Progress

Michael queried what God's purposes for this past week could have been.  I'm not sure, but I think one of them could have been that we were given an opportunity to cheerfully give up our plans to follow His, without question or grumbling.  I'm sorry to say that we failed magnificently.  Instead of looking at these disruptions to our plans as God sovereignly working out His plan for our lives for this week, we moaned & groaned not a little over these inconveniences.  We weren't trusting, we were annoyed.  Why is it so much easier to accept God's sovereign plan in grand ways, but so difficult to do so in the ins & outs of our days?  Perhaps the best way to look at this whole thing is that our plans were awry & were redirected by God.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jesus Knows

“The Good Shepherd Jesus knows you well, though you may not think it. You never shed a secret tear over your own corruption, you never breathed a single prayer for forgiveness and helping grace, you never made a single struggle against wickedness, which He did not remark and note down in the book of His remembrance.

You need not fear His not understanding your needs, you need not be afraid your prayers are too poor and unlearned to be attended to. He knows your particular necessities far better than you do yourselves, and your humble supplications are no sooner offered up than heard.

If you transgress He will grieve—but He will chasten and bring you back; if you bear good fruit, He will rejoice and give more grace; if you sorrow He will bind up your broken heart and pour in balm. He is ever watching and observing and listening. No believer is so humble and lowly, but He is acquainted with all their ways.”

~J.C. Ryle, "The Privileges of the True Christian"
Of First Importance

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dear Christian,

If you haven't heard me say so before, I'll say now that Stepping Heavenward is my favorite book.  Each time I read it, I identify with Katy all the way through.  I am convicted, encouraged, & my passion for Christ grows deeper with each perusal.  I'm rereading it now & would like to share a part of this phenomenal book with you today.  This is a letter from Katy's minister, Dr. Cabot, addressing her lament that she is like the blind man in Mark 8:24.  I'm going to start not quite halfway through this beautiful letter & stop before the end of it; even though it's long, I pray it will be as profitable for y'all as it always is for me.  I encourage you to read it as though it's written to you; read it 2 or 3 times even.  Drink in the words & let your very soul be filled with wonder that we are so loved by God.

Having been pardoned by your God & Savior, the next thing you have to do is to show your gratitude for this infinite favor by consecrating yourself entirely to Him, body, soul, & spirit.  This is the least you can do.  He has bought you with a price, & you are no longer your own.  "But," you may reply, "this is contrary to my nature.  I love my own way.  I desire ease & pleasure; I desire to go to heaven, but I want to be carried thither on a bed of flowers.  Can I not give myself so far to God as to feel a sweet sense of peace with Him, & be sure of final salvation, & yet, to a certain extent, indulge & gratify myself?  If I give myself entirely away to Him, & lose all ownership in myself, He may deny me many things I greatly desire.  He may make my life hard & wearisome, depriving me of all that now makes it agreeable."  But, I reply, this is no matter of parley & discussion; it is not optional with God's children whether they will pay Him a part of the price they owe Him, & keep back the rest.  He asks, & He has a right to ask, for all you have & all you are.  And if you shrink from what is involved in such a surrender, you should fly to Him at once & never rest till He has conquered this secret disinclination to give to Him as freely & as fully as He has given to you.  It is true that such an act of consecration on your part may involve no little future discipline & correction.  As soon as you become the Lord's by your own deliberate & conscious act, He will begin that process of sanctification which is to make you holy as He is holy, perfect as He is perfect.  He becomes at once your Physician as well as your dearest & best Friend, but He will use no painful remedy that can be avoided.  Remember that it is His will that you should be sanctified, & that the work of making you holy is His, not yours.  At the same time you are not to sit with folded hands, waiting for this blessing.  You are to avoid laying hindrances in His way, & you are to exercise faith in Him as just as able & just as willing to give you sanctification as He was to give you redemption.  And now if you ask how you may know that you have truly consecrated yourself to Him, I reply, observe every indication of His will concerning you, no matter how trivial, & see whether you at once close in with that will.  Lay down this principle as a law - God does nothing arbitrary.  If He takes away your health, for instance, it is because He has some reason for doing so; & this is true of everything you value; & if you have real faith in Him you will not insist on knowing this reason.  If you find, in the course of daily events, that your self-consecration was not perfect - that is, that your will revolts at His will - do not be discouraged, but fly to your Savior & stay in His presence till you obtain the spirit in which He cried in His hour of anguish "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me:  nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done" (Luke 22:42).  Every time you do this it will be easier to do it; every such consent to suffer will bring you nearer & nearer to Him; & in this nearness to Him you will find such peace, such blessed, sweet peace, as will make your life infinitely happy, no matter what may be its mere outside conditions.  Just think, my dear Katy, of the honor & the joy of having your will one with the Divine will, & so becoming changed into Christ's image from glory to glory!  (pg. 62-63)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy 90th Birthday, Granny!

Today is my dear sweet Granny's 90th birthday!  She's lived a long & wonderful life & is one of the most precious ladies you will ever meet.  I just got off the phone with her & just loved hearing her happy, melodious voice!  She's enjoying her new apartment & socializing some.  She was very pleased with the balloons that were affixed to her dining room chair for this special day & said she had fun at her party on Saturday.  It's hard to not be able to see her very often, & I hope she understands that our distance is the cause.  I thought about writing a new post in honor of this milestone, but really don't see how I can top last year's (which I hope you'll read).  So, I'll just say, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GRANNY!  I LOVE YOU!!"

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Practicing Submission

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
~Ephesians 5:22-24

Let's be honest here - this is easier said than done.  Even someone who loves this teaching, such as myself, has trouble putting it into practice with consistency.  I know I need to submit to Michael, I want to submit to Michael & so honor both him & God, but I'm stubbornly independent at times.  Like a mule!

We spent Thursday evening at the couples' Bible study, & our pastor asked a nearby couple what the biggest adjustment to marriage has been for them.  If I had been asked that question, I would have replied without hesitation, "Submission."  It's hard to have a staunch opinion on how something should be done & then have to act contrary to it.  But submission doesn't happen when Michael & I are in agreement.  Submission takes place when we have differing plans & I willingly put mine aside to embrace his.

I've been convicted over the last couple of days about how far short I have fallen in this area.  So, with God's help, I'm working to do a better job of putting my convictions into practice.  I got that chance Thursday.  That morning I spent a couple of hours at the ladies' Bible study, & then headed to the grocery store for a few items.  When I made it home, my plan was to fix lunch & then bake a cake for that evening's couples' Bible study.  However, Michael had other plans.  He's built some shelves in our storage shed & wanted me to help him move some boxes out there & get things organized.  So, he asked me to go back to the store & buy a dessert.  Uncharacteristically, I happily & easily agreed with nary an argument or sour expression.  Point 1 for Chrissy!  But that's not all.  Poor sweet fella was famished by this time, so my plans for cooking lunch went out the window.  God graciously gave me another opportunity to practice submission, & I'll tell you how that worked itself out in just a second, but first let me give you some background.  Michael & I are wanting to eat healthier & lose weight, so we haven't eaten out in almost 2 weeks.   It's working, too!  We're both losing weight (of course, him more than me) & saving money to boot!  So, we're both heavily opposed to eating out.  Cue conversation.

Me:  "Okay, I have an idea, but I think you're probably going to shoot it down.  Since we're short on time, & you're so hungry, why don't I head over to Chick-fil-A?"

Michael:  "No.  We're doing really well, & I don't want to mess that up."

Me:  "It's not like we'd be eating out just because we want to; there are extenuating circumstances.  I think this is the best choice right now.  But, I'll leave it up to you.  We'll do whatever you want."

Michael:  (after some consideration)  "Okay, but what are you going to get?"

Me:  "The regular.  A number one, well done.  Although, we don't have to get the drink.  So, 2 sandwiches & fries."

Michael:  "What size fries?"

Me:  (somewhat bashfully, because I know where this is going)  "Large."

Michael:  (even though he knows he's talking to a fry addict)  "We should get medium.  We're small people.  Small people don't need large fries."

Me:  (after much consideration) "Alright.  Medium.  This submission thing sucks."  (said with a smile)

Michael:  (as I'm walking to the door)  "Have you ever had the grilled sandwiches?  We should -"

Me:  "Submission over!  I am not getting grilled!"

End result:  I came home with 2 Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches, well done, & 2 medium fries.  You didn't honestly expect me to do the grilled ones, did you?!

Obviously, I need some more practice.  ;-)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Recipe of the "Week"

I give you fair warning:  if you don't like over-the-top cheesy dishes, you won't like this one.  However, if you have been blessed with better taste (hehe), this is sure to be one meal that you won't be able to resist!

Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti


-2 lbs. chicken
-2 lbs. Velveeta, cubed
-1 lb. spaghetti (we use angel hair)
-1 onion, finely minced
-2 celery stalks, finely minced
-1 can cream of chicken soup
-1 c. milk
-1 can Rotel

Fixing to go into the oven.


-Boil chicken, remove undesirable parts, & cut into bite-size pieces.

-Cook the spaghetti in a large pot & saute the veggies.

-Drain the spaghetti, return to the pot, & mix with all of the other ingredients minus the Velveeta.

-Pour the mixture into a greased lasagna pan.

-Top with cubed Velveeta.

-Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted.

-Stir until cheese is distributed evenly throughout.

Ready to be eaten in all its cheesy gooey-ness!

Murmuring Suits None So Badly As Saints

“Is not Christ your treasure? Is not heaven your inheritance—and will you murmur? Has not God given you a changed heart, a renewed nature, and a sanctified soul—and will you murmur?

Has He not given you Himself to satisfy you, His Son to save you, His Spirit to lead you, His grace to adorn you, His covenant to assure you, His mercy to pardon you, His righteousness to clothe you—and will you murmur? Has He not made you a friend, a son, a brother, a bride, an heir—and will you murmur?

When you were dead, did not He quicken you? When you were lost, did not He seek you? When you were wounded, did not He heal you? When you were falling, did not He support you? When you were down, did not He raise you? When you were staggering, did not He establish you? When you were erring, did not He correct you? When you were tempted, did not He support you? and when you went in dangers, did not He deliver you?—and will you murmur?

What! you who are so highly advanced and exalted above many thousands in the world? Murmuring suits none so badly as saints.”

~Thomas Brooks, "The Mute Christian Under the Smarting Rod"
Of First Importance