Monday, June 18, 2012

God's Glory: Foundation for Life

Man, I'm posting like crazy lately! I guess God is just stirring things up a lot and teaching me things worth sharing!

This is a selection of excerpts from "Marriage Lived for the Glory of God," a short chapter by John Piper that I read for my premarital counseling homework. You can read the whole chapter here, if you're interested.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . All things were made through him” (John 1:1, 3, ESV). All things. All that is not God was made by God. So once there was only God.
Therefore God is absolute Reality. We are not. The universe is not. Marriage is not. We are derivative. The universe is of secondary importance, not primary. The human race is not the ultimate reality, nor the ultimate value, nor the ultimate measuring rod of what is good or what is true or what is beautiful. God is. God is the one ultimate absolute in existence. Everything else is from Him and through Him and for Him.

Marriage will be preserved for the glory of God and shaped for the glory of God when the glory of God is more precious to us than marriage.

The glory of God:

  • the glory of His eternality that makes the mind want to explode with the infinite thought that God never had a beginning, but simply always was;
  • the glory of His knowledge that makes the Library of Congress look like a matchbox and quantum physics like a first grade reader;
  • the glory of His wisdom that has never been and can never be counseled by men;
  • the glory of His authority over heaven and earth and hell, with- out whose permission no man and no demon can move one inch;
  • the glory of His providence without which not one bird falls to the ground or a single hair turns gray;
  • the glory of His word that upholds the universe and keeps all the atoms and molecules together;
  • the glory of His power to walk on water, cleanse lepers, heal the lame, open the eyes of the blind, cause the deaf to hear, still storms with a word, and raise the dead;
  • the glory of His purity never to sin, or to have a two-second bad attitude or evil thought;
  • the glory of His trustworthiness never to break His word or let one promise fall to the ground;
  • the glory of His justice to render all moral accounts in the uni- verse settled either on the cross or in hell;
  • the glory of His patience to endure our dullness for decade after decade;
  • the glory of His sovereign, slave-like obedience to embrace the excruciating pain of the cross willingly;
  • the glory of His wrath that will one day cause people to call out for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them;
  • the glory of His grace that justifies the ungodly; and
  • the glory of His love that dies for us even while we were sinners.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Thoughts on our battling Warrior

Wow. I don't know about you guys, but I thought today's sermon at CrossWay was AMAZING. Maybe that's just because it was something I so needed to hear. God is good at that—giving us just what we needed to hear. I guess that's one of the things He meant when He told us His Word is "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword..." (Hebrews 4:12).

The sermon was called "Jesus, Our Great Warrior, Goes to Battle." Go ahead, take a listen if you haven't. And hold on to your seats—it's better than a good movie (as Eric put it).

The passage: Mark 4:35-5:43.

In this passage, Jesus does four miracles—fights four battles—that show His complete, ultimate authority over everything—even circumstances men have zero power over. Four of man's biggest fears—natural disasters, demonic activity, incurable sickness, and death—are completely defeated with a word from Jesus! And all in a day's work!

Battle #1: After preaching in a boat most of the day, Jesus tells his disciples it's time to cross to the other side of the sea. On the way, there's a huge storm that's sinking the boat. The situation seems hopeless. Jesus is fast asleep. So they wake Him up, saying "Dude! Don't you care that we're about to die?!" And with Jesus' words, "Peace! Be still!" everything is completely calm. And the disciples are terrified by the utter power of this Man.

Battle #2: On the other side, Jesus is met by and rescues a demon-possessed man (which, by the way, is the only thing he does before crossing back over to the other side, meaning this is all he come over there for, meaning that pretty much explains why Satan would send a storm to try stopping Him. And even in the face of that resistance, what did Jesus do? He took a nap. And then He still won the battle—with a word. Take that, Satan). So, anyway, He meets this man, the demons beg Him for mercy, and with the words, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!" it was done. The man was in his right mind. And, of course, "everyone marveled."

Battle #3: With the words "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your disease," Jesus heals a woman who no doctor had been able to heal for twelve years.

Battle #4: Then he follows Jairus to his home, where Jairus' daughter lie dead. And with the gentle words "Sweetie, time to get up," DEATH IS DEFEATED! And, of course, the onlookers "were immediately overcome with amazement."

What's the point of all this? What does this have to do with us?

These stories reminded me of Who my God is. He has complete and utter authority over everything, and He is completely worthy of my trust. This is not to say that He will cure us of every disease or protect us from every disaster that may strike. But these stories do make clear that God cares. Our circumstances absolutely do not determine whether God cares. Who God is determines that, of course He cares! With this kind of God on our side, what could we possibly have to fear?!

What a sweet Truth for me in this season of change and so many unknowns about the future!

How can this reminder of who God is help your thinking? How can you apply this to your life, now?

Let's sing with Isaac Watts:

My dear almighty Lord, my Conqueror and my King, 
thy scepter and thy sword, thy reign of grace, I sing; 
thine is the power: behold I sit in willing bonds before thy feet.
Now let my soul arise, and tread the tempter down; 
my Captain leads me forth to conquest and a crown. 
a feeble saint shall win the day, though death and hell obstruct the way.
Should all the hosts of death, and powers of hell unknown, 
put their most dreadful forms of rage and mischief on, 
I shall be safe, for Christ displays superior power, and guardian grace.

From "My Captain & Conquerer," an old hymn by Isaac Watts

Random, unrelated shot: Eric got creative with the wrappers at the diner today.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Just a Song

So, lately I've been listening to a favorite Josh Garrels song a lot. It gives me perspective and reminds me of the True things. Take a listen—I promise you'll feel encouraged just hearing the reminder!

Farther Along 

Farther along we’ll know all about it 
Farther along we’ll understand why 
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine 
We’ll understand this, all by and by 

Tempted and tried, I wondered why 
The good man died, the bad man thrives 
And Jesus cries because he loves em’ both 
We’re all cast-aways in need of ropes 
Hangin’ on by the last threads of our hope 
In a house of mirrors full of smoke 
Confusing illusions I’ve seen 

Where did I go wrong, I sang along 
To every chorus of the song 
That the devil wrote like a piper at the gates 
Leading mice and men down to their fates 
But some will courageously escape 
The seductive voice with a heart of faith 
While walkin’ that line back home 

So much more to life than we’ve been told 
It’s full of beauty that will unfold 
And shine like you struck gold my wayward son 
That deadweight burden weighs a ton 
Go down into the river and let it run 
And wash away all the things you’ve done 
Forgiveness alright 


Still I get hard pressed on every side 
Between the rock and a compromise 
Like the truth and pack of lies fightin’ for my soul 
And I’ve got no place left go 
Cause I got changed by what I’ve been shown 
More glory than the world has known 
Keeps me ramblin’ on 

Skipping like a calf loosed from its stall 
I’m free to love once and for all 
And even when I fall I’ll get back up 
For the joy that overflows my cup 
Heaven filled me with more than enough 
Broke down my levee and my bluff 
Let the flood wash me 

And one day when the sky rolls back on us 
Some rejoice and the others fuss 
Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess 
That the son of god is forever blessed 
His is the kingdom, we’re the guests 
So put your voice up to the test 
Sing Lord, come soon 


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Strawberry Picking & Pie Recipe

Yesterday, we went on a strawberry-picking double date, and then made pie. Yum!

Eric and me

Gerrit and Lauren intently picking

Not-so-intently picking

The most perfectest berry of the evening

Arranging the berries in the pie crust

Berries all ready for pie

Four perfect pies!

So pretty!

Fresh Strawberry Pie Recipe (from

*** One personal note about this recipe: I've found it's best to make a double batch of the gelatin filling, especially if you make 9 or 10 inch pies! It doesn't quite fill up the pie as-is the way the recipe says to do it.

  • 2 (8 inch) pie shells, baked
  • 2 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and corn starch; make sure to blend corn starch in completely. Add boiling water, and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mix, and stir until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
  2. Place strawberries in baked pie shells; position berries with points facing up. Pour cooled gel mixture over strawberries.
  3. Refrigerate until set. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Remembering that Brings Contentment

Today I did a drop-off for work at the end of the day. I like when I'm asked to do those for multiple reasons. One of those reasons is that I can sometimes stop at the mall, or make it to Hawthorn Hollow (one of my very favorite places) on the way back before it closes. Today was one of those wonderful stop-at-Hawthorn-Hollow days. And so I walked. And as I walked, I reached a spot where I once spent one of the sweetest times with my Savior that I've ever had. So I sat in the spot, and spent some time remembering.

It was mid-March of 2011, and there I was, on my blanket, in the spot where I stood today. The emotional winter had been as long and harsh as the environmental winter. And on that day, as I enjoyed my God's creation, I felt my spirit thaw, just as the ground beneath me was coming to life again, too. And so I wrote, "... this gift of watching—and feeling—the earth as it thaws. As life seeps up into its bones. Birds chirping, grass wisping, branches blowing. Oh, how grateful I am for seasons. Seasons in weather... seasons in life. God, thank You for this gift that reminds me of your love and care. It seems I'm quite forgetful, and so I apparently need these reminders often. So I'm grateful to You for giving them. Cultivate in me a heart that more often sees the gifts You give and more often gratefully acknowledges—and receives—answered prayer."

I spent hours sitting on my blanket in that spot on that spring day 14 months ago. As I sat, I read some chapters of The Path of Loneliness, which is a great book by Elisabeth Elliot (and it's helpful for everyone, not just people who are lonely... I think Elisabeth has a lot to teach us). I read Psalm 37, and then wrote down what the Psalm teaches us about God and the implications of those things for us.

I enjoyed my time today remembering that day and what God did in my heart then. Since that day, God has worked in so many ways—through relationships, a car accident, a mission trip...

As I look back at my journal from that day, I see how timely this remembering is. After my time at Hawthorn Hollow today, I read my journal from that day, and couldn't help but explode out of gratefulness for answered prayer. I'd written, "God, you know my desire for a husband. My request is simple: Lord of my life, I want You. I want Your best for me. I want whatever it is that You desire for me. Help me to trust You."

Wow! Talk about answered prayer! Here I am in this season of enjoying engagement and planning a wedding to the man I love. And I've been finding lately that it's so important to take time to remember

to stop.

and look.

and take in all that God is doing. 

That's my hope for this season (and for this blog). I desire to slow down and remember to remember. I want to see what God is doing and thank Him for it. I want to see the gifts and let gratefulness reign, instead of seeing the flaws and letting discontentment reign. I hope to be more like Mary, who "treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Luke 2:19).