Wednesday, February 27, 2008

About commenting...

I enjoy having people comment on my blog. However, I am no longer allowing anonymous comments to stand. You can sign in on a blogger account, or you can give yourself a nickname. But if you make an anonymous comment, I will automatically delete it.

The reason is this: Recently an anonymous person has been making comments that scorn and mock everything I stand for. This person appears to have no use for Christians or Christianity. Now, if this person would have asked honest questions, and wanted honest answers, I would gladly have engaged in dialog with him/her. But this person appeared to have his/her mind already made up, and no amount of reasoning would have had any affect on him/her.

I know that some people will disagree with what I have to say on this blog. I have always expected that. But my comment box is not the place to hide behind anonymity while attacking my God and my faith.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Perfect timing

It's in the seemingly little things in life where I especially enjoy seeing the caring hand of our Lord as He watches over us.

This morning it was my turn to drive the children to skating. We were all in the van, ready and waiting while Tom put in more brake fluid. It was just a little low, like there was maybe a slow leak in the line, but not major enough to try to fix it right away.

For those of you who don't know, when you put more brake fluid in, you have to have someone pump the brakes for you while you bleed all the air out of the lines. I have had LOTS of experience being the pumper over the last 21 years, so I knew something was MAJORLY different this time. I told Tom that it just didn't feel right at all.

The problem was that while I was pumping, the whole thing broke! So we all got out of the van (no skating today!) and Tom has spent the whole day fixing the brakes. As he was working on it, and testing things, the brake line on the other side broke, also. We were both surprised to find that both brakes were that bad.

So here's where God protected us: all this happened in the comfort of our own driveway, NOT while I was driving 30 minutes from home on a snowy day. Also, it didn't happen while Josiah was driving. Josiah just got his G-1 license (roughly equivalent to a permit in the US), and it would not have been a very pleasant introduction to driving to have the brakes fail on him just now!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Today is Saturday. What have you got planned for this evening? Are you having company over? Are you going to watch TV or a movie? Are you going out somewhere with friends?

Tomorrow is Sunday. Are you planning to join in fellowship with other believers in worship services? Or will you be too tired from whatever you're doing tonight? If you to go to church services, will your mind and heart be ready to receive the Word that will be taught and preached tomorrow? Or will your mind be on what you will have done tonight?

One of my "New Year's Resolutions" was to spend an extra hour in prayer every week. I have to confess that I haven't been faithful at keeping that hour every single week. I'd like to start again, this time purposely setting aside a specific time that will only be used for prayer. And I'd like to take up the challenge that Tom gave to all who attend our church to set Saturday night aside for prayer. As a mom, this means I need to work my day around making sure everybody is in bed by 8:30 at the very latest. This means having supper a little earlier, getting baths done promptly, and making sure everybody has their Sunday clothes ready. Then putting them to bed with their own prayer time before shutting myself away to pray by myself.

Pray for what? For Tom and other pastors who have the responsibility to give God's Word from the pulpit, and for the Sunday school teachers, that we may speak boldly. For the children in our church who do not know the Lord yet, who need to be convicted of sin. For those who do know the Lord, who need spiritual growth and encouragement.

Most of all, though, I want to pray for the power of God's Holy Spirit to be on the preaching. That power is so sadly lacking in most local churches in the western world today. This past week I watched a powerful sermon about why revival tarries. The message was so pointed that it convicted me personally on a number of things and made me weep. Yet when the message was over, the congregation of that church filed out in what appeared to be their normal way (normal for most churches, anyway). You would have thought that such a sermon would have had men, women and children on their knees, broken before God.

A similar experience occurred at a Bible conference in Pennsylvania a couple of years ago. After the man of God preached a powerful sermon on hell, the people went about their usual business of filing into the dining hall for their usual donuts and coffee. The man reporting this to us was amazed that God's people could so casually go about as normal after hearing such a sermon.

What happens when people pray for the men of God who preach His Word? Here is one example from Acts 4:

verse 29, the prayer: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word."

verses 31 and 33, the answer: "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."

Here is another prayer that I have started praying, for Tom, the other preachers of our fellowship, and for David Bane as he prepares to speak to our youth:

Colossians 4:2-4 "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Another great blog--Axe to the Root

Some of you who know me will remember Nate Ellis. He has a blog describing his experiences as a street preacher. He also reports on other young men of God who are preaching all over the world. Click here, or on "Nate Ellis" in my side bar. (Actually, this blog is written by David Bane as well, a young man who we look forward to meeting in a few weeks when he comes to speak to our young people.)

Practical stuff

Colossians 3

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication [prostitution, adultery, incest], uncleanness [physical or moral impurity], inordinate affection [lust], evil concupiscence [harmful or evil desires], and covetousness, which is idolatry: for which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.

But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ.

But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done; and there is no respect of persons.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A little bit about revival and me

There was a time in my life when I was a young wife and mother that I was very materialistic. I had goals that were totally separate from Tom's goals. I thought that we could live together as husband and wife and still each do what we wanted.

I wanted a social life apart from my children, whom I saw as nuisances, though I tried to cover that up with an outward show of devotion to them. (That is, people outside my family thought I was fully devoted to my children as a godly mother should be. My children knew better.) I wanted material possessions such as a new car (not an old one that Tom had to constantly work with to keep running), our own nice big house (not a rental or a fixer-upper or a sardine can of a trailer), and plenty of money for things. I also wanted an old-fashioned farm. (I still go back and forth on that one.)

Tom wanted revival.

I strove hard to reach my goals by nagging Tom to be "more efficient" with our finances. I wanted to take over the money and spend or save it my way, for what I wanted. I looked at what others had and coveted. I planned, schemed, connived.

Tom worked just as hard at reaching his goal. He prayed. He fasted. He preached--in churches, in nursing homes, in truck stops, in rescue missions, in jails, wherever the door or pulpit was open to him. He passed out tracts on street corners. He shared (or tried to share) Christ with his family. He spoke of Christ to whoever would listen.

I am ashamed to say that Tom embarrassed me.

Did I miss that verse that asks, "How can two walk together except they be agreed?" Because there were only three options for our marriage: his way, my way, or no way. My goals were so totally opposite of Tom's goals that there could be no compromising.

Once I said to him, "What is it with you and revival? I am just so sick of hearing it from you." I don't remember his answer, but I will NEVER forget the look of hurt on his face.

I continued in this materialistic frame of mind for quite a number of years. In fact, you dear Canadians who asked us to come to your church did not get a godly pastor's wife. Thank God you did get a godly pastor. But I was not on board with him at all. When some of you helped us look for a house, and he told you I wanted to live in the country, I thought, "FINALLY I get MY way!"

But since I've been here God has been gradually working in me. The work was slow because of my own reluctance, but God never gave up on me. Why not? I don't know, other than that His mercies are great.

I'm different now. God has worked in me a desire for revival in my own soul. A rather weak desire at first, but it grew a little stronger every year. I'm not there yet. I've still got a long way to go. But this desire for revival is stronger now than ever. And I know now that this world, with all its things, is NOT my home. I'm just passing through. While I'm here, my light needs to burn for Christ, that all who see it will glorify HIM, and not me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Why Revival Tarries

Tom found Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill among his books at the church, and brought it home to me yesterday. I plan to start reading through it at soon as I finish reading I Saw the Welsh Revival by David Matthews. At first, Tom did not know he still had that book, so I went looking for it on the internet. Here are two things that I found thought-provoking.

First, this article, which exposes who is to blame for the lack of revival in our local church.

Second, this book review by an unknown minister, which I quote here:

This book should come with a warning label on it saying: "If you want to destroy your life go ahead and read this book!" This book absolutely destroyed me in every way possible. I remember receiving this book from a friend in Philly and was in a bad season in my life and also remembering being scared to read the book. No wait I wasn't scared to read it I was absolutely terrified, and my pre-conceived notions were correct. Once I picked up that book I was as good as dead. I began to weep and groan for weeks and weeks. The burning words in those pages completely consumed me and scathed me. I was skinned and hung up for death. Everything in my life was burnt up and left in an ash heap before my feet, so that I had to turn to God and say what now? He replied and said do what I have always wanted you to do, die! Everything changed for me, prayer life, ministry, preaching, relationships, church, conduct, and everything else. I walked away broken, battered, and bruised from this book and have never been the same. So with that read this book unless you want to live in your 'normal' Christian life, but if you have enough guts to actually do what the bible says, let Ravenhill expose your fakeness and start all over again from step one!

Brother Marcel, if you are reading this, I want you to know that what you said at the business meeting keeps going through my mind: that revival does not come because we are not righteous. Here are the verses I keep thinking of also:

Psalm 24:3-5 "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, not sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation."

Monday, February 18, 2008

A collection of excerpts from sermons about revival.

This link is self explanatory. All I can say is, please, PLEASE watch. Watch and weep. Then ask, no, beg God to do for and in and through YOU. You might want to skip the song that comes in the middle, but the rest is definitely worth your time. It's about 35 minutes long.

A collection of excerpts from sermons about revival.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Ruth: Not the norm

About a couple of years ago, someone challenged my "notion" that the girl should not make the first move in starting a courtship relationship. She used Ruth as a Biblical example supporting her in her right to ask the man of her dreams to declare himself for her.

Ruth is an exception. This is one of those "cultural" things that has spiritual lessons for us, but should not be taken as something women should do today. Nevertheless, there are some things women can learn from the way Ruth did conduct herself.

Ruth was not a Jew. She was not familiar with Jewish laws and customs. It isn't likely that she would have made any move at all were it not for Naomi's instructions. As a childless widow in the Jewish culture, she had the right to ask her deceased husband's nearest relative to "redeem" her, that is, to buy back her husband's land and property, marry her, and father children who would be considered the children of her deceased husband. This is not something women have the Biblical right to do today.

But what can we learn from Ruth? What sort of woman was she?

1. Ruth was a believer. She was won to the Jewish faith possibly by the love of her mother-in-law, Naomi. I say this because when Naomi opted to go back to Bethlehem, Ruth clung to her and begged to go with her. She pledged herself to Naomi and Naomi's God for life (Ruth 1:16-17). She had learned to love Naomi and the one true God, Jehovah. From then on, she determined to glorify God with her life. This love and devotion was noticed by Boaz (Ruth 2:11-12).

2. Ruth was a hard worker. She went out into the fields daily to glean enough grain for herself and Naomi to eat. You may think she did this out of necessity, but Ruth 2:2 shows that she volunteered for this job. She did not sit around waiting for someone else to do it. She was not lazy. You don't have to read very far in Proverbs before you find that lazy people would rather starve than work. This quality of being a hard worker was also noticed by Boaz. In fact, it was the one thing that made her stand out from all the other women in the field (Ruth 2:7).

3. Ruth was humble. She recognized that as a Moabite she did not have the right to receive the blessings God gave the Jewish people. She was surprised that Boaz would receive her so kindly into his fields (Ruth 2:8-10).

4. Ruth was obedient. She may not have understood the Jewish customs, but she obeyed Naomi's exact instructions in approaching Boaz (Ruth 3:5-6). She didn't question Naomi, she simply obeyed.

5. Ruth was grateful (Ruth 2:13). This is a necessary quality in any person's life. Do a word search with your concordance. You will find that thankfulness is much encouraged, even commanded, in the New Testament. Being truly grateful requires humility. The thankful person recognizes that someone else has done something for her that she perhaps could not do for herself. Some of us are more independently minded than others. It is hard for us to receive something because we want to do it ourselves. This is pride, and it robs ourselves and others of blessing. The thankful person also recognizes that she does not deserve this thing that someone has done for her. The proud person, on the other hand, is not thankful because she believes it is her right to have the given thing.

6. Ruth made herself attractive. This is something that is often missed by those who strive so much for modesty that they put down physical beauty. Boaz was used to seeing Ruth working up a sweat in the fields. He was attracted to her first by her character, but now was the time for her to clean herself up and look attractive physically. She took a bath, anointed herself, and put on clean clothes (Ruth 3:3).

Taking a bath is an obvious necessity that does not need explaining. Anointing herself with oil was the custom as part of making herself look nice physically. As a poor widow, she would not have had perfume to put on, but she used what she had. "Put thy raiment upon thee" suggests several possibilities. First, modesty (wearing clothes that marked her as chaste, not as a harlot). Second, it was now time to put off her widow's garments and put on something that showed that she now wished to be married again. Third, this was an occasion for wearing her best clothes.

7. Ruth received God's best for her in the choice of a husband. Ruth 3:10 suggests that Boaz was an older man, and that Ruth could have tried to get a younger husband. But the one thing that mattered most to Ruth was that she take what God provided for her.

8. Ruth was patient. She did not follow Boaz around, nagging at him to get busy about this business of making her his wife. She did not even go back to Boaz's fields to glean. She went home to Naomi and "sat still" until Boaz sent word himself (Ruth 3:16-18).

9. Ruth caused others to glorify God. She never sought glory or praise for herself. She lived her life quietly, honestly, and with humility. As a result, other women were made to praise God--probably one of the few times any Jew would rejoice in God's blessing to (and through) a Moabite (Ruth 4:14-15).

Saturday, February 02, 2008

To my daughter

Dear Sarah,

I should be writing about Ruth right now, but I can't seem to focus on that right now. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon I'll be able to get back to the courtship series. Right now I just wanted to write to you. At first I wasn't even going to give you this letter, let alone put it on my blog. But mother-daughter tensions are probably as old as Eve and her daughters, and I'm going to guess there are lots of other moms and daughters out there who will relate to this letter. Especially if they are part of a big family.

Did you know that sometimes I am jealous of you? You get to go to people's houses and eat tacos and drink root beer. I get to stay home and eat chicken for the umpteenth time, only this time in the rocking chair because I'm so dizzy I can't hold my head up at the table. You actually enjoy hockey. I never really had the opportunity to even learn to skate well. You've been strong and healthy all this fall and winter. Oh, I know you've had headaches and your knees bother you, but you've still been able to go to church and other places while I've had to stay home either sick myself or with sick toddlers.

This morning I've been having a bit of a pity party for myself. That's wrong. I realized today that I am hard on you and the others because you can do stuff that I can't. Stuff I want to do myself. This may sound strange to you, but I want to scrub the tub, clean the refrigerator, mop the floors, move the furniture to sweep behind it, work in your room with your sisters, give the baths, do the laundry, change the diapers, even walk the dogs--yes, even Puppy. I want to cook all the meals, take care of John and Timmy, and a myriad of other things that I don't even bother to ask anyone to do for me. But I can't.

When you don't do things my way, I should be thankful that those things are done at all. I should rejoice that you are developing into a beautiful young woman capable of doing many things, and doing them well. Instead, I'm only reminded again that I can't do it myself.

So I confess my selfishness to you--because that's what it is--as sin. I still need your help around here. Yours and everybody else's. And there does have to be some kind of standard. But I won't be so picky about every little thing anymore. And I won't take out my frustrations on you by making mountains out of molehills.

Someday I won't be pregnant. Someday I won't be fat and my back won't hurt. I won't be dizzy, and all the congestion will be cleared out of my head and lungs. Hopefully that will be soon. I'll be able to run, ride my bike, build a snow fort, plant a better garden, even learn how to skate. I'll be able to help rip this house apart and make it beautiful inside and out. And I want to do all those things with you and your brothers and sisters.

Meanwhile, will you please forgive me? I love you.