Thursday, April 30, 2009

He knows it all. . .

So here's a lovely window in the chapel at Syracuse University-did you know that I love windows? . . .especially the beauty of clean windows as light floods through clear panes.

I'm thinking about my friend Kelly's thoughtful comment: as the Lord looks into the window of my heart, He urges, "window washing time-I love a little beauty".
Ah, that's good-and timely, since last week I was proof reading a lesson for our women's summer Bible study on the Omniscience and Omnipresence of God.

God says to me, "I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them" (Eze 11:5). . .to think that my secret sins are in the light of his presence (Ps 90:8). . .that no part of me can be hidden from God, all things about me are open and laid bare before Him (Heb 4:13)

He knows it all-every hint of pride, envy, self seeking. . .what then motivates me to be vigilant over my heart? Not fear of His omniscience- but amazement that He knows it all and still He loved me, still He bled and died for my eternal redemption.
Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Ps 51)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

picture books in my bag. . .

I usually carry at least one good children's book in my book bag. . .afterall, what if I drop in on my grandgirls impromptu or visit a friend who has an eager little listener?

Picture books by Maj Lindman are among my favorites. I imagine my mother, a kindergarden teacher, first read them to me fifty years ago. . .
Swedish author-artist Maj Lindman (1886-1972) wrote and illustrated stories about thee little Swedish boys, Snip, Snap, and Snurr and three little girls, Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka (books originally published in the U. S. in the 1930's.)

So the story goes in Snipp, Snapp, Snurr and the Red Shoes. . . these lads decided to buy their mother the perfect birthday present-a pair of red shoes! So they set out to earn some money. Snipp painted a fence. . .Snapp cleaned a chimney. . . Snurr worked in a flour mill; things didn't go exactly as planned, but in the end, their hard work paied off and Mother was surprised and delighted with her red shoes. . .( the part I like best-the mother gets new red shoes!)

I just purchased Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the New Dotted Dresses for a special little girl, and at the same time I ordered Benjamin West and his Cat Grimalkin (Marguerite Henry) for Malachai's sixth birthday (Shhh!). This one, about the little Quaker boy who grew up to be a famous American painter, is a wonderful read aloud. Our little guy will love it-I can just imagine his face-and his curiosity. . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

mornings at my house. . .

Oh Lord, in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch (Psalm 5)

My house has lovely windows. . . .and on spring mornings sun floods in, creating light patterns on the floors and walls. I use to tell my sons: It's spring-window washing time; remember, boys, women love a little beauty! Alas, the window washing brigade has diminished . . .

Unless I have a guest, most early mornings are quiet, just me at home-I love the time to sit alone with the Lord, reading the Word; this month I have The Attributes of God (A.W. Pink) with my Bible.

Hmmm. . .I'm thinking about 30 years ago when John and I were studying Spanish at the Rio Grande Bible Institute in Edinburg, on the border. I would nurse wee Naomi at 5AM and then drag a kitchen chair onto the patch of cement outside our bungalow, relieved to catch a whisper of cool air, grateful for a whisper of time in God's Word. . .a good memory.

And lately I've been making a new muffin recipe for the mornings, good with coffee and to share:
healthy banana-blueberry muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas (3/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 375, whisk together flours, wheat germ, baking soda, salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars, add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition; in another bowl mash bananas, stir in milk and vanilla. Combine flour mixture, butter mixture, and banana; stir gently and fold in frozen blueberries. Pour batter into 12 cup muffin pan, bake 18-20 minutes.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Resignation or Acceptance?

I've been thinking about Philippians 4: 10-23- What portion to highlight for our Bible study wrap-up? so I pondered while washing dishes, hanging clothes, cutting garden lettuce. . .

. . .for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry. . . (Philippians 4: 11-12)

Hmmm, God put Paul into the school of contentment. . .and I'm there too, all of us, for the rest of our lives-it's a good place to be, although contentment doesn't come naturally to human flesh- it's hard work to cultivate and practice contentment, and sometimes, . . .well, I feel like dropping out of God's school of contentment, Imagine that?

So, about contentment Webster's says: satisfied-I like that definition; it means filled up, enough-the expression of the Psalmist's heart, For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good. (Psalm 107:9)
And the dictionary also says about contentment: resigned to circumstances.
But, no! . . . .resignation does not equal contentment! In his excellent book Respectable Sins, Jerry Bridges writes that we can grudgingly resign ourselves to difficult circumstances because we have no other choice, harboring in our hearts a smoldering discontentment. . .

In contrast, you and I find contentment not in resignation but in acceptance.
Jerry Bridges writes, "Acceptance means that you accept your circumstances from God, trusting that He unerringly knows what is best for you and that in His love He purposes only what is best.

Soul, stay in God's school of contentment. . . . a worthy pursuit.

Monday, April 13, 2009

a curious thing. . .

At the end of my fifth decade, I'm wearing pink. . . imagine that?

So, last year when Rachel came to visit from Spain, she brought this pink and white blouse.
"It doesn't work for Naomi nor for me, and we heard you're wearing pink these days!"
Oh, really. . .me, wearing pink? too bold, too bright. . .
However, inspite of my apprehension, I kind of like wearing this pink blouse.

I was rummaging in the coat closet last month and found Mercy's pink cordoroy jacket (my friend Stephanie calls it Rose). I love cordoroy and the jacket has a great lining.

So, lately I've been wearing not just one pink garment, but the pink blouse paired with the pink cordoroy jacket. . . I get lots of comments: Pink is really your color, they say.
(Yikes, I think.)

So, for a girl who prefers khaki, brown, no color. . .hmmm, perhaps change is in the air-perhaps it's called the afternoon of life.
(and really. . . how fun to wear my daughters' clothes!)

Monday, April 6, 2009

some heart examination. . .

A few weeks ago I was reading through Proverbs 30 and I bumped up to this verse:

If you have been foolish in exalting yourself. . .put your hand on your mouth (Prov 30:32)

hmmm, foolish in exalting myself? yes, that applies to me. . . Put your hand on your mouth-a good practical reminder of what to do when tempted by pride. . . close my mouth.

And as God is ever faithful to discipline and grow me in Christ, last week I had opportunities- hand on mouth opportunities- in my numerous interactions with people and related to some personal circumstances (the kind I'd prefer to change. . .you know how that is).

However, the remedy to self-exaltation is not simply hand on mouth. . .it goes right to the source, to my heart.

Lord, help me to constantly examine my heart, weeding out even a hint of self-exaltation, that You alone would receive the glory. . .