Monday, August 27, 2012

Multitude Monday, Take 258

Thanking God this week for...

4232. traffic lights and laws
4233. long-put-off emails finally written
4234. finally figuring out how to prevent zucchini pizza from sticking like crazy to the stone
4235. the fact that nothing is "too good to be true"--nothing is too wonderful for God!
4236. movie night with Steve

4237. Elijah asking me to pray with him before preschool
4238. the look of accomplishment on Elijah's face w hen he successfully reproduced a Lego racecar from the picture without step-by-step directions
4239. the fact that having boys means they only really need two pairs of shoes for fall/winter
4240. a new spice rub recipe, delicious on beef ribs and chicken legs
4241. Steve's willingness to submit to authority

4242. the fact that when Jude was suspiciously quiet, I discovered him playing with trucks--not getting into the basket of books and pens I realized I had left accessible!
4243. Steve preaching the gospel to me and helping me battle fear of man
4244. this article challenging me to think and speak carefully about the gospel and not let it degenerate into jargon
4245. contact lenses
4246. the way Jude likes to sleep with a blanket only covering his neck, like a giant scarf

4247. Elijah liking the kids at preschool so well that he cried when I came to pick him up because he wanted to stay and eat lunch with them
4248. Jude eating peas without coaxing
4249. an encouraging card from Steve
4250. snail mail from a thoughtful friend
4251. hilarious video of my niece dancing during the band show at a football game

4252. Elijah and Jude playing well together for long stretches of time
4253. carrot cake pancakes with delicious cream cheese topping (a lot healthier than they sound!)
4254. Steve and Elijah going on a man-date to the high school football game
4255. two lovely women with whom I am planning next year's women's retreat
4256. one-on-one time with a dear new friend

4257. her courage, perceptiveness, caring, and humility
4258. opportunity to run errands alone
4259. the coherence of the world He created
4260. revealing Himself to us

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mighty...and For Us

Steve had the Scripture reading at church again this morning. His brief meditation on Psalm 93 was very similar to something I've blogged about before--but, typically, he managed to say the same thing in about 10 percent of the words :) Thought I would share what he shared today, because I always need the reminder...

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; 
     the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. 
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. 
Your throne is established from of old; 
     you are from everlasting. 

The floods have lifted up, O LORD, 
     the floods have lifted up their voice; 
     the floods lift up their roaring. 
Mightier than the thunders of many waters, 
     mightier than the waves of the sea, 
     the LORD on high is mighty! 
Your decrees are very trustworthy; 
     holiness befits your house, 
     O LORD, forevermore. 

--Psalm 93

We serve a mighty God--one who is able to control the seas and floods with ease, and whose throne has forever been established. Nothing that happens is outside His control.

Yet this alone is not necessarily good news for us. We could be serving an almighty tyrant who delights in our suffering.

It is in the cross that we see how God is not only mighty, but He is for us. He was willing, in fact, to relinquish some of His might by stepping off His forever-throne and placing Himself into the hands of men. Rather than delighting in our suffering, He suffered in our place. Rather than using His might to crush us, He uses it to conform us into the very image of Jesus. We serve a mighty God, and because of the blood of Jesus, He is for us.

Knows, Wants to, Can Do It
The Really Amazing Thing

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kids' Music We Love

I had a friend ask me recently for kids' music recommendations. After writing a long email to her, I figured my readers might appreciate the same tips. We love music, so here are a few favorites. Feel free to jump in the comments with your own recommendations...

Sovereign Grace Music
I can't recommend To Be Like Jesus highly enough. *I* need it more than my kiddos! Full review here.  I don't love Walking with the Wise as much, but it's still good. And bonus: Sovereign Grace is running a sale right now; both CDs are only $5! Pick up a few extras for Christmas gifts and shipping is even free--can't beat that deal.

Seeds Family Worship
Excellent stuff--all the songs are straight up Scripture lyrics. I love getting God's Word planted in my heart and my kids' hearts so easily! The first five albums or so use the NIV, but the most recent album switched to ESV (my preference). These CDs come in two-packs, so you can give one to a friend. Pair up with someone to trade and you get two for the price of one.

FREE! music:

The Village Church has a free five-song EP called Jesus Came to Save Sinners that I adore (scroll down the page; some albums have links to buy, but this one can be downloaded at no cost). Five basic songs teach the foundational truths taught in their children's ministry: "God Made Everything," "God is Always Good," "God Wants to Talk with Us," "Jesus Came to Save Sinners" and "God's in Charge of Everything." Really well done with fun, catchy tunes.

Covenant Life Church has two free albums that are also Scripture lyrics. One highlights the key verses from Galatians (No Other Gospel) and the other goes through Philippians (Jesus, Our Joy). Very simple production, and it's all little kids singing, so I find the music pretty irritating, but Elijah loved them a couple of years ago. And they're free. And there's the bonus of memorizing Scripture. (I can no longer read Galatians or Philippians without mentally singing the songs when I come to the key verses.)

For more low-key music (all of the above are pretty upbeat), we love:

Hidden in My Heart, a collection of soothing "Scripture lullabies" (I only have volume 1, but if volume two is like it, I'm sure it's excellent)

Sing Over Me, a compilation from some of my favorite female artists (Nichole Nordeman, Bethany Dillon)

I recently won a mellow CD called Big Stories for Little Ones--the lyrics are from Sally Lloyd-Jones (she of Jesus Storybook Bible fame) so I was super excited about it, but I don't care for the style of music (you might, though).

Finally, if you are looking for some kids' music that is not spiritual, just silly, I *highly* recommend Sandra Boynton, who I think is just brilliant. These CDs can be purchased with accompanying books--Elijah, as young as age two, would sit on the couch and listen to the whole album while looking at the book. These have filled our car on many a long road trip. The lyrics are funny and clever, the music is high-quality and NOT sung by children--entertaining for kiddos and adults alike. Rhinoceros Tap was our first exposure, so it holds a special place in my heart. Blue Moo is a super fun 50s-style album with songs performed by famous singers (Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys; Davy Jones of the Monkees, Sha Na Na). The other two albums are Philadelphia Chickens and Dog Train. (Fair warning, a couple of the albums have songs that are pretty funny, but--in my opinion--inappropriate for littles old enough to understand the lyrics: Rhinoceros Tap's "Bad Babies," Dog Train's "Tantrum" and "Broccoli.")

That's my list. What do you and your kiddos love to listen to?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Multitude Monday, Take 257

Thanking God this week for...

4207. Sovereign Grace Music sale mid-year, not having to wait until February for $5 CDs
4208. heavy quilts on cold mornings
4209. dinner and fellowship with new friends
4210. a long-overdue phone call to catch up with an old friend
4211. hearing happiness in her familiar voice

4212. little boys growing, growing, growing (time to order new shoes, again...)
4213. the sounds of waking up happy instead of waking up crying
4214. the baptisms of four sweet children/teens yesterday
4215. grace: 2.5 months after our weight loss competition ended, I am still exercising regularly!
4216. His 42:16 promise to lead the blind by ways they have not known

4217. memories of how He spoke that word to my heart multiple times in the summer of 2002
4218. this pray for your husband prompt
4219. the alarm function on my phone
4220. unexpected refunds from companies with excellent customer service (Keen, Lands' End)
4221. Jude putting words together

4222. significant progress in decluttering and restoring order
4223. being a God of order and structure
4224. $30 in McKay's credit for our old, unwanted books
4225. using my time with the girl I'm mentoring to remind *me* of the truth and reinforce it in my own heart
4226. news that a friend is pregnant with a long-desired, long-awaited baby

4227. a visit from a friend, her keeping me company while I processed tomatoes
4228. multiple translations of the Bible
4229. the fact that thyme lasts forever in a jar of water in the fridge
4230. loving me when there was nothing lovable about me
4231. drawing me to Himself when we had nothing in common and I was cold toward Him

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Seeing Goodness

"Yet I am confident that I will see the LORD's goodness while I am here in the land of the living" (Psalm 27:13 NLT).

"I will see the Lord's goodness" does NOT mean, "The Lord is not currently being good to me, but I'm confident that before I die, He will be good to me again." God IS good and He DOES good. Period. He is always good.

So if I am not currently seeing His goodness, the problem is not with Him but with my sight (or lack thereof). My eyes have been blinded--by sin and my idols, by satan, by circumstances--and I have been rendered temporarily unable to see clearly. My perception of reality is skewed.

That means that "I am confident that I will see the Lord's goodness" is "I am not sensing God's goodness right now, but I trust that my sight will be restored and I will once again be able to recognize His goodness which has been at work all along."

Lord, make it so. Give me eyes of faith to behold Your goodness and glory, no matter what I see with my physical eyes. Give me a heart to trust that it is my vision, not Your goodness, that has failed. Help me to trust, even when stumbling blindly, that You are good and do good, that Your goodness is FOR me.  Help me believe with the psalmist's confident assurance that You will restore my sight, because I am in Christ, and He came to do exactly that: to recover sight for the blind.

[edited repost from the archives]

Freeing You From Your Little Definition of Goodness

Monday, August 13, 2012

Multitude Monday, Take 256

Thanking God this week for...

4169.  friends taking our futon and an old carseat off our hands
4170. the look of accomplishment on Elijah's face when he does something well at soccer practice
4171. boys sleeping in, time to journal
4172. boys standing at the front door, watching the school buses drive by
4173. heartfelt, honest emails from a new friend

4174. Elijah graciously letting Jude wear his cowboy boots
4175. Jude willingly giving them back when his turn is up
4176. a dear friend speaking truth to me, exhorting me
4177. 65% off framing at JoAnn
4178. prayer with friends on a Tuesday night

4179. a new audiobook to listen to in the car
4180. last-minute lunch with a sweet friend
4181. a much-needed nap
4182. lots of windows = natural light when the power goes out
4183. no tears when I dropped Elijah off at his first day of preschool

4184. the fact that Elijah seemed to have fun on his first day!
4185. a visit from my parents
4186. Steve talking me into a much simpler lightsaber cake instead of a stressful, time-consuming train cake
4187. warm blueberry muffins
4188. a day at the zoo for Elijah's birthday

4189. baby giraffe galloping around
4190. drippy ice cream cones
4191. crazy, noisy monkeys
4192. helium-filled balloons
4193. Elijah's delight at hearing us sing Happy Birthday to him

4194. my sweet boy who is FIVE!
4195. a morning walk with my mom
4196. Pops reading to the boys
4197. Dad helping me paint
4198. my parents babysitting so Steve and I could have a date

4199. Elijah telling me I looked pretty
4200. wonderful, uninterrupted conversation with Steve
4201. a walk on the greenway just before dusk
4202. friends who left to plant a new church being back at our church for a visit yesterday
4203. nursery workers who selflessly serve

4204. a gorgeous evening at the park
4205. His perfect justice
4206. His Son's atoning death to secure for me mercy instead of justice

Monday, August 06, 2012

Multitude Monday, Take 255

Thanking God this week for...

4149. His glory reflected in human athletes' amazing abilities
4150. the idea that Jesus could do everything every single one of the Olympians can, perfectly, and far more besides
4151. volleyball played like it's supposed to be played
4152. Jude demonstrating how the swimmers jump into the water
4153. a big bag of basil from a friend

4154. the privilege of voting
4155. a funny, sweet card from an old friend (real mail!!)
4156. people who have the patience to coach 4- and 5-year-old soccer
4157. Elijah eagerly participating in his first practice without coaxing

4158. Elijah and Jude looking at books together in our big rocking chair

4159. lime in my water
4160. boys clomping around in Daddy's shoes
4161. Jude's bedhead

4162. respectful perspectives from people I disagree with, making me think
4163. tons of work accomplished in the office

4164. a happy bouquet for $3 at the farmers' market
4165. a fridge and counters full of fresh fruit
4166. neatly organized desk, bookshelves, filing cabinets
4167. pizza for supper after a long day of hard work
4168. best moment of my weekend: singing duets from Annie Get Your Gun with Elijah :)