Sunday, June 27, 2010

Found Faithful

Article from the Voice of the Martyrs

A 17-year-old girl in the Gedo Region of Somalia was severely beaten by her family recently after they discovered she had converted to Christianity, according to Compass Direct News. Nurta Mohamed Farah, 17, was later taken to a doctor, who prescribed medication for a “mental illness.” When she refused to abandon her Christian faith, her family forced her to take the medication.

Nurta’s family has read Islamic scripture to her twice a week since May 10, when they learned of her conversion. Somalis traditionally believe that the Quran cures the sick — especially the mentally ill.

Nurta has been shackled to a tree during the day and held in a small, dark room at night, according to Compass. “There is little the community can do about her condition, which is very bad,” a Christian source told Compass. “I have advised our community leader to keep monitoring her condition but not to meddle for their own safety. … We need prayers and human advocacy for such inhuman acts, and for freedom of religion for the Somali people.”

The Voice of the Martyrs encourages you to pray that Nurta will be encouraged and emboldened as she suffers for her faith. Pray that her steadfast commitment to Christ will soften the hearts of her parents so that they, too, will come to know him. Pray that God will grant wisdom and guidance to the Christian community in Somalia as they share the gospel with their neighbors.
Posted: June 24, 2010

I am reminded of brothers and sisters whose biggest cross is not a broken water main, or a boss that is dealing with others unrighteously but truly persecuted for believing in Jesus. It is most easy for me to live in the daily hubbub of life and forget these heroes of our faith. Hebrews 10 comes to mind. "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but of those who believe and are saved."

I am blessed and humbled to have friends who have been truly persecuted for their faith. They have a view of the gospel that is so much larger than mine. When I spend time with them my frail faith is challenged and revealed. They did not set out to be persecuted. They are because God put them in a place that has a violent hate towards the one True God of the Bible. They are outnumbered. They do not have Amnesty International or a righteous government to turn to. They turn to God instead of turning away. They trust that He alone is good. A trust in God that I cannot really understand. A dependance upon His goodness that supercedes temporal requests and the outlook that Jesus is a typology of a Loving Santa Claus.

I am repentant at my own narrow vision. At least I want to be repentant. I don't want to be persecuted. I am thankful for God's good gifts in my life. I am thankful for religious freedom. I am thankful for community and a loving christian family.

I am not saying that we should all be persecuted, that it is more glorious than loving my family well and serving in whatever manner God puts in front of me. Nurta's struggle strikes me, this is just a young girl, not much older than my own. My friends, they love their families, they serve wherever they can, in that we are the same. Of course, we differ in that my personal prayer petitions are about finding the source of a water leak or legistics about plans we are making. They pray about where to find housing, or a job, or keeping their children from being hurt in some way. We all pray that God would find us faithful.

True heroes are not found on a soccer or football field, many are found in obscure little places near and far, whose stories we will likely never see or hear about. I think when I get to heaven I want to see, I want to hear, how God's love was the underpinning to others lives.

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee..

I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.

I love to tell the story, for those who know it best
Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long..

When I was a young girl we sang this Hymn almost every Sunday in my little midwest Church. This story from the beginning of time is His story, that weaves allo of us and everything together. We wait, I wait, I am thankful for HIS story. His Love, His arms that are never short and are always secure.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bittersweet, Psalm 121

My baby and big crepe myrtle are blooming - both were a gift from my Garden Angel (J next door-I love her) Her beautiful trees dropped their buds in the mess of my yard. With a transplant and not nearly enough watering they have started to bloom. We chatted - she brought her puppy over for a walk this afternoon. W. her husband of 42 years has been fighting cancer for the last 4. She needed to talk, I hugged her, not too long, she's not a crier, and I, well, I don't need much to get started, so it was just one of those moments of unspoken thoughts that we wish never had a reason to occur.

I was reading Peterson's book- there was a lot to think about- as I waited for K to take her driving test today. She passed. She also got her first real job. Big day of blessings at our house. Not so much next door. This evening the words kept coming back to me as I thought our J & I's conversation. They never complain about their situation. J said W says, "You play the cards you're dealt."
Their quiet, steadfast faith is a living reminder, they love their kids and grandkids, love the neighbors kids, garden and give beauty to so many, "We Christians believe that life is created and shaped by God and that the life of faith is a daily exploration of the constant and countless ways in which God's grace and love are experienced." (Peterson) A Pass on a driving test, blooming flowers, a attitude of grace and acceptance of God's providence when facing cancer and looming loss. All are from His hand even though the last leaves a boulder sized weight on the heart. His beauty and goodness is seen in the bittersweet of life. Like the charoset of Easter.
"Faith is not a precarious affair of chance escape from satanic assaults. It is the solid, massive, secure experience of God."-Eugene Peterson A Long Obedience in the Direction

It is all about Him.
Romans 8:38-39
For I am persuaded that neither Death, nor Life, nor Angels, nor Archangels, Nor the Present, nor the Future, nor any Powers, nor Height, Nor Depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God reveled in Jesus Christ, our Lord! (20th Century NT)

Monday, June 21, 2010


The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender's inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual. - C.S. Lewis A Preface to Paradise Lost

Hmmm. So many applications. So much to think over. Tevia you were right! Tradition- is so important. One of my favorite scenes in Fiddler is the Sababth Dinner. It is so beautiful. It is the story's plumb line. The Table of the Lord- both corporate and familial is the plumb line of every story recognized or not. It is God that protects, defends, provides.
There is a proper pleasure, the gift of becoming insignificant, a true perspective that transcends the all the substancy stuff and etcetera of life.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thankful Day

Thankful Day. This was taken last Thanksgiving. K made her first Thanksgiving Dinner. You were very proud.
A father fathers, he will father by his defaulting abdication, by his willful harshness or by his efficatious love.
Ephesians 4:11-13
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Thanks for being the pastor/teacher of this home. Your guidance and love is a priceless means of Christ's grace to us. You are faithful to point us to the our True Shepherd as you ever encourage us to love and serve Our Risen Savior.
It is always about HIM.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Asian Lilies, Heaven on Earth Retreat

E. and I were sitting out on the front porch watching the rain pour, taking a break from the business of planning and doing. I almost didn't go out, I am thankful I did. Wow, it was raining hard, my lilies are coming out. I sat for almost before I was compelled to run in and get the camera.

God's work is so beautiful. Flowers always befuddle me, so many kinds, so many, God's creation is so gratuitous.

Spurgeon's reading was on the true garden, the rest in Him. So it reminded me of those flowers.

From Spurgeon's Evening.
"I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse."— Song of Solomon 5:1
The heart of the believer is Christ's garden. He bought it with His precious blood, and He enters it and claims it as His own. A garden implies separation. It is not the open common; it is not a wilderness; it is walled around, or hedged in. Would that we could see the wall of separation between the church and the world made broader and stronger. It makes one sad to hear Christians saying, "Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that," thus getting as near to the world as possible. Grace is at a low ebb in that soul which can even raise the question of how far it may go in worldly conformity. A garden is a place of beauty, it far surpasses the wild uncultivated lands. The genuine Christian must seek to be more excellent in his life than the best moralist, because Christ's garden ought to produce the best flowers in all the world. Even the best is poor compared with Christ's deservings; let us not put Him off with withering and dwarf plants. The rarest, richest, choicest lilies and roses ought to bloom in the place which Jesus calls His own. The garden is a place of growth. The saints are not to remain undeveloped, always mere buds and blossoms. We should grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Growth should be rapid where Jesus is the Husbandman, and the Holy Spirit the dew from above. A garden is a place of retirement. So the Lord Jesus Christ would have us reserve our souls as a place in which He can manifest Himself, as He doth not unto the world. O that Christians were more retired, that they kept their hearts more closely shut up for Christ! We often worry and trouble ourselves, like Martha, with much serving, so that we have not the room for Christ that Mary had, and do not sit at His feet as we should. The Lord grant the sweet showers of His grace to water His garden this day.

Grace or Law

Peter Liethart's blog is one of the blogs I read - generally his discussion is miles above my head. Many things I need to look up definitions and/or ask E., I tease him that he is my "concordance". I read through the articles and trust that something will stick eventually. Today Mr. Liethart wrote a blog about orthodoxy and quoted Athanasius. Athanasius is my favorite church father. His contra mundum disposition is inspiring and invokes a kind of fear that calls boldness out of those temperaments that tend to thread a little too lightly to keep the peace at an exorbitant price. E. has often expressed to me that playing nice is not loving if one is walking towards or down the wrong road. We don't hear these kinds of messages much in circles that are not reformed and communal.
It is challenging for me to address someone that is sinning or thinking in a way that is unbiblical. I am an ever recovering "Keep the Peace at Whatever Price Katie". Keeping the peace is good, however, we are always called to do a "price check". I have come to deeply appreciate the Athanansius' in my life. They remind me to price check - a skill I am in ever need of. We read a few antedotes in "Through Windows of Heaven" every few weeks. The book is stories about Dr. Walter Martin as he addresses folks in Cults or other Christians who wish to "play nice". One of our favorite quotes from him is "if they don't experience the grace of God, leave them with the law."
There are only two sides to Love - grace and law.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Faith that demands a Price

Paul states in Hebrews -

Iraq: Believer Killed in Kirkuk
On June 7, a Christian businessman was shot to death in front of his home in Kirkuk, Iraq, according to VOM Canada. Those who
witnessed the murder of 34-year-old Hani Salim Wadi described it as a “targeted killing.”
Several Christians in Kirkuk and Mosul have been attacked in recent months, and Christians in Iraq have expressed fear of renewed
violence. Chaldean Archbishop Emil Nona said, “We are seeing another, the umpteenth, attack against Christians. The violence
continues without relief.”
The killing of Hani Salim Wadi is the latest in a series of attacks on Christians in Kirkuk. In April, three Christians were killed and three
others wounded. In one attack, assailants slit the throats of a Christian woman and her daughter-in-law, killing them both. In
another attack on Christians, gunmen shot a father and his three sons. One of the sons died instantly and the others were
Since 2003, Christian leaders, churches and businesses in Iraq have been targeted by Islamic extremists, and many believers have
fled the violence. In October 2008, more than seven Christians were killed and more than 200 families displaced. The Christian
community in Iraq is estimated to be only 3 percent of Iraq’s 26 million people, or about 800,000.
Pray for Hani Salim Wadi’s wife, daughter and extended family as they mourn their loss. Ask God to guard the hearts of Iraqi
Christians against fear so they can continue serving him with boldness.
VOM supports persecuted believers in Iraq in a variety of ways. In 2008 we provided 300 Action Packs to persecuted and displaced
believers in Mosul.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Books, Medium and Treasure Hunting

I was reading Hebrews and Philippians yesterday morning from my favorite Bible. We picked it up at an old bookshop downtown. The Twentieth Century New Testament - it is small and red leather with gold embossed writing. It feels good, the pages are glossy and soft to the touch when I smooth back its pages as I turn them. The typeset is beautiful and even though its only a hundred years old, relatively young for an "old" Bible, it makes me think about who may have held it and what thoughts they had about God. It's a pew bible and this particular one sold for a buck fifty back in the day. I would love to have the whole Bible in this form but alas I found just a New Testament. Anyway, I love to read it in the morning - it always makes feel a kind of additional happiness. It's like our favorite throw or my fav coffee mug. It befitting. The wording is like the Living Translation of the early 1900's (slangy - I guess for that time) but I like it - not too casual, not too heady- straightforward - it is pretty right on. My fall back is ESV as a tester text- probably because that E's preference and I trust he'll reign me in if I'm sliding towards heresy. (Just jok'n)

Speaking of Books. I have a new little venture for the summer. I am selling books that I dumpster dive for out of the Goodwill Outlet book bins. My goal is to make enough money to pay for K and E's school books. What I have found is that Nominal theology sells pretty well. That's dishearting. I did sell an Educational Philosophy Book about Kant, Aristotle and ?. That gave me a little hope. Anyway, I have found several older books, I am not yet sure how to find out just what to look for - working on it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Covenant Terms

This except from The Scarlet Thread -Richard Booker  is powerful. 

"God says, 'And here are the terms of the covenant.  I'll take all your liabilities, all your sins, all your sorrows, all your sicknesses on Myself and become sin for you.  I'll forgive your inquities and remember them no more.  I'll take all your self righteousness and give you my own righteousness, which is pure and holy and acceptable to Me.'"

This is the part that really gets me -

"You clothe me with your robe of sin, sorrow, and heartache and I'll clothe you with My garment of salvation and My robe of righteousness which is My pure lifeblood poured out on the cross for you.  I'll impute it to you and count you as righteous. We'll exchange natures.  ... You'll partake of My own nature by the intermingling of our blood."

 I don't know that I've really ever contemplated the imputation of Christ's nature on us - on me.  That the kind of "mojo" breaks my heart with graditude. It's the kind of thing that rushes tears to my eyes, and shakes my head in disbelief and incrudulity.

I've said, heard, whatever for years, decades really - He takes on our sins.  I know we have a sinful nature - I guess I have been so dense as not to really relate the two.  It pretty heady, 'heart'y stuff, a good dose of marinating in it might help.

Hebrews 10:14-18

14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. 15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,



18 Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.



It is not just the forgiveness of sin, (remembering no more); law on their hearts and mind (depicts a change of center, change of nature). Theres lots more to be said on that -justification, sanctification, preservation, and so on and so forth...


The contemplation of the Nature Exchange adds sweetness and rest to the understanding- "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." - Philippians 1:6


I love Phillipians, my life verses are in that book, and as I read through The Scarlet Thread and jotted down the list of Jesus in Every Book of the Bible. I willed myself not to skip ahead and look at Phillipians, because it's myfav, and I wanted to show a little self-restaint.  As I got down to Jesus in Paul's letters, then I saw it -Philippians - Jesus is our Joy. 

Perfect. Yes. I thought.  Your love and goodness bring joy.  It that Joy that stays when everything else goes away - just like your covenant.



Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Little steps, Long distance, Good God

Today is K's Bday.  Its a big one.  A special one.  We have been celebrating for a week.  A party for friends, a party at homegroup.  Today will be rather busy with other stuff - she has two camps she's helping out with.  In between time she and her dad will do something special.  He is always great at planning birthday Ta-Da for us.  Her birthday dinner will be late, but what she likes - Turkey Spaghetti with mushrooms and truffle brownies, she's had her favorite, yellow cake with chocolate frosting, twice already- .

We always reminense on birthdays about what was happening on the day she was born and I remember looking at her, she was tiny, and at 5 weeks early hadn't had the chance to put on a little fat.  We had walked a long hard road to hold her and once we did, the thought pervaded every bit on me, that I was completely and utterly unable to properly give this child all that I wished for her. Now, looking back I am reminded of God's comfort to Paul in regarding his weakness. "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Sitting in that room with that tiny little girl, I was terrified.  How full joy and terror can fill the same room I am not quite sure.

A little later I looked on as her dad stuck his tongue out playfully at her and she returned the gesture.  Her warm and trusting relationship with her dad has pointed her to Christ is so many ways.  I am inexpressibly thankful for that.  In that way I guess my theology caught up with our theopraxy.  I had felt the weight of raising Kelsey when truly in was E. responsibility to look after all of us as he looked to God.

E. and K. have extemperous converstions about this as she talks through life with him.  She already gets this truth.  She has taken so many little steps to get to this place.  Every chance I get, I tell young moms, it goes so quickly, savor every moment, every laugh, every discipline, everytime God points you to repentence when you see your need in the face of their actions.

Happy, Happy, Day K.  I love you - Just in Case You Ever Wonder.

I still have moments of fleeting terror- then I remember, it is not ultimately my hands that hold you or even your dad's, but your Father's - His loving hands never fail Darlin Girl. (I know you hate me calling you Darlin' but there are only so many words that carry the idea of infinitely precious)

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your heart K. through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you K. may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

To Be - practice, practice, practice

Being vs. Doing.  As I organize for a huge summer list - I find my brain fighting between resting and trusting the process or choosing the anxious - it all about my ability and productivity route.  Sidebar- The truth is I have several books that I would just like to get absorbed in and read.  I will do some of that but neglecting my house and the projects of the summer cannot succumb to my reading list entirely. However, reading is directly related to my WELL "being" so to speak.  I was reading something about reading lists the other day and it said read volume and don't get loaded down with the minutia. OK. - Check - that makes it a lot easier.  I hope something rubs off just by repetition. 

Anyway, that brings me to the being vs. doing.  I wonder for myself if I will ever get to the point where I can stop reminding myself of this and actually internalize that being is the point, where I will find that I am no longer grading myself by my checklist and needing to talk myself back into resting on the grace of Christ.  It is God that does the work.  Work flows from His grace and is a natural byproduct of joy and excitement; however, it is easy for me to look at a mountain of work and get tunnel vision and yet again choose tocircumvent the process.

"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all, but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." - Martin Luther

"We moderns hold to a strangely disjunctive view of the relationship between life and work this enabling us to nonchalantly separate a person's private character from his or her public accomplishments.  But this novel divorce of root from fruit, however genteel, is a ribald denial of one of the most basic truths in life: What you are begets what you do; wrongheaded philosophies stem from wrongheaded philosohers; sin doen't just happen- it is sinners who sin"  Dr. Grant, Killer Angel

"Biography is destiny" - E. Micheal Jones

"Happy is he who not only knows the causes of things but who has not lost touch with their beginnings." - GK Chesterton

An Ancient Prayer

Give me a good digestion, Lord,

and also give me something to digest.

Give me a healthy body, Lord,

and the sense to keep it at its best. (Boy, this is getting more and relevant as I age)

Give me a healthy mind. good Lord,

to keep the good and pure in sight.

Which, seeing sin, is not apalled, but

finds a way to set it right.

Give me a mind that is not bound

That does not whimper, whine or sigh.

Don't let me worry much over

the fussy thing called I.  (Am I doing that right now? Yikes!)

Give me a sense of humor Lord,

give me the grace to see a joke,

To get some happiness from life and

pass it on to other folk.

                               -Thomas Webb

Lest I forget to rest in the being- give me balance Lord.

And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom  and healing every disease and every affliction.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like a sheep without  a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly for the Lord of harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."  (It struck me as I read this again, I love this passage, it so clearly shows the empathy of Christ with our fallen nature and deep desperation for Him - it strikes me that we are to pray, He sends, and it is His harvest)

How blessed and marvelous are the gifts of God, beloved.  Life in immortality, spendor in righteousness, truth in boldness, faith in confidence, discipline in holiness:  all these are in our understanding.  What then, are the things prepared for those endure?  The Creator, Father of the Ages the holy one knows their number and beauty.  1st Epistles to the Corinthians - Athananuis

That all these things are possible to him who believes, that they are less difficult to him who hopes, that they are more easy to him who loves and still more easy to him who perserveres in the practice of these virtues.

-Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, Conversation 4.

As I joked with my sweet friend, the other day, once again, as always,  "You know, when it's not ALL about you, it's ALL about me.  Right?!  WrongIt is all about HIM.  Always about HIM.

Being confident of  this very thing, that HE who began a good work in me will BRING it to completion.  -Phillipians 1:6

What we think so we are. It is always all about Him.  He is the only, and all worthy.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Home is Calling

Home is Where There is One to Love Us

Home's not merely four square walls,
Though with pictures hung and guilded;
Home is where affection calls-
Filled with shrines the Hearth has builded!
Home! Go watch the faithful dove,
Sailing 'neath the heaven above us.
Home is where there's one to love!
Home is where there's one to love us.

Home's not merely roof and room,
It needs something to endear it;
Home is where the heart can bloom,
Where there's some kind lip to cheer it.
What is home with none to meet,
None to welcome, none to greet us?
Home is sweet, and only sweet,
Where there's one we love to meet us.
                               -Charles Swain
as published in The Family Book of Best Loved Poems, 1952

 I wish I would have heard something like Mrs. Wilson's address to recent graduates 25 years ago.  As I reflect on my growing up years I am thankful for the blessings of covenant and grace I was mostly oblivious to.  K.-We look on expectingly as you set your stride to step into Dangerous Womanhood. 

For you are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that you may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for you [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that you should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for you to live]. Eph. 2:10 - Amplified Bible, paraphrased.

There are many that say it more eloquently, but alas I defer to Dorothy's encouragement to Toto, "There's no place like home."

K- one more thing- remember the gifts you've been given.  You have the blueprint of many to inspire and guide.