What I Believe
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Conscience is something, in a sense, apart from man. It has been put in him by God; it is a reminder of the voice of God within him, an inward monitor, and a man cannot really manipulate his conscience. He can go against it, but that is not manipulating it. It is possible, as this Apostle says again in writing to Timothy, for the conscience to be seared “with a hot iron”. But nevertheless it is true to say that the conscience is an independent witness.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones (God’s Sovereign Purpose)

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It is difficult to define Hiraeth, but to me it means the consciousness of man being out of his home area and that which is dear to him. That is why it can be felt even among a host of peoples amidst nature's beauty. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

. . like a Christian yearning for Heaven. . .

Thursday
Jun302011

The Rest of the Story

Do you read Ligonier's blog?  If you don't, you'll be missing this excellent article, The Rest of the Story, by RC Sproul, Jr.

This upcoming Sunday, I'm going to remember that, while Monday through Saturday are 'not yet' days, every Sabbath day is an 'already' day.

Sunday
Jun262011

Quote of the Week: Sinclair Ferguson

[W]hen you begin to understand that in Christ you died to sin and have now been delivered from the dominion of sin; that you are no longer under its bondage; that you no longer need to be a victim of its subtle paralysis—then you find yourself saying not only “Isn’t this amazing grace?” but “What glorious freedom Jesus Christ has bought for me on the cross.”

Sinclair Ferguson

Sunday
Jun262011

Sunday Hymn: At the Lamb's High Feast We Sing

At the Lamb's high feast we sing
Praise to our victorious King,
Who hath washed us in the tide
Flowing from his pierced side;
Praise we him whose love divine
Gives his sacred blood for wine,
Gives his body for the feast,
Christ the Victim, Christ the Priest.

Where the paschal blood is poured,
Death's dark angel sheathes his sword;
Israel's hosts triumphant go
Through the wave that drowns the foe.
Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed,
Paschal Victim, Paschal Bread;
With sincerity and love
Eat we manna from above.

Mighty Victim from the sky,
Pow'rs of hell beneath thee lie;
Death is conquered in the fight,
Thou hast brought us life and light:
Hymns of glory and of praise,
Risen Lord, to thee we raise;
Holy Father, praise to thee,
With the Spirit, ever be.

Trinity Hymnal #365

Sunday
Jun192011

Sunday Hymn: O God, the Rock of Ages

O God, the Rock of Ages,
Who evermore hast been,
What time the tempest rages,
Our dwelling place serene:
Before thy first creations,
O Lord, the same as now,
To endless generations
The Everlasting Thou!

Our years are like the shadows
On sunny hills that lie,
Or grasses in the meadows
That blossom but to die;
A sleep, a dream, a story
By strangers quickly told,
And unremaining glory
Of things that soon are old.

O thou who canst not slumber,
Whose light grows never pale,
Teach us aright to number
Our years before they fail;
On us thy mercy lighten,
On us thy goodness rest,
And let thy Spirit brighten
The hearts thyself hast blessed.

Lord, crown our faith's endeavor
With beauty and with grace,
Till, clothed in light for ever,
We see thee face to face:
A joy no language measures;
A fountain brimming o'er;
An endless flow of pleasures;
An ocean without shore.

Trinity Hymnal, #24

Thursday
Jun162011

I used to share my poetry

 

 

Dragonfly

veridian trace

a breakneck evanescence

diverting all thought

Thursday
Jun162011

I used to share my Calligraphy

I think starting my business is the biggest reason I began to neglect my blog.  Last year was the first year and there was so much to do--setting up my website, getting started on marketing and advertising, making sure I was doing everything by the books for the State of Illinois, expanding my studio to make it conducive for the kind of work I was beginning to take on.  It was a busy year and it seems like a blurrrrr now.

This year has been another kind of blurrrr.  I've been almost fully booked since before Christmas last year, with only an occasional day here and a day there between jobs.  There has been a steady stream of clients dropping off envelopes on one weekend and picking them up the next.  

I've also had the opportunity to do some fun commissioned pieces in between the envelopes and place cards.

I love my job.  I love the doing of it and I love meeting and serving my clients.  In all this time, I've only had one bride that even remotely approached the title of 'Bridezilla' and as it was a big old lucrative job, it really didn't bother me too much. I love working from my home at what I love to do.  I love making people happy and helping to make a very special time of their lives a little more special. 

The one draw back to going into business full time is that it has taken some time for me to adjust.  My house isn't as clean as it once was, we're eating much simpler meals most nights, and I don't have as much time to read (my other passion.)  And, sadly, I don't have as much time to play in the studio and create things for myself.  

But this job has stretched me, forced me to learn new things, forced me to try things I've never tried before, and given me a sense of accomplishment.

I'm never going to get rich at this but it's a great job and I love it! One envelope at a time!

 

Wednesday
Jun152011

I used to share quotes

For years and years I posted a quotation every week, usually on Saturday.  Most of the time, it was a bit of whatever I was reading.  If you check out my category page, you'll see that I've got more posts in the quotes category than anything else!  There's a lot of good stuff on that page!

This Saturday, I'm going to get back to posting at least one quote every week.

In the meantime, here's one to get started:

Beware teaching that is alloyed, that mixes God's Word with the word of man.  Beware doctrines that are new, that boast to have discovered what the foolish church never grasped before. . .Ultimately, this is our only sure guide when it comes to matters of truth:  Does it agree with the clear teaching of Scripture?  If it presents a new interpretation of Bible passages, does it square with what we read elsewhere in God's Word?  Does it suggest a way of approaching and relating to God other than what was set forth by our Lord and by the agents of Biblical revelation?. . .any teacher is to be rejected if what he says is contrary to the prophetic and apostolic teaching of the Scripture.

Richard D. Phillips, Hebrews Commentary (13:9-14)

This may seem obvious to some and perhaps not even particularly quote worthy, but this is an essential truth and we ignore it at our peril.  I was having a discussion with a friend about how some people can get so quickly into deep weeds, embracing fadish books and false views of Christ, of the church, and of the way of salvation.  It comes down to this, I think.  When we let our own thoughts, opinions, and emotions be the guide, or if we follow another without testing what they are teaching, we get off the path of truth and into the weeds real quick.  There are snakes and alligators waiting in those weeds!

Tuesday
Jun142011

I used to share recipes

I've got an entire Notebook on my One Note that I use as a drop box for the wonderful recipes I've found on friends' blogs over the past six years.  I use these recipes regularly and hardly ever reach for a cookbook any more.  I've always believed that one good turn deserves another, so when I've snagged a particularly good recipe, I used to recipricate by posting one of my own.

A quick check of my recipes category showed that I haven't shared a recipe since November '10.  Time to rectify that!  Here's a wonderful recipe from my nephew, Matt, that's just perfect for spring and summer:

Matt's Pasta Primavera

For a full pound of Penne Pasta, I (Matt speaking) use 1- 1 ½ c. of the following:

  •        Carrots, chopped
  •        Broccoli, cut into small florets
  •        Cauliflower, cut into small florets
  •        Mix of yellow squash and small green zucchini (one or two of each, depending on size)
  •        Plum tomatoes (or cherry) cut into small pieces 

 If you make all of the above, it makes a lot and this dish is not the greatest re-heated, so adjust accordingly for the number of people eating.  The great thing is that all of the vegetable quantities are rough amounts, you can put as much or as little of each as you want.

After you have prepped all the veggies (or while you are doing the prepping) get your water boiling for both the pasta and your steamer assembly, because you will starting cooking both at the same time.  Also, get a large skillet/sauté pan (lg. enough to fit all of the above into it at the end) prepared by placing enough olive oil into it to cover the bottom and add however much diced garlic as you would like (I use a lot because I like it).

Once both your water pots are boiling start cooking the pasta and add the carrots to the steamer.  Steam the carrots for 4 minutes, then add the broccoli & cauliflower and steam for an additional 4 minutes.  Then add the squash and zucchini and steam for an additional 2 minutes.  Then, turn off the heat and add the tomatoes and let sit for 1-2 minutes.  When you add the tomatoes turn on the heat to your skillet/sauté pan with the oil and garlic to medium-high to get it warmed up (make sure you wait until this point to heat up this pan….the worst mistake you can make with this dish is to burn the garlic, I speak from personal experience….it just ruins the whole thing). (Matt speaking but I can certainly join him--been there, done that) 

After you have waited the 1-2 minutes after adding the tomatoes to the steamer (and your oil and garlic is now heated up) add the veggies to the oil & garlic pan and give a quick stir and at this point your pasta is now done, so you can add it to everything else and mix up.  Salt & pepper to taste and serve with grated Parmesan (or your favorite cheese).

Monday
Jun132011

I used to blog about what I was studying

I'm still very actively involved in Bible Study.

Our Sunday School class has been studying The Sermon on the Mount for several months.  We're using Sinclair Ferguson's book on the subject and I'm also reading James Boice and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones' books on the Sermon on the Mount for preparation.

We're taking a break from the Sermon on the Mount for a few weeks this summer and our Pastor, Brandon Wilkins, is teaching us about Old Testament Ethics and the Kingdom of God.  It's been an amazing study so far and I'm learning so much!  

We've been hosting a bi-monthly Bible study of the book of Romans in our home.  I've been using John Murray's commentary as my primary resource but I've also been dipping in and out of Sproul's book on Romans along with James Boice's commentary.  Last night our Pastor shared a book I'll be starting to read today--A Biblical Case for Natural Law by David Van Drunen.  Since this is a borrowed book, I probably won't mess around with this book--I'll read it over the next few days.

And last but not least, I've been leading a study in the book of Hebrews for nearly four years.  I think we'll finish up in the next two weeks.  I'm excited to be so close to completing the study, but I confess I have grown to love this book and I do have ambivilent feelings about 'leaving' it.  My primary resource for this study has been the wonderful commentary by Richard D. Phillips, but I have also been reading Owens, Calvin, and Matthew Henry's commentaries and I've benefitted greatly by my friends sharing what they are learning from their commentaries--Dorothy is reading John Brown and Carol is reading Matthew Poole.  Tiffany joined us a few months ago and is reading Hendrickson.  The four of us have been 'joined' by some great theological minds and we've all learned so much!  We've got lots of ideas about what we want to study next but haven't made any decisions yet.  

Any recommendations?

Monday
Jun132011

I used to about blog the books I was reading

Some things never change; I've always got several books going at the same time.  Here's the current list:

The Secret of Contentment by William B. Barcley

Running Scared:  Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest by Edward Welch

Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen

These Last Days:  A Christian View of History edited by Richard D. Phillips

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCollough

This list does not include the books I am studying. They'll have a post of their own.

So, what are you reading?

 

Monday
Jun132011

I used to blog about my grandkids

That seems like a good place to start.  My grandkids are the apple of my eye (and they are adorable, don't mind if I do say so myself!)

Here's Maddie and Grandpa:

And here's Elliott, who turns three tomorrow:

I need to blog my  grandkids more often.  

 

Monday
Jun132011

Blog status

You poor old blog.  How neglected you have been!  Forgotten and ignored for weeks at a time.  

It hasn't always been this way.  There was a time when you were fresh and new each day; happily chatty, filled with photos and small observations of life in Chicagoland.  I'm sorry for you.  I wonder if you can be brought out of silence and obscurity.

I think I'll spend more time with you this week and see how it goes.  You never know; there just might be some life in you yet!

When you think about it, my old friend, what have you got to lose?  You don't have (m)any readers anymore, so who is there to know if it ends up that you remain sluggish and reticent after all?

Wake up, old friend! Bestir yourself and get ready to shake off the cobwebs.

Sunday
May292011

Sunday Hymn:

Original Trinity Hymnal, #12
Psalm 135:1-7, 21

Exalt the Lord, his praise proclaim;
All ye his servants, praise his name,
Who in the Lord's house ever stand
And humbly serve at his command.
The Lord is good, his praise proclaim;
Since it is pleasant, praise his name;
His people for his own he takes
And his peculiar treasure makes.

I know the Lord is high in state,
Above all gods our Lord is great;
The Lord performs what he decrees,
In heaven and earth, in depths and seas.
He makes the vapors to ascend
In clouds from earth's remotest end;
The lightnings flash at his command,
He holds the tempest in his hand.

Exalt the Lord, his praise proclaim;
All ye his servants, praise his name,
Who in the Lord's house ever stand
And humbly serve at his command.
For ever praise and bless his name,
And in the church his praise proclaim;
In Zion is his dwelling place;
Praise ye the Lord, show forth his grace.

Sunday
May152011

Sunday Hymn: Praise My Soul the King of Heaven

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
To his feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Who like me, his praise should sing?
Praise him, praise him,
Praise him, praise him,
Praise the everlasting King.

Praise him for his grace and favor
To our fathers in distress;
Praise him still the same for ever,
Slow to chide, and swift to bless;
Praise him, praise him,
Praise him, praise him,
Glorious in his faithfulness.

Father-like, he tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame he knows;
In his hands he gently bears us,
Rescues us from all our foes;
Praise him, praise him,
Praise him, praise him,
Widely as his mercy goes.

Angels, help us to adore him;
Ye behold him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before him,
Dwellers all in time and space.
Praise him, praise him,
Praise him, praise him,
Praise with us the God of grace.

Trinity Hymnal #70

Thursday
May122011

Quote: Richard D. Philips

Hebrews 9a Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace

Unless a system of religion relies utterly on the work of Christ in his substitutionary work of atonement, it is alien, it is foreign, to the true religion of Scripture, which is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and especially in his redeeming blood.

Hebrews Commentary, Richard D. Philips

 

Wednesday
May112011

Spring. Just in time for summer.

Finally, it feels like spring in Illinois.  Our crabapple tree is finally blooming, the blooming trees in the front of the house are budding and will be blooming by this afternoon, and our Mama Robin is sitting on the nest outside my living room window.  It was 86 degrees yesterday afternoon and the air conditioner is humming this morning.  The trees and flower beds are about three weeks behind schedule--my hostas are up and finally starting to unfurl.

It was a long winter.  In a lot of ways.  I'm going to clean my studio this morning and then go out and do yardwork--weeding and edging and planting and praying. No calligraphy for me today.  I'm going outside!

Sigh. . .spring is good.

Sunday
May082011

Baby You Can Drive My Car

 

Beep, beep, beep, beep, yeah!

Sunday
May082011

Sunday prayer: Valley of Vision

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,

Thou has brought me to the valley of vision,

where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;

   hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold

   thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox

   that the way down is the way up,

   that to be low is to be high,

   that the broken heart is the healed heart,

   that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,

   that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,

   that to have nothing is to possess all,

   that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,

   that to give is to receive,

   that the valley is the place of vision.

 

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells,

   deepest wells,

   and the deeper the wells the brighter

   thy stars shine;

Let me find thy light in my darkness,

   Thy life in my death,

   that every good work or thought found in me

   thy joy in my sorrow,

   thy grace in my sin,

   thy riches in my poverty

   thy glory in my valley.

Sunday
May012011

Sunday Hymn:  

Round the Lord in glory seated,
Cherubim and seraphim
Filled his temple, and repeated
Each to each the alternate hymn:
"Lord thy glory fills the heaven,
Earth is with its fulness stored;
Unto thee be glory given,
Holy, holy, holy Lord!"

Heaven is still with glory ringing,
Earth takes up the angels' cry,
"Holy, holy, holy," singing,
"Lord of hosts, the Lord most high."
With his seraph train before him,
With his holy church below,
Thus conspire we to adore him,
Bid we thus our anthem flow:

"Lord, thy glory fills the heaven,
Earth is with its fulness stored;
Unto thee be glory given,
Holy, holy, holy Lord!"
Thus thy glorious Name confessing,
We adopt thine angels' cry,
"Holy, holy, holy," blessing
Thee, the Lord of Hosts most high.

Trinity Hymnal #42

Saturday
Apr302011

Quote of the Week: Ferguson on Law and Gospel

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it. . . Jesus teaches that the law of God is an essential diagnostic tool. Whether we break it or keep it, and whether we encourage others to break it or keep it, is an indication of our true spiritual condition.  It is the standard for evaluation in the kingdom of God but not the standard of entrance into the kingdom.  The Sermon on the Mount, Sinclair Ferguson.