Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prayer & Practical Help Needed!

In our previous post, we mentioned the Lee family of Alabama who yesterday lost their beloved father when a tornado ripped through their home.  This dear and faithful brother in the Lord has left behind his beloved wife and thirteen precious children.  We can only imagine their great distress at so great a loss. 

In addition, others, also faithful brethren, lost their homes, though their lives were spared.  They testify today to God's keeping hand, rejoicing in the fact that all they lost was "stuff". 

As promised earlier, here's the link to the website set up by Peter Bradrick of the NCFIC to allow you to contribute whatever you're able to these precious and faithful families.  Please prayerfully consider what you can do, financially speaking, and please get the word out to others within your circles.

And pray.  Please, please pray.  Particularly for
 Mrs. Lee and her darling children, some of whom are in the hospital after having sustained serious injuries when their house collapsed on them. 

Below are photos of the families.

The Crawford Family
They lost their home and all of their belongings.

You can read of the Crawford's frightening experience here .

The Lee Family
Tom Lee, third from the right, was killed when the tornado ripped through their home.  He heroically threw his body on top of his children, whilst beseeching the Lord for their protection. 

You can read the account of the Lee tragedy here .

A Little Inconvenience, A Little Expense...

Wind wreaked havoc throughout the Ottawa Valley today and our farm didn't escape it's fury.  We lost our power for about six hours.  In the meantime, the wind huffed and it puffed and it blew the silo roof off, strewing pieces of it about the barnyard, leaving one significant chunk clinging to the barn roof.  

An inconvenience, to be sure.  An expense, yes.  But little more than that.  

Who are we to complain, when so many others have lost their very lives to tornadoes over the past two days, including one precious father of thirteen, a father whose final heroic act was to throw his body over his children, and who's dying words were a prayer of protection over his beloved family.  

"The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD."

Job 1:21 

Below are some photos of the damage to our silo.  It's nothing, really.  Do please be in prayer for those dear ones who really experienced loss... the Lee family, in particular, and others who lost their entire homes.


Going...

Going...

Gone!






Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marriage - God's Purpose



I've given considerable thought to marriage over the past while, specifically to God's purpose in, and for, marriage. I've asked myself, "Do I desire a husband in order to fulfill my own wants, to satisfy my own self-centered aspirations, or do I wish to be married in order to fulfill the normative call of a Christian woman, that of being a helpmeet, a completer, if you will, to a biblically inspired, visionary man?   To yoke with him for God's glory and for the furtherance of His kingdom?". 

Recently I was deeply moved by an email I received from a dear and godly young woman I know.  With my friend's permission, I've copied and pasted it below.  I trust, if you're a young woman like me, you'll be moved to consider the motive of your heart when considering marriage.  If you're a young unmarried man, I can't help but believe that you'll be deeply touched and long for a woman to respond to you as my dear friend has to her beloved.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*Names have been changed to protect personal privacy.

Dear friends,

As most of you know, last week Jonathan* asked me to be his wife--and I very joyfully and confidently said, "Yes!"

Jonathan and I have been good friends for over a year. We spent the last two months discussing the possibility of marriage, asking ourselves the question, "Would we be more fruitful and effective for the glory of God together?" My prayer was that God would show me whether I was the woman who could best complete Jonathan, and Jonathan was asking whether he was the man who could be the best husband for me. He was loving me in a rare way--desiring what was best for me, and willing to sacrifice his own desires for that.

Jonathan took leadership in keeping our interactions objective and Christ-focused. Our desire was to make the decision that was most glorifying to God and most strategic for His Kingdom. We spent hours reading Scripture together, praying together, asking each other questions, talking with our families (and each other's families), and working together on many different projects (one of my favorites was a Bible study Jonathan taught early last month on the subject of warfare). We prayed for complete purity of motivation, and for grace to seek first God's Kingdom rather than desiring fulfillment and pleasure on our own terms. And as we sought the Lord, He was faithful to show us His will.

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. ... Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. (Psalm 25:8-9, 12)

When I was praying about whether to marry Jonathan, passages of Scripture kept coming to mind which describe him in a remarkable way. Here are just a few of them:

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart... (Psalm 119)

This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word. (Isaiah 66:2)

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

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. (Matt. 5:19)

Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matt. 16:25)

The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matt. 23:11-12)

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

As we prayed and talked, it became clear that we were perfectly suited to help one another grow in Christ, and amazingly united in mind and heart. I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to helping, serving, and loving Jonathan. I became more and more excited about the opportunity to serve Christ alongside him.

Jonathan has taught me so much already, by his example and by his words. He is passionately devoted to the Word of God like very few men I know. His humble, reverent approach to Scripture has made him extraordinarily wise in applying it. He is exactly the kind of man that I want to shepherd me and pray for me for the rest of my life--I've already abundantly seen God's answers to his prayers for me. And his life is tremendously inspiring to me.

When I consider how to describe my beloved, I hardly know where to begin. He is a man who fears and loves the LORD wholeheartedly. He is humble. He is pure in heart. He is passionate for God. He boldly and lovingly proclaims the Gospel. He is devoted to upholding justice and defending the innocent. He is a remarkable example of obedience to the Fifth Commandment. Because he loves Christ, he is not afraid to count all things loss for Him (Phil. 3:7-8). I could go on and on, but I'll stop there for now. :)

Our earnest prayer is that we may be good and faithful servants of our King, carrying His commands to His subjects (Matt. 28:18-20) and being used by Him to reconcile the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:17-21). We are excited at the prospect of obeying the commands for husbands and wives toward one another--a new and delightful way of obeying God! (Eph. 5:22-33) I cannot imagine any man with whom I'd rather reflect the relationship between Christ and His Church. We pray that our example will be a radiant testimony to the amazing love of our Savior.

"Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:4) God is fulfilling our desires for more love for Him and more fruitfulness in His service. He has made us full of joy with His goodness. I am entirely unworthy of being the wife of such a passionately godly warrior for Christ. But I am so thankful for the grace of God in giving me this role. I look forward with joy to following Jonathan to the ends of the earth, as he follows Christ.

Thank you for taking the time to read about the work of God in the lives of two of His children. There is far, far more to tell, but I wanted to give you all a quick summary. Thank you for your prayers and your notes. I write as an unworthy daughter of the King, rejoicing in the sovereign mercy of my Heavenly Father. To Him alone be the glory!

Rejoicing in Christ,
Lydia*

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! (Psalm 115:1)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rejoicing With Friends!

Yesterday, we had the wonderful pleasure of hosting a wedding tea for our dear friend, Adam, and his soon-to-be bride, Dana. 

How wonderful it is to witness the Lord bringing together two godly young people, uniting them for the purpose of furthering His kingdom! 

 Their wedding is in just under a month, and we couldn't be more happy for them. 

Congratulations Adam and Dana!








"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD."

~Proverbs 18:22~

Friday, April 22, 2011

All Scripture Is Given By Inspiration of God...



"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"
2 Timothy 3:16


The organizers of the "Sufficiency of Scripture Conference" held in Ohio in 2009, are offering the entire set of messages free of charge via download.  We attended this conference and it was absolutely excellent!!!  Solid doctrine, and passionately biblical!!!   

This is the little blurb on their website about the Conference:

"This conference called Christians back to their foundation, affirming that the Scripture alone is sufficient to direct their lives and the life of their families, their churches, and their country in the 21st Century."

The link to the free download of all of the sermons given at the conference is below.  Take a look at the titles of the messages and you'll see there's much meat being offered! 



 Do Not Learn The Way of The Gentiles
 (Scott Brown)

 The Defining Battles in the War Against the Sufficiency of Scripture
 (Doug Phillips)

 Our Declining Church and Culture:  The Genesis Connection & How To Continue A Godly Heritage
 (Ken Ham)

 The Sufficiency of Scripture for Manhood and Womanhood
 (Voddie Baucham)

 The Sufficiency of Scripture and the Heart of the National Center for Family Integrated Church
 (Doug Phillips)

 Scripture is Sufficient for Personal Sanctification
(Andy Davis)

The Regulative Principle of Worship in the
 Old Testament
 (Joe Morecraft)

The Regulative Principle of Worship in the
 New Testament
 (Joe Morecraft)

The Inerrancy of Scripture
 (R.C. Sproul Jr.)

English Bibles and the Sufficiency of Scripture
 (Bill Einwechter)

Scripture is Sufficient for Women's Ministry
  Part 1: Teachers of Good Things
 (Jeff Pollard)

 Scripture is Sufficient for Women's Ministry
Part 2: Keepers at Home
(Jeff Pollard)

 The Sufficiency of Scripture for the Laws of Nations
 (Doug Phillips)

Scripture is Sufficient for Child Discipline
(Steve Breagy)

 But How Could a Loving God Say.....? 
(Dan Horn)

The Sufficiency of Scripture for Building Faith and Transforming Character
 (Andy Davis)

Scripture is Sufficient for Personal Evangelism
(Paul Washer)

Applying the Sufficiency of Scripture in the Botkin Family
(Geoffrey Botkin)

The Sufficiency of Scripture for Family Life
(Kevin Swanson)

God's Law or Chaos
(Bill Einwechter)

Is the Sufficiency of Scripture a Bible Doctrine?
(Joe Morecraft)

Scripture is Sufficient for Ministry to Youth
(Scott Brown)

The Sufficiency of Scripture and the Gospel
(Paul Washer)

The Sufficiency of Scripture and Family Integration
(Kevin Swanson)

The Sufficiency of Scripture for
Evangelizing the Nations
(Paul Washer)

 The Sufficiency of Scripture for Church Discipline
(Joe Morecraft)

The Sufficiency of Scripture for the
Importance of the Sabbath
(Dan Horn)

The Sufficiency of Scripture for
Habits of Obedience
(Andy Davis)

 Youth Ministry
(Voddie Baucham)

 Scripture is Sufficient for Youth
Educational Decisions
(Kevin Swanson)

 The Sufficiency of Scripture for
Culture and Aesthetics
(Doug Phillips)

Scripture is Sufficient to Define and
Govern the Church
(Dan Horn)

 Scripture is Sufficient for Times of
Spiritual Decline
(Bill Einwechter)

 The Importance of Biblical Family Life for the Spread of the Gospel
(Paul Washer)

 The Sufficiency of Scripture in the
Disciple Making of the Church and the Home
(Voddie Baucham)

 Closing Charge
(Scott Brown and Doug Phillips)



Be sure to avail yourselves of this excellent free teaching material.  Your family will be challenged and blessed!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Incline Your Ears To The Words Of My Mouth...



Yesterday our family attended our local homeschool conference and had the opportunity to hear one of our favourite preachers, Kevin Swanson, whose ministry, "Generations With Vision", has been a wonderful encouragement to us throughout the years. 

You can find out more about Mr. Swanson and his ministry here:   





Mr. Swanson is a dynamic and energetic apologist for the cause of Christ, and an incredibly passionate advocate for homeschooling and, in particular, family discipleship.  He delivered his messages as only he can, with tremendous enthusiasm and zeal, and I'm sure many in attendance were challenged in ways they'd never been before!  



Our family had the privilege of hosting
Mr. Swanson and his son, Daniel, during their brief stay in our fair city, and were able to get to know them on a little more personal level.  We were blessed to have had that opportunity and look forward to seeing them again at future conferences, God willing!

In addition to attending the conference, we were blessed to have had the opportunity to provide conference attendees with a package of various materials which have been a tremendous blessing to our family.  The package included:


 "How To Think Like A Christian"

A message which is vitally important in this day and age when believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are so inundated by the pervading message of a decidedly secular and humanistic culture, that very often their thinking, unbeknownst to them, is influenced more by the world than by the Word. 


 "The Blessed Marriage"

An exhortation to husbands and wives to purpose to build marriages which are strong in the Lord, loving and honouring to one another, and a living testimony to their children and the world around them.


 "The Visionary Father's Role in Home Education" 

 Encouragment to fathers to discharge their God-given duties as shepherds of their families, to be passionate and visionary leaders in their homes.


"The Wise Woman's Guide to Blessing
 Her Husband's Vision"

A message which exhorts wives to be a sanctifying influence on their families by being an encouragement to their husbands, even when their husbands may be falling short of their God-given mandate.


"The Promise ~ The Beauty and Power
 of the Fifth Commandment"

An exhortation to understand and obey the principle of honouring, particularly as it pertains to children honouring their parents.


"The Centrality of the Home in Evangelism and Discipleship"

This message addresses a very real and pressing concern, that of the results of numerous studies which have indicated that large numbers (some studies have put it as high as 88%!) of professing Christian young people will leave the Faith by the end of their first year of college.  Dr. Voddie Baucham delivers a powerful exhortation to parents to ensure their homes are the central training ground for evangelising and discipling their children. 


"How Modern Churches are Harming Families"

A presentation of the modern crisis between church and home, outlining various problems or wrong philosophies in the church, which are proving detrimental to the family.


"Divided - Is Age-Segregated Ministry Multiplying or Dividing the Church?"

 This dvd questions age-segregation in the church, it's negative impact, and the remedy. 


It's our fervent prayer that those who heard Kevin Swanson preach, and who will listen to the messages contained within the almost 200 packages we distributed yesterday, will be strengthened to the task of living out their God-given mandates as husbands and wives, and as fathers and mothers. 

We also pray with all zeal that the Lord will raise up local church elders, elders who will see the folly of age-segregated ministry and it's detrimental effects upon the Christian family.  That He will impress upon them that these types of so-called ministries are inherently unbiblical, that if the Word alone, rather than the traditions of men, is used to inform the church's orthopraxy, they will find no direct word, no pattern, and no principle in the Bible which supports age-segregated worship and discipleship.

As our "Building Families That Will Stand" banner read,

"Incline your ears to the words of my mouth...that the generations to come might know them...that they might set their hope in God..." 
Psalm 78 

May all we purpose, all we think, and all we do, be for the Glory of Almighty God, in Whom we live and breathe and have our being! 

  

Below are a smattering of photos of our preparation for, and subsequent attendance at, the RVHEA conference.  

 

Blessing Grace bringing the materials to the kitchen table for packaging as we prepare for the conference.


Ready to be packaged up!


Helping hands



Cherish Faith and Honour Providence bringing the prepared packages out to the laundry room.




The finished product.


Terrific Helpers!


Our Booth At The Conference




We displayed various products from different ministries which have challenged and blessed our family immensely throughout the years.  We did so in order to let families know of the many terrific resources available to them.  We also provided them with the contact information of those who produce and supply these excellent materials. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tying Heartstrings



One of the ways Paul and I have endeavoured to tie strings to our children's hearts is to ensure we take a family vacation each year.  There's just something about getting away from some of the routine of everyday life, spending time together without the constant demands of our farm, etc., which helps to keep our hearts warmly bound to one another. 

We love spending time together, whether working or playing, and those naysayers of years ago who warned, "You just wait until your children are older, they won't want to spend time with you then!", have been proven wholly incorrect. 

We cherish the time we're able to spend with one another, from the oldest to the youngest, and family vacations are just one of the ways we do so.

We arrived home yesterday from our most recent holiday and as noted in our previous post, we were so incredibly delighted to be able to spend time with the Hammond family of South Carolina, as well as reconnect with our dear friends, the Upchurch family of Georgia.  We also enjoyed a few weeks in Florida; soaking up the rays, swimming in the pool, going to the ocean, "doing" Disney, spending time with my terrific brother and his wonderful wife and children, and then spending a few more days with the Hammonds before returning home.  It was a busy, busy time, but so refreshing!

During the many hours we spent driving, we listened to the Bible on cd (we just love Alexander Scourby's KJV reading!), as well as numerous encouraging sermons by the likes of Voddie Baucham, Doug Phillips, and others.  It's so good to be challenged afresh by the Word, to listen to excellent teaching cds which cause us to re-evaluate what we've been doing, or not doing, and to discuss how we might go about ordering our lives to more closely follow our Saviour. 

Not every family can manage to get away for an extended period of time, necessarily, but all parents can purpose to tie strings to their children's hearts by creating and enjoying special times together.  Whether day trips to local attractions with picnic lunches, or camping in the backyard and roasting marshmallows, it's imperative that parents "plan" to have fun with their kiddos.  If they don't take the time to actually plan special times, the tyranny of the urgent will keep them too busy, robbing them of precious opportunities to tie those heartstrings, heartstrings which must be fastened good and tight in this day and age when many are competing for the hearts and minds of our children.

Below are some photos of our recent trip.  I'd only planned on posting a few, but these are all so sweet that I just couldn't resist putting them all up!  Happy browsing!

Pool Fun With Big Brother!






All Of Our Kiddos!


Disney!



Hey Mon!



Daddy & Libby Watching A Stage Show


Mom, Cherish, Honour, & Blessing
 In A Sticky Situation!


On Our Way To The Mad Hatter's Teacups!



Ladies & Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!





Hanging Out With Mommy While The Big Kids Ride


Sister Love!


Riding The Ponies!




Waiting For The Afternoon Parade!




Splash Mountain!




Nighttime Electric Parade!



Typhoon Lagoon!







Honour Posing As King Tut!


Libby The Butterfly!


Mini Golf!








Goofing Around With Cousin Tanner!



 Celebrating Daddy's Birthday! 






Celebrating Daddy's Birthday At Medieval Times
With Uncle Darren, Aunt Tracey, Tanner & Logan!



King Paul & His Family!


At The Ocean!





Good Friends!  Good Times!