Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 30- Where are my blackberry grits?!!!

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;    Ephesians 3:8

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 29

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.       Ephesians 3:7

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 28

That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:       Ephesians 3:6

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 27

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;           Ephesians 3:5

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 26- Feeling Uncharacteristically Ambitious

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:  
How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
Ephesians 3:2-4

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 25- Starting Chapter 3

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,       Ephesians 3:1

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Saturday is Museum Day

Get Rich Slowly has posted a piece about Museum Day which is this Saturday.  If you go here , you can print out an admission card that will give you two free admissions per household to participating museums on Saturday.  In town, the Mary Brogan and the Tallahassee Museum of Natural History and Science are both taking part in the day.  

If you'll be out of town, you can look up whether there are any participating museums in the city you are visiting.

Day 24-Woo Hoo Woo Hoo I'm Reviewing Chapter Two (and a Few Other Things)

Yesterday was the last day of Ephesians chapter 2.  Today I am working on review.  No new verses, just review.

And it seems that I am reviewing a few things in mothering today also.  Things like...
... do not let your 4-year old carry around a glass vase in Target, go with your instincts, which are screaming, "No, you may not carry that; it will ride in the cart."
... if you go out to eat, bring baby wipes with you and be sure all of the children are wearing patterned shirts and if you will be going somewhere AFTER dinner, bring a change of clothes for everyone just in case.

I am learning some new things too.  Things like...
... the customer service desk at Target has BandAids.
... gum stops tears.
... a hand dryer can dry a section of clothing, which you've just rinsed out in the bathroom sink, relatively quickly.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 23

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.     Ephesians 2:22

Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 22

In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord;       Ephesians 2:21

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 21

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;                         Ephesians 2:20

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 20

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;     Ephesians 2:19

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 19

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.     Ephesians 2:18

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 18

And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.     Ephesians 2:17

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 17- This Is Hard!

The past few days of memorizing have really been a struggle.  I have had many distractions and little time or motivation.  And my retention has been poor.  If it were not for this September to Remember contest and knowing that a few ladies would be checking in each day to see whether I had done my verse for the day, I would have skipped a couple of days or at least spent a day or two doing a verse a second time instead of pressing on to the next one.  So thank you Lea and Debbie for thinking up this crazy thing and thank you Meg, Laura, mamajil, and Kahlua Keeping Koala for participating and sometimes commenting.     

I did spend some extra time last night getting 13 - 15 down solid, so I am ready for #16 today...
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:     Ephesians 2:16

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day 16

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  Ephesians 2:15

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tagged! I'm It!

Meg at Life at Lonesome Pine has tagged me.  She has been so nice to this new blogger.  She comments regularly.  She even did a shout out on her blog with a link.  I am on her blog list.  Now I have been tagged.  It just makes me feel so bloggery.  So I am supposed to answer the following ABC questions about myself...

Attached or Single?  Attached till death do us part.
Best Friend?  See A.
Cake or Pie?  Pie.  It's the crust.  If cake had crust, maybe it would have a shot.
Day of Choice?  Sunday.  I get to nap on Sundays.
Essential Item?  Toothbrush.
Flavor of Ice Cream?  Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia
Gummy Bears or Worms?  Bears.  Do cinnamon bears count as gummy bears?  They are the BEST.
Hometown?  San Diego.  Birthtown: Savanna, Illinois.  I wonder if I tell people that I was born in Savanna would they take me for a bona fide Southerner and not realize my birthplace was missing an 'H'?
Indulgences?  Dark chocolate.
January or July?  At home- January, in San Diego-July.  If only there were a spot with our January and San Diego's July.
Kids?  Three.
Last Movie I Saw in a Theatre?  Cinderella Man.  
Middle Name?  Beatrice.  No not really.  Internet paranoia is creeping in and I'm not going to post that.  Although I doubt I have 200 readers or even 77 people dropping by like some people.
Number of Siblings?  Four.
Oranges or Apples?  Oranges.
Phobia or Fear?  Giant cockroaches that fly.
Quote?  I love other people's quotes, but I don't collect them myself.  I am racking my brain and I can't think of a good quote.  I'm coming up with stuff like the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution or "My name is Enigo Montoya..."  So how about a Bible verse?  That's a quote right?
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed on his name, he gave the right to become children of God.   John 1:12
Reason to Smile?  The smell of my children.
Season?  Autumn.
Tag Five More: No.  
Unknown Fact About Me?  One of my fingers is bent weird and is shorter than it should be.  (I say unknown because people who have known me for YEARS will notice it and be surprised that they had never noticed it before.  Come to think of it, I don't believe my children even know about it.)  My doctor says this feature would come in handy should my body ever need to be identified.
Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animals?  Eater and wearer of animals.  Come on.
Worst Habit?  Not going to post.  That's how you know I'm being honest and it really IS my worst habit.
Xrays or Ultrasounds?  Yes.
Your Favorite Food?  A really good steak.
Zodiac?  Not going there.  I am having a moral dilemma as to whether I should buy All You magazine, which I had heard has tons of great coupons, because the issue I saw at the store prominently featured some horoscope article on its cover.  So, no, not going to do the zodiac thing.

Day 15

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;     Ephesians 2:14

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 14

But now in Christ Jesus ye who were sometimes far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.      Ephesians 2:13.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 13

That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:    Ephesians 2:12

Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 12

Ahhhh!  I almost missed today's post.  I worked on my verse just a little; it's not very solid, but here it is...
Wherefore, remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;            Ephesians 2:11

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Publix Shoppers

In today's paper there is a peely attached to the front page for $5 off a $30 purchase at Publix.  And who couldn't use that?

Day 11

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.     Ephesians 2:10

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 10-BOGO

In frugal land, BOGO stands for Buy One Get One (as in get the second one free).  I love BOGO.  If I had the time and were doing the blogging I had intended to do long ago before I lost my blog, I would be posting all the BOGO deals at Publix (and Walgreens and CVS) and matching them up with coupons because I really think that everyone in town needs to know about these things.  

Well today is BOGO day for memorizing.  I am going crazy and will do two verses in one day.  Woo-hoo!  (Full disclosure:  I already had these memorized; I'm sure you do too.  I am memorizing in the KJV, so I do have to change the word order a bit and throw in a "ye", but that is really nothing compared to the from scratch memorizing I have been doing.) 
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 
Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9
I love having these verses in their full context now.  And I love that I will be able to remember I can find them in Ephesians Chapter 2; they are verses 8 and 9.  Prior to all this memorizing it was closer to, "Um, one of the epistles, pretty sure it's Ephesians."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day 9-Blessed by the Book and the Babies

The past few days have been wonderful.  God's love and grace and mercy are in every verse.  Today is more of the same...
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.    Ephesians 2:7
While I am typing this I am listening to the conversation between my 2-year-old and 4-year-old playing together nearby with a train set.
4:  Are you in control of this house?
2:  Yea...
4:  No, God is in control of this house.  He is in control of everything.
2:  Yea...
4:  He works in our hearts.
2:  Yea...
4:  (singing) He works, he works, he works...
4:  Isn't that cool? (At this point I'm not sure if she means the train track or God working in our hearts.)

Sometimes my kids just bless me in the most unexpected way.  

I know some might not consider 2 and 4 to be babies, but they're my babies (and I couldn't resist the alliteration.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 8

I am late today, so I am glad today's verse is short.  This is one of those days where posting is really helping me to stay on track.  If I did not know that a few ladies were going to check to see whether I had done my verse for the day, it would be soooooo easy to skip this today and pick it up tomorrow.  Only 8 hours left in the day to memorize...
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:   Ephesians 2:6

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Day 7

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)     Ephesians 2:5

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Day 6

When I woke up this morning, I was able to recite yesterday's verse (although I thought it said "objects of wrath" instead of "children of wrath", but that is easily corrected.)  So I can move on to the next verse.  I am so glad it is short...
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,     Ephesians 2:4

Friday, September 5, 2008

Read This Book-Part 2

Continuing with where I left off yesterday in The Heavenly Man ...
    Then, suddenly one morning at 4 a.m., after months of begging God to answer my prayers, I received a vision from the Lord while kneeling beside my bed.
     In the vision I was walking up a steep hill, trying to push a heavy cart in front of me.  I was heading towards a village where I intended to beg for food for my family.  I was struggling greatly, because in my vision I was hungry and weakened by constant fasting.  The old cart was about to roll back and fall on me.
     I then saw three men walking down the hill in the opposite direction.  A kind old man, who had a very long beard, was pulling a large cart full of fresh bread.  Two other men were walking on each side of the cart.  When the old man saw me he felt great pity and showed me compassion.  He asked, "Are you hungry?"  I replied, "Yes.  I have nothing to eat.  I'm on my way to get food for my family."
     I wept because my family was extremely poor.  Because of my father's sickness we'd sold everything valuable to buy medicine.  We had little to eat, and for years we'd been forced to beg for food from friends and neighbors.  When the old man asked me if I was hungry I couldn't help but cry.  I'd never felt such genuine love and compassion from anyone before.
     In the vision the old man took a red bag of bread from his trolley and asked his two servants to give it to me.  He said, "You must eat it immediately."
     I opened the wrapping and saw there was a bun of fresh bread inside.  When I put the bun in my mouth, it instantly turned into a Bible!  Immediately, in my vision, I knelt down with my Bible and cried out to the Lord in thanksgiving, "Lord, your name is worthy to be praised!  You didn't despise my prayer.  You allowed me to receive this Bible.  I want to serve you for the rest of my life."
     I woke up and started searching the house for the Bible.  The rest of my family was asleep.  The vision had been so real to me that when I realized it had only been a dream I was deeply anguished and I wept loudly.  My parents rushed to my room to see what had happened.  They thought I had gone crazy because of all my fasting and praying.  I told them about my vision, but, the more I shared, the crazier they thought I was!  Mother said, "The day hasn't dawned yet and no one has come to our house.  The door is firmly locked."
     My father held me tightly.  With tears in his eyes he cried to God, "Dear Lord, have mercy on my son.  Please don't let him lose his mind.  I'm willing to be sick again if it will prevent my son from losing his mind.  Please give my son a Bible!"
     My mother, father and I knelt down and wept together, arm in arm.
     Suddenly I heard a faint knock at the door.  A very gentle voice called my name.  I rushed over and asked through the locked door, "Are you bringing the bread to me?"  The gentle voice replied, "Yes, we have a bread feast to give you."  I immediately recognized the voice as the same one I had heard in the vision.
     I quickly opened the door and there standing before me were the same two servants I had seen in the vision.  One man held a red bag in his hand.  My heart raced as I opened the bag and held in my hands my very own Bible!
     The two men quickly departed into the still darkness.
     I clutched my new Bible to my heart and fell down on my knees outside the door.  I thanked God again and again!  I promised Jesus that from that moment on I would devour his Word like a hungry child.
     Later I found out the names of those two men.  One was Brother Wang and the other Brother Sung.  They came from a village far away.  They told me about an evangelist whom I'd never met.  He had suffered terribly for the Lord during the Cultural Revolution, and had nearly died while being tortured.
     About three months before I received my Bible this evangelist had received a vision from the Lord.  God showed him a young man to whom he was to give his hidden Bible.  In the vision he saw our house and the location of our village.
     Like many Christians at the time, the old man had placed his Bible inside a can and buried it deep in the ground,hoping a day would come when he could dig it up and read it again.  Despite this vision, it took the evangelist a few months before he decided to obey what the Lord had told him to do.  He asked two other Christian men to deliver it to me.  They then walked throughout the night to reach my home.
     From that moment on I prayed to Jesus with faith-filled prayer.  I fully trusted that the words in the Bible were God's words to me.  I always held the Bible.  Even when I slept I laid it on my chest.  I devoured its teachings like a hungry child.
     This was the first gift I ever received from God in prayer.
Brother Yun did devour the Word.  After receiving his Bible, he memorized the gospel of Matthew, a chapter each day.  (I had not remembered this correctly.  In a previous post I wrote that he did this memory work while in prison.)

I am enjoying reading this book for the second time.  It still amazes me how humble, and simple, and full of faith this man is.  And he never fails to give God all the glory.

Beat the Heat Deal

Target has Super Soakers reduced 75%.  You can get the big giant ones for under $5 (originally around $20) or a 2-pack of a smaller size for $2.50 (originally $10).  Last night I bought two 2-packs to arm Matt and the kids.  

This weekend will be fun.  The anticipation already is building.  From the master bedroom this morning I could hear the questions as each child found his way into the kitchen and discovered the Target bag I had left on the counter.
What is this?
Where did it come from?
Why did Mom buy it?
Who is it for?
The incredulity was palpable.  (Take that Miss Lea-word-a-day-gal).  They really could not believe their boring mom would bring home something so crazy.

If you are interested, I would hurry on over to Target.  I can't imagine they will last long at that price.

Day 5

Yesterday's verse was hard.  Today's is longer.  Tune in tomorrow to see how I did...
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.     Ephesians 2:3

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Read This Book

I have started reading The Heavenly Man again.  It is the testimony of 
Liu Zhenying, also known as Brother Yun.  It is so good.  I have to share some of it with you.

     ...At first, I didn't really know who Jesus was, but I'd seen him heal my father and liberate our family.  I confidently committed myself to the God who had healed my father and saved us.  During that time I frequently asked my mother who Jesus truly was.  She told me, "Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for us, taking all our sins and sicknesses.  He recorded all his teachings in the Bible."
     I asked if there were any words of Jesus left that I could read for myself.  She replied, "No.  All his words are gone.  There is nothing left of his teaching."  This was during the Cultural Revolution when Bibles could not be found.
     From that day on I earnestly wanted to have a copy of my own Bible.  I asked my mother and fellow Christians what a Bible looked like, but no one knew.  One person had seen some hand copied Scripture portions and song sheets, but never a whole Bible.  Only a few old believers could recall seeing Bibles many years before.  The Word of God was scarce in the land.
     I was so hungry for a Bible.  Seeing my desperation, my mother remembered an old man who lived in another village.  This man had been a pastor before the Cultural Revolution.
     Together we started out on the long walk to his home.  When we found him we told him our desire, "We long to see a Bible.  Do you have one?"
     He immediately looked fearful.  This man had already spent nearly 20 years in prison for his faith.  He looked at me and saw that I was so young and poor, with tattered clothes and bare feet.  He felt compassion, but still didn't want to show me his Bible.
     I don't blame him because in those days there were very few Bibles in the whole of China.  Nobody was allowed to read any book other than Mao's little Red Book.  If caught with a Bible, it would be burned and the owner's whole family would be severely beaten in the middle of the village.
     The old pastor simply told me, "The Bible is a heavenly book.  If you want one, you'll need to pray to the God of heaven.  Only he can provide you a heavenly book.  God is faithful.  He always answers those who seek him with all of their heart."
     I fully trusted the pastor's words.
     When I returned home I brought a stone into my room and knelt down on it every evening for prayer.  I had just one simple prayer: "Lord, please give me a Bible.  Amen."  At that time I didn't know how to pray, but I continued for more than one month.
     Nothing happened.  A Bible didn't appear.
     I went back to that pastor's house again.  This time I went alone.  I told him, "I've prayed to God according to your instructions, but I still haven't received the Bible I want so much.  Please, please show me your Bible.  Just a glance and I will be satisfied!  I don't need to touch it.  You hold it and I will be content just to look at it.  If I could copy down some of the words I will return home happy."
     The pastor saw the anxiety of my heart.  He spoke to me again, "If you're serious, then you should not only kneel down and pray to the Lord, you should also fast and weep.  The more you weep the sooner you'll get a Bible."
     I went home, and every morning and afternoon I ate and drank nothing.  Every evening I ate just one small bowl of steamed rice.  I cried like a hungry child to his heavenly Father, wanting to be filled with his Word.  For the next one hundred days I prayed for a Bible, until I could bear it no more.  My parents were sure I was losing my mind.
     Looking back years later, I would say this whole experience was the most difficult thing I've ever endured.
How many Bibles do I have?  Too many to count.  Plus I have tools like Bible dictionaries and concordances.  I have access to Bible Gateway on the internet.  I have an overflowing feast of God's Word in my home while others like Brother Yun are starving.  And to my shame I neglect His Word.

Tomorrow I'll share Brother Yun's vision and how his prayer was answered.  But if you have Amazon Prime, that might be quicker for you.  Seriously, get this book.  It will challenge you, and humble you, and inspire you.

Day 4

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:    Ephesians 2:2

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day 3 - WOO-HOO Chapter 2

I kind of like the rhyme in that title.  

After my previous super-long post, I am back to short and sweet.  Today I am remembering...
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;     Ephesians 2:1

By the Grace of God When I Woke Up This Morning, I...

...recited Ephesians 1 from memory.  (Full disclosure: I did have 3-4 minor word errors that I need to work on.)

Several years ago, I read The Heavenly Man, which is the testimony of Brother Yun, one of the leaders in the Chinese house church movement.  During one of several imprisonments, Brother Yun memorized the gospel of Matthew.  I remember reading that and thinking how amazing that was.  Not several verses, or a single chapter, or the Sermon on the Mount, but the entire gospel. 

So I decided that I should attempt the same.  

I chose the gospel of John, which is shorter by six chapters than Matthew and is my favorite book of the Bible.  I slowly memorized to halfway through chapter 2 and then stopped.  (Right here my sinful pride requires me to remark that chapter 1 is FIFTY verses long.  Don't want anyone thinking I'm a slacker.)  I didn't decide to just quit one day, but I went from working on it every day to working on it every other day to working on it now and then until I realized that I really wasn't memorizing anything anymore and was actually starting to forget parts that I had memorized.

I understand that a man who is a respected Christian leader in China and has suffered for the cause of Christ has a level of spiritual depth and maturity far beyond anything I possess.  He could be expected to succeed where I failed.  Yet his story inspired me and I really had hoped to be able to accomplish something so audacious as memorizing an entire book of the Bible.

Then, several months ago, Lea introduced me to Janet Pope's His Word in My Heart: Memorizing Scripture for a Closer Walk with God.  Janet Pope was inspired by a woman at a Beth Moore conference who recited the entire book of Colossians from memory.  Her book lays out a method for slowly memorizing longer and longer portions of Scripture up to entire books.  She also gives suggestions for reviewing memorized Scripture so that all of the work put into memorizing is not lost through later neglect.  

Now I had three examples: Brother Yun (way out of my spiritual league), Janet Pope (closer, but still up there with a published Christian book and all), and nameless Beth Moore lady.  Maybe with a plan I could memorize an entire book of the Bible.  I decided to try again with something a bit shorter and started with the book of Ephesians memorizing a verse a day.  At the beginning of summer I was up to Ephesians 1:12.  

When Lea started September to Remember, I was still in chapter 1 and had made my way to verse 21.  That verse a day thing was seriously slipping.  September to Remember seemed like the perfect opportunity to throw some accountability on my memorization plan by making it public.  So my September to Remember theme is remembering (AKA memorizing) the book of Ephesians.  

September should take me through chapter 2 and then I'll probably need "October, November, December, and January to Remember" to finish Ephesians' six chapters.  I'm more of a hare than a tortoise type of person, so this is a little scary for me, especially the public part.  And I tend to try to do things in my own power, not Christ's, and then take the glory for myself while faking being humble, so I guess in September I'll be trying to remember to work on that too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How cool is blogger?

Now just look at that column to the right.  All of the September to Remember contestants lined up neatly in order of most recent post plus a little snippet to tease you into following the links to their blogs.

If I have left out anyone, or if any new bloggers want to join, leave a comment and I will add you to the sidebar.  (It's really all about soliciting comments.)

Day 2

Today I am remembering Ephesians 1:23...
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
This is too easy.  Look out blackberry grits, here I come.  But then that is why I chose this theme.  It is something that I can actually maintain (in between mountains of laundry, and cleaning, and cooking, and mommying).

Monday, September 1, 2008

Day 1

It's the first day of Lea's September to Remember.  Here is what I am remembering today...
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church... 
Ephesians 1:22