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Forecast: Shivery with periods of sun

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Writing in snow with the word cold

Tim Challies recently ran a piece on the best theological blogs out there by doctrinally conservative women and I excitedly absorbed in anticipation of discovering new voices to enrich my reading and thinking. Some appeared in the list like favorite old friends, others challenged my snark tendencies. There were a few new ones I’ve since started reading. You know me: I’m reserving judgment until I’ve had a good 3 or 4 months with these ladies and their writing.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by mrsdkmiller

September 24, 2014 at 10:59 am

Posted in Abiding, Life upside down, Writing

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An image-bearer: Chris from Apricot Farms

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via Huffington Post

 

Here’s the HuffPo piece…

Now, be sure and watch the video. And check out the transcript from the HuffPo piece linked above.

And consider this:

 

See the worth, the joy, the zest for life?

Do you see the image of God in that man!?!?!?   It’s not in his imperfect legs and arms.   It’s not in his stunted growth.   It’s in his soul.

It’s in his resourcefulness and his creativity and his graciousness.

I don’t know if Chris is a believer, but I do know this:

EVERY person conceived has worth as an image-bearer of our Lord God.

And if HuffPo and the pro-abortion minions there and other prog places around the internet don’t see this, it’s proof of the darkness of their souls.

How can they legitimately celebrate this man’s life at the same time they celebrate laws that take life away from others, just because in some flawed person’s thinking that other’s life is not worthy.

 

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;  my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

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The MOST Inspiring Farmer You’ll Ever Meet

Meet Chris.

He’s a farmer at Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark, Calif., and has been farming his entire life. It’s a physically demanding career that Chris handles with deceptive ease, but his life is still comprised of physical limitations: He can’t drive legally, he can’t weed-whack, he can’t operate a chainsaw, he can’t swim (“You drop a bowling ball and me in the water at the same time, I will beat the bowling ball to the bottom nine times out of… nine!” he jokes) and he can’t complete everyday tasks without exerting far more energy than most.

That’s because Chris was born without arms or legs…………

 

Written by mrsdkmiller

June 19, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Chelsea Kolz Boes: Writing hymns from experience

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He whose heart is kind beyond all measure, 
Gives unto each day what He deems best.

https://www.worldmag.com/mobile/article.php?id=30406

Written by mrsdkmiller

June 6, 2014 at 10:14 am

Surely I am with you all the days!

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Surely I am with you all the days!

(Alexander Smellie, “On the Secret Place” 1907)

Surely I am with you all the days, to the very end of the age!” Matthew 28:20 

The path in front of me may be full of flowers–or full of thorns.
Or, as is more probable, flower and thorn may be mingled together. 
The sky may be light–or dark. 
The weather may be glorious summer–or bleakest winter. 
But I go safely and happily, if the Lord Jesus, who can and will supply my every need, is with me all the days.

Some of the days will be days of discipline–of the pruning knife and the cleansing fire. But when He is with me, the discipline is a blessing, and not a curse. It teaches me . . .
  to grasp His strong right hand with a tighter hold,
  to pray more earnestly,
  to find heights and depths of meaning in the promises of God,
  to feel for others who are in tribulation. 
Mind and heart and character are bettered by the endurance of affliction.

Many of the days, too, will be days of monotony. They must be spent in little things–household labors, common concerns, unnoticed toil. I may long for a more striking and romantic experience. But when He is with me, I know that He makes my life like His own–the blessed life He lived among carpenters’ tools, and village streets, and peasant people. Thedrudgery is a love-message–it is Jesus Christ in disguise!

Every day will be a day of temptation. In the home, in the business, in company, in loneliness–I shall encounter the devil’s subtle snares. But let my Lord be with me, and temptation will but reveal the closeness and blessedness of the tie. It will be an instrument which He uses to impart more maturity to my graces–more courage, more patience, more trust.

Perhaps one of the days will be the day of death. But if He does not leave or forsake me, then death will be an ingredient in the training that fits me for the glorious inheritance! As John Bunyan pictures it–I must cross the ‘River of Death’ to reach the ‘Celestial City’. Jesus did it Himself, and the disciple is not above the Master. His Everlasting Arms will sustain me in the flood; and, on the other side, I shall enter the ‘Beautiful Gate’ and see His face!

ALL the days He is with me–to the end, and through the end, and beyond the end forever and ever! Whether I live, therefore, or whether I die–I am His and He is mine!

father and child

H/T Grace Gems

Written by mrsdkmiller

May 16, 2014 at 10:39 am

Amy Young: An open letter to pastors {A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day}

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Today I am sharing this excellent post from Amy Young’s blog, Messy Middle, written two years ago. It’s circulated around social media every year at this time, and this time I want to join in. Tomorrow I will share some of my own thoughts about moms, motherhood, and agony. – LM

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Dear Pastor,

Tone can be tricky in writing. Picture me popping my head in your office door, smiling and asking if we could talk for five minutes. I’m sipping on my diet coke as I sit down.

You know that I’m not one to shy away from speaking my mind, part of the reason you love me (mostly!), so I’m guessing that internally you brace yourself wondering what might be next.

I set my can down and this is what I’d say.

A few years ago I sat across from a woman who told me she doesn’t go to church on Mother’s Day because it is too hurtful.  I’m not a mother, but I had never seen the day as hurtful. She had been married, had numerous miscarriages, divorced and was beyond child bearing years. It was like salt in mostly healed wounds to go to church on that day. This made me sad, but I understood.

Fast forward several years to Mother’s Day.  A pastor asked all mothers to stand. On my immediate right, my mother stood and on my immediate left, a dear friend stood. I, a woman in her late 30s, sat. I don’t know how others saw me, but I felt dehumanized, gutted as a woman. Real women stood, empty shells sat. I do not normally feel this way. I do not like feeling this way. I want no woman to ever feel this way in church again.

Last year a friend from the States happened to visit on Mother’s Day and again the pastor (a different one) asked all mothers to stand. As a mother, she stood and I whispered to her, “I can’t take it, I’m standing.” She knows I’m not a mother yet she understood my standing / lie.

Here’s the thing, I believe we can honor mothers without alienating others. I want women to feel welcome, appreciated, seen, and needed here in our little neck of the body of Christ.

1.  Do away with the standing. You mean well, but it’s just awkward. Does the woman who had a miscarriage stand? Does the mom whose children ran away stand? Does the single woman who is pregnant stand? A.w.k.w.a.r.d.

2.  Acknowledge the wide continuum of mothering.

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you

To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you

To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you

To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you

To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.

To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you

To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you

To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you

To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you

To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience

To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst

To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be

To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren -yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you

To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you

To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart

And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you

This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.

I’ve created a PDF of The Wide Spectrum of Mothering 

3. Commend mothering for the ways it reflects the Imago Dei (Image of God) by bringing forth new life, nurturing those on her path, and living with the tension of providing both freedom and a safety net.

I know I might be an unusual one to be speaking about Mother’s Day; but maybe that’s why so many talk to me about mothering, I’ve got the parts, just not the goods.  Thanks for listening and for continuing to mother us in a shepherding way. Even though I’m a bit nervous to come on Sunday, I will be here. But if you make us stand, I might just walk out =).

Warmly and in your corner,

Amy

——————–

Here are categories Amy added to #2 in a follow up piece, “Another Open Letter to Pastors {Lessons from the Comments Section}”:

To those who have aborted children, we remember them and you on this day

To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children, we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be

To those who step-parent, we walk with you on these complex paths

To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you

 ————————–

Thanks to Time-Warp Wife for getting it going this year.  And for providing Amy’s bio:

Amy Young is readjusting to messy middle of life in the US after more than twenty years in China and the recent death of her dad. When she first moved to China she knew three Chinese words: hello, thank you and watermelon. Often the only words really needed in life. She is known to jump in without all the facts and blogs regularly at messymiddle.com and tweets as @amyinbj and is the most unbeautiful pinner Pinterest has ever seen (but she’s having fun!). Want a free book? Sign up for her quarterly newsletter and Signs of Eden Regained is YOURS (and win a chance for an awesome canvas of your choice — subscription drive until May 17th).

 

Written by mrsdkmiller

May 10, 2014 at 11:44 am

The Lowliest Are Expendable

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via 3RG.
dirty feet
It’s not something we easily relate to in our culture and time. Footwashing.  Without a context, it’s even harder to explain to children. And if you have children who, like the Wicked Witch of the West, seem to view water as a weapon of mass destruction, the likelihood of them “getting it” decreases significantly.
In the culture that Christ and his disciples lived, however, footwashing was an everyday necessity. Standard footwear fashion was sandals, and infrastructure in the Roman world, while improved and improving, had resulted in still only a few roads being paved. Thus, the daily journey to the market, the fields, the workshop or the temple built up layers of dirt on the feet. Moms then, being not much different than moms now, did not want that dirt tracking into their homes, so a basin of water sat at the entrance of every home for footwashing. Now, as most households employed servants or kept slaves, obviously this demeaning and dirty job was given to the most menial of servants or slaves, particularly when guests arrived.

After a long journey to Jerusalem, the group arrived at the home where they would be taking the Passover meal together.  Jesus had recently rebuked them for obsessing about places of honor in the Kingdom. He had just been received into the city as a King by fawning mobs hoping to stir up anti-Roman, pro-coming-earthly-Jewish-kingdom-ruled-by-legendary-Messiah sentiment. We are not told whether the routine footwashing had not taken place when he and the disciples entered the home, but at some point during the meal, Jesus took up the elements and donned the garb of a servant and began washing the feet of the disciples.

Philippians 2:6-7 tells us that Jesus “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant.” This is evidence of that nothingness that Jesus made himself to be. The experts in the law of the Old Testament had drummed phobias about the spiritual disaster that accompanied germs and everything carnal into the minds of the Jews that it was unheard of for anyone other than the lowliest to touch dirty feet. The lowliest were expendable, you see.

Matthew Henry comments upon this passage:

Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, that he might teach us to think nothing below us, wherein we may promote God’s glory, and the good of our brethren. We must address ourselves to duty, and must lay aside every thing that would hinder us in what we have to do. Christ washed his disciples’ feet, that he might signify to them the value of spiritual washing, and the cleansing of the soul from the pollutions of sin. 

Peter reacted (let’s say it together) as only Peter could. “You shall never wash my feet!” Well-intentioned Peter missed the point. I would have, too. Jesus said, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” I can just imagine the scores Peter would get on the myriad of social network quizzes out there: always swinging from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus replied, “’The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.’ For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, ‘Not all of you are clean.’” (John 13: 10)

Again, Matthew Henry:

All those, and those only, who are spiritually washed by Christ, have a part in Christ. All whom Christ owns and saves, he justifies and sanctifies. Peter more than submits; he begs to be washed by Christ. How earnest he is for the purifying grace of the Lord Jesus, and the full effect of it, even upon his hands and head! Those who truly desire to be sanctified, desire to be sanctified throughout, to have the whole man, with all its parts and powers, made pure. The true believer is thus washed when he receives Christ for his salvation. 

Peter’s words were the ones recorded for Scripture, but I imagine others protested. I wonder what Judas thought. I wonder if he said anything. We know that as the keeper of the money for the group, he was already critical of Jesus’ priorities and care for the souls of others, not approving of monies wasted on ceremonial attention to Him. On this, Matthew Henry says:

[W]hen hypocrites are discovered, it should be no surprise or cause of stumbling to us. … When we see our Master serving, we cannot but see how ill it becomes us to domineer.

The children in the catechism class this past Sunday expressed a wide range of reactions to having their “feet” washed by their revered and dear teacher Miss Chris. As she knelt with a mock up of basin, cloth and water (shoe shine kit and brush) and proceeded to wash their feet (shine their shoes), they looked perplexed and a little uncomfortable. Some giggled, “It tickles!” But as she lovingly served them, her message was clear: “Jesus is the King, but he is also the greatest servant of all. I am offering to wash your feet in a way that is similar to His offer of Himself on the cross to cleanse us of our sins.”

How easy it is to focus on ourselves! But in the shadow of the devotional posture of Jesus and how it warms our hearts, let us not forget that it was no burden for our King to take on the lowliest of tasks for us. He became the expendable so that we would be saved and made new. And as it was a task that we cannot even provide for ourselves, let us devote ourselves to Him who performed it for us, for only in Him can we be washed and cleansed of our guilt and made presentable for service to God and others.

“It is not humility, but unbelief, to put away the offers of the gospel, as if too rich to be made to us, or too good news to be true.” (Matthew Henry)

Written by mrsdkmiller

April 24, 2014 at 8:17 am

Immediate Access Unto God

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OWEN

Written by mrsdkmiller

April 24, 2014 at 7:33 am

Posted in Abiding, Grace Irresistible, Quotes

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