Quips and Quotes
"We do not earn or merit anything by taking refuge in God. Hiding in something makes no contribution to the hiding place. All it does is show that we regard ourselves as helpless and the hiding place as a place of rescue." John Piper

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tidy Tip Tuesday - A Clean Sweep

I'm getting tired just watching her!

Here are some cleaning tips for you:
If you do not own a cobweb buster of sorts, wrap a clean rag around your broom and secure with a large rubber band as a tool to take down cobwebs.

Yardsticks wrapped with a clean rag work well to clean under and between things.

Keep your mop from becoming stiff after you use it by adding a few tablespoons of distilled white vinegar to its clean rinse water.

Vacuum around the inside of a dry bathtub to remove hair and lint to keep it from clogging the drain.

The best time to clean out your refrigerator is once a week on the evening before the trash is picked up. If you compost, bag up whatever cannot be used on the compost pile and throw it in the trash can for garbage collection the following morning.

Before sitting down to the table to eat supper, lay a hot, soapy dishrag over any sticky food that spilled over onto the stove while you were cooking. By the time you finish eating, the spill will have dissolved into the rag and the work will be done for you.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Gotta Laugh About Getting Older - It's the Only Way to Survive

My sis sent this video via email this morning - bright and early. Oh, how I can identify, being only 11 years younger than this funny lady. If we can just retain our sense of humor as we age and not become brittle in spirit like our bones, we'll do just fine.

Take a few minutes to view this. Once you're past the initial prayer, she launches into her humor.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Appropriate Fear - Part Two

If you have not yet read Part One of An Appropriate Fear, please do so. You will find that post here.

The Characteristics of Fear - the What, the How and the Who of it

Who Falls Prey to Inappropriate Fear?

Woman – Prone to Fear
Everyone is susceptible to fear – men and women. But I believe that women are especially prone to fear because we lack obvious control in so many situations. In fact, it is so common a struggle with women that Peter addresses it in 1 Peter 3:5-6, encouraging women to put their hope in God so that they can do what is right without giving into fear. By God’s design, men generally lead in every human establishment: the workplace, the home and the church. That is not to say that all men lead well. Many do not, which can really stir up a woman’s fear.
Also, generally speaking, as redeemed women, our role in life is helper, our rule of mind is respect and our responsibility in marriage (and in other places) is submission. Obviously we are not in control, and so, we are often inclined to inappropriate fears. When we lack control, we can either trust God and be confident, or trust ourselves and/or others and be fearful.

But a Woman Who Fears the Lord…
Proverbs 31 tell us about the virtuous wife, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain, but a
woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” The description of this woman reveals that she is confident. She fears nothing and no one but God.

But I’ve always wondered why more is not said concerning her relationship to the Lord. While studying this subject of the fear of the Lord, I became aware that embodied in that little phrase, “fears the Lord”, is every aspect of what it means to know and love God. Fearing God involves not only respect for Him, but also love, worship, humility, purity, obedience, service, holiness, complete trust, a passion for Christ’s glory and more. In Scripture there are hundreds of verses that command us to fear God, but only a handful that command us to love Him. I think that is because a healthy fear of God encompasses every aspect of relating to Him rightly, including love. And godly fear is the antidote for inappropriate fear.
The Contagion of Inappropriate Fear

This study has truly been an eye opener for me, not only concerning the fear of the Lord, but it has also made me face up to certain fears that I had not been honest about and commit those fears to the Lord. As He is becoming my only valid fear, those inappropriate fears are being banished and no longer ruling me. Heb. 13:6 says, “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

There are many common fears that most of us have all shared: fear of the dark, fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of the "boogie man" and many more. But I was shocked when I went onto a website called The Phobia List, where I found an alphabetized list of hundreds of supposedly valid, yet inappropriate “phobias”.

Anything and everything goes when it comes to phobias. Some that I found online are: Chronomentrophobia – the fear of clocks; Philemaphobia – the fear of kissing (that’s one that parents hope that their adolescent children have). There is Geniophobia – the fear of chins (when I read this list to my mom she said, “Oh, that’s the one I have – the fear of having double and triple chins"). PoGonophobia is the fear of beards, Amnesiphobi – the fear of amnesia (the cure for this one is amnesia, because you’d totally forget that you had it), Judeophobia – the fear of Jews. I’m sure some of your husbands have Pentheraphobia – the fear of their mother-in-law; there’s Pteronophobia – the fear of being tickled by feathers and Neophobia – the fear of anything new. With this fear you’d never go shopping. That would make some of our husbands very happy men. The fear most children have is not actually a fear of the dark but La-chan-o-phobia – the fear of vegetables.

Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, in which case you would have phobia-phobia, which might not be quite as bad as Panophobia, which is the fear of everything, including phobia-phobia.

But the one phobia I am most thankful that I do not have, is a combo-phobia of some of the ones I just mentioned: “Philema-Judeo-PoGonophobia, which is a fear of kissing bearded Jews. (In case you haven't guessed, my husband, Robert, is Jewish, though he is a Christian, and he has a beard.)

But seriously, fear is running rampant and at a contagion level. So many people are imprisoned by their phobias. Could that be because we were created to fear? Fear is built into the heart of man by God. We were created to fear Him, but instead, man fears everyone and everything but God.

The Consequences of Inappropriate Fear

Inappropriate Fear Forgets God and Fuels Disrespect

As wives, when we trust ourselves in this area of control and do not fear God, we can not show respect for our husbands (or parent, church leader or employer). That is because inappropriate fear lets go of Godly fear, forgets God and fuels disrespect. Isaiah 57:11 says, “Of whom were you worried and fearful when you lied, and did not remember Me nor give Me a thought? Is it because I have not corrected you that you have no fear of me?”

Or how about Isaiah 51:12-16 concerning the fear of man, "I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, that you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction?" 

Can you see the progression in the first verse? Initially, worry and inappropriate fear are allowed to rule in the heart. Though this seems harmless enough, the resulting sin of lying is carried out. In the midst of this progression it is obvious that God has been forgotten. He is not at all considered. And the crux of it all is that there was no fear of God from the beginning. Inappropriate fear always crowds God out and looks to self for the answer. It forgets God and fuels disrespect.

The second verse brings to light the reality that fearing man begets even more fear, "...you live in constant terror every day..." On the contrary, fearing God is a comforting thing. He comforts us when we will but seek Him in the midst of the fear and confess to Him our weakness of being terrified of puny man.

Has this been your experience when you fear man or any other created thing? 

For the third part of this series, several examples will be sited from Scripture as well as one contemporary example. We will also see how disrespect manifests itself in marriage. 

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tidy Tip Tuesday - Clever Uses for Rubber Bands

Waitress: What can I get for you. sir?
Patron: Make me a rubber band sandwich and make it snappy!

Music teacher: Have you ever heard a rubber band? 
Student: Why no, I don't think I have.
Music teacher: They play the snappiest tunes!

Patient: Doctor, Doctor I think I'm a rubber band.
Doctor: Stretch yourself out on the couch there and talk to me! Snap to it!
Enough of that! Here are some handy tips for using rubber bands:

Stop sliding spoons
The spoon slipped into the pot, and now you have to fish it out of the hot soup. "Oh bother!" like Pooh Bear would say. After you rinse off the spoon, wrap a rubber band around the top of the handle to catch the spoon. No bother at all!

Secure your casserole lids
Secure the top of your casserole dish to the base with a couple of wide rubber bands to avoid spills on the way to the potluck.

Anchor your cutting board
To keep your cutting board from traveling around on the counter-top while you're chopping food, give the board some traction by putting a rubber band around each end.Be careful to keep your knife away from the rubber bands.

Get a grip on twist-off tops
Wrap the caps of beverage bottles (with twist-off lids) with a rubber band to save yourself the pain that the crimped edges of the bottle cap can cause.

Get a grip on drinking glasses
If it is difficult for you to grasp a drinking glass securely, wrap a couple of rubber bands around it to make it easier to grip. Works great for children also, whose small hands cannot safely hold a drinking glass.

Reshape your broom
Wrap a rubber band around a broom ( a few inches from the bottom) when bristles that have fanned out. Leave it for a day or so to get the bristles back in line.

Child-proof kitchen and bath cabinetsTemporarily childproof the bathroom and kitchen cabinets you don't want the grandchildren to get into. Just wrap the bands tightly around pairs of knob-type handles.

Keep thread from tangling
Wrap a rubber band around the spools of thread to keep the it from unraveling.

Make a holder for your car visorWrap a couple of rubber bands around the sun visors of your car to create a handy spot to slip toll receipts, directions, a favorite CD, maps, etc.

Thumb through papers with ease
Wrap a rubber band around your index finger a few when you need to shuffle papers. Be careful not to wrap it too tight, so that circulation will not be cut off to your fingertip.

Extend a button
When the top button on a shirt doesn't allow enough breathing room, pull a small rubber band through the buttonhole, then loop the ends over the button. Put on your tie and relax.

Use as a bookmark

Wrap a rubber band from top to bottom around the part of the book you've already read. You won't lose your place, even if you drop the book.

Cushion your remote control
To protect your fine furniture from scratches and nicks, wrap a wide rubber band around both ends of the television remote control. The remote will be less likely to slide off a table and be damaged also.

Secure bed slats
Do the slats under your mattress sometimes slip out? Wrap rubber bands around their ends to make them stay in place.

Tighten furniture casters
If furniture leg casters have become loose with wear, tighten them up by wrapping a rubber band around the stem and reinserting.

Gauge your liquids
Snap a band around the liquid containers of paint, etc. in your garage to indicate how much solution is left in the can. Just a glance and you'll know how much is left.

Wipe your paintbrush
Using the side of a paint can to remove excess paint from your brush, creates a mess on the side of the can and a puddle in the groove around the rim. To avoid the mess wrap a rubber band around the can from top to bottom, going across the middle of the can opening. After filling your brush with paint, just tap it against the rubber band and the excess paint will fall back into the can.

A sliced apple keeper.
Put the wedges of a sliced apple back together and with a rubber band wrapped around the apple. This will hold the apple together and stop the wedges from yellowing or drying out.

A bag sealer.
Keep bags of frozen veggies inside their opened bags by folding the top of the bag over and then wrapping a rubber band around the whole thing. This is good for any bag that needs to be resealed.

A bottle holder.
To get a grip on shampoo and conditioner bottles, wrap a large rubber band around each bottle. This also works on any other bottle in any room of the house, and is very useful for people who have trouble gripping, especially those with arthritis.

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

His Choice

His Choice

Would I have chosen Him who died,
The One whom sinners crucified?
The One who gave His life to free
Insurgent, rebel, enemy?

My choice would ne’er have been for Him.
My sin is what I loved, so grim;
My sin that put Him on the tree.
A foe I was, a foe I’d be,
Had He not come to rescue me

I would have chose to scorn His Name,
To persecute, condemn and blame
The perfect Lamb, the Savior Dear,
Had not the Shepherd made me hear
His call to come and hasten near.

Like sinking ship, the waters swirled
Engulfed in sin that tossed and hurled;
I chose the doom and dark of night.
But from the rocks there shone a Light,
And Jesus drew me from my plight.

Oh! Love divine, all loves excelling,
Such grace that drew was all-compelling.
He opened eyes that would not see,
Awestruck, I fell and bowed my knee.
The choice was His, it was not mine
He freed me - I from sin resign.

Eternally I am His choice,
I’m kept by Him, and I rejoice!
For He has set me free to love,
Now I adore the Lord above
Who gave His life for my poor soul,
And was abased to make me whole.

Now that He has elected me,
And shown me grace beyond degree,
Oh, may I ne’er again caress
A minor treasure – all is less,
Less than the prize I find in Him,
Whose glory lights the seraphim.

So ask me now – I’ll ne’er refuse
The Savior Dear – it’s Him I choose.
I love this One who by design
Has called my name – I’m His, He’s mine!



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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

An Appropriate Fear - Part One

Starting today and continuing on for the next few weeks, we will be looking at the subject of fear, specifically the fear of the Lord, which, as we will see, is the only appropriate fear for the Christian. Discovering God's majestic, fearsome, yet gracious and loving character is key to godly fear. This series will also make evident that godly fear is the prerequisite for respecting earthly authorities, such as parents, husband, employer and church leaders. 

My prayer is that we will all take away a better understanding of and a commitment to fearing God that will motivate personal love for and joyful obedience to Him, which in turn will assist in banishing inappropriate fears (of things created) and respecting earthly authorities.

First, let's start with some definitions of various forms of fear:

Comprehending the Meaning of Three Types of Fear

“The fear of the Lord” (an appropriate or godly fear) – the joyful and fearful esteeming of who God is in all of His perfections and for all of His purposes. This is the only appropriate fear. 

“A godly fear of my earthly authority” – to properly esteem my earthly authority as God’s head over me.
“An inappropriate fear” (or ungodly fear) – to fear anything created either by God (heights, darkness, natural disasters, people, etc.) or by you (financial problems, results of sin, etc.).  

Right now, can you think of an "inappropriate fear that you have had in the past or are currently struggling with? Keep that in mind as we tackle this difficult subject.

The Choicest Treasure – An Appropriate, Godly Fear

We read in Isaiah 33:6, “And He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is your treasure.” The fear of the Lord is a treasure He gives to His child. It is one of the choice jewels that He bestows on His beloved ones. It is a rarity of heaven. All men and angels, who live before the throne of God in heaven, bow in reverence and godly fear of Him. And we, here below, rightly honor Him when we fear Him as do the angels and the saints who have gone before us, who are now in His presence.

Godly fear is a treasure from the Lord for it is found only in a few hearts among mortal men. For most men and women, “…there is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:18). Most men are utterly destitute of this wondrous jewel – the fear of the Lord.

Of six billion people now on the planet, perhaps one in a thousand has this precious token of His love. They may have God’s sun to warm them, His rain to quench their thirst and the harvest to satiate their hunger. But these are mere scraps and fragments, like cast-off rags and worn-out shoes compared to that choice treasure that He reserves for His child and heir – the treasure of godly fear. It is only bestowed on His elect, the children of promise. All others are destitute of it, and so continue on their way to death and judgment.

Job had this fear and the Lord said of Him, “There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." (Job 1:8) If you have been granted this eternal gift, you also are unlike most others on the face of the earth. And if that is the case, it is expedient that you understand just what the fear of the Lord is and why it is so priceless a treasure. That is what we want to try to accomplish in the next few weeks.

The Characteristics of Fear – the What, the How and the Who of it

What is Fear Really All About?
Why do we fear and what is fear based on? If you met a lion in the street, your might die of fright before he could touch you. Why is that? Isn’t that because you lack control and can do nothing to prevent the lion from attacking you? Yet, if you see a caged lion, your fear is tempered, because the lion is controlled. You’re still afraid of the beast. Obviously, you would never try to pet it. But though you have a healthy respect for the caged lion, you can also enjoy it because the iron bars moderate your fear and allow you to come near. So fear is really all about a lack of control.

How is Appropriate Fear Different than Inappropriate Fear?

Inappropriate Fear = False Evidence Appearing Real
Fear of created things is all about a lack of control and it is crippling. Fear can be so subtle and obscure that we live with it and make daily decisions based on it, or fear can be blaring and obvious. But it is always inappropriate for it is based on the falsehood that no one is in control, not I or anyone else, not even God – and, that in fact, everything is out of control.

Inappropriate fear nearly always focuses on what is not real, but it takes over our minds as if it were real. It projects terror into the future with its lies and leaves me paralyzed in doing what is right. It leaves me alone to my futile imagination to vainly speculate the solution to and outcome of my struggle. This fuels greater fear and leads to further vain speculations. The solution that I devise will be a fleshly plan that produces the outcome that I think will benefit me, putting me on the throne. But that solution will not glorify God and most certainly will not produce any lasting good in my life (though God graciously uses even our presumptuous sins for our good and His glory).

For the Christian, inappropriate fear is always motivated by Satan in order to get me to act independently of God, which is sin. This is how the evil one moved on Eve to take what belonged to God, the only thing that was forbidden to her.

Fear of created things always cripples and damages. It damages God’s name and His good purpose for me. That is not to say that God can not bring good out of such a situation. He can and will for His child who has returned to loving Him and fulfilling His purposes.

Appropriate Fear = Facing Every Anxiety Realistically
Godly fear is about a lack of control also. But it is different, because, though it acknowledges the reality that I am in control of absolutely nothing, I am confident that nothing is out of control, but that all is under God’s sovereign and gracious rule.

Godly fear never leaves me to myself. Rather it always leads me back to the God who loves me, to "the rock that is higher than I" (Psalm 61:2-4), and to His precious promises which quiet my trembling heart and give me hope. Promises like Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

This appropriate fear enables me to face every anxiety realistically for it focuses on God’s gracious character and His precious word – like the reality found in Philippians 4:6-8. “The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true…meditate on these things.”

"Whatever things are true...meditate on these things." This counsel from God's word alone stands out against all my unfounded, unrealistic fears. Think on what is true! Is it not true that the great I Am God is with me? Is it not true that He is in control – nothing is out of control? Is it not true that He loves me and is working for my good, to conform me to Christ? And is it not true that my gracious God will keep His promise when I turn to Him, to strengthen my anxious heart with His glorious peace - right in the midst of the very storm that has tossed my thoughts about like snow in a blizzard?

Reiterating, godly, appropriate fear is a treasure from the Lord to His children. Godly fear is healthy, empowering and appropriate. It brings great comfort and joy. When I fear God appropriately, I can rest, fearless of any situation, any enemy, or any failure for I know that this great God, who is in control, is for me and is never against me. He loves me and because I fear Him alone, He will work my situation for His glory and my good.

In Part Two of An Appropriate Fear, we will look at "who" falls prey to inappropriate fear and the contagion of it, especially in our world today.

Note: Although this topic of fear applies to all women, I will be dealing with it in relationship to marriage and the wife’s respect for her husband. But please apply it to your own situation. Whether you submit to a husband, parents, the church elders, or an employer, the principle is still the same. One of the situations in my own life in which I experienced a great deal of fear was when I was a single mother. The truths we will look at in this series are what freed me from those fears. I’ll share more about that later in this series.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Smorgasbord of Timeless Truths

Not having to reinvent the wheel all the time can be such a liberating concept. Some things have been said (written) so well that it really isn't necessary to write anew about them. Recently I've come across some very good articles on other blogs. I couldn't have said these things better if I tried. Please take some time to feast - to be reminded, encouraged and challenged by the following smorgasbord of timeless truths:

Growing in Gratitude: A 30 Day Challenge (this is a printable download, intended to cultivate a more grateful heart over a period of 30 days) 
The Marriage Bed (a biblical guide to sexual intimacy - a helpful excerpt)
A Shout Out to Moms Everywhere (a great article to encourage moms in their calling)
Mommy's Got a Brand New Belly (teaching daughters about real, lasting beauty)
Finding Joy in Serving Children (written by a single woman with no children of her own)


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Friday, August 6, 2010

Charting the Way to Successful Stain Removal

Note: Please link to Keeper of the Home (where I am a contributing writer) for a free stain removal chart (find it at the bottom of the post) and the remainder of this article.

A Common Thread in the Fabric of Life

It's something we all do on a regular basis; one of the most common threads among women around the globe. Of course, you've guessed it by now because of the picture... LAUNDRY.

The Romance of the Clothesline

I've always been fascinated with laundered clothes hung out to dry when visiting other places. In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, my husband and I were treated to clotheslines beautifully bedecked with Amish clothing. Mostly black and dark in color and very plain in nature, the shirts, dresses and trousers blowing in the wind were a testament of a simpler way of life and of a little bit of romance lost to those of us who have only to press the "normal" button on the electric clothes dryer to have dry clothing.

While in Africa on several mission trips, I laundered our clothing all by hand. There, the women use four or five small plastic basins - one with soapy water to clean the clothing and the rest for repeated rinses. After it is wrung out, the clothing is hung to dry on make-shift clotheslines or on the bushes. It may or may not get dry, depending on the humidity and also rain. You may actually bring the clothes in several hours later just as wet as when you hung them out.

One thing is certain, however, we should learn from the rest of the world to employ the faithful clothesline in our own backyards. It is yet another way to save our environment and be a good steward of the earth. And our gas and electricity bills will reflect a savings also.


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