Monthly Archives: February 2009

Wednesday Tea

About three years ago my *sister* asked if my children and I wanted to come to her house for a tea party. Now, growing up in Tennessee, y’all, tea is supposed to be sweet and on ice. You just don’t drink it yet if it is still warm. However, I was open to try something new, and I knew I would enjoy her company. To my surprise I really liked it!
We continued to have more tea parties, but due to her family’s calling we are not able to be together at this time, so I have tried to keep up the tradition by having tea with Lydia on Wednesdays. We each have our own cup we use each time and we usually fix a special snack for the occasion. Sometimes we include all the children and Jason also if he is home studying, but Lydia mostly likes it to be “just the two of us” she has told me. This is a time that is special for her that we can talk and she has my undivided attention. It also gives me a chance to teach her about cooking, setting the table and making it look nice, etc. Occasionally we have invited friends to tea and that gives her an opportunity to serve.
I hope to continue to share about our tea times and encourage parents to find something simple such as this that you enjoy doing with your children to bond you closer together.

Quiet Time for Kids

After reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper a few months ago, I decided to follow her advice in scheduling a “quiet time” for Lydia. We may all call it something different, but this is basically her alone time with God.

At first, she couldn’t read well on her own, so her quiet time consisted of singing, praying and looking through her lessons she had colored in her Bible coloring book. Sometimes she would tell me things she had prayed for and usually her songs were “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”

Throughout these months we have tried different schedules. Madi, now 2 1/2 years old, wants to do everything Lydia, 6 1/2, does. Our son, Joshua is now 15 months old. So, today we tried something new.

Lydia went to her Dad and Mom’s bedroom with her Bible and journal. She can now read on her own and is reading through the book of Matthew (by her own choosing). She is also copying down one verse a day in her journal, working her way through the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew. (Our pastor is preaching through Matthew at this time and we are trying the keep the same pace with her copywork so that she is copying the verses each week that he will be preaching that Sunday.) Then she has a time of prayer.

I had Madi go to the kids’ bedroom and we turned some praise music on their CD player. I gave her several Bible storybooks to look at on her bed.

Joshua and I sat on the couch in the living room. He looked at Bible story board books while I read to him aloud from my Bible. I set the timer for 15 minutes and told the girls I would come get them at that time. Madi was out in about half that time saying, “I’m finished!” The timer went off and Lydia was still reading when I went to get her.

Yes, I still have some adjustments to make, but I think the important thing they see is that this is something special that we (try to!) make time for everyday.

What is working for you? Those of you with small children, how do schedule in “quiet time” and what activities do you use for multiple ages? Or, those of you with older children, how did you do this when they were small?

Name Change

When I began this blog, I did not have in mind my wife desiring to do this with me. After some hints from her and her persistance in prayer for me to live with her in an understanding way, I have asked if she would like to blog together. She has accepted and I thought we should change the name (and theme) in order to reflect the purpose of this blog as we do it together. Thus, the new name is “Together as Vessels of Mercy” with the tag “to make known the riches of His glory” Rom. 9:23. We want to do things that demonstrate how God is making known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy (together). So, this will be our attempt at doing this from now on.


Preach the gospel “for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe.” (Rom. 1:16)  As the flow of Romans goes, this gospel is the revelation of God’s righteousness. This righteousness is in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul quotes, “The righteous shall live by faith.” He unpacks this in Romans. He then states that God’s wrath is against all unrighteousness. Paul then displays the unrighteousness of the nations. Then, he exposes the unrighteousness of the Jews who have His law. And in ch. 3, he concludes all peoples are unrighteous.

So, there is a big problem–namely, we are unrighteous and God’s wrath is against all unrighteousness. That means His wrath is pending on us. We need to be righteous, so how shall we get this righteousness? The answer is Christ. He is our righteousness. “The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” (Rom. 3:22) “And all are justified (counted righteous though you are ungodly) by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith.” (Rom. 3:24, 25)

These are the sweetest words a sinner (like myself) will ever hear. You can be righteous, though you are ungodly, by receiving the gift that is in Christ. It is a gift that will never disappoint you. It is a gift not a wage…you can’t work for it. If you tried how much is enough? Well the fact is, only Christ is enough. Not only that, in Him alone you will find and receive forgiveness of your sins and the righteousness needed to turn back the wrath of God.

Throw yourself at the mercy of God in Christ by receiving Him as the treasure of your life!

Scripture: Sufficient or …?

What liberties do we have for interpreting Scripture? Some suggest the social sciences are needed to help explain (or enhance) Scripture. These include anthropology and sociology for the most part. Can these be used to interpret Scripture? What is the danger, if any, in using these disciplines? If we use these disciplines we seem to be saying Scripture is not sufficient…that it has holes thus needing some help. I bring this up because almost every thing I read these days seems to use these sciences in some form or fashion.

Let me give an example that was given to me. This particular example deals with the understanding of honor and shame within first century Palestine. These are two critical areas needed to understand the culture of that time. With these in mind, someone should go to the Gospels now and see how they work out in Scripture. 

The example that was given included one of the many encounters Jesus had with the Pharisees.  This was suppose to reveal a need for understanding honor and shame to enhance my understanding of Scripture. I was told that Jesus always “won” the argument thus gaining honor. The Pharisees always “lost” the argument thus gaining shame (i.e. losing face). Through Jesus’ gifted reasoning and cleverness he won these debates. This is, supposedly, a theme in the Gospels.

I have yet to see the point of this example. In fact, I think it misses the point. I believe it to be very easy to be lost in the woods of the social sciences and miss the meaning of the Scriptures.

I have no intention of giving every detail in this post about defining honor and shame or what the point of the encounters Jesus had with the Pharisees. I only write this post to point out and ask your opinion on using the social sciences for interpretation. Just for the record, I believe that Scripture is sufficient and the social sciences are not needed. What do you think reader?

Can God do this?

As we read the Scriptures, we miss things. There are multiple reasons why this happens. So, I want to take a moment to point out a jaw-dropping text from Ezekiel. I would encourage you to read the surrounding context so that the full meaning of the text lands on you. Here is only a brief excerpt from the text:

Therefore say to the to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: Repent and turn away from your idols, and turn your faces from all your abominations. For any one of the house of Israel, or the strangers who sojourn in Israel, who separates himself from me, taking his idols into his heart and putting the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to a prophet to consult me through him, I the Lord will answer him myself. And I will set my face against that man; I will cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the Lord. And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel. And they shall bear their punishment–the punishment of the prophet and the punishment of the iniquirer shall be alike–that the house of Israel may no more go astray from me, nor defile themselves anymore with all their trangressions, but that they may be my people and I may be their God, declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 14:6-11)

I guess you can understand the question in the title. You be the judge. The humbling truth of this is God’s relentless pursuit of His people. Be encouraged brothers.