2 Samuel 11-20

11 - David sins with Bathsheba, then worse by killing her husband
12 - Nathan rebukes David, and he repents. The child dies; Solomon is born; Ammonites are defeated
13 - Amnon rapes his sister Tamar; David does nothing; Absalom kills him and flees from Israel for three years
14 - Joab asks David indirectly to bring Absalom home; David consents, but refuses to see the popular Absalom for two years. Absalom violently pressures Joab to ask David to see him, and it works.
15 - Absalom conspires to take the throne; David flees, but sends Hushai and the priests back to work against Absalom
16 - Ziba slanders Mephibosheth to David, who believes it and gives Ziba Mephibosheth's property; Shimei curses David, and David leaves him alone; Absalom and Hushai meet in Jerusalem; Absalom violates David's concubines to harden the people against David
17 - Hushai prevents Absalom from mopping up David right away; David has time to regroup and prepare for battle
18 - David's men win; Joab kills Absalom; David laments him
19 - Joab jolts David out of lament, to be king; Israel returns to David
20 - division between Judah and other tribes leads to another rebellion against David. He appoints Amasa to deal with it. When he is slow, Joab kills him and puts down the rebellion himself.

2 Samuel 7-10

7 - David wants to build God a house, but God instead promises to build David a house: his descendants on the throne forever! David gives thanks.
8 - David defeats Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, and Edomites
9 - David is merciful to Mephibosheth, Saul's grandson
10 - David offers peace to Ammon; they rebuff him; he wins a first battle against them, and decisively defeats the Syrians.


Mechanics of Church Unity

Theological Triage

This week, I propose a three-tiered framework for considering how important various issues are. When disagreement arises it’s easy to get upset emotionally, and make something more important than it is. As foolish sinners, we tend to shrug at the big things, and blow up over the little things. Having a framework in mind ahead of time can help keep things in perspective. I will put these in terms of church membership and life together, for this essay.

Level One - center circle - the Core.

These issues are non-negotiables for membership: you must affirm these for others to consider you a Christian. They are things we gladly share with other evangelical churches, and even non-evangelicals affirm most of these. We cannot compromise on these. This is the kind of stuff the elders will ask you in your membership interview. You don’t have to understand these things completely, and questions about them are always good, but self-consciously and clearly denying these things would lead to church discipline, without any other moral failing.

Examples would be: personal faith in Christ to atone for your sin by His blood, the Trinity, the Bible as God’s Word, the content of the Ecumenical Creeds (Apostles’ and Nicene, especially). The five membership questions in our constitution that we ask of new members in the worship service would also be in this category, or at least the first three of them. See Galatians 1:6-9; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-5.

Level Two - next larger circle out - Confessional matters.

These are issues that church leaders feel strongly enough about to assert as part of the church’s identity. You will hear us raise these issues, and argue certain positions on them. You don’t have to agree with our positions on these things, though we’d like you to! You may not buy it all yet, but if you feel the need to argue against any of it, we'll help you find a better fitting church home for you. We tend to expect elder and deacon candidates to agree with these. These things are our "distinctives" and you should not expect to change our church identity and culture on these points.

Many question whether it is legitimate to take such definitive positions that exclude other believers. But this is unavoidable. It is impossible to be all-inclusive, doctrinally. Every group of believers decides to baptize infants or not, to ordain women to leadership offices or not, and so forth. Eliminating this category leaves unwritten rules about how any one congregation does or believes things. It is better to communicate them clearly (while avoiding a proud, partisan, flag-waving spirit). Those who question this category are right in that this level will go away when Jesus comes again. It is a pragmatic need, accommodating our lack of like-mindedness until then.

The more defined distinctives a church has the more sectarian it becomes. Everyone doesn’t have to be a clone of the leadership, or of everybody else, doctrinally. We don’t get to like-mindedness by lengthening this list. On the other hand, the fewer distinctives a church has the more undefined and nebulous it is, leaning toward having “no creed but Christ.” This leaves too much room for conflicting expectations and can lead to shrugging at important doctrines. Scripture needs to be interpreted and lived out one way or the other.

For a good summary of our distinctives, see the Westminster Confession of Faith (doctrine) and our Philosophy of Ministry (practice). Two examples from these would be covenant (infant) baptism and a family-integrated approach to church life and worship.

Level Three- last circle outermost - personal Convictions.

These are NOT core, and NOT confessional, and at CHRF we all agree to grant the other feller his convictions about these things. We can discuss and dialog, but we will NOT tolerate promotion of these things to the level of fellowship issues. Often these are methods, as opposed to principles. So if you are convinced that homeopathic medicine is the only option for a true Christian, or that it is “the way we do things here,” and if you cannot allow others to differ, we will tell you to sit down and be quiet. That may not sound charitable, but it is actually ensuring there is room for charity with each other. Sometimes a little force must be used to preserve freedom for others. Third circle matters will NOT be allowed to be given prominence. Some examples would be, home school or Christian day school? Is the consumption of alcohol allowed by Scripture? Nutrition and medicine issues, birthing and feeding methods.

Level Three issues like these may or may not have a “right” answer we can infer from Scripture. If there isn’t one, the issue is “adiaphora.” This is a fancy Greek theological word for “it doesn’t matter.” Scripture doesn’t dictate a right and wrong for if you get a Dell or a Mac (!), live in the city or in the country, and so forth.

This 3-level scheme is not a silver bullet to cure theological disagreement. (Christians don’t just disagree on any given issue, we also disagree on how important various issues are!) But it can defuse tension if we are at least looking at the same grid. A useful project in the future may be discussing where to place issues that are near and dear to our hearts. Just because we get riled up about something doesn’t mean it should move up the list. See Romans 14:1-13 for an example.

It is important to distinguish a third-level matter from Core and Confessional matters, so we are not unnecessarily divisive among ourselves. With the man on the street, we should talk about first level issues saving the second and third level stuff for later. Then again, people may notice us if we stick out from the world on second and third level issues. Our call is to make the connection back to the Core issues. We do x, y and z because Jesus died and rose again to give us new life according to His image! Let us keep the main thing, the main thing, as we serve the risen Lord Jesus Christ this week!

He opens His hand...

A Reformation Day, All Saints' Day exhortation, from Psalm 145

We commune now with Christ, and all His saints. Past generations have declared God’s glory and works to us, and we rejoice with them in what God has done. We proclaim Christ’s death in this meal, to our children and to the whole world. God has opened His hand and given us bread from heaven; the wine of joy. He has satisfied our desire in giving His Son Jesus Christ. He alone is our mediator. God’s grace alone brings Him to us, not our works. Only our faith in Him obtains His salvation, not our obedience. Only Scripture is our ultimate authority to know this. We reserve all glory for this to God alone.


The Church Year

We need to be re-formed in God’s presence, not removed FROM His presence. So it is with our holidays. While the reformation rightly removed many saints’ days, several of our holidays need to be reformed, not removed.

The church began to celebrate All Saints' day in the 300s, celebrating the victorious saints at rest with Christ. Over time, superstition and error came in. Halloween means "all saints’ eve." It was an early version of the carnal Mardi Gras before the spiritual Lent.

But let’s get the big picture here. The Christian calendar year begins in December with Advent and Xmas, when we celebrate the coming of the light of the world at our coldest and darkest hour. We then celebrate His death and resurrection in the spring, the time of new life. We celebrate Ascension, then Pentecost, and the coming of the Spirit, the source of our growth. During the summer, the Spirit yields its fruit in us until the fields are white for harvest. So we commemorate Christ’s incarnation, death, resurrection, ascension, and Spirit sending, and realize that it is all pointing to the vindication of His saints, as they appear with Christ, when He comes again for the final harvest. We need to reform and recover this holiday - All Saints' Day. Instead of trying to replace it with something different, let us return thanks to God for fruitful saints now at rest with Christ.



Only in Christ

2 Samuel 5

Theme: God establishes David’s kingdom with crown, covenant, conquest and city

As I’ve said before, there is a reason the offering and Communion are so close together in our service. Our work overlaps with our worship, and with God building His house. We bring the fruit of our labor in to God’s house. The trees in the courtyard of God’s house bear fruit from Sunday to Sunday, and we partake of the fruit God gives.

We take part in being and building the city of God. We take part in the conquest of Christ, the dominion mandate and the Great commission. We take part in the crown, receiving the crown of life.

But all this happens because we are in Christ, in covenant with Him, receiving His grace over our guilt, receiving His righteousness. His crown makes ours possible. His conquest makes our thinkable. His faithful Sonship in God’s house makes our house building feasible. Without Him we have a house of cards.

And so it all hinges on our being in covenant with Christ and faithful to our king. You are at the King’s table. Are you as awed as you would be in Buckingham Palace? In the White House? Something far greater is happening. The God you have sinned against all your life has given His son to die for you; He has again welcomed you into His house and seated you at his table permanently as His adopted child, not just a temporary guest.


2 Samuel 1-6

1 - David hears of Saul and Jonathan's death, and laments for them
2 - Judah crowns David, but Israel anoints Saul's son. Civil war ensues
3 - Judah gradually wins; Israel's general Abner switches to David's side, but Joab kills him. David laments Abner's death, and Joab's severity.
4 - Political opportunists kill Saul's son for David; David kills them
5 - All Israel crowns David; David conquers Jerusalem, makes it his capital, builds a palace, takes more wives, and pushes the Philistines back.
6 - David brings the ark to Jerusalem, badly at first, then obediently, rejoicing both times. Michal rains on David's (and God's) parade.


Limits of Logic

I just subscribed to "Stuff Christians Like" in my blog reader. This is a blog that keeps your spirituality real, not jargon or surface stuff that enables self-deception. Here is a taste.

“If Christian men knew what porn does to the women in their life there would be no more Christian men addicted.” On the surface, that’s not a big deal, but what it really says can be pretty dangerous. Here is the core of that thought: “If men knew how they hurt people with porn, they logically would choose not to look at porn.” Or stripped down even further: “Logic can beat sin.”

I wish that were true. I wish that in the battle of sin vs. logic or sin vs. rational action, sin always lost. That would make life so much easier. When faced with a dilemma, you could just pull out some algorithm and avoid sin altogether. “Should I gossip about my friend? That might get back to her and really hurt her feelings. Logically, I should avoid the drama that would come with that. I won’t gossip.” Or, “Should I cheat on my wife? The minutes of pleasure are certainly not going to be worth the possible years of hurt that causes. The value of cheating is far less than the value of growing my marriage over the long run, I’m not going to cheat.”

But life doesn’t work that way, does it? Men across the planet know their wives will be hurt by alcoholism. Dads around the world know ignoring their kids through workaholism is wounding them. People everywhere know that buying things they can’t afford with money they don’t have isn’t the smartest financial decision in the long run. But we still do it, don’t we?

Why? Because sin is bigger than logic.

I can’t think my way to a pure heart. I can’t logic my way toward sanctification. I can’t will myself to redemption. Sin is bigger and meaner and more powerful than everything in the world except one thing, grace. Only grace can beat sin. Only God’s love and power can defeat it. Porn or gossip or lying or anything else sin entices you with will crush you if you put your trust in your logic.

When we try to beat sin with logic, sin says “That’s adorable.” On the other hand, when we surrender, and admit like Paul that we keep doing the things we don’t want to do, grace has room to step in. And grace can win.

Grace and grace alone.



Sewing for myself is a goal that I've often put off. Sure, a simple A-line skirt has come off the machine once in a while, but nothing with shaping or a bit more complicated. I've done plenty of girls dresses and boys PJ pants, quilts, purses, and more, so I think it's high time to try something for me, right?

I'm going to try this Amy Butler "Liverpool" pattern. It's a button down darted blouse with variations for it to be sleeveless, short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, long sleeved.... blouse length, tunic length, dress length.... you see the options are nearly endless!

Now comes the challenge of pairing the pattern with a suitable fabric. I'd love some cotton voile or lawn, but generally don't like to wear see-through fabrics!

Of course, the wallpaper in the photo is amazing. I'd love to have a large wall done up in that, but then my family would probably lock me in that room!


"But as Baptism is a solemn recognition by which God introduces his children into the possession of life, a true and effectual sealing of the promise, a pledge of sacred union with Christ, it is justly said to be the entrance and reception into the Church. And as the instruments of the Holy Spirit are not dead, God truly performs and effects by Baptism what he figures."

Sounds Roman Catholic, right? Wrong.

This is John Calvin.

Please realize you can highly esteem the Church and Sacraments which God has given (since He gave them!), without being "on the road to Rome."

Here's the source for the quote above.
(Calvin, _Second Defense of the Faith Concerning the Sacraments in Answer to Joachim Westphal_ [1556]; CO 9:41-120; cited in Willem Balke, _Calvin and the Anabaptists Radicals_, trans. by William Heynen [Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1981], p. 221.)


1 Samuel 21-31

21 - David gets bread and Goliath's sword, and flees to Gath. The king there is of a mind to kill David, so David acts crazy and gets away.
22 - David flees to the wilderness and gains a following of malcontents. Saul kills the priests that helped David.
23 - David saves a city from Philistines, which Saul should be doing. Instead, he pursues David.
24 - David spares Saul's life, when he could have killed him.
25 - David spares Nabal, by Abigail's wise intercession.
26 - David spares Saul, again!
27 - David flees to the Philistines again, and is accepted this time (since he has 600 men?). He gets a city to live in and raids non-Israelites, telling the Philistines he is raiding Israel or her friends.
28 - Saul is afraid when the Philistines gather against Israel. God doesn't answer, so Saul goes to a witch and asks for Samuel. Samuel gives Saul words of judgment and death... by tomorrow. The witch makes an anti-Passover (unleavened bread).
29 - The Philistines reject David from fighting with them
30 - David's family and city are plundered while he has gone part way with the Philistines. He recovers them, defeating the Amalekites
31 - The Philistines defeat Israel; Saul and Jonathan are killed.


1 Samuel 12-20

12 - Samuel bids farewell to Israel, charging them to obey God
13 - Saul offers sacrifice out of fear, when Samuel told him to wait
14 - Jonathan is more courageous and wise than Saul; Philistines defeated
15 - God tells Saul to destroy Amalek, but he keeps the best as plunder or for sacrifice. God rejects Saul as king. "To obey is better than sacrifice."
16 -David is anointed king, and plays music to soothe Saul. The Spirit leaves Saul and enters David.
17 - David kills Goliath, where Saul was too afraid to fight.
18 - Jonathan befriends David; Saul fears him and tries to kill him
19 - David flees to Samuel; Spirit comes on Saul when he pursues him
20 - Jonathan intercedes for David again, but Saul now publicly opposes David and any who are for him, even his own son, Jonathan


Creeping socialism

Doug Wilson wrote this about a month ago, as health care was passed...

"As Margaret Thatcher once put it, God bless her, the problem with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money. We are about at that point -- the money we are spreading about with such wanton abandon right now is money which is, for the most part, non-existent. That means we are at a place where the jolly man, who is broke, who has nonetheless been buying drinks for the house, is going to have go outside for a minute to stick somebody up. That somebody is you, mon frere....

But, as I mentioned in that intro, before Christians run off to join their local tea party, it is crucial that they resolve to avoid one common motive for these protests(panic), and to ground another common motive (anger) on the only proper foundation for such anger, which is repentance. We are not getting anything from our rulers that we do not richly deserve ..."

20/10 Sock Update: Color Theory Lessons

The 20/10 sock challenge is still in full swing at Hemmeke Headquarters. 2 pairs are complete (one sock has been LOST!), and now I find myself with 2 more socks on the needles. Somehow, I got it into my brain to attempt to knit KNEE socks this month, BEADED, LACE knee socks. There is one beautiful, pale blue lace sock half finished on one set of needles, and a different, very stripy knee sock from a different pair-in-progress half-finished on another set of needles (yes, I have LOTS of knitting needles. I recently added over 30 sets from my grandmother's collection).

This stripy pair is a good lesson in color theory. I had one skein of self-striping yarn that covered the whole gamut of the rainbow. My initial idea was to alternate ends of the yarn creatine a eye-busting dual-colored stripe sequence. It didn't work because too many of the colors were so similar in hue that the stripe affect was lost.

Enter a neutral. A neutral color would not only stretch my yarn yardage and enable me to make knee socks (love!), but it would make the colors stand out and separate them a bit, so my brain told me. My brain has been out of school awhile, because it forgot about VALUE!! See that lovely neutral gray and how it doesn't pop against the other colors (try squinting your eyes at the image). That is because the grey and blue and red (and most of the other colors in the skein) are very close in value. Hmm. Black or white or a lighter grey (or I think just the right light aqua) would've been a better choice. Now I have nearly a full length knee sock knit up that might possibly hit the frog pond (rip it, rip it). So will it be "Sassy Stripes Surprise Sara"? or "Undo the Uglies"?

Stay tuned for the conclusion of this thrilling saga....

1 Samuel 1-11

1-2 - Hannah of Ephraim is barren and prays for a son, promising to give him to God. Eli thinks she is drunk, but God answers her prayer and Samuel is born. Hannah sings that God will humble the exalted and exalt the humble. Eli's sons are disobedient; Eli rebukes but does not restrain them; God rejects Eli's house.

3-6 - God calls Samuel; Eli doesn't hear God anymore. The Philistines capture the ark; Eli and his sons die. The Philistines are persecuted by God Himself until they return the ark, but Israel also sins when it returns.

7-8 - Samuel judges and prays for Israel, and they defeat the Philistines. Later when he is old and his sons are disobedient like Eli's, Israel asks for a king. This is not right, but God gives them what they want for His own purposes and their judgment.

9-11 - God brings Saul to Samuel, who anoints and instructs Saul as king. Samuel gathers all Israel and introduces Saul. Saul defeats the Ammonites in battle.


1 - Naomi's family moves to Moab for food. Her sons marry Moabites, but then her husband and sons all die, leaving her with two Moabite daughters-in-law. She heads back for Bethlehem, sends them back to Moab, but Ruth comes with her. Naomi is destitute and bitter.

2 - Ruth gleans in the field for Naomi. Boaz notices her, has heard of her loyalty to Naomi and to Yahweh, and so is generous to her.

3 - Naomi asks Ruth to initiate a proposal to Boaz, going to him at night during the harvest. He is willing to buy back Naomi's land, and produce an heir for Naomi, marrying Ruth.

4 - Boaz goes right to the city gate and asks the closer kinsman-redeemer if he wants to redeem Naomi's land. He says yes, but then no when he hears Ruth is part of the deal. Boaz redeems her/them, and produces an heir who is an ancestor of David and thus of Jesus.

Judges 17-21

17-18 - Israel's denigration is shown. An Ephraimite named Micah steals from his mother. She makes an idol from the money. A Levite has no living, and must wander to find one. He is hired for money. Roving Danites plunder Micah of his money and priest.
19 - A Levite has a concubine! She is unfaithful to him. Retreiving her, they stay in Gibeah of Benjamin, where the inhabitants brutally violate her (think Sodom) until she dies. The Levite informs all Israel of this, brutally.
20-21 - Israel goes to war against Benjamin and all but wipes them out. Israel figures out a way to restore the tribe, providing wives for Benjamites.

Judges 1-16

1 - Conquest of land continues, Judah leading; conquest not completed
2 - Israel disobeys God by not completing conquest, intermarrying with Canaanites, worshiping other gods; God punishes Israel with military oppressors; God gives judges to save Israel
3 - Othniel judges, saves Israel from Mesopotamia; left-handed Ehud saves Israel from Moab by killing Eglon; Shamgar judges/saves Israel from Philistines
4-5 - Deborah leads Barak to fight against Hazor; Jael kills him
6-8 - Gideon saves Israel from Midianites. He pulls down the Baal altar, gets the fleece signs, musters Israel, lets God winnow the army to 300, defeats and pursues Midian, punishes Israelite cities that refuse him aid in the pursuit, keeps some plunder which stumbles Israel to idolatry.
9 - Gideon's son, Abimelech takes command ruthlessly. He attacks his own when they turn against him, and is killed by a woman dropping a millstone on him when he besieges a city.
10 - Tola and Jair are the 6th and 7th judges
11-12 - Jephthah saves Israel from the Ammonites; sacrifices his daughter due to a rash vow. He also brings about civil war. Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon judge Israel (#9-11).
13-16 - Samson is consecrated and born. He breaks all the vows, marries a Philistine, then provokes and defeats them. He loses his strength, telling Delilah the secret of his hair, and is captured. His hair grows and God gives him vengeance by tearing down the Philistine temple with thousands inside.

Joshua 13-24

13-21 - land given to various tribes
22 - eastern tribes return home
23-24 - Joshua's charge to Israel; covenant renewed; Joshua dies


Later Mater!

Happy birthday to my 4 yr old nephew! His mom once again outdid herself by making this awesome Mater birthday cake for him. Way to go sis!


A few words...

... to the powers that be, and to our culture at large.

"The slaughter of the innocents must stop, sodomy is perversion and cannot be sanctified at city hall, the Great Commission told us to preach Christ to all nations, not to impose secularism on them, and the state is greedy and swollen to an extent that staggers the imagination and must repent of its thieveries. Oh, and the United States of America must bow the knee to Christ."


We as a congregation are a member of the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches. In this article I’m going to briefly explain each of these 4 terms, and delve a bit deeper into the middle two: “Reformed” and “Evangelical.”

The CREC is a confederation. This comes from the Latin con-feudus: covenant with. It is meant to emphasize the covenantal relationship God has set up with us. He makes promises to us on His own, that define and redeem us. And that colors our relationship with each other: we make promises to each other as a group of churches that define us. These are summarized in our constitution - how we will work and live together. We have similar beliefs about certain issues, which I'll summarize in another article. The word confederate is an inadvertent reminder of the War between the States in the 1860s. While there are more southern sympathizers in the CREC than you will find in other denominations, per capita, there are also those nervous about the word and what it conveys. Dialogue continues over this.

Skipping to the last word, the CREC is a confederation of churches. Many denominations have the word “Church” in them somewhere. The CREC folks chose the plural to emphasize that the real essence of the church is not in the denominational identity, but at the local congregational level. All the churches in an area have as much right to the word "Church" as any one denomination does. A denomination cannot claim to be the Church in a given area (The “Reformed Church in America” is not the only reformed church in America). Saying “churches” is an act of realism and humility in these fragmented times.

The CREC is Reformed. We stand in the tradition of Calvin, and identify with the Westminster Assembly or with the Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dordt (5 points – TULIP), and Belgic Confession. Here are some defining distinctions of the Reformed, from other Protestants, a bit on the simplistic side, for clarity’s sake.

- We do not have bishops like the Anglicans, but believe elders have equal authority among themselves. This is called presbyterian polity (church structure). The elders rule in a local church, not the simple majority of voting members.

- We believe Christ is not physically present in the Lord’s Supper (the Lutherans do), but that He IS truly present specially by the Spirit and fed upon by believers (most evangelicals don’t).

- We emphasize the positive, guiding use of the Law, while Lutherans emphasize the negative, convicting use of the Law – though we all believe in both.

- We think God’s sovereignty and His covenant with us are major themes of the Bible.

- We baptize infants before they can profess faith, unlike the Baptists. We do not re-baptize people, typically, unless a prior baptism was obviously not legitimate.

- Unlike broad evangelicalism, we believe the church is an important institution, with real (not absolute) authority, which institution we need to join and be accountable to as a member.

The CREC is Evangelical. We must preach the basic Gospel of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, which atones for our sin before the Father’s wrath, saves us from hell and restores us to His favor. We must evangelize the lost with a call to respond with repentance and faith in this good news. Even given the Reformed distinctions above, and the foibles of evangelicalism (below), evangelicals remain our friends and brothers in Christ. There are problems with evangelicalism to avoid. It is largely captured by marketing and publishing trends, these days. It has a very low view of the church and sacraments. It is vulnerable to false teaching since it often refuses to define anything beyond the very basic gospel (“no creed but Christ”). Evangelicals focus on a crisis conversion experience, our feelings, and the Spirit’s work. Reformed folks, by contrast, focus on covenant nurture through the outward means of grace (preaching, prayer, sacraments), objective truth in Scripture, and Christ’s work. To illustrate the Reformed perspective, it is not necessary to have a dramatic testimony – the important thing is to have faith. It is not necessary to have certain intense feelings, the important thing is that you believe the truth and that it leads you to personally trust God. Experiencing signs and wonders of the Spirit is not necessary (and chasing after them is bad); following the Spirit leading you into the truth in the Word He inspired IS needed. Some of us are pilgrims from evangelicalism into the Reformed view of the Gospel. Some of us have yet to see the debilitating effects of evangelicalism on our own piety. Wherever we are on that grid, we are committed to being evangelical and Reformed, both in what we say and in how we live.


Birds A-Z

Teaching the alphabet is one of the most basic things a parent gets to do for their children, but come the fourth time around, reading the same ABC books can get a bit dry. Rather than sit through yet another reading of Dr. Seuss's ABC book ("Aunt Annie's alligator... a... A... a"), I took my boy's interest in the outdoors as my cue.
We found coloring pages for birds for every letter of the alphabet online! Go Google!! Now we are not only learning our letters, we are learning to identify some common backyard birds (and a few we'll NEVER see in our backyard!) The kids took a few liberties with the colors of plumage... but that's what makes it fun!
Of course, after I racked my brains trying to find UVWXYZ birds, I found this wonderful illustration done for LMNOP magazine - it helped with a few of the trickier birds!

Albatros, Bluejay, Cardinal, Dodo, Eagle, Flamingo, Goldfinch

ruby throated Hummingbird, Indigo bunting, dark-eyed Junco, Killdeer, Loon, Mallard, Nuthatch

Oriole, brown Pelican, Quail, Robin, Starling, Tufted Titmouse

Upupa epops (hoopooe), turkey Vulture, downy Woodpecker, Xanthornus flaviceps, Yellowthroat, Zone-tailed hawk


Joshua 6-12 - conquest

6 - Jericho falls. Lots of sevens!
7 - Israel defeated at Ai; Achan's sin exposed and judged.
8 - Israel defeats Ai; Joshua renews the covenant.
9 - The Gibeonites deceive Joshua, who doesn't ask God first, into a peace treaty.
10 - Five northern nations attack Gibeon; sun stands still; Israel defeats them; southern nations defeated.
11 - Conquest of northern nations, mainly Hazor. It was God's will that they "should receive no mercy" (11:20). This was God's judgment for their wickedness.
12 - List of kings defeated by Moses and Joshua.


Spring Sewing

Here's the latest Domina creation: a swingy dress for my (not so) little girl. Summer dresses must be bright, breezy, and twirly! This was inspired by my friend Jennifer's dress for her baby girl. I didn't use a pattern, but leaned a bit upon this spring ruffle top tutorial. The fabrics are various Jennifer Paganelli prints. Sewing for older girls is a challenge, and I'm happy that all parties are pleased as punch with this little frock. I might ditch the waist tie; it's on a trial-run for this Easter.

I have plenty of scraps now to make a great start to a quilt top, too!

Jesus on a mission

These quotes from George Grant's blog resonate with me, as I've been reading the Holy Week events in Scripture. He judges the wicked rulers/wolves by turning tables and telling tales, and He saves the people/sheep by going to the cross, like a good shepherd.

“A day which began with joy and promise ends with rebuke and judgment. Like the fig tree, which outwardly looked fruitful, Jerusalem had all the outward signs of religious piety, but was inwardly hostile to the purposes of the Lord. Palm Sunday is thus both a promise and a warning echoing across the ages.” Elizabeth Prentiss

“The triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem was the ceremonial capstone of a covenant lawsuit sequence. The King, Judge, and Lawgiver had come to pronounce and execute true justice.” D. Martin Lloyd-Jones

“Everyone who lined the streets of Jerusalem that day so long ago had a different reason for waving those palms. Some were political activists; they'd heard Jesus had supernatural power, and they wanted him to use it to free Israel from Roman rule. Others had loved ones who were sick or dying. They waved branches, hoping for physical healing. Some were onlookers merely looking for something to do, while others were genuine followers who wished Jesus would establish himself as an earthly king. Jesus was the only one in the parade who knew why he was going to Jerusalem--to die. He had a mission, while everyone else had an agenda.” J.I. Packer

Fight or friend?

Good article here on how to relate to different levels of error we encounter in the church, combining a willingness to actually fight sin with the intention to show grace wherever possible.

Joshua 1-5 - Entering the land

1 - God to Joshua: enter the land; be courageous. Joshua prepares Israel. Israel commits to follow Joshua.
2 - Joshua sends spies to Jericho. Rahab hides them, deceives her people, and trusts to Israel's God. The spies promise her house will be spared, as she puts a red cord on her window (like red blood on the door, for Passover).
3 - God parts the waters of the Jordan; Israel passes over, the priests carrying the ark ahead, standing in the middle of the river.
4 - God has Israel put 12 big stones in the riverbed where the priests were standing, as a reminder of what God did. The priests with the ark come out last, after all the people cross; then the waters return to normal. This happens on lamb selection day of Passover week, what becomes Palm Sunday (4:19; Ex 12:2-3).
5 - Israel is circumcised, making them vulnerable to attack, but the nations are afraid of them. Israel keeps Passover 3 days later. The manna stops, and they eat what is in the land. Yahweh's army commander appears to Joshua as the time nears to attack Jericho.


Deuteronomy 31-34 - Covenant succession

31 - Joshua to succeed Moses; every Sabbath year at the feast of booths, read the whole law to everyone. Joshua commissioned to lead Israel. The book of the law put by the ark. Moses, after you die, Israel will disobey, so write this song as a witness against them:
32 -God is faithful, but you have sinned; He redeemed and provided for you, but you worshiped other idols. I punished them, and would have destroyed but the nations wouldn't have understood, then. Israel didn't understand why they lost to their enemies; I will avenge them and defeat the nations and their gods.
33 - Moses blesses the 12 tribes of Israel
34 - Moses goes up Mt Nebo, sees the land, and dies