Thursday, February 11, 2016

I'm not sure if I have an excuse for not writing much. I haven't been any more busy than usual. Home, school, basketball, church, children, etc. have just continued to grow. Nothing has happened that hasn't happened in the past. I've just let days go by without writing.

So, when I see you in the grocery store and you ask about the blog, thank you. I feel loved that way. But, I think I just needed to step back and take a break. I've thought several times, "I'd like to write about this or that," but I haven't actually sat down to do it.

Our family did have an amazing addition - Caleb Andersen Rink was born to Rachel and Adrian on December 28, with quite a bit of fanfare. He spent several days in NICU and caused us no small amount of concern. But he is thriving now and even gave us a little chuckle this week. In case I haven't said it before, grandchildren are great!

Susannah, Abigail, Caleb and Josiah enjoying a slumber party.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Praying the Bible

I just finished reading Praying the Bible by Don Whitney. We have been taught these concepts for many years, but the book was so refreshing and helpful in the method of praying Scripture. The idea is to actually use the words of Scripture to inform and guide your prayers. The last chapter was worth reading the entire book.

I started writing out one prayer recently and I was so encouraged. Here are my notes on what I was prompted to pray for in less than ten minutes.

Psalm 69

Verse 1 
- Save me, O God...
Salvation for those that are lost.
- for the waters have come up to my neck.
Help for me in the midst of this season that I feel like I don't have time to breathe.

Verse 5 
- O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from You.
What a verse that reminds me of sin that swells up in my own heart.

Verse 13 
- But as for me, my prayer is to You, O Lord, at an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in you saving faithfulness.
The sliver of the moon rising in the darkness directly in front of me, is just one reminder of God's great faithfulness. He places reminders immediately in front of us to show us that He is faithful. The sun rises, the sun sets, the moon rises, the moon sets, etc. God is faithful!

Verse 19 
- my foes are all known to you.
I don't know who my immediate enemies are, but God does. The enemies at large are those who would wipe out Christians. I struggle praying for them the verses 22 through 28, but I can pray that God's Justice would be enacted where He sees appropriate.

Verse 29 
- let your salvation, O God, set me on high.
I believe and am so grateful for my salvation. 
Please God don't let my self righteousness cause me to think more highly of myself than I ought. I could easily lift myself up to think I don't deserve any conflict, much less persecution.

Verse 30-31 
- I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.
I must praise God continuously and magnify Him. My works will not. I am reminded that the Lord loves obedience better than a sacrifice. (I Samuel 15:22)

Verse 33
- For the Lord hears the needy.
The needy we always have among us... The prayers of supplication could be unending.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Grandchildren Are Great!

What a joy it is to have these sweet little ones in my life! Grandchildren truly are special!

Susannah is two, Josiah is one and Caleb is due to be born in January.

I take my responsibility from Psalm 78 very seriously. We are to teach the coming generations. And Susannah just told me that I am her favorite teacher. I'm sure that'll be different tomorrow, but for today, I'll take it.

They always bring life wherever they are.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

O Christmas Tree

This past weekend we went to get our Christmas tree. It was such a fun day for us all! But a stop at Waffle House was necessary first. Everywhere we go, people stop and stare. It's always funny to see the people counting and trying to figure out which child goes with which parent.

Getting the perfect Christmas tree has become one of those traditions that we can't seem to stop.
We like a little waffle with our butter and coffee.

Sarah found someone to give her heart to...

Mary and Hannah accidentally matched too much.

Susannah was looking for a tree.

Have you ever seen Christmas with the Kranks? Just call me Nora and call Lydia Blair.
Josiah has won every girls' heart.
Ray and I don't get too many pictures in these days, but he's won my heart.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
  Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

The entire Rhodes family - every child, grandchild, and in law! We really miss Ray's dad! We didn't get a family picture of my side of the family.
Does your family memorize Scripture? 
That has been by far the most encouraging thing that I have done as a parent. The younger the child, the easier it is for them to memorize. Our "Charlotte Mason Scripture memory card files" are invaluable to us and help keep 
what we've memorized fresh for years to come.

Us with Nana, and I'm not sure what caused all of this.

Monday, November 23, 2015

New Orleans

The Chapel on campus.
Ray and I drove to New Orleans in September to attend a workshop and for him to do a little Spurgeon research. We stayed on the campus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. When we got married over twenty-eight years ago we left from our wedding to go to our honeymoon, then straight to seminary. We lived there for a little over a year before we got back to Georgia as fast as we could. We were reminiscing a lot and wishing we had enjoyed certain things about the city more while we were there.

One of the things that we would like to have done more is eat out. We lived on my part time salary as a minimum wage clerk at the bookstore. Our grocery and gas budget back then was $35.00 per week and that included eating out!

Muffalatas at Cafe' Maspero was one place where we ate more than once. It is still just as yummy! 

We didn't find things that different than the last time we were there together, twenty-five years ago. St. Peter's Square is still beautifully crazy and diverse. The darkness of the French Quarter is even more over-whelming to me. Having been flooded after Katrina, I'm sure those who know the city would think it is completely changed from twenty-eight years ago. But memories seem to cloud with time.

I don't know how we missed the Camelia Grill all those years ago, but it had the best breakfast we've had in a long time. Maybe it wasn't there....

Saturday, November 21, 2015

How to Pray Based on Psalm 5:1-8

Ray has been preaching out of the Psalms for a few months and every week I have been encouraged.  Some weeks I'm actually even able to take notes. This is the result of my notes from his sermon on this past Sunday.

I. Pray with a Passion - groaning, cry. Verse 1
The psalmist prays
- with an expectation that God will hear him.
- that God's name would be great and that the Lord is lifted up in every situation. King, God.
- for God's provision.
- to a personal God who knows your needs, heart and desires. He is my King and my God.

II. Priority of Prayer - in the morning, it's his practice. Verse 3
The psalmist
- makes his first thoughts upward to God.
- disciplined, regular routine.
- watches in faith that God is going to act.

III. Purity of prayer - Verses 4-6
- does not delight in wickedness, evil cannot dwell with Him.
- abhors the bloodthirsty and evil man.
(Only through Christ can anyone stand before God. Psalm 66:18 Iniquity hinders prayer life. Repent of sin which hinders prayers.)

IV. Promise of prayer - psalmist appears before God through the abundance of God's love. Verse 7
- cannot separate ourselves from God's presence.
- enter with humility and fear and trust, because God has made the way and provided access.

V. Petitions of prayer - Verse 8
- lead me, personally, because of my enemies and the enemies of the people of God.
- make the way straight.
Our Thanksgiving Circle at church last week

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Remember my sin issue of being easily irritated? I was thinking about one of those irritating habits my dear husband has - laundry. He doesn't always put his dirty clothes where I think he should. I haven't asked him to put his clothes somewhere special, just put them in the hamper. He's smart, he can see a hamper for dirty clothes. It isn't hidden away, he just can't always seem to ring it. He isn't sinning against me, sometimes, he just doesn't put his clothes where I want.

I can choose to let that make me mad. I can let that fester into a raging blister that gnaws at me - he doesn't care about me, I have so much work to do, he doesn't respect my job, he wants me to have more work to do, he doesn't love me, he wants to hurt me, etc. Do you see how easy it is for me to sin against him over something as ridiculous as dirty socks?

Even airing his dirty laundry here (pun intended) may give rise to my sinful heart. I have to turn from this train of thought and repent.

Don't we all have a way to do things? And isn't it the right way to do that thing? Whether it's laundry, dishes, filing, cutting the grass, cutting nails, reading a book, anything can be said that there is a certain way to do things.

Whose way is correct? It doesn't matter. What matters is our attitude. Look at what the Bible says about those we claim to love -

It does not insist on its on way: it is not irritable or resentful. I Corinthians 13:5

So when we are easily irritated by someone we love doing something we think should be done a different we we need to remember Scripture - 

...bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3 

Now I could roll out a list a mile long of things my husband does that is irritating. And my daughters... well let's just say the same goes double for them. But I love them, I love them more than I can explain. Because the Bible is where I get definitions of how I should live, I Corinthians 13 is key. 

I have read all of that chapter, especially verse four. Love is not arrogant either. In my arrogance, I could think that I'm not irritating or insist on my own way. We are all in need of the same love that we need to give. More on that later....

One thing I dearly love about my husband is how he loves the children. And he makes awesome pancakes!

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Do Not Be Easily Irritated

1 Corinthians 13:4-5- "Love is patient and kind, love does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it's own way, it is not irritable or resentful."

When I love Christ and when I love my family I will not be irritable and rude. I will not insist on my own way. When I am rude and even think I deserve more than I'm getting, I am not loving others. I am loving myself.

This verse is a verse that I pray through often because I am often easily irritated.  Just when I think I have noticed that there are some improvements, I am knocked backwards at my own sin. 

Ray has been out of town for several days and this sweet little girl hasn't left my side. She has been with me every moment - sleeping, eating, bathing, yes, even the bathroom. She made a simple request to help with something, I don't remember, but it was really very little to ask. I snapped at her and told her to go somewhere else. 

One of my daughters looked at me with shock in her eyes and said, "It really isn't that big of a deal. Here, Abigail, come help me."  I made the lame excuse that I was tired and needed a little space and sulked. 

I didn't handle my irritations well at all. There are times when mothers need to be alone to rest, recharge and renew themselves. But there is still no excuse for sin. My daughter needs my attention more right now because her daddy isn't around this week. I must put aside my irritation and love her in a kind and patient way.

She has gotten in some time teaching her babies all that they need to know. The picture to the right is of her riding in the car going to music. This is basically how she usually rides, with her "Bubby" and "Just Plain Elephant".

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Yes, I'm still alive, but my computer hasn't been. I am still paying for this site and will come back to blogging as I can. With my computer back up and running, I have no excuses.....