Monday, August 27, 2012

In The Valley


In The Valley

When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn’t be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ

Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley

In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed
                                                                         -Bob Kauflin  [Sovereign Grace Ministries]

This eloquent song is based off of the book of puritan prayers, called, The Valley of Vision. Listening to this song and reading this prayer (though not at the same time), I always want to say, "yes, Lord, what he said, that's what I meant."

"Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights;
 hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory.
 Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, 
that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, 
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, 
that to have nothing is to possess all,
 that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
 that to give is to receive, 
 that the valley is the place of vision. 
Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; 
let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley."
                                                                                 -The Valley of Vision (edited by Arthur Bennett)

P.S Check out this new album that's coming 
out this week!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Hoodies, Nealy's and Us

I don't mean to sound boastful, but I have a beautiful family.
This blog post title is the skinny of these past few weeks. Extra skinny, actually. There were thousand of extra details and curves to these past few weeks. To show you a crack of our week, I had the brilliant idea of trying out Elena's PicMonkey. 
 I think I just got addicted.   :)

One raining Wednesday in July, we left in the morning and spent a few days at my Grandma's, in Burnet. As a special treat, we  forced invited Ryle to come along. We had a great, but humid, time going for walks, watching old movies, and going to the Domain (like Houston's City Center) with the rest of the familia.

The girls insisted we peek in the creepy house for sale

As you can see, Abby and Nate thoroughly enjoyed Ryle

Grilled Pizza (grilled by Luke)
Thai eggplant from one of Dad's co-workers.
On Saturday we worked outside. We washed all four of the cars (Luke, Grace, and I had the privilege to be the first to wash Elena's new car), transplanted plants (one of which was the Thai eggplant), and did other odd jobs around the house. As a sort of reward, we went to the pool in the afternoon with some of the older Neal's.

Matthew McMuggins -simply yummy

The ultimate game of ultimate Frisbee out on the Parker's land


At our friend's the Parker's land for GfBC Conroe's baptism (we were invited by the Hood's for Mia's baptism). It was hot, but we had such a great time hanging with all the Conroe folks!

Mr. Wes, Mia, and Pastor David Shiflet
When I looking through these baptism pics I got a huge lump in my throat; they captured the moment beautifully!

Chicken sandwiches and and RJ Goodies cake in honor of Grace's birthday
Grace's birthday snuck up on us, so we simply had a special tea party.

But first there was Eva's birthday.
Nicole surprised mom with a spontaneous visit during which we celebrated dear Eva's berry first birthday! We didn't do anything too special, but it was just special to have her with us.

A few weeks ago, Dad went on a trip to Wales....(sigh)

The dear ducks have returned!
I believe it was two weeks ago that we spotted some ducks in our tree just outside the dining room. Since then we have been seeing them more and more frequently.

Hopey-dopey-doo and Joy
As I was sorting through the gazillion pictures, I found that I had to post these

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

eternal perspective

Death has interesting way of lifting one's thoughts from the hustle and bustle of life.
Recently the grandmother of a dear friend of ours quietly passed away and one of the things it brought to mind was the sweet and amazing comfort our Great God brings during affliction and trials. In my readings and studying of these difficult times in a Believer's life, this is one of the greatest things that I have learned.

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ESV

Praise God, we serve a Faithful Father, who not only causes us to share in Christ''s sufferings but also supplies us with the sweet comfort, just as abundantly. How merciful a Savior!

    So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ESV

Thursday, August 9, 2012

O, Church Arise

Well, this is has become quite an inconsistent blog series. But I still have songs to share and a few more words to say.
This is a beautiful song that we sung one time last year at church and have heard numerous times since then. I have found this song to be very encouraging and uplifting. Take this part for instance:

Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole

 A few Sunday's ago, our church was going through Revelation 2: 8-11 and in verse 10, there is a transition from "jew" to "the devil" in the context of how the christians at the church in Smyrna will continue to suffer. That transition really put things in there proper light --our battle really lies with satan, he is our enemy. We do not, "wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places"{Ephesians 6:12}.
All reason for self-anger, vanishes.  Mankind is at enmity with God, storing up wrath for themselves, they need the gospel! That is "Our call to war".
Lastly, this song always reminds me of this passage in Hebrews 12:1-2,

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."  

O, Church Arise

O church, arise and put your armor on;
 Hear the call of Christ our captain;
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth
We'll stand against the devil's lies;
An army bold whose battle cry is "Love!"
Reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul,
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole
We will fight with faith and valor.
When faced with trials on ev'ry side,
We know the outcome is secure,
And Christ will have the prize for which He died—
An inheritance of nations.

Come, see the cross where love and mercy meet,
As the Son of God is stricken;
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
For the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
And Christ emerges from the grave,
This vict'ry march continues till the day
Ev'ry eye and heart shall see Him. 

So Spirit, come, put strength in ev'ry stride,
Give grace for ev'ry hurdle,
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When, with Christ, we stand in glory.

- Keith Getty & Stuart Townend (2005)

From what I've heard from these songwriters, they are pretty solid in there lyrics. Check out their site, with all the resources you could want.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Lately I've been sweetly reminded of the beauty and importance of committing scripture to memory. Have you seen a set of delightful children (ranging between two and eleven years old) recite the entire chapter of Proverbs one, most of chapter two, and Ephesians four? Yes, the sight would sweetly remind you too.
Most mornings (after an Insane workout), I spend time in God's Word, reading, studying, and writing; I also take that time to read this encouraging and thought-provoking book (excellent read!). While these are great habits, I've neglected to include the memorization of the very Words that bring me through the storms of life.
Praise God for beautiful reminders. :)

So, yesterday I thought about what passage of scripture I would start with, and it seemed that memorizing the book I most frequently reference would be fitting. :)

Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:1-6 )

How do you memorize scripture? What passages are important to you?


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