Weeping Cherries

faith, family, food and frugality

Saturday Psalm and Praise February 28, 2009

Filed under: Saturday Psalm and Praise — Jen @ 9:11 pm
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I’ve been drawn recently over and over again to Psalm 119. I love David’s heart opened here as he shows true hunger for the laws of the LORD. Did I say laws? Is that legalism? I think sometimes the modern church, in fear of all things legalistic, run the opposite direction and forget that we are called to LOVE the law and decrees of the LORD. But aren’t we a New Testament church? Free from the law? What do people mean when they say we are “free from the law”? Is obedience to God’s commands legalism? Dr. Matthew McMahon writes,

There is an argument in the 21sth century church that goes like this: Jesus came to fulfill the Law, thus, we do not need to keep the Law. The idea continues as such: And we do not need to keep the Law because we are under the grace of Christ; we cannot earn salvation for ourselves in any way, so the Old Testament is invalid for rules of life and practice. As a matter of fact, there are many people who would throw out the Sermon on the Mount because Jesus expounds on the Law in that instance. They would place everything which alluded to or stated the Law in any way, out with the garbage. They do not give a satisfactory answer why God, in His providence, allowed the Old Testament to be included in our Bible since it deals with the Law. They are adamant that they do not need it, but cannot give a good answer to “why”. These people feel that observance to the Law, in any way, is an act of Legalism. And they do not want to become the church of Galatia again. So they have flown to grace, and thrown away the Law.

To define Legalism in a Biblical way would be to say “any person who takes the Law and uses it in a way which would merit salvation“. Legalism is an attempt at salvation. Yet, we often hear the term used like this, “Oh, those people are Legalists.” The Puritans were often stereotyped in this way. They were so forceful in bringing forth the meaning of the Law, that they were deemed legalists, and then subtitled puritanical. But if we really understand the definition above, then we find that people who follow the Law of God in a way which does not see it adding to the meritorious work of Jesus Christ and His cross are not Legalists. Legalists, by definition, would be saying that the Law helps us to gain salvation. This was the problem with the Judiaizers. They thought that by keeping the Law, plus believing in the work of Christ, made a person saved. In Galatians 5:3, Paul says, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by Law; you have fallen from grace.” There were some who thought that being circumcised helped in salvation. But Paul says that the moment you add anything to the work of Christ, then you have fallen from grace. Christ’s work alone justifies the ungodly (Gal. 2:16; 3:11-13, 24; 6:13-14). (Sola Christus-Christ alone.)

The Bible is full of scripture that reveals that we should LOVE the law.  It IS NOT essential to salvation but IT IS wonderful, glorious, protective and God-breathed.  McMahon goes on to say,

“We are not Legalists when we keep the Law, because we do not look to the Law for life. Rather the Law shows us we have true life in our hearts. We keep the Law to be obedient to Christ and show Him how much we love Him for rescuing us from the damning influences of trying to keep the Law to gain eternal life. Obedience is a far cry from Legalism.”

So, what does it look like to LOVE the law?  I believe that Psalms 119 is a perfect example of a desire to be holy and pleasing to God by keeping His commandments.

“Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD!

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!

You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.

Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!

Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.

I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules.

I will keep your statutes; do not utterly forsake me!

With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.

In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.

I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.

Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word.

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!

My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times.

You rebuke the insolent, accursed ones, who wander from your commandments.

Take away from me scorn and contempt, for I have kept your testimonies.

Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes.

Your testimonies are my delight; they are my counselors.

My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!

When I told of my ways, you answered me; teach me your statutes!

Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!

Put false ways far from me and graciously teach me your law!

I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me.

I cling to your testimonies, O LORD; let me not be put to shame!

I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!

Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.

Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.

Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.”

(Psalms 119:1-35 ESV Emphasis mine)

On and on David writes about his LONGING for God’s law. Do we LONG for God’s law? Do we hunger for spiritual food the way we do for physical food?

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Hannah February 27, 2009

Filed under: Let's Get Real — Jen @ 5:19 pm
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I think the last time that I truly opened up spiritually about something that God was doing in my life here at Weeping Cherries was June 29th, 2008. That is incredibly sad to me as I see all the “surface” posts that I type instead of a continual sharing of my heart. I think part of the reason that people enjoy blogs is because we as humans have a desire to feel kinship with others and read about the things that make them tick and the workings of their lives. I realize that by the topics of my posts you may not know me. So, I am going to do something that I don’t like doing- being real with people when it hurts and when it isn’t pretty. I have talked with some of my friends about my struggle in this area but I realize that most of my consistent readers are also a great blessing in my life. I know that some of you pray for me daily and I appreciate it more than you know. So, this is me. This is where I am right now, what I am learning and what I want to reflect on years from now and celebrate the work that God has done in my life to bring me through it.

I have been studying I Samuel because I feel a great kindred spirit with Hannah. I first looked at her story because I wanted God to write my story like hers. I have been painfully aware for a while now, each day, week, month, and year that passes after the birth of my daughter Aralyn. I read books about the incredible blessing of siblings. I desire for Ara to grow up knowing that blessing.

When Paul and I first were married I felt that I was not ready to have a child. I wanted children, the desire was there, but I had taken everyone’s warnings to heart that it is smart to wait and get to know each other in marriage before having children. When I found out that I was pregnant with Ara two months after we were wed, I was scared. “What will people think Lord? We’ve only been married two months, they will say we are foolish.” What turned out to be God’s perfect timing was not “our” timing and Paul and I were convicted at that point that it wasn’t about what we felt we were ready for, it was about what God had drawn out for our lives. After the delivery of Aralyn ended in what Paul and I felt was an unnecessary cesarean section, again I exerted MY control. “Lord, there is no way that I can go through that again. You know my deepest fears and how I had to go through every single one of them to have Aralyn. I can’t do that again. I believe that children are a blessing but I just can’t go through that again.” I came up with reasons to avoid pregnancy. “I have a headache” became my slogan so to speak. We had decided not to use birth control but was I really surrendering to God’s will for my life? Was I really doing what He wanted when I was avoiding my husband like the plague? Through much conviction and time, I came to understand that if the Lord decided to bless me with more children, then HE would give me the strength to go through whatever circumstances were set before me. I found a doctor who felt that I would be a fine candidate for a VBAC at a birth center that we had heard great things about and we began to anticipate the blessing of another little one around the house. That was two years ago. Two years have passed with no pregnancy and I began to cry out to God as Hannah did, “O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son , then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life…”(1 Samuel 1:11)

I desire to raise my child to walk in the ways of the Lord, and I thought if I surrendered my children to Him, He would write my story as He did Hannah’s, “The LORD visited Hannah ; and she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the LORD.” I have come to realize that I need to be faithful to serve Him and rejoice in His blessings EVEN IF HE DOESN’T WRITE MY STORY LIKE HANNAH’S. When I first read 1 Samuel I was looking for her secret, what I could do so that God would bless me too. That was the wrong motive. It has become a precious story to me because it was Hannah’s heart that God was pleased with. I want God to see my heart, pure of selfish motive, as fully surrendered and depending on His sovereignty regardless of my circumstance. Even if I never have more children, even if the story of Jennifer Christine is different than the story of Hannah.

‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)

Just as I had to learn that it is GOD who opened my womb when I did not feel ready, I am learning that it is GOD who closes my womb even though I feel ready now. And I rest in His sovereignty in both circumstances. Because my ways are not His ways and I choose His ways.

 

My Adorable Nephew February 24, 2009

Filed under: Family — Jen @ 5:29 pm
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Charles Preston born 2/21/2009

7 lbs. 12 oz. 21 inches long

This Weekend in Pictures:

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Mimi and Ara hiding in the closet at the hotel.

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Ara had a hard time staying awake during the wait for cousin Charlie.

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He’s here! Right after birth with his excited parents.

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Grandad with Baby Charles

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Aunt Jenny (that would be me) needs LOTS of Baby Charlie time!

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Ara meets her little cousin.

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Ara loves holding Charles (with help of course).

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With Mommy and Daddy.

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Daddy’s tiny son.

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Mimi love!

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Is he not just the cutest thing?!

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He’s a very deep thinker. You can tell.

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Because who doesn’t love baby sneakers?!

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COUSINS!

 

It’s Baby Time! February 19, 2009

Filed under: Family — Jen @ 4:48 pm
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Baby Ara (admittedly the cutest baby ever!)

IT’S BABY TIME!  Today I am traveling out to be with my brother and sister in law as they deliver my 1st nephew!  I will be there until Tuesday next week so posts will stop other than the possible quick update.  I will try to jump on at some point and post pictures.  Please pray for travels and my sister in law as God brings an amazing life into this world through her.

 

Mason Jar Monday February 16, 2009

Filed under: Mason Jar Monday — Jen @ 3:15 pm
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Be sure and read on for this week’s backtracked new posts underneath including: Tales from the HomeKeeper, Psalm and Praise Saturday and Walgreen’s Deals.

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Mason Jar Eggs

This mason jar idea found at Ideas in Food.

They write:  I wish I could say this technique or idea is ground breaking and world changing.  It is not.  Rather, this is a great and simple way to prepare coddled eggs for one or one hundred guests, where the eggs are perfectly cooked, flavored and will stay warm while the guest eats them.  In this simple preparation, we cooked the eggs in a 63.8 degree C (156 degree F) water bath for one hour and fifteen minutes.  The eggs were seasoned with salt, truffle oil and a knob of butter.  We served it simply with grilled toast though a warm mushroom and asparagus stew spooned over the eggs would be equally smashing.

YUM!

 

Walgreen’s Deals

Filed under: Deals — Jen @ 3:09 pm

This week’s Walgreen’s Deals as found at Money Saving Mom.

WEEKLY DEALS

Revlon Creme Lip Gloss–on sale B1G1 (2/$9.99)
Use 2 $2/1 coupon from 2/8 inserts
Submit for Free After Rebate–Offer #4
Pay $5.99 for two after coupons
Get $9.99 EasySaver rebate back
Free plus overage after sale, coupons, and rebate

Glade Sense and Sprays–$8.99-$9.99 (price varies around the country)
Buy two and use the B1G1 coupon here and the $4/1 coupon from the 02/08 SmartSource insert
Submit your receipt online for EasySaver Rebate #28–Get $3 rebate for each Sense and Spray purchased (Limit 4)
Free after coupons and rebate

Colgate Toothpaste (4.6 oz.)–$0.99
Use $1/1 coupon from 2/8 inserts
Free after coupon

Garnier Vibrant 100% Hair Color–on sale B1G1 (2/$7.49)
Use 2 $3/1 coupon from 11/9 inserts
$0.75 each after coupons

Aquafresh Toothpaste–$1.99 after in-ad coupon
Use $1/1 coupon from 1/4 inserts
$0.99 each after coupon

Bic Soleil or Comfort 3 Disposable razor 4 pk.–$4.99
Use $2/1 manufacturer coupon from 1/18 Smartsource inserts
Use $1/1 coupon from February EasySaver catalog (page 17)
$1.99 each after coupons

Air Wick FreshMatic Kit–$8.99
Use $4/1 internet printable coupon
Submit for EasySaver rebate #34–get $3 back when you buy one (Limit 1)
$1.99 after coupon and rebate

Walgreens Brand Diaper–$5.99 after in-ad coupon (page 6)
Buy 2 packs and get $2 discount at register when you buy two packs (see page 44 of the February EasySaver rebate)
$9.98 for two packs
Note: This should work out as written above, but let us know if you try it and whether or not you get the $2 discount applied in addition to the in-ad coupon.

REGISTER REWARDS DEALS

Buy 4 selected Kelloggs cereals (on sale 4/$10), Get $3 Register Rewards
Use 2 internet printable coupons here or here
$1.25 each after coupons and Register Reward

FEBRUARY FREE-AFTER-REBATE DEALS

Zucol Cold Care Lozenges (18 pk.)–full rebate up to $7.99
Use $2/1 coupon from 2/1 SmartSource insert or $2/1 internet printable coupon
Free plus $2 in overage after coupon and February EasySaver rebate

Revlon Age Defying Spa Concealer or Spa Foundation–full rebate up to $10
Use $2/1 coupon from 1/11 inserts
Free plus $2 in overage after coupon and February EasySaver rebate

Revlon Creme Lip Gloss–full rebate up to $10
Use $2/1 coupon from 1/11 inserts
Free plus $2 in overage after coupon and February EasySaver rebate

Garnier Fructis Wonder Waves Shampoo, Conditioner, or Stylers 6.8-13 oz.–full rebate up to $4.29
Use $1/1 from 1/4 inserts
Free plus $1 in overage after coupon and February EasySaver rebate

ThermaCare Trial Size Neck, Shoulder and Wrist Heat Wrap–full rebate up to $2.49
Free after February EasySaver rebate

Walgreens Multi-Purpose No Rub Solution 4 oz.–full rebate up to $1.99
Free after February EasySaver rebate

 

Psalm and Praise Saturday

Filed under: Saturday Psalm and Praise — Jen @ 3:06 pm
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Great is Thy Faithfulness

“Great is Thy Faithfulness” is one of my all time favorite songs of praise.  I have vivid memories as a child of my Mother singing both this an “How Great Thou Art” at the piano with my Dad accompanying her.  There are few songs these days with the depth of praise that this one song embodies.  So because it is Psalms and Praise Saturday and because I have to visualize everything, here is the “Great is Thy Faithfulness” chorus  in pictures.

Great is Thy faithfulness!  Great is Thy faithfulness!

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Morning by morning new mercies I see.

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All I have needed thy hand hath provided.

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Great is Thy faithfulness Lord unto thee!

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