28 February 2008

more blessings - an update

I'm reading Prince Caspian to my children. They're loving it of course! We have recently finished the Lion, Witch & Wardrobe and I was delighted to learn that the movie Prince Caspian will be released shortly after we finish the book.

And we have begun the New Testament. We've been the entire school year in the OT - - and while we've enjoyed it, the kids are glad to have graduated to the New.

We had our first garage sale and it was a huge success. We made $1600. Thanks to Him who blessed it!!!!

Robert and I are flying to Virginia on Monday to attend the IMB Candidate Conference. We will be away for just 5 days rather than 7 . . . . yet another blessing! What a difference 2 days makes. I went from dreading being away from the children (7 days is just too long) to looking forward to the time that will just be Robert and me.

One of Katherine's ear tubes was removed today and the other is ready to come out as well. We're working on bravery!!! Please pray for her in this. The blessing . . . tubes are ready to come out and one is already out. We have been praying for tubes to be gone before heading overseas!

I'm blogging little, and reading blogs less. I plan to post for Joseph's birthday (turning 6), and again after conference. Then I'll finish the series on pride. But my blogging will be less frequent than in the past. Other things are priority . . . homeschooling, the umpteen things we have to accomplish to sell our house and many other loose end kind of things.

Thanks to those who keep up with us in our time of transitioning.

18 February 2008

RPP2 - A Vertical Pride

3nd in a series, "Thoughts On Pride" posted 2/10, "Recognizing Personal Pride" posted 2/16.

We are most like the devil when we are prideful. Pride is exactly what made him the devil. It is the very thing we need to be able to recognize in our lives and root out.

In my last post I addressed pride on a horizontal plain . . . pride toward fellow man. A
brother in Christ pointed out in a comment that he believes there are two main types of pride: 1. towards man; 2. towards God. He is certainly correct.

I had a wonderful conversation last night with Robert (my husband) as we were cleaning the kitchen together on the topic of pride toward God, and I'm sharing some of our conversation in this entry, addressing pride on a vertical plain.

Some red flags . . . indicators or ways to recognize this type of pride:
  1. a lack of conviction, or even recognizing of sin. We can delude ourselves into the idea that we have spiritually grown and disciplined ourselves to the point that sin is either a very small problem for us . . . or that we've even arrived at a place in which we no longer struggle with it. Either one of these convictions is evidence that we are self-deceived and full of pride.
  2. taking credit for things God has accomplished . . . especially in ministry. 'Look what God has accomplished through ME - - the spiritual growth that has resulted in this person or this group of people as a result of MY teaching or mentoring or writing.' This is often a conviction that does give God credit for His work, especially outwardly, but includes a hearty personal recognition that God called ME to do this . . . as if we bring something to the table that God, in fact, needs to accomplish a work. PRIDE!
  3. a twisting of the privilege it is to be joint heirs with Jesus into a superiority that somehow elevates us above the lost. We are all sinners who have either accepted the gift of eternal life - being mercifully saved by God's gracious sacrifice, or have not. The devastating effect of pride in our position of sinners saved by grace would be a lessened burden for the lost and less effort to share Christ with them because of it. Pride and the gospel have no union with one another.
  4. a desire to grow spiritually for selfish reasons - - reasons of benefiting self or even elevating self in the eyes of others. This would be in contrast with the correct desire for spiritual growth: so that we are better able to serve our Master. A correct desire for spiritual growth would stem from a humble disappointment such as Paul expressed in Romans 7:14-25 & Philippians 3.
  5. crediting ourselves with spiritual growth
  6. deluding ourselves into thinking that we are accomplishing God's will when, actually, we are accomplishing our own . . . a personal question of who, in fact, is on the throne
Yikes, huh? Between last post (horizontal pride) and present post (vertical pride) we very human Christians have much to be mindful and maybe even convicted of.

The encouraging part . . . which is really forthcoming in a post later in this series on pride, is that, in spite of the fact that we are most wretched, God still loves us. Something we will never be able to grasp fully. And He has given us the supreme example of humility in Christ - - an attitude that we ourselves are encouraged to possess . . .

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Phil. 2:5-7

16 February 2008

Recognizing Personal Pride

2nd in a series, "Thoughts On Pride" was posted on 2/10

Remember the "compare and contrast" exercises of grade school? like name the similarities and differences between a mountain lion and a billy goat. Great thinking exercises for a very young mind! As adults, we continue to do this. There is certainly benefit to this exercise. A personal example: I like to talk with other homeschool moms and find out how they do school. I can learn from others and perhaps even try implementing new and different activities or approaches for my children.

We seem to be creatures of comparison. We are instructed by Paul to make note of the examples of the apostles behavior and to imitate it (1Ths.3:7). That would involve an element of comparing. So comparison in and of itself is not bad. (Although one exception would be in faultily choosing whom we compare ourselves to and deluding ourselves into a prideful state of superiority. For instance my 5 year old son could compare himself to only 2 year olds and decide that he is, in fact, a giant. 2 Cor. 10:12 warns "
For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.")

We have to be careful with comparison. We possess just the natures that would be quick to employ an edge of competitiveness in our comparison. And this is oftentimes an indicator of pride. Pride is forever in competition with everyone else's pride.

Now I'm not saying that all competition is bad. Hockey teams compete for the Stanley Cup, there are chili cook-offs, thumb wrestling, photography, spelling contests, every kind of sport, etc. In these cases, it is the sore losing and the sour winning in which pride becomes evident.

When there is a secret complimenting of self in comparison with someone else whom we have sized up, so to speak, or a secret resentment of another for their gain or achievement - - THAT is pride. How aware are we of such thoughts? How recognizable are they? Pride always rears it's ugly head in the mind, indicates a problem with the heart, and, prior to making itself evident through the use of the untamed tongue, is evident in the haughtiness of the eyes (Prov.21:4).

Another indicator of pride would be the idea of "how dare you slight me" or "how dare you not give me my just dues, do you have any idea who I am or what my motives were?" These are all indicators of pride.

We all possess the very nature that makes us susceptible to the addictive and downward spiraling grip of pride. It is almost always a tricky and subtle condition that camouflages itself as a fleeting emotion so we perhaps won't even recognize it is there. And then it leads to jealousy, or greed, idolatry, deceptiveness, selfishness, and every other kind of sin. Is our drive to succeed or to improve a healthy one, or is it prideful? - - a deeper question to ask oneself than it appears on the surface.

My prayer, in this very unpopular topic of pride, is for God to reveal and to help me recognize every smidget of pride within me. I believe it to be the most prolific problem in all humanity, and the most un-Godlike characteristic. Even for a person like me whose personality would not seem to be bent towards pride, it is an issue, as I believe pride is at the root of all other sin (see first posting on this topic).

. . . Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble 1Pet.5:5


15 February 2008

Happy Birthday my dear!

Today, Robert Alan Hamilton is 40!!!

It's impossible for me to fully express into words what you mean to me my dear, but here is my feeble attempt:

You encourage me spiritually and personally in every role in which I am privileged to fill, both in and outside of our family.You are a wonderful husband and friend to me. You are fun, trustworthy, caring, helpful and loving.

You are a caring, nurturing and fun father to our four children. When I asked them what they love most about dad, some of their answers were . . . that he takes time to teach me how to play chess, that he plays Star Wars with me, and that he helps me get points for e-pets. All their answers, spoken with smiles and wide, loving eyes of adoration, attest to the time you spend with them individually and on their level of interest. You play with love, teach with love, discipline with love, and give our children the best hugs they will ever know this side of eternity. I love this about you.

You are attentive to the leadership of God, both personally and for our family as a whole. You lead our family in following God and you're willing to follow at any cost. Your heart is tender toward the lost and inexpressibly grateful for the blessings God so mercifully bestows on us as a family. I love this about you.

You are honest in regards to your struggles and shortcomings. You live transparently and are certainly not one to ever put on airs. You humbly worship the God of the Bible as a fallen, imperfect man who is living his life striving to please his Lord. You humbly teach in your roles as pastor and father, and you are not prideful. I love this about you.

You choose to do what is right, even when it is not easy, convenient or affordable. You are not consumed with how doing the right things will make you look to the eyes of others. THIS is what being a true man of God is about. I love this about you.

You are an actualizer who often sees things for what they are. You keep life in perspective rather than only seeing the moment, and you attempt to help me do the same! You not only accommodate, but join me in sometimes being adventurous beyond all reason. I love this about you.

You approach God’s Word with humility and have tremendous God-given insight into Biblical truths. Some of my favorite moments are those we spend discussing Scripture. I love this about you.

Outside of my salvation and relationship with God, you have been and continue to be God's greatest gift to me.


Happy Birthday my dear!

14 February 2008

Valentine's Day - - FUNNY!

My dear husband of 10 years gave me a Valentine that expresses love in a style that is reminiscent of Las Vegas curtain-call rejects!!!


I have the most wonderful, fun, lovable husband on the planet . . . at least according to ME!

12 February 2008


An update: as we're preparing for the IMB Candidate Conference the first week in March, we have begun the process of eliminating stuff. WooHoo! This part will be fun! We will need to sell almost everything we own in the next five months. Who knew that selling our possessions, even the ones we still enjoy and are a little fond of, could be this much fun. It's liberating actually! and we feel very blessed!

Sunday afternoon was the first taste of success. We cleaned out the garage!!! This was quite a feat for us. My husband is very handy with wood and quite gifted at computer technology . . . so we had all kinds of wood scraps, old computers and monitors, along with the normal junk that one accumulates in a garage.

Then yesterday was the trip to the dump. There's just something fun about hurling old, bulky computer monitors off of a trailer down into a dumping container. Even the kids enjoying hurling things they could lift. $31 (dump fee) later we are 960 pounds free of junk!!! And for the next week and a half, the garage will be a staging area for the first of our two BIG garage sales.

So make plans to travel (near of far) to our house in Anna, Texas on Saturday, February 23rd. Here's 3 & 1/2 reasons you should make the trip!
  1. I'd love to meet the handful of people who occasionally read my blog that I have never met personally.
  2. Most garage sales are a waste of time . . . but not this one. We're not selling junk, we're eliminating to go overseas with the IMB. (so I guess I could throw "noble cause" in there as well)
  3. We'll make you a deal! Come buy our stuff!

Psalm 145:3 Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable.
v.10 All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, And Your godly ones shall bless You.

10 February 2008

Thoughts On Pride

My mind just can't let go of this topic of pride. It has permeated our earthly existence from the time of the Fall - forward. Proverbs tells us that God hates pride and arrogance (8:13), a prideful heart is an abomination to Him and will most certainly be punished(16:5), pride leads to destruction (16:18 & 18:12), and that haughty eyes and a proud heart are the lamp (glory) of the wicked (21:4).

C.S.Lewis wrote that pride is the complete anti-God state of mind and that pride leads to every other vice (Mere Christianity). I agree with him completely, and here's why.
  1. When Lucifer fell to become the devil, his sin was pride/arrogance. A puffed up view of himself in spite of the immeasurable superiority of God. Pride is what made him satan.
  2. Pride has to be at the root of all sin, doesn't it? Think about it . . . Eve and then Adam disobeyed God because the prideful heart desires to be like God (disobedience is a complete lack of humility and a complete submission to self); Cain killed Abel - pride that led to jealousy that led to murder; the population of the world became so wicked and consumed with self that God destroyed them by flood, pride again; the Tower of Babel; Lots choice of the superior land and what that led to; Abraham taking matters into his own hands in efforts to fulfill the covenant God made with him, hence the birth of Ishmael; Jacob's blackmailing Esau out of his birthright and then tricking his father and getting Esau's blessing - - and let's not forget the conniving of his mother Rebekah, and the sin of both parents in having favorites; Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers; the constant fuss and complaining of the freed Israelites; the golden calf; more grumbling; grumbling; grumbling; grumbling; complaining; some more grumbling still; striking of the rock by Moses who (according to Numbers 12:3) was more humble than any other man on the face of the earth; idol worship; Achan's theft; the decline of the judges; the decline of Saul; Joab murdering Abner; David's adultery and then murder. I'm exhausted, and I've not even gotten to Solomon, the divided kingdom, the havoc of prideful kings and idol worshiping people. I have to stop here . . . but it goes on and on and on - - all the way to US! Do you see it as plainly as I do? Pride IS at the heart of every sin all through the Bible and beyond. I've really been giving this a lot of thought and believe it to be true. Now where it really hit home was when I began relating the things I have done wrong (including thoughts) to the pride that must lie underneath. I encourage you to do this little exercise as well (Although let me warn you . . . it is ugliness and then humility that is found in this endeavor - - but the ugliness that puts us face to face with the fact that we are nothing in comparison to God is actually quite beautiful, isn't it?)
First, the good news . . . God is not, in any way, thrown off course by our pride and sin. He's so very much BIGGER than that. It would be the absolute epitome of pride to think that our selfish pride and what it leads to in any way inhibits God and the outplaying of His purposes. God used the OT characters listed above in great ways to accomplish His will. Whether it is through repentance and humbling of ourselves or in humiliation and the shameful acting out of our pride and its effects, God's will IS accomplished and His glorification in all things is sure.

Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

The worst news is that all of us are so darn susceptible to it. Pride can be blatantly obvious, or it can be very subtle. It is always deadly to our own selves and damaging to others. We often don't even recognize it. In fact, we are just the creatures who can become quite proud of our own humility!!!

So I want to know what pride is . . . I want to know what it looks like even when disguised, and I want to recognize it not only in others, but especially and most importantly in myself. This recognizing is a work of the Spirit, but I believe it also involves an educating of ourselves.


A Political What If?

I am opposed to McCain and will not cast vote for him (and this is not because Dobson said so - - my husband and I decided this long before Dobson spoke out - - AND, for those of you who are all over Dobson, lay off will ya? He's a very good man)

ANYWAY, here's my question. What if Romney forfeited, rather than just suspended, his campaign freeing up 298 delegates to realign themselves with another candidate? It's what he should do . . . and I feel sure he won't do this. But what if he did?

08 February 2008

A Typical Friday Night

I think I've mentioned before that we are casual PS2ers (surely you know I'm meaning PlayStation2). . . and by we, I really mean the kids and Robert. While Star Wars is the favorite, we now have Dance, Dance Revolution. My fun-loving hubby picked up this along with a dance pad just for fun at his supplemental job for almost nothing. Now I ask you, what is more fun than a device that brings the sound of Funkytown by Lipps Inc. back into the house? Here's a typical Friday night at the Hamiltons.

That's right . . . it's the 7 year old and the 7 days away from 40 year old attempting, with their feet, to keep up with the arrows on the t.v. screen while . ...

the 4 and 5 year old are playing chess.

The 4 year old lost, but good sportsmanship won out in the end.

There's also a 20 month old parading around the house demanding that every endeavor be centered around him, and then there's me . . .enjoying the show immensely, but also wondering how close it is to kid bed time!

04 February 2008

A Marriage of Catholicism & Spiritualism

Many of our dearest friends and family have expressed a lot of interest in the group of people God has called us to. So much to learn . . . . really Robert and I have much, much to learn in the next few years in following God's calling to become missionaries to a group of Italian Brazilians in South America. And I'm not just meaning language (Portuguese & Italian).

The IMB job description for the assignment we've chosen depicts a people who are Roman Catholic but very strong practices of spiritualism as well. The mind, at least mine anyway, has a hard time merging the two. But I read a post yesterday from blog by Jeff Dunson, who is missionary 3 hours south of where we're headed. The group of missionaries he represents on his blog are called "Team Gaucho". ('Gaucho', as I shared before, is the title given to the people who reside in the most southern state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul.) This post of his, while short, was very educational for me.

Jeff translated a newspaper article that gives a true picture of what this marriage of Catholicism & Spiritualism looks like. It is a quick read: "Just In Case There Was Any Doubt"

While Robert and I are working to build prayer support for us and the Gauchos of Caxias do Sul, I ask that you add the Dunson family, Team Gaucho and the Gauchos of Porte Alegre to your prayers as well. Links to their blogs are on my page (M is for Mud Guy & M is for Mommy) and you can keep up with them and their requests for prayer.

03 February 2008

123 Meme

I've been tagged to do a fun little "meme". I was tagged by Alan Knox - - I recently discovered his writing on the Church, and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

I've seen these "meme's" from time to time and had a general idea of what they are, but I wanted to look the word up anyway. It was not in our dictionary, but I found it online. For those as clueless as me, here's a link!

Here are the rules for this one:
  • Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more (no cheating!)
  • Find page 123
  • Find the first five sentences
  • Post the next three sentences
  • Tag five people
Here's the great part. The closest books to me are on my night stand . . . a stack of 7. And the one on top is my Bible! (boy, didn't that work out just right for this pastor's wife!!!) Page 123 is the middle of Exodus 20. After the first five sentences, I begin with verse 18 and type the next three.

All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die." Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin."
From the one Book in which any 3 sentences speak volumes!!

Okay, now for the really fun part, I get to tag five. So here's the list: Laura, Clay, Sacarii, Harriette, Jerry & Jana, and Peter. (I've learned by this exercise that I need to "introduce myself" to some authors of blogs I like to read, and yes I can count . . . but as I was trying to come up with five, seven came to mind.)

If you were tagged from the above list and want to do this, please leave a comment so it will be easy to click on your name and read your post.

And now it's time for . . . household preparations for the watching of the Super Bowl!

One more: Jessica, your blog is private so tagging you this way wouldn't really work . . . but consider yourself tagged, anyway! I know you're an avid reader and it would be fun to see what your closest page 123 says.