Ryan and Sarah

family photos

Don’t we all just look so happy and excited about the family pictures??? Hahaha, this photo makes me laugh. Some random guy picked up mom’s camera and took some terrible pictures of us while we were trying hard to focus on the photographer’s instructions…haha this just cracks me up.

cousins!

smile

This one is a little better…at least we are all smiling! Anne and Olivia made me laugh — they are REALLY good at posing for every picture…

Mr and Mrs Gibbs

Congratulations, Ryan and Sarah!!! The wedding was absolutely gorgeous. Fearrington Village was beautiful and the perfect venue for their wedding.

the girls

sisters

first dance as Mr and Mrs G

dancing

The first dance was great and so was the band. After that there was non-stop dancing for the rest of the night. People really liked the dancing…

mother/son dance

shake it

These four had an especially good time with the music and dancing. Let me tell you what, they were bustin out the moves. They were just getting started in this picture. It made me laugh. Our family definitely loves a good party.

the whole fam

mom and dad

Uncle Charlie and Aunt Patricia

Pop and Carolyn

still dancing...

me and my buddy

the train

The funniest part of the evening was when we decided to finally leave and the band started playing “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey. That is Anne’s favorite song and we practically had to drag her out. She was singing and dancing and blowing kisses as we left. It was soo funny!

Congratulations to the happy bride and groom! Best wishes!

Christopher & Mary Love

The other day I caught part of David Platt’s message from Together for the Gospel 2010. The only part I heard was him reading an excerpt from Mary Love’s last letter to her husband who was beheaded by Oliver Cromwell. My interest was peaked and so began my search for the letter in its entirety. Along the way I also found Christopher’s last letter to Mary. I have been thinking a lot lately about those who have gone before me. I was listening to “O Church, Arise” by Keith and Kristyn Getty and there is one line in the song that talks about the saints who have gone before us lining the way to God’s throne and telling triumphs of his grace. It gives me chills to think about it. Reading these letters bring tears to my eyes as I realize God’s faithfulness to this husband and wife and his grace that sustained them and enabled them to face death without fear.

Here is Mary’s letter to Christopher

July 14, 1651

Before I write a word further, I beseech thee to think not that it is thy wife but a friend now that writes to thee. I hope thou hast freely given up thy wife and children to God, who hath said in Jeremiah 49:11, “Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy widow trust in me.” Thy Maker will be my husband, and a Father to thy children. O that the Lord would keep thee from having one troubled thought for thy relations. I desire freely to give thee up into thy Father’s hands, and not only look upon it as a crown of glory for thee to die for Christ, but as an honor to me that I should have a husband to leave for Christ.

I dare not speak to thee, nor have a thought within my own heart of my own unspeakable loss, but wholly keep my eye fixed upon thy inexpressible and inconceivable gain. Thou leavest but a sinful, mortal wife to be everlastingly married to the Lord of glory. Thou leavest but children, brothers, and sisters to go to the Lord Jesus, thy eldest Brother. Thou leavest friends on earth to go to the enjoyment of saints and angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect in glory. Thou dost but leave earth for heaven and changest a prison for a palace. And if natural affections should begin to arise, I hope that the spirit of grace that is within thee will quell them, knowing that all things here below are but dung and dross in comparison of those things that are above. I know thou keepest thine eye fixed on the hope of glory, which makes thy feet trample on the loss of earth.

My dear, I know God hath not only prepared glory for thee, and thee for it, but I am persuaded that He will sweeten the way for thee to come to the enjoyment of it. When thou art putting thy clothes on that morning, O think, “I am now putting on my wedding garments to go to be married to my everlasting Redeemer.”

When the messenger of death comes to thee, let him not seem dreadful to thee, but look on him as a messenger that brings thee tidings of eternal life. When thou goest up the scaffold, think (as thou saidst to me) that it is but thy fiery chariot to carry thee up to thy Father’s house.

And when thy layest thy precious head down to recieve thy Father’s stroke, remember what thou saidst to me: Though thy head was severed from thy body, yet in a moment thy soul should be united to thy Head, the Lord Jesus, in heaven. And though it may seem something bitter, that by the hands of men we are parted a little sooner than otherwise we might have been, yet let us consider that it is the decree and will of our Father, and it will not be long ere we shall enjoy one another in heaven again.

Let us comfort one another with these sayings. Be comforted, my dear heart. It is but a little stroke and thou shalt be there where the weary shall be at rest and the wicked shall cease from troubling. Remember that thou mayest eat thy dinner with bitter herbs, yet thou shalt have a sweet supper with Christ that night. My dear, by what I write unto thee, I do not hereby undertake to teach thee; for these comforts I have received from the Lord by thee. I will write no more, nor trouble thee any further, but commit thee into the arms of God with whom ere long thee and I shall be.

Farewell, my dear. I shall never see thy face more till we both behold the face of the Lord Jesus at that great day.

~Mary Love

Christopher’s letter…

My most gracious Beloved,

I am now going from a prison to a palace: I have finished my work, and am now going to receive my wages.  I am going to heaven, where are two of my children, and leaving you on earth, where there are three of my babes.  These two above, need not my care; but the three below need thine.  It comforts me to think, two of my children are in the bosom of Abraham, and three of them will be in the arms and care of such a tender and godly mother.  I know you are a woman of sorrowful spirit, yet be comforted, though you sorrows be great for you husband going out of the world, yet your pains shall be the less in bringing your child into the world; you shall be a joyful mother, though you be a sad widow; God hath many mercies in store for you; the prayer of a dying husband for you, will not be lost.  To my shame I speak it, I never prayed for you at liberty, as I have done in prison.  I can write much, but I have few practical counsels to leave with you, viz.,

1. Keep under a sound, orthodox, soul searching ministry. Oh! There are many deceivers gone out into the world, but Christ’s sheep know His voice, and a stranger they will not follow.  Attend any minister that teacheth the way of God in truth; and follow Solomon’s advice, Proverbs 19:27.

2. Bring up your children in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord.  The mother ought to be a teacher in the father’s absence, Proverbs 31:1, “The words that his mother taught him…”  And Timothy was instructed by his grandmother, 1 Timothy 1:5.

3. Pray in your family daily, that yours may be in the number of the families who call upon God.

4. Labor for a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God, is of great price, 1 Peter 3:4.

5. Pour not on the comforts you want, but upon the mercies you have.  Look rather at God’s ending in afflicting, than to the measure and degree of your affliction.

6. Labor to clear up your evidence for heaven when God takes from you the comfort of earth, so that as your sufferings do abound, your consolation in Christ may abound much more, 2 Corinthians 1:5.  Though it be good to maintain a holy jealously of heart, yet it is still ill of you to cherish fears and doubts touching the truth of your graces.  If ever I had confidence touching the grace of another, I have confidence of grace in you; as Peter said of Silvanus, I am persuaded that this is the grace of God wherein ye stand, 1 Peter 5:12.

7. O, my dear soul wherefore dost thou doubt, who heart has been laid upright, whose walking has been holy, &c.  I could venture my soul this day in they soul’s stead, such a confidence I have in you.

8. When you find your heart secure, presumptuous and proud, then pour upon corruption more than grace: then look upon your grace without infirmities.

9. Study the covenant of grace, and merits of Christ, and be troubled if you can; you are interested in such a covenant that accepts purposes for performances, desires for deeds, sincerity for perfection, the righteousness of another, viz., that of Jesus Christ, as it were your own alone.  Oh! My love! Rest thou in the love of God, the bosom of Christ.

10. Swallow up your will in the will of God.  It is a bitter cup we are to drink, but it is the cup of our Father which has been put into our hands.  When Paul was to suffer at Jerusalem, the Christians said, “The will of the Lord be done!” Oh! Say ye so, when I go to the Tower-Hill, “The will of the Lord be done!”

11. Rejoice in my joy.  To mourn for me inordinately argues, that you either envy or suspect my happiness.  The joy of the Lord is my strength; Oh! Let it be yours also!  Dear wife, farewell: I will call thee wife no more: I shall see thy face no more: yet I am not much troubled, for now I am going to meet the Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus, to whom I shall be eternally married.

12. Refuse not to marry, when God offers you a fair opportunity; but be sure you marry in the Lord; and one of a good disposition, that he may not grieve you, but give you a comfortable livelihood in the world.

Farewell dear love, and again I say farewell.  The Lord Jesus be with your spirit, the Maker of heaven and earth be a husband to you; and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ be a father to your children – so prays your dying,

Your most affectionate friend till death,
Christopher Love

The day of my glorification.
From the Tower of London, August 22, 1651

This is one of my favorite quotes and I immediately thought of it after reading these letters.

“When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. Insofar as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.”

– C. S. Lewis, Letters of C.S. Lewis (8 November, 1952)

Do Not Love the World

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” ~ 1 John 2:15-17

I have been thinking about the way all of the different forms of “the world” — ie internet, movies, music, tv, etc, infiltrate my heart and permeate my soul. Recently, I have noticed that my language is less than wholesome and that I have been desensitized to certain things that should be offensive to me. Today, I re-discovered an e-book from Sovereign Grace Ministries, called “Half A Poison Pill Won’t Kill Me: Thoughts on Worldliness and the Media that Promotes It.” It is a helpful little book that is encouraging, challenging and thought provoking. Joshua Harris talks about media and our culture this way; “Media rarely if ever attempts to reason with us and convince us to love the world. Instead it stirs up feelings and emotions that bypass our minds and grip our affections. The incredibly wicked power of media is that it can make something evil look good or exciting. It can make sin seem harmless and enjoyable. It can sway our hearts to think that we deserve that we crave, that what we see is all that matters.”

So, the question then is not “How much can I have without it affecting me,” but “Is this worthy? Is it honorable?” Here is how it’s put in this little book, “Trying to figure out how much sinful content from media you can handle and still be ‘okay’ is like a person who takes half a poison pill every day because ‘only half’ won’t kill you. When it comes to what we watch or read or listen to we shouldn’t ask how many halves of poison pills we can take. We need to examine the cumulative effect of our media habits on our attitude toward God and sin and the world.”

Here are some helpful questions from “Half a Poison Pill…”

1) Cravings of sinful man: Are my media habits encouraging me to want my own way? Is what I’m watching, reading or listening to whispering the lie that these desires are natural, good, harmless when God’s word says they will destroy my soul?

2) Lust of the eyes: Are my media habits stirring up a covetous desire for more of what this world offers? Is it making me want everything for myself — a beautiful companion, a beautiful home, a beautiful car? Is it leading me to feast my eyes on unlawful sights for the sake of sinful pleasure? Is it causing me to be captivated by the outward and visible with no regard to goodness and virtue?

3) Boasting of what he has and does: Are my media habits encouraging me to exalt myself because of material possessions, fame or athletic achievement? Does it make me want to appear important according to the world’s standards of importance?

This is an excellent resource that I highly recommend. You can find it here and download it for free.