Field Stone Cottage Blog

Friday, October 31, 2008

Expressions of Love

I've been rereading Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God by J.I. Packer and came across this section which he relates to the greatest commandments as given to the Pharisees by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40.

If, then, we love God--Father, Son and Spirit--for all that They have done for us, we shall muster all our initiative and enterprise to make the most that we can of every situation for Their glory--and one chief way of doing this is to seek out ways and means of spreading the gospel, and obeying the divine command to make disciples everywhere. Similarly, if we love our neighbor, we shall muster all of our initiative and enterprise to find ways and means of doing him good. And one chief way of doing him good is to share with him our knowledge of Christ.

J.I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, p. 79

And that made me think of this great hymn which is another of my favourites.

I love to tell the story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and His glory, of Jesus and His love.
I love to tell the story, because I know ’tis true;
It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.


I love to tell the story, ’twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.
I love to tell the story, it did so much for me;
And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee.


I love to tell the story; ’tis pleasant to repeat
What seems, each time I tell it, more wonderfully sweet.
I love to tell the story, for some have never heard
The message of salvation from God’s own holy Word.


I love to tell the story, for those who know it best

Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.
And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song,
’Twill be the old, old story that I have loved so long.


A. Catherine Hankey, 1866

Tune: Hankey, William G. Fischer, 1869

Today is the last day that Rebecca is collecting posts with a Gospel theme. Click here to read other posts on this topic or contribute one of your own.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Rosy pinks and oranges
Through open gates
A new morning beckons
With unspoken promise.

More 15 Words or Less Poems at Laura's place.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good News!

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.

12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

This is the passage of Scripture that I focused on last Friday in my study of the life of Moses. Again, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is foreshadowed in the Old Testament. These New Testament passages correlate:

For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 1 Corinthians 5:7b

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14
The blood of the perfect lamb of God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, sacrificed on behalf of believers surely is what causes God's righteous judgment of us as sinners to "pass over" us. Such wonderful "good news" due to no action of my own is simply overwhelming! I praise God for His mercy and grace!

Rebecca is featuring the theme of the Gospel for the month of October. You can send her the links to your posts on this topic or see what others have written at Rebecca Writes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Its Coming!

Current conditions as of 4:26 pm CDT

Light Snow

Feels Like:
30.28 in and rising
1.75 mi
NW 20 mph
7:21 am
5:53 pm


Yep, winter is definitely right around the corner. Today we're getting a sneak preview.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: The Mighty God, The Lord

The mighty God, the Lord,
Hath spoken unto all;
From rising to the setting sun,
He unto earth doth call.
From Zion, his own hill,
Where perfect beauty dwells,
Jehovah hath his glory shown,
In brightness that excels.

Our God shall surely come,
And silence shall not keep;
Before him fire shall waste, and storms
Tempestuous round him sweep.
He to the heav'ns above
Shall then send forth his call,
And likewise to the earth, that he
May judge his people all.

"Together let my saints
Unto me gathered be,
Those that by sacrifice have made
A covenant with me."
Then shall the heav'ns declare
His righteousness abroad;
Because the Lord himself is judge,
Yea, none is judge, but God.

Psalm 50: 1-6, Scottish Psalter, 1650
Tune: Diademata, George J. Elvey, 1868

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Its been a very busy week but before it ends, I want to share this picture. I think Charlie enjoyed having Emily home for mid-semester break, don't you?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tomato Soup, Two Kinds!

We hosted prayer meeting at our house this week and it is our custom to share a meal and fellowship after praying together. The host family provides the main course and the rest of the group fills out the meal with side dishes and dessert. I made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Because some people like milk-based tomato soup and others prefer water-based, I made two kinds. I think both turned out rather well so I am sharing the recipes.

Here's the milk-based tomato soup which Andy really loved.

2 (14 oz.) cans diced tomatoes
1 (14 oz.) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper
2 carrots, sliced thin or diced
1 sweet onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried basil
3/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Strain diced tomatoes, reserving the juice. Spread on a baking sheet. Add to the tomatoes, the carrots, garlic and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir well and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes.

While tomato mixture is roasting, heat remaining olive oil and butter in stock pot. Saute onions on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until beginning to lightly brown. Set aside.

When tomatoes are ready, add to onions. Add reserved juice, tomato sauce, chicken broth, bay leaf, butter and red pepper flakes. Simmer for 20 minutes on low. Let cool and remove bay leaf.

Blend in blender to desired consistency. We like it a bit chunky. Return to stockpot (or put in slow cooker), add cream and basil and heat on low until cream is incorporated.

Kim was one of the water-based tomato soup fans.

1 large onion, sliced
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes
3/4 cup dried tomatoes
1/2 of 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
1/2 c. sliced celery
1 tablespoon parsley
2-3 teaspoons lime juice
sour cream

In dutch oven, cook onions in butter, covered, over medium low heat for 10 minutes or till tender. Add undrained whole tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the dried tomatoes, tomato paste, celery and parsley. Bring to boiling and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes and cool.

Meanwhile, in microwave safe bowl, cover remaining dried tomatoes with water. Microwave on high for one minute. Cool. Drain. Snip into pieces and set aside.

In blender, blend half of the soup at a time until smooth. Return to dutch oven (or slow cooker), add lime juice and heat. Top with sour cream and dried snipped tomatoes.

Me? I liked both soups (the recipes for which I doubled) and, at the end of the evening, I dumped them together into one container keeping out a bit for leftovers and freezing the rest. I love having something in the freezer for a busy day when I am just too tired to cook at the end of it.

A Gospel Quote

"...The gospel starts by teaching us that we, as creatures, are absolutely dependent on God, and that He, as Creator, has an absolute claim on us. Only when we have learned this can we see what sin is, and only when we see what sin is can we understand the good news of salvation from sin. We must know what it means to call God Creator before we can grasp what it means to speak of Him as Redeemer. Nothing can be achieved by talking about sin and salvation where this preliminary lesson has not in some measure been learned."
J.I. Packer in Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God p. 59
Rebecca's theme for October is the Gospel. Share your posts on this topic with her so she can compile them every Tuesday and Friday of this month. Or visit her to see what she and others have posted.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Gospel Hymn: Open My Eyes, That I May See

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.


Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Open my ears, that I may hear
Voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
And while the wave notes fall on my ear,
Everything false will disappear.


Open my mouth, and let me bear,
Gladly the warm truth everywhere;
Open my heart and let me prepare
Love with Thy children thus to share.


Clara H. Scott, 1895

Tune: Scott by Clara H. Scott, 1895

There are two reasons why I love this particular hymn and I'll start with the last one first. Its last because it is in the final verse. Its the reminder to share the warm truth of the Gospel by opening my heart and sharing the love of God "everywhere."

The second reason that I love this hymn is contained in the first two verses. The words reflect my need as a believer to continue to ask God to open my eyes and ears to His truths. Yes, believers continue to need to hear the Gospel preached clearly to them too. We need it because we are a forgetful people. We forget when we are tired. We forget when we are discouraged. We forget when we are tempted. We forget because it is part of our nature, our weak and sinful human nature. And sometimes we are worse than forgetful. As Paul put it, "...I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." (Romans 7:25) I am in the same situation. Only God has the power to overcome my sinful nature. In myself, I am powerless before it. And the Gospel, the theme of God's Holy Word, is His wonderful key that sets me free every time I hear it.

Rebecca is celebrating the theme of the Gospel and invites us to share our posts on the topic each Tuesday and Friday of the month of October. Please visit her here.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Teach Me, O Lord, Thy Way of Truth

Teach me, O Lord, thy way of truth,
And from it I will not depart;
That I may steadfastly obey,
Give me an understanding heart.

In thy commandments make me walk,
For in thy law my joy shall be;
Give me a heart that loves thy will,
From discontent and envy free.

Turn thou mine eyes from vanity,
And cause me in thy ways to tread;
O let thy servant prove thy Word
And thus to godly fear be led.

Turn thou away reproach and fear;
Thy righteous judgments I confess;
To know thy precepts I desire;
Revive me in thy righteousness.

From Psalm 119:33-40, transcribed by Joseph P. Holbrook, circa 1878
Tune: Bishop (Holbrook), Joseph P. Holbrook, circa 1878

Friday, October 17, 2008


Some of us sure do enjoy our creature comforts on a chilly Fall morning.

Prophesy of the New Covenant

31 "The time is coming," declares the LORD,
"when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.

32 It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,"
declares the LORD.

33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time," declares the LORD.
"I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.

34 No longer will a man teach his neighbor,
or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,'
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,"
declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more." Jeremiah 31:31-34

Because the whole Word of God points to the Gospel, the finished work of Jesus Christ through His shed blood on the cross and His resurrection and assumption of the role of our High Priest and mediator, which provides the hope on which believers stand through faith in Him, I am posting an Old Testament passage which prophesies of this Gospel.

Rebecca is inviting us to share our posts related to the Gospel during the month of October. To view other posts or share one of your own, visit Rebecca Writes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

His revelation in creation;
Eternal, omnipotent, compassionate and just.
The Light of the world.

More 15 Words or Less Poems at Laura Salas'.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Changed Life

Rose's poem, the one Kim at Hireath shared last Friday, made me think about another little girl. This little girl heard the Gospel for the first time when she was nine years old. She attended public school but was sent to religious education classes at the local Catholic church after school. At religious education, this little girl was taught from the Baltimore catechism, memorizing questions and answers in order to pass an oral examination by a priest of the Catholic church. One day, the lay teacher who taught the little girl's class, sighed deeply and laid down her copy of the Baltimore catechism. "None of this really matters," she finally said, "I am going to tell you what does really matter." And this teacher proceeded to tell her class about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

For that little girl, the world turned upside down. She knew instantly that what the teacher said was true! She was an extremely shy and quiet little girl and never said a word to the teacher...or her parents...or her friends...or her brothers or sisters. But she couldn't sleep for a very long time that night because she was mulling over this earth-shattering news. Her outward life didn't change but her inward life did. But the religious education teacher never knew. Neither did the mother of a friend of the little girl who gave her a Bible and told the little girl of the Gospel again a couple of years later.

The little girl carried this special information within her for many more years before she really began to grow in it. In fact, she was a young mother before she really began to study that Bible with any intentionality or understanding that those words are the Word of God. And it was more years before she shared the Gospel with anyone.

I am that little girl and I am so very thankful for God's working through the people in my life who understood His command to

Tell the whole World about Jesus,

Everywhere you go,

as Rose says. And I try to remember when I am discouraged that I may never know who really hears the words about Jesus that I may say or what the impact in their lives may be just as those two women never knew how their words affected my life.

Rebecca is gathering posts related to the Gospel every Tuesday and Friday in the month of October. Go visit her for the guidelines and to see the links she's already posted.

Today's the Day!

What day? Well, its Charlie's 13th birthday! A very important day at the cottage! Here's a photo of him in his younger days. What a sweetie he was back then and he's just gotten sweeter each year. So Happy Birthday, Charlie! We love you...but you still only get your prescription dog food today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Indian Summer

Yesterday was surely the peak of our Indian Summer...84 degrees! What a gorgeous afternoon on the lake! This morning is sort of overcast and the forecast is only for partly sunny skies and a high of 79 degrees with rain tonight. I think our Indian Summer is on the way out but it has been a lovely last few days! Perfect timing for Andy to have a few days off.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Thee will I cherish, thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul's glory, joy, and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fair are the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fair is the moonlight,
And all the twinkling, starry host:
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heav'n can boast.

Beautiful Saviour! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and for evermore be thine.

Written by German Jesuits and published in Munster Gesangbuch, 1677
Tune: Crusader's Hymn (a Silesian folk song), arranged by Richard S. Willis

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I love walking in the Fall, just picking up whatever leaves catch my eye. The maples are lovely right now and the brown oak sets off those brighter colors perfectly.

Friday, October 10, 2008

On the Boat

Yesterday was gorgeous here in Crystal Lake, IL. Sunny skies of that special blue that only seems to come in Fall and a high of 70 degrees. My idea of perfect weather! So it was out on the boat for us, doing some fishing and just relaxing on the water. All three of us. Charlie loves that fresh breeze in his hair as much as Andy or me!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Old gears,
Plodding along,
Working together

For more 15 Words or Less Poems, visit Laura Salas.

My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest upon unchanging grace;
In ev'ry rough and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, his covenant, his blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When I shall launch in worlds unseen,
O may I then be found in him;
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

Edward Mote, 1834
Tune: Solid Rock, William B. Bradbury, 1863

Rebecca's theme for the month of October is simply the Gospel. As I've been thinking about what I am going to post related to this theme, I've realized that almost all of the hymns that I love relate back to the subject of the gospel. That is as it should be because it is true that my life, as well as my hope, is built on nothing less.

If you'd like to participate in the theme of the Gospel during this month, visit Rebecca and view the guidelines here.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bleeding Hearts in Fall

I thought my bleeding hearts were lovely in the spring...and they were! But I love the delicate, heart-shaped leaves in fall colors too!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The New Covenant

"For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." Hebrews 9:15

This is my first post on the October theme of The Gospel which is hosted by Rebecca. For other links or to add a post of your own, visit Rebecca Writes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Morning on Crystal Lake

Andy has another few days of vacation to use before the end of the year so, considering the fun we had on our previous camping at home vacation, we decided to do it all over again! This morning, we went fishing on Crystal Lake and I caught this early morning photo.

October's Theme: The Gospel

Rebecca, our "theme queen," has decreed that the theme for the month of October is the Gospel. Here's our assignment from Rebecca:
Post a quote, verse, poem, story, book review, or essay on a subject connected in some way to the gospel, send me (Rebecca, that is) an email with your link, and I’ll link back to your post (or posts) on the next Tuesday or Friday. There are no limits, really, on the form or number of your posts, just the subject.
Not sure what Rebecca is talking about? Check her post here for more information. I can't wait to read all of your posts!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday's Hymn: Ye Holy Angels Bright

Ye holy angels bright,
Who wait at God's right hand,
Or through the realms of light
Fly at your Lord's command,
Assist our song,
For else the theme
Too high doth seem
For mortal tongue.

Ye blessed souls at rest,
Who ran this earthly race,
And now, from sin released,
Behold the Saviour's face,
God's praises sound,
As in his sight
With sweet delight
Ye do abound.

All nations of the earth,
Extol the world's great King;
With melody and mirth
His glorious praises sing;
For he still reigns,
And will bring low
The proudest foe
That him disdains.

Sing forth Jehovah's praise,
Ye saints, that on him call!
Him magnify always
His holy churches all!
In him rejoice,
And there proclaim
His holy name
With sounding voice.

My soul, bear thou thy part,
Triumph in God above;
With a well-tuned heart
Sing thou the songs of love;
Thou art his own,
Who precious blood
Shed for thy good
His love made known.

Away, distrustful care!
I have thy promise, Lord:
To banish all despair,
I have thine oath and word:
And therefore I
Shall see thy face
And there thy grace
Shall magnify.

With thy triumphant flock,
Then I shall numbered be;
Built on th'eternal rock,
His glory we shall see.
The heavens so high
With praise shall ring
And all shall sing
In harmony.

Richard Baxter, 1681
Tune: William Croft (1678-1727), Croft's 136th

Thursday, October 2, 2008

15 Words or Less Poem

Death's seed within life's beauty.
Pluck it, dye it, cover it,
Deny it.

More 15 Words or Less Poems at Laura Salas's.