Friday, February 29, 2008

Bob the Builder

Justin has a firm appreciation for Bob the builder. Last night when we went to bed he was still just a tad bit wired. He'd had a very busy day visiting gramma, then he just could not wake up from his nap. He was being put to bed because his mommy was just getting too tired to deal with his antics and daddy was trying hard to get his work done too. He found his "bob the builder hat" (little yellow hard hat) and was ever so busy being bob. Bob brushed his teeth, bob got on his pajames, but bob well....getting him to bed was a challenge so I asked want a bob story?


So mommy told him a made-up bob story.

Bob the builder was a fine little fellow. He loved to build houses and zoos and mini golf courses too.
he had friends like lofty, and dizzy and scoop and elmer fudd....hold're in the wrong story, you go on get out of here. Okay...he had friends like spud and farmer pickles too.

Well, one day Bob was sitting at home with his crew, wondering what in the world to do.
An old lady called "Bob, Bob help me help me help me please. My kitty has climbed into the trees!"
Bob looked around and then he said "Lofty I think that your the one, to help me get this job done"
So Lofty and Bob went for a drive to see if they could find this kitty alive.

They drove and drove all over town, wanting to get this kitty down.
They spotted that kitty up in a tree, and before you know it 1, 2, 3
Up and up when lofty's crane, up and up into the rain
He stopped beside the little kitty and said oh kitty come to me

The kitty went oh MEOW, I'm too scared to come right now.
Oh Kitty don't be scared, I'll send bob along up stairs.
So up and up Bob he went, he calling that kitty as he went.
the kitty went MEOW, bob said Kitty come right now.

The kitty leapt and down they went.
Back safe at home where the lady wept.
Everyone then was so happy, and now they are all so sappy.

The end. :)

Yes, on the spur of the moment (and after three readings, I was able to make the whole thing rhyme). Justin was delighted, and better yet...he even went to bed. :)


The final two verses of 2 Thessalonians 3 :
16Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Have to admit, Paul comment in verse 17 made me smile. "I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the sign of genuineness in every letter of mine; it is the way I write." Hmm...wonder if his handwriting was as bad as mine. :) It certainly must have been distinctive. :)

Paul closes with a prayer, asking that the Lord of Peace himself grant peace to them at all times in every way. That the Lord be with them. And that God's grace be with them.

Why is it significant to ask for this (peace) for these people? JFB commentator in e-sword mentions that peace is asked for because of the disruptive, disorderly people that had come into the Thessalonican circles. So asking for peace is a form of protection for this church. I like that. It really shows what this church needed.

And Paul is pretty specific, he prays that God himself will give them peace, and that he do so in every way and at all times. No half measures! :)

Peace, it's a difficult path, but it can be ever so successful.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Work for the Kingdom of God

Here is the next section in 2 Thessalonians 3:
6Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. 9It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

13As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good. 14If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. 15 Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.
Hmm... have to admit, I find this passage interesting...This is what Paul has to say in regard to those who are among us, but aren't working to further the kingdom of God. At least that seems to be the context.
that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us.
If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. 11For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.
I read those words and I wonder, how would one define that? Now I suppose in someways it would be relatively easy to figure out. Those members of the church that want to change what the bible says to suit their own agendas, and are doing nothing to further the kingdom of God. Keep away from such folks.

But I guess I wonder, just how would one truly define this?
There are in many churches, folks who are just there. They come, they worship with us, but they don't do much of anything else. Do we stay away from them? OR is it more straight-forward than that. To just stay away from those who are wanting to change things (from biblical standards) and only want to do that. The gossipers and fast talkers who only want change and aren't working to further the church as it is, and who take advantage of what is there. I tend to think it's just the latter.

The commentaries in e-sword said that this meant you need to dis-fellowship them (not sure if that's the right word to use). I have to admit, the idea of kicking someone out of church seems a hard one to do. But at the same time, if someone is not being a true part of the body of Christ, then what's the point of them being associated as being part of it? Especially if they are working against it. Being careful about this would be really important.

Barnes puts it this way:
This is the true notion of Christian discipline. It is not primarily that of cutting a man off, or denouncing him, or excommunicating him; it is that of withdrawing from him. We cease to have fellowship with him. We do not regard him any longer as a Christian brother. We separate from him. We do not seek to affect him in any other respect; we do not injure his name or standing as a man, or hold him up to reprobation; we do not follow him with denunciation or a spirit of revenge; we simply cease to recognise him as a Christian brother, when he shows that he is no longer worthy to be regarded as such. We do not deliver him over to the civil arm; we do not inflict any positive punishment on him; we leave him unmolested in all his rights as a citizen, a man, a neighbor, a husband, a father, and simply say that he is no longer one of us as a Christian.
The purpose of all this? To make that person ashamed and warn them as a family member. It's not to be nasty. It's not to say my way or the highway, but rather a way of causing that person to stop and consider what they are doing, and if they are doing it wrongly to be ashamed of themselves for being so foolish. This would hopefully call them into true fellowship.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rick Mercer Liberal Song

This is just too funny!

HT to Christian Conservative.

How Did She Train This?

I would love to know how she taught this dog to do that backwards hop walk on its hind legs and then to circle behind her. That is just a really, really cool move.

So then, let us pray

Today we come to the last chapter of the books that Paul wrote to the Thessalonican church. In 2 Thessalonians 3 we read these opening words:
1Finally, brothers pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you, 2and that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 4And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
Paul has prayed for this church. In turn, he asks that they pray for him. He, Silas and Timothy were working at spreading God's word and Paul desires their prayers. He wants them to pray that the word of The Lord will go ahead of them, that the Word of The Lord might be honoured, just like it happened among the Thessalonican people.

I like how Barnes put it in E-sword
The idea is, that it might meet with no obstruction, but that it might be carried abroad with the rapidity of a racer out of whose way every hindrance was removed. The gospel would spread rapidly in the earth if all the obstructions which men have put in its way were removed; and that they may be removed should be one of the constant subjects of prayer.
and then Henry as well
This was the great thing that Paul was most solicitous about. He was more solicitous that God's name might be sanctified, his kingdom advanced, and his will done, than he was about his own daily bread. He desired that the word of the Lord might run (so it is in the original), that it might get ground, that the interest of religion in the world might go forward and not backward, and not only go forward, but go apace. All the forces of hell were then, and still are, more or less, raised and mustered to oppose the word of the Lord, to hinder its publication and success. We should pray, therefore, that oppositions may be removed, that so the gospel, may have free course to the ears, the hearts, and the consciences of men, that it may be glorified in the conviction and conversion of sinners, the confutation, of gainsayers, and the holy conversation of the saints. God, who magnified the law, and made it honourable, will glorify the gospel, and make that honourable, and so will glorify his own name; and good ministers and good Christians may very well be contented to be little, to be any thing, to be nothing, if Christ be magnified and his gospel be glorified. Paul was now at Athens, or, as some think, at Corinth, and would have the Thessalonians pray that he might have as good success there as he had at Thessalonica, that it might be as well with others even as it was with them.
We need to pray for those who labour among us, but not only here in our churches, but for those who labour elsewhere. I have friends on the mission fields out in Africa and England, it is so important to pray for what they are doing. E-letters remind me frequently of the work they are doing and how important prayer is.

Paul continues by asking for prayer that they be delivered from the wicked and evil men around them. Not all people are people of faith. But God on the other hand...he is faithful. He will establish us and guard us against the evil one.

Paul expresses his confidence in the Thessalonican people and the work that God is doing among them. That they are doing and will continue to do all they command as men of God. he prays that God will continue to direct their hearts to God's love and the steadfastness of Christ.

It all comes down to prayer doesn't it?
How we must pray for each other. For God's word to be spread, for evil to opposed, for his church to be established, and for God to do his work in the hearts of his people. So then... let us pray.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stand Firm!

The boy child is napping, the laundry doing it's thing, the bunnies are all cared for, I've facebooked my Sunday School student with next week's lesson and Sassy has been let in the house. Ah...I have time to do my devotions! :)

Ending 2 Thessalonians 2 today.
13But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

16Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

It's odd, Jim's been preaching through Galatians lately and that is what my Sunday School student and I are basing lessons on, so I've just come from Paul's despair over the Galatian church to his love and appreciation for the Thessalonican church. Such a difference. Don't think I would have noticed it before if I hadn't done this jumping from one to another. Shows the differences in churches doesn't it?

Anyways, the start of this chapter, which I talked about here, had Paul reminding this church that ultimately, God is in control. The man of lawlessness will come, but just by breathing he will be destroyed by Christ.

Now Paul moves on to talking about how God loves them.
See this:
"God chose you as the first-fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth".
Now isn't that clear? First-fruits -- the first chosen. And it is a choice. GOD's choice. God choses those whom he would save. He saves us through the sanctifying work (the work to make us holy) of the Holy Spirit. We are enabled by the Spirit to believe the truth.

He calls us through the gospel being presented. When we are effectively called by the gospel we get the glory of Christ! So then says Paul... STAND FIRM!

What are they to stand firm to? That which was taught to them by Paul. Not to listen to these outsiders coming in trying to mess up what they know to be true. They know that Christ is coming back. They know that the man of lawlessness needs to put in an appearance first. They know that God is ultimately in control. So Stand firm to what they know to be true.

oh my...this holds so true for the church today as well. So many outside influences trying to tell us what to believe and why what we believe isn't the whole truth. We need to say (and be told) to stand firm to what we know to be true. I need to do this as well. :) To not just rely on my hubbie to keep me firm to what I know, but to look at what I've been taught, and what I know God's word says and not let myself be influenced by those around me...who just might not have my best interests at heart. :)

Paul closes this chapter with a prayer that God and Christ Jesus himself provide the church with eternal comfort and hope through the grace he bestows on us. May the church be comforted in their hearts and established in the good they do.

ah..those words of comfort...and they are.
To know that one can depend upon what one knows to be true of God. To have his grace comfort our very selves. It helps one to stand firm and to be established in the good they do.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sparks Sunday

This is our cat Sparks.
He is doing his normal chilling on the couch at street-side window.
He is unaware that Jim is sneaking up on him.

He has become aware now! :)

What can I say, part of being in a household of folks who like to mildly tease their critters. :)

Tiger Soup

Proof that I haven't lost my touch at making up stories for children completely on the spot! :) I used to be a favourite babysitter for many children because I told relatively good, on the spot, bedtime stories to the children I cared for. If they didn't go to "Annette stories", so I had good children, easy to put to bed for the most part. Every story was new and different. I rarely told the same story twice (who can always remember them?) but they always kept the children wondering what happening next. When I told Justin this story his response was "tiger tail gain" "read tiger tail gain!"

Once upon a time, a long long time ago there lived a little cat. Now Little cat lived with his mommy and daddy and all his sisters and brothers in a bush. They had a nice little house and a nice little farm right in the middle of the bush. Like all little cats, Little Cat very hard to be a good little cat, but sometimes.... sometimes he was very naughty.

One day, he was so naughty his mommy told him, "Little Cats make tiger soup. Be careful little cat or you will make tiger soup!"

Little cat decided that he did not want to be tiger soup! He wanted to be a little cat! So he tried ever so hard to be a good little cat. all little cats are prone to do...Little cat again made a big mistake, he was a bad little his mommy said "little cats make good tiger soup! Be careful little cat!". Little cat knew that mommy was serious...that if he was really bad one more time HE would be tiger soup! AHH!!! Little cat did NOT want to be tiger soup so he tried ever so ever hard to not be bad.

BUT ONE DAY>>>> Little cat made a fearsome mistake. He jumped out a tree to pounce on a leaf on top of the chicken house and it BROKE!!! All the chickens got outran around saying Bawk, bawk, bawk! Daddy was NOT happy. For you see, Daddy had told him NOT to ever jump on the chicken coop. He said "naughty little cats make good tiger soup". Mommy was NOT happy. Little cat was scared. Mommy cat said "Bad little cats make good tiger soup!"

Little cat was scared. He said "mommy mommy I'll do anything I don't want to be tiger soup!"
But his mommy said. "Little cat, you were bad, it's time to make tiger soup. I need carrots for that tiger soup. Go get me some."
So little cat went and got his mommy some carrots.

Mommy said "Little cat, I need some parsley too".
So little cat went and got his mommy some parsley too.
he was getting very scared...what would mommy want in the soup next????

"Little cat...I need some barley to, go fetch me some". "Quickly now" added mommy when she saw Little Cat pause at the door looking back at her.
So Little Cat hurried off to find some nice barley for his mommy. He got it all nice and clean and brought it back to him mommy. And he said, "mommy, is that all you need to make the tiger soup?"

But his mommy said..."NO little cat, You need to make the tiger soup. And we need one more thing".
"but mommy!!!!" wailed little cat, "I don't want to be tiger soup! I promise I'll be good!"

His mommy said "little cat, you are not going to BE tiger soup. But you are going to MAKE it!"
"Make it? Make it?" said little cat incredulously! "I am NOT going to be Tiger Soup? I just get to make it?!!?!?!?!!?"
Mommy said "YES, you are going to make it. Now... go deep into the bush, under the hedge, over the lion's den deep into the swamp and get me some tiger tails. Now go!" ordered mommy pointing to the door.

So Little Cat gathered up his courage, and set off into the bush.
He crawled under the hedge.
He slipped over the lion's den.
He slithered into the swamp.
He quickly gathered the tiger tails and then rushed back to his mommy as quick as he could.

Then he learned WHY little cats NEVER wanted to be so bad that they had to make tiger soup. Tiger tails were awful. When you cleaned them they stuck to your fur. They made your eyes get all watery and they stank something fierce. Little cat was crying and wailing by the time he got them all cleaned up and put into the soup pot.

He hoped he was all done but Mommy said to him "Little cat, now you stir that soup until it is all done."
So Little Cat stirred and stirred and stirred until the soup was all cooked. It was just awful, he sneezed, he coughed, he wiped his eyes, and his paws stuck to the spoon. It was just awful.

Then when the soup was all done, mommy said, "Little Cat, now you eat that that soup all up." That soup was good and yet very very bad. and while he was eating it all up Little Cat decided
then and there he would not be a disobedient little cat, he would be a good little cat and not be bad anymore.

The end.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ultimately, God is in Control

Today we start reading the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians. In the ESV the first section (first 12 verses) of this chapter is entitled "the Man of Lawlessness". I sometimes find section headings helpful and at other times, not quite so. This time it did as it gave me a good idea as to where this section was going. :)
1Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. 9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Paul addresses a real concern for the Thessalonican people. They were becoming alarmed by what some folks were telling them. Whether it be by "by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us" Paul reassures them that the day of the Lord has not yet come.

Then he tells them that the "man of lawlessness" must put in an appearance first. He then proceeds to tell them what such an individual will look like.
  • the son of destruction
  • opposes every so-called god or object of worship
  • exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship
  • proclaims himself to be God
  • will be revealed for who he is
  • is an activity of Satan
  • is a strong delusion sent by God for those who refuse to listen to the truth
This one must come first.
THEN Christ will come, and by his coming destroy the man of lawlessness by his breath.

I have to admit...I don't understand verse 6-8 very well. All I understand is someone is being restrained by some force until the timing is right. The commentaries I read weren't much help either! :) If you have any insight, please, feel free to share. :)

What I mostly get when I read these verses is an assurance that GOD is in control. Yes, Satan has "his stuff" that he is doing in his opposition of God, but when push comes to shove at the end times....all Jesus Christ has to do is breathe and all that lawlessness will become NOTHING! All the anger and hostility that surrounds us just goes. Pretty cool huh?

Joke of the Day

Sales Competition

The shopkeeper was dismayed when a brand new business much like his own opened up next door and erected a huge sign which read 'Best Deals'.

He was horrified when another competitor opened up on his right, and announced its arrival with an even larger sign, reading 'Lowest Prices'.

The shopkeeper was panicked, until he got an idea. He put the biggest sign of all over his own shop - it read... 'Main entrance'.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How to Pray for the Persecuted Church

The final verses of 2 Thessalonians 1 read as follows:
5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, 12so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Thessalonican church was undergoing persecution. This was not an easy time for them. So Paul writes to offer them some consolation.
Why are they undergoing this persecution?
  1. God might consider them worthy of the kingdom of God (v5)
  2. God considers it just to repay the evil being done to them (v6)
  3. God will reward the suffering with rest when Christ comes again (v7-8)
  4. God will have his vengeance on those who don't believe and don't obey him (v8)
  5. So that God can make them worthy of his calling (v11)
  6. So that God can by his power fulfill every resolve and every work of faith (v11)
  7. So that the name of Jesus be glorified in the lives of his people (v12)
This is why we undergo persecution. It is for our greater good and for the advancement of the kingdom. It allows God to act in all kinds of ways in our lives. Gives a bit of a different perspective doesn't it?

But like Paul did for the Thessalonican church, I do must pray for my fellow believers who are undergoing persecution. That they might know God is at work. That they might know that God will have his vengeance on those who are against him. That they might be steadfast in their faith.

Knowing that I should emulate Paul in this regard I thought... I don't know many folks who are being actively persecuted so I thought I'd do some browsing.
These will give me places to go when I wish to pray for the persecuted church. Kinda neat how these resources are provided for us so easily with the web isn't it? :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cinnamon French Toast Sticks and Sausage

For the Recipe Round-up I present

Cinnamon French Toast Sticks with Sausage

1 cup Blueberries
6 ea Bread, mixed-grain (includes whole-grain, 7-grain)
2 Tbsp Butter, whipped
1 tsp Cinnamon
7 ea Egg Whites
1 ea Egg, Whole, Large
1/2 cup Milk, 1% milkfat
1 1/2 lb Sausage, turkey, hot, smoked
1 cup Strawberries
1/2 cup Syrups, maple
1 tsp Vanilla extract

Preparation Instructions:
Cut each slice of bread into 3 equal sticks. Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. arrange bread slices to fit in single layer in dish, sprinkle with cinnamon. In a bowl, beat egg whites and egg with milk, syrup, butter and vanilla just until blended. Pour evenly over the bread. Bake immediately OR cover and refrigerate several hours. Preheat oven to 350. Bake uncovered 30 minutes or until firm to the touch. Garnish with fruit. Serve hot. Cook sausage and serve with french toast.

John Calvin

Which theologian are you?
created with
You scored as John Calvin

Much of what is now called Calvinism had more to do with his followers than Calvin himself, and so you may or may not be committed to TULIP, though God's sovereignty is all important.



John Calvin


Karl Barth


Martin Luther


Friedrich Schleiermacher


Jürgen Moltmann


Jonathan Edwards


Paul Tillich




Charles Finney


Bernese Moutain Dog

image from:Gowans dog is envy

Take this test!
No bones about it, you're a good-hearted, people-loving Bernese Mountain Dog. Down-to-earth and loyal, no one works or plays harder than you do. You put your nose to the grindstone when it really counts, but you never neglect your social calendar. Simultaneously strong and sweet, you're very tuned-in to the feelings and needs of the other dogs you run with. Without having to be asked, you always have a helping paw to lend and a sympathetic shoulder to lean on. "Communication" is your middle name, and when that's paired with your unswerving devotion, you get a breed that everyone respects and trusts. Woof!

Joke of the Day

Behaviorist Solution

Joe has been seeing a psychoanalyst for four years for treatment of the fear that he had monsters under his bed.

It had been years since he had gotten a good night's sleep. Furthermore, his progress was very poor, and he knew it. So, one day he stops seeing the psychoanalyst and decides to try something different.

A few weeks later, Joe's former psychoanalyst meets his old client in the supermarket, and is surprised to find him looking well-rested, energetic, and cheerful.

"Doc!" Joe says, "It's amazing! I'm cured!"

"That's great news!" the psychoanalyst says. "You seem to be doing much better. How?"

"I went to see another doctor," Joe says enthusiastically, "and he cured me in just ONE session!"

"One?!" the psychoanalyst asks incredulously.

"Yeah," continues Joe, "my new doctor is a behaviorist."

"A behaviorist?" the psychoanalyst asks. "How did he cure you in one session?"

"Oh, easy," says Joe. "He told me to cut the legs off of my bed."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How is Your Faith Growing?

3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
These two verses from 2 Thessalonians just grab my attention. Why? Because Paul thanks God because their faith is growing abundantly and they are loving each other more and more.

Just stop and think about that for a moment.
These are young believers who are eager to know God. They want to grow in the knowledge of him. They aren't content to just sit back and let someone else do all the teaching and learning. They are right there, wanting to know God more. They are right there loving each other and learning how to do it better.

I read that and I think...this is how it aught to be in the church. People increasing their love for each other. People growing in their faith.

It's no small wonder to me that Paul and his cohorts boast about them to other bodies of believers. This is what the church should be filled with. People eager to grow in their faith and people eager to love each other all the more. That is how to grow believers who are steadfast in their faith despite the "icky stuff" that happens in life.

When I stopped to see what the e-sword commentators had to say about these verses I liked how Clarke put it:
The word ὑπεραυξανει [translated abundantly in ESV] signifies to grow luxuriantly, as a good and healthy tree planted in a good soil; and if a fruit tree, bearing an abundance of fruit to compensate the labor of the husbandman. Faith is one of the seeds of the kingdom; this the apostle had sowed and watered, and God gave an abundant increase. Their faith was multiplied, and their love abounded; and this was not the case with some distinguished characters only, it was the case with every one of them.
Can you imagine being part of a church where EVERY SINGLE member of the church was growing in their faith? A church where their love for each other was seen in the larger community? That is a church to thank God for. That is a church to talk about. :)

Oh...that I might help build my church to be like this too! :)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Contest Entry

Mummymac over at Home but not alone is doing a monday give-away. To enter this weeks contest for a carpenter and wood game, please go here to enter.

The Start of 2 Thessalonians

Today as we delve into 2 Thessalonians let us start with the first couple of verses.
1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul starts off this book in much the same way he did 1 Thessalonians.

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

Grace to you and peace.

What he does differently here is add "from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" and changes the "the" in God the Father to God our Father.

Little things eh? But doesn't it show the closeness of God more when you refer to God as our Father instead of just The father? Doesn't change anything about God, but it does make God more endearing. :) JFB is responsible for me seeing that! :)

The linking of "God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" is a way of showing the equality between God the Father and his son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

One thing I didn't notice when I was reading 1 Thessalonians was how Paul does not defend his apostleship among the Thessalonican church. Most commentators believe this is due to his close relationship with this church. They knew him to be what he was.

So I read all this and I wonder....what is here for me to apply to my life?
  1. I can call God MY father. he is our father, but that term of endearment is one I can apply as well.
  2. I can see that God and Christ are equal to each otherl.
  3. It must have been nice for Paul to not have to defend himself with the Thessalonican church. They took him for who he was. I too, can accept people for who they are. Give them that same comfort that the Thessalonicans offered Paul.

Accountants vs Engineers

Engineers vs. Accountants

Three engineers and three accountants are traveling by train to a conference. At the station, the three accountants each buy tickets and watch as the three engineers buy only a single ticket.

"How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?" Asks an accountant.

"Watch and you'll see," answers an engineer.

They all board the train. The accountants take their respective seats but all three engineers cram into a restroom and close the door behind them. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the restroom door and says, "Ticket, please."

The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The accountants saw this and agreed it was quite a clever idea. So after the conference, the accountants decide to copy the engineers on the return trip and save some money (being clever with money, and all that). When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the engineers don't buy a ticket at all.

"How are you going to travel without a ticket?" Says one perplexed accountant.

"Watch and you'll see," answers an engineer.

When they board the train the three accountants cram into a restroom and the three engineers cram into another one nearby.

The train departs.

Shortly afterward, one of the engineers leaves his restroom and walks over to the restroom where the accountants are hiding. He knocks on the door and says, "Ticket, please

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Humour in Blogs

Paul Martin pointed my way here to Ecclisiophilist.

And this over at Things are Looking up.

read, be amused, I was. :)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Check this out.

Voice of Vision...really like this valentines post. Makes a body think a bit. :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Introduction to 2 Thessalonians

Not a very long book, 2 Thessalonians followed shortly after 1 Thessalonians. It was was written by Paul to make sure that the Thessalonican church really understood what he meant about the return of the Lord.

Barnes tells us (from e-sword) that :
There is little doubt as to the design for which it was written. Either by a false interpretation of his former Epistle, or by an epistle forged in his name and sent to them, the opinion had become prevalent in the church at Thessalonica that the Saviour was about to appear, and that the end of the world was at hand ....... Correct this impression was the leading purpose of this Epistle. Some people had become alarmed, and were suffering from unnecessary apprehension 2Th_2:2; and some, under the natural belief that labor then was useless, and that property was of no value, had given up all attention to their worldly concerns 2Th_3:10-11; and it was of the utmost importance that the error should be corrected.
I have to admit, I'm a bit leery now of studying this book. I find teachings on the second coming of the Lord a bit ah.... not sure of the word... often conflicting in how people interpret them so they tend to be a bit confusing. I tend not to like confusion. :) But is also known to be eminently practical as well (or at least I see him that way), so perhaps it won't be as daunting as I initially perceived. And Paul does talk about thankfulness and prayer as well so it's not ALL on the second coming of Christ. :)

Tomorrow let's start digging into the meat of this book. :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Posts I Like

Scott from Random Responses did this post "Atheists Evolved from Chickens".

Terry over at New Lumps still makes me laugh with this video clip.

Janice over at Pressing On writes this.

LAF often does stuff that causes me to ponder. This one on Mentoring I liked too.

Ann at holy experience made me consider anew how to bring pain to God. :)

Anyways, I think that will do for tonight. Actually thinking of taking a late night shower and going to bed. So keep well. :)

Challie's Contest

You'll notice the new banner.
Tim Challies has a new contest.
The prizes are as follows:

The Prizes

Three prizes will be awarded as follows:

  • First prize: Five Films Gift Pack: Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story, Inherit the Land: Adventures on the Agrarian Journey, The Eden String Quartet: A Bountiful Blessing, A Journey Home, The Peasall Sisters: Family Harmony.
  • Second prize: New Films Pack: Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story, Inherit the Land: Adventures on the Agrarian Journey.
  • Third Prize: Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story.

Greetings to you

23Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

25 Brothers, pray for us.

26 Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss.

27I put you under oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

These are the last verses from 1 Thessalonians 5. They are Paul's final words in his letter to his church that he so loved.

First he offers a prayer for them. That the God of peace himself will sanctify them completely, and that God might keep them blameless. God, who is faithful, will do this.

Wesley from e-sword, explains this suchly:
And may the God of peace sanctify you - By the peace he works in you, which is a great means of sanctification. Wholly - The word signifies wholly and perfectly; every part and all that concerns you; all that is of or about you. And may the whole of you, the spirit and the soul and the body - Just before he said you; now he denominates them from their spiritual state. The spirit - Gal_6:8; wishing that it may be preserved whole and entire: then from their natural state, the soul and the body; ...... wishing it may be preserved blameless till the coming of Christ.
Matthew Henry
from e-sword, on God's faithfulness to us:
The kindness and love of God had appeared to them in calling them to the knowledge of his truth, and the faithfulness of God was their security that they should persevere to the end; and therefore, the apostle assures them, God would do what he desired; he would effect what he had promised; he would accomplish all the good pleasure of his goodness towards them.
Paul then asks the Thessalonican church to pray for him, to share his letter with other believers, and to greet each other in a holy manner. He then closes this letter with a benediction of "
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you."

Updates on Prayer

Lydia has the results. The cancer hasn't spread! YEAH!!! :) She still has to undergo chemotherapy because of her age and family history. BUT this is good news! :) She's still weak from surgery but is at home again.

Dad has an ultrasound for the beginning of March to see if more information can be gained to assist a specialist in determining the next step for Dad's care. Something about spurs on his backbone or something or other. Don't quote me as it was a quick conversation with mom last night interspersed with tired silly boy comments on the sidelines.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hitherto Unknown Ways to Traumatize a Cat

Give one cat toy to a toddler. A toy similar to this. :)
Forget that one dog is in the house as well.
One dog that coincidentally likes cat toys as much as a NON-traumatized cat does.

Consider ... jealousy levels of one dog.
Consider... ineptitude of toddler handling cat toy.

Consider.... I really tried for the wide-eyed terror look...but this was a best I could do. One cat very carefully watching where one dog was (behind me with a stern Sassy leave it), while watching out a boy child crawling behind sofa to give "toy" to cat to catch and play with.
We ended up settling for one toddler having his beloved Tagu playing with the cat toy, while cat found a safe place elsewhere in the house to hide. :)
End result: Provided humour for grown-ups in the house. :)

Love each other

Continuing in 1 Thessalonians 5 we find these verses:
14And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.
Yesterday we learned that we are to respect and love those who lead and teach us within the church. And we are love each other.

Today Paul expands a bit on that theme. What does it mean to love each other?
  • admonish the idle
  • encourage the fainthearted
  • help the weak
  • be patient with all
  • see that no one repays evil for evil
  • seek to do good to everyone
  • rejoice always
  • pray without ceasing
  • give thanks in ALL circumstances
  • do not quench the Spirit
  • do not despise prophecies ... but test what is good.
  • hold fast to what is good
  • abstain from every form of evil
That's quite the list isn't it?
And I have to say, it makes sense doesn't it? That loving our leaders and loving our fellow-believers encompasses all these things.

I could admittedly probably talk about each of these things forever. Because there's lots to be said about them all. But that would never get me out of 1 Thessalonians, so how's that for laziness today. :)

But love overall is not easy. It takes effort. Just think about it.... love means admonishment and encouragement. It means being patient. It means not shrugging things off. It means working at knowing what is good and holding on to it. It means standing in the way of someone who wants to get revenge, and standing in the way of yourself when you want to do stuff you aught not. It means listening to the Spirit of God within ourselves. This is not for the lazy! It's work, real work.

But then again recall that love is not a feeling, it's an act of the will.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Contest Entry

Mummymac over at Home but not alone is doing a monday give-away. To enter this weeks contest for a carpenter and wood game, please go here to enter. :)

Respecting the Leadership

In the last section of 1 Thessalonians I find these verses:
12We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.

I know that I won't get through this all today. :) So will just take the first couple of verses.

I read a statistic somewhere that being a pastor is considered one of the most dangerous jobs out there for the mental health of a person. There are HUGE numbers of pastors who are forced out of ministry due to poor health, mental breakdown, and so forth. Some pastors are driven out of churches that are known to be pastor killers. So when I read this verse:

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.
I had to wonder if too many people have forgotten this. We are commanded of God, it's just Paul saying it here, to respect those who teach us, those who have been placed in authority over us by God. They are there to teach, to lead, and to admonish. And we are to respect them and love them because of the work they do for us.

Of course, to respect one's leadership one needs to know who they are. Do I know who all the leaders are in my church? I'm fortunate in that I attend a small church, but even so, sometimes I'm left wondering....who are the elders this term? who are the deacons? Of course I know who my pastor is.... I live with him. :) But it's a good thing to think well do I know my pastor and the other church leadership? In that knowing, do I come with an attitude of wanting to respect them for what they do? For what God has called them to? For make no doubt about it, GOD puts them in the position that they are in.

How do I show my love to them? Do I criticize? Do I compliment? Do I acknowledge the good that they do? Do I see them for the men of God that called has called them to be? How do I keep myself from helping to add to the statistic of pastor burn-out and stress? Just how do I show love? Do I want to get to know them -- to get to know more how to offer support, and to know more how to offer love in meaningful way?

A pastor's job is more than preaching a sermon. A deacon's job is more than counting money. An elder's job is more than doing a yearly house-visit and shaking the pastor's hand. They are there to teach and to admonish and to work among us. Not just for us, but among us. They don't do all the work, but the work they do should be respected. And they should be loved for doing it.

We are to love one another. And that's what it all comes down to. Let's love each other.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Our girlie Sassy

This is our girl Sassy. She is really very much my dog.

For the last couple of weeks I've been wanting to do a post on Sassy. She's done a few things lately which have caused me to feel so much pride for her.

1. She is a well-behaved dog. She knows lots and lots of things. Such as hand-signals to move to the left or right. Comes such as one-side, heel, wait, and so forth. And of course her favourite... where's the cat? :) This is, of course, said cat. Sparks is a large, lazy tom cat. Who when HE hears "where's the cat" immediately decides that not being visible would be a good idea. :) It makes us laugh. Sassy can seemingly be lost to the world, dog dreaming, and we can very quietly say... Sassy, where's the cat, and immediately she perks up her ears and looks around with this intense.....where's that cat so I can BUG HIM? :)

Lately Sassy and Justin have been ganging up on the cat. We don't really encourage this ganging up but we do allow it for 5 minutes or so...Just until Sassy starts to bark. :) We DON"T want her barking at the cat as the cat is family, squirrels on the other get barked at THEY are NOT family. :) But I digress....

2. Sassy has a strong tendency to not appreciate rude dogs at all. She is VERY quick to remind them that proper dogs don't rush into each other's space and so forth. We do not encourage this behaviour since in today's legal climate having a dog tell off another dog can land said non-dangerous dog in trouble in the province of Ontario.

Over the past couple of weeks she has met no less than four rather rude dogs. She was VERY good and very patient with them. One bichon that pulled the glove off it's owner and came bounding over with full intent to do what he likes to do...pounce on dogs. Sassy just turned her head and circled away so that I could catch him. One lab...same dog twice, being a typical young lab with "i have no brain And I got away from you!". Here I thought was major trouble waiting to happen as labs tend to bounce first and ask questions later... and Sassy stared this dog to a stand still and then said hi as friendly as could be, let me catch dog and return to apologetic owner. Of course second time around...I got a growl from her, but I did figure a growl is better than a snarl, and dumb owner should have had a better grip on young over-eager lab. :) Fourth time I think was just sheer wisdom on Sassy's part. We were walking along, minding our own business and a pack of young shepherds burst out of a house. I thought we were toast! One of these four shepherds was quite determined to get one of us, but I put that one of us behind me and acted big and tall and scary! Finally male owner (female was a bit of an idiot) whistled up the dogs and we left thanking God that nothing nasty happened. Sassy was an angel just standing quietly behind me. NOT doing her what would be normal for her....stand back "mom" I can handle this. :) She listened! She was VERY VERY good. :)

3. She's a game dog. As in she's game to try anything and do anything with me. From learning to jump after sticks into deep water (this was hard for her), to learning to play agility with me, to learning some freestyle moves and to learning to cope with a toddler in the house (having to share me). All stuff for a dog to learn and do and .... she's a good dog.

So I have a good dog. A dog I can be proud of.

For lots more doggy tales and information on how you can add yours to the "Dog Days of February" collection, go to Rebecca Writes who is featuring all things canine this month.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Justin watches this over and over and over again

A Question Asked

My Jim asks a good question here. Go check it out and tell him what you think.

I'm inclined to agree with Matthew Henry et al.

Children of the Light

The ESV breaks this chapter down into two large sections, 1-11 and 12-28. I don't know if I will be able to get through all those sections in one day, but I'll see what I get to. :) With that said, here's the first section.
1Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Hmm... A closer reading of this chapter seems to say less to me about what the coming of the Lord will be and more about how we should live as Christians.

Paul reminds his readers of what the coming of the Lord will be:
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
But he goes to tell his readers that they are not night dwellers to be surprised by a thief, they are people of the day. They are the Children of the light.

And what are Children of the light? They are awake and sober, they are watchful, they are people who put on the breastplate of faith and love, the helmet of the hope of salvation, they are a people destined to obtain salvation through Christ! That is who they are so now all they need to do is encourage each other and build each other up as they await the return of the Lord.

I had to ask myself, what does it mean to put on a breastplate and a helmet? When I went to the e-sword commentaries, they told me they are a sign of battle. So Christians must be prepared for battle. And what is our protection? Our armour is faith, love and hope of salvation. JFB told me that:
The helmet and breastplate defend the two vital parts, the head and the heart respectively. “With head and heart right, the whole man is right” [Edmunds]. The head needs to be kept from error, the heart from sin.
So then, let me protect ourselves with faith, love and the hope of salvation. Let me be alert and be ready for the Lord's return. He is coming, I can be ready, and in the meantime I can encourage my fellow believers and I can build up his church. This is what I am called to in this passage. So let me walk as a Child of the light. :)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Update on my Cousin

So was talking with mom last night.

Lydia (cousin from Holland) had her surgery. They sent the tumour off to be tested. They should know more in a week or so.

She'll have to heal up a bit from surgery and then undergo Chemotherapy.

Docs still don't think it looks to good for her, but we have to continue to wait and see.

Thanks for praying.

It went well

Just a quick post before bed. :)
This morning I posted about a plan for crafts with Justin.

After a busy day today... after getting up at 7 a.m. Justin, after breakfast, helped mommy walk the dog and then get groceries. He actually had two breakfasts this morning because he was just "starving" today. :) Ate a good lunch then had a LONG nap. Had a good supper, Justin helped with the dishes (by sitting in the second sink and running the rinse water) and then we crafted, since mommy was tired of watching donut man and daddy needed a break from him as well (donut man that is, not Justin).

Read the bible story.

Then we Glued black onto a white number one. Justin thought gluing so much fun. :) So after colouring his picture, in purple -- all over the place, we glued cotton balls onto the clouds. :)

Then we read the bible story again. Justin helped. :)

Before bed we practiced light on and dark on. See God made the light, God made the dark. When we prayed he even thanked God for the light on. :) Made me smile he did. So yeah! Justin learned something AND we had fun crafting together.

Award - E for Excellence

Back in December, Holly awarded me this. :) Surprised me as I tend not to think of what I do here as excellent, I see what other bloggers do and how they put things and I tend to think they do a whole lot better job of it.

Here's what I'm to do if I accept this award:
By accepting this Excellent Blog Award, you have to award it to 10 more people who’s blog’s you find Excellent Award worthy. You can give it to as many people as you want but please award at least 10. Thank you out there for having such great blogs and being such great friends! You deserve this! Feel free to award people who have already been awarded…
The query then of course is who do I award this to, and then to me comes the question...would they even notice? :) Not that I suppose it matters if they notice...or does it? I really want to delve into that one today? :) I do though what to note people that perhaps haven't been noted before, for this award or that perhaps I haven't noted in the past.

1. Voice of Vision. The more I read the posting of JD Hatfield, the more I appreciate his wisdom. He writes good stuff. Not a whole lot of fluff in there.
2. My Hubby. Doesn't post all that often, and he mixes in fluff with other stuff. But the other stuff is usually worth thinking about, and the fluff can often make a body laugh. :)
3. Connie at Practicing Theology. I've really appreciated her discernment postings. I would like at some point to use them with Justin. Solid down to earth thinking woman.
4. Rebecca. What do I like about her? She is solid in her beliefs, and she's the queen of links and pulling people together on her blog. Sunday Hymns, recipes, weather, dogs you name it, she's probably done it. :)
5. Sallie at A Gracious Home. Sallie is open about parenting, her faith, her queries. I like much of what she does, not all of course, but sometimes that's the point. :) Her girlie is a bit younger than my boy child so it's fun to see/watch her daughter grow up as my boy does. :)
6. Pure Church. Solid posts, makes a person think, knows God well. :)
7. I do appreciate Vicki over at Windows to my Soul. A lady with a heart for God.
8. Musing of a Prairie Girl. A homeschooling mom talks about her faith, her children and so forth. I have learned from her. :)
9. Debtor2Mercy. Her family, her faith. Makes me laugh, makes me think, not all posts are solid, but then again, neither are needs to include fluff as well doesn't one? :)
10. My lady Jen. Doesn't post as frequently as in the past. Appreciate her muchly. Love her cat does my boy child. See Toby cat? see Toby cat? :) The heart of a Christian lady, shows through in all she does. :)

A Hopeful Plan

One of the things that I want to do with Justin is once a week do some sort of craft with him.
As we are a Christian family I hope to tie some aspect of a bible story or Christian virtue into it. Whether it be from how God has told us we're to care for the earth, or work hard, or the story of Jonah and whale or whatever.

I know that I will use my own intellect, but for the craft portion of things I will be using the resources of others. I have made Children's bulletins for years in church so I plan to use my experience in that field to help me in this one. :) I hope to post them here, giving of course proper reference for ideas gleaned from others, but possibly putting them together in different ways than originally planned by the author.

Being as I am new to this I thought I would start off easy...
1. I'll read the creation story to him. First from the bible, and then from the big picture Story Bible that we have.

2. I'll give him a colouring picture to fill in while explaining dark and light to him. (although he has this down already). :) he loves turning the lights off and on! Darken mom? I found this colouring page that I thought I might use. This picture comes from here.

3. then for a "do it" craft I thought of doing some sort of window craft. Where we have a picture of light and dark, use some construction paper and make this sliding thing where Justin can move the window from light to dark. Or something like that.

OR... even though I don't agree with the Latter-day saints...I thought this craft could be neat as well.

Not sure though if it would be too advanced for Justin though. Might be too fiddly for him.

But I do think it would do two help him with his numbers and also be something I could adapt. Instead of colouring, he can glue. And then we can put them up on a bigger piece of construction paper and then we can talk about them over and over again. :) No reason of course why I can't do both. :)

Anyways, what do you think?

Intro to 1 Thess 5

Today I will be taking a look at 1 Thessalonians 5. It is the last chapter in this book. As normal, today I will be just doing an overview of the chapter, tomorrow I will start looking at it more in-depth.

As I read Chapter 5 I see that it continues with the theme from ch. 4, where Paul is talking about the end times. Paul's approach to it is a bit different though. Rather than assuring his readers of the hope they have in Christ, he reminds them that they should not be surprised when Christ returns, but awake and ready for his return. He again reminds them to show brotherly love toward each other.

This line leads into his next section where he tells them how to live as brothers to each other. He covers such things as respecting the church leadership, and helping our fellow believers in a variety of ways from delivering admonishment to just being patient.

He then closes off the letter by greeting then and making them promise to read the letter to the whole church.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Update on Prayer List

Here is the promised update on my prayer list.

I haven't heard from Jen how that lady we're praying for is doing.

My Dad. Okay..when dad was in hospital for his hip re-replacement he had some issues with blood clots. It seems that those are haunting him now. Those big clots were replaced with millions of tiny clots which cause swelling in his veins which puts pressure on nerves which cause pain. It could eventually stabilize OR could get worse. Either way, it's been deemed too risky to do anything about it for him. They thought is also that his tummy troubles are due to arthritis and just how nerves are connected in the body. He'll be undergoing some additional tests to see if more answers can be found.

I have heard nothing further of my uncle.

I have heard nothing further on my dutch cousin either. Oh on....she will be undergoing chemotherapy sometime by the end of the week. Her surgery should be today or tomorrow. At least that's what I think was jumbled in the last call I had with mom.

Lots of stuff going on in the family right now. Keeping it all straight can be a challenge.

Hope in death for the believer

today we will cover the last 5 verses of 1 Thessalonians 4.
13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words.
This summer we had a young man die, he was not part of our congregation, he was not, as far as we know a believer, his mom knows there is a god, but she doesn't attend church except occasionally, so it's not like there's a lot of depth to her belief. Her grief is very deep. She hopes that her son is "in a good place". But she doesn't know, and this adds to her pain of loss. When I read these verses I think of her. And then I think of cousins of mine who lost their son, just a lad, and the grief they feel and they are a bible-believing family, they have this loss but mixed with it they have some hope that their son is in heaven.

There is that joy when a believer dies, mixed with sorrow yes, that death has occurred, but joy that this one soul is resting now with Christ.

Paul wants his church, these Thessalonican believers to fully be informed about what happens to believers when they die. As Clarke tells us:
1. He asserts, as he had done before, that they who died in the Lord should have, in virtue of Christ’s resurrection, a resurrection unto eternal life and blessedness.
2. He makes a new discovery, that the last generation should not die at all, but be in a moment changed to immortals.
3. He adds another new discovery, that, though the living should not die, but be transformed, yet the dead should first be raised, and be made glorious and immortal; and so, in some measure, have the preference and advantage of such as shall then be found alive.
Believers will be with the Lord when they die. Believers who have died will be raised first, and then those who are left. Believers will always be with the Lord. We will. God's word promises it. Therefore we need to encourage each other.

Death, for a believer is not something to be feared. There is hope. So our sadness at the time of death need not be over-whelming, as if there is nothing to joy in, to hope in, but a time of knowing that this believer is now with the Lord.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Dealing with the Angst within

Moving along in 1 Thessalonians 4, we come to these verses:
9Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.
Paul tells this group of believers that he doesn't have to tell them how to love each other. They already do what they have learned from God. In fact, they show brotherly love to all the believers throughout Macedonia. BUT Paul adds this it more and more and more. And as you show brotherly love more and more and more...make it a goal to live quietly and to not be gossips and busybodies, and to work hard. If they do this then they will be walking properly with God and not be dependent on anyone.

When I was reading over what Matthew Henry had to say about this passage in e-sword I realized that this fits in well with a query I had of Jim last night. 1. is having angst sin? (yes) 2. why? (because shows you are not trusting God) 3. so how does one not have angst? (he didn't answer that as it was rather late at night).

BUT when I read over what Matthew Henry said, I thought you know...this makes sense. Here are his words concerning vv 9-12
Of quietness and industry in their callings. Observe, 1. The apostle exhorts to these duties: that they should study to be quiet, 1Th_4:11. It is the most desirable thing to have a calm and quiet temper, and to be of a peaceable and quiet behaviour. This tends much to our own and others' happiness; and Christians should study how to be quiet. We should be ambitious and industrious how to be calm and quiet in our minds, in patience to possess our own souls, and to be quiet towards others; or of a meek and mild, a gentle and peaceable disposition, not given to strife, contention, or division. Satan is very busy to disquiet us; and we have that in our own hearts that disposes us to be disquiet; therefore let us study to be quiet. It follows, Do your own business. When we go beyond this, we expose ourselves to a great deal of inquietude. Those who are busy-bodies, meddling in other men's matters, generally have but little quiet in their own minds and cause great disturbances among their neighbours; at least they seldom mind the other exhortation, to be diligent in their own calling, to work with their own hands; and yet this was what the apostle commanded them, and what is required of us also. Christianity does not discharge us from the work and duty of our particular callings, but teaches us to be diligent therein.
He has more to say, but I thought this would do. :)
We need to be quiet within. If we work at it, then we are mindful of ourselves, not of others. We are mindful of what God wants and not busy-ing ourselves with concerns of others that aren't our concerns. And if we do that...than our "angst" within will decrease.

Pretty cool I thought. Neat how God puts a thought in our brains and then helps us answer it too! :) So I need to work more on being quiet inside as that will help me keep my focus where it aught to be and that will reduce the angst I feel in life. I can do this! Not overnight mind you...but I am only 42...I have a few more years left in me. :)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Personal or Other?

Okay, yesterday I left off feeling very dissatisfied with not knowing JUST the right answer or perspective to take. Can't say I feel a whole lot better today. So I thought I would take a look at the entire passage to see what it would have to tell me.
1Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
Is this word that the ESV translates as body meant to be personal or directed toward your spouse? We already know from Gill that it could mean either, I continued to read through this passage, praying that God would help me understand better this verse popped out at me.
6that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
This made me think of how God in the OT treated fornication and such like severely, and how he would warn people from even thinking about it. (i.e. Abram with Sarai when some king wanted her as part of his harem, not knowing that Sarai was Abram's wife). So in that light I would tend to think that this passage speaks more about how one treats one's spouse rather than just how one treats one's own body.

Given too that the next section in this chapter goes on to talk about how well they already show love toward each other. This section would just cover an area that they were struggling with based on how they lived prior to knowing Christ.

Wesley (via e-sword) tells me that verse six pulls all the preceding verses together:
In this matter - By violating his bed. The things forbidden, here are three: fornication, 1Th_4:3; the passion of desire, or inordinate affection in the married state, 1Th_4:5; and the breach of the marriage contract.
And then of course the closing is that God is the one who handles any violation of his command. Just don't do it folks...don't mess with other folks' marriages. Don't treat your spouse improperly...don't make your passions and your desires more important than your concern and love for them. Just don't do are messing with GOD not with man.