Thursday, June 07, 2012

2 Corinthians 3:17-21 - day by day

2 Corinthians 3:17-21 (ESV)
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Have you ever seriously read the beginning of this chapter?   Where Paul is SO confident in the work he is doing in the Spirit that he sees the Corinthians church as a letter of recommendation?  "You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all."  I read that and it was like wow... what kinds of letters of recommendation do I have in my life?   Where is my confidence in the work that I do?   Do I even have that confidence that Paul has?  Paul is very clear though, his confidence is confidence not in himself but in the work that GOD himself does.    i have to admit it,... I struggle with that.   Though I am getting better!   The more I learn to trust God more deeply, the more I learn to be confident in the work that God is doing in my life and in my family and in my community.   It feels like a painfully show process though.

As I went on through the chapter, reading to get to the verses of the day it became abundantly clear to me why reading verses in context helps make sense of them.   Today's verses talk about God being spirit, and in the spirit of the Lord there is freedom and we can come with unveiled faces to behold the glory of the Lord and that God is transforming us.

Now the whole unveiled faces thing would NOT have made an impact on me if I hadn't just read through Pauls explanation of the difference in how we can approach God and how MOSES had to approach God.  Moses needed to veil his face before the Glory of God, but we don't need to.
   We have a boldness that Moses didn't have, but we are functioning under a different revelation.For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.  We live under righteousness.Not death, not condemnation...but under righteousness...that's what Christ's death did for us.     And through it, God is transforming me.   His Spirit moves within me causes me to be someone different than I was years ago.   Isn't that cool?   He is the one helping me to grow and to change, to see more of him than I used to.  

Just consider these verses 12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.  The veil is removed!   God has given us so much more.    Get to know him folks, see that there is so much more to life than what you've known before.  :)

What does Chuck have to say about these verses?  um.. well.. he talked about his marriage and reaching the stage of transcendent love.   Which didn't resonate with me AT ALL.  it was like what in the world does this have to do with the passage?   ah... Just made a realization... we talking on different passages.. I HATE MY EYES getting old.   I was SUPPOSED to look at 2 Corinthians 5:17-21!17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
    Chucks' words still don't resonate with me in regards to this passage beyond the fact that the Lordship of Christ in their marriage was a pivotal part.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Prayer... when is it important

The other day hubby and I were talking, and he mentioned how he hasn't been sleeping well lately, so I asked him if he'd prayed about it.   His response was that it wasn't a matter of prayer as nothing was bugging him, it was just a pattern he's gotten into lately of not sleeping through the night.

I have to admit to feeling bothered by that.

God has been ramming down my throat lately about the need to trust him more implicitly with EVERYTHING in my life.  He reminds that I often fail to pray about homeschooling, about the rabbits, about my tiredness, about my lack of exercise or willpower with food, my fear of appearing foolish to my friends or neighbours about my growing concern to love them better and to show them God more clearly in my actions and words. 

So when it comes to something as fundamental as our ability to sleep (which affects our relations with family, our ability to work well and clearly) it's like why isn't that a matter to bring before God?

Just because you can't track down why you are in an unhealthy pattern of sleep, doesn't mean that God doesn't want us to talk to him about it.

Even as I write these words I can feel myself convicted of all the times I have taken that same approach, God won't care if I don't talk to him about that.  If I just continue to go my own way and lean on my own understanding of a situation.  But that's not what God wants of me.

he wants me to trust in him, to lean on him, to not just see my own wisdom.

Proverbs 3 tells us
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
     fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
    and refreshment to your bones.

The more I see God, the less I fret.

What in your life causes you to fret?   
How can you learn to lean more on God and less on yourself?
Talk to God more, trust yourself less.

Day by Day - Nehemiah 1-6

day by day by Charles Swindoll




before we get into my take on these chapters I would like to take a moment to point out what Mr. Swindoll had to say.

He points out this is a section that should be required reading for all leaders.
  1. Nehemiah had a passion for the project
  2. He had an unswerving confidence in God.
  3. He had the ability to motivate others
  4. He was resilient and patient through opposition
  5. He had a practical, balanced grip on reality
  6. He had a willingness tow work hard and remain unselfish
  7. He had the discipline to finish  the job.
Good points, good things for those in leadership, or contemplating leadership to consider.

When I read through this section of the bible I was struck by Nehemiah's humbleness before God evidenced in his prayer.

  And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father's house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against you and have not kept the commandments, the statutes, and the rules that you commanded your servant Moses. Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’ 10  They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand. 11 O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight to fear your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”

Nehemiah hears of the sad state of the temple in Jerusalem and his first thought is to confess the sins of the people to God.    He praises God for being who he is and then says Oh God...Forgive us your wayward people.   I read these words and I stand convicted.   how Often I KNOW that I am in the wrong and I don't want to admit it.   And yet this passage calls me to so much more.   It calls me all the more to trust in God.   To acknowledge him in all my ways.

Having talked with God about the matter he went before the king and asked permission to rebuild the temple.   That permission was given.  Throughout the whole process though, Nehemiah talked with God.    He prayerfully gathered up the workers needed, he dealt with the opposition, and he set to work.   They were threatened while doing so, so they prayed to God, set a guard and got the job done.   Throughout it all Nehemiah took the time to correct bad things the people were doing.   And so Nehemiah did everything in 52 days, talking with God the whole time.

Makes me think of how little I give of my day to God, how little I fail to talk to him about everything, and how often my prayers seem so dutiful.   May my prayers and conversations with  God be heartfelt and humble, and a good way to show how much he does indeed mean to me.

How much does God mean to you?   Do you know him personally?   Does God really matter to you in your daily life?   Email if you have questions, please. :)  I'd love to help you know him better.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Christian Carnival

this week's christian carnival in random order.

I watched Bill Maher a few times many years ago, so I did not actually watch the show under discussion. Maher, an evangelical atheist, complained about Mitt Romney giving a talk at Liberty University because "a) he's a liar and b) Liberty University isn't really a university." Maher is at some level a comedian, but on another level his speech is often hate-filled toward those he disagrees with. He complains about people of faith who want to spread their ideas and beliefs, yet he does not shy away from sharing his ideas and beliefs.
The Olympic Flame presented by Ridge of Ridge's Blog.
 When I looked at how strategic and important these people believe the Olympic flame is, how carefully they treat it, I began to think how flippant I am about the Holy Spirit."
The Slipping Value of Life shows up via Russ homed at Thinking in Christ
If an alien dropped into one of the super zips today, what would he think about the value we place on life?
 Blood and Death comes to us by way of Greg at InFaith's Mission Blog
While we were studying the life of King David in the Old Testament at Bible club, one girl said to me, “Why are there so many killings and so much blood in these stories?”
Indeed, nearly every story had someone dying a violent death: Goliath and other Philistines, Saul and his sons, Eli’s sons, Amalekites and their king, Uriah the Hittite, Uzzah who touched the Ark of the Covenant, and others that we did not even mention in the stories. I replied, “These are not myths or fairy tales. They are real history. We are telling you truth here, not make believe.” 
Prayers for Meetings is presented by Michael at Prayers for Special Help
Here is a collection of prayers for meetings that I've put together. It is good to have a few prayers prepared if you're hosting a prayer group, bible study, or church get together.
Then sings my soul is brought to us by Charis at Charis: Subject to Change.   
It's a simple message really; Love the Lord, love your neighbour.
Safe Church given by Diane at Crossroads
 Maybe we should look at the old legalism, but do it with a new spirit to make church safer.
Follow these tips to help you be prepared in case you need to file a claim with your home or auto insurance. You can start by making sure you have a...
"While I was reading Robinson I did find some of my efforts to enjoy the sun being thwarted by clouds."
My wife and I have started to get more serious about teaching our children principles of stewardship by providing opportunities for them to earn money and use give, save spend banks.
Does Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist belong in the Christian literary canon?
 Back and forth sayings.   I like these.  :)  Shows the differences between actions and hearts and how they have an affect.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Windows of Wisdom - Proverbs 10:1-6



Windows of Wisdom by Stephen Olford, today's study is on Proverbs 10:1-6.  

 The proverbs of Solomon.
A wise son makes a glad father,
     but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
     but righteousness delivers from death.
The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
     but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
A slack hand causes poverty,
     but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
    but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
    but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
 Back and forth sayings.   I like these.  :)  Shows the differences between actions and hearts and how they have an affect.

I wish I could do a chart! but I don't know how to do that in a blog so we'll make do.

Verse one.  I find it interesting that the author not only show the difference in response that a parent would have to a wise or foolish child...but parental gender is also pointed out.   Wise child - glad father, foolish son - sorrowing mother.     

Verse two: long term view on life: wickedness may bring treasures, but no lasting profit.  Righteousness on the other hand keeps one from death.

Verse three: The Lord himself helps the righteous, but thwarts the wicked.

Verse four: The diligent make their way in the world, the lazy don't.

Verse five: One who works and prepares while work is to be done is prudent, one who does not work is shameful.

Verse six: the righteous are blessed, the wicked hide their violence.

The only problem with back and forth verses is finding the continuity between them.   Though the general over-riding theme is the righteous and the wise will prosper in the long run and the wicked and foolish will not.   There is a seeming disconnect in some of these verses.  Verse four speaks to being diligent, but verse three speaks to God helping the righteous.     They are good verses to learn from and to stand by.    God cares for the righteous and the wise, God does not wish us to be wicked or foolish.

Olford's focus in this section is on diligence that being diligent is a person who is busy doing what needs doing and requires a person to discipline themselves to get things accomplished.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

day by day - James 1: 2-4

As a basis for study, using Day by Day with Charles Swindoll.



James 1:2-4
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Have you ever had passages misused or stuck in your face when going through a hard time?  I have.  This has been one used.  But you should be happy that you are going through this.  Means that God thinks you can handle it, and .....

Makes me want to say ARGH!  :)  

But when you stop and think about it for a while...trials are a help to us, even if at times they seem more like a hindrance.

For instance: I never put much effort into understanding people who deal with migraines...until I suffered one, and now all I do is feel empathy for those who have to live with a head that is filled with that much discomfort regularly.   It's like OUCH.   They are worse than regular headaches.      So that suffering brought about understanding, and that understanding brings about the knowledge that this too at some point shall end.   Knowing there is an end in sight means that someone can bear up under it.

And ultimately in life, there is an end to everything.

If you are a believer in God the end is glory in heaven with God himself.   Ah.. sometimes that thought makes me smile.

If you are not a believer, that end is simple... death and torment with Satan.  Not an end I would wish for anyone.

One of the sadness things I've ever read was a comment from an atheist.   Someone in her family died and so she wrote words to the effect: "we don't believe in God so there is no hope for the future.   Just dead."    All I could think was .. how sad is that.  To not have any hope?   It's like live life, die. the end.   What's the point of that?   I want to know there is something more, and I know there is something more and that gives me a reason to strive to be something more.  I really really want to LIVE.. not just exist like atheists do.. but I really want to live.

Don't you?   Won't you join me in really living?
In knowing that there is something more that is beyond us.  
That the one who created us is calling us to something bigger?   And it starts with just knowing that he is real and then seeking after him.
Have hope.
Know that what you go through in life is preparing you for something more.
You will lack nothing in Glory with God. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Windows of Wisdom - Proverbs 9:1-12

Today's devotional comes from Windows of Wisdom by Olford.




Proverbs 9:1-12

Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
She has sent out her young women to call
    from the highest places in the town,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
     To him who lacks sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
    and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways, and live,
     and walk in the way of insight.”
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
    and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
     reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
12  If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
    if you scoff, you alone will bear it.


Wisdom ...the whole of Proverbs is about gaining wisdom and living in a way that pleases God.

I have to admit, I do have problems seeing wisdom and something that calls and beckons to folk.   Making it like a person.   It's hard imagery for me.

Though I know that being seen as a wise person beckons to me.    I just don't see wisdom as doing the beckoning...more like me seeking after it.   And most of the time thinking that I am failing in it.

So with that understanding, note that I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of wisdom preparing a place for folk to come and become wise.  :)

as the author writes:
Wisdom has built her house;
    she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
She has sent out her young women to call
    from the highest places in the town,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
Regardless of the struggle the picture is placed in front of us, of wisdom wanting to be shared/learned.   That the simple are called to come and learn.

These words speak to me, they say learn to to be wise, learn a better way to live.   Learn more about how to live for God.    
Leave your simple ways, and live,
     and walk in the way of insight.”
     reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
    teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
    and years will be added to your life.
12  If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
 Though I have to admit to wondering about the last line.. of being wise for yourself.    To me what's the point of being wise if you don't share that wisdom?   But then again, one can't truly gain wisdom for others can they?   If you are wise you are wise in yourself, not wise in others and your wisdom can be used for the benefit of others.  (if that makes any sense at all).  :)

I often don't feel wise.
I often feel like I'm blundering about life.
I need wisdom.  I need to fear the Lord.  I need to truly live my life. 
Is that not what the author says?     "Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” (ESV)  the new international version says it this way "Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding."   I want to truly live.

The more I know something, and the more I think on it, the wiser I will be and less blundering through life I will do.   And the place to start with all that is with the fear of the Lord.  I can only fear the Lord properly if I know who he is.

God keeps telling me... TRUST in me with ALL your heart.  Don't lean on your own understanding.   See me in EVERYTHING and I will direct the way you should go.     It's not an easy thing to be hearing all the time because all I see are my own thoughts and plans and how often I leave God out of them and I feel like an abject failure.   I see how I try to teach my boy, but I think too often I try to do so under my own strength and abilities and I am seeing more and more how I need to spend more and more time in prayer just talking with God about everything I do, and think and setting aside more time to just be with him.  (perhaps I am becoming more wise in this hmm?)

It's hard to balance it out you know.. living life and loving up on God and learning from him.   God is helping me learn to be more heavenly minded.

I do have this fear though.....what if I become so heavenly minded that I am no earthly good?   I so want to live a good practical life.  Meeting the needs of others is where my heart lies.  But I also need to meet the needs and demands of God in my life.   God is the more important of the two and I need to trust him to make it all work.   Trusting God is sometimes difficult.

Ah...brain wave... my son lately is worrying about his bedtime and I keep telling him to trust me to make sure he's in bed on time...and he's finding that difficult...hmm...and now I have more understanding into his heart.   This a good thing.   It gives me more empathy for how he is feeling which will help me to help him more.   Cool!   God is good.  

What is God doing  in your life lately?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day by Day - Micah 6:8

Using as a base of Study, Day by Day by Charles Swindoll
 
  

Micah 6:8 (NIV)
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
I learned this verse back when I was in Calvinettes.    It was a girls club in my church.  I think now-a-days it's called Gems.  I couldn't link to the main page as it wouldn't open for me so this wiki page will have to do.

Putting that aside, I find that it is generally not helpful to look at verses without knowing the context so...for some context I'm now including the verses that came before:

6 With what shall I come before the LORD
   and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
   with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
   with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
   the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
Do you ever find in your life that you want to give God something to show him your gratitude for what he has done in your life?   I do.   But because this verse was hammered into me as a child I KNOW what God wants from me.  He doesn't want my stuff, he doesn't want me giving him whatever of my things... it belongs to him anyways.  What he really wants is for me to act in a just manner, he wants to me love dispensing mercy to others, and he wants my humility.    These are the types of things that God wants.

They need to be offered willingly or they aren't truly offered.    And oh man, it is so easy to forget this in the bustle of life.

It's so easy just to say.. okay God I'm going to give you half an hour in the morning and a quick prayer before we eat and that should do you.  But God wants so much more than that.  He wants himself to affect my life.   And to act in just manner, to love mercy, to walk humbly before will take my life ACTION to complete.

Oh that God may bring all this more to the forefront in my life... this is my prayer.   

So what does Chuck have to say about this?

Chuck went on about how there are lists everywhere for all sorts of things, and God has made lists as well.  Lists of things he hates, lists of things he likes and that this is one more list of things that God likes.

I don't know, that list left me wanting something more....

To extend mercy: Chuck took the time to remind us that God has let us know what he wants us from us.   All we must needs to is to exercise wisdom and DO IT.

Let us today: act in a just manner, love to do mercy and to walk humbly before him.  Shall we?    :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Windows of Wisdom - Proverbs 8:32-36

Using as a base of study today Windows of Wisdom by Stephen Olford.



Proverbs 8:32-36    (ESV)

32 “And now, O sons, listen to me:
     blessed are those who keep my ways.
33  Hear instruction and be wise,
    and do not neglect it.
34  Blessed is the one who listens to me,
    watching daily at my gates,
    waiting beside my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life
    and obtains favor from the Lord,
36 but he who fails to find me injures himself;
    all who hate me love death.”
The Proverbs are a bunch of wisdom sayings.  If we play attention to them, they can help us to better live lives pleasing to God.

Today the author is telling us to keep God's ways, to hear his instruction and to not neglect what we are hearing.  We need to be wise in our life.

If I look at the rest of the chapter I see that God created wisdom.  
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
and so we are wise to seek after wisdom, blessed if we do what is wise.    Part of doing that is to listen to instruction and then the heed what we hear.   If we don't we are not wise.  Being wise is a necessity in life...it brings us the favour of God, it brings us to truly living life.     

What the alternative to seeking after wisdom?  We end up injuring ourselves and loving death.   Not something I'm keen on.  :) 

But seriously, what does this mean for practical living.   I know lots of people who don't love the Lord.  And they seem to be living lives of contentment.  I know that in the end, if they fail to find God then they will suffer the second death, they will end up in a place of punishment.  Is this what the author is talking about?   I don't get that impression.    This lack of seeking after wisdom seems to have a more immediacy about it.

God set up the world in such a way that seeking after wisdom should be a part of life.  As believers we know that true wisdom comes from seeking after the things of God.    So if people don't love God or think of him as a part of life, then they are missing out on something vital in life.    So perhaps this is what the author is talking about.  If people don't pursue what should be a natural part of real living, then what's the point really?    It's like an unseen injury to themselves that only becomes truly apparent when they die.

Olford touches on this in his  meditation;
He talks about how we are blessed (happy) if we seek after wisdom and do as wisdom says.   We are happy if we seek (like children) to learn and then to do what we have learned.    And all those who don't seek after wisdom are being self-deceptive and don't truly have happiness.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day by Day - John 17:1-8

Using as a base of Study, Day by Day by Charles Swindoll
  

Today's reading is from John 17:1-8 17 
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
When I first started reading this passage I was drawn to the words "when Jesus had spoken these words.."   I immediately wondered.. what words?  So I went back and looked them up.  In John 16 Jesus had spoken to them about the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and how he would be leaving them and then once they told him they could understand and believed him he replied with 
“Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
This is what had caused Jesus to lift up his head to heaven and then he spoke to God above.   The whole of Chapter 17 is Jesus talking to God his Father.   Jesus knows his work on earth is about done.  He knows it will be a difficult time for him and he needs to talk with his Father.  (at least that's the impression I get).  If you read on in the passage you will see Jesus' concern for the disciples, that God protect them from Satan.    And not only for the disciples but for all those who would come to know and believe in God.   He prays to God for our protection.    Jesus gave us the knowledge of who God truly is, and also prayed to God for our protection.

I feel very humbled when I read these words.  So much aware of how much Jesus loved us, LOVES us, how much he was willing to spend for us to bring us back into right relationship with God.   I how very unworthy of this I feel.   Jesus loves me.   He prayed to God on my behalf to keep me safe.   That to me is a humbling thing.

Swindoll's thoughts on John 17:1-8
He focuses on John 17:4  I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.    Jesus accomplished what he came to earth to do.   And then on the relief it would bring to him to be done and to back in glory with God his Father.

I have to admit, I hadn't thought of things quite in that regard.   Good to see things differently.

Jesus came to earth to accomplish a task - to bring us into right relationship to God and that needed to make sense so he needed to teach the disciples what God was calling him to do.   He taught them, he prayed to God on our behalf out of his deep love for us, and then he looked forward to returning to glory.   Ah...but we are loved and we are led back to God.   This is indeed a good thing.  :)

Monday, April 09, 2012

The Skipper

I watched this over at 22 words this morning. What struck me as how absurd it seems, but he's so willing to talk about something he firmly believes in. How more like him we Christians should be. Willing to talk about our Lord and Saviour much more freely.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Windows of Wisdom - Proverbs 7:1-5

Proverbs 7:1-5 says: (TNIV)
  1 My son, keep my words
   and store up my commands within you.
2 Keep my commands and you will live;
   guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
3 Bind them on your fingers;
   write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
   and to insight, “You are my relative.”
5 They will keep you from the adulterous woman,
   from the wayward woman with her seductive words.

Do you ever think about these words "store up my commands within you".     What that means?

How other translations put it

ESV: My son, keep my words     and treasure up my commandments with you;
Amplified:  MY SON, keep my words; lay up within you my commandments [for use when needed] and treasure them.
CEV:  My son, pay close attention   and don't forget   what I tell you to do. 
ERV:  1 My son, remember my words. Don’t forget what I have told you.
KJV:  1My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee
MSG:  Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions.
NASB:  1 My son, keep my words And treasure my commandments within you.

Keep, pay close attention, do what you are told, remember, lay up, treasure, don't forget

These words are used in conjunction with what God tells us to do.
We need to consider them as importantly as treasure we could find anywhere.

I NEED To consider them as important as my house, my family, my critters, my time alone... I need to treasure God's words into my very own heart and life.

IF I do so...then I will be more readily kept from sin.  I will live as the apple of God's eye.

IMAGINE THAT.   Just take a moment to imagine living in such a way that you know you are the apple of God's eye.   That's what happens when we take God's word and treat it like it's the apple of OUR eye.   Of my eye.  God's word is THAT important.

God's word keeps my path straight.
God's word keeps my ideals where they need to be.
God's word will help me be the kind of mom I really want to be.
God's word will help me be the wife I really want to be.

What do you suppose God's word would help you be?

What does Olford have to say about this text?
"Obedience is love's active response to all the will of God - with joyful anticipation."
- The demands of obedience
    We need to receive God's words and we need to reflect upon them which leads us to relating God's word to our lives.
- the delights of obedience
      We will have vitality and longevity in life if we hold to God's word.
- the dynamics of obedience
   The saying to wisdom you are my sister and to understanding that you are my kin.   I honestly don't get where he was going with that... in calling wisdom your sister is calling for encouragement and understanding as a relative means you are accepting discipline.     I don't get it.   Perhaps others might.     To me these words show the importance of wisdom and understanding.  Just as I hold my family close to me in my heart, so I should hold wisdom and understanding close to my heart.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

bible story books.

We have a number of bible storybooks in our house that we read every night.   Not all the books every night, but we rotate through them.  there are things that I like in each one, and things that I don't like.

The lad's favourite BY FAR is the Big Picture Story bible

And I have to admit, I like this book too.  it has big pictures, simple text and sets out to do what it wants to do.. it presents the big picture of what the bible is doing.. setting out God's love story to us and how Jesus in woven throughout it.  From Amazon's page.
Presents the big picture of the Bible to children ages 2-7 through easy-to-read stories and striking illustrations. Now includes an audio reading of the book. No child is too young to begin learning about the greatest love story of all-Gods love for his people, as portrayed in the Bible. David Helm and Gail Schoonmaker have together created a colorful book of Bible stories written especially for children ages 2-7. Rather than simply retelling portions of the Bible, this book presents the big picture-the unified story running through the Old and New Testaments. Twenty-six stories together form parts of this big picture. Simply written and beautifully illustrated, this book teaches children the Bibles whole story so they can begin to appreciate the fulfillment of Gods promise to his people.
My only fault in it is that I sometimes want there to be more details.  But that is not this books' aim.  It is presenting the big picture of God's love toward us and his attitude toward people turning away from him.   God's love for his people is VERY clear to see in this book. 

Then we have the Jesus Storybook Bible

now this book is one that I really like.   It tells the story of the Bible in a fairy tale like way.  Amazon has this to say:
With beautiful 4-color artwork throughout, this Bible storybook for children ages 6 and under uses a traditional storytelling format, with a fairytale flavor, to help children learn more about Jesus.
A bone I pick with most storybook bibles is their lack of accuracy  and I do NOT have that bone to pick with this book. it is well-written. But the lad, though he likes listening as I read it, just isn't as keen on this book.   And though it is marketed for the under 6 crowd, I honestly think it's for older children in how it is written.    Good book, love listening to it on CD.

 My first bible.

This was the lad's very first bible story book and one that we both have very much enjoyed.   Perfect for when he was little, the stories are short, they are accurate without going into too much detail.  Bible stories from both the old and new testament, with a fair amount of variety.

we have on occasion read from "classic bible stories".

Short stories, decent illustrations, I like looking at the pictures with the lad and asking questions about them.  Like what does the picture make you think the story might be about?  What people do think it will be about? What are the people doing?   And then we read the stories.   Some "poetic" license is taking which sometimes makes me go hmm....and sometimes we'll look up things in a REAL bible to get the accurate information.

"Bible Stories for Children"  by Brimax Books. 

I have to admit that I found this book laid out differently than most bible story books.   Instead of being broken up into stories, it's divided into characters.   It has review pages at the each section.   Overall not a bad book.   More of a teaching/review book than a bible story book.

"brave Believers" is a bible story book put out by Thomas Nelson.   
 

Once I figured out how this story bible was laid out I decided I liked the concept.  It would give a short synopsis of a biblical event and then over the next few pages expand upon it.   I very much struggle with some of the poetic license taken in this book and would correct errors made in it.  Mostly it was how one interprets events as opposed to blatant untruth.  Scriptural references make this very easy to do though so I don't let that detract...and it's always good to show a child where to go to find truth if you wonder about what you are being taught, even if its from other believers.

Anyways, these are the bible story books that we've used over the past while.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Homosexuality and RCA

two good articles by Kevin DeYoung.  

Homosexuality and the RCA: A Call for Action, Consistency, and Faithfulness (Part 1)

Homosexuality and the RCA: A Call for Action, Consistency, and Faithfulness (Part 2)

Good articles to make you think.

Must say that I agree with him.

It's time to stop "dialoguing" and just make a decision  and let the fall out be what it is.

NOTE: I do not have a problem with homosexual persons.   But as a believer in the Lord I firmly hold to the model of what God is to the church, is what a husband is to his wife.   And two men or two women can't model this properly.   and yes, I know it can be argued that male/female marriages don't often mirror God's intent properly either...but at least they have a better chance at it.    It's the deliberateness of turning from scriptural truth and historical church truth that is at issue.   Not the love of the person who struggles (or chooses not to struggle).

 Third part in the series

 An Overture Regarding Homosexuality and the RCA

I have to admit, I read through the list of all the folks contravening synod policy and I'm wondering why they aren't being disciplined. 

part four  

Does the Heidelberg Catechism Have Anything to Say About Homosexuality?

understanding the history and times of documents being written in valuable.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Day to Day - I Kings 2:1-4

Using as a base for devotions, Day by Day by Charles Swindoll.

I Kings 2:1-4 (NIV)is the passage for today and it reads as follows: 
1 When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.
 2 “I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, 3 and observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go 4 and that the LORD may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ 

wow!   it's that a great promise?   Live for God and God will help you prosper and he will keep his promises.

I can understand from this verse how the prosperity gospel came to be.   Do right, and God will help you prosper.

The thing is... it's rather hard to do right all the time.
God helping us prosper isn't a given.

But putting that aside...Here is David, he's about to die, and therefore he wants to live last instructions, or a good guide to life, to his inheriting child.
  1. Be Strong
  2. Act like a man
  3. Observe what the Lord your God requires
  4. Walk in obedience to God
  5. Keep his decrees and his commands, his laws, his regulations - as written in the Law of Moses
  6. Remember God's promise to me: 
 If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.
If Solomon does this, then God may prosper in all him do and wherever he goes. 

For Solomon to do this he will need to know well God's word.  He will need to stay in close communication with God.  Because THAT is how one follows the Lord God.   By knowing him well and desiring after him.   He will need to be different and stand out as one who loves God.

But we know that Solomon became influenced by the world around him.
He allowed things he shouldn't have.   He didn't stay true to what he should have.

My challenge before me is NOT to be so influenced by the world around me and the desires of my own heart, but to be more influenced by the Love that God has for me.

This is Charles Swindoll's challenge to us as well
"Start modeling the truth...the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.   Think truth.  Confess truth.  Face Truth.  Love truth.  Pursue truth.  Walk truth.  Talk truth.  Ash, that lost one!   That's a good place to begin.   From this day forward, deliberately, consciously, and conscientiously speak the truth.  Start practicing gut-level authenticity."
 

Christmas Gift Idea I'm thinking...

Supplies needed

  • Etching cream
  • Glasses
  • Self-adhesive stencils
Instructions

  • Stick adhesive stencils onto glass.
  • Apply etching cream onto stencil with a foam brush
  • Leave it alone for 10 minutes.
  •  Wash off etching cream and remove stencil.
 Wash glass and enjoy!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Windows of Wisdom - Proverbs 6:12-19


Today as we read from Windows to Wisdom by Stephen Olford we take a look at Proverbs 6:12-19.

Proverbs 6:12-19 (ESV) 

12  A worthless person, a wicked man,
    goes about with crooked speech,
13  winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
    points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
    continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
     in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
     seven that are an abomination to him:
17  haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
    and hands that shed innocent blood,
18  a heart that devises wicked plans,
     feet that make haste to run to evil,
19  a false witness who breathes out lies,
    and one who sows discord among brothers.
 Verses 12-15 talk about what a worthless person is
- wicked
- saying things with his body: eyes, feet, hands
- his heart is perverted and he figures out ways to do bad 
- continually finds ways to help people to not trust each other
To such a person will calamity come suddenly.  This person will end up broken, beyond healing.

Verses 16-19 speak to things that the Lord hates
- haughty eyes
- a lying tongue
- hands that shed innocent blood
- heart that devises wicked plans
- feet that make haste to run to evil
- a false witness that breathes out lies
- a person who sows discord among believers

I was wondering what these sections had to do with each other until I read the sixth and seventh thing that the Lord hates.   A false witness and a discord sower.  These things are part of what make a worthless person.   Even the heart that thinks up evil plans, this too is part of a worthless person.   I see that list and I want to do all I can to make sure I'm not a worthless person.   Who wants to be worthless?   Who wants to end up being broken beyond repair?
Not something I want for my life or for my child and family.

God tells us "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths".    

If I truly believe this to be true... then I won't be a worthless person because I will have my thoughts and actions directed by him.  I won't be lying, I won't be saying wrong things with my mouth or with my body, I won't be like those who want to stir up drama, who will encourage folks to do wrong, and so forth.   My trust will be in the Lord the one who HATES such things.    If I let him direct my paths then I won't do the very things he hates (at least I'll be well on my way to that anyways). :)   

What does Olford have to say about this passage?
Olford points out that 
1. There are things that we must hate 
  • first God describes what he hates (in the worthless man)
  • then God defines what he hates (his list of seven) 
    • vanity, falsity, cruelty, subtlety, villiany, perjury, and enmity
2. There are times that we must hate

A quote that I like "This means that when God hates, he does so with due regards to His nature as life, light and love.  .....  If you and I are to identified with the Lord of life, light and love, we also will have to hate evil and love good".