Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stitchin' Post Saturday--February 28


Stitchin' Post Saturday will be updated later today (when I figure out how to get my new card reader to work--last week my card reader decided to break). At that time you will be able to see my FINISHED Flag Sampler. Until then, feel free to add links to your current needlework projects!

Have a great Saturday!

Edited: So sorry it has taken me all weekend to get these posted. All I can say is that a not-so-comedy of errors is taking place in my home and a backed up sink two hours before a dozen guests arrived Sunday was the culmination. At any are the pictures!!!


Title: Flag Sampler
Designer: Rosewood Manor
Fabric: 28 ct. lugana, Kiwi Illusions Toitoi
Start Date: February 28, 2006
Finish Date: February 26, 2009
Total Hours: 218.75

Stitchin' Post Saturday Participants

1. Miriam Pauline

2. Kristin/Dragondreamer\'s Lair

Powered by... Mister Linky's Magical Widgets.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Spectacular Sins Book Club--Chapter Five

Another mind-expanding endeavor with this book! This week we are looking at the Tower of Babel and pride. Ouch.

1) What were the primary motivations of the people who endeavored to build the Tower of Babel? They desired to build a city, build a tower in the city that would reach to heaven, make a name for themselves and to not become dispersed.

2) Why did God consider is a sin to live in a city? God had commanded His creation (Adam and Eve and then Noah and his descendants) to be fruitful and multiply the earth. Building a city was not inhabiting the earth but of congregating in one place.

3) Of the five ways that Christ's glory is magnified by the spectacular sin of the Tower of Babel (pp 69-72) which one resonates with you the most, and why? I appreciate that this was foreshadowing pride being destroyed since I see so many of the sins in my life come back to pride and worrying about what others think. But the point that resonated the most with me was the fourth point: the Gospel glorified. Mr. Piper states, "A great part of the glory of the gospel is that it is not provincial. It is not a tribal religion. It breaks into every language and every people." As a person who lives outside their passport country and travels as much as possible, it is a joy for me to see how God is served and worshiped in other languages and cultures. I always walk away from a service in another country humbled that I have the opportunity to share with believers in other places. The glory of God is amazing when cultures come together to worship. It makes me ready for heaven where that will be the norm, not the exceptional opportunity!

4) Can you provide an example of the way that the Gospel of Christ takes root in literally thousands of different cultures, despite language barriers, social mores, existing religious practices, etc.? What does this say about the "uniqueness" of Christianity? When we were in Romania last Autumn, we were in congregations where the older people spoke no English (some of the teens had a rudimentary understanding). We spoke no Romanian beyond "hello," "thank you," and "peace." But we worshiped together. We sang the songs in English as they sang in Romanian. I followed along in my Bible as the Scripture was read in Romanian. Afterwards the pastor would say "what I was telling the congregation was" and we would often be able to tell him the essence even though we did not understand the words. The Holy Spirit is the same Spirit across all of the barriers and we are able to recognize the Spirit living in believers even when we cannot understand the words.

5) How are you also guilty of sin in the ways the Tower of Babel builders were? Where do you seek comfort apart from the Lord? Pride of wanting to make a name for myself, or worrying about what name I am making is a constant struggle. It is something I confess to the Lord over and over. In that regard, I often seek comfort in friends' words or ideas rather than seeking God's approval only.

6) My husband often says that at the root of every sin is pride (and I have yet to be able to prove him wrong). Was this true in the case of these people? How can you confront and rebuke your own pride? I believe that there is much truth in this. We seek to be comfortable (our own way) and to be known. I confront it with Scripture:
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. Proverbs 11:2
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. Isaiah 2:11
"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? Job 38:4-5

To see other responses to this question, be sure and stop by The Preacher's Wife. You will be challenged and blessed!

In Other Words--Mourning to Joy


“Is it possible we could experience the joy of our salvation if we mourned [over our sin] as if someone had died? We cannot experience joy without mourning.”

~Pastor Robert Morris, Gateway Church. From the Sermon: “Those who mourn are happy”~

Mourning is an intricate part of our salvation process. Yes, it is true that Jesus did all of the work of salvation on the cross and all anyone must do is believe. But in order to truly believe that Jesus is my savior I must admit that I need a savior (as does anyone else who is on this journey). Truly admit it. Feel it in my innermost parts that I am a sinner and I need to be saved. I must move past the "but I've never killed anyone..." mentality to a complete surrender of "I sinned. I lied. I misrepresented myself. I acted in pride. I spoke in anger. I ignored God's invitation to help someone. I ignored His word." When I get serious about the fact that I sin and that I caused Jesus to need to die, the need to mourn is overwhelming. But, praise God, the process does not end in the mourning. Knowing that I deserve death and will not receive it brings unspeakable joy. The joy I have felt in contrast to the mourning over sin far exceeds any other emotion. I deserve death. I receive forever life. That is reason to celebrate!

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

I'm currently watching this process unfold in Jewel's life. She, at six, has such a tender heart for God. She loves to sing praises. She memorizes Scripture quickly and joyfully. And she desperately wants to go to heaven when she dies. And that is perfect for her age and understanding at this point. I can see the Holy Spirit drawing her, and she is responding to each step. Yet, she is not ready for a committing decision. Why? Because she has no connection at this time between her behavior and Jesus' sacrifice. She will tell you that God wants her to be nice to her sister, but she does not see the hitting out or the harsh words spoken as being against God.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:8-9

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

I suspect over the next few months I'll have the privilege of watching that connection take place. I was just a few months older than she is now when I made that connection. Thirty-plus years later I can still picture that little girl crying with her daddy and mom that she wanted to be forgiven by God. The first step of mourning. The step of salvation. Many times over these thirty-plus years I've gone back to that state of mourning, not as the first step of salvation but in the continuation of sanctification in this life. Each time I truly mourn, God gives me a deeper appreciation of what He has done for me. And that, my friends, is pure joy!

They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD—
the grain, the new wine and the oil,
the young of the flocks and herds.
They will be like a well-watered garden,
and they will sorrow no more.

Then maidens will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
Jeremiah 31:12-13

Father God, thank you for your love for me that died for me when I was still stuck in my sin. Thank you for continuing to love me even while I continue to sin. Thank you for the times you have brought me to tears of mourning in recognition of how totally short of the mark of your Holiness I fall every single day. And thank you for replacing those tears with the joy and peace of Your spirit taking control and sweeping out the crevices of my sinful heart. Help me to serve you fully. Help me find the courage to confess sins and the humility to allow you to reign in my life. And, Father, as a parent, help me to guide and direct these little lives that are seeking you to enable them to hear and follow your call as the time is right. In Jesus' saving name, Amen.

Michelle at Because I Love You is the hostess for this week's quote. Please come and be blessed.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Stitchin' Post Saturday--February 21


Today's Stitchin' Post was supposed to be a celebration of IT IS FINISHED but instead has become a very aggravated

Here is my Flag Sampler, about 30 minutes from completion at the moment that I RAN OUT OF THREAD. Sorry to shout, but after 2+ years on this project, I desperately want to put it in the finished column. Thread is ordered and will be here next week, so prepare for next Saturday to be a celebration.


What are you stitching this week? We'd love to see it!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spectacular Sins Book Club---Chapter Four

As I said yesterday, the chapter that is being discussed this week is about why God allows evil to exist. Proverbs 16:4 says, "The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble." But what does that mean? God has made wicked people? God has ordained evil? Or, as Lisa asked in her introductory paragraph, "Did God cause it by not preventing it?"

Our actual discussion was around this scenario:
You are in a coffee shop reading your Bible. A stranger sits beside you and asks, "How can you believe in a God who allows terrorists to fly into towers or children to starve and die?"

I would normally post my answer to the question here. But this week I am not. Much of my answer builds upon those that had answered before me and would be out of context here. Instead, I encourage you to go here and read the responses. Although I'd love to hear your thoughts, I don't expect much discussion here. I would hope that you will at least wrestle a little with the idea.

Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In Other Words--A World in My Heart

Before I get to my IOW post, I want to note that my Spectacular Sins Book Club post will be up later today. This week we are looking at "Why Bad Things Happen to Good People?" It is heady stuff, but important to our faith walk to have a sense of why God allows things to happen, if He indeed does. For an amazingly articulate discussion, please visit Lisa at The Preacher's Wife. She has begun the discussion well!

Now, to In Other Words.


“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.”

by Frederick Buechner, in Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale

I am unsure if I can write on this quote. It is not that I disagree. Quite the opposite. I totally agree. I live this quote. It resonates in the deepest part of me. And I wish I had been able to quote this years ago to people who said, "How can you....?"

When I left home at eighteen for university, I quickly discovered that my "world lived in" me. It came out in how I made decisions, how I spoke, what I dreamed of being, who I chose as friends. Although there was distance between me and family and growing up friends, it was deemed acceptable. After all, I had "only" gone off to college and surely I would return.

But I didn't return. When I left the great state of Texas to go to graduate school, the tremors of the quake were seismic. How could I leave family? How could I leave Texas? (I was the first grandchild to dare that feat!) My dear grandmother understood this concept, however, and gave me the blessing I needed. "We'll always be a part of you." She said it with a glint in her eye, almost as if it were fate. But it was true.

Family and friends are deeply rooted in me. I feel both of my grandmother's when I am baking one of their favorite dishes, not in a physical presence but in a sense of the continuation of what they started. I've experienced that feeling deep in my gut that says "something has happened" moments before learning of my brother's car accident and at the moment my grandfather died. A deep ache has hit my heart urging me to ring friends at a time when they needed encouragement. I've been blessed by dear friends calling me when I needed it most as well. I believe that the Holy Spirit sends those prompts and helps to tie us together, because we are family of God. He moves in their world as well, so He can prompt me to act on their needs and prompt them to act on mine.

There are times that it is quite difficult to have an ocean between me and much of my family and friends. When someone is hurting, it is difficult that I can't physically go. When someone is rejoicing, I miss the party. But I'm never too far away. That world lives in me. My life is entwined with theirs. The Spirit ensures it. What an incredible blessing it has been to not only go to whereever God has led at the time, but to also carry the lives of so many with me!

Father, today I ask you to hold my family and my friends who are physically far from me but never far from my heart. Give them your blessing today. May they see You in all they encounter. Amen.

This week our hostess is Nina at Mama's Little Treasures. Come and be blessed.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stitching Post Saturday--February 14, 2009


Another update on the Flag Sampler. Only three quilt blocks to go, plus a star border. I think I can see the end in sight!

This week I have also finished my mystery quilt and finished about a third of another quilt. Unfortunately, I can't show either of them until they have been sent to their owners since they read my blog.

Thanks for dropping by! Happy Stitching!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thankful Thursday---Love

Today's theme for Thankful Thursday is love, which is quite fitting for Valentine week.

Helping my friend the past two days while she helped her friend, I've been reminded about how loved I truly am.

*Thank you God for a husband who not only loves me, but adores me, even when I'm beyond lovable. Thank you for a helpmate and supporter who sees the potential in me even when I'm doubting. Thank you for his heart for You and how that is playing out in his life right now.

*Thank you God for Jewel and Flower, who love unconditionally. Thank you for their hugs and kisses and cuddles that remind me I'm loved when I'm not sure I can go any further. Thank you for the love they have shown the kids as they have come into our home--for the patience and the sharing and the acceptance they displayed.

*Thank you God that my children know they are loved. Thank you that they can take that for granted. Thank you that the only normal they know is security.

*Thank you God for friends who model hospitality and care and love so unselfishly. Thank you for allowing me to share in that ministry this week.

*Thank you God that S has found love in You and is now able to see that the abuse she has lived with for nine years is not loving. Thank you for the courage You have given her to protect herself and her children. Thank you for the love her church has shown to help her find safety and security. Thank you for the love our church has shown in material goods as well. Thank you for reminding all of us that we are your body to take care of each other.

*Thank you God for your sacrificial love for us that allows us to even understand a miniscule about what love truly is.

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
1 John 5:2-4

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Never Underestimate the Power of Parenting

alternate title: This will make you want to cry

A friend of a friend this week has run from her supremely abusive marriage, taking her five children under the age of eight and two garbage bags of belongings. That is all she got out with, but she is out. And she is determined to make a life for them all. The past couple of days she has been getting a place to live sorted so the kids have been staying with my friend. (on a side note, the amount of furniture and clothing and other essentials donated through word of mouth has been amazing, so she is actually setting up a home!) Today my friend had an appointment and could not take her two kids plus three of the five with her (the two little ones were with their mom for a doctor appointment), so she asked if I'd watch the three kids. I was happy to help.

My girls and these kids were playing a game. I was listening from the other room. Somehow the topic of being sick was being discussed. Here was the conversation:

Middle child (7): I got sick one night in bed. It was awful!
Flower: One night I spit up all over my bed, too. When I cried Mommy and Daddy came running to help.
Eldest child (8): Your Dad came to help?
Flower: yeah...
Eldest: Really? You're serious?
Flower: uh huh

She was incredulous that a Daddy would ever help! I was on the verge of tears for these poor kids who can't comprehend that. And, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving that mommy and daddy being there to help them is something my kids can take for granted.

Don't ever doubt that the mundane parts of parenting matter. They do. Seriously.

Please keep this family in your prayers. They will be in their home tomorrow. They still need so much, but they are grateful to be together and be safe. Pray that they remain that way!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

In Other Words---Choose Love


Love needs to be based on character, if you know and love God you see He has a lot of character we are in love with. The best thing we can do for our spouse is to grow in character as listed in 1 Cor 13. It’s a love of choice. We choose to love God, He chooses to love us. Love of choice is the most powerful love, God calls that agape love, it’s a love that lasts, we should never settle for anything else between us and God and others. It’s a love that grows. Keep fervent in your love, allow it to stretch and strain as you watch it grow.
Wayne Corderio

"It's a love of choice." That phrase jumps out at me every time I read this quote. We live in a culture that acts as if love is something that comes and goes. Love is supposed to ebb and flow in our lives like the tides. And when the tide is out, that is when love goes away, then it is okay to move to the next place to wait for love to come back, usually with someone else.

That's what culture says. But that is not what the Bible says. The Bible teaches that love is a choice. And that we are to love even when we don't feel like it and even when the other person does not deserve our love. First Corinthians 13 makes this clear. Those characteristics of love show most clearly when we are loving someone who is unloving.

Thankfully, Scripture doesn't leave us with a list of characteristics to show others and no example of how it is done. No, Scripture gives us the perfect example of love. Jesus, Himself, is the epitome of love. He loved us at our most unlovely. He loved us with sacrifice. That sacrifice cost Him his very life. And it in turn gave us life. Jesus chose to love us. He only asks that we show our love for Him by choosing to love others.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1a

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 John 4:11

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."
Mark 12:30-31

Father God in Heaven, thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving me when I am a prideful, disrespectful brat. Thank you for loving me when no one around me can find anything redeemable in me. Thank you that at the moment I am most irredeemable, you redeem me. Thank you for your sacrifice that saves me from that miserable life. I love you. I want to show my love for you. Help me to choose love. Help me to choose love even when those around me are unlovable. Help me to remember that without your blood we are all unlovely. Allow my life to be a conduit of Your love to others. In the Name of Jesus and by His Blood...Amen.

Our hostess this week is Karen at In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus. Please join us there for other reflections on the quote.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Spectacular Sins Book Club--Chapter 3

Wow! This book is amazingly challenging both in that it is weighty material and in that it really makes me think and evaluate. These sparse comments cannot even begin to touch the amount of spinning my brain is doing. I do hope you can glean something from it.

1. On page 40 Piper tells us that the name Satan means "accuser." Do you ever feel accused? I know I do. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and obsess over all the ways I have failed throughout the day, or I relive all the sins of my past. Turn in your bibles (or click here) to read Romans 8:1-2. What does this verse say? If this is true, from whom are all those accusations of failure? What then should we do when our thoughts go there? What is the difference between condemnation of our sin by the Evil One and conviction of our sin by the Holy Spirit?
Oh how I feel accused at times! Paul states in Romans that there is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus. So those accusations of failure are most certainly Satan and his minions speaking at me. We need to take those thoughts captive and dismiss them (2 Cor 10:4-5) because Satan's accusations should not have any hold over us. Hallelujah for that ! I believe that the difference between condemnation and conviction is purpose. Condemnation is meant to disable my Christian walk and make me ineffective. The Holy Spirit's conviction in my life is to highlight where I need to move forward, give me a pathway back to God and restore that area of my life. It is always meant to make me more effective not less.

2. How does God allowing Satan to live bring glory to Christ?
Piper explains that a single immediate destruction of Satan at the time of his fall would have been a demonstration of power, but does not show the fullness of the glory of Christ. Through the ages since Adam and Eve's fall, Christ has been glorified in the lives that have followed Him, who have chosen not to allow Satan's deception to rule their lives but have chosen to allow Christ to be glorified in them. So He is glorified in the waiting time. But ultimately, no single act could bring more glory to God than the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross--that is the fullness of Christ's glory.

3. Read the 'Eight Things to Do with Evil" and "Four Things to Never Do with Evil" lists on pages 50-51. Which of these do you have the most problem with?
For me, "giving thanks for the refining effect of evil" (#3) while at the same time "hating evil" (#4) are great challenges. I find it a very difficult step of trust to say "God I hate this, I hate everything about it, but I will thank you for the work you are doing here anyway." I would much rather thank him for the good things and for refining work not to coincide with evil things in the world.

4. Recall Piper's introduction, specifically pages 13-16 when he speaks of persecution of the Church. Since December I have been praying for Martha Samuel Makkar. She is an Egyptian sister in Christ who converted from Islam, and has faced persecution ever since. In December, she was arrested at the airport when she tried to emigrate to Russia. Martha was placed in prison, tortured, raped, and her two and four year old sons were denied food in an attempt to cause her to renounce Christ. She was recently released on bail and is awaiting trial. You can read her story here and here (and please join me in praying!)

How might the truths Piper has conveyed in this chapter regarding evil - the "weighty doctrine" - bring comfort to Martha and her family while she undergoes persecution for Christ?
I found comfort in Piper's reminding us that we should "expect evil" but that we should also "pray for an escape." We are not being unspiritual to pray for a way out, and I think sometimes we feel like we must just bear whatever happens. I cannot imagine what this young mother is experiencing. One of my greatest fears is that my children would suffer because of my decisions. But as this book reminds us, we are to "never doubt that God is totally for [us] in Christ," so all we can do is just trust Him and His ultimate control. I realize those are just pithy answers from someone who has never encountered persecution on a minor scale much less that kind of persecution. But that is the best I can do from this point of reference.

Are you intrigued yet? If so, I encourage you to read the book. You will be forced to think in weighty things. Join us at The Preacher's Wife for further discussion.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Stitchin' Post Saturday--February 7


Welcome back to Stitching Saturday! I've been quilting this week on two mystery quilts, so can't show the progress yet! I did finish 3 more states on my Flag Sampler, and promise to take pictures later today and add them!

This quilt was received last week, so now I can show it off. The ladies at CSC Message Board did the stitching. I only did the quilting, but I'm quite pleased with the final result!


What have you been working on? Link up and show it off!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Thankful Thursday--Changes

Iris chose the theme Changes for Thankful Thursday this week. How I wish I was able to give thanks for specific changes, but for now they are still changes on the horizon! God is clearly showing us changes are coming, but has yet to give us the direction we'll be going. But, here are a few "changes" for which I'm thankful:

*Last week we were totally blessed to be able to take a family vacation to Belgium (posts are coming). The weather was predicted 40-60% rain every day we were there. But God was so good to us---we never saw a rain drop and only had one day of clouds out of six!

*Most of Britain has been locked in with unusual snow amounts this week. We have been clear and dry. Except for two hours Monday evening when the weather changed to allow two little girls to giggle and play in the snow and even make snow angels. By morning it was all washed away, but for those hours we praised God for the joy it brought my girls.

*This year we have made changes in Jewel's math program for school. Math is her struggle subject and I don't want her to learn to hate it at six! Those changes seem to be working. And I am thankful.

*I'm making some changes in my own pursuit of knowledge. I've decided to seek some classes to enhance the things I love. Just hours after putting one of those on my February goals, Iris gave me a lead of how to accomplish it. I'm thankful for Internet Friends who are there to guide and encourage. Thank you Iris!

*In spite of not knowing where the next change at work will be, German continues to have good support from his team. We are thankful for the job and for the people he works alongside every day.

*We have changes in the planning stages at church. They are huge, and they are exciting! I cannot wait to see the fulfillment of what God is starting. But for today I'm thankful to be a part of the process.

Are you thankful today? We would love it if you would share it! Join us at Iris' home...Grace Alone to share your thoughts.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Spectacular Sins Book Club--Chapter Two

As promised, the questions for chapter two. This is an amazing book, but it is heady. I would encourage you to get the book for yourselves to make more sense of what I'm trying to say!

1. I loved your quotes so much from the first session I'm going to ask you to share your favorite from this chapter!
(p. 36) "Paul's antidote for wimpy Christians is weighty doctrine. In Paul's mind, the most massive truths are meant for producing radical lives of obedience."

2. Re-read Colossians 1:15-16. Piper makes special mention that of all the things Paul could list that were made by, through, and for Christ, that he specifically mentions evil powers. In answering why Paul did this, Piper pulls an example from 2 Timothy 1:8 to show how he used weighty doctrine to address Timothy's practical issues of anxiety and fear that threatened the effect of his ministry. Considering Paul thought the 'heavy' things of God would help Timothy deal with everyday matters, how does knowing God created beings that He knew would turn from good to evil translate to your everyday life? (Use paragraphs 2 and 3 of page 36 to help form your thoughts.)
Given the difficulty I'm having wrapping my head around this weighty doctrine, I fear what that says about me (see above quote). But there is a reassurance for me in day-to-day life that God knew that what He intended for good would not always be good. I'm so like Paul in "the very thing I want to do I don't do" (Romans 7:15) It reassures that God's plan is not thwarted by my failure to live up to what He has called me to be any more than it is thwarted by the angels who rebelled. Nothing catches Him by surprise, and sometimes that is the most reassuring thought of all.

3. Five summary statements are given on p. 37 as to why God wants us to know the truth of Christ's sovereignty over 'rulers and authorities' and the way they are involved in the most spectacular sins of the universe. Which one is most meaningful to you? How does it comfort you and/or give you courage against the evil that we know has been disarmed by Christ?
The third statement is meaningful to me "our day is not so unlike Paul's...Paul was concerned that, in the pluralistic, intellectual atmosphere of Colossae, Christians could be captivated by high-sounding heresies." First it comforts me that today is not so different from Bible times that the Bible has become irrelevant, as some would have us believe. This pluralistic society needs to understand that Scripture is still absolute TRUTH and absolutely relevant to what we experience. Secondly it comforts me that no matter how sound those heresies appear, they are heresies but we can still separate them from truth through the knowledge and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

4. Okay, this question is more of an assignment. Look at the previous commenter's answers and respond to one of her(his?) insights. If you are the first commenter, you can refer to this original post. Let's get some discussion going! :) You'll have to visit Lisa's site to see the answer to this one!

In Other Words--Slippery Slopes


Caution: Road Slippery When Wet

The moment I saw this week's quote, encouraging us to look at the caution signs in the Bible, I thought of Casting Crown's song "Slow Fade."

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

We live in a world of slippery slopes. We must be on our guard. One small slip may lead to another to another until we are to a place that we never dreamed we could be--far away from the God of justice and love. But because He is a God of Love, He has provided us plenty of warnings in Scripture to help us not make that slide away from Him.

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble. Proverbs 4:18-19

CAUTION: Life is Slippery!

"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. " Matthew 5:21-22

Anger leads to name callling leads to ostracizing behavior or to violent behavior leads to murder. CAUTION: Slippery!

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.'But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell." Matthew 5:27-30

Looking with lust leads to lust taking hold in one's heart leads to inappropriate sexual contact and words leads to adultury. CAUTION: Slippery!

I'm not saying that everyone who makes one slip will slide down the entire mountain. There is grace and there is always a way back to God. What I am saying is that there are clear situations that God says "be wise, don't go there!" as a way of protecting us. It is much easier to keep our footing if we never walk on the slippery edge. And, as the song says, sometimes we have slid a long way (or faded a long way from our starting point) before we ever realize what has happened.

CAUTION: Slippery!

Amy at In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 is our hostess this week. I am sure you will be blessed if you visit her and the other incredible ladies that write for IOW each week.

Be blessed and may your feet stay on stable ground!

Monday, February 02, 2009

February Goals


February Goals!
1. Finish Rosewood Manor Flag Sampler
2. Finish Mystery Quilt
3. Get 2/3 roof on thatched house stitched (currently 1/3)
4. Finish 2008 filing (otherwise known as re-find the office!)
5. Get Jewel set up for piano lessons
6. Find an online class to learn more about my DSLR camera

Spectacular Sins Book Club--Chapter One

I was away last Monday (okay all week) and didn't get to answer the questions. So, here goes a week late. This week's questions will be tackled tomorrow. ;-)

1. We'll start with an easy one. What are the four reasons that John Piper gives for writing the book? Which do you look most forward to hearing Piper answer?
He states reasons were to know a)Why does God tell us about his sovereignty over sin? b) Why does God not restrain sin more often? c) How can we have faith and joy during the severity of the last days and d)how is Christ glorified in a world of sin? I am most intrigued by how he will answer the third question. I believe in my inner most being that we as Christians in the western world are in for a shock of how bad things are going to get. I want my reactions under that kind of pressure to glorify God, so I want an arsenal of tools to be faithful and joyful when those times come.

Here comes the hard part. I hope you read the footnote on page 24. If you are like me, you read it several times, then out loud, then needed to discuss it with someone. We're loving the Lord with all our minds! Answer these as best you can (it's okay if you are fuzzy - we're only in chapter one):

2. What is God's role in sin:
a. Does he allow you to sin?
I believe that God has given us free will and that we will sin because we have a sin nature. He desires that we don't, but knows that until our nature is made perfect again (other side of this life) then we will sin. I don't see that as "allowing" me to sin, but an understanding that sin happens. Just as I don't "allow" my kids to disobey I have an understanding that they will disobey because they are kids. I will love them no matter, and often allow the consequences of their disobedience to happen.
b. Does he cause you to sin?
NO! But He may test what I've said my commitment to Him is by giving me opportunities to choose Him over sinful actions/thoughts/behaviors. He is molding me into His image, and sometimes I need to see how out of His image I still live.
c. Does he allow temptation to come before you?
see above
d. What resources does he give you to resist it? (quote scripture if possible.)
Scripture, scripture, scripture! And the Holy Spirit to help me remember the Scripture!
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates,
Deuteronomy 11:18-20
Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. Mark 13:11

3. Are God's purposes sometimes accomplished through the sinful actions of man? Aside from the Crucifixion, can you think of another biblical example?
The gospel spread throughout the world because of the persecution of the early church.

4. Piper states that his primary goal is to magnify Christ. What are some ways that a Christian might do that, even under intense suffering? What are some ways that we might do that, during our day-to-day frustrations and disappointments? Have you personally witnessed any examples of either?
It is keeping the focus on Christ. Prayerfully seeking joy even in the midst of suffering. We do it in our day-to-day by deliberately seeking God, by praying, by testifying of His goodness even when things are not perfect. I've seen many examples of people under immense stress--physical, financial, marital--where their testimony of God's goodness even when in the temporary no goodness could be seen was a shining light of God. They magnified Him with their words and attitudes.

5. On page 29 he writes, "We are pushing our way through a blood-spattered life that makes us feel connected to the world yet disconnected at the same time. We are here but not here. Love binds us to the tragic earth, and love binds us to the treasure in heaven." What thoughts does this provoke in you?
These are words of hope to me. I find myself "Homesick" so often, desperate for the comfort of the world I've not yet experienced. And that hope allows me to continue to testify of His Love and Goodness even when things are not my way here on earth.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Marriage Monday---Surprise

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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This month's topic is "The Surprise of Christian Marriage." I spoke with German last evening about the topic, and we could both relate several times we had surprised each other early in our marriage, but not so many in the last few years. We wondered together if that is because of time, kids, busyness. But we concluded that, for us, it relates to two things---we are so comfortable together surprise is not always easy to achieve and (probably more importantly) he has learned that I'm not that fond of surprises. I like to be prepared. ;-)

But all that being said, marriage itself was a surprise for us. I never planned to get married. From a young age, I didn't expect to get married. The first time German heard me speak at a church function, my opening line was "I'm single by calling and by choice, and it is okay." (Obviously I was speaking at a Single Adult meeting.) When I rang my Dad to tell him I was getting married, his response was, "You're doing what?" It was unexpected. And I do believe that I was Single by calling for a season. The ministry that I was able to do during that time would not have been possible had I been married or even been looking to be married. But God had different plans for my late 20s and beyond and when I was 27 he surprised me with someone He intended to be my husband, and I to be his helpmate.

We've been surprised along the way with what God intended. Four months after we married, German took a new job across the country. It took months for me to be able to join him. He surprised us with the excitement we would feel at our first pregnancy...and the consequent grief we could endure at the loss of the pregnancy. He surprised us in how He could bond us together in that grief. He has surprised us with the ease we found the ex-Pat life, the ministry that has been here for both of us individually and together. He surprised us with two beautiful little girls who delight us and challenge us daily. As we sit here in anticipation of the next thing on the horizon we only know one thing...God already knows what it is and will delight and revealing the surprise to us in the right timing.

We do surprise one another, often quite successfully. A front yard filled with 30 pink flamingos and a billboard announcing my age on my 30th birthday was a definite surprise. Walking into his office filled with black balloons and baby pictures of himself (that he didn't even know we had) on his 40th birthday was a surprise. Unexpected flowers or a favorite meal. An hour of "freedom" from responsibilities to do whatever we please. These are things with which we are able to surprise each other. But in our Christian marriage, the surprises we love the most are the surprises that God gives us. It's been that way from the beginning of our blossoming friendship. We pray that it will be that way as we grow old together.

Marriage Monday is being hosted this week by Lynn at Unequal Marriage. Please join us there for more surprises.