Monday, December 26, 2011

Channeling my inner Italian: a Fontanini nativity

My Christmas present this year is a Fontanini Italian stable and Holy Family. By 'coincidence' my twin sister decided to get one this year too. We seem to read each other's minds alot and end up doing the same things without knowing it ahead of time. I've been getting in touch with my Italian side lately and enjoying the distinctive artistry of the country of my mother's ancestors.



Mannheim Steamroller - Good King Wenceslas (1984)



Happy St. Stephen's Day! It's good to remember things past because it helps us to put our own lives in perspective. Today is the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, whom we read about in Acts chapter 6 and 7. I also like the story of Good King Wenceslas, just because I like old stories about admirable characters.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Re-post for Christmas: "He waters the hills from His upper rooms"


I posted this last year at Christmas time and would like to share it again this year. Be sure to follow the links as well. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Psalm 116

Thanksgiving for Deliverance from Death

1 I love the LORD, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
2 Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

3 The pains of death surrounded me,
And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me;
I found trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!”

5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful.
6 The LORD preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
7 Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

8 For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.
9 I will walk before the LORD
In the land of the living.
10 I believed, therefore I spoke,
“I am greatly afflicted.”
11 I said in my haste,
“All men are liars.”

12 What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me?
13 I will take up the cup of salvation,
And call upon the name of the LORD.
14 I will pay my vows to the LORD
Now in the presence of all His people.

15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His saints.

16 O LORD, truly I am Your servant;
I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant;
You have loosed my bonds.
17 I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
And will call upon the name of the LORD.

18 I will pay my vows to the LORD
Now in the presence of all His people,
19 In the courts of the LORD’s house,
In the midst of you, O Jerusalem.

Praise the LORD!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Did Leah have 'weak' eyes?

Here's a lovely article doing a word study on the Hebrew words describing Leah in Genesis 29:17. I found it after reading Spurgeon's 'Morning' devotional for Tuesday on biblegateway.com. After reading it, I googled 'Did Leah have weak eyes?' and found the article I mentioned above. I love this part: "Saying that she had "weak eyes" is a term of praise for her, since her greatest fear was to be forced to undergo an arranged marriage with Esau, and therefore she wept and wept to be the mother of the righteous.... God saw her tears -- and made her the most fruitful of the four matriarchs of Israel." Leah wanted to be 'the mother of the righteous' rather than bear children to the rebel Esau. God blessed her for that desire.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Phil Wickham - Evermore



This is such a beautiful song of worship by Phil Wickham, on his new Christmas cd. Ooh, neat. On youtube one of the commenters told us this song was originally written by Aurelius Prudentius in the 5th century. I looked it up, and the lyrics are changed slightly, but it's recognizable as the same hymn. I love it!

The Means of Grace: Bob Burridge of Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies

Pastor Bob Burridge has a new post up about 'The Means of Grace'. It looks very good, so I'm posting this to help me remember to read it asap :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Downhere - Let Me Rediscover You (Official Music Video)



Another good one. Sometimes I don't have any words, but God gives us songs to express our pain and longing.

Busted Heart - For king & Country



I heard this today, and it was pretty much what I feel like right now. Thank you, Lord for always being there and showing that You understand, and that others understand too.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bob Burridge of Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies: Wrong Desires

Bob Burridge of Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies has a good message posted called 'Wrong Desires' that is very helpful. Even though I'm not a Calvinist, I enjoy many things that Calvinists write. Bob Burridge lives in Florida, and was my science and Bible teacher in middle school. I didn't agree with him on everything, since my dad had already studied old earth theories and Calvinism and rejected both, but I greatly respected him and learned alot from him.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Update on my dad

My dad is much better after a week of antibiotics. His symptoms are almost gone now, and he seems to be feeling almost normal again. He has one more week of antibiotics to take, which will hopefully eradicate anything that's left in his system. Thank you again to all who prayed for him.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prayer request for my dad

Please pray for my dad, Arch Nelson. My mom just called and told me she's taking my dad to the emergency room, and my brother and sister, who both live nearby, are going with her. My dad has a 102.7 fever, a rash on his chest and arms, and a sharp pain in his neck that comes and goes. He hasn't been feeling well for a few days, and my mom said he had gotten bit by a tick last week while they were on vacation in Florida. Please pray for my dad and my family, that the doctors would find out quickly what is wrong, and for healing and peace. My dad is a believer, and he's 76 years old. UPDATE: My dad is doing okay though still not feeling well. He's at home, and the doctors have given him an antibiotic for tick related diseases. They believe it is a mild form of Lyme disease which should be cured by the medication. Thanks to all who are praying for him.

Our War with Sin: Pastor Bob Burridge

Pastor Bob Burridge of Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies has a new post up called 'Our War with Sin'. Very helpful for some struggles I'm going through right now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

180 Movie Changes Opinions From Pro-Abortion to Pro-Life



Here's a documentary by Ray Comfort designed to get people to think about the sanctity of human life, what they really believe about it, and especially what God says about it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Two Psalms

Psalm 13
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1 How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God;
Enlighten my eyes,
Lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest my enemy say,
“I have prevailed against him”;
Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

5 But I have trusted in Your mercy;
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 146
The Happiness of Those Whose Help Is the LORD
1 Praise the LORD!

Praise the LORD, O my soul!
2 While I live I will praise the LORD;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3 Do not put your trust in princes,
Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.
4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;
In that very day his plans perish.

5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them;
Who keeps truth forever,
7 Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners.

8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind;
The LORD raises those who are bowed down;
The LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the strangers;
He relieves the fatherless and widow;
But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

10 The LORD shall reign forever—
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the LORD!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Psalm 141

A Psalm of David.
1 LORD, I cry out to You;
Make haste to me!
Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.
2 Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
Keep watch over the door of my lips.
4 Do not incline my heart to any evil thing,
To practice wicked works
With men who work iniquity;
And do not let me eat of their delicacies.

5 Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.

For still my prayer is against the deeds of the wicked.
6 Their judges are overthrown by the sides of the cliff,
And they hear my words, for they are sweet.
7 Our bones are scattered at the mouth of the grave,
As when one plows and breaks up the earth.

8 But my eyes are upon You, O GOD the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
Do not leave my soul destitute.
9 Keep me from the snares they have laid for me,
And from the traps of the workers of iniquity.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
While I escape safely.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

'Whatever You're Doing' Music Video



Yesterday I was in my van alone, driving home from taking my 2 older girls to our homeschool co-op, and I heard this song for the first time. In my counseling sessions, one of the things I've been working on is a book on dealing with bitterness, by Lou Priolo. It is very helpful, but I've been struggling with it because seeing it in myself is so overwhelming. I was driving and crying and praying about all the things I see wrong and how I can't do it on my own, to let go of the bitterness and forgive. I had come to the point where I knew in my head that if I just stepped out in obedience, God would take it the rest of the way by His grace; but it still seemed so hard, like I would have to constantly have to be asking forgiveness for falling back into the bad patterns again. I don't know if this is making sense, but this song came on and it was exactly what I needed to hear; like God was answering me directly, and telling me He was going to help me each step of the way, as I obey Him in faith. He was saying that He's going to finish what He started in me, and in my family, because He loves us, and we're part of His plan to show His love to the world, too. I'm on my way to where God wants me to be. I'm seeing that following God's scriptural principles can bring healing very quickly. It is painful, but effective.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Counseling: First lessons and realizations

I've been going to Biblical counseling sessions for a few weeks now, and I'd like to begin to share some about the counseling and my thoughts about it. Here, I want to write first about the first Bible passages and lessons that the counselor shared with me.

The very first thing the counselor, Fran, shared with me is that in order to get started in the right direction I need to make it my aim to please God rather than myself, because we are created for God's glory, to worship and obey Him. The Scripture passage is 2 Corinthians 5:9-10: Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

This lesson, and the others I'll mention, I really already knew, but needed to be reminded and refocused on what is right. I needed to repent, or turn back into the right way, away from the sinful behaviors and thought patterns I had fallen into, including depression and bitterness, which I'd like to talk more about in later posts.

I needed this first reminder because with depression I had been focusing for a long time on my own feelings and trying to comfort myself with escapism of various kinds; one of which is this blog. Blogging isn't a bad thing, but I had been spending way too much time on it and neglecting other things.

The second lesson Fran gave was that I, as a believer, "can do all things through Christ who strengthens me", from Philippians 4:13. This is a hopeful passage for someone who tends to think I'll never be able to change. I've been stuck in some bad patterns of behavior and thought that I needed to realize were sinful or harmful and begin to obey Christ and live by His grace. He will help me if I step out in faith and obedience. I've already seen this happening. He's given me hope and strength to keep trying, and patience to keep working with my children who have suffered from my problems and are showing symptoms of the same problems.

The third lesson was like the second; that there is hope for me. The Scripture passage was 1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. This gives hope because I know that I am not the only one who has gone through hard things and suffered temptations, and that God is with me and will help me to escape temptation if I look to Him for help.

With all these lessons, I quickly began to realize that I had allowed myself to become really slack in many areas of my life, mainly because I was depressed and trying to escape from the hard realities that I didn't want to face. The more you fall into depression, the more you try to escape, and then depression grows as you realize things are not going well. It becomes a vicious cycle, spiraling downward more and more, if you don't break out of it. It can be done with God's help.

A fourth lesson I just remembered is that godliness is something that requires practice. I need to 'put off' or turn from unprofitable thoughts and actions and pursue,'put on' or exercise godly behaviors and thoughts. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 is one passage that teaches this: But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. In other words, godliness requires practice, in obedience to God's instructions and commands. It doesn't just happen by itself. If we drift along in life we won't make progress in godliness.

I'll be sharing more, hopefully, about what I'm learning and my progress. This is only the beginning; but it's a good beginning: a solid foundation on Scripture.

Monday, August 15, 2011

God equates Scripture with Himself

We were studying Galatians 3 on Sunday, and as our pastor read through it, I noticed for the first time that in verse 8 the word Scripture is used basically as a synonym for God. Here is the passage:

Galatians 3:5 Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

It says the Scripture 'forsees' and the Scripture 'preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand'. The Scripture, as in written scripture, was not written yet, but God Himself spoke to Abraham and gave the promise that through him all the nations would be blessed. In this passage the Holy Spirit teaches that God's word is synonymous with Himself. In Psalm 138:2 it says: I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name. Apparently God considers scripture to be an extension of Himself.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nicole C. Mullen - Call on Jesus (with Lyrics)




Love this song! Like the words say, sometimes I've been 'hiding away from the madness around me, like a child who's afraid of the dark' and I need to always remember to call on Jesus, because those who wait on Him in trust will renew their strength, and mount up on wings like eagles.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Seeking Counsel

I'm finally getting around to writing about seeking counseling for depression and anger, after talking about it in the com box for a while. Regular commenters know that I have sought Biblical counseling because I realized gradually that I have been giving in to depression and anger for a long time. I'll talk later about the nature of the counseling. For now I just want to give some background.

I began to realize that I needed to do this because, first, I saw that my anger was getting out of hand in my home, with my husband and children. I didn't understand at first why it was getting worse, though it had been a problem for a while. It pretty much started with reacting to my husband's anger that showed itself in lots of outbursts of rage early in our marriage, verbal rather than physical; yet he had improved much because he had realized after a few years that he had a problem, which was caused by circumstances in his childhood, and which was passed down from earlier generations. With God's help, Eddie gradually and drastically reduced the outbursts.

Yet, I had never dealt with the effects of his anger, so it was coming out in me in the form of constant irritation and impatience and my own increasing outbursts of anger. I didn't really understand why this was happening. Another factor was lifelong depression, which I actually thought was not a problem anymore. I didn't 'feel' depressed most of the time; didn't have the 'black pit' feeling in my middle and the sinking feeling that depression gave me as a teen and young adult.

The low-level depression was probably also a factor in the constant irritability. A few months ago I read that irritability is a symptom of depression in some people, and this added to my understanding that I had issues that needed counseling. Another thing I read told me that women at my age can have pre-menopausal hormone fluctuations that can make us likely to have outbursts of anger that then lead to guilt and depression as well. It's like a vicious cycle where one thing feeds the other and you can spiral into deeper anger and depression.

All this so far I figured out on my own as I went along. The rest of what I need to talk about will deal with the counseling method and with my progress and thoughts, which I will write about soon. If anyone has any insights or personal testimonies to share, please feel free to do that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The oak forest as a picture of the body of Christ


I read the following in a Reader's Digest article while waiting for Lucy to have her fiddle lesson yesterday. It was in the June/July 2011 issue in an article titled 'The Wisdom of the Oak' by Yelizaveta Renfro. She got the information about oak trees from a book by William Bryant Logan called 'Oak: The Frame of Civilization'. Here is the quote from her article:


"In some forests, Logan writes, oak trees of compatible species graft their roots together and "become one flesh". Through their shared root system, the stronger dominant trees may provide the weaker trees with nutrients. In this way, even the roots of stumps can continue to live and contribute to the forest."

When I read that I can't tell you how thrilled I was, immediately seeing it as a picture of the Body of Christ. If a body of believers is together reaching their roots deep into the soil of Christ's word, their root systems will be grafted together so that each can draw from the soil and from the others so that they are 'one flesh'. That's true communion, being one with Christ and with one another. The weak ones will be just as nourished as the strong ones as they share together.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Called to Communion: Imputation and Infusion

There's an interesting article and discussion over at Called to Communion, about imputed righteousness vs. infused righteousness. I'm not following all the really technical comments, but some aren't too hard to follow.

UPDATE: My husband did a study on righteousness last year, which includes some discussion about believers being given Christ's righteousness. I linked it in one of the comments in the above discussion on CTC.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I Will Lift My Eyes - Bebo Norman

Healing

Jeremiah 17: 14 Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed;
Save me, and I shall be saved,
For You are my praise.


Isaiah 58:
6 “ Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’


“ If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

Malachi 4:2 But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Lesson for the Day

I'm so weak that everything I've ever had to do has seemed too much for me; but I still haven't learned to quickly ask for help from God and others. Lessons are always painful.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

Monday, May 09, 2011

Encouraged Together: Bob Burridge

Bob Burridge of Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies has a good post up about living in community with one another.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Wes King: New Songs

I love these new songs from Wes King. The Wes King link leads first to a tribute to Wes's mom, who recently passed away. It's beautiful.
My favorite of all the songs is 'The Robe'. It's very lovely.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Doing Good: by Christopher Momany

I'm reading this book on my Kindle right now: Doing Good by Christopher Momany. This is the first line of the description: "Christianity in its purest form involves putting God’s love into action. Wesleyans have traditionally understood this embodiment and expression of God’s love as holiness."
I'm not Wesleyan, I'm Baptist, but the subject is of interest to all persuasions of Christians: the Christian understanding of Love and Holiness is the main theme of the book. I like the author's perspective so far.
The book is free on Kindle right now, which is how I found out about it. I get notices from a Kindle Review website for free book offers.
I'll post any ideas I think are interesting for discussion.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

New Covenant Living: Rob Bell's LOVE WINS

Yay! I'm glad somebody I usually agree with has reviewed this. I'll read it later.

New Covenant Living: Rob Bell's LOVE WINS

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sidewalk Prophets - You Loved Me Anyway

Evanġeliku: Deep in Church History

Evanġeliku: Deep in Church History: "(Gospel e-Letter - May 2011) John Henry Newman wrote, ‘To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.’ Does this often quoted stat..."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Before the throne of God above by "SELAH"



Our worship group sang this on Sunday, and I was up there singing with them. This message of the Great High Priest who stands at the right hand of the Father as my advocate and defender against the accuser, is one that should not be so hard to remember, since I love the book of Hebrews so much. This verse is so good:
"When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me."

Struggles

After getting through the fear (and inertia) that kept me from trying to sing with our church worship group, I have been enjoying singing and haven't felt very nervous up there. However, I knew that I would still have a problem with my other nemesis: pride. Even though I'm timid, I'm also vain and proud and like to show off, so now just when I really long to express praise and love, I don't feel it.

I'm also still dealing with the fallout in my spirit and heart from the struggle I described here. Even though I stepped out to obey God in joining the worship team, the enemy has me discouraged and feeling like I can't ever get back to where I should be. I'm hoping that's just a lie, and I can do as David prayed in Psalm 51:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.

This passage is also my prayer: Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

I need to spend time in prayer and have others pray for me about this too.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Resurrection's Promise: Pastor Bob Burridge

Pastor Bob Burridge has a new post up about the significance of the Resurrection.
Here's the intro:

There are good reasons to celebrate at this time of the year. Easter is a day we all enjoy, but it isn’t a holiday set up in the Bible. It’s a blending of the resurrection of Jesus with holidays and traditions from different cultures, cults, and religions in various times and places.

Even the ancient pagan religions saw the beauty of Spring, and set a time to celebrate it. It’s a sad fact though that those still tragically lost in spiritual blindness miss appreciating God’s glory in it all. They see the amazing way things seem to come back to life after a long winter, but they miss what it’s telling us about the one who made it all and keeps it all working. So the ancients made up god’s and spirit beings they honored at that time of year. As the message of Christianity spread into the different parts of the world the Spring holidays were adjusted and brought together on what we call Easter.

In the time of Moses, the Passover feast was established around this time of the year on their calendar. It celebrated how God delivered Israel from hopeless captivity in Egypt.

God planned that feast to teach about the Savior who would come to die in their place. Just as a lamb died in place of the first born sons back in Egypt, Jesus, the Lamb of God, came to die in place of his people on the cross at Calvary. Then he rose again from the dead to prove that he accomplished what he came to do.

All the beauties of spring and the wonders of the promises of God come together this time of year. We love to hunt for baskets of candy, get together for a good dinner, come to worship, and most usually get a day off from school or work. However, Easter is more than a time for budding trees, warming temperatures, and new spring outfits.

Those who don’t have hope in Christ are left with just the celebration of Spring. There’s a lot to celebrate when we think of the resurrection of our Savior. The date doesn’t fit well into our calendar because it’s based on the date of Passover. The day after Jesus and his followers celebrated that biblical feast, our Savior was crucified. On the third day after that, on Sunday, the first day of the week on the Roman calendar, Jesus rose from the dead.


Please read the rest at the link above.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Captain of Our Salvation

Hebrews 2:10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:


“ I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.”

13 And again:


“ I will put My trust in Him.”

And again:


“ Here am I and the children whom God has given Me.”

14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. 17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Restored Hearts by Eileen Hinkle Rife: Book Review



Restored Hearts is the story of a young man's struggle with homosexuality, but it could be anyone's story of the struggle against our inherited sinfulness and the brokenness brought about by disfunctional families, which can only be healed by the love of God and the love of His people. The author does a wonderful job of showing the process of healing, and the way that family members are interconnected so that they are each affected by disfunctionality, but respond to it in different ways. The members that seem to 'have it all together' have just as much need of healing and restoration as those that are more obviously troubled.
I love how the author related the struggle of the two brothers to the story of the prodigal son. This is so meaningful for everyone in the church, that we should love those that God loves, even though their sin condemns them. It's our job to show God's love along with sharing God's truth, not to act as judge. Only God has the right to condemn.

I highly recommend 'Restored Hearts' and I plan to go back and read the first book 'Journey to Judah' and the third book 'Chosen Ones', to find out more about the characters that I came to love in 'Restored Hearts'.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Question About Predestination

NOTE: update added at the end of this post!

In the comments under this post, Christine asked "I wonder what you think of this post by Triablogue:

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2011/04/all-is-adjective.html


I am always glad to remember that you are not a Calvinist, right?"

Me: Yes, you're right I'm not a Calvinist. I don't know if I'm an Arminian; I don't think so.
I think the author makes sense when he says the 'you' is what is being referred to by 'all' in that passage. But one verse doesn't make a doctrine. I think Calvinism is too cut-and-dried. There are too many things we don't and can't understand about this subject. I do believe the Bible teaches election and predestination, but I don't think we understand what it really means. There are too many pieces missing, and either God doesn't want us to understand it yet, or our unbelief prevents it. We tend to pick and choose and believe only the parts we want to.

Christine: Wow, I am totally confused by that answer, but thanks for the response.

Me: If you're confused because I agreed with the author of the blog post: just because that one verse seems to say that God is longsuffering toward us (or you) and is not willing that any of YOU should perish doesn't mean that God [wants] everyone else to perish. There are other passages that seem to say God doesn't want anyone to perish. Ezekiel 33:11 says: Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’
And reading the whole chapter of 2 Peter 3, I's not clear that the 'you' only refers to believers, anyway. I don't know why Calvinists seem to have to stress so much that God doesn't want everyone to be saved. What's the point?

Me: In other words, even if I concede them their point here, it doesn't mean anything, because of the magnitude of the many scriptures that stress God's longsuffering and mercy and love toward the whole world.

Christine: OK, that helps. I'm wondering then, in what way do you believe in election and predestination? Just that God is able to foresee (of course) but does not foreordain, so that we can make truly free choices?

Me: That's a difficult question, but I'll try to answer it as soon as I can.

So, here goes. I'm going to just throw out some ideas and links here to help with this, because I myself always have to go back and study it again, since there is so much info. that I can't keep it straight.
One thing that occurs to me is that, for example, in 2 Peter 3:9, the passage used in the Triablogue article: Did God plan the Bible so that an unsaved person can read it and know that God is talking to him/her? The passage says God "is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." If someone reads this and thinks it is written for them, are they wrong? Should we tell them that is only written for believers? That would be terribly presumptuous, to say that God can't speak to whomever He wills through His word.

Following are some helpful web pages from my husband Eddie's Bible study website in which he discusses predestination and Calvinism. I agree with my husband on this issue, and also firmly believe that we should stick strictly to what Scripture DOES say, and not 'crystalize' our own extrapolations or conclusions as firm doctrine. There are many scriptures that contradict Calvinism.

http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/predestination/calvinism1.html

http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/christianity/UnderstandingPredestination.htm
http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/christianity/UnderstandingPredestination2.htm
http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/christianity/UnderstandingPredestination3.htm
http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/christianity/UnderstandingPredestination4.htm

I remember that in some of my earlier posts on Calvinism I've said that I think Calvinism is a 'false gospel' or 'false doctrine'. I've said that Calvinism takes doctrines from Scripture and then draws conclusions that contradict other scriptures,'crystalizing' things that should be left uncertain. I believe many Calvinists are believers. I also believe many Arminians are believers, and many Roman Catholics are believers, and many Methodists are believers, etc.. In other words, we know that many people that think they're saved, aren't saved, in all groups of Christians; but many are truly saved.

Even though we may look at certain groups or doctrines as 'heretical', the people in them can still be our brothers and sisters, and we need to love each one as such, and not condemn them. None of us is right about everything. There is a right doctrine that we all should strive to be united under, which is the Truth of Scripture. Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to think we're right and others are wrong, that's all, like Paul talked of in 1 Corinthians 1-3. Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

So, should people even be calling themselves 'Calvinsists' then, or sticking so exclusively to one man's doctrines? Are there not passages of Scripture that contradict Calvinist tenets, and should we work so hard to explain these passages away? I think there is something beyond all the seeming contradictions (which Arminians and Calvinists constantly argue over, so it can't be denied that they exist) which we can't understand outside of the commandment to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbor as ourselves.

All through Church history brothers have hated brothers for doctrinal differences, ignoring this greatest commandment. Being my father's daughter, and my husband's wife, I understand how important correct doctrine is, but love is the greatest doctrine for believers to remember. Not the slushy kind of love that ignores error, but the kind that doesn't puff itself up and push others down as 'heretics'. It's very hard to find that balance between Truth and Love, as history shows. I struggle with that balance in myself constantly. Another famous passage farther along in 1 Corinthians sums it up: And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

UPDATE:
Christine, I looked back at the comments again and realized I hadn't answered all your questions, except to say I agreed with my husband's teachings in the articles I referenced above. Your question was "I'm wondering then, in what way do you believe in election and predestination? Just that God is able to foresee (of course) but does not foreordain, so that we can make truly free choices?"
You also said: "It seems to me that Calvinists believe in election such that some people are destined for heaven aside from their choices, and some are destined not to go to heaven and therefore deprived of the choice."

I do believe God is able to foresee, and that He does foreordain many things. I also believe we can make truly free choices to accept or reject salvation; to obey or not obey; to sin or not to sin. I think it's possible that God has foreordained some things, like Judas's betrayal, and Paul's commission as Apostle; but that everyone's future is not set in stone. My husband explained his view, that we are predestined to walk in good works, but that we can choose not to walk in that planned path. Maybe each person's path is planned, but some choose not to accept God's gift, and so God's best plan doesn't come to pass for them. It's an idea.
In Romans 9 and 10, which speaks of predestination, it seems to be speaking of God's plan for Israel and for the salvation of the Gentiles. It may point more towards the church as a whole being saved because of Israel's rejection. Israel will be grafted in again later, though they were cut off for disobedience. I think that's in Romans 11. I don't think this subject will ever be settled, but I don't see the point of saying it's God's will for most people who ever lived to be sent to hell forever. I don't think that's true, nor do I believe that's what is going to happen. Even Charles Spurgeon believed or hoped that there would be more in heaven than in hell. I hope so too. In 1 Corinthians 15 it says "For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death." and "“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “ O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”"
I don't believe eternal death will claim the majority of people, though I do believe in judgment. I don't know if we understand correctly how long hell will last, or how many will be there. A thousand years or two of torment would certainly be fearful and horrible enough. There were Fathers that believed in Annihilation, and Fathers that believed in ages of torment, and Fathers that believed God would make us forget those in hell, so we wouldn't weep for them anymore. There are still people today who believe those different things. I don't know which is true. I hope for the best.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Launch Party at eddiesnipes.com: 'I Called Him Dancer'!!!

Eddie's official book launch is today! Please go to eddiesnipes.com to read about the book, and to enter the 'Win A Kindle 3' Contest!!! There is no purchase necessary to enter, but you can get extra entries by blogging, reviewing the book, etc..
Also on Eddie's webpage today, you can request a free MP3 copy of the song that inspired the novel: Dancer written by Tralena Walker and Tom Webster. Also mentioned in the novel is their other song, 'I Know No Other Way'. This is also available as an MP3 on Amazon.com.

'I Called Him Dancer' is available on Kindle for 99 cents, and in paperback for $10.88.

We are asking for as many people as possible to order the book on Amazon today to make it move up in the rankings and get lots of attention. The book is getting really good reviews. Thanks for helping!

When people see a breathtaking performance, it looks like natural, raw talent. The truth is, behind the performer is a long road filled with struggle, pain, and hardship. In front of every winner is a mountain of failure they must first climb and conquer. The greater the mountain, the sweeter the taste of success. Michael Camp was an award winning dancer.



For a moment, Michael danced on top of the world, but one bad choice turned his life upside down. The once promising Broadway star now washes windows for tips and lives among the homeless. When his former dance partner recognizes him behind the fray of whiskers, shame drives him away from her. Angry at God and the world, the Dancer refuses to allow anyone into his life.



Beyond his short-lived success, stands a valley of despair with terrain so rugged, his very life will hang in the balances. If he survives, the mountain awaits. It has been said, unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it cannot blossom into life. Can Michael Camp trust enough to die, when life seems out of reach?



When everything is stripped away, three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love. I Called Him Dancer is a story about how one woman’s enduring faith and unconditional love drives her to reach out to a homeless man who has given up on life.




What readers are saying:

This book is a page turner from cover to cover, Eddie makes you feel like you actually know the characters in his book. - B. Tillman, OR.

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Almost too good to put into words. ...you'll find yourself saying, "Just one more chapter". K. McNabney, IL

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This book is a must read. Through this book the reader will learn about true love and the power it holds. T. Franklin, TX

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I loved this book from cover to cover, the author makes you feel like you actually

know the characters in his book. T. Webster, VA

Monday, April 11, 2011

Reminder: Eddie's book launch tomorrow!

My husband Eddie's official book launch for his novel 'I Called Him Dancer' is tomorrow. We are asking everyone that wants to read it to order it tomorrow on Amazon.com so the numbers will go up and it will get lots of attention! It is available for Kindle for only $.99 for now. The book is getting very good reviews. I'll be announcing it again tomorrow.

P.S.: There will be a really good giveaway tomorrow on Eddie's website. I'll be announcing it in the morning!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Patricia Sprinkle: Hold Up the Sky: Book Review

Hold up the Sky

Patricia Sprinkle came to speak at our Christian Authors Guild spring conference a few weeks ago, and I went with my husband, who is the prez this year. Hearing Patricia speak and seeing what a good storyteller and communicator she is, I knew I wanted to read one of her many books. I picked Hold up the Sky, being more in the mood for a novel than a mystery, after Patricia described the plot to me. It is about 4 women who, through circumstances beyond their control, come together on a farm during a drought and end up canning vegetables in a hot kitchen, and also sharing memories and troubles as they preserve more than just food. It was right in line with my life right now, since I'm learning in our ladies' prayer group how good and necessary it is for women to share together and help each other in our struggles.
The book has so many good insights, many of which come directly from the mouths of the women characters as they share with each other. I loved Mamie's description of the love of God, and the emphasis on the sacrament of shared memories.

One aspect of the book that made me want to share it here is the interaction between Mamie, an elderly Baptist African American, and Emerita, a Roman Catholic Mexican immigrant who comes to town with her husband in need of a place to stay. The other two women are sisters who have run into trouble in their marriages. They all end up on a drought-ridden farm for the summer, and spend time together canning vegetables, trying to save and preserve the garden food. As I said, they end up preserving more than just food in the jars. Every jar represents a shared memory of intimate friendship.
I read the book entirely while on a 4 day cruise with my husband. The story was a page-turner; the characters became like close friends. I had a hard time putting it down, and I was sad when it ended. I hope to read more about the characters in the future. I highly recommend 'Hold Up the Sky'.

NOTE: Right now the paperback is on sale for $6.00 and the book is also available for Kindle.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Jennie, get a life

I'm sure ya'll have noticed I haven't been posting much lately. Here I explain one little part of why I've been absent. Don't know if I want to share this; it makes me feel vulnerable and ridiculous. I haven't shared it yet with the ladies' prayer group. Maybe I should, but I would feel like I needed a bag over my head; well, here goes. The Lord has been gently leading me, the timid and self-conscious one, toward being able to sing in our church services. He's been giving me the desire to show love to the body of Christ by singing. Singing brings healing, and praise brings the presence of God. I've always loved to sing, and I sang in youth chorus and in church choir when I was younger. I've always loved to listen to beautiful voices. When I was a child, I listened to Julie Andrews on my Mom's 'Sound of Music' soundtrack record, and as a young teen I listened to Luciano Pavaratti and Placido Domingo records. I love to listen to Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Sarah Brightman, Celine Dion, and others, from time to time.

I don't have a voice like that, but I have a nice voice, and the Lord has been showing me that it is to be used for Him. Two things have kept me from it. One is fear, but love for Him and for his people was casting that out. The second thing is a danger for all artistic people. Sensuality. King David was an artist, who loved beauty and was sensitive to the beauty of God. He also got distracted by the beauty of a woman because he was not where he should have been.

Since I've gotten interested in music again after being busy with other things for a long time, I have been listening to music on youtube alot: Contemporary Christian, and some classical singing, and celtic singing, etc.. I can't remember how I started listening to (and watching, since youtube is visual) some of the music I used to like in my college days. The difference is, in college I didn't watch the music, I just listened. I never watched MTV or music videos when I was young. I have always liked a few of Journey's love songs, but never knew much about the group and never saw photos or videos of them.

Here's where the big distraction came in. Not sensing the danger at first, I kept watching Steve Perry sing on youtube. He has an absolutely beautiful voice, which snagged me from the first. So I listened to the big voice instead of the still, small one. Not good. The problem was that the man looks as good as he sounds, and being human, and loving beauty, I pretty much got bowled over (Take my word for it, and DON'T go check it out). Didn't think it was possible; and didn't listen to the Lord; and here I was, almost not caring about what is really important any more.

Spring fever plays a part in my mood. Every year when spring comes there's a few days where I feel like I'm going to fly in pieces; took me this long to realize it's hormones. It must have been spring when King David was walking on that roof when he should have been at war. I obviously forgot to 'put on the armor of God', and that Christ said to 'Abide in Me'. I said before that I almost didn't care what is really important, but I do care, by the Lord's grace and mercy, so these passages are my prayer, especially this: Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.


1 John 1:1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Psalm 51

1 Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
4 Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.

5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
6 Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
The God of my salvation,
And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart—
These, O God, You will not despise.

18 Do good in Your good pleasure to Zion;
Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then You shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness,
With burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar.

Lord, please lead me back in the way You want me to go, and help me to always care about what You care about (And You already know, I've deleted the Steve Perry videos from my favorites on youtube). BY THE TIME ANYONE READS THIS, I WILL HAVE SHARED THIS WITH MY HUSBAND, WHO, SINCE I WAS SITTING ON THE COUCH NEXT TO HIM MANY TIMES WHILE WATCHING YOUTUBE, PROBABLY WAS NOT UNSUSPECTING. (Yes, I am an idiot sometimes. Ya'll pray for me.) Also, Lord, please help me to be obedient by Your grace and do the things You have called me to do rather than shrinking back in fear or getting distracted by the idols of this world. Amen.
NOTE: You're probably thinking "Jennie, get a life!" Admit it, you are. Well, my husband took me on a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas last week, so I'm feeling a whole lot better now. :)
UPDATE: I received the courage to tell our worship leader that I've been praying about joining the worship team and/or singing solos, and he said I could join them for practice and that they'd be glad to have another female voice. I'm rather scared, but I feel better to have done what the Lord is directing. Maybe it will help keep me off of youtube ;)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

John Cullimore: Married for the money--something worth reading

John Cullimore of "And now...it is your block of wood" has a great post to help Christians think about our love for God. Ow. Remember the greatest commandment?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eddie's new book launches on April 12th!

My husband Eddie has written and published a novel titled 'I Called Him Dancer'. The novel was inspired by a song about the title character, written by Tom Webster and Tralena Walker. We heard them speak at a writer's guild meeting, where Tralena also sang the song 'Dancer'. We are having the official launch for the novel on April 12th to encourage as many people as possible to buy the book on Amazon.com that day, which will help the book move up in the ranks that day and get it noticed by more people.
'I Called Him Dancer' is a moving and exciting story about a homeless dancer who is changed by the God's love and the love of his high school sweetheart. All the reviews so far agree that the book is a page turner, and I think so too! Keep an eye out on April 12th for my announcement of the launch!

Friday, March 11, 2011

O THE DEEP, DEEP LOVE OF JESUS - Selah



Thank You Lord, for Your great love, that doesn't let go of me even when I go astray. Thank you for your gentle voice and hand that leads me back to your side. I love You.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Ash Wednesday: begins a time of repentance, fasting, and prayer

This is a little late, since Ash Wednesday is almost over, but I think it's a good time to remember that when we are tempted to sin, our response should be to look to our God in submission, and to repent of our sins, and to spend time contemplating our dependence upon Him as our Provider, Helper, and Savior. I've been struggling a bit this last few days, and I don't think it is a coincidence that I was reminded of my need for repentance and dependence upon God by being reminded several times of the coming of Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Following are some passages relating to fasting and repentance.

Matthew 4

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:


‘ He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,


‘ In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Job 42

1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:

2 “I know that You can do everything,
And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.

3 You asked, ‘Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

4 Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’

5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.

6 Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”

James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:


“ God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Daniel 9:3 Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. 4 And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. 6 Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. 7 O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— 9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.

Psalm 139: 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 51: 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
9 Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Living Lovingly: Bob Burridge

Pastor Burridge has a really good post on 'Living Lovingly', which as I said a few days ago, is one of the most important things to learn in the Christian life.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Thoughts of Francis Turretin: Challenging Your Rome-Colored Glasses - Set Aside Your Anachronism

Here's an interesting post by Turretinfan. Basically, I think, helping to show that the Fathers were not Roman Catholics. Neither were they 'protestants' or 'evangelicals'. They were just themselves, and they, like us, were not perfect or infallible. I've only skimmed the comments there, but looks like there was a little spat going on based on a response by Scott to 'Natamallc'. I really like 'Nat' and he isn't easily annoyed, so hopefully it will be peacefully resolved.

Thoughts of Francis Turretin: Challenging Your Rome-Colored Glasses - Set Aside Your Anachronism

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics: Dutch Church History: Why Start a New Church?

Good post by James Swan:

Beggars All: Reformation And Apologetics: Dutch Church History: Why Start a New Church?

Lots of 'little' things going on

I haven't shared alot on the blog the last few weeks. For one thing I've been busy with life and had lots of little things going on that I didn't take time to share; mainly because I didn't know where to start. I should have been sharing as I went along, but hopefully I can get it all down here going forward. I say 'little things' but they may not be so little; maybe little steps leading to bigger things anyway. Even though I am often unfaithful and forgetful, God isn't. He has been leading me each step of the way.
One of the not-so-little things is that the Lord led me to start a ladies' prayer group at our small church. As I shared months ago, I was feeling kind of left out of things, and being shy, had a hard time connecting. The Lord called me, the most fearful one, to step out and lead in an area that was very much needed. I had been seeing the need of more intimate connection between the members of the body so that we could help each other and lift each other up in prayer and encouragement. That has been happening as we meet monthly to pray and also have an online prayer site to share daily needs. Our church is becoming a safe place for us to share our faults and problems and needs, and God is uniting us and helping us to love one another more deeply. This is a big answer to prayer for me. Thank you Lord!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

If I have not love, I am nothing

1 Corinthians 13

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.


God gives His people wonderful gifts. He first gives us salvation, the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of the body of Christ (the church) to help us in this life. He gives us the gifts of the Holy Spirit to help us to fulfill the commands He has given us to make disciples and to love, encourage and uplift the body of Christ. The gifts of knowledge, prophecy (speaking God's word), and understanding, and many others, are great gifts and very necessary. However the greatest gift is also the one that Jesus taught as the greatest commandment, which He gave us here in Mark 12:29-31: “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” God's plan from before the beginnning of creation was to create a people who would have this law of love in their hearts and so live to glorify Him and love Him and one another. There is nothing more important than this.
God has been gradually teaching me this lesson over the last year or so, and probably longer. I've gotten side-tracked sometimes by the cares and distractions of this life, but He keeps bringing me back to it. For me, it takes the form of learning that any knowledge and understanding I may have (or think I have) is nothing compared to the love that He showed me and that He commands me to show to others. He also, by grace through the Holy Spirit, gives me the ability to love others, and I need to keep walking in that love in my daily life as I interact with my family, other believers, and all that I meet.
The second form it takes is a continuation of the first, that I must give of the gifts and talents He has given me to uplift the Body of Christ, not giving in to fear and timidity. One of my precious friends once said to someone "Don't be a blessing stealer!' She meant 'you need to share what God has given so we all can be blessed.' That stuck with me. So ya'll pray for me as I try to walk in love. And forgive me for when I haven't but instead have used knowledge as a way to puff myself up. God bless all who come here!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Colossians 2:4-15 As you have received Christ, so walk in Him

4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Three Exercises for the Soul: Bob Burridge

Bob Burridge of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies has a new blog post up about three spiritual exercises that believers should remember to practice daily. They are taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. I for one really needed that reminder.

You're Beautiful by Phil Wickham



Beautiful song about our beautiful Lord.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sen. Rand Paul Opposes PATRIOT Act Renewal

Please contact your Senators to urge them to vote against the PATRIOT Act extensions. The House rammed through the extensions two days after an earlier vote had defeated them.

You can find your Senators here.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

New Covenant Living: Americn Evangelicals Ignoring the Bible, Flocking To Dictatorial Pastors

New Covenant Living: Americn Evangelicals Ignoring the Bible, Flocking To Dictatorial Pastors

Here's a commentary by D.A. Carson posted by Jack at New Covenant Living. I'm going to have to read this one several times to take it all in, but on a first reading it seems right on target.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Shane & Shane - When I Think About The Lord

Love in the Bible: Bob Burridge

Bob Burridge of Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies has a new blog post up called 'Love in the Bible' that is very helpful. I've been learning about love and God's grace lately and have been praying for God to help me to show love to others, and to love Him more and show this in an obedient life. Jesus said that all the commandments of God are summed up in two commands: to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. The Christian, as Pastor Burridge brings out, is equipped to obey these commands by God, but must learn to obey by God's grace in every area of our lives. As 1 Corinthians 13 teaches, love must pervade all our interactions, or all we do is worthless. God's plan from before the beginning of time, as revealed in Scripture, is for His people to be a people of love and glorify Him.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sanctus Real - Forgiven

Here's a good song for when you're feeling like a mess. Here's my status from facebook this evening: "My Christmas tree is still up, I have hairballs on my carpet, and I'm grumpy; but my two youngest girls are going to bed happy, Natalie gave me a big smile, and Sophia said 'I love you Mama!' and gave me a hug." I could add alot more to that, and maybe I will later on, but for now I hope the song is uplifting.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Exchangedlife.com is moving

I have various posts that link to my husband's website, exchangedlife.com. Eddie is moving his studies from the old site to a new one, which is also called exchangedlife.com. While the transition is going on, the Bible studies can be found by going here and clicking on the link provided to the old site. Then click on 'Bible Studies' and scroll down to find the one desired.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reading 'Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy' by Eric Metaxas


Last week I started reading 'Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy' by Eric Metaxas, while still also trying to finish up Thomas Merton's 'Seven Storey Mountain'. I hope to say more about both books. It's interesting to read them both close together and compare and contrast them. For instance, both men visited Harlem in the 30's (Bonhoeffer in 1930 and Merton later in 1939) and were very impacted by the conditions there, as well as by the presence of the church there. More later....

Thursday, January 06, 2011

What is Reformed Theology? Bob Burridge

Here's another good post by Bob Burridge of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies. Following is a quote from the post:
The result of re-forming what was believe about God came to be called “Reformed Theology.” What had been accepted as fact was being poured back into the mold of Scripture to restore the original shape God had revealed in his written word....We have enough to deal with in working to understand what God tells us in his written word. We dare not presume upon those things which remain unrevealed. When human inventions distort what God has said we need to be reformers for our present age. All that we believe must be poured back into the mold God has given so that a purified theology comes out, a set of beliefs that are formed by nothing less than, nothing more than, what God has revealed to us in his word. That is what we mean by “Reformed Theology.”


Scripture was and is the mold that reforms our beliefs, after the fire of the Holy Spirit burns in our hearts and minds to melt down our hardened doctrines, and get rid of the dross of accumulated traditions.

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Lesson in Humility from 1 Peter 5:6 by Bob Burridge

I'm so glad I found Bob Burridge's blog and website. He has so much good to share from scripture. Today's blog post goes right along with yesterdays: We submit to God in order to resist temptation, and we humble ourselves and submit to God because of what He has done for us as He gives us grace to live as He commands.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

How to Escape Temptation: Bob Burridge of the Genevan Institute for Reformed Studies

Pastor Burridge has posted a very helpful exhortation today about how to escape temptation.

Another good passage on escaping temptation and conquering sin:

James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says:


“ God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

A Meaningful Life: Dr. Joe Mizzi of Evangeliku

Here's an encouraging reminder from Dr. Mizzi.