"What currently tears many Christians apart: a 'spiritual' life that has little to do with their families, their work, and their cultural
"The family, the workplace, the local church, the culture, and the public square are where He has called us."
"When we pray the Lord's Prayer, we ask God to give us this day our daily bread. And He does. The way he gives us our daily bread is through the vocation of farmers, millers, and bakers. We might add truck drivers, factory workers, bankers, warehouse workers, and the lady at the checkout counter. Virtually every step of our whole economic system contributes to that piece of toast you had for breakfast."
"Recovering vocation can transfigure all of life, suffusing every relationship and every task put before us with the glory of God."
Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
My Beet Garden: June 2007
Everyone loves my Dad's pickled beets.
Dwight Schrute: You know you can always refinance your mortgage. We [he and
his cousin] had a 15-year on our beet farm and paid it off early.
Michael Scott: Yeah, well, you know what? Nobody cares about your stupid beet
farm. Beets are the worst.
Dwight Schrute: People love beets.
Michael Scott: Nobody likes beets, Dwight! Why don't you grow something that
everybody does like? You should grow candy! I'd love a piece of candy right
now... not a beet.
Alrightly then. SINCE my Dad's pickled beets are essentially like "Beet Candy," I think I know why everyone who has ever tried them - loves them. If you ever want a free jar of "Beet Candy" - or Artie's Famous Pickled Beets - just let me know!
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
Doxology 24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
John Calvin's Exposition of verses 23-24:
"23. Hating even the garment. This passage, which otherwise would appear obscure, will have no difficulty in it, when the metaphor is rightly explained. He would have the faithful not only to beware of contact with vices, but that no contagion might reach them, he reminds them that everything that borders on vices and is near to them ought to be avoided: as, when we speak of lasciviousness, we say that all excitements to lusts ought to be removed. The passage will also become clearer, when the whole sentence is filled up, that is, that we should hate not only the flesh, but also the garment, which, by a contact with it, is infected. He, then, does not allow evil be cherished by indulgence, so that he bids all preparations and all accessories, as they say, to be cut off."
"24. Now unto him that is able to keep you. He closes the Epistle with praise to God; by which he shews that our exhortations and labors can do nothing except through the power of God accompanying them. (Some copies have "them" instead of "you." If we receive this reading, the sense will be, "It is, indeed, your duty to endeavor to save them; but it is God alone who can do this.") However, the other reading is what I prefer; in which there is an allusion to the preceding verse; for after having exhorted the faithful to save what was perishing, that they might understand that all their efforts would be vain except God worked with them, he testifies that they could not be otherwise saved than through the power of God. In the latter clause there is indeed a different verb, fula>xai , which means to guard; so the allusion is to a remoter clause, when he said, Keep yourselves."
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
I read this article on two different blogs this morning, and found its meaning to be especially impactful for me. Adopted by my earthly family at a very young age, I could relate to a number of the "rude questions" that Dr. Moore mentions in his article. Praise God for his awesome witness to others thru his experience of adoption and the wonderful teaching and encouragement that this article provided in terms of helping to see how our adoption as "Sons" of the living and most high God is so immensely practical, relevant and sanctifying. What an incredible blend of Love and Theology the topic of adoption is! I just need to stop writing, because I certainly would not want to take away anymore than I already have from this amazing article. Enjoy!
Monday, November 26, 2007
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Last week while I was reading one of my favorite blog authors, I noticed a very gracious and charitable post there in response to a very serious matter and about a person who I would've have likened more to a ravenous wolf than a brother in Christ. And I almost commented with just such a reaction. I would have submitted such a comment, but for the fact that I've been convicted lately over my pride and sin in blogging. So I waited.
Seeing the sin in someone else is way, way easier to detect than it is in my own heart.
Here I am, Lord, and I'm drowning in your sea of forgetfulness
The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight
I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west
And I stand before You now as though I've never sinned
But today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way
Jesus, can You show me just how far the east is from the west
'cause I can't bear to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
I start the day, the war begins, endless reminding of my sin
Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I'm in
Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away from You leaving me this way
I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me
You're holding on to me
Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
(Just how far the east is from the west, just how far)
One scarred hand to the other
(Lord, Just how far the east is from the west, just how far)
From one scarred hand to the other
by Casting Crowns
Saturday, November 24, 2007
The autumn leaves that gloriously adorn our trees will soon abandon the tall, proud, towering stalks in my backyard. As the statuesque and permenantly wooden stems sway to and fro in wintery winds, all of creation eagerly awaits the coming snowfall that will cover such vulnerable limbs. And again we will stand in awe of God's grace displayed throughout all of his creation.
Heb 4:13 "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess."
Friday, November 23, 2007
This week, we're on Chapter Two. Here is his summary:
"The thesis of the second chapter is this: “Believers ought to make the mortification of indwelling sin their daily work.” The question we must ask ourselves and the exhortation of the author is this:
Do you mortify; do you make it your daily work; be always at it while you live; cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.The rest of the chapter is given or to reasons that we must be at the business of killing sin. It follows this outline:
Indwelling sin always abides; therefore it must always be mortifiedI haven't finished Chapter Two yet, so don't have too many thoughts yet. So far this study has already got me back on my heels - looking at the truth about the battle/struggle against sin that is going on below the surface all the time, even though it is totally natural for me to not even see it. Guess that's why Owen says, "Be Killing Sin Or It Will Be Killing You." And of course Owen doesn't leave us looking at our sin too long, because his writing is also infused with the holiness and mercy of God too.
Indwelling sin not only abides, but is still acting
Indwelling sin is not only active, but will produce soul-destroying sins if not mortified Indwelling sin is to be opposed by the Spirit and the new nature
The results of neglecting the mortification of indwelling sin
It is our duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God and grow in grace every day."
I've got a lot of reading to do this weekend, in between visiting relatives, watching the history-making U of D vs. Del. State game, and trying to get my Christmas tree up. Praise God for so many enjoyable and hopefully edifying activities!
Thursday, November 22, 2007
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26, ESV
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
At The New York Times "New Stem Cell Method Could Ease Ethical Concerns" >>>
At Wired: "Stem Cell Breakthrough Is Like 'Turning Lead Into Gold'">>>
Some seven weeks after the horrific events of September 11, 2001, Time Magazine printed an article by Nancy Gibbs entitled: "We Gather Together." Gibbs ponders the paradoxical nature of Thanksgiving that particular year. She wrote: "This is the kind of holiday we need right now, an intrinsically complicated one that comes at the end of a bitter harvest and yet finds something sweet to celebrate. Everyone is a pilgrim now, stripped down to bare essentials and a single carry-on bag to sustain us in a strange new world. So no wonder people are making a special effort to get home this year, set the table, unfold the napkins, make the time for a messy conversation with the people who know us best. This is where we find out how we are really doing on the character test: Have the events of autumn left us humbled, or hardened? Bitter at all we feel we have lost, or grateful for all that we once took for granted?"
Mature Christian character is grateful to the Lord during the tough times.
Today in prayer, give thanks to the Lord for all that He has allowed in your life.
"A life in thankfulness releases the glory of God." - Bengt Sundberg
"I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name ofthe LORD." - Psalm 116:17
"But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD." - Jonah 2:9
By Peter Kennedy, Subscribe to Devotional E-Mail
(My daily devotionals include this one, RZIM, and Table Talk by Ligonier. I've been receiving Mr. Kennedy's devotionals since 1996)
Modern Reformation - December 2007
Using God By Kim Riddlebarger *****
Can We Give God Glory? By Michael S. Horton *****
"To the Glory of God and the Restoration of the Heart" : Worship and Theology in the Music of Johann Sebastian Bach (Sidebar) By Patricia Anders
Our Calling and God's Glory By Gene Edward Veith *****
The Family, the Society, and the Church (Sidebar) By Gene Edward Veith *****
To God Alone Be Glory Forever By John Piper
Books that Still Matter: "Not the Way It's Supposed to Be" by Cornelius Plantinga Jr. (Book Review) By Brandon G. Withrow
"Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends" edited by Kevin Vanhoozer, et. al. (Book Review) By Mark Traphagen
"Sin and Evil: Moral Values in Literature" by Ronald Paulson (Book Review) By Rick Ritchie
Point of Contact: "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Book Review) By Diana Frazier
Total Truth: Liberating Chrisitianity From Its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey Front Flap description:
Is God A Public Figure?
Does Chrisitianity have a legitimate role to play in the realm of politics, business, law, and education?
Or Are The
When they relegate religion to the strictly private realm of faith and feelings?
In "Total Truth," Nancy Pearcey offers razor-sharp analysis of the split between public and private, fact and feelings. She reveals the strategies of the secularist gatekeepers who use this division to banish biblical principles from the cultural mainstrean, stripping Chrisitianity of its power to challenge and redeem the whole of
How can we overcome this divide? Unify our fragmented lives? Recover authentic spirituality? With compelling examples from the struggles of real people, Pearcey shows how to liberate Christianity from its cultural captivity. She walk readers through practical, hands-on steps for developing a full-orbed Christian worldview. Finally, she makes a passionate case that Chrisitianity is not just religious truth but truth about total reality. It is total truth.
"Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways and be wise" (Prov 6:5).
"Maybe the first step to wisdom is to recognize that the church itself, even with all of our flaws and foibles and fallibilities, reveals the "manifold wisdom of God" (Eph 3:10), a wisdom so awesome that our Maker designed an entire universe embedded with likenesses of it?"
All of these resources and a few others that I'll add as I go are extremely helpful within the context of my current dilemma which consists of ----urgh!!!! What do you want from me God???? These are answers to prayer and I hope you might enjoy reading them too.
Friday, November 16, 2007
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossians 3:17
"Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." - Ephesians 5:20
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
"We cannot allow ourselves to confuse the single-battle victories of sanctification with the ultimate cessation of conflict when Christ returns. Sin and righteousness, the flesh and the Spirit are at war. There is no peace, only battles won and battles lost. Peace has been purchased. It is guaranteed. It will come. But until then, the war of wars never ceases. the delusions of victory, and the feeling of peace that follows, set us up for the shock and disappointment of midlife regret. We sadly have to admit that we are still being bombed by an enemy -- sin -- that we believed we had long since defeated. (pg. 117).
and on pg. 133, subhead - Standing in a Pile of Your Own Leaves
"You're now in the autumn of your life, and you're quite aware that the leaves are off the trees. You're standing in a pile of the leaves of your marriage, your parenting, your extended family, your friendships, your work, and your ministry. These leaves of the past have grown wrinkled and dry, and you know you cannot put them back on the tree. It's tempting to sit down in the pile and examine leaf after leaf and wish you were holding a new bud from a new sapling, but you aren't. The harvest has come in, and it is what it is. Yet in all of this there is hope because your Lord is the Lord of new seasons. With the new season comes the freedom to plant new and better seeds. With the new season comes the expectation of a new harvest of new fruit.
Stand up and walk away from your pile of yesterday's leaves. Take the seeds of a new way into your hands, press them into the soil of your life, and thank God that you will live to see a better harvest."
Monday, November 12, 2007
When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs? ~G.K. Chesterton
The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. Southard
Thou hast given so much to me, Give one thing more, - a grateful heart; Not
thankful when it pleaseth me, As if Thy blessings had spare days, But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.~George Herbert
Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William Arthur Ward
1 Corinthians 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
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Sunday, November 11, 2007
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
come before him with joyful songs.
It is he who made us, and we are his ;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon,
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for he commanded and they were created.
6 He set them in place for ever and ever;
he gave a decree that will never pass away.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
8 lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
9 you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
10 wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
11 kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
12 young men and maidens,
old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
14 He has raised up for his people a horn,
the praise of all his saints,
of Israel, the people close to his heart.
Praise the LORD.
Phil. 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Thursday, November 8, 2007
God's Word: "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolishhearts were darkened." - Romans 1:21
One of the daily devotionals that I read is focusing on the theme of Thanksgiving for the month of November. There have already been some really good ones and I think I'm going to start doing "the thanksgiving theme" here for this month too.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Democrat (which I'm defintitely not), I would vote for Joe Biden.
If I were a...
Republican, I think I would vote for Mike Huckabee.
So, now you know why I don't do politics. Oh, I will vote. But in the last election, I did not vote for the major parties' candidates. I voted for someone running in a small independent party (the Constitution Party). So, you might say I'm one of those people who throws away their vote. Nope, not so. I think throwing away your vote is giving it to someone who you know won't stand for what you stand for. And I think that's what most Republicans are going to do this time. People vote for who they think will win (which amounts to really throwing away a vote, right? especially in the primaries). Just an observation.
I'm using as a handout for our Women's Bible Study on the Book of Esther tonight. This has been an excellent guide over the past couple of years which I keep referring to.
Ten summarizing principles for interpreting Old Testament narratives that should also help you avoid certain pitfalls as you read. (from How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, pg.106)
1. An Old Testament narrative usually does not directly teach a doctrine.
2. An Old Testament narrative usually illustrates a doctrine or doctrines taught propositionally elsewhere.
3. Narratives record what happened – not necessarily what should have happened or what ought to happen every time. Therefore, not every narrative has an individual identifiable moral application.
4. What people do in narratives is not necessarily a good example for us. Frequently, it is just the opposite.
5. Most of the characters in Old Testament narratives are far from perfect – as are their actions as well.
6. We are not always told at the end of a narrative whether what happened was good or bad. We are expected to be able to judge this on the basis of what God has taught us directly and categorically elsewhere in Scripture.
7. All narratives are selective and incomplete. Not all the relevant details are always
given (cf. John 21:25). What does appear in the narrative is everything that the
inspired author thought important for us to know.
8. Narratives are not written to answer all our theological questions. The have particular, specific, limited purposes and deal with certain issues, leaving others to be dealt with elsewhere in other ways.
9. Narratives may teach either explicitly (by clearly stating something) or implicitly (by implying something without actually stating it.)
10. In the final analysis, God is the hero of all biblical narratives.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
A Quest for More
tran.scen.dence: the state of being beyond and
outside of the ordinary range of human experience
The Bottom Line: You were created to be part of something big.
Have you ever wanted to invest yourself in something worthwhile? Have you ever wondered why your life seems to lack meaning or purpose? Have you ever been disappointed when a position, achievement, possession, or relationship failed to fulfill you? Have you ever dreamed that somehow, some way you would be part of something truly great? If so, this book is for you. This book is about having a life that counts for something. It is about living to make a difference. Read the first chapter >>>
"His grace cuts a hole in your self-built prison and invites you to step into something so huge, so significant that only one word in the Bible can adequately capture it. That word is glory."
(H.T. to Green Baggins)
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” Proverbs 27:5
“What is the friend, who will be a real blessing to my soul? Is it one, that will humour my fancies, and flatter my vanity? Is it enough, that he loves my person, and would spend his time and energies in my service? This comes far short of my requirement... The friend for my case is one, who will watch over me with open rebuke; but a reprover, when needful; not a flatterer. The genuineness of friendship without this mark is more than doubtful; its usefulness utterly paralyzed. That secret love, that dares not risk a faithful wound, and spares rebuke, rather than inflict pain, judged by God’s standard, is hatred. (Lev. 19:17) Far better the wound should be probed than covered. Rebuke, kindly, considerately, and prayerfully administered, cements friendship, rather than loosens its. The contrary instances only prove, that the union had never been based upon substantial principle.” Charles Bridges
“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 12:1
As usual, I have turned to the Psalms, which almost always seems to be the best antidote for sleeplessness.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Dr. David Calhoun, Covenant Seminary, Psalm 121 Download MP3 Audio (less than 20 minutes)
According to John Piper's arcticle entitled "Co-Ed Combat and Cultural Cowardice," my coming out against women in combat roles could be considered an act of career suicide. So be it. Let's speak up! (H.T. to Between Two Worlds)
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Key Scripture passage: 1 John 5:1-5. Supporting scriptures: Romans 8:28-35, 1 John 5:13, Deut. 6:5, John 16:33, and 1 John 2:15-17. (You might have to push yourself to get thru the sports references at the beginning if you're not into sports, but it's worth it. I know I got quite a bit out of it and thought someone else might like to hear it.)
Key idea that I caught:
Intimacy with Christ thru the Word of God and prayer are His means of grace causing us to know Him and trust Him more and more, so that we are able to live victoriously. There are no substitutes for His means of grace - the Word of God, prayer and the sacraments. Nothing and no one can substitute.
And there is so much more, so listen and watch and tell me what you think.
"There are times when we all long for glory, that Maranatha moment when Christ will wipe away our tears and take away our pain. Every Christian has felt the soreness of our fallen condition. We know that our only hope is in Christ, and that our only comfort in life and death is, as the Heidelberg Catechism explains, 'that we have been bought by the blood of a Savior Who knows our pain and suffering, and cares for us in it.'”