18 December 2010
This visit started with Jon having breathing problems. He was breathing hard and fast, and it was after-hours, so we were advised to go ahead and take him to the ER. The emergency department can be a scary place. There is much waiting, and plenty if time to wonder when you will be able to go home and how sick he is. If he is sick enough to be admitted, then it will most likely be close to 7am before you will be able to go to bed. You wait - for the next procedure, the next test result, the next doctor to discuss options.
Here in the hospital room is one of the loneliness places to be. You are by yourself with the patient much of the time, left to worry about their condition, until a doctor, nurse, CNA, or other medical personelle come in and draw you - temporarily - out of your ponderings.
You often can't do much else than hold his hand while he cries during a painful procedure. I ponder how difficult and excruciating it must have been for Mary to watch her Son suffering so much, yet only able to stand on the sidelines and watch as He gave up His life.
The single most comforting thought is not that he receives such good medical care (though it is excellent at Levine), but that he is in the best hands possible - Gods. I recognize that it is all in His hands, no matter what the outcome is. So I put my trust in Him and watch Him work all things together for good. No matter what happens, may His name be glorified.
14 December 2010
There is often one or more areas that we are hesitant to give up, consciously or subconsciously. That one thing that God must give us if we are to love and serve Him - maybe it is a good, reliable job, a spouse, children, or living near one's family. But is our love supposed to be conditional? No! God never signed a contract that grants us our hearts desire if we simply love and obey Him. This is one thing I did not like about the Christian movie, "Facing the Giants". They seemed to portray Christianity as obeying God, and then He will help you to win that football game, bless you with kids, a new car, etc. God does bless us when we obey Him, but we need to be careful that we aren't preaching a false prosperity gospel. He may choose to bless us by giving us our hearts desire. Or, He may replace that with something that is even better for us in the long-run. The truth is that we need to give Yahweh our hopes, our dreams, our desires.
So if we give Christ our all, does that mean our hopes and desires are gone for good once we give them to Him to be filled? No, that is the beauty of it. He sometimes fills our cups with something different than we requested. Other times, He fulfills our desires and fills our cups with exactly what we wanted. There is no secret formula, no password or particular way you must live your life in order to receive exactly the blessing you want from Yahweh. The key is that we give the cup of our lives to Him instead of trying to fill it ourselves. We may make our requests known, but in the end we should be rejoicing in what He has given us no matter what the outcome. Let us praise Yahweh for the good gifts He has given us, whether or not they were what we had desired.
Suffering is not always punishment. Certainly, the Lord will rebuke us and we may experience suffering because of that. Yet we shouldn't be quick to assume that all suffering is a punishment. Sometimes it is simply the refiner's fire that we are being passed through so that our dross may burn away. Nor should we seek to write off all suffering as refinement. The first thing to do is to search our lives and our hearts to see if there is some area that we are not obeying the Lord in. If there is sin, then repent of it, turn away from it, and replace it. But as I said, suffering is not always the direct result of a particular sin, but can be part of our sanctification process. Is is the valley that is the place of vision.
We think it is tough to give up everything that we hold near and dear. But what did Christ do for us? He gave up heaven to be a man. He experienced our pains and our weaknesses firsthand. He didn't have to, we certainly didn't deserve it. Yet, Christ loved us so much that He became man for us. We reviled Him, spit on Him, mocked Him...before we love Him, He gave His all for us. Everything. God held nothing back, but sent His own Son - His Son to die for us. He gave up everything - can we do the same for Him? Can we give up everything during our short time on this earth, in order that He may be glorified?
03 December 2010
Kevin Swanson, an OPC pastor, is a high octane speaker , a second generation homeschooler, published author, radio personality and director of Generations with Vision, which has a daily radio program heard around the world.
Dr. Gary North - A nationally known speaker on so many topics, will bring us the topic: "College- Running the Gauntlet."
Dr. David Menton from Answers in Genesis, a retired pathologist who will be speaking on the human body and related topics of Creation
Pastor Nathan Trice as our keynote speaker.
And finally, Michael Card, singer- songwriter and Bible teacher will address the area of Christians and the Arts.
Can you say epic?
27 November 2010
And now our God will dwell with themI'm not certain which should be the title for today's music. I know I heard El Shaddai many times, probably on the radio, years and years ago though I never knew the name of the musician or any of his other works. When I first heard of Michael Card recently, it was through lyrics from I Will Heal Their Land posted on a friend's status on Facebook. Now here's the shocking part, so brace yourselves. I looked up the song and I didn't like it at all. Yup, you read that right. Now after listening to quite a wide range of Michael Card, I realize that it was certainly not the best song to start by which to be introduced to Michael Card. So I wrote him off as in artist I didn't like (though thankfully my mind was changed later!). I can't clearly recall exactly what changed my mind, though I imagine it was probably back when I wrote on the names of God and a friend posted the lyrics to El Shaddai (Hey, at least it gives me someone to blame! ;) ). At least that is the clearest turning point in my mind that I recall. From there, I looked up more of his music and absolutely fell in love. His music simply can not be topped. He is one of the few artists with solid, biblical lyrics. The beauty of his lyrics overcomes anything lacking in the music. If you haven't heard of Michael Card, don't wait another second to listen to his music. Or if you're like me, and didn't enjoy his music previously, I encourage you to give him a second chance. You'll be glad you did.
The new Jerusalem
And He himself will walk with them
The new Jerusalem
And God Himself will wipe the tears
From every weeping eye
No death, no pain, no mourning cry
And every tear made dry
Sara Groves is another one of those artists that I discovered through my friends. After hearing her mentioned several time through Facebook, I decided to check her out. Handy enough for me, one of my brothers owned her album "Conversations".
Remind me of this with every decision.I was listening to Sara Groves before Michael Card, Andrew Peterson, Red Mountain Church. She was probably one of the first "Contemporary Christian" artists I listened to regularly.
Generations will reap what I sow.
I can pass on a curse or a blessing
to those I will never know.
This is my anthem, this is my songI can't recall what originally drew me to continue listening to Sara Groves. What draws me back is the quiet, meditative lyrics and gentle acoustic background. Though I haven't listened to much outside of "Conversations", the album is just that - it feels like a conversation with Sara Groves, and often times she hits the nail right on the head as to how I feel.
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me.
17 November 2010
As I step onto the stair that marks my twentieth birthday, I glance back to gaze at where I've been. I ponder these past years and whether they were spent wisely.
I am surprised to see high-school graduation already four years behind me. Four years sounds like a long time until I start looking back at what has happened during that time. Four years just about takes us back to the start of my family's adoption journey. Wow...four years. Sounds like a long time until I glance over at my almost-three-year-old sister and remember, just as if it were yesterday, walking into that room to see and hold her for the first time. I remember the tears as I was at last able to hold a little baby in my arms, knowing that she was my sister and no one could change that. I remember the heartache from different situations that fell through. The disappointments. The waiting. The trusting. It wasn't easy, but God was faithful and He continues to be.
I peer back even further to my early teens. I was a different person then. When I read my journal entries I laugh. Though I enjoyed being the age I was, I looked forward to being 18, 19, and 20 because surely I would be married by then and have my own children. I would be well on my way to visiting all the states. I would be travelling the world, taking trips to Great Britain, Australia, Africa, and who knows where else. I would be a budding actress, a well-known seamstress, or a famous basketball star. My dreams were big and nothing seemed impossible.
I draw my gaze back to the steps that now surround me. I look at the person God has changed me into and feel a wave of thankfulness for His strong hand constantly leading me higher and higher. I still want to travel the world, to get married and have children. But those things are no longer as important to me as they once were. More than anything else, I just want to serve Christ and work to spread the kingdom wherever He places me. I want to be willing to go to Africa or Asheville in order to spread the gospel and make disciples of all nations. I want to see Christ glorified.
I finally turn to gaze forward into the midst. I still can't see where this mighty Hand is leading me, but this I know - wherever I may go, whatever I may become, all the glory goes to Him. May His name be exalted in all the earth!
11 November 2010
Brothers - I am thankful for the godly example my brothers set for me. There are always there to help me when I need manly strength. They are extremely generous and lavish gifts upon me and my siblings whatever the occasion. Thank you God for brothers!
Church - God has provided a means of gathering together as a community to worship Him. Thank you God for giving us church!
Daddies - Especially my daddy. He has such a servants heart. He spends much time taking us places we want to go, without murmuring one word of complaint. He'll take time to wash dishes just because. I love my daddy and am so grateful for him. Thank you God for daddies!
Evangelism - God uses us to spread His Kingdom. He gives us this opportunity to spread His love to others. What an immense gift and charge for us. Thank you God for using us for evangelism!
Family - both my amazing family and my family in Christ. My blood family is such a blessing to me, they are crazy and awesome. I love my family so much and am thankful God has given them to me. My brothers and sisters in Christ, you encourage me, cause me to think, and are simply fun to be around. I love you all! Thank you God for the gift of family.
Grace - where would I be without it? Thank you God for grace.
Hospitals - I've seen more of the hospital in the past year than I ever wanted to see. However, I am vastly thankful for the high quality care that my baby brother has received. Without good hospital care, he wouldn't be here. Thank you God for hospitals.
Investment - I have been given the opportunity to work in the lives of those around me, to invest in them and really make a difference in their lives. Thank you God for this gift of investment.
Joy - With the absence of joy, our lives would be very glum indeed. Thank you God for giving us reasons to be joyful.
Knowledge - most particularly, knowledge of God. He has given us His word so that we can know and learn about Him. Thank you God for this knowledge.
Laughter - I love laughter. Because of God's precious gifts to my family, my house is filled with laughter. Thank you God for laughter.
Mothers - in particular, my mother. She is the strongest, godliness woman I know. No one I know would do the things she has done. She is willing to do crazy things for God without worrying what others might think. Thank you God so much for my mother.
Night - without darkness, how could we be thankful for the light? Thank you God for darkness and that it is temporary.
Orchids - just one of the many flowers God has blessed us with. Thank you God for all flowers, including orchids.
Peace - God gives us the gift of peace that surpasses all understanding. Thank you God for giving us your peace in the midst of the fiercest storms.
Quips - because who doesn't like a good one? ;)
Reformation - the reformers risked their lives for the cause of Christ. Where would we be without them? Thank you God for the reformers and the Reformation.
Sisters - I am so thankful for my two sisters. Jen and I have our differences - a lot - but I wouldn't exchange it for anything. I love to see Janae grow from a tiny baby into a little lady. When she begs for her Bible story, it makes me smile and my heart glad. She loves to pray for her family and is careful not to leave herself out. I love my sisters so much. Thank you God for sisters.
TULIP - the easiest way to explain Calvinism. ;)
Unity - that even in the midst of our differences, we can unite together for Christ and the Kingdom.
Valiant - thank you God for valiant people fighting for your Kingdom.
Winter - as with night, if it wasn't for winter we wouldn't appreciate the new life and warmth of spring. Thank you God for winter.
Xmas - the celebration of the incarnation of God. Thank you God for sending us your son!
Yahweh - I am thankful that Yahweh choose me to be his child, that He is my God, and that He has given me the privilege to serve Him with my life, my all. Thank you, Yahweh, for making me your child.
Zoology - because I couldn't think of anything else... ;)
10 November 2010
We're walkin' in to the fields.
We're walkin in to the forest.
The moon is before us.
We're holdin' hands in the rain
S-sayin' words like I love you
D-d-d'you love me? Yeah...
If you live in the Charlotte area, you've most likely heard of the Avett Brothers. Once again, I was familiar with the name due to seeing it mentioned on Facebook (see a pattern here?). How I actually started listening to them was through my oldest brother. I think it was the Second Gleam from which he played a few songs for me that he thought I'd enjoy. He was quite right!
So you want to be in love like the moviesThe Avett Brothers have an interesting mix of music that can be folksy or rock. I don't usually listen to genres like rock, but the Avett Brothers have a unique sound that I don't mind listening to. From Kick-Drum Heart to Love Like the Movies, I have to admit they have some great tunes. They are originally from Concord, so it's like supporting local talent. ;)
But in the movies they're not in love at all
And with a twinkle in their eyes
They're just saying their lines
So we can't be in love like the movies
05 November 2010
Many people are probably surprised when they learn that I listen to Owl City. I'm pretty particular about the music I listen to, so you know there has to be a good reason why I would even consider listening to Owl City. Originally, I had no choice but to listen to it as my younger sister discovered him and started playing the music. (I won't even get into the music battles the two of us have...). The heavy background is not something that I usually enjoy, and if the lyrics were any different I wouldn't have given it a second listen.
"When hygienists leave on long vacations/That's when dentists scream and lose their patience"
"Golf and alcohol don't mix/And that's why I don't drink and drive"The lyrics are the absolute best part about Owl City. I love to hear plays on words, so listening to this music always makes me smile. Like dessert eaten too often, or too large of quantities, so is this type of music. It's more of a fun, once-in-a-while 'treat'. If I listen to it, it's because I either need something to make me smile, or I'm tired and I need something to keep me awake while I work. Or my sister is blasting it...again. ;) It makes no sense at all, but is guaranteed to bring a smile to my face. So if you enjoy a good play on words and need something fun to listen to once in a while, try some Owl City.
04 November 2010
Well ‘I do’ are the two most famous last wordsTo start out with, I introduce to you Andrew Peterson. I had a couple different friends post his song, Dancing in the Minefields, on Facebook. Soon afterwards I heard a couple different recommendations of his latest album, Counting Stars. I liked what I heard, so I bought Counting Stars. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I liked his music. I enjoy the quiet, acoustic sound and meaningful lyrics. Occasionally there is a "yeah" or what-not that could have been filled with much better lyrics, but that is a minor caveat for me. His music isn't just something that is fun to listen to, but has meaningful lyrics to accompany the lovely acoustic sound.
The beginning of the end
But to lose your life for another I’ve heard is a good place to begin
'Cause the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down
And I believe it’s an easy price for the life that we have found
Like my fathers I am looking for a homeThe sad part is that he has been around for quite a while, so he has many, many, many albums out there. Sometime I will try to explore his other works, but for now I'm enjoying "Counting Stars". If you haven't heard his music, look him up and check him out. You'll be glad you did.
Looking for a home beyond the sea
So be my God and guide me
Till I lie beneath the hills
Then let the great God of my fathers
Be the great God of my children still
03 November 2010
Oftentimes we refer to ourselves as pilgrims in the land, strangers on a journey to another place. It's true, we pilgrims journeying here on earth for a short while, but if you think about it, you could say that about all humankind. The difference is our destination, the places our hearts lie, our eternal home.
When life knocks us down, when we are overcome with struggles, when the troubles of the world weigh down on us, Christians look forward to heaven, that place of no tears and no pain. But to be honest, sometimes I think we idolize it too much, focous too much on heaven and not enough on our work that God has given on earth. We think of heaven as a place where we will have to work no longer, where will sit around on clouds all day, playing harps and singing praises to God. Now, singing praises to God is not wrong, but I don't think that's all we'll be doing all eternity. Think about the garden before the fall. Adam worked in the garden - yes, worked! He wasn't sitting around all day doing nothing. The difference is that after the fall, sin entered the picture and made everything much, much harder. I imagine that heaven will be much like the pre-fall Garden of Eden. We'll be glorifying Yahweh through the works of our hands. I think it was C.S. Lewis who painted the picture of heaven as something similar (I only wish I could remember which book it was in!). Imagine praising Yahweh for all eternity, working for him without the added toil of sin!
My admonition is for you to seek to have a biblical view of heaven. Yet while looking forward to that life without the struggle of sin, don't neglect the work you have here and now to accomplish for Christ and His Kingdom. May God speed you on your way as you toil for Him!
29 September 2010
Today the common expectation is for a child to graduate high school and then immediately pack their bags and head off to college. Occasionally you´ll run into those who have chosen a different route to further their education, but they are few and far between. Do we ever stop to question why? For what purpose are we being indoctrinated for four years under someone else´s teaching? Don´t get me wrong, I´m not against college. Sometimes it is required for the field one wishes to pursue. Many times it is done just because that is what is expected. We need to consider both the benefits and the risks.
It costs a large fortune to attend a college. It is a cost that I myself can justify. If what I truly desire is to be a stay-at-home wife and mother, why should I create that much debt to carry into marriage? A degree is nothing more than a very expensive piece of paper. Just about everyone has one these days so it isn´t something that differentiates you from the next guy (or gal). I´m not saying degrees are bad, simply that the traditional route is a very expensive way to get one. Something that I think everyone should at least consider is CollegePlus! or a similar program. Through distance learning, the college expenses are drastically reduced. If at some point I end up pursuing a degree, CollegePlus is how I would earn it.
Now, what about the quiver and arrows analogy? If the kids are being kept at home, how are you making a mark on the world for His kingdom? I think how you answer this question depends on how exactly you view missions. For some, serving our families are the ´front lines´ while for others, it may be serving the Lord in another country. Both can make a phenomenal difference for the Kingdom. I don´t think it is so much where you are serving as how. We can make a difference for the Kingdom no matter where we are. Now for young men, one expects them at some point in their early twenties to take initiative to start their own homes (whether that means marrying or living on their own is and entirely different topic). For young women, I think they can and should take the opportunity to serve at home in their own families until marriage (and if they´re called to singleness that´s another topic for another day). No, that doesn´t mean they are ´stuck´ at home all day, it is simply the springboard they use for ministering to those around them. It doesn´t mean one is limited to service in their own family, but that the family is the starting point.
So there is a few of my broken thoughts on the topic. I know not everyone agrees with me, so I look forward to discussing this further in the comments. :)
28 September 2010
I haven't always worn skirts. Growing up, skirts and dresses were what I wore to church, not something put on every day. I never gave it a second thought. However, I remember one day when my mother listened to a S.M. Davis tape on modesty, and announced that we were going to start wearing skirts and dresses more. My response was something along the lines of "never in a million years". I was probably around seven years of age or so, and had quite a stubborn streak (which I'm sure has worn off after all these years. Haha!). Was this my "turning point", so to speak? Far from it. I don't think I could pick one particular moment, one article, one book that suddenly changed my mind. It was a very slow, gradual process. So much so, that I was rather shocked when I looked back and realized that I had become my own worst nightmare. :) It was a very gradual shift in focous that really embodies how much people can change because of the influence of what they read and the people they spend time with.
Well, that gives you a bit of history, but doesn't really tell you exactly why I wear skirts all the time. It's actually quite simple, really. I like skirts better than pants. Yep, that's it! Now, I admit when I first made the switch to skirts-only, I was tempted to feel like I was better than "those girls" that felt more comfortable in jeans. There is a temptation on both sides to feel like they are better than the other. I'm not condemning those that find pants more comfortable. That's your personal decision, just keep in mind that it doesn't make you any better than the next girl.
Now the gals in the skirts-only camp will argue that skirts are more feminine. For the most part that is true. Skirts are naturally more feminine, even the uglier ones. However, I can't say that wearing pants makes you look like a man. There are plenty of feminine styles of pants out there, and many lovely, feminine outfits. But just as some people don't like brussel sprouts, I personally don't like wearing pants.
Is a skirt more modest than pants? They can be. But then, there are pants that are miles more modest that some skirts I seen. Whatever you choose when you look at your closet in the morning, careful attention should always be paid to modesty. Is this too low, too tight, too thin, too short? Most especially, attention should be given to our attitudes. Do guys notice or care which a girl wears? I don't know. But I know they can tell the difference between a lady with a modest attitude and the girl that throws herself at guys. You could wear a burka and still have an immodest attitude. Pay close attention to your clothes, but even closer attention to your attitude and demeanour..
Remember how I used to be stubborn? (Please stop snickering!) Well, to some extent that influences my skirt vs pants decision. If someone says you can't, that usually makes you three times more willing to try to accomplish it, just to say "I told you so.". Don't say you've never done that, because we all have. If you're smart, you know how to work that in-bred defiance in others for good. (I can practically see the knowing smiles of parents and older children who read this). So there you have it - I don't wear skirts because I think I'm better than you, I do it because I feel more comfortable, feminine, and less self-conscious in a skirt.
Now it's your turn - which do you prefer and why?
21 September 2010
There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same. I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest? - FrodoI don't usually cry at the end of books. It's fiction, after all. Why waste tears or feel sad for someone who never actually existed? That being said, I cried at the end of Lord of the Rings. It wasn't so much finishing the book and feeling like a friend had been lost, though that feeling was present, too. No, it was the change that had taken place in Frodo. The parting of two friends that had been through everything together. Frodo had given up everything to save the Shire. Yes, it was saved, but not for him. Then I read the story again and wondered what would have happened if Frodo knew everything that would befall him. Would he still be willing to be a part of the fellowship of the ring? Now, Lord of the Rings is just a book. It is a brilliant world that J.R.R. Tolkien created. But fiction has to be draw from somewhere. Good fiction isn't just about a touching story, it is about the life application one draws from it. As G. K. Chesterton once said, "Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten. ".
Sometimes we find ourselves in undesirable circumstances because of the decisions we've made. We find ourselves wishing we could go back and change our decision. Life isn't like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story, we can't see ahead of time where each choice will lead nor can we go back and change our choice if it proves unsatisfactory. No, we must plunge head-first into the story of our lives. There have been very painful situations I've been through in my life. Sometimes I've wished I could go back and start over, convinced that whatever the other option was, it certainly has to be much better. No matter how much I may wish for that, it is not going to happen. That's not what God wants me to do. I have to stop living in the past. Not only that, but I need to unclench my fists and let go of my future, placing it in the palm of His hands and simply trusting in His sovereignty. I can't change the past. God has brought me through those times for a reason. Sometimes I how even the most painful situations have been for the best, but sometime there seems to be no earthly reason for the pain and hurt. We have to let go of the past. The aching will always be there, but we have to realize that the breaking was for a reason.
We can't judge the future by our past experiences. If we've been hurt in the past, that doesn't give us a "get-out-of-pain-free" cards for the rest of our lives. This is a fallen world. We will be hurt, especially by those we love and care for the most. To love anything at all is to make ourselves prone. I can't say it any better than C.S. Lewis already has: "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”
What are we then to do? We are to make ourselves vulnerable, we are to love. We will be broken, crushed, pressed, put through all kinds of pain, and for what? For the glory of God. When is our testimony the strongest when we are faithful to God while we are happy and blessed, or when we are broken and bruised but still praising in Him, trusting Him, glorifying Him? Like a light in the darkness, so will our witness shine through for Yahweh's praise and glory. Trust and follow Him, even through the valley of the shadow of death, and leave the outcome in His all-capable hands.
Now you may realize there's something I've neglected to say. There isn't a hint of me promising to start posting more often or even more regularly. Why? Because I'm not. I post when I have time to share whatever thoughts I'm itching to share. Or at least I try to - I think there's about three or four drafts in my blogger right now in various stages of completion. This fall/winter is looking like it will be the busiest yet. However, I'm focusing a bit more on improving my writing, so I at least promise not to disappear all together (not that too many people will notice anyway.) ;)
So there ya go, a new post on my blog. Stay tuned for new posts that (hopefully) won't be just me rambling on and on. ;)
25 August 2010
Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, "Till now the LORD has helped us." So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel." - 1 Samuel 7:12-13From time to time I often wonder why I write. Why do I keep a journal? Why do I blog? There's a whole plethora of reason people may start a blog Some people may do it for the attention and fame, or perhaps to simply fulfill that innate desire to know and be know. For me, it was political season and I needed a place to vent. :) What kept me posting after the elections were over, though? Some of it was probably simply having a place where I could share different things with my friends. All in all, what has kept me going - especially recently - is having a place to record how Yahweh is working in my life. I can look back in my journals, or read posts from last year, and be encouraged with how Yahweh has worked in me and through me. I can see how He used different situations that I struggled with at the time and worked them together for good. Without these records of God's faithfulness, it would be easy for me to forget how faithful, loving, and merciful He has been in the past. Whenever I feel depressed or down, by looking over these Ebenezer stones I am reminded of how He has worked in the past and most certain will work out the present circumstances. Sure, there are 200,000 other blogs out there already. So what if no one reads my posts or comments? I don't blog to put myself out there or promote myself, but to record how Yahweh is working in my life and to set up Ebenezer stones as memorials of His faithfulness. So there, in a nutshell, is why I blog. :)
24 August 2010
17 August 2010
16 August 2010
"Become the kind of person the kind of person you would like to marry would like to marry."
The above quote is something I've been thinking on recently. Am I that person? Probably not. But by thinking through it, I've been able to pin-point specific areas in my life that I ought to improve in, both spiritually and mentally. However, it's not just about improving ourselves so that a certain type of person would be attracted to us, but about evaluating areas in which we need to improve. I think everyone, married and single alike, should be regularly evaluate themselves. Am I improving in the area of a particular besetting sin? Am I moving forward in my sanctification by the help of the Holy Spirit? Sure, we won't be perfect until we are with our Saviour, but like an athlete in training, we should be constantly checking our progress and seeing in what areas we need to improve. As we mature in Christ, moving from milk to meat, there we be different struggles at different times but we should always be continuing forward with the help of Jesus. In the words of Paul, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Let us look for those sins that cling so closely and fling them off with the help of our Saviour as we seek to become more and more like Him.
05 August 2010
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Do you know what happened at Jamestown? According to Kevin Crossett, spokesman for the official Jamestown 2007 commemoration,"Few people remember their history about Jamestown. They know about Plymouth, which was founded 13 years later. But people are just beginning to realize that Jamestown is a place, that it's connected with John Smith and Pocahontas." This, the year 2007, is Jamestown's 400th birthday. Unlike years past, there will be no official celebration for Jamestown's anniversary, for how can we celebrate an invasion? Go no further than the primary source documents, written by and for these “ruthless” men of Jamestown – not the writings of the 21th revisionist mindset – and uncover much to rejoice over, celebrate, and remember through God's providential acts at Jamestown, how he used the settlers at Jamestown, and teaching these things to our children.
A modern misconception about Jamestown is that the settlers came to Virginia for their own profit. However, the first charter dispels all doubts for evidence of the real reason they came – the inspiration that drove these men to cross a vast ocean to an unknown, lonely land and settle there. “... by the providence of Almightie God, hereafter tende to the glorie of His Divine Majestie in propagating of Christian religion to suche people as yet live in darkenesse...” The men that came to Jamestown knew there were people in America living in darkness, with no way to learn of Jesus Christ, no way to be saved. They were willing to come to America and sacrifice their lives for the propagation of the Christian religion. These were visionary men, who laid the foundation for our nation at Jamestown. As soldiers who have died serving this country, hundreds of these men died for America. Keeping in mind that these men were also sinners, and not incorruptible, they still should be honored and remembered for their memorable acts at Jamestown. They did not come simply for their own profit, but for the furtherance of the gospel.
We need to remember and celebrate God's providential acts at Jamestown. In the words of the London Council for Virginia “For every plantation which our heavenly father hath not planted shall be rooted out.” Our heavenly Father led Jamestown through starving times and long, cold winters. He raised up John Smith at a time when the settlement needed him most, and sent Pocahontas, who in the words of John Smith “she next under God, was still the instrument to preserve this colony from death, famine and utter confusion; which if in those times, had once been dissolved, Virginia might have lain as it was at our first arrival to this day.” The soil is rich with the forgotten stories of old, tales of the awesome power of God. If we do not preserve these memories, they will be gone, lost forever.
What the settlers did at Jamestown, and the remembrance thereof, is extremely important and vital for the future of our country. When we read through the history of the nation of Israel, there are countless times when they fell into sin simply because they forgot their fathers and their father's deeds. If Americans refuse to remember their founding fathers and God's providential hand mercifully displayed throughout the history of our nation, what will become of America? Our children are the future leaders of our country. They need to grow up listening and learning about the heroic deeds of old. Not only those of such great men as George Washington and John Smith, but also of the young Indian girl who played a major part in saving Jamestown when she was only twelve years old. Let them hear of the Indian youth who saved so many lives by forewarning Jamestown of the impending massacre. Or tell them about the brave men and women who went behind enemy lines during the Revolutionary War, risking their lives, their fortunes, their homes for the freedom we now enjoy. Hearing of such heroic deeds as those interwoven throughout America's providential history will not only strengthen your faith and their faith in God, but will inspire our offspring to perform heroic deeds of their own. They will not only learn from past victories, but from past mistakes as well, and they will be better prepared for the future. Pillars of remembrance for such heroic deeds should be raised, so that God's hand interwoven throughout all of America's history will never be forgotten.
What happened at Jamestown is a significant part of America's history. If we forget what happened there, we will lose much of our rich history. Jamestown is not something to be ignored or covered up, but to be remembered and celebrated. Remember Jamestown. Remember what the settlers did there. Most importantly, remember to teach these things to your children.
03 August 2010
02 August 2010
This passage is quite full of things that we are and aren't supposed to do. We are to bless those who persecute us. We can't just ignore them, or tolerate them, or not repay what they've done to us...we're supposed to not curse them but bless them. We should be trying to live peaceable with those around us, not seeking to stir up trouble or trying to make people angry. We are to go against our sinful nature and instead of return evil for evil, we are to return good for evil. It's not going to be easy. We will want to seek revenge, to payback evil for evil, hurt for hurt. But that is not what we are commanded to do. We are to love and bless in return. We can only do this by Yahweh's grace. May He give us strength to obey His commands!
30 July 2010
28 July 2010
Once one of my students asked if he could talk about God with me. I said okay. He told me he didn't see why he couldn't be good without God. I asked him why he didn't. He said, "Because I think I'm a decent person." I replied, "If you think your decency is high enough for God, your idea of God must be pretty low." At first he was shocked. But then I asked him whether he thought he could go a week without selfishness, without resentment, without lust. I asked whether he thought he could go a day, an hour, ten minutes. He got the point, because he knew he couldn't. By myself, neither can I.
Without Christ, we can't know good or do good works. It is awesome to think of how Yahweh chose me to serve Him, and that He has given me the power and ability to do good works and has graciously given me His word to discern what is good and what is evil.
27 July 2010
1. Yahweh creates the pre-born. "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb." (Psalm 139:13)
2. Yahweh takes seriously the life of the pre-born. "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise" (Exodus 21:22-25).
3. Yahweh has plans for the pre-born, even before they are created. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5); "But when He who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through His grace . . ." (Galatians 1:15)
4. Children are blessings and rewards. "Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward" (Psalm 127:3).
5. They are human beings. "When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit…[saying] ‘As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy'" (Luke 1:41, 44).
6. We are commanded not to kill. "You shall not murder." (Deuteronomy 5:17)
26 July 2010
What does Romans 12:1-2 reveal about God and how we live in light of His truths? We see that He is merciful and holy, and He desires us to be holy as He is holy. We should be following His truths, not what the world is telling us. We are living sacrifices to God, and as such are to be seeking, with His help, to be perfect and acceptable sacrifices to Him. There is connection here between our spiritual and physical - we are to serve Him physically as well as spiritually. We should not be seeking to satisfy our flesh, but to be storing us spiritual treasures, treasures in heaven.
John Piper's sermons, A Cause to Live For, makes some good points. To die for something is a one-time act. To live for something is a constant dying to oneself. Certainly the first can be difficult, but the latter is one of the toughest things to do. Don't just be willing to die for Christ, be willing to live for Him and to change the world around you for His glory.
23 July 2010
Task Twelve was a little more difficult. It's things I know but have a hard time putting into practice. For certain reasons, I don't find it easy to plug into the church that my family attends. This is something I should probably work on more, but for various personal reasons I have not. I did send a short thank-you to a young lady who is on the worship team and does a good job selflessly serving the church. Hopefully it was an encouragement to her.
20 July 2010
Task Ten focuses on mentorship. I haven't quite thought of mentorship in relation to myself (as either mentor or 'mentoree') so it was definitely an interesting read. Obviously, most difficult part is when there isn't anyone there - either to learn from or to teach. As I've watched the younger girls that I know grow older (I'm still trying to believe that both one of my closest friends and my younger sister are turning eighteen...) I am starting to realize that I've already been through what some of these young ladies are just starting to embark on. It's actually a little frightening to me to realize that I am that old! ;-) Thus I've been pondering what exactly I would tell these girls when they struggle with some of the issues I've already been through. Perhaps some of these musings will appear as a future blogpost. Or if you really want to know, I'll just talk to you personally. ;-)
My family's adoption journey over the past several years has been one of those events that has aided to shape me into the person I am today. There is so much I wish I knew when we started out that took years to learn and I hope that perhaps I can save someone the pain I and my family have been through by learning from my family's experiences. Some things will only be learned by personal experience but certainly not everything. Hopefully by sharing what we've learned, others will avoid the same mistakes and won't have the same naiveness.
I've also realized how I need to be willing to have mentors. I have the privilege of having very wise friends whose counsel I trust. I certainly am thankful for that blessing, for I know that not everyone has that opportunity. It's reassuring to know that they're there whenever I need advice, and I can trust in them to give solid biblical counsel. I just need to not be afraid to ask!
19 July 2010
There are two particularly good reminders in this passage. The first is that we can't function well together as a community unless we are humble. How can I get along with others if I think I am better than them all? Pride is something we all have, that can manifest itself in many different ways and is something that we have to constantly battle against. Secondly, we each will differ in our gifts (as I mentioned in the last post) and are to faithfully serve the Lord and glorify Him with the gifts He has given us.
16 July 2010
None of the sermon was "new" for me, but it was a good reminder. Each of us have our own separate gifts, and are not to despise others simply because they can't do what we can. Most likely they are gifted in another area in which we ourselves are lacking. We are also to work together, combining our gifts to further His kingdom. By helping someone who is lacking in an ability that comes naturally for ourselves, we are better able to accomplish this.If we want to use our gifts to the best advantage, then that is what we are do - work together as many separate parts of one body.
I've heard arguments both for and against "the list". Should we have a list of requirements that someone must meet if they want to be our spouse? If they are solid, biblical principles - then the answer is yes. We ought to have non-negotiables. Mrs. Watters gives four, and backs them up with scripture (the article is here): He must be a believer; he must be able and willing to provide for his family; he must love sacrificially; he must be honest, have a good reputation and strive for the qualities of a spiritual leader. No one is going to fully embody all of these characteristics, but they ought to be travelling in that trajectory. Personally, the guy would have to agree with me on few crucial theological points, but other then that I would agree with Mrs. Watters. It's not easy to let go of my own negotiables, but I'm learning to make it about Him, not me.
14 July 2010
13 July 2010
12 July 2010
I enjoyed Matthew Henry's commentary on this passage. He says, "Now all our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, and that sweet work, love. ". He proceeds to comment on the three types of love mentioned here - affectionate love, respectful love, and liberal love. With this division, I will give my thoughts on each section.
An affectionate love:
"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. "
Genuine love - that is a lot harder than it sounds! It is not just acting nice towards someone, but truly caring for them no matter how they have acted toward me.
Abhor what is evil - not only knowing that I shouldn't sin, but hating and despising sin.
Hold fast to what is good - turning away from the bad on holding tightly to what is good, without a single longing glance at the other side.
Love one another with brotherly affection - we are to love each other as we love our own kith and kin. As a friend of mine commented, we should love them even better than our family members, as our treatment towards members of our own family isn't always the best.
A Respectful Love:
"Outdo one another in showing honour. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord."
Outdo one another in showing honour - it can be difficult to put others before ourselves. I am supposed to try to outdo others in showing honour, not in outdoing them and their works.
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord - I am to avoid sloth. Proverbs especially is brimming with verses that address slothfulness and the consequences of it. I am to be fervent in spirit, serving Yahweh, not myself or my sinful nature.
A Liberal Love:
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs the saints and seek to show hospitality. "
Rejoice in hope - even in the bleakest circumstances, we can rejoice for our hope is in Yahweh.
Be patient in tribulation - instead of being eager for the tribulation or trial to be quickly over, I ought to be seeking out what Yahweh is teaching me and realize that He is working everything out for my ultimate good.
Be constant in prayer - Yahweh is always there, ready to speak with me. As a young couple is always doing things together, constantly talking to each other and wanting to know what the other is up to, I should be constantly conversing with my Father.
Contribute to the needs of the saints - we are not each to live our own lives, but to care for our fellow saints, whether it is physically, spiritually, or emotionally.
Seek to show hospitality - this can be as easy as inviting another family over for dinner. Christian hospitality is often lacking, sadly, and we ought to seek to remedy that by making ourselves more willing to open our homes to the needy around us.
That's all for today, folks! :)
11 July 2010
The first article, Biblical Dating: An Introduction (http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001401.cfm), defines the difference between biblical dating and modern dating. The biblical principles are well laid-out and contrasting it to modern dating. Whether you call it biblical dating, courtship, or betrothal isn't important as long as you have solid biblical principles to guide you.
"To Kiss or Not to Kiss" is a biblical defense in favour of keeping all sexual activity until marriage, included kissing. Yes, I just said kissing. I realize there are those that would disagree, but I am with the author on this one - no kissing until after marriage.
So you have your basic foundation of biblical principles for courtship. The question is, "Are You Ready to Date?" (http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001449.cfm). Before you even consider looking for a spouse, you should ask yourself if you are both ready and able to marry. If the answer is yes, then start looking for a potential partner that would make a good husband or wife according to the biblical standard. If it's no, one should obviously refrain from seeking to become involved in a romantic relationship.
The next three articles - Just Friends (http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001475.cfm), Navigating the Early Stages of a Relationship (http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001512.cfm), Growing in Intimacy (http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001532.cfm), and Tips for Engagement (http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001549.cfm) - provide practical tips and biblical counsel for each stage of the relationship as it progresses.
One of my all-time favorite Boundless articles is "From 'Hi' to 'I Do' in a Year" (http://www.boundless.org/2005/articles/a0001598.cfm). One year is plenty of time to discover whether or not you can marry the person. This includes not having a long engagement.
The best article in this series is "Settling". Even if you don't read or agree with the rest of the series, I highly recommend reading this one. Sometimes we think we are holding out for the best= when we're actually being selfish. Instead of being concern about whether this person meets our pre-conceived romantic notions, we should be asking if they meet the biblical standard.
There is much more I could comment on, but I will leave it at this from now. Feel free to share your thoughts and give your opinion on the series!
27 June 2010
09 June 2010
14 May 2010
06 May 2010
A common train of thought in today's society is that there is one person out there, Mr./Mrs. Right, who can complete them. They just have to find them. But is there really just one person that you would be able to marry?
I think the concept of "the one" can be a destructive one. The tendency is to set the standard high - too high - and turn down perfectly acceptable suitors because of minor character flaws. Young women especially need to face reality and realize that Prince Charming will be a sinful young man who does not live to make her happy. I realize that if the Lord wills for me to marry, that my husband will not be perfect. He'll have flaws, habits that annoy me, and sins that he struggles with. If we search for that perfect young man with his own home, a well-paying job, perfect credentials, no flaws...we will never find him.
I do think there are certain people we are "compatible" with. But is there only one? Nope. Neither should we settle for the first person we find. Wait for God's best. Keep an open mind, she/he won't always be what we imagined. Stop waiting for the one, and look at the godly young people around you.
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05 May 2010
28 April 2010
Something I learned from being sick is not to take anything for granted. As a young people, we tend to forget that we are not invincible. It is easy to forget to be thankful for things we don't notice until they are taken away, like simply having the energy to get out of bed in the morning. I thought about the fact that there are people that have to deal everyday with some of the issues I had to deal with for only had for a week or two. I can't imagine having to struggle everyday with not having enough strength just to do simple tasks around the house. I would encourage everyone who reads this to cultivate a thankful heart. Be thankful for those little things that we don't usually notice until they are taken away. We aren't automatically thankful creatures, we have to teach ourselves to be thankful. Look around you, think hard about what you usually take for granted, and thank Yahweh for the countless good gifts He has given to you.
05 April 2010
the hurt behind her smile.
the emotional turmoil.
the pain beneath his laughter.
the tears that soak the pillow.
Behind their masks are painful wounds...
some scarred over.
some painfully tender.
some almost forgotten.
No matter. . .
how hard the laugh,
how bright the smile,
how chirpy the greeting,
every heart has its aching wounds.
We should thus treat those around us. . .
02 April 2010
It is so easy to start focusing on the bad things that happening and miss out on the good. For example, the failed peeps turned into delicious oatmeal creme pies. If we seek to turn ourselves into regular ol' Pollyannas, always looking for the good in *every* situation, we will be rewarded. Trying to find the silver lining doesn't come naturally; in fact, it can take a lot of time and practice to cultivate that "talent". But if we seek to find joy in every situation, we will be happier people. Our cups will be so filled with joy that it will "splash" onto those around us. Even so, the joy does not come of ourselves but is a gift from Yahweh. The world will wonder at the inexpressible delight we find in Him.
Sometimes the burden becomes too much for us, though. We can't seem to find joy anywhere. It seems as if everything that could possible go wrong has. The cloud of depression weighs heavily on your soul and nothing seems to be able to dispel it. What then, are we to wallow in our sadness? No, we need to seek our joy from Yahweh. Even on our absolute worse days, we are not beyond the reach of His grace. Even on our best days, we are not beyond the need of His grace. As Christians, we are constantly supposed to be joyful. What to we have to be sad and mournful about? The maker of the universe loves us. He gave His most valuable, precious possession to be torn, beaten, hung on a cross for us. What more could He have given? It was for me, for my sins that He was smitten of God and afflicted. For the lies I have told, the sins I have committed. By His stripes I am healed, my sins are forgiven. Now, is that not something to be joyful about?
A glorious Easter Sunday to you all.
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26 March 2010
You have to be a humble person to be able to dance. Sooner or later you will mess up, direct someone in the wrong direction, mis-read a dance step, or simply not know what you are doing. You have to be willing to admit you messed up, and be humble enough to ask for help when you have no idea what you are supposed to do.
Dancing teaches you patience. It takes time to walk through a dance and learn the steps before you can even get the chance to dance it through with you music. Or perhaps you already know the dance and you must learn to wait patiently as others learn.
You learn to help others. When first starting out, you are concerned for yourself and how to do it right. As you progress you start to look out for your partner, then your set, then others in your line. You begin to look out not just for yourself but for others with which you are dancing.
You have the opportunity to enjoy some of the most exquisite pieces of music. Just dance Pat Shaw's version of Mr. Beveridge's Maggot and you'll know what I mean.
If you don't know how to listen you shouldn't dance. It's not even just listening to the caller, but listening also for the music for it will tell you when to perform the next figure. Paying attention to the caller helps, too. ;-)
So dancing isn't just for fun. It will stretch you. God has used my experiences with dance to shape me into the person I am today. Four years ago, I would never ever have thought it possible for me to have the nerve to actually stand in front of a group of people and call dances. I was extremely shy and uncomfortable actually looking at my partner when I was dancing with them. I was not outgoing at all and probably would have nearly died if I had to speak in front of a group of people. Dance, however, forced me out of my shell and taught me how to be comfortable interacting with other people. Here I am today - helping my brother lead our dance group and calling dances.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and dance!
18 March 2010
I think it is an excellent idea. We are so surrounded my our technology that it would be beneficial to take regular breaks and unplug. We ask God to speak to us, yet our lives are so filled with music, iPods, emails, all sorts of electronics...we have no silence in which we can hear Him speak. This is why our quiet time with the Lord should come as soon as possible in the mornings, before the distractions start flooding in. Do the bare minimum you have to do to wake up, and then make it your priority to spend time with Yahweh - not just in His Word, but speaking to Him and listening.
A good point brought out in the article is the temptation towards legalism. It is easy to think ourselves better because we don't get on Facebook on Sundays. Yet the prophet Isaiah tells us that our righteousness is as filthy rags. It doesn't matter how good we are, it is never good enough. I can't enter into heaven on my own merit. My very best is nothing better than a pile of dirty, filthy, stained rags. Do I lose hope, seeing how not matter what I do, it is naught? No, for by Yahweh's grace, I am being sanctified, and am being made more holy and more like Him. I can not do it of myself, I must plead with Yahweh to work in me - to sanctify me, to grant me the desire to seek after Him, to help me follow hard after Him. By seeking to unplug from the source of so much distraction, I am more free to focus on Him on His day. It isn't easy, especially at first, and I admit that sometimes it is difficult to do it for a full twenty-four hours. You can even start out with, say, twelve or fifteen hours, and work up to a full twenty-four hours. Persevere and I think you will find the eternal rewards worth the struggle.
Soli Deo Gloria,
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04 March 2010
The article by Stacy Macdonald on courtship and betrothal is located here:
There is no cut and dried way that a courtship should happen. Each couple's story is going to be amazingly unique. How each family implements biblical principles is going to be different. But the thing is that there are biblical principles that should be followed. That's my disclaimer before I state my thoughts on the above article.
I agree with Mrs. Macdonald that if there is an interest there, that one of the best ways to get a glimpse of the other's character is through interaction with the other person in a family or group setting. The emotions should and must take the sideline as you are trying to ascertain the character of the other person. Does their theology line up? Do they share a vision? Can I submit to/love as Christ this person? Topics such as these above should be worked out before anyone even thinks about involving the emotional aspect of it.
When it is discovered that this is "the one", that this young lady would share in his vision and submit to his leadership - it is at that point where the man can (and should) approach the father to ask for her hand in marriage. This is by no means the limit of the father's role. As the young lady's God-given protector, he should be "checking out" and getting to know the young man both before and during the courtship.
The emotions should be involved as little as possible until there is a firm commitment. No, it is not possible to be one hundred percent stoic, but there are certain pitfalls that can be avoided. In the beginning, one-on-one interaction in person should be limited, if not prohibited. I would even venture banning such phrases as "I miss you", "I love you", "Can't wait to see you again" and so on. The betrothal/engagement period is the time to focus on developing a romantic relationship with the person you are planning to spend the rest of your life with, while the courtship should be focused on whether or not this person is the one God has meant for you. There is always the possibility that this is not the one that He has intended for you. Our sin-ridden lives are not perfect and hearts will be broken no matter what model you use, but there is certainly a way that is wiser than the rest.
There's my "snippet" on the topic. I enjoy talking about the subject, though I much prefer the conversational layout than merely stating my opinion!
16 February 2010
I've heard it's a great conference. This is my first year attending and I have several friends going, so I am looking forward to it!
This ball is going to awesome. If you aren't going, you are really going to miss out. As part of the ball planning committee, I can guarantee that you will have a delightful time if you come. ;-) Personally, I'm preparing to spend the evening dancing as a guy...the guy/girl ratio right now is 1 to 3. The poor guys won't be able to sit out a dance! (Not that they'd want to... ;-)
The Red Hills Historical Ball is coming up. It will be here before you know it! If you are going to be near Rock Hill, SC on May 1st, go ahead and make plans to join us. It's going to be fun!
06 February 2010
Wider reaction to an unconnected nobody aged twenty-nine was what might have been expected, 'The Church is asleep; and armchairs and sofas and English comforts possess more attractions than perishing souls; besides which [the Chinese] are "half savages"'.
Sounds familiar, no? We are much more interested in serving Yahweh while living the American dream. Certainly nothing is new under the sun. It is easy to get caught up with our things and in the journey to accumulate more and more, but it is also a temptation to view other cultures as less-than superior than ours. We are Americans, our nation is the wealthiest in the world. Yes, we have much that is good in our culture and we may have more progress is certain areas, but to reach out to other ethnic groups and cultures we have to be willing to put away our western pride and be willing to embrace their culture. Hudson Taylor did this by adopting the dress of the Chinese, all the way down to pigtail and slippers. Suddenly, he was able to move more freely and share more openly. No longer was a crowd gathered around him simply to gawk at his clothing. This dress allowed him to places where before he couldn't when dressed as a foreigner. Practically all of his fellow missionaries, instead of rejoicing at his sucess, mocked him instead for giving up his western superiority. Let us not think that in their place we would do differently. It is only by Yahweh's grace that we are able to accomplish what we accomplish. By Yahweh's Grace Hudson Taylor was able to accomplish what he accomplished.
Hudson carried a very heavy burden for the fate of the Chinese. Millions were dying without hearing of Christ. He describes one of his encounters with a new Christian convert as follows:
Taylor passed to the story of an ex-Buddhist merchant, an educated man, who had been baptised after attending the little church in Ningpo. 'He asked me soon afterwards, "How long have you know this Good News in your own country?"
'"Hundreds of years."
'" Hundreds of years! And yet never came to tell us! My father sought the truth, sought it long, and died without finding it. Oh, why did you not come sooner?'"
Even in this day and age, there remain people groups of which this could be said. [As a side note, the Joshua Project is a very good way to be able to pray for these unreached people groups. Click the box on the sidebar to get more information about signing up for their daily emails which enable you to daily pray for specific unreached people groups]. Hudson Taylor could not forget those Chinese who lived in the unreached areas of China. To evangelise millions of people by himself was impossible, and he was at a loss as to how he would be able to find the help that he needed.
One experiment described in this divine text-book he determined to carry out at once. 'Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth labourers into the harvest.' Taylor decided that the divine method of raising missionaries did not lie in 'elaborate' appeals for help, but, first, earnest prayer to God to thrust forth labourers, and, second, the deepening of the spiritual Life of the Church, so that men should be unable to stay at home'.
What did he do? He sought wisdom from God's word and acted upon it. Not everyone is called to be a missionary, but we all need to pray for harvesters to be raised up. Some of us will be senders, but we should all have a burder to pray for unreached people.
There is a balance, though, that has to be struck. We can not be so missions-minded that we fail to disciple those at home, nor can we be so focused on ourselves as to not be willing to go out and reach the lost. I have seen the pendulum swing both ways. We must strive to make certain that those who are called to serve God in their home country are not failed to be discipled and matured in the faith. Neither should we overlook those in other countries who are perishing for want of the light of the gospel. We are called to serve Yahweh where he has placed us - serving Him in another land does not make us holier or more worthy than others. We just need to be willing and open to serving Him wherever we have been place, whether it's in the suburbs of Charlotte or the muddy roads of Nigeria.
If nothing else, hopefully my scattered musings will encourage you to read more of the life and works of Hudson and Maria Taylor. I have enjoyed writing some of my thoughts on what I have read, may they have been as enjoyable to read. Will I be writing more on the subject once I have finished the book? We shall see...
20 January 2010
to assist you in nonchalantly building a friendship with a godly Christian
woman. I'm serious, men! If you're mature enough to pursue marriage, Facebook
should be "Courtbook" for you. Don't just sit there, get on the ball and go
"poke" a godly girl." - Joshua Harris
I stumbled across this quote from Josh Harris today on a friend's Facebook account. (To read the quote in context, see here). At first the quote struck me as hilarious as I have several friends where Facebook played a significant role in their relationships. After a good laugh, I started to consider the implications of such a statement. Should we use Facebook be viewed as a viable tool in our search for godly spouses?
Before preceding any further, my clarifications would be: 1. You have already met the person or 2. You have a mutual friend. Though it would certainly be possible, I don't think I could be as comfortable if it was someone I had never met, didn't have any mutually friends, etc. etc.
What would be the pros and cons of such a use of Facebook? As with any form of electronic communication, there is a degree of accountability that is lost. It is all too easy to say things in writing that we would think twice about before saying aloud. But then, we also have the option of thinking twice before mentioning something. It can also be, as Josh Harris says, a "nonchalant" (or perhaps impersonal) way to get to know someone. You can get to know them on a casual level without commitment - which can certainly be taken advantage of in both a good way and bad.
Sometimes it's just easier to talk with someone online before you approach them in person. I know that it has been the case for me. I feel more comfortable talking to someone in person once I have know some of their likes/dislikes and interests. Maybe it's just because I've experienced that awkward silence where no one can think of anyone to say, one too many times. If I know at least one thing the other person is passionate about, I can then use that to draw them out of their shell. Otherwise I tend to fail miserably as a conversationalist when the only answer I receive is "yes" and "no". I view being friends with someone on Facebook as a conversational aide that I can draw on during those awkward pauses.
Charles Dickens stated it well when he said, "Electric communication, will never be a substitute, for the face of someone who with their soul, encourages another person to be brave and true.". I would agree with Josh Harris on this one, we can - and perhaps should - utilize Facebook as a springboard to find a godly spouse. Only keep in mind that important little word - springboard. It is a starting place to push you in the right direction. Feel like this person is someone you could love/respect? Move on to the next step. Meet their family (if you haven't done so already). Watch them in real-life situations to get a feel for their true character - not simply that which they can present through their writing. Facebook can be a means to an end, but not the only means that should be used to accomplish that end.
There's some of my musings on the topic. May they amuse you, if nothing else. :-)
Certainly the most important book we read is the Bible. It is the basis and groundwork that affects every area of our lives. We ought to be spending time daily in His word. My favorite bible reading plan is Prof. Horner's Bible-Reading System. Though I don't always make it through each list every day, at least reading a Psalm, Proverb and New Testament reading is a great place to start.
To enhance our understanding of the scriptures, help us understand what we believe and why believe it, to encourage us in our walk with Yahweh, to teach out how to live out our faith, there ought to be a selection on theology or doctrine. The Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, The Heidelberg Catechism, and The Discipline of Grace are all books I'm reading that fall into this category. I tend to spend a lot of time on this genre, as you can tell!
Another genre, which of late I've sadly neglected, is that of good Christian biographies. I've started reading a biography of Jim Elliot, and Hudson and Maria: Pioneers in China. Reading biographies of Christian heroes gives us a glimpse of how our faith is to be lived out. Reading missionary biographies gives us that heart for missions, a desire to see His word spread throughout all the nations.
It certainly does not mean that we can not read other genres. There are many other excellent non-fiction books that do not quite fall either category. Personally, I'm reading: What He Must Be...If He Wants To Marry My Daughter, The 5000 Year Leap, Feminine Appeal. As for fiction, I have not spent very much time there in the past couple of years. Mostly it is because of all the great non-fiction books I have been spending time with, I have nothing against the genre itself. I am determine to finally plow through Les Miserables this year, it is probably the toughest read I've had yet, and then I plan to explore some more well-written fiction books.
Biographies and theology/doctrinal books are, in my view, the most important books that we should be reading (outside of the Bible). They work together to give us deeper understand of Yahweh's word, and then seeing how that has been lived out in the lives of those who have gone before us. Hopefully this will inspire you to start reading more from both of these genres!