Recently I was invited to my friend’s home for a Shutterfly party. I had no idea what to expect but was pleasantly surprised to see all the products she had displayed. Afterward I logged on and designed my own thank you cards from an event we recently hosted at our home. Overall the experience was great…my order was to me within 3 days and I got free shipping!!! Much better than loading all the kiddos into the car and containing them while I went to an actual store! I look forward to designing my free book soon…(oh yes by attending the party you got a coupon toward one free 8×8 picture book!!!) Good food+good friends+great pictures=great fun!
Enjoying my season of distraction January 10, 2010
I love learning. I love to study…just ask Kelley! But I am beginning to think that God has moved me into a phase of distraction…called motherhood. I have been a mother for 5.5 years now but I have always found a way to stay focused on studying God, and his word despite that. But now that Jocelyn is older and Taylor is even more active, I just cannot keep up the intensity that I once enjoyed. I am still studying…but not with the vigor and pace of years past. I am still reading but even that is much more limited and as you all know I am not blogging at all anymore. My current challenge is to read the Bible through in a year. This is a task I have NEVER accomplished…to my shame. However through the accountability of http://www.readingthebible365in2010.wordpress.com I am praying God holds me to this goal. My friend Trish writes the blog and several of my friends are journeying through with us.
Additionally I am reading through the first of five volumes of Francis Schaeffer and will openly admit I only comprehend about 1/3 of what I read. Talk about making your eyes bleed! Schaeffer is THE source for developing a Christian Worldview in modern times. He recognized the issues the world was posing to the church in the early part of the 20th century. Beginning in Germany with philosophy and eventually trickling down to theology in the academic seminaries there was a shift in academic thought; a shifting away from a framework of absolutes and into a relativistic view of reality. Ultimately the problem caught wind and headed west and now the former pillars of Ivy League “Christian” Institutions are among the most liberal and agnostic at best. This virus has also infiltrated most mainline denominations and their learning centers. For us “bottomfeeders”–affectionately, We just digest the drippings from pop-culture icons and from infected pulpits and do not realize how far from the Word of God and true reality we have drifted.
Slowly I plan to work my way through both of these challenging reads… all the while taking time to rest in the “Mommy” distraction. The way I see it…pretty soon I will be begging my kids to be distracted by me not the other way around. 😉
Hello To All (is anyone still out there?) October 20, 2009
Well I have had quite a year away from the blogosphere. My Husband and I went to Israel in March of this year and it was super-fantastic and I will post some pictures soon. We visited Jerusalem and all the surrounding biblical sites. The weather was amazing and it really felt like we were in the promised land! In May I graduated from law school, a very big milestone, and immediately began to study for the TN Bar Exam. After 3 months of studying, shingles and stomach viruses I took the exam in July. Sometime also that month my husband and I conceived our third child and I am due on April 4th 2010. I just received the results from my test and I PASSED and will be sworn in sometime next week! After that I will be ready for business and plan to be self-employed as long as I can afford to be. We should know whether we are having a boy or girl on Nov. 9. We really have no preference since we have one of each, either will be great! Spiritually, God has been good! I have almost finished a Precept study of Isaiah and have completed my 3rd year of BSF and am currently in my fourth year! It is so great to worship the Everlasting God whose mercies are new everyday. It is good to be back and writing I always glean more by putting words on paper (or any other medium for that matter). Signing off, Laura.
Discipling Through Romans (2a) November 25, 2008
Keep this in context: Remember Paul is writing to Christians (both Jews and Gentiles) at the church in Rome.
Study Tip: Any time you see the word “therefore” it is connecting the current passage with something previously said so look and find what it is “there for.”
Verses 1-6 It would be easy for the church to read Chapter 1 with the “world” in mind. So in Chapter 2 Paul brings the concept closer to home for them. Church-going people often develop an air of superiority to the “God-hating world”. Paul corrects this erroneous view. The thing to grasp is all flesh (and I do mean all) suffers from the same sickness—sin. All flesh suffers from the same condition—our sin separates us from fellowship with our Creator. All flesh is traveling to the same destination—eternal torment.
Do you know this about your flesh? That it is sick with sin; that sin keeps you separated from a Holy God; and God is completely justified in throwing you into the pit of fire?
Verse 4 Paul asks a very important question. Have you ever wished God would just zap someone for his or her foolishness? God does not operate that way. Our God is long suffering. God explains this part of his personality when He passes by Moses on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 34:6-7. Look it up.
We must realize the purpose behind God’s long suffering—“to bring others toward repentance.” This is great news for our sin sick selves. A God that is completely justified in blotting us out of existence does not, to lead us toward repentance!
Verses 7-11 Paul continues showing the reward due to those who receive righteousness and pursue God’s glory and the punishment due those who are self-seeking and about their own glory.
Whose Glory are you interested in? Whose service do you busy yourself with? Do you concern yourself with things that will gain favor with man, self, or God?
For my friend November 20, 2008
By Dr. John Piper
…American culture does not belong to Christians, neither in reality nor in biblical theology. It never has. The present tailspin toward Sodom is not a fall from Christian ownership. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). It has since the fall, and it will till Christ comes in open triumph. God’s rightful ownership will be manifest in due time. The Lordship of Christ over all Creation is being manifest in stages, first the age of groaning, then the age of glory. “We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23). The exiles are groaning with the whole Creation. We are waiting.
But Christian exiles are not passive. We do not smirk at the misery or the merrymaking of immoral culture. We weep. Or we should. This is my main point: Being exiles does not mean being cynical. It does not mean being indifferent or uninvolved. The salt of the earth does not mock rotting meat. Where it can, it saves and seasons. And where it can’t, it weeps. And the light of the world does not withdraw, saying “good riddance” to the godless darkness. It labors to illuminate. But not dominate.
Being Christian exiles in American culture does not end our influence; it takes the swagger out of it. We don’t whine about the triumphs of evil. We are not hardened with anger. We understand. This is not new. This was the way it was in the beginning—Antioch, Corinth, Athens, Rome. The Empire was not just degenerate, it was deadly. For three explosive centuries Christians paid for their Christ-exalting joy with blood. Many still do. More will.
It never occurred to those early exiles that they should rant about the ubiquity of secular humanism. The Imperial words were still ringing in their ears: “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:13). This was a time for indomitable joy and unwavering ministries of mercy.
Yes, it was a time for influence—as it is now. But not with huffing and puffing as if to reclaim our lost laws. Rather with tears and persuasion and perseverance, knowing that the folly of racism, and the exploitation of the poor, and the de-God-ing of education, and the horror of abortion, and the collapse of heterosexual marriage are the tragic death-tremors of joy, not the victory of the left or the right.
The greatness of Christian exiles is not success but service. Whether we win or lose, we witness to the way of truth and beauty and joy. We don’t own culture, and we don’t rule it. We serve it with brokenhearted joy and long-suffering mercy, for the good of man and the glory of Jesus Christ.
Piper, John. Life as a Vapor. Sisters, OR: Multonomah Publishers, 2004.
Discipling Through Romans (Chapter 1b) November 14, 2008
Paul begins to explain the Gospel. This will be similar to a “geometric proof” (remember those ☺), as one doctrine will logically lead to another. Webster’s Dictionary defines doctrine as (1) a principle, position or policy taught or advocated; (2) a body or system of teachings relating to a particular subject. We study doctrine because the Bible affirms certain pillars of truth that build the Christian faith. Without these pillars the whole house falls—and man cannot understand the work Christ did. The gospel and doctrine are inseparable. Without proper instruction man cannot fully receive Christ and understand what he has been given in this gift. Also remember the gospel means “good news.”
I. Doctrine of Separation: Paul takes great pains to explain why and how a Holy God separates himself from a sinful creation. This doctrine will be developed from Rom 1:18-3:20. Does it seem odd that an explanation of the gospel does not start with Jesus? The gospel always begins with God! His holiness cannot be joined with our sin and his righteous wrath is the due penalty of our sin. Until we recognize how holy God is… and how separated by sin we are… we cannot truly know the good news of Jesus.
II. Doctrine of General Revelation: Another amazing concept Paul chooses to weave into his announcement of the good news is the doctrine of general revelation. In Ecclesiastes 3:11, Solomon writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: God has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done. God has revealed his eternal power and divine nature to every man. We know there is a supreme being; yet we disobey in our lack of faith. Paul says we are without excuse and deserve the righteous judgment or wrath of God.
III. Darkened hearts; Depraved minds; Deserving death: Paul begins to layout the progressive nature of man’s thoughts and actions when he rejects God. This downward spiral starts by refusing to glorify God with thanksgiving for being our Creator. (v. 21) The rejection of God leads to a darkened heart and foolish actions. As man continues to base his philosophy (or belief system) on things that are made…he continues to do what we were made to do…worship. Oh that we would understand this point; we are all worshipers of something. It is either the worship of the One who created all things or the worship of all things created. What do you worship? Where do you spend your self, your resources? Look in the mirror…your god may be yourself.
Paul shows where the mind that rejects God eventually ends up…totally depraved…given to every lust, worshiping the body of man, rampant perversion and homosexuality. Does this sound familiar in a culture that can be characterized as “God-haters?”
Romans 1:32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.