Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hosea 6:3

"Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth."

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

To Tell Or Not To Tell

Does anyone ever wonder why when, in the Gospels, Jesus heals someone He sometimes says, "Go, and tell everyone what you have seen," and other times He says, "Tell no one what has happened here"? Because I do...It seems that the general pattern is to ask people not to make Him known...why?

"And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it." Mark 7:36

I'm reading through Mark right now and it really struck me...why charge a man not to tell the most amazing thing that ever happened to him? If I witnessed a miraculous act of God, I'm pretty darn sure I wouldn't be able to keep it quiet. Did Jesus really mean for them to keep quiet?...I'm not sure He did.

Anyhow, It's just something I've been thinking about. Mark is such a wonderful account...I love it.

Let me know your thoughts if you have any...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Too Much Digging

Some thoughts and quotes inspired by Annie's recent blog...

"What good are Greek, commentaries, insight, gift, and all the rest, if there is no heart for Christ?" -Jim Elliot

"Feel I failed the Lord in too much digging for sermon thoughts, and not enough time letting the Scripture speak to me." -Jim Elliot

" I find I must drive myself to study, following the 'ought' of conscience to gain anything at all from the Scripture, lacking any desire at times. it is important to learn respect and obedience to the 'inner must' if godliness is to be a state of soul with me. I may no longer depend on pleasant impulses to bring me before the Lord. I must rather respond to principles I know to be right, whether I feel them to be enjoyable or not." -Jim Elliot

Struggling with feelings of emptiness and dryness, I am beginning to learn respect for the "inner must" and am not expecting shocking and bold revelations from Him, but am training my ears to listen to the still small voice. It's often frustrating but I have found that studying my Bible in such a way leads to a new richness found each day. I'm trying to develop a heart for Christ when, for so long, I have depended on other things...

"Ordinary life for me has been spoiled forever by the prospect of what real living is..."

Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm So Excited!

I got my schedule of classes for the fall semester today!! I am so incredibly excited about them. I can't wait!!

Western Heritage (monday, wednesday, friday)
Latin (monday, tuesday, wednesday, friday)
Math (monday, tuesday, wednesday, friday)
Freshmen Rhetoric and the Great Books (monday) **
English Seminar (thursday) **

**With professor Sundahl!!! I am SOO excited...Hannah, you might be the only one that knows him...from the Hillsdale conference here in town. Anyway, he's really good. I like him tons.

Guys, I am soo excited! AAaaahhh!!!

(Hannah, having your schedule totally helps you feel more like a college student...now i know how you felt when you were having orientation and getting all your classes, etc. It's exciting!)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The Redeemed Whore

So...I am supposed to be reading the Odyssey. I’m behind on my pre-assigned amount of reading for today. sigh...it’s hard to stay motivated. Anyway, I finally got my new Piper book in the mail today. It’s the book he co-wrote with Justin Taylor after the national conference last fall on Sex and the Supremacy of Christ. It came with a free dvd of two Piper messages and brief highlights from the other speakers. I watched Piper’s first message and came away with some incredibly wonderful ideas and verses that I wanted to share...

His two main points for the first message were 1) Sexuality is designed by God as a way to know Christ more fully and 2) Knowing Christ more fully is designed as a way of guarding, guiding, and governing our sexuality. (I’m not going to go into much of these two points, I just wanted to give an idea of what the message was about.)

When speaking on his first point, he referenced some incredibly powerful and astounding verses from Ezkiel that blew me away. They are not for the faint of heart. (Piper was speaking in reference to God’s relationship with Israel--the Church.)

Ezkiel 16:4-10:
“And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!” I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.
When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.”

*This passage is so powerful. It is such an amazing representation of the utterly free and undeserved mercy Christ has shown us.

The passage continues 16:13-16:
“Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced in royalty. And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.
But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his. You took some of your garments and made for yourself colorful shrines, and on them played the whore. The like has never been, nor ever shall be.”

*This is what happens when we don’t treasure Christ above all things--when we don’t press on to know the Lord and seek Him with reckless abandon...when we forsake him for "lovers less wild."

The judgement--Ezekiel 16:35-37:
“Therefore, O prostitute, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God, because your lust was poured out and your nakedness uncovered in your whorings with your lovers, and with all your abominable idols, and because of the blood of your children that you gave to them, therefore, behold, I will gather all your lovers with whom you took pleasure, all those you loved and all those you hated. I will gather them against you from every side and will uncover your nakedness to them, that they may see all your nakedness.” (...the passage continues and is, indeed, very graphic in its description of God’s judgement of the adulteress...).

BUT, God hates divorce and never does it. He puts distance between Him and His bride, but He does not (will not) forsake her. He will bring her back (Hosea 2:14-20) at the cost of His Son. He will not break His covenant with her (Ezkiel 16:59-63):
“For thus says the Lord God: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. Then you will remember your ways and be ashamed when you take your sisters, both your elder and your younger, and I give them to you as daughters, but not on account of the covenant with you. I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God.”

*As Piper says, “He does not give up His faithless wife to her brutal lovers.” He payed with himself for her awful sins...

I found these passages absolutely incredible. They gave a whole new meaning to the institution of marriage and the words of Paul (Ephesians 5:25-27):
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might me holy and without blemish.”

*Piper’s point (his first point) was that sexuality (our sexuality) is meant to be a pointer to our (the Church’s) relationship with God. The beauty and sacred wonder of our sexuality reflects (on even a much smaller scale) the beauty and sacred wonder of our relationship with Christ, our husband.

My random thoughts and ideas all put together here don’t do much justice at all to Piper’s actual message. These are just a few of his points, not even explained very well. But all this to say that it is a wonderful dvd and I so look forward to reading the book...though I still have to read the Odyssey. arg....

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mother India

(Off of Caedmon's Call's album: Share the Well)

Father God, you have shed your tears for Mother India
They have fallen to water ancient seeds
That will grow into hands that touch the untouchable
How blessed are the poor, the sick, the weak

Father, forgive me, for I have not believed
Like Mother India, I have groaned and grieved
Father, forgive me, I forgot your grace
Your spirit falls on India and captured me in your embrace

The serpent spoke and the world believed its venom
Now we're ten to a room or compared to magazines

There's a land where our shackles turn to diamonds
Where we trade in our rags for a royal crown
In that place, our oppressors hold no power
And the doors of the King are thrown wide


"After the first few days in India, seeing a couple different cities, and all the poverty but all the beauty there, I wanted to write something that would hopefully sound as huge as the experience felt to me. I think that the greatest joy comes from the greatest sadness, and I love how joyful the end of the song became because of the dirt and tears in the beginning."
Andrew Osenga (Words and music with Randall Goodgame)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Finding Neverland

I finally saw Finding Neverland tonight...

It was amazing. I loved it. I don't know what else to say because I can't even explain how i feel. It was wonderful and i haven't had such a satisfying cry in a while...does that make sense? Imagination is incredible and being a kid is so...magical.

I highly recommend it.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Missing My Sister

A lot

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Seek God...all else will follow

It's a very hard thing to find the balance between being in the world and not of it...I feel like we as Christians spend (and even waste) a lot of time arguing and analyzing about how we are to live and act in a world that isn't our own. It's ok to struggle and wrestle with issues of our faith--it's important that we do, but I'm afraid we spend very little time seeking and studying what Scripture tells us. I think this is because we've lost sight of the purpose in ministering to the surounding culture--to proclaim the glory of God. I am just as guilty of this as anyone, that's why I'm writing. God has shown me some really neat verses that I believe are key in this issue of how to engage the culture around us.

1 Thessalonians 4:3
"For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God..."

The Church has become far too occupied with the nitty gritty to be of much use to the Kingdom. I have found that I worry a lot about all kinds of "do's" and "don'ts" when my time would be much better spent on God's work that is eternal...the proclamation and living out of His glory so the world will see a living testimony of His love. God's WILL is our sanctification. Let us align our will with His...all else will follow.

Mark 7:14, 15
"And He called the people to Him again and said to them, 'Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him."

Matthew 15:16-20
"And He said, 'Are you without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? but what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone."

It seems there is a never ending stream of conversation and argument about what, as Christians, is ok to watch (listen to) and what isn't. I recognize that it is important to struggle with, wrestle with, and determine boundaries in such areas--hugely important. However, I found these verses incredibly insightful and encouraging because they brought everything together for me. Watching a movie with crude language and crass humor won't defile me. However, it will soon begin to affect me inside. How it affects my heart, mind, and soul, will be seen in the way I live my life--in my beliefs and actions. What comes out of a man is what defiles him.

I have seen friends "engage the culture" and as a result I can no longer tell who or what they are living for. In my opinion, this is not a good sign. Whether that "one movie" or that "one song" is "bad" or not doesn't matter anymore. What matters is that Christ is no longer being glorified or magnified...and that's the whole point of engaging and identifying with the culture.

I believe that when, and only when, the Church decides to live solely for the sake of the Gospel, and Christians align their will with the will of God (that is, seeking their sanctification), will we see success in the "engaging of the culture."

Christ said that the greatest of all commands is to love God and love others...there's a reason the rest will follow. Perhaps we should be less focused on whether or not that one movie is "ok" to watch, and more focused on God's glory and the work He desires to do in us and through us. I have a feeling the rest will follow...

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Wow...its been a while

So our comuter was out for almost two weeks--no email, updating of blog, downloading pictures, etc. I never realized how much I use the computer until I don' have it. It was a good lesson. The downed computer, along with the fact that I still have no job, left me with lots of free time. It turned out to be such a huge blessing.

I haveread (Chronicles of Narnia, No Graven Image, The Great Omission), played with friends, and babysat. The babysitting thing has turned out to be really wonderful. Since I have no job, it brings in a little extra money and I am able to help out a mom with five kids (three of them foster). I have been so blessed to be able to be a blessing to them in their time of need. It is really rewarding to give a mom a break--even if it is only for an hour or two.

For a while I was really stressing out about the job situation. However, by this point, with about one month left of work time, it doesn't look hopeful. I am beginning to feel a little mre at peace about not getting a job. Something could come through, but I doubt it. I am enjoying a restful summer. God has been giving me wonderful time with family and friends...I have been doing lots of neat projects with my mom and I am thankful we've had the time to do them...

Stacey was wonderful and reminded me of the huge importance of rest. I was feeling frustrated and upset because I wasn't accomplishing anything. She reminded me that rest IS accomplishing something. And it is super important or else God wouldn't have set time aside specifically FOR rest.

That's all for now...OH! and I am on my new computer. That's the new big news. I got a new 12 inch mac (ibook)...I absolutely LOVE it!!!