Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday--Testimonies

I watched these two testimonies the other day and was simply amazed at God's goodness...

Doesn't that just make you smile? Think about and thank God for your testimony. I know I have!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday--Legalism or Love?

I believe that from the beginning, God's Law was built in to His creation: 

"Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:29-31 ESV)

It was simple, uncomplicated. The only 'shall not' that Adam and Eve had to worry about was:

"but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
(Genesis 2:17 ESV)

But mankind sinned. The simple principle of love was not specific enough. The wickedness from each successive generation built upon the ones before it. There needed to be something to restrain mans sinful actions.

That is when God laid down His moral Law, through His servant Moses. This time He was specific; He listed 10 commands for His people to obey. The first 'checklist', if you will. This 'checklist' was given, not to provide a way for a man to be perfect (not possible), but to be a Guardian, a restraining influence. (and more, most importantly to point to the need of a Savior!)

"Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed."
(Galatians 3:23 ESV)

"I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world."
(Galatians 4:1-3 ESV)

God's Law is perfect, but mankind is far from it. Even this specific list of 'do's' and 'don't's' could not make man any better, in his heart. (For a word of clarification: I don't want to make it sound like this was some kind of 'trial and error' attempt on God's part. This was His plan of redemption from the beginning, to show us His love and our need for Him.)

Then the time was gloriously fulfilled that God should send His Son. God the Son, writer of the Law, born under the Law, the only One who could completely keep the Law, came to redeem those restrained by the Law.

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His son, born of woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." 
(Galatians 4:4-5)

God's Law is still in effect. It is still wrong to lie, or steal, or kill. But because of Christ's sacrifice we are free from the burden of the Law, since it is Christ's Righteousness we have received and not our own through fulfilling the Law (like we could).

"So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian,"
(Galatians 3:24-25 ESV)

I daresay we are no different than the Jews who were trying to keep the 10 commandments all those years ago. The same sinful people in need of redemption. I know I still desire 'checklists'. Specific directions to follow that will guarantee a specific, pleasured outcome. And I'm not the only one.

Just look at all the 'self-help' books on the secular and Christian shelves. Yeah, we Christians have self-help books too. The most popular one's being about getting married, staying married and raising children.

From the time I was 13, I read and listened to everything I could find about the 'Dating vs. Courtship' debate. Books, articles, tapes, cd's. All of them attempted to lay out a formula to follow. Which, in all honesty, I can't blame them for. Our culture had gotten so far removed from any semblance of biblical principles in relationships, there needed to be some defining and redefining of terms.

But the dangerous thing was that people, myself included, took these 'rules', these 'checklists', to heart, without stopping to consider if these rules were found in Scripture. When you take a formula and just go with it, it is possible to leave faith in God totally out of the process. How devastating! I'm afraid this is what happened with the Jews in their efforts to follow the Law in their own righteousness.

Now, let me clarify: The books, articles, tapes and cd's that I learned from did serve a good purpose. A lot of them did take principles from Scripture and they did 'reset' my thinking about how I would 'do' relationships. My issue is that I and so many people grab hold of the external and believe that 'one size fits all'. Unless God directly commands something, it takes a little bit of faith to interpret how Scripture applies to things, and sometimes it is different for each individual situation.

Legalism vs. Love, Law vs. Grace has been a recurring theme in my life and especially for the past month. Beginning with something Paul Washer said, then Voddie Baucham, then last weeks sermon from Pastor Blane, and finally a homeschool seminar and a conversation with a friend.

Now, I don't want anyone to think I'm backsliding, or giving up any convictions, this past month has simply been an awakening of the understanding (not just knowing) that the Gospel truly is the CENTRAL thing for any issue. I'm not giving up my convictions about biblical relationships, but I am seeking to evaluate the formula I've learned, comparing it against Scripture.

I want to seek the Lord in all areas of my life. The more I learn to depend on Him for everything, the more my life will line up with biblical principles. This is a scary statement to make; it takes a tremendous amount of faith and it's so much easier to lean on a checklist than to search the Scriptures! (That's why I've done it all these years)

There are many good 'checklists', the Law especially, but that's not enough. I really do believe a real, living, breathing relationship with Christ is the best way to learn what His will is for every season of life.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Five-Minute Friday--Delight

This weeks word is:



"And his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and on His Law he meditates day and night."

The Law of the Lord truly is the most delightful thing. His decrees, His promises, His commands. But do I delight in them? Do I even think often of them?

I have a very deep sense of morality, of right and wrong, of God's Law. But is it because I delight in it?

Lately I have wondered if I would be described by others as a lover of Jesus. If someone was talking about me, would they say, "Oh, she loves Jesus with all her heart."? I really don't know. But, I want that to be what defines me: Jesus. 

I want Jesus to be my delight.

How is this accomplished? 

I believe the way to love Jesus more is to understand more deeply what exactly He has done for us. To learn more and more of the Gospel. When I began to study more about Theology and learned more of God's attributes, I was simply in awe of what a great God we serve.

So, in order to make Jesus my delight, I need to delight in His Word, the Gospel.


Hop on over to Gypsy Mama's blog and join the fun!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time Flies...

Oh my goodness. Where does the time go? It slips away when we're busy. Or like John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."

Anyways, I do have a Thoughtful Thursday I really want to do! But, I've yet to get the time to do it. I want to do it justice, so it may have to wait until next week. : (

But meanwhile, this is what we had for Valentine's Day:

And here is the Valentine bouquet made by me and Natalie-Rose

And these are some pictures from a recent 'Sisters baking class'. I had a lot of baking to do around my birthday and Natalie was begging to help. I told her we would bake a cake together later. We actually got to do it!

All from scratch!

Silly faces!

 (Ooh, that's a little scary)

Natalie loved getting to use the camera : )

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sissified, Needy Jesus

Whoa, this will give you a boost! 

"If you can't say 'amen' you better say 'ouch'!"

My Last Birthday Hoorah

Tonight, as a late birthday gift, my brother is accompanying me to the Asheville Symphony Orchestra's performance of Beethoven Symphony No. 6 “Pastoral”, Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1, and Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde. It's really so wonderful to have this opportunity! (and to have a brother that shares my love of music)

I'm not a particularly big fan of Beethoven, but the "Pastoral" symphony is beautiful. I mainly wanted to go to this event so that I could hear a piano performance live. Again, I'm not a particularly big fan of Liszt, but I am of Chopin, and they were contemporaries. So it should be good. And the Wagner Prelude, I have no clue about. Here are a couple videos, if any of you are curious:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Five minute Friday

So, I missed Thoughtful Thursday yesterday. 

But, I thought I'd try this "Five minute Friday" thing from The Gypsy Mama

This Friday the word is "Trust".



All my life I have been learning to trust. 
And I have been taught to trust. 
And I have learn who I can trust and who I cannot. 

The earliest lessons came when an infant. When I needed nourishment, I cried and I was fed. When I needed comfort, I cried and I was held. I learned early on that I could trust my parents and they showed me what a trustworthy person looked like. 

Sometimes, I have started off trusting someone but after a time realized they were not trustworthy. 
That's a hard lesson, but I learned to be a little more cautious with where I put my trust.

The ultimately trustworthy person though, of course, is my Heavenly Father. He ALWAYS has my best interest at heart and is all-knowing. I know I can always trust Him.


Visit the link and give it a try yourself! You might be surprised at what comes out : )

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Scripture Memory Tool

I found this website through...I don't remember. Hmmm. Well, anyways. I love it!

You don't have to sign up, but it's free and you get more use out of it if you do.
Once you sign up, you can import your own favorite scriptures to memorize or use the ones they already have available. Then you 'type it' - type out the verse as you read it, 'memorize it' - type the verse with every other word taken out, and 'master it' - type the verse completely from memory.

I hope you try it and that it works for you just as well as it does for me!

(Click the image above to go to the website)

Thoughtful Thursday--Life Lessons from Mosquito Coast

Mom picked up a movie from the library the other day (I'm so glad they've gone back to loaning them for free) and we watched it night before last. We had seen it before, but that was a long time ago, and I felt like I hadn't really liked it, but couldn't remember why. It all came back to me when I started watching it.