17 May 2009

Just keeping things in perspective!

For the choir director. A Psalm of David. A Song.
There will be silence before You, and praise in Zion, O God, And to You the vow will be performed. O You who hear prayer, To You all men come. Iniquities prevail against me; As for our transgressions, You forgive them. How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea; Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might; Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy. You visit the earth and cause it to overflow; You greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth. You water its furrows abundantly, You settle its ridges, You soften it with showers, You bless its growth. You have crowned the year with Your bounty, And Your paths drip with fatness. The pastures of the wilderness drip, And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing. The meadows are clothed with flocks And the valleys are covered with grain; They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

(Psa 65:1-13)

10 May 2009

additional thoughts on mother's day and stress

first posting: Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day for me is also like a sort of New Year's Day. I consider my influence, my attitudes, and my interactions with my children. Do they point my kids to Christ? Am I doing Deuteronomy 6:4-9? What are my shortfalls? How can I improve? And I'm always stricken at the level at which I am so unqualified to be "mom" to these precious little lives. And yet, God has called me to the task . . . a task that only HE is qualified to fulfill.


In my evaluation this year I realize that there is too much stress in our home: stress from moving from homeschooling to children being at school 9 hours a day 5 days a week; stress from being in a new country and learning the language; stress from being so far away from many who we love so dearly and who would be excellent influences in our children's lives; stresses of our belongings being in crates somewhere between Dallas and Fort Worth Texas; stress of constantly saying goodbye to people God puts in our lives and who become so very dear to us and to our children; tremendous stress of much sickness in our family and then just the everyday stress of the busy life of a family of 6.

We have little to no control over these circumstances - - but letting these produce anxiety in our homelife is a choice. It may not always seem like a choice because anxiety/distress is a default of our sinful natures, but it IS a choice. And it is a choice that robs our lives of joy. And, as Nehemiah said, the joy of the Lord IS our strength.

So my Mother's Day resolution is that, even in this very stressful environment, we are filled with His joy . . . the joy of knowing Him, the joy of being His own possession, the joy of opening His Word and being filled with Him. And to be filled with the peace that passes all understanding. God is a God of peace, He Himself is our peace, and we are to let the peace of Christ RULE in our hearts.

I want my kids to learn the power that can be theirs in Him! The Lord grants us peace in every circumstance - - and I am guilty of robbing myself and thereby robbing my children of that peace when I have chosen to be anxious. Sorry God for limiting my children's perception of your power by allowing stress in our home.

And so my "Mother's Day resolution" is for peace.

(Robert's going to think I've gone all hippie now!)

Happy Mother's Day! (CALL YOUR MOTHERS!)

Happy Mother's Day

For me, Mother's Day will never be about me, but about my mom. Even if she beats me to heaven, Mother's Day will be filled with thoughts of her. My mom is a godly woman, and my prayer is that I can have the influence on my children that she had on me. Love you mom!

08 April 2009

Quick thought on pride

Pride flies in the face of God’s glory more than any other wrongdoing. It is an absolute abhorrence to who God is. It is NOT a hindrance or obstacle to the glory of God itself . . . as if any malefaction of ours could in any way impede His glory. But it IS most certainly a total detriment to the one who possesses it because the prideful are blinded to the fullness of His glory and the sin that pride is causes separation from God. And we are all susceptible to it . . . we are all tempted by our fallen natures to be puffed up with pride - - to think more of ourselves than we should, and to desire others to do the same. What beauty there is in a life lived humbly before God - - and how lovely it is to look upon a brother or sister in Christ and see humility and, in turn, to see more of God’s glory.

21 March 2009

A Belief That Has Been Granted

I came across a verse in my normal Bible reading (and many other verses as of late) that has led to my reexamining my long-standing non-Calvinistic position.

First, a few givens:
  • Salvation is of God . . . it is His work of grace through faith . . . a gift to us that we in no way deserve. In fact, on the contrary, we all deserve God's judgment and wrath. This is a Biblical fact that is held by regenerate Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike. (the whole Bible!)
  • God does elect and predestine. The Bible clearly states this and both the Calvinist and the non must believe this as well. (It is the basis of His election that is debated as there are different definitions of the word "foreknowledge".) (Rom. 8:29-30; Eph. 1:3-14)
  • It is God's desire for none to perish but for all men to be saved, know the truth and repent. (I Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Ezekiel 18:23)
Okay, so here's the verse I found: Philippians 1:29 which says - For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
The things that strike me about this verse:
  1. our BELIEF in Him has been granted to us (it doesn't say our salvation, or our ability to choose Him, it says our actual belief)
  2. it has been granted to us for Christ's sake - - NOT ours! (I take to mean His name sake . .. His glory and renown and his purpose)
  3. it has also been granted to us to suffer (again this is for His sake)
I have done word studies on the words "granted" and "believe" and they mean just what we would normally take them to mean. Granted - (χαρίζομαι) to be permitted or granted something/to give or bestow something willingly. Believe - (πιστεύω) to believe, have faith in, trust.

Alrighty then, well if this is true, where is choice? Arguably you could say that God has granted us the possibility for belief. But Paul is writing to believers telling them that their belief in Him was granted to them (it doesn't say the possibility of it).

Interesting!!! - - don't want to get too long so . . . .

more to come:
  1. a closer look at the word "granted" and a look at where else it is used in the Bible,
  2. thoughts on reconciling God's expressed desire that none should perish with His election of some for salvation (and, logically following, His election of others for judgment)
  3. thoughts on how the above can fit with who God is (His attributes and character as revealed to us in Scripture)
  4. thoughts on the word "foreknowledge"
  5. personal testimony

18 March 2009

Who Am I?

Who am I that God would forgive me?

Who am I that God would extend His grace to me?

Who am I that God would chasten me?

Who am I that God would justify me?

Who am I that God would sanctify me?

Who am I that God would call and send?

Who am I that God would indwell?

Who am I that God would bless me?

Who am I that God would reveal more of Himself to me?

Who am I that God would love?

Unworthy of His forgiveness

Unworthy of His grace

Unworthy of His chastening

Unworthy of His justification

Unworthy of His sanctification

Unworthy of His calling

Unworthy of His sending

Unworthy of His indwelling

Unworthy of His blessing

Unworthy of His revealing more of Himself to me

Unworthy of His love

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
(Psa 8:3-9)

07 February 2009

It's Been A Long Time!

I began blogging in August of 2007 when we first felt called to go overseas. Since training in Virginia and coming to Brazil in November, I've stopped . . . but am beginning again today. A friend of mine has just begun blogging, and it helped me realize how important a communication piece it is.

A QUICK UPDATE: We've been in language school for almost 3 months now. We've learned a lot of Portuguese, with much more to learn. All four children attend the same private school. But best of all, God is faithful, His Word is essential and our purpose here is clear.

A QUICK APOLOGY: to those who were faithful readers of my blog and were anticipating keeping connected through it after our going abroad. Sorry for the lapse in time . . . I'm back!

But you are a chose race, A royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, SO THAT you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1Pe 2:9)

and (just for fun) A PORTUGUESE LEARNING DUCK: