It is so hot!
(I feel a little bit like the Dyspraxic Fundamentalist lately - 5 points to anyone who can guess why I say that!)
It has been so hot here for the last three days! My three children still have long pants and long sleeved shirts in their drawers ... because it had
been on the chilly side. We all still have comforters on our beds as well. Today, I, mother, am rectifying this situation. It is such a big job to go through the drawers of winter clothes and try to figure out what to do with them. (Will it fit next year? Should I save it for a hand-me-down?) Then, the mother has to hold up each article of clothing from last summer and decipher it's fit
- accept? reject? save? To boot, it is 95 degrees outside and humid, so the upstairs of my house is not a pleasant place to be sitting, doing all of this sorting.
Then, I thought of all the poor people that would love to have these troubles ...
There is a house across the street from us which has been rented since this past Thanksgiving. The owners had to move to Naples, Florida because the guy is a builder. He specializes in mansion building and there weren’t any more calls for mansions around these parts after he finished his last job. They couldn’t sell their house in time for the move last June, so it sat empty with the real estate sign in the yard until about November. Then, apparently somewhat desperate for money to pay the mortgage, the owners rented to a guy that they had never met. The guy moved in and brought with him 11 kids, some of which are grandchildren. This is a four bedroom modest home, but very nice and had been very well kept. It even has a custom made white picket fence (the pickets are very unique).
There have been many strange happenings over at this house in the last 6 months. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how odd it has been. The renters are African-American Jehovah’s Witnesses. We haven’t really had a chance to get to know them … and I don’t hold out a lot of hope … because they have now been served two notices of eviction from the owner who lives in Florida. (That is because of the unseemly things of which I will spare the details).
Today, a teenage son came over to our yard as John was cutting garden beds and I was planting impatiens and asked if he could borrow a lighter. We gladly obliged. The young man promptly brought it back. A few minutes later, he came back over and asked to borrow the lighter again … apparently the grill had lost its fire. As he walked away, John said, “Happy Memorial Day weekend to you and your family.” The boy paused and said, “You too.” Then John asked him if the whole family were Jehovah’s Witnesses, to which the young man answered in the affirmative. John said kindly, “You all don’t celebrate Memorial Day weekend, then, do you?” The youngster, whose name is Preston, replied, “No … we have Barbeque Weekend.”
Minimalist Love Scene?
John and I really like to watch a good movie about once a week at night when the kids are in bed. Over the years, I have seen many things in movies that I wish I had never seen. I really don’t like to watch people kiss on television shows or in movies. It does not deeply disturb me, however. On the other hand, when I see it shown or alluded to
(through noises, movements, or facial expressions, for example) that people are having sex in a movie, it completely offends me. I know … what does one expect when one rents some of these films? That is why we have rented less and less of the films with an R rating.
Now, I’m thinking that some of you are probably above this discussion because you would never have viewed an R rated film. I really respect you for that. For the others who have seen some of the types of scenes that I refer to above, you know just what I am talking about. You are sitting there, watching a film and suddenly (usually very suddenly) this sex situation is there. There is often no warning. I have felt like a voyeur when I have witnessed such things in a movie. It is almost as if I am looking into someone’s bedroom window. I really despise the way that Hollywood does this. Many times these scenes are out of nowhere – they have nothing to add to the plot. They are gratuitous sex scenes that cheapen something that is supposed to be special between a husband and a wife.
I say all that to say this:
My husband John
and I watched the film Pride and Prejudice
last night. It was about romantic love, among other things. Toward the end of the story, there is a love scene. The man is confessing his deep affection for the woman. She responds. It was truly the most powerful love scene I think I have ever seen in a movie. I had goose bumps. It moved me!
I then pointed out to my husband that the couple hadn’t even kissed. We were both so amazed by this portrayal of love … it was so well crafted. That is good film-making! I would that more Hollywood film makers would rely on story and skill to portray these powerful human emotions than through allusions to sex.
A Great Hymn - The Love of God
by: Fredick M. Lehman
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.
When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race -
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
A Little Vacation
John and I took a break from our jobs last week. John works 50-60 hours a week as a letter carrier and I work part-time at our church doing graphics and printing. We also have three kids.
We started our week by tearing out a bathroom in our upstairs. We plan on putting in a new shower, floor etc...
Then, about mid-week, my mother came and stayed with our kids while we went on a trip to Southern Ohio to see the Hocking Hills area. We satyed in a really neat little cabin in the woods. Grandma got the kids off to school, fed them their meals, and tucked them in bed at night so Mom & Dad could play in the park. :~)
I really like being at the bottom of these huge caves and rock formations.
There are so many picturesque scenes that take your breath away. These photos don't do it justice.
Whenever we start climbing, I don't like it as much. The exercise is great, but ... well, you can't see it in the photo, (actualy, you probably can't even tell how high we are) but I am almost in tears in that picture because I don't like heights. Better put: I am terrified of heights! John doesn't seem to mind them at all.
Here he sits at the top of one of the little waterfalls, while I cower behind my camera. I begged him to stay 5 feet away from the edge of the cliffs (there were so many cliffs!) but he fearlessly trotted along the edge of catastrophe while I stood back, biting my fingernails.
This is the kind of slope I like - nice and gradual, even with steps provided! (Does anybody else have the recurring nightmare of falling off a cliff?)
It was all so very beautiful, and except a few moments of fear, I really did enjoy the park.
It took us three hours to drive there. Some people probably can't drive three hours in their own country without crossing a border.
He hideth my soul.
Don't let the tough look fool you.
Our cabin was within a mile from the main attractions. There were other places to see within a 30 minute drive. We drove to each one. Each evening we returned to the hot tub on the deck of the cabin and enjoyed the scenery. It was such a nice getaway. I have never felt so privileged. We thanked the Lord for our time together. Now - back to reality!
I will be away from my computer until later on this weekend.
While I am away, will any of you, who are so inclined, answer a question or share your thoughts on this:
Were people before Pentcost indwelt by the Spirit of God? Were they "regenerated" or "born-again"? Are these the right words for believers before Pentecost?
I am not limiting this to way back in the OT (although they are part of this question) ... I am even wondering about the apostles and disciples who were with Jesus before the crucifixtion/ressurection. What about it?
What is Faith? (part 5)
... still more on "Is Faith a Gift?"
I am now covering two more verses that my brother, Pat emailed me to show me that faith is a gift, not a human response.
1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1:1)
They received the faith. Peter is introducing a letter and he begins by referring to the body of truth which the church rests upon – the faith.
I immediately thought of this verse and then found others:Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 1:3)
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Cor. 16:13)
They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." (Gal.1:23)
The word for “faith”
in those 4 verses is all the same Greek word: pistis
... so this is not a sloppy interpretation. But, if Peter didn’t mean “faith”
in reference to the body of truth
, but if he meant it as referring to belief in the gospel
, then he is saying that they obtained this belief by lot. (Look up the Greek word for obtained). Now, why does this imply it to be by sovereign decree? They were preached the faith, the Holy Spirit was active drawing all men unto Christ as the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and they obtained a faith
in that message as they were convinced of the truth of it. I am not convinced
this shows that the God deposited belief whilst the recipients had no outstretched hand.But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Cor. 3:15-16)
God removes the veil, but not when we are unwilling to turn to Him in faith and see/hear the truth.
1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
This is a great passage! This verse presents Christ as the leader
of the church. The Greek word for author
is leader. It is the same as was translated captain
in an earlier passage of this same book of Hebrews.For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)
Christ is God, and man. He is our example as He has founded the road of faith.
He was truly faithful unto God, was He not? He trusted, He believed, He hoped, He was the perfect man – the quintessential disciple!
He is distinct, in this way, from the examples in chapter 11. This verse says that we are to follow His example, who not only pioneered the way of faith, but took it to its completion. This reminded me of the fact that the way He is in glory is how we shall be one day be. (1 John 3:2)
Also - “He fulfilled the ideal of faith Himself, and so, both as vicarious offering and example, He is the object of our faith.” (Commentary on the whole Bible, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)
This Jesus has finished the race ... and is now the glorified, perfect man. He has authored and finished the way of faith unto victory for us. I am so glad for this!
Does this teach that He is the anonymous billionaire who deposits money into the bank account regardless of whether or not the recipient wants to meet him? That certainly is not the intent of these verses in Hebrews, but the passage was so encouraging and wonderful to study!
What is Faith? (part 4)
... more on "Is Faith a Gift?"To my readers: I may be going slowly in getting to these verses that seem to say to some that saving faith is a gift, that belief in Christ’s work is deposited in the heart, rather than a response from the heart, but if I rush through it, will I be convinced either way? Will I be accused of just cramming a verse into my own theology? Please bear with me as I look at each verse. Please offer any help.
8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of the disciples a yoke that neither we nor our fathers have been able to bear? (Acts 15:8-10)
As I read the whole passage that these verses come from, I see that Peter is speaking about the difference between purification by means of Jewish law and purification by faith in Christ’s completed work. After having read the rest of the NT, I believe that we have to understand that the object of faith is what purifies us, not faith itself. When Peter says “purified” I think he is referring to the same idea as “sprinkling of the blood” which he uses in 1 Peter 1:2 and may very well have been a reference to the inauguration of the Mosaic covenant, where the people were sprinkled with the blood of a sacrifice. Now he is saying that God has purified the hearts of the Gentiles (sprinkling with the Blood of Christ), not through ceremonial law, but through faith, by faith
in a one-time act of Christ that needn’t be repeated like ceremonial sacrifices did. (A new and living way).
In fact, Gentiles didn’t need to keep the law at all. This is the point.
Is he saying that God put faith in our hearts and uses that faith to purify? God purifies us through Christ’s sacrifice, the blood of Christ which cleanses. John also refers to this in 1 John 1:7 … the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Paul talks about being purified in many places. Here are just a few:In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7)
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse … (Hebrews 9:14)
11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
What goes unsaid in the passage from Acts is something that was a given
at this point in the conversation. God accepted Gentiles … He gave them the Holy Spirit … He made no distinction between us and them … because of the gospel
(the work of Christ) in which they believed. Would someone have me to accept that this was regardless of their belief in these facts about Christ’s work – the very work which purifies?
I did notice that later in the account (Acts 15) that James says to the council at Jerusalem: "God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself."
He also refers to these as "... Gentiles who are turning to God."
God takes those who turn to Him. I still see it that way. People have a choice to believe the gospel when they hear it ... or not to believe.I still have four more passages to go, but this one took me into a study that was so exciting and wonderful, I had to spend some time on it.