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Monday, August 22, 2005

blah, blah, bla...

I am learning. Everything I do does not work the way I expect it to, and sometimes the results surprize me.

I told my daughter where to find my blog, and when I asked if she made any comments, she said that you have to have a blogger account to do that. That kind of reminded me of how I got started on all this. I was at a friend's blog and when I tried to comment, it appeared that I had to set up an account, so I did.

So, I went on my blog, and tried to make a comment to several posts to see if you could do it without an account (you can). Then I thought I saw where I could delete a comment, so I worked for a long time to undo what I had done so that people would not waste time checking on comments that were really not comments. Now I see that they still appear as comments, but when you click them, it is just a notice that this comment has been deleted. I don't delete people's comments (at least I have never have). So now everyone knows what that is. I deleted my own "comments" but left a scar.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?

...Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The
tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It
corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire by
hell. (James 3:5-6)

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set
your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your
life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your[a]
life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. ...8But now you must
rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and
filthy language from your lips. ...12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and
dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness
and patience. ... 17And whatever you do, whether in word or
deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father
through him. (Colossians 3:1-4, 8, 12 &17)

How often do I need to learn about taming the tongue? There must be something I'm not getting. Oh wretched woman that I am! Who, Who can and will deliver me from this body of death and this tongue set on fire from Hell!

Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!

This must mean that With me it is impossible, but I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!

If anyone knows how to put feet on this, I would appreciate it!


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Mighty Hand of God is sometimes soft, and subtle

I Peter 5:5-11
5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to
the humble."[
a] 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

I may be dealing with two issues here. I hope I can keep them straight.

Remember when we were in school, primarily Jr High and High School, when we were done with English, we packed up our books and went down the hall and around the corner to Math class and did Math until we were done and had to go to Social Studies or History or (argh!) Gym class.

God doesn't teach us like this. He teaches us many things all at once and as we go. I don't learn everything there is to know about humility and then move on to taming the tongue class, or Mercy 101, or Forgiveness through the Ages. Sometimes I think I have mastered something, and then I seem to have to learn it all over again. All tests are practical and some are multiple choice and true and false at the same time. Pop quizes are the norm.

So where was I...

Ah yes, I was going to talk about how a godly woman in my church this Sunday just turned a light on for me. The question in Sunday School was: What would we rather do instead of praying. MaryLee Bayly said that we would rather be talking about the situation that is troubling us, rather than giving it to God.

Is this not what I do? I go on and on about my troubles, in fact, sometimes, if I am not fussing about my troubles, I begin to think that I must not be concerned about them! However, I Peter 5:7 tells us to cast all our cares upon Him, for He careth for us. Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Who can I trust with the beginning and the end? God! Who tells me to give my concerns, fears, troubles to Him? God! Who can handle all of these, and loves me? God!

What am I saying to God when I talk to Him about those things that worry me, make me afraid, and then continue to worry and talk and fuss and "fret" (see Psalm 37)? I am saying that I don't think His arm is long enough for this one. I am saying that I am the one who must figure this out, and that He is not sufficient to the task.

What am I saying to others? I am saying, hey you're on your own, do the best you can, because My God is to small for even my concerns.

So, thanks to MaryLee I have mastered this faith thing...again.

Since I thought immediately of I Peter 5:7 when MaryLee turned the light on, I happened to see the rest of that passage (above; I Peter 5:5&6). The idea of submitting to one another, and to older people, and to husbands, and to one another. Linda Stewart, also a godly woman in my church has helped me with this regarding the idea of dying to self. If I feel like I must be understood, or that someone must hear about it if they have wronged me (so that I can forgive them, by the way!), that I can die to myself, and as the following passage said, "consider others better than yourselves...look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." How can I insist that I be understood when I am called upon to have the attitude of Christ Himself.

Philippians 2:3-11

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain
conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature[
a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being
made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Father, I will bring my cares to you, because you bid me to. Make me, then to stand firm in the faith before you, that others may see and glorify You.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Lamb's Book of Life

20However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you,
but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Revelation 21:27Nothing impure will ever
enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those
whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

I believe that as we walk through this life, our vision is limited. We are blessed in the heavenly places, and we fight not against men, but we don't see. We see as in a glass darkly.

So, we read in the Bible that God Chose us, wrote our names in His book before the creation of the world:

4For he chose us in him before the creation of the
world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he[
c] predestined us to
be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and
will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the
One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of
sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8that he lavished on us with
all wisdom and understanding. 9And he[
d] made known to us
the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in
Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their
fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head,
even Christ. Ephesians 1:4-10

So, I'm going along feeling good about knowing this....but sometimes I forget it, going along like I do, blind and focussed on the day to day. Then, twice in one week, the subject comes up again, forcing my mind to wrap around it again.

My Bible study partner brought it up. She asked if I thought that ...I can't remember her exact words, but it was something like this: Do you think that children born in Christian homes are always saved?

I have been in churches where it is a cute little saying that God does not have grandchildren. This is a cute little expression, but it has the taste of truth. The churches that commonly use this cliche are usually arminean. The idea is that you can't get to heaven on your parents' faith. I think that this is true, but we mustn't take God out of the equation...

There are also people who, although they might not say it, behave as if because I'm a Christian and am raising my kids right, they are Christian too. These people usually quote Proverbs 22:6

6 Train [a] a child in the way he should
go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

There is truth in this as well, but also danger. We mustn't take God out of the equation.

I once asked a woman to tell me when she became a Christian. She told me it was within her mother's womb. That has thrown me off for about a year and a half!

Certainly scripture tells us that God will bless the children to several generations of the ones who love Him. It also says that He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. He is not obligated to a Christian couple, loving and serving Him to save their child. He is also not powerless to save a child whose family for the traceable past has not known Him.

I indicated that this concept was broached twice in one week. The next time was the following Sunday when our Paster announced a couple of new pregnancies in our church. He said many things about parenthood, and one of them was that although God is sovereign in salvation (I think he remembered that) He chooses to bless the marriage bed with godly seed.

I think often, we see the children of faithful Christians come to the Lord. I think that we also very often see some of them drift away from the church and renounce the Lord. This is why in many arminean churches you hear people say that parents should get a decision for the Lord early. That way, when they drift away, they are kept secure in the arms of Jesus (once saved, always saved...if you can remember a time when you walked the aisle...)

Obviously, we see unchurched people accept Christ. This is not, afterall, a genetically based faith. We do not have a faith gene, I don't think.

So what is the answer? I think we need to remember that their names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. We cannot take God out of the picture! Well, who blesses the Marriage Bed? God does; He formed us in our mothers' wombs. Who wrote our names in the books before the foundation of the world? God did. Therefore, wouldn't it make sense that it is God who decides in which family to place His sheep?

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you...and be gracious unto you.

Take a look at Ezekial, Jeremiah, Ezra, and others of old. So many of them lived lives that were designed by God to show His attributes. He sustained them, but showed to the Isaelites, through them, who He is: His Holiness and justice and judgement and infinite mercy and long suffering.

I wonder what they thought. I wonder if sometimes they thought they were just crazy, and then they would have days when they would say, "Oh, yah, that's what this is all about!"

You know, when John sent his disciples to Jesus to ask if He was the one, or if they should continue to watch.

I sometimes get all caught up in the here and now and forget that God knows the beginning from the end. That He will draw near to me, when my heart is humble.

I was going to comment on something, but I thought, "Nobody wants to hear that...oh, yah! Nobody will!"

OK. If the Lord has given me experiences in this life for a reason, then it is to His glory, and for the edification of or warning to the saints. (ok, ok, it might also have to do with my rebelion...but if I meant it for evil, did He not mean it for good? Will He not work all of it together for the good of those who love Him? If not for me, then for one of His other sheep.)