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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Some trust in chariots and some in horses...

1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the LORD.
2 Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster;
he does not take back his words.
He will rise up against the house of the wicked,
against those who help evildoers.

3 But the Egyptians are men and not God;
their horses are flesh and not spirit.
When the LORD stretches out his hand,
he who helps will stumble,
he who is helped will fall;
both will perish together.

4 This is what the LORD says to me:
"As a lion growls,
a great lion over his prey—
and though a whole band of shepherds
is called together against him,
he is not frightened by their shouts
or disturbed by their clamor—
so the LORD Almighty will come down
to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.

5 Like birds hovering overhead,
the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver it,
he will 'pass over' it and will rescue it."

6 Return to him you have so greatly revolted against, O Israelites. 7 For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.

8 "Assyria will fall by a sword that is not of man;
a sword, not of mortals, will devour them.
They will flee before the sword
and their young men will be put to forced labor.

9 Their stronghold will fall because of terror;
at sight of the battle standard their commanders will panic,"
declares the LORD,
whose fire is in Zion,
whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
Isaiah 31

GOOD NEWS!! Yes, the news from South Dekota is encouraging. But I want to direct your hearts and minds to the true good news. We trust in the name of the LORD our God.

If Governor Mike Rounds signs this bill into law, and enough people have donated enough money to take on all the challenges all the way to the Supreme Court...

Is your heart racing? Is you imagination taking you on a fantasy journey the likes of which you haven't dreamed in half a life-time? Are "the stars aligned" for you?

It is the Lord who will keep your feet firm. It is so nice to be encouraged in this battle, and I would ask all God's children to pray for the Governor of S.Dakota and the courts, and for the entire process. However, I would also warn against trusting in that warm feeling welling up within you. Keep your focus on Christ. Trust in Him. Realize with your mind and heart that He is on the throne. He is about, accomplishing His will. It is He who will put a stop to this. You should be encouraged each Thursday when we gather at Planned Parenthood, that God is on His throne, and He hears your prayers. You should be encouraged when you pray, that He has given you the privilage of coming to Him. You should be encouraged each time you plant a seed, share your faith, tell someone about Jesus, that God has given you words to speak, and someone to hear them. You should be encouraged each time they revile you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for the sake of Christ for so persecuted they the profits and Christ himself. You should be encouraged that the Lord has promised that His word will not return to Him without accomplishing that which it was sent to do.

Pray for those in South Dakota. The heat will be intense there. Pray for Mike Rounds, that God will bless his work, give him wisdom and courage. Pray for our country, our courts and our government. Pray for Christians everywhere that they would be burdoned for those who are lost and about to throw themselves over a cliff. Pray for God's people that He will keep our feet firm as we proclaim the truth of God in all its fullness.

Friday, February 24, 2006

At-The-Well Conversations

Go The Church of the Good Shepherd and click on "Walk by the Spirit III" (February 19, 2006). Keep in mind that we are talking about conversations, sowing the seed, shining your light, setting yourself on fire.

Now go here and see a post entitled "Finishing our Conversation." Mrs. Pickett also had a very interesting post along these same lines that will really make you think about stepping out of the comfortable.

Whoa!! I am not trying here to make excuses, or to get out of something that is clearly my responsibility and is commanded. I am pleading for tips, advice, encouragement, a match... There are various settings and purposes for conversation... There are also different players in a conversation...

small talk
Casual or trivial conversation, chitchat, as in We stood around making small talk until the guest of honor arrived. The small in this expression alludes to unimportant subjects of conversation, as opposed to serious or weighty ones. [Mid-1700s]
Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.

No entry was found in the dictionary. Would you like to search the Web for BIG talk?

Sorry to agree with the counter point, but, you know Jesus was Jesus. He was probably a little surreal from the beginning. At twelve he was hanging out with the teachers of the law, and by the time He got to the well, well...!

My problem is that I have this pattern of behaviour. If I break out of that pattern, who knows what might happen! I don't even know how to bring up BIG talk in casual conversation. It never comes up. No one ever says, "So Rachel, what do you base your eternal hope on..." or, "Who are you to ask me for a glass of water?"

How do you bring this up in casual conversation? It would be one thing if everyone knew I was crazy, and expected me to talk about sin and mercy all the time, but I don't, so to suddenly start w-w-would be to catch on fire...

Got a match?

Thursday, February 23, 2006


indefatigable: what a cool word!

9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galations 6:9&10)

Thursday: 9:00 am when I arrived, Carole was having a verbal altercation at the back of the parking lot with a woman who said she was a nurse and who thought that there were too many crack babies in such and such a place already and that we were wasting our time and that we should go and hold those crack babies, istead of trying to upset people.
*The shifting of the issue: From the innocent children being killed today to those in misery with no one to care for them, with the implication that they should have died.
*Another issue shifted: By ending this pregnancy this baby will not suffer like the crack babies in such and such a place who have no one to hold them. (Could these babies be in Bloomington? It is odd how my mind automatically took them to Indianapolis.)

REAL ISSUE: This is a child which was created by God, and he or she bears God's image.
This child should not die because of the wrongs done by someone else.
The sin of substance abuse or illicit sex is not justified or nullified by the shedding of this blood, but only by the shedding of truly innocent blood, and that was finished by our Lord Jesus Christ.

She also thought that we should not distress the women who are making an already difficult decision, thereby making it even more difficult.

*The shifted sin issue: The issue here is trickier, because they don't see things like we do. We would say that sin will grow and fester if not exposed. That it is painful to see that what you are doing as wrong. That is what they see as undesirable, they do not want to see that what they are doing as wrong. They want people to say, "It's alright. Peace, peace."
*The shifted issue of "difficult is bad" and "easy is good." It is more difficult to get up and clean my house; it is easy not to. It is more difficult to discipline my children than to let them be. It is more difficult for my children to do their homework than to watch TV. It would easier to separate from my husband than to learn submission. It would be easier for my husband to separate from me than to sacrifice himself up for me.
Difficult and easy cannot be synonyms of right and wrong.

THE REAL ISSUE: Wrong is wrong, and you should feel bad about doing it. Do not quench the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to convict the world of sin.

She also thought that we should not judge. Doesn't this one always shut you up? Of course, we are sinners! I am so depraved! How can I say to someone else, here let me help you with that speck in your eye, when I just knocked them over with this huge log sticking out of my eye?!

*Shifted issue: You hypocrite! How can you know what I am going through? How can you say that, when you know what you did back then, what you did yesterday...what you are doing now... You're so selfish that you want me to bear this burden and you'll go home to your nice neat little life!

THE REAL ISSUE: God has said this is wrong. I am a sinner, and Christ has died for my sin. Won't you take refuge in the Lord with me? Won't you seek Him while He may be found? Won't you kiss the Son lest He become angry? Christ loves me, won't you let me help you with that?

You would rather stay home and pray on Thursday mornings. You would rather volunteer at the Crisis Pregnancy Center. You would rather not go because you are too timid, too peaceable, too busy, too nice. Your neighbor or boss might see you there and think you are one of those crazies after all.

*Has the issue been shifted for you? Search your heart. Is the Lord calling you to the CPC, and are you faithfully serving Him there? Is this the easier path? Are you afraid of being a fool? Look at Moses. He said he did not want to go to the Pharoah, because he was a poor public speaker, but God provided. Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would give them words when they had to go before kings and rulers. Make certain of your motives.

I speak for myself here:

I was too timid. I am not the type to carry a sign and shout slogans. I was certain that it was not my place to tell other people what their morality ought to look like.

After all, God is in control, right?

I am afraid of fire!

Many times I could quit, because I feel ill equipped or unable; I feel like a fool; what I am doing is not making an impact; I look like a fool; I am alone and pitiful.

I am not a big talker outside of my own garden, but the Lord is there with me; I am NOT alone. I am willing and I pray for His words when He would have me speak. It might be that I will never see the result of my presence there
...but I see now the result of my being there. Very slowly, I am becoming more bold. Little by little, I am being shown my own sin and He cleanses me. Very slowly, my heart is being turned to the things of God, and He is shifting my priorities in ways that I previously would not expose to Him in any other place.

Very slowly I burn...

What was Nehemiah's passion? It was for the glory of the Lord. It was that the nations were defiling God's name because of the reproach of the wrecked walls of Jerusalem...His issue was the Glory of the Lord.

What is happening at Planned Parenthood? People are calling evil good and good evil. That's what God said they would do! People are defiling the Word of God. They are sinning against God.

What was Ezekiel told to do? Tell them, whether they listen or fail to listen.
Tell them!

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water! Works will not save you. You don't get extra credit for picketing at Planned Parenthood. However, Scripture does tell us that we were saved unto good works which the Father has prepared for us. How do you know that, like Esther, you were not brought to Bloomington for just this purpose?

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph.6:12). Therefore, in a sense, the women getting abortions are not the enemy. They are given over to their lusts and pride and greed.
Some there on Thursday mornings are enslaved to superstitions and false teaching.
Some, who drive by, are oblivious to what goes on there...or do they walk on by on the other side (Luke 10:31&32)?

It is powers within and without that are the enemy, and you and I carry them about with us.

Hear the Word of the Lord:

9 Unless the LORD Almighty
had left us some survivors,
we would have become like Sodom,
we would have been like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the LORD,
you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the law of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!

11 "The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?" says the LORD.
"I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

12 When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?

13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts
my soul hates.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.

15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even if you offer many prayers,
I will not listen.
Your hands are full of blood;

16 wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds
out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong,

17 learn to do right!
Seek justice,
encourage the oppressed. [a]
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.

18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the best from the land;

20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword."
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

ISAIAH 1:9-20

Friday, February 17, 2006

Pride and Denial

From Church of the Good Shepherd sermon: Showing Tolerance...
on 4/24/05 from Ephesians 4:1-6

It is our pride; our desire to be thought of more highly than we ought
by others that causes us to be silent in the face of opposition, falsehood or sin. (not an exact quote)

I have heard that self consciousness is a form of pride, and sometimes I can understand it, but sometimes the logic evades me. It seems like someone who tries to be invisible is not suffering from pride. My husband and I were discussing it last weekend and I decided that the sin in it is the fear of man and not pride. To be afraid of what others think of you. Paster Bayly clarified it a bit I think.

Guilty... guilty... guilty...

I don't think I can blog this, at least not until I deal with those against whom I have sinned.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

We're Baa-aack!

Ok, we are back. Just some thoughts:

1: Well, I'm not any smarter...I still can't put a picture on my blog.

2: Things are not always the way it would seem...I expected Chicago students to be pompous and unapproachable. Instead they were as we passed them on their way to classes, kind of geeky-looking. It's true though that every one of them that we asked had no idea where the admissions office was. They must forget after they get there. They do know where to get pizza, though.
Kenyon students, however, did not look geeky. If I were to classify them, I would say they were more preppy in appearance. I did not get a chance to talk to any, but my husband did, and that student told him that he was just telling his parents the night before how much he liked it there.

3: Sometimes what you don't say is revealing...or is it? At Chicago, the academic life was emphasized. We heard such things as "Chicago; where fun goes to die." "If you aren't really interested in learning, and like to avoid studying, you'll be unhappy here." "Nobody is going to give you a hard time if you say, 'Well, I have to go study.' Instead they'll probably say, 'Yah, me too.'" "Yah, well, that's what we're here for."
At Kenyon on the other hand, academic life was not brought up on the tour until I asked what kind of semesters, quarters, or trimesters they are on. Instead we heard about their theater presentations, their new athletic facility, their meal times and stuff. We did get to see an actual freshman dorm, which I was glad to see.

4: Kenyon admissions was much more friendly and accommodating. When I called to set this up, they set my daughter up to sit in on a class, set us up for the tour and an informal interview. Things were tightly scheduled, so when the student guide left, thinking he had no charges to lead around the campus, the admissions lady arranged for my daughter to interview early with an admissions counselor instead of a senior, so we could take the next tour and hit the road at a reasonable time.
Chicago on the other hand gave out no more information on the phone than was necessary (that for which I specifically asked). I was told to go to their web page to find a class to sit in on and arrive a few minutes early to get the prof's OK to audit the class. Their website was baffling and I'm sure a second semester freshman or first semester sophomore is finally able to manuever without guidance or error. (Of course maybe there are parental controls.) Being unable to break through the controls, I called and asked for assistance. They told me that they could help me out when I got there.

5: Chicago has the second largest private police force in the country and have worked very hard the last 30 years to be very safe. Although a student would not be wise to walk around campus at 3:00 am alone, if he needed a ride, he could call security and get a ride home; no charge, no questions. The campus police can be there in less than 60 seconds if you push one of the many security buttons around campus. We did not test them. STUDENTS FEEL VERY SAFE THERE.
At Kenyon, the tour guide told us several times that this or that building is open 24/7 but she never mentioned security, so I asked if a student would fee safe walking home from one of these buildings at 3:00 am. She said that she doesn't think they have a crime rate, actually. STUDENTS FEEL VERY SAFE THERE.

6: God is God and the world is His footstool. There is no place where you can go that He will not be there. Chicago is in the middle of a city. Chicago loves Chicago and vice versa. On top of that, Chicago is in love with itself. There is a chapel (beautiful) on campus that is used by any religious group for any type of service to worship any god. However, with all this going on, God can be there. It's actually sort of a mini world, albeit kind of smart.
Kenyon on the other hand, reminded me of something left to itself and fermenting in its own juices. I did not feel as good about this school coming out as going in. This surprised me. The people were nice, the grounds were beautiful, and it seems like it is a nice isolated place to send your daughter for four years, but I don't know...

So here we are, still trusting God and asking for His guidance and providence. I want Him to block paths that He does not want us to travel, but is this being lazy? I don't know, but I do want Him to make things clear to me.

Lead me Lord
Lead me in Thy righteousness
Make Thy way plain before my face.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Onward to the Adventure!

Our family is going off on an adventure tomorrow afternoon. We are on a quest for the future, nestled safely in the arms of the One who holds the future.

We will be visiting the University of Chicago and Kenyon College, with a weekend to travel.

My hope is for clear guidance...and a faith-building experience...and opportunities to be a wonderful Mom--I mean ...well you know, to be the distributor of Godly wisdom, and gentle words, that encourage and edify all who hear...Yah.

How about...I want the place where God would have my daughter go to school to just feel right. Just to confirm the direction, it would be nice to have them offer her a full scholarship...OK.

Oh, and...On the trip, I would like to have discussions--intense discussions about the future, about God, about right and wrong. I want the peace of God in Christ Jesus to reign in my heart.

(by the way, isn't this new wireless keyboard da bomb? Maybe, hopefully it wasn't a virus afterall, but just a hardware problem)

Just keep us in your prayers and my the Holy Spirit take our prayers to the Father and ask for that which we know not...isn't that exiting!

I hope to learn how to do pictures when I get back! Got to pack now. Good night and God bless.

The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.