Thursday, August 31, 2006

1 year, Ernesto, Boston, and babies!

Well, it has now been one year. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my blog. It has been helpful to me and I hope it has also been helpful, fun, and an encouragement to each of you!

Ernesto is the big news on this coast. It will probably delay my flight some today b/c it is supposed to take off when we are getting another band of rain and wind. I love hurricanes - they fascinate me and they are so fun to walk in, sit through in a rocking chair, watch, etc. I know who makes them and He is in control of them. Isn't that a comforting thought! I'm not saying we shouldn't be prepared for them, there is always stupidity that plays a factor into that. But, they shouldn't be "feared" either. We should only fear the one who makes them.

Boston - here I come. I'm scheduled to get up there around 7p, so I'm chilling at work here today for the last few hours. Will get adjusted before I go and pick mom up some medicine, then head to the airport. I think this is definitely the trip I have the most shoes on - but they have to go with certain outfits. And this time I didn't plan my outfit by my shoes and how I could only bring one pair. They are all in my carry-on since shoes aren't liquid - I can carry them on board.

I'll be posting pictures as the weekend progresses and give my general synopsis of the city and all its glory when I return.

And the last friends in TX had a baby! That is Joe and Jana up top there. Their new addition is Erin - she will be three weeks old this weekend. I met Joe in seminary and we've stayed friends. Jana is great and I know will be a great Mom. They are serving at a church in TX so I definitely don't get to see them as much. Congrats!

Prov 22.6 - my prayer for you guys!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Happy Problems and Golf in the rain

That is what happened today...
Packed out first college service at Cole Mill. We had somewhere in the vicinity of 260 - but know we have put about 300 in there before for prayer meeting - so we will just have to cram more next week (or the following since it Labor Day next week). Brad brought it on the spoken Word of God and the plurality of Elohim in the first 2 chapters in Genesis. Jason did great as he lead us in worship in that God is the Divine Creator and not the Divine Manipulator (Heb 11.3). It was good to see a majority of my girls again, there are a few I still haven't seen and some have graduated now and serve elsewhere in the church.
The 11a service is definitely the PACKED HOUSE. There was no room. We brought in extra chairs, some sat in the choir loft, and some sat on the floor. That is the problem. Some new people may not come back b/c there was no room for them to sit - or they had to sit up front - oh, the happy problems of a growing church with no "home".
3 more days till I leave for Boston - whoohooo!
I wouldn't say I'm not a Tiger fan, but I just don't usually play into all the hype of players. He is a fantabulous golfer - but is he the best golfer in the world of all times - um, don't know. But, him and Cink went at it today even finishing in the rain. It didn't seem like either one of them really wanted to win - because they were hitting it in the trees, bunkers, sand, missing puts, etc. Finally - Tiger prevailed. nice little pocket change he got - more than I'll have in my lifetime he got from playing 4 days of hitting a little white ball with a big numbered metal stick...oh, the life...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

thoughts on "singles" ministry

This is the debate I had today...
I said at lunch I would rather go to a women's event at a church than a singles' event. This is my reasoning. Being single in the church culture is negative. Like it or not. Being a woman for most people in the world (unless they are sexist) is not negative. I'm perfectly content with my singleness (1 Cor 7 is very real to me).
But, I think lumping all singles into the same category just because of their marital status is hurting the ministry - or not utilizing it to the best it could be.
If you are trying to reach all singles with one singles event a week or whatever and never breaking them up into their respective "categories" - than it will never be the fullest it can be.
There are singles of every age (newborns are singles). But, the ones most singles ministries reach are 18-death who don't have a ring on their finger. But, if you were able to break up college, younger singles, divorced singles, always single older adults, then you can be more productive. But, then you lose the cross-generational effect that has to happen in a church.
But...why do we have to be segrated in the church at all. Married people aren't segragated - they are the church. So are we - we just don't wear a ring on our finger.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Anticipating Chapter 4

Ok - I've been tempting my mother with this all day - she has no clue what chapter 4 is. But...she is about to find out.
Ruth. I'm studying it in preparation for a women's conference I'm speaking at in November. It is already being used mightily in my life by the Spirit.
Starts out with famine and death...ends with hope and life. OK - so I'd like to get to chapter 4. It goes very well with Rom 8.32 which I really love. I'm in a bitter and un-content time in my life right now - just where Naomi was. And I'm sure deep down Ruth was too (she wasn't perfect). But men and jobs have done their number on me today. Why do we have to have either one of them. Both are necessary though but both are highly frustrating. Why?
But - that is where chapter 4 comes in - HOPE in a BABY. Not Obed - necessarily - but in his future...JESUS - the BABY of all BABIES!
So, you will be hearing a lot more from Ruth in the next 2 months as I prepare. As always - I learn more when i do the teaching/speaking than I ever do if I'm just sitting. (Unless it is someone like Nelson or Piper or someone like the caliber of them).

Monday, August 21, 2006

I hate pain!

Ok - that is the scream of my day today and yesterday, and the day before.
I can't stand, sit, lay down, sleep, walk, (or exercise on orders from my chiro) without pain. Sitting is the worst I think. Getting up is awful movement - I act like I'm pregnant because I have to use my arms to get me up or down. NO I'M NOT PREGNANT.
I was just doing something that I should NOT have been doing on Friday night and ended up doing some damage to my already compacted lower disks in my back. But...such is life. Now I live off aleve (because they are anti-inflammatories), ice packs (or frozen beans, broccoli, edamame), and a pillow in between my legs to sleep. This is insane.
Anyway...the Israelites went through pain because of their sin. But, as I see in Ps 44, God saw them through it. He will see me through this (with the help of Dr. Adams - man, he's great) and He will get the greater glory from this.
My summer is bookended with pain: gallbladder surgery and disk issues. Good gracious. I hope the fall is less painful! :)
Have a great, and pain-free night blogland!


Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Sunday afternoon

Church was good but painful today. It was great to have the college students back today - most of the ones I know, and to see some unexpected faces of graduates. JD preached a good sermon on being the body - especially with all this junk in the SBC about church membership and accountability b/c of that. Church discipline is a needed thing in our churches.
This is a great verse to live by for people like me who don't really like where they are in life:
Ps 43.5
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
I usually put my trust in my abilities, or things I own, or people I know - but my Hope lies only in God - my only true hope that is.
Back still hurts, went grocery shopping, had lunch with Gray, cleaned some and did some laundry, cooked a chicken. It was a good Sunday afternoon - very calming even though I spent the morning sitting in a chair in an auditorium hurting - oh, well. This too shall pass!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Instruments of Praise!

Instruments of praise:
Sorry for so long of a time between blogs. This is a new thing for me - not blogging daily, but I was housesitting so my schedule was a little off.
But, I was reading in Psalms this week and there are many things to be thankful for. I have done a lot of complaining lately and that doesn't bode well. But there are some good things:
1. The Hope of Scripture
2. This day too shall pass (especially when my back hurts so bad I hardly stand up without screaming out in pain).
3. A deacon that will drive across town at 9p to try to jump my battery and then drive me to another house when the battery won't start.
4. A cheap but honest mechanic that will work on my car within a few hours.
5. Co-workers who will pick me up and loan me their cars to drive to pick up mine.
6. Class with Dr. Coley at the seminary that makes my degree something worth while even if I work at a job I don't like that doesn't mean squat to my degree or passion.
7. Fun e-cards you can send to people.
8. Saturday nights not to do anything but having to miss out on really cool parties because you pulled you back out moving the Heel Mobile.

Thankful for instruments of praise! :)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Random things

Three things to blog about today (ok, maybe more)
1. Finally found the cake pan I've been looking for since a long time. A straight-side one piece pound cake pan. I make a brown sugar pound cake - and now I can make many more. And my mom doesn't need to bring me hers! And it wasn't that expensive (definitely cheaper than I would have paid at W-S had they had one).
2. It is Annie's birthday. I work with Anne and she puts up with me, she trained me, she loves people. That is her in the picture above in the suit. The picture was taken the day of the bridal brunch for MGs wedding. Anne also works at a dept store at night - otherwise we would be dressed more like this next person...
3. I get to go housesit. I'm housesitting for another lady I work with (also in the picture), Marcey. She is going to the beach (I'd rather be there).'ll be a change of pace.
4. Talked to Dad and he said he heard a sermon on one of my fave verses last night that I had known for a long time - Ps 37 - what did I talk about last night.

So, that is what is going on for this Saturday...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Am I missing something?

Now, I want to preface this whole blog (probably my most personal yet and maybe never this personal again) by saying that I believe wholeheartedly in the Sovereignty of God - the fact that God is God, He is above all things, and He answers to no one, least of all me.
Have I missed something? Do I not know how to listen to God? Do I not hear Him when He speaks? Do I not know what blessings are - or have I missed them all?
This has been a rough day...a day full of sin of horrible attitudes, spiteful attitudes - not one of Paul's thoughts in Romans when he said he would rather be accursed than to see any of his countrymen (the Jews) go to hell. It wouldn't have come out of my mouth today. I get mad b/c someone won't give me the time of day even when asked a direct question and ignores me and thinks she is better than me. But, I won't even go out of my way to be nice to her (b/c I'm too prideful) so that she could see someone who is a Christian and maybe come to know Jesus. My pride is more important than her eternal salvation. Who am I?
THen I read Ps 37 - be not envious of evil doers. Here this person has a higher job than I do, has a fiance' - although it is not a godly relationship whatsoever, wears great clothes, is thinner than me and can seem to eat anything she wants.
Then right after that God says (since He breathed Scripture) dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. How long? When do you leave the land and cultivate faithfulness somewhere else? Will that faithfulness be rewarded ever?
Then keep on going...delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart...commit your way to the Lord and He will bring it to pass. I've been knowing and trying to live this verse since early high school. Desires are Christ - or they need to be. But are we to expect earthly blessings - no, we aren't to be expectant of anything b/c everything we get is grace. I think I'm too good. I think that because I am trying to live my life according to the Word (even though it is so hard) I deserve something. I don't. But - we want to deserve something. Should life be so unlike we ever thought it would be. High school friends are married and are living the life they always thought they would. College friends are doing the same. Seminary friends are thriving in marriages and churches and ministries and having babies. And I'm still stuck in this life...not being able to do what I want to do, living day to day wanting to do something else, never being satisfied with anything, trying tonight to eat my way to when I feel better. I know that isn't going to help anything. I just want something different from life. That life has to have God as the Center...but why can't I have some other things as well. Christ is enough...He's enough for all those people that have great ministries and families too. But, they have other great gifts of God as well. I don't. What am I missing?

Those are my thoughts tonight

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Colts and Laura

Happy Birthday Laura!!!

Ahh - the life. I've worked a long day, took a good cycle class, ate a healthy dinner, enjoyed a frozen strawberry pop, and now I'm watching PRESEASON FOOTBALL. And not just any PSF - the COLTS!! WHOOHOO - go Peyton. Not only a great college football player and pro football player, but also an outspoken Christian who loves Jesus. And not just Peyton - but also Tony Dungy. Who had a rough end of the season last year - but good gracious - the man loves God! :) Oh, the joys of football. Can't wait for the real games to start. These are only fun for about the first 10 minutes, because that is how long the "real" players play, then the second and third string and the water boys come in - sometimes they even bring in the crowd.
But, now onto someone who holds a personal stake in my life. Today is the birthday of Miss Laura Robinson. I've known her for about 2 years now. She has been in my Bible study (and Veronica's) for the 4 semesters that we taught. She is an amazing chick who loves Jesus. She is real, loves to teach, is about to start 3rd grade teaching in a week or so, just graduated Carolina, teaches 10th grade girls at the Summit, dates a guy named Chris who just got a job in SC, her parents live close by, her car is great but it has been giving her problems, loves taking trips to DC with me, and as you can tell by the picture - loves baking sugar cookies. For her birthday, we are going to the Wake Forest Tea Room - sometime - a Saturday that we can head over there. I'm glad she likes me - cause I get to know her and love her - and she doesn't get too tired of me. Laura - Happy Birthday - hope you had a wonderful day. Consider this your card till we go to WF. Keep pressing into the presence of God - even when you are tired of kids or of painting your room or sewing pillows.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Waiting Expectantly

This has been a hard day - when is it ever going to be the day that I work at a job that I LOVE - doing what I love, am called to, and what I'm educated to do? I don't know. I don't like being low end of the totum pole and knowing it b/c you are told that. It is hard - humbling, but hard. It was a good day other than that. Cycle class was good this morning.
A letter Mom rec'd today reminded me of a great psalm that is great - I will be praying this every morning. It will be on my mirror. Praying the Word - believing the Word - waiting expectantly...Ps 5.3
(and this is in NIV - I know, not the most reliable - ESV says sacrifices and not prayers)
In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.
Watch closely or intently is the word in Hebrew for expectation. How do you watch closely the Lord and what He is doing - you stay in prayer and reading the Word.
Today (this morning, lunch, and now)...I've read Ps 35. First this morning I read it in light of a co-worker I am praying for - for doors to be opened. But, by the time I read it at lunch, I needed it.
Say to my soul,“I am your salvation!” David is saying this to myself. He is pleading for God - HIS LORD and PROTECTION to do just that.

Book Tag

I got this idea from SBC Outpost and Marty Duren - thanks!

1. One book that changed your life: The Cost of Discipleship, Deitrich Bonhoeffer
2. One book that you’ve read more than once: Desiring God, John Piper
3. One book I’d want on a desert island: Bible Doctrines, Wayne Grudem
4. One book that made me laugh: Any Charlie Brown comic book
5. One book that made me cry: Atonement Child, Francine Rivers
6. One book that you wish you had written: Redeeming Love, Francine Rivers
7. One book you wish had never been written: Captivating, John and Stasi Eldredge
8. One book that you are currently reading: Mortification of Sin, John Owen
9. One book that you’ve been meaning to read: The rest of Narnia (4-7)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bookends and Commands

Tuesdays are inevitably better than Mondays just because of the fact they aren't Mondays. I would hate to be Monday just b/c I would know people would hate me just b/c of my name: regardless of what happened on said day. Just something to think about.
Great workouts bookended the 8 hours where I sit in a chair. First at the gym this morning, then walking around Woodcroft with Mollie: discussing cars and homes with no price tags - what a fantasy world. Had a great salad at Souper Salad (Sweet Toms is so much better but afore mentioned place is closer and cheaper). Then walked back.
Open doors, shut doors...that is one of the ways God is teaching me that He works. But, he also works through the Word - I'm in Ps 34 today. Good stuff, very multi-dimensional (is that a word?)...

Ps 34.1-3 is what would seem to the listening ear or reading eye to be to said to people - meaning corporate worship. Our worship pastor at the Summit has used it many times to lead the congregation on Sunday mornings.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;let the humble hear and be glad
Focusing on verse 2. What do I boast in: my gifts, talents, brain, cooking, books, etc? Or do I boast in the Lord. One of my fave Piper sermons is Boast Only in the Cross spoken at the Passion One Day in 2000. It was amazing live and it is great to hear it again from time to time. Also, here is a call to humility. We can not hear the Word of the Lord being spoken to us or read over us if we have too much pride. Not only our ears are closed but our hearts as well. Therefore...we can't be glad. Pride destroys b/c God says He resists the proud - and that is where our joy comes - our relationship with God. See the connection?

34.4-8 seems to be a testimony time for David. He says "this poor man". I can see David now, slamming his open-faced palm on his chest - and saying - its me! its me! I'm that poor man - look He delivered me - look at what My GOD did for me, when I was poor!

34.7-14 (overlaps I know) is a charge to the congregation. TASTE! SEE! TAKE REFUGE! SEEK! LISTEN! FEAR ME! KEEP! TURN! DO! All these are exclamatory commands from David - their Chief!

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Great Severe Mercy, Authoritative Word of God, and OUR HOPE

The title of the blog is from my pastor's sermon yesterday of which I am listening to now. This was during his prayer at the beginning. He preached on the role of women and men in the church. you can click on the Summit's www on the right to find it and listen to it.
I'm reading Ps 33 today and there is so much joy and righteousness in that psalm. The first three verses are all about our response to the God who saved us and grants us a great severe mercy.
I love verse 4-5
For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

This has to apply to the written Word of God. If you believe that God-breathed the Word (the very words in the original transcripts) to the authors (Paul, Moses, David, etc) - then the Bible - the one you hold in your hand, is upright. That is opposite of wrong or sin (us).

Verses 6-11 has to do with what He has done with His very Word: creation and counsels his people.
I loved today listening to the thunder of a great afternoon storm that was blowing through the triangle. That thunder (yes, done by air movements or molecules or something - go to if you are into that) - is done by the very Word of the Lord. That is the God I serve.

The bookends of this psalm is praise. This is the end... (v 20-22)
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

We HOPE IN YOU. OUR HEART IS GLAD IN HIM! Look at the good news of these two phrases. we place our hope in the almighty, everlasting, alpha and omega GOD who created the entire universe from nothing (include us from dust in His image). Our hearts are not glad in other things that will let us down or people who will eventually hurt and betray us - but our hearts are glad in HIM (look at the description in previous sentence).

Doesn't that give you even a glimmer of good news - even for a Monday.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Effectiveness and Confession

Yuck...tomorrow is Monday. About the only thing good about Mondays is that I get to go take a cycle class at the gym at 615a. What a great way to start the week! But, its just not the same as a weekend.
I've been thinking today about effectiveness and confession. It is hard to be effect when you are so far away (literally) from what (or whom) you are trying to effect. I remember 2 years ago when I was making the drive a few times a week to Durham to go to church and do ministry. I was plugged in everywhere, but it was tough on my calendar, my car, and my wallet - because gas prices were on the rise. Then I moved to Raleigh - a little closer than WF - but still a 20 minute drive. What that meant for me was still more driving, because I figured since I didn't have as far to go I could go more often - yes I know that is flawed thinking. Now, that I live in Durham, especially this summer...God's been teaching me that you have to do what you are called to do, be effective through HIM in what He has gifted and called you to do, and stick to that. I don't have to do everything, but it does help, and answers questions, when you are close to the people you are trying to effect. Close for me is when I work out and shop in Chapel Hill - I do ministry at UNC. I work at DUMC, but never see any college kids, but when I'm in MadHatters or Fosters and see students - then I do ministry. When God gives me random opps to do ministry elsewhere - I jump at the chance. There is a difference between weekly ministry and one-time opps ministry. Sort of the difference in a pastor and an itinerate (sp?) preacher.
Confession...I was reading in Ps 32 this morning before heading off to church. Heard a great sermon on speaking by Pastor Bill and then right after church (I mean the second he dismissed) I said something that definitely wasn't obedient to the Word. So, I confessed that to my friend the minute we got on the phone with each other after the second service. After our lunch at Whole Foods (the one on Wade is so much better than the ones in D & CH) I told her how appreciate I was to have someone that we can confess, keep accountable, talk about our struggles, joys, successes, etc in this life of following Christ. I think non-Catholic Christians get confession all wrong. We think we have to say 18 hail marys and go talk to a priest behind a sliding wall - that isn't it. I think to Hebrews when the writer says that we have a GREAT HIGH PRIEST who is daily making intercession for us. I think of 1 John 1.9 that says if we confess He is just to forgive us. Having my friend is to me, an extension of the grace of God. Not someone who is perfect, but someone who is in the strive to be like Jesus - just like I am, and who needs grace - just as much as I do - EVERY DAY.
So, my challenge to all out there in blog-ville tonight - be effective where God has planted you for His Kingdom and for His Renown, and find an equally-yoked Christian to keep you accountable and be able to confess your sins to him/her.
Ps 32.1-5
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,and in whose spirit there is no deceit. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

That we may have: (v 11)
Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous,and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Singers, Banana Bread, and David

Its been a productive Saturday. Didn't feel like blogging much yesterday - so I didn't. Kind of like journaling - sometimes you feel like it - others you don't. You don't have to do it everyday.
Right now I'm listening to the GVB and waiting for some banana nut cc bread to cook. I've cleaned the kitchen now I'll just wait for it to get done. The bread is almost done and might I say that David Phelps is the best singer out there (male) and Christy Nockels is the best female singer out there - hands down - any genre of music. Any one have any contenders. Maybe Andre' Boccelli (sp?), but David Phelps - dude can belt it out!
Enjoyed some fresh produce from a friend's garden today for dinner and a party in Raleigh. Tomorrow is church and then lunch with a friend and exercise. Do I really have to go back to work on Monday?...yuck.
Anyway...the Psalms have been good - I just haven't been blogging on them. I was in Ps 31 today. Feel some of David's relief of God's answering lately - joy, hearing, listening, answers. Been oft quoting Ps 25.12 which is such a fantastic verse. It has definitely been my favorite lately.
The whole idea of God being our refuge is evidenced all through David's writings. It is a common theme. Much of David's life was spent as king - fighting, battles, strategizing, etc. I can imagine why this was such an important concept to him. (v 1)
He talks about the reason he leads and guides him in and out of battle, relationships, positions, countries...FOR HIS NAME'S SAKE...that is THE REASON (v 3)
He brings up worthless idols again. His day was full of worthless idols: bronze and golden images they offered up to the gods as sacrifice or ones they thought would buy them a little more standing. But, we know we serve the ONLY LIVING GOD who is the RULER of this world and there is no other god before HIM and there is no other god other than Him - no matter how we live our lives. So, is our life going to match our theology or is our theology going to match our life (think about the difference that order makes in that statement)? (v 6)
He knows salvation comes from the face of the Almighty being upon Him. There is so much going on around him: whispers, attacks, fightings, arguings. Yes - if the psalmist only had the face of GLORY shine upon him he would be saved. (v 16)
Oh how abundant is the goodness of God (the Father of Lights) who has stored up good things (till overflowing) for those who fear Him. How exciting is that know the potential of the storing up of the blessings of God? (v 19)
David mentions in this psalm alot the steadfast love of the Lord. How many wonderful things it does. When the world is so iffy in it love, so conditional, so self-seeking - the abundant, covenantal, faithful, God-seeking, love of the Father for His children is amazing and so other-world and different than ours. There is nothing like it.
Rest in that love...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Prepositions for times of trust

This has been a day in learning trust. Read Ps 28 today and will get to that later. But, after prompting from a friend's email, I read the story of Rebekah's little act of deception to her husband and her sons' birthright. This is an excerpt from her email to me this morning.

But praise the Lord that He is before all things and in Him all things hold together! That includes our marital status. I think that we are usually okay with being single (of course the desire still being there just not the burden of being single) when there is not a man to have our focus on. As soon as a man is in the picture, our contentment waivers and we long for that which God has not given us yet. And many times in that time we are willing to compromise, all for what?: vain pursuit of a fantasy. Our minds make the situation work. But the grace of God prevails and we are spared from ourselves and the mess we desire to make, with good intentions, of course. We end up being like Rebekah. She knew God said that the younger child would rule over the older. When Isaac was about to die and thus wanted to bless Esau, Rebekah took matters into her own hands and deceived her husband and lead Jacob into deceit as well. Why? Because she took a promise of God into her own hands and believed that she had to accomplish that which He began. May we not be so proud or distrusting of the Lord to believe that we can accomplish by our own hands what God desires to accomplish with us

I learned from reading Rebekah's story - that she knew the promise of God (the the younger would rule the elder), but yet - she didn't want to wait for God to bring it to her. She wanted to go out and achieve it herself. So God allowed the deception to take place. How often do I try to get God's blessing for myself instead of waiting and trusting in Him to bring it in His perfect timing.

What I read in Ps 28 today also went along with that.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. 8 The Lord is the strength of his people; He is the saving refuge of his anointed. 9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

God has said He is my strength and shield. I can put ALL my trust in Him (for everything). I can rest in His help. My heart can exult (praise) in Him. I can sing to Him (which I do). He is the saving shelter (for David this was very important as a warrior king). He will bless His heritage. He will guide us (to our husband or next life challenge). He will carry us (I think of that way overused poem - Footprints in the Sand).

Valley of Vision - prayers of the puritans (new CD coming in August) is where this next part comes from: (an excerpt from pg 59 for those who have the book)
Thou Creator, Upholder, Proprietor of all things, I cannot escape from thy presence or control, nor do I desire to do so. My privilege is to be under the agency of omnipotence, righteousness, wisdom, patience, mercy, grace. I adore thy wisdom, stand in awe of thy power, abase myself before thy purity. For there are exceeding riches in they kindness through Jesus. Let thy restored joy be my strength. May it keep me from lusting after the world.

And now, one of my fave Bible passages (of course its in Romans): i did a study on this passage for one of my many Dr. Nelson classes at seminary - I loved it.
Rom 11.33-36
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 For who has known the mind of the Lord,or who has been his counselor? 35 Or who has given a gift him thathat he might be repaid?
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Contending for Our All

Well, now when I finish books, I will try to spend some time on here reflecting on what I learned from those books. If I didn't learn anything - than why did i read?
The first one i will post on is Contending For Our All by John Piper. I actually still have the little post-script still to read, but I am tired, so I wanted to get this on here before I went to bed.
This is the last installment of his the Swan series - biographies on some of the pillars of the Christian faith. This book contained: St. Athanasius (300s), John Owen (1600s), and J. Gresham Machen (1900s) - none of this chronological snobbery CSL talks about in his writings.
This is also a good reason to underline and take notes in the books you read:
Athanasius - I knew about him from the church history classes I've had both in seminary and in college. But, that was about all. I've read bits of his arguments - but not enough to be a "leading scholar" on him. The most important thing he did was help develop by thought the Nicean Creed. This is one way writers have described him...
"In the whole of our minute knowlege of his life there is a total lack of self-interest. The glory of God and the welfare of the church absorbed him fully at all times...deep reference and the discipline of a single-minded lover of Christ." - Love of Jesus, death of self.
"The nature of Christ was too important to obscure with vague language". This was talking about the no-compromise attitude that Athanasius had in regards to the deity and full-Godness of Jesus - the Eternal Son.
"Athanasius took his Christianity seriously enough to reject the pagan gods." We have pagan gods too - money, tv, self, popularity, relationships, etc. Do I love Jesus enough to reject these gods?
"And so today we should no conclude that the absence of consensus in the church means doctrinal stalemate or doctrinal insignificance." - There are many things that are getting swept under the rug for bigger issues, but the BIG issues need to be learned and kept and obeyed according to the Word: the infallibility and authority of Scripture, the ONE ness of Jesus in how He is the only way to eternal life, we all SIN. Some churches today don't preach the inerrant word - whether in music or the sermon, some think works will get you to heaven, and most don't preach on sin. "Sin, though committed by a finite person and in the confines of finite time, is nevertheless deserving of an infinitely long punishment because it is a sin against an infinitely worthy God."

John Owen - Puritan powerhouse in thought - probably the smartest puritan to ever exist, he was brilliant. I'm reading two things of his right now: The Mortification of Sin and Packer's preface to his Death of Death by the Death of Christ.
"In spite of all this administrative pressure, and even hostility because of his commitment to godliness and to the puritan cuase, he was constantly studying and writing, probably late at night instead of sleeping. That's how concerned he was with the doctrinal faithfulness to Scripture." I wrote in there beside that paragraph - rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
"holiness gave a divine luster to his other accomplishments, it shined in his whole course, and as diffused through his whole conversation." - What do I want people to say was my "thing" - holiness and God-likeness - would be the best one I could think of. Owen lived this out in his daily life.
"Owen's personal holiness and public fruitfulness did not just happen to him. He pursued them." - Enough said on that one.

J. Gresham Machen, Westminster and Princeton professor in the first half of last century. I truly didn't know much about him till this book. He started a break-away Presbyterian denomination from the PCUSA. He was single and died in the prime of his teaching.
This was his last thing he wrote hours before he died in '37
"I'm so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. no hope without it." This is so true. Phil 2 says this as well. He was obedience to death on the cross.
"Consistent Christianity, I think, is the Christianity easiest to defend." This is what I mean when I say my life matches my theology - not the other way around.
"The sovereignty of God and his supremacy over all of life causes one to see everything in relation to more things because they all relate to God and God relates to all things." I'm so thankful that God doesn't consult me on matters - he doesn't answer to me.

Pick this book up - read it, learn from the lives of these men who loved Jesus, were victorious over controversy, and didn't back down from the Truth of the Word and the Sonship of Jesus and the Sovereignty of God.