Thursday, November 23, 2006

A Thanksgiving post but I'm not really here

No, I'm not returning to the blogosphere, this is just a brief stop in for this one occasion.

It is November, a month that is permanently linked (at least here in America, you odd Canadians celebrated a long time ago!) with Thanksgiving Day. It is common, even among those who don't know Christ, to reflect upon our lives during this time. The biggest grouches will inexplicably express gratitude during this time...even if they have not a single good thing to say the rest of the year.

Indeed, most of us have much to be thankful for. Our families, our friends, our homes, our jobs, even the dry (not mine!) turkey that will be on the table in just a few short hours. And it is right that we should be thankful for these things as they are all certainly blessings (yes, even that family member who will complain about the dry turkey), but it occured to me this morning as I was preparing the turkey that it is quite easy to get distracted by these things. In all the hustle and bustle of the season we must deliberately make an effort to lift our eyes heavenward. To be thankful not only for the things on our table, or the laughter that fills our ears, but even more so for the Cross.

To someone who doesn't know the joy of following Christ it may seem strange to rejoice, especially at Thanksgiving, at that broken and beaten Man who hung from a tree. Ah, but to those of us who have had it revealed to us! We are able to see Jesus crying out, "It is finished!" and our spirits can soar! It really was finished that day on Calvary; our enslavement to sin, our separation from God while on earth, the very real reality of an eternity separated from Him...It is finished, beloved! Rejoice!

To be thankful for the earthly things we have is good, and right, we must not overlook these blessings but even more importantly we can (and must) rejoice in the shadow of the Cross. Even those who have recently lost jobs, or homes, or even loved ones can be comforted in knowing that they are held in the Father's hand. He sees all the struggles, He sees the heart ache, and He longs to comfort you but you must turn to Him. If you say you have nothing to be thankful for, that everything is going wrong in your life right now I ask you, do you have Christ? If your answer is yes, then you have it all, my friend. Kneel at the foot of your Savior's cross and be comforted that He has gone before you and is leading you to where He wants you. Yes, even in this uncertain time, even in this grief, He leads. Be comforted in Him.

Be thankful, my friends, and remember the Cross as you gather together to celebrate.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Daily Ends

Today I have had the great displeasure of realizing just how easily it is for me to sin with my writing. Never before have I been able to have such a perspective, and quite honestly it breaks my heart. Perhaps the internet lends itself all to well to isolative hostility, after all I will probably never meet the people that read this blog or the people I interact with on message boards. And now I realize that this can be a very dangerous thing spiritually.

You know those verses that exhort us to be slow to speak and quick to listen? By nature I am exactly the opposite, and this in truth is a great struggle for me. Especially when I have resources at my fingertips that lend so well to my nature.

And while I have been seeing God work wonders in my life, consistency this is where I struggle. Yes, most of the stuff on this blog has been good and uplifting and useful (by God's grace), but some of it has been absolutely wretched as well. And it is those posts that make me realize I still have quite a ways to go with the Lord, but they also help me to realize just how far He has already brought me.

The bad posts, I hope, are few and far between and have been written less and less with time. And this latest trial has shown me that I am progressing (Despite what the enemy would have me believe) simply because it was taken down very quickly (Thanks, in part, to someone who was willing to point out my sin. Truly the verses in James about turning a brother/ sister from sin have been played out today!)

And so what does this all mean? I'm not sure just yet. I know He still has much to work on with me - and in me - and I want to be sure to give Him my attention on certain matters. So, whether this be temporary or not so temporary I've made a decision that I trust will serve all of us. This will be, until I feel the Lord release me, my final post. Lest anyone think I'm simply over reacting concerning my latest folly, I am not. I have been thinking, and praying, about this for some time now. And as much as I love to write and share my thoughts on Scripture, I just can't stand the thought of putting more error out there and dragging the name of my precious Savior though the mud.

It is on this note, a note of repentance and of joy, that I think it is fitting to end this blog. I'm sorry for the error I've put out there and the people I have hurt, but more than that I am deeply sorry because I've done these things first and foremost against God. But in this I must rejoice, and I hope that you will with me as I'm stepping forth trusting that I'm following His leading. I rejoice in knowing He loves me enough to change my heart (and my writing), and that He will continue doing so. It is a great thing to realize that He forgives us when we truly repent, and that He will wash us clean and conform us to the image of His Son a little each day...And all we have to do is be willing.

Wherefore 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, Looking 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)

I've Been Accused of Being Pharisaical

And so I've removed a post from yesterday so that I might have time to reflect upon it a bit more. I may edit and repost it, we'll see.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Remember This On Sunday

And they stood up in their place, and read in the book of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God. (Nehemiah 9:3, emphasis mine)

The next time you're in Sunday service at your church and it runs five minutes later than normal, just remember this verse ok? Thanks.

To Those Who Cry Foul Regarding The Israel Offensive..

This is the second account (the first being here) I've heard of Israel warning before they attacked. If people don't get out of the way it is their own fault. I don't see anything in the news about the Israelites being warned before having missiles launched into their residential areas.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Do Not Sin Because Of Fear

Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee. And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me. (Nehemiah 6:10-13)

There may be people that will come to you claiming to seek to protect you, people may bring forth an idea that seems good to the fearful heart. They may say to do something...Or even to stop doing what you are so that your life might be preserved (or just less stressful). But these men may not actually speak for the Lord and what they plan that seems good is actually a wicked trap set to cause you to sin. And in that sin they will say to all who will listen, "See? This person doesn't know God, he doesn't serve God, look at this sin in his life!" Or perhaps they might say, "What kind of God does she serve that she goes out in sin like this?"

And so we must be cautious and prayerful, we must be alert as Nehemiah was and be sure not to sin out of fear. After all, who is man that we should fear him?

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Wherefore 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, (Hebrews 12:1)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rise Up and Defend Your Faith in Prayer

But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. (Nehemiah 4:7-8)

Now, this is interesting, here we see the world (who normally can't agree upon anything) joining forces to stop the Jews from following God and serving Him as He has called them to. And like the Jews of old we too face opposition when we set out to rebuild the walls. When we set out to separate ourselves from the world and serve God in the way He has directed us to we will undoubtedly be opposed. The enemy will seek to stop our work by threat, violence, or even with the promise of earthly fame, riches, and pleasure. Did he not do this with Christ Himself? Indeed we see this third tactic used in the book of Matthew.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:8-10)

But no matter what way we are attacked it is important that we continue on in our work, we must be attentive and watch for the attack, we cannot allow ourselves to become comfortable lest we are caught off guard when the attack comes. We must watch day and night as we continue on and it is only though prayer that we will find the strength to continue our work in the midst of the attack (see Nehemiah 4:9). And finally we must stand prepared to defend our faith from the attacks of the enemy, and no doubt we will need the support of those around us who share our faith. We must join together in prayer, and in our labors, to help guard each other from the temptation of laying down and giving up.

And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to naught, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. (Nehemiah 4:14-15)

Monday, July 17, 2006

My God is...

My God is a God of wonders, a God of patience and mercy, a God of justice, and a God who is faithful unto His every Word. I rejoice in the One who has called and redeemed me.

::end of post, resume your daily activities::

Nehemiah Was A Man Of Prayer

At fellowship this weekend we reflected upon the first chapter of Nehemiah, this of course sparked my interest as I had never read Nehemiah before, and I dug into the first few chapters this morning during my quiet time. What struck me as interesting, was simply how much Nehemiah relied upon God.

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been formerly sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid, (Nehemiah 2:1-2, emphasis mine)

He's afraid, the king has noticed how sad Nehemiah is (from hearing about the sorry state of Jerusalem). That's probably not a good idea. I would imagine kings don't like it when their servants walk around depressed, if the king was in a bad mood that day it could have created life threatening problems for Nehemiah, perhaps this is why he was afraid?

What does Nehemiah do in response to the king noticing his mood? He stops and prays.

Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 2:4)

Now, some people get it in their heads that praying always involves getting on your knees somewhere quiet but this isn't always the case. If I only prayed when I was alone in a quiet place I very well might never pray. Instead I frequently seek God in the midst of my activities, especially in the midst of my trials, I've found it is the only way for me to get through certain things. Surely he did not leave the court, go to his house, lock the door, pray, and then come back to talk to the king. That hardly seems reasonable or even possible. I'm pretty sure the king would not have appreciated having the guy that brings him his wine run out for the day. Really the only solution to calming Nehemiah's fears was a brief, silent prayer to God. And it is this type of prayer we see Nehemiah lift up to God before answering the king.

This man, from the very beginning of the book is depicted as a man of prayer. It is his fervent reliance upon God that gives him the strength to proceed and build up the walls of Jerusalem. It is his prayer life that sustains him in the midst of his trials.

At the end of verse eight Nehemiah says, "And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me." Nehemiah had served this man (most likely) every day for quite some time, he may have developed some sort of working relationship with the king (after all the king noticed he was sad, he noticed the change in Nehemiah's demeanor), he easily could have imagined that the king granted his request because he had served so well, but that is not what we see. We see that Nehemiah realizes that in the king answering his request it has nothing to do with who he is, and everything to do with the fact that God's hand was on him. It is easy for us to think that when things go well it is because of something we have done, or because of who we are, it is easy to become prideful when we are blessed, but we must continue to strive for humility before the Lord. We must realize that we are blessed, not because of anything we have done but because of God's power and mercy and provision. We do not see pride in Nehemiah, instead we see a humble heart wanting nothing more than to see God glorified. And so should we be.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Rome vs Scripture

Well, I was actually planning on doing something similar, but maybe now I won't. Click here to see a side by side comparison of some Catholic teachings and Scripture.

Warren Wants Us to Change the World

I want this blog to get you thinking – and praying – for the coming spiritual reformation in the world, a reformation not of how we believe but a reformation of what we, as the Church, do.
- Rick Warren

You know, I think Bono and Rick could be best friends. ::sigh:: Look, I'm all for helping people, for feeding people, for finding cures for disease, but you know what I'm all about more than that? The truth. Darn that pesky word, TRUTH. God's truth. You know that book, probably a black one stuck in the corner of a dusty shelf that says something about Holy on the front? That's God's word. That is where we, first and foremost, will find our guidance and rulers to line up to. The problem is the fact that is dusty, many people just don't know His Word anymore and because of that they do what is right in their own eyes.

I'd much rather see people reform what they think and believe. Why? Because when you really let God's Spirit open your eyes to His Word, your actions will change. Why do we walk around focusing so much on the outside and ignore the inside? Rick, I'm sure you'll continue right on down this path trying to get people to "do" more, but I think a better start really would be at what we believe, since a large population of the "church" has no idea and have no reason to change because of that painful ignorance.

He Calls Us To Come Into His Presence

So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. And I am very sore displeased with the heathen that are at ease: for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction. Therefore thus saith the LORD; I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it, saith the LORD of hosts, and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem. Cry yet, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion, and shall yet choose Jerusalem. (Zechariah 1:14-17)

The God we serve is a jealous God, He wants us to serve Him and Him alone. And He has every right to expect us to do so since He has blessed us with the great honor of being created by Him. He is our Creator.

He chose the Hebrews to be His, He chose Jerusalem to be the place where they would worship Him. And as the sight of worship it must be dedicated to Him, it should be exactly as He has desired; clean from immorality and false idols, the unbeliever should be uncomfortable being in the place God has chosen to call His own unless they get right before His eyes. Yet this isn't what was found in Jerusalem. There was no wall, no separation. The cultures had mixed and the Hebrews allowed there to be compromise in their walk. They had made things comfortable for the outside world to come in. God's holy land and His chosen people had become polluted. And so the Lord tells Zechariah He will build a wall.

You see, the Lord wants us to be separate. He always has. He called the Hebrews to walk a different life, to follow a different path, to walk the only path to Him. This path eventually led the way to Jesus (and at this point there were those who refused to continue on the path) and after His death and resurrection the doors were opened to the Gentile. Now we can step onto that path and follow. But, and here is the key, the path Christ has laid out does not lead into the world, but away from it. Christ's death did not open the doors so that the Jews might go out (though some did and still do), but so that the Gentile might come in. He calls us to join together with our brethren and head to Jerusalem, to head to His presence. And He calls us to be separate. When we come to Christ He calls us to step inside the protective walls of the city - of His presence.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:4-6)

Notice that phrase, "come to Christ." Have you ever wondered why it is we say that? It is one of those things that I just picked up being around other Christians, I never really stopped to think about what that meant for quite some time. I believe this phrase is used, because it shows the action that must be taken. He calls us to Him. He may meet us where we are, but He calls us to follow Him in righteousness, He calls us to deny ourselves and follow (Matthew 16:24). Follow where? To the Father, of course.

Stay At Home Mothering is Over!

Or so Uma Thurman would have you think.

"For most of the world, it's really a necessity. The stay-at-home mom is over not just because of women's liberation but because of men's liberation from wanting to be the breadwinners."

(HT: David)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rick Warren Hopes for 3rd Revival Movement in Korea

Link.

Return To Jerusalem

Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1:5, emphasis mine)

King Cyrus is sending those who would go back to Jerusalem to build God's temple up and worship Him. He's sending them home from their captivity in Babylon, but not everyone will return. They are free, and yet many refuse to return to the land God has promised them, they would rather stay in the bondage, the sin. They would rather live in the world, as the world lives than live as the separate and holy nation God would have them be.

And so it is with the church. There are those who have had some measure of understanding, who claim to follow Christ and yet they refuse to die to their flesh. They have refused to answer that call that beckons them to leave the world and enter a walk to the Kingdom. But in the midst of this rejection God has quickened some and they have responded. These are the people that will return to Jerusalem, the place God has called them to be. These are the people that will return to Him in their hearts, minds, and souls. These are the remnant. These are those who have been so touched by God that they are willing to walk away from their familiar surroundings, even from their family and friends if it comes to it, all to serve God in spirit and truth.

And at the time they leave it may not make much sense, especially to those who stay, but they faithfully step out and say, "Yes, Lord." They hear Him calling and respond as Samuel did, "Speak, for thy servant heareth." (1 Samuel 3:10) They have heard the call on their lives and like Ruth are willing to leave everything behind all to call the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob their own (see Ruth 1:16-18). Again, even Abraham was called out, and he responded in faith. We must, if we are going to bare the name of Christ, be willing to return to Jerusalem, to return and enter into the very presence of the Lord.

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37-38)

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (Philippians 3:7)

Cookbook Forthcoming

I cook, I like to cook, I like to be organized about my cookbooks. And so I'm combining all the recipes I use on a regular basis into one huge PDF file and will eventually have it available to download. This may take a few weeks because I want to make sure I put everything I can possible think of into it. So yes, be on the look out. Soon you'll be cooking like Kristina, who cooks like the foodnetwork.

**edit**

Link to cooking blog

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

I'm a sucker for a good song, this is currently my favorite. So, in my quest for decent versions of this hymn I've heard well over 20 versions. Here is one interesting arrangement, I like it. If you know of any free (and legal) versions of this song let me know.

Continue As You Were Called

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)

But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. (1 Corinthians 7:17-20)

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (2 Timothy 3:14)