Sunday, April 30, 2006

Justification: How Can I Stand Before God?

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? (Micah 6:6-7)

This sounds so much like many of us. God, what can I do? How can I approach You? What works can I do to be acceptable in Your sight? What can I do that will make me righteous before Your eyes? What can I do for You so that You'll give me what I want? Shall I offer thousands of prayers up to You? Shall I burn incense and offer some choice oil to appease You? My first born, Lord, if only you'll grant me [enter desire].

Get to the point, Kristina, get to the point. I want you to reread that paragraph above. Who is doing the action here? Me. You. Bob, Sally, Jessica, Samantha. We're doing things to get a response out of God. We're doing the work to make us right with God, perhaps we're doing the work to get something in return...a raise? Heck, a job? A new car? Yes, yes, what's the point Kristina? The point, my dear friend, is there is nothing I can do (or you can do) to make ourselves acceptable to God. Well, that's not true, there is ONE SINGLE thing we can do to be acceptable to God. We'll get to that in a moment, but first let's look at this. We all by nature try to do things on our own, we want to save ourselves, we want to make ourselves acceptable and then come to God, we want to change ourselves. We want to do, we want to be the one responsible for the action. We want to be the one to burn that incense and offer up that sacrifice. But is that really what God has called us to do? What has He called us to do?

He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

It's amazing how simple things really are with God. We want things to be complicated, we want to do a million things. But God has called us to do one simple task. To allow Christ to reign as our Lord and Savior. That's it folks. You want to get right with God? That's it. Submit and follow. Accept that He was the one to sacrifice, accept that only His sacrifice can make you acceptable to God. Only Him.

We make things so much more difficult, so much more complicated. It is in our fallen nature to do so. In the beginning things were nice and simple. One rule: Don't eat the fruit of that tree. So, of course we eat the tree. We don't accept simplicity, and because of that we plunge the entire universe into a complex system that is never as good as the original.

And so life continued, and deep within us we all long to be able to stand before God again. But still we demand the right to do as we want, to complicate things as we see fit. He gives us one rule again, follow Christ and find your freedom, and we reject that rule. We're a stubborn lot, I tell you. We always want to do something. If we can just live "right," do "good," then we can stand before the Lord...Or so we think.

They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:12)

Oh, but how we like to think that we do good. We have movie stars fighting to end world hunger, surely that is good. Surely finding housing for the homeless is a good work.

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6, emphasis mine)

What then? God says our very best is nothing but filthy rags to Him. We have to keep in mind that we are separated from God. God has given us a way to restore that relationship...One way. Feeding the hungry, finding a cure for cancer, housing the homeless, these are all beautiful and wonderful things, but outside of the redeeming sacrifice of Christ they are nothing.

Nothing we can do will ever justify us before His eyes. It is Christ's sacrifice, not our own, that brings us to Him. Scripture is clear, I cannot save myself. You cannot save yourself. And perhaps even more difficult to accept (at least it is for me) is the fact that we cannot save someone else. I have to allow Christ to be my sacrifice, I have to accept and submit to Him. You have to do the same. We cannot force Christ's sacrifice upon anyone else. His righteousness is imputed ONLY to those who respond to and accept God's call. Going to church on Sunday isn't going to save you, and forcing your husband or wife to go along won't save them. Feeding the homeless guy at the corner isn't going to save you. It is only through Christ that you can be saved. It is His work we must lean upon, not our own.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

What is Podcasting?

This insane ninja knows the answer. Yes he does. Apple pies. Watch the video. I should have saved this for Wednesday.


Carla, over at Reflections of the Times, has an excellent post on humility in the life of a Christian. You can find the full text here.

Pride is a horrible, wicked, deceptive & destructive thing. It causes us to be self-centered, it causes us to push people away, and it causes us to be in active rebellion against God. It hurts other people, it destroys character & credibility (our own and that of others), and strings us along by the nose telling us that we're just fine & it's everyone else's issues, not our own.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Challies Blogging C.J. Mahaney on Watching Our Lives

Tim Challies has had the pleasure and honor of being selected to live blog from the Together 4 the Gospel pastoral conference. A task, I am sure, that he did not enter into lightly. Considering the material he is presenting to us, I hope and take comfort in being sure he has done his best to accurately and skillfully craft an overview of each of the sessions.

Session six featured C.J. Mahaney who's text for the morning was 1 Timothy 4. Reading over Tim's assessment of the session, which was geared specifically towards pastors, I couldn't help but feel that these words could just as easily apply to each and every Christian around the world. I would encourage each of you to take a few moments and read over Tim's post.


Kristin over at GirlTalk has an interesting, and moving, post concerning hospitality. You can find the full text here, but I'd like to share a bit of an excerpt of a quote she shares from Edith Schaeffer’s book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking.

Often hobos or tramps—rather derelict-looking older men, unshaven and ragged of clothing, who traveled by riding on the bottom of freight cars, or hidden inside an empty one—came to our back door asking, “Cup of coffee, ma’am, and maybe some bread?”
“Wait a minute,” I’d reply, “just sit down there, I’ll fix you something.” It was too dangerous to invite such a stranger in, alone with small children; but it would have been wrong to send him away.
I would get out a tray, put the kettle on, and look in the fridge for some left-over soup. Into a small pan would go the soup, with the gas on under it. I would cut bread, enough for two big sandwiches (not too thin, he’ll be hungry) and wonder what sort of a home he had had when he was a little boy—and wonder who he is, or whether maybe he is an angel in disguise!.... A diagonal cut through the first sandwich showed red tomato and green lettuce attractively displayed in the slash. The walnuts crunched as the knife went diagonally through the second sandwich. Alternating these four triangles on a lovely dinner plate came next, with pickle trim on one, and parsley on the other. Now for the steaming hot soup left over from our lunch. I would put a good bowl of this on the tray, and the children would help me fix a tiny bouquet of flowers nested in an ivy leaf.
“What’ll he think of all that, Mummy?” Priscilla would ask with big, wondering eyes.
“Well, perhaps he’ll remember something in his past—perhaps he had a very nice home once, where he had meals prepared for him. Anyway, he’ll stop and think, and we’ll give him this little Gospel of John to read while he is eating. He can take it away with him and, who knows, perhaps he’ll do a lot of thinking, and some day, believe. Anyway, he may realize we care something about him as a person, and that’s important.”
Priscilla would hold the screen door open as I took it out, and watch his surprised face as he saw the tray.
“For me? Is this for me?”
“Yes, and the coffee will be ready in a minute, eat the soup first. This Gospel is for you, too. Take it with you. It really is very important.”

I can't help but wonder how many of us, myself included, would be frustrated, annoyed, or even a bit scared if someone just showed up on our doorstep? How many of us would take the time to make a proper meal (even if it includes left over soup), present him with a beautiful spread and flowers to boot for such a man? Obviously, one should take care to be safe in such instances, just as she did, but to then go through that effort? Oh how I think, shamefully, that many of us would turn him away out of fear. Or on the off chance we did feed him, would we bring out the good china, cut flowers, and lay it all out as if the President were coming over for lunch? Even if this man wasn't allowed inside the house he was treated to an exceptional meal.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

High Church Attendance Equals Great Spiritual Vitality?

In much of Europe, it is assumed that to be religious is to be naïve or stupid, while here a house of worship is found on every corner. We surpass every democracy in our religious fervor. And remember this: More Americans attend church or synagogue each week than attend professional sports in an entire year.

And this too: we share a common concern about the moral crisis of America. Even with religion thriving, we have witnessed all around us a disturbing collapse of public morality.

Doesn't this say something about the "faith" of this country? More people attend some form of religious service and yet the morals of this country are plummeting at an astounding rate. We have churches filled to the brim on just about every corner, and yet Scriptural illiteracy is at an all time high. We have more denominations than we have options on McDonalds Dollar Menu, and yet despite this abundance spiritual growth and satisfaction is highly malnourished as though people are being starved.

So I ask you, does church attendance truly indicate spiritual well being? Or has church, by in large, become a chance to socialize? It seems to me, any many others, that the latter is probably much more likely. The problem is that very few people seem willing to accept this. Going to church on Sundays does not necessarily mean one is following and truly serving God. This is not to say that all churches are spiritually bankrupt, or that all within the church are really without God, but to argue that because we have high attendance indicates a high level of spiritual health is ridiculous.

Thy Will Be Done

[Today we will be finishing up our study into the Father which was started on Monday, and continued on Tuesday as well as Wednesday. Thanks for your patience as I've gotten these articles up, I hope you've been blessed by them. I know I have. Also, there are a couple thing's I've written previously that pertain especially well to this series, you can find them here and here.]

Many of us know the Lord’s Prayer, growing up in a Catholic home my family always called it the Our Father. And while the Catholics often use it as a type of penance, they have good reason to call it the Our Father. That’s who it is addressed to, after all. Now, I’m not planning on really picking this prayer apart, though admittedly I wasn’t planning on this study being so very long either, but perhaps we will get into it. I don’t know quite yet as I’m just sitting down and typing.

God is our Father, I think Scripture clearly has shown that; He loves us and guides us better than an earthly Father would do. So, it makes sense to think of Him as such. The Scriptures are clear, we are to honor our father and mother, to do any less is a sin. How much more should we honor our heavenly Father then? And how do we honor our Father? Scripture is clear, by obeying and submitting to Him, by accepting Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our lives, these are ways we can honor the Father. Everything, and I do mean everything, in our lives should stem from that. When we desiring God to be honored and glorified everything we do and say should reflect that (Yes, we’re going to mess up. I do on a daily basis. But what I can control, I should control, and those momentary slip ups? That’s why God has blessed us with the ability to repent.). And His Son was the perfect example of honoring the Father. He came to the earth willing to submit to His Father. Every step He took, every breath that was found in His lungs, all done in submission to the Father.

The father is the leader (the guide), the head of a family...or should be, Biblically...and so the mother, sons, and daughters traditionally defer to the father to follow his lead. Jesus demonstrates this model through out His life. He constantly sought the Will of His Father and gave thanks for His provision (Matthew 15:36) and lifted up His name in His dealings with the Pharisees (Matthew 11:25-26). Christ modeled the behavior and attitude we are called to follow. Everything about Him, including His prayer life, reflected and demonstrated this fact. Even in time of exceeding sorry He always went to the Father for strength and did as the Father commanded. We see this in perfectly in the Garden.

And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. (Matthew 26:37-45)

In the midst of this time Christ gives us advise, a way to honor our Father. In moments before what was probably one of the most devastating moments of His life (who wouldn’t be heart broken that a trusted friend has turned you over to die?) He remains fixed on His Father’s Will, because it is through Him that the Father would be glorified. And as if that weren’t enough He passes this onto us:

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

Watch and pray. Simple, yet astoundingly useful advise from our loving Savior. When we follow this advise, when we stop and pray and resist temptation we glorify the Father. Christ doesn’t stop there, however, on His quest to fulfill the Father’s will.

At His most trying time, at the absolute height of His anguish Christ still found the energy to model for us the behavior that would honor the Father. From the Cross He cried out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) In a moment of pain that must have been excruciating He still had compassion on those who would kill him, He brings honor to the Father as He prays to the Father on behalf of His executioners. Clearly seeking the Father’s will and bringing Him honor is of the utmost importance, even to Christ. And as we bare His name, since we claim to be the adoptive children of the most high God, bringing honor and glorifying Him, it must be of the utmost and crucial importance to us as well.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Helping Women Out of Their "Predicaments" - Doctor Says Concerning abortion

At almost 6 p.m., McCreary has completed the last of the day's abortions and feels a sense of accomplishment at the end of her long day. "I've helped them out of a predicament that they were not happy to be in," she said, "and if I wasn't here to do it, you know, maybe no one else would do it."
- CNN Reports on Dr. McCreary (emphasis mine)

Yea, maybe nobody else would do it.

Hard Hearts, Death, and the Gospel

David, over at The Thirsty Theologian, has a post up entitled Hard Hearts, Death, and the Gospel which you may want to take a look at, especially if you're interested in the political realm and are pondering on which candidate you will be voting for during the next campaigns.

Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, surely he knew the evil that would come in our day. Yet his last words to his disciples were not of social or political action. His last command was this: As you go into the world, preach the Gospel. Make disciples. Teach them. Not only is that our mission, it is the only cure for the evil around us. It is the only thing that can penetrate hard hearts. God help us to keep focused on the task he has given us.
(emphasis mine)

Wacky Wednesday: Coolest Rooms Ever

These are neat.

Comfort in Our Father's Arms

[On Monday we began a short study into God the Father, Tuesday we looked into His chastening, and today into the comfort to be found with Him.]

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Joshua 1:5, emphasis mine)

This sounds like something an earthly father would tell his frightened child, but we know that this simply is not possible for a man to fulfill. We all fail each other, even the most reliable of people cannot always be with their child. But our heavenly Father? Oh how we can take comfort in knowing this is true, that this is more reliable than anything we could ever imagine. When God says He will go before you, that He will guide you, that He will not forsake you, you can bet your last dollar that He is true. Oh the comfort that we can find in these words!

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
(Isaiah 26:3)

Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:9-10)

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.(Isaiah 41:13)

I’ve seen God’s hand in my life, I’ve experienced the amazing provision that comes from trusting and following Him. And yet I have let these experiences, and the countless times of provision in Scripture get away from me. A new trial comes along and I sit wondering, “God where are You in this?!” I see myself in the Israelites a lot during their journey through the wilderness. It is sad, and part of me is ashamed to admit it, but it is very true. God’s hand was with them in such a tremendous way and yet they were constantly grumbling and questioning God’s wisdom. Granted they always slanted their objections at Moses and Aaron, but God saw through it.

And Moses said, This shall be, when the LORD shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full; for that the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD. (Exodus 16:8)

He brought the plauges, crippiling devistation came because the pharoah did not heed God’s words through Moses and Aaron. The Israelites saw all of this, they experienced God’s hand and His mercy as the death angel passed over their bloody doorways and headed to the Egyptians. They saw the grace of God upon them as their first born children were spared and the Egyptians were not. They saw Him part the Red Sea so they could make a safe journey through it, they saw it come crashing down on the pursuing Egyptian army. They saw the very things we only read about in Sunday school, these people lived it! And yet they questioned, they doubted, they caused trouble to be stirred up against the very men God had chosen to lead them out of Egypt. “Where’s our food, Moses? Where’s our water, Aaron? Are you trying to kill us?!”

The doubt! The distrust. It is easy to read these accounts and become self-righteous about it. Surely if I saw God’s hand move in such a way I wouldn’t doubt, I wouldn’t question His motives, I would trust Him. Right? Hardly. How often have I seemingly forgotten all the amazing things God has done in my life at the first sign of trouble? How often have I began to doubt God’s provision as I feel a slight pang of hunger? Too often! And this is something that I believe is in each of us. Our hearts are truly wicked, it is only through Christ that we can be changed. I long to trust God, but if I’m not doing it in His strength I will fail. I long for change, but if it is not led by God’s hand, if God is not the one molding me then it is all for naught. I cannot change myself without Him, I can not learn to trust outside of His grace. And so He allows things to come into my life so that my faith might be tried, tested, and refined.

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:18)

But even in the midst of our trials, in the midst of being refined He calls us to reflect upon His Word and rest in His loving arms.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

He Chastens Those He Has Called

[Welcome to the first post with some meat on its bones concerning God as He is revealed, through Scripture, as our Father. I know some of you were expecting this yesterday, but I didn't want to rush it. So today we will deal with God chastening and tomorrow I'll be bringing to you something along the lines of finding comfort in Our Father's arms. Stay tuned.]

People like to say that there is no black or white, that only shades of grey truly exist when it comes to morality. And whether or not you agree with this statement, are you really going to teach a child that? A child’s mind isn’t able to comprehend things like that, if you let a child play by themselves in the street one day and not another how is the child supposed to understand? Obviously when children are small they need to have clear boundaries laid out. They need to be taught the difference between right and wrong, otherwise how will they learn to discern truth from a fictitious lie? If you don’t show them the truth how are they supposed to be able to accept it?

Likewise our Father lovingly chastens and rebukes us so that we will understand what He views as right and wrong, holy and evil.

Would a father say, “Son, here is my gun. It is loaded and the safety is off. Have fun.” No! A loving father would more likely say something like, “Son, this is highly dangerous, and because I love you I am not going to allow you to play with it. Because I value your life I am not going to let you do something so wreck less.” And then the father would put it somewhere out of reach and locked up, and should the child find and gain access to the gun I would imagine the father would have quite the discussion with his son, once again explaining why he can’t play with the gun as well as setting up some sort of system for any further disobedience.

Similarly I believe this is, in part, why God gave the Israelites the law while they were in the wilderness. You can’t expect your children to grow up and live lives that bring them into safety, and bring you glory, without laying out some rules. Without correction and a clear set of rules children will stray into often deadly paths. It is a parent’s duty to their children to make the path the child is to walk as clear as possible. And when the child strays it is a parent’s duty to hasten them back to the right path.

This concept of chastening and correction is shown through out Scripture. Surely if nothing we did mattered, if people like Neale Donald Walsch are correct in their assumptions, if there is no right or wrong...well, then why would God care what we did or how we did it? If we all were going to end up in heaven despite everything we did in our lives, if we are going to receive paradise in payment for disobedience, why then would Christ speak of being the only way to the Father and entering through the narrow gate? If the Father didn’t care what we did, why would He give His children a clear directive for how they were to live their lives? Love those who persecute you, pray for the lost, etc. If our God truly was a God who is far off and disinterested in our lives, why would He offer salvation through the sacrifice of His Son? It is because He loves us and because He will be glorified that He corrects us, that He gives us the paths for our lives and calls us to walk them.

He calls to those He loves and offers them an opportunity to be in the presence of the One who loves them, who created them, and who will forgive them if only they would accept. He sends storms, whales, anything necessary to have us turn back to Him. He will humble those He loves so that they might be proud in His glory. He chastens us as our Father because it is His right to do so as He has created us.

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor? (Romans 9:20-21)

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

And it is His desire to welcome us home, to pull us to His chest in loving embrace when we repent of our sin as shown in Luke 15:20-24:

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. (Luke 15:20-24, emphasis mine)

He longs for us to turn to Him, to submit to His guidance and to His chastening, to agree and say “Yes, Lord. Thy will be done,” because it is in these moments that He is able to show us mercy, grace, and His glory. How many of us, when we finally took that truth to heart, fell to our knees crying out “Abba, Father! How I have sinned against you, forgive me!” And how many of us got a glimpse of His glorious mercy as we turned back to Him?

He calls us, and chastens us because it is in those that obey, in those that love Him because He first loved them, it is in those that understand the glorious gift He has blessed us with that He is most glorified. It is when we hasten to Him and His teachings that we can know He is delighted in us. Because we follow despite what the world thinks, He is glorified when we choose Him over the world. Just as a parent would rejoice because their child has turned from the temptations they face because they have been raised to do so.

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:19)

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. (Proverbs 23:24)

Monday, April 24, 2006

Intro to The Father

I had every intention of just posting once on this topic, I figured the article would be a little long, but certainly manageable, even for someone with a semi-short attention span like me. But as I sat down to collect my thoughts on paper, as I went through the Scriptures to find examples and references I realized that this is quite the undertaking I have gotten myself into. And so I have decided to break it up and post a little at a time. This way I have time to collect more thoughts, and you have time to read, without being overwhelmed. I’m not sure how many posts this will take, but I have benefitted from doing the research and I hope it will bless you as well. I am planning on posting once a day concerning this topic.

It does occur to me that this would have been the perfect project to undertake around Father’s Day, but that would be far to cliche for my tastes. Anyway, how about we get started?

I was at Barnes and Noble recently for a bit of question and answer/ Bible study time with a friend of mine and as we were discussing different things the notion of the God of the Old Testament being different, or at least seeming different than the God of the New Testament came up. This comes up a lot, especially with unbelievers and new converts, and while I know it is indeed the same God I have found it difficult to explain it in a way that someone who doesn’t necessarily believe will understand. Well, I sat and thought for a minute or so before telling my friend something along these lines:

The “wrathful” God of the O.T. is probably best pictured as a Father stewarding, and at times disciplining His child while they are still in their infancy or are still a toddler, so that when the child grows up they will do right because their Father has shown them the difference between right and wrong.

I realize this may not be the best explanation, or the most profound way of describing God, but my friend seemed to understand as I explained that sometimes I feel like I am mean because I am constantly telling my two small children they can’t do certain things, have certain things, or watch certain things. But in all actuality I am not a mean mom, but a loving one. I want what is best for my children and I know that I have to steward them in the way they are to go. And in order to do that I can’t let them run around and do whatever they want. They need boundaries, they need to be told no. And sometimes they need to sit in the corner when they have disobeyed. The words “no” and “stop that” seem to be on my lips quite a bit these days, but I know...Or hope....that won’t always be the case. I see it already in my son. I don’t have to tell him to stop as much as I used to, I see that he is understanding that he cannot do certain things, and he is beginning to understand that when he hurts someone, or gets hurt because he has disobeyed that it probably would just be best to heed my words the next time.

And as I look at God in the Old Testament that is what I see. I don’t see an overly angry God, a wrathful God; rather I see a concerned Parent whose beloved child is dragging their Name through the mud while endangering themselves. If an earthly father can weep at what their children are doing to themselves while being publicly embarrassed at their disobedience, how much more should God weep at our constant state of rebellion? No wonder He was angry, He provided for them and protected them and they spit in His face for it. No, God was not overly angry in the Old Testament, He was righteously angry with His children whom He called by name.

It is easy to forget that sometimes, it is easy to think of God as this force that is far off, it can be easy to think of Him as an impartial Creator who sits back with near disinterest as the world spins. And perhaps if you or I were God then that is how God would be. But you and I are not God. Your father is not God. Your grandfather is not God. God, as revealed through the Bible, is the only God. And He is not some disinterested, neglectful Father but He is a Father who is actively and lovingly calling His children back to His saving grace. Our God is our Father when we accept His Son’s sacrifice for our sins. We become His adopted children in that moment. And this doesn’t mean His love for us is inferior because we are not His “natural” children, rather I think it exemplifies His character, His overwhelming love that goes beyond what any of us could hope for in a Father. He calls us, chastens us as needed, and willfully puts aside any remembrance of who we were before His adoption because His Son bore the penalty for our sin. He is more than God. He is our Father who loves us dearly...and righteously.

There is much more to come, so I hope you will join me for this peak into the God we call Father.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Three Year Old's Bed Time Prayer

I was just putting my son to bed and told him it was time to pray and he smiles really big, looks up at the ceiling and says:

Father, please forgive me. Crying. In Jesus name. Amen.

Crying? What? Nobody was crying. By time I got done laughing there were tears in my eyes. He's so random, it is quite adorable.

God the Father

Tomorrow I am going to be looking into God as He is revealed to us through Scripture as a Father. There are important implications of describing God this way, and I think we often overlook them (though unintentionally). As I've begun to study this aspect of God and allowed what He has shown me to take hold of my heart I've seen the Word come alive in an entirely new way. So, tune in tomorrow and we'll get started. I'm excited.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Isn't It Strange?

When you run into people you haven't seen or spoken to in months? It almost always seems to be awkward for me, even when encountering a former friend. It's odd to run into people you sort of know as well, I think I dislike that even more. At least if I run into someone I was friends with we have something to momentarily talk about, but with someone you only were introduced to a few times? What do you say when you spot each other? Anything? Nothing? I find myself unsure in times like these.

::sigh:: You have to love Barnes and Noble. Next time maybe I'll see/ run into every person I've ever known, wouldn't that be fun.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Seek First The Will of Your Father

Before we know Christ, before we are willing to let Him lead we function under our own strength, under our own wisdom. If we have children we want what is best for them based upon our understanding of what is best. We want great paying jobs with benefits, we want to have the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder and achieve the American dream.

And then God grabs hold of us and everything changes. The way we look at the world changes, and if we're honest the way that we look at ourselves changes as well. We see that our ways are faulty and often fall flat, but we learn that what God, through Isaiah, is true:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

He comes into our lives and says, "If you want to live for Me, if you want My will for your life you must let go of your understanding and lean upon Me. Either you function under your strength and you 'succeed' (maybe) according to the world's sinful standards, or you trust Me and follow Me even when it doesn't seem to make sense to you. And you shall surely come to the Kingdom knowing you have allowed Me to be your Lord and your Guide and have over come the world through Me in doing so."

In Christ we become new creations. I am not the girl I was six years ago, heck I am not the girl I was one year ago! As a new creation in Him am I part of a family with a Father who wants the very best for me...Himself. As new creations we must die to ourselves, lay down our lives, and even our way of thinking, for something new.

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)

He will go before us, He makes a way for us. Even in uncharted and frightening territory He can and will provide. Look at the Israelites for instance. He led them out of Egypt, but instead of taking them the shortest, most "logical" route to the Promised Land He chose to lead them a long way, through a land seemingly without any resources. He led them through the wilderness where there was no way for them to provide for themselves. They had to rely upon Him for their every need, and He did provide.

The very way He fed them was a matter of teaching them to trust and obey Him, as well as a matter of Him showing His faithfulness to those He has called. He caused the manna to fall in the morning, enough for each day, and told them to only collect what they needed for that day. If they collected more it would rot and there would be worms in it. And so the collected each day. But then He steps up the stakes a bit and says, "On the sixth day you will collect double, and it will keep. For I have declared the seventh day to be holy and you will not find the bread on the seventh day, so be sure to collect on the sixth least you go hungry."

They must have been so confused, so worried. I mean they had tried to collect more than they needed and it rotted. The extra NEVER kept to the next day, so how on earth was it going to last for two days? Did He expect them to eat rotten, worm filled food? But it was His way or their way, and true to His word the food kept. Only His way met their real needs.

Likewise He calls us to obey. Even when something will seemingly fail, we must obey. Because He has a plan for us and if we will trust, He shall be glorified through us. And we have nothing to fear because the God of creation, the God that led the Israelites out of Egypt and provided for them in the wilderness, we have nothing to fear because that God is our God. As a loving Father He says to those whom He has called:

Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away...For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:9, 13)

Christ Himself told us not to worry about what we will eat or drink or wear, but to seek to do the will of the Father in all things.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? (Matthew 6:25-26)

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:28-34)

The world is consumed with figuring out their potential for success. Consumed with accumulating what seems good in their eyes. With reaching a point of success, with seeming to be "better" and have more than those around us. The world, indeed some within the church, wonder "What is my purpose? What on earth am I alive for? What am I living for?"

But those of us who know God, we have no reason to wonder without answer. God has answered and told us not to fear.

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:13)

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Let's Shoot 'em Up For Christ

The Left Behind Game is supposed to be released soon, and some of us are just wondering why?

"We believe parents need a substitute for the degrading moral values of 'Grand Theft Auto' or some of the top-selling titles," Lyndon said. And you can't get gamers to switch over from "Grand Theft Auto" if you only offer a conflict level of, say, Pong.

Why do they need a substitute? Why do we constantly feel the need to model ourselves after the world? Consistently the Christian media makers are a step behind the secular one mimicking their every move.

"Rather than forbid young people from viewing their favorite pastime, I prefer to give them something that's positive," said Tim LaHaye, an author of the "Left Behind" book series who is supporting the game developers.

How is this positive? Really, how?

"To evaluate whether a game is a 'Christian' game you need to ask this: 'Does it make young people more compassionate? Does it make them more interested in human rights?' " she said.

And of course, there's another question: Does it connect with players spiritually?

Lyndon, the Left Behind Games CEO, said parents who have seen the game are thrilled. They say it will instill good Christian values in their children — and they're especially excited about the "pray" button.

Christ said to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute you. He Himself didn't beat on the people who beat Him, He submitted Himself to the judgment and went to the cross praying for those who would crucify Him. Are we called to do any less? Are we to push our "pray" button as we pull the trigger? Well? Did Paul throw stones back as people tried to kill him? Did Peter, as he was being crucified, demand his followers to hunt down the people doing this and "pay them back?" Did Jim Elliot and his fellow missionaries fight back as they were being killed while trying to bring the message of Christ to the Huaorani Indian tribe (the Aucas)? Is this how we are to spread the message of Christ? I think not.

If not, why do we think it is acceptable to put such actions before our children as entertainment?

Germany to release files on millions of Nazi victims

Germany bowed to decades of pressure from the US and Britain yesterday and announced that it would open a vast trove of Nazi-era papers detailing the fate of millions of Holocaust victims.


Until now only individual victims have been able to check their personal records. But on Monday Germany's Justice Minister, Brigitte Zypries, said that Berlin would work with the US and others to release the files. The 11 countries that oversee the 30m-50m documents are expected to back the decision formally next month.


The Allies rescued the documents at the end of the second world war from concentration camps. They include details of medical experiments, names of alleged collaborators among inmates and reports on the Lebensborn programme, under which infants fathered by German soldiers were raised in the dogma of the "master race", as well as details of all prisoners taken to Dachau and Buchenwald camps. But in the case of Auschwitz and other extermination camps the Nazis failed to record the names of countless Jewish victims who were immediately gassed.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Simple Pleasures of Life

Carla over at Reflections of the Times has an open ended tag to anyone willing to do this. And I thought, "Hey! Why not me!?" So here you go (some of them are the same as her's). PS: I'm not going to be a rebel and do 20 like her...I'll be a baby rebel and do 11!

Name 10 of life's simple pleasures:

1. eating chocolate
2. eating chinese food
3. reading
4. hearing my children giggling
5. laughing at a child's joke
6. hearing "I love you"
7. reading a verse of Scripture that suddenly comes alive for you for the first time
8. seeing friends
9. sitting on the porch
10. hugs
11. the fall

I Hate Construction

Alright, with the exception of a year I have lived in the same town for the past 6-7 years (if you know me in real life you know how remarkable this is) and honestly it's not a bad town. Great library. Beautiful architecture.

Down side? The city is always doing construction, and the city always has at least one bridge down for 3 months out of the year. And the bridge always seems to be the one I use to go downtown to the library. Quite annoying. Why can't one of the bridges I don't use break? Seriously, this is the bridge that is broken most often. I can only remember one time in the past 6-7 years where another bridge has been down. GRR. Fix the bridge people!

Wacky Wednesday: Ebay, Stop Lights, and Tickets

A man who said he bought a device that let him change traffic lights from red to green has received a $50 ticket on suspicion of interfering with a traffic signal. Here is the rest of the story.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

When We Disobey

Sometimes after we have turned from sin we are in a position to see the damage we've caused in other people's lives from that sin. We like to think that our sin will only effect us, but truly no man is an island. We see this truth throughout Scripture. When we walk with God those around us will be effected for it, just as Potiphar, and then later the pharaoh, was blessed because Joseph was in the house hold (Gen 39:5).

But when we walk in a way contrary to God we bring heart ache, danger, and destruction upon those around us. Jonah was given a Word from the Lord, but his flesh didn't want to receive it, didn't want to proclaim it, and so he ran. Thinking he could out run God he boarded a ship and set sail for Tarshish. Imagine his surprise, and dread, when he and his fellowship mates were surrounded by a storm God had sent. His disobedience put these men at risk, they could have lost their ship and their lives because Jonah refused to follow God. And the only way to save them, the only way they could be released from his sin was for him to be gone. And so Jonah was cast into the sea and swallowed by a great fish. Then the waters were still.

Our disobedience effects others, we like to ignore that fact, but it is the truth. And what do we do about it, when that storm comes as surely it will, what do we do? There comes a point where we have to choose, do we love God? Will we serve Him? Or do we love our fleshly desires more?

After Moses came down from the mountain and discovered the Israelites engaged in idol worship, fornication, and a multitude of other sins he knocked the idol over and stood to the side. Before the congregation he declared that those who would have God, those who are for God, those who would repent and submit to God MUST stand behind him. And those who didn't? What happened to them? Hundreds, thousands of people died because they refused to turn from their sin. They met their destruction because they were unwilling to die to their flesh, and countless families lost fathers and sons and daughters and mothers. Families were torn apart because of lustful pride and disobedience.

But what about those who stood with Moses? Surely they felt the shame of their sin, obviously repentance was needed, perhaps some of them even had to go to their loved ones and apologize for sinning against them. But is that it? Is that all one has to do? Apologize? Perhaps. Perhaps an apology is all God would have you give in certain situations. But how often do we have to take measures to correct the wrong we've done in another's life? The Old Testament is filled with it. If you stole a lamb you were expected to repay the loss, ect. Sometimes a repayment is all that is needed.

But what to do if the sin you've done can't be repaid, time, emotion, trust, these are things you can't write a check for. So what do you do? Do you continue in sin because you can't repay the person? Do you continue to sin because there is nothing that will satisfy them aside from a continuance in sin?

Sometimes it is necessary to part ways. Such was the case with Abraham and Ishmael. God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations, but Abraham was old and his wife was barren. How could he be the father of many nations when he didn't even have an heir? This was their reasoning for his going to Sarah's handmaid, Hagar. Hagar bore him a son, but it was a son conceived out of distrust, out of disobedience, outside of the will of God. And eventually God delivered the son He had promised, eventually Sarah conceived and bore Isaac. But Hagar and her son were still there and a contention arose between the two mothers until it got to the point where Abraham had to let them go. He had to send them away because things would only get worse for them.

I'm positive this grieved his heart, I'm sure he adored the boy, but even still they had to go. And God provided for the boy and his mother, He cared for them and sheltered them. But Abraham needed to be separated from his sin, he had to be removed from his temptation. After all, it was custom to bless the first born son and he would be the leader. If Ishmael had stayed it would have been tempting for Abraham to bless him rather than the son God determined to use. Sometimes the only way to correct a wrong is to remove yourself from it. It isn't an easy decision to come to, but if God leads you to it...Well, then it becomes vital for you, and for the other person/ people involved, for you to obey.

In all situations, whatever the corrective measure is, it is vital to obey because disobedience will only bring heart ache and destruction into our lives and the lives of those around us.

Monday, April 17, 2006

More About Judas

Pastor Steve Weaver has an excellent post concerning The Gospel of Judas. Take a look here.

Kristina The Klutz

I am the smoothest woman that ever lived. I reached my hand into a dirty glass today to wipe it out and the silly thing decided to split in half...and slice my right ring finger open on the knuckle. Ouch. I am quite the bleeder, let me assure you there won't be photos, but I made a nice mess to say the least. It never occurred to me how vital my ring finger was until I went to the doctors and tried to fill out paperwork. Pure chicken scratch, worse than normal even! Typing isn't so much fun either. I am SO smooth!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Resurrection Day

I hope each of you have had (and taken) the opportunity to stop and reflect upon the glorious act that took place a little over 2000 years ago. I spent the morning battling for a quiet moment amidst the chaos of family traditions, and when I did spend my time I found myself deeply moved at the work of God in my life and the lives of those around me. I found myself rejoicing in the resurrection and weeping as I reflected upon the cross (though not in that order). All this to say He loves us beyond comprehension. He is risen, rejoice! He is here and has called us to a restored relationship with our Father. In trying times, in joyful times, in the most mundane of times, He is here for us. Our hope is found in Him and there isn't a thing that can seperate us from His love if we truly desire His lordship.

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:13)

I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know eternal life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand.


I know, I know, that Jesus liveth,
And on the earth again shall stand;
I know, I know, that life He giveth,
That grace and power are in His hand.

I know His promise never faileth,
The Word He speaks, it cannot die;
Though cruel death my flesh assaileth,
Yet I shall see Him by and by.


I know my mansion He prepareth,
That where He is there I may be;
O wondrous thought, for me He careth,
And He at last will come for me.


Friday, April 14, 2006

When Will The Lost Be Found?

I have some people in my life, as we all do, who do not know Christ. Not in a way that they should. They might have grown up hearing that Jesus died for their sins, that salvation can only be found through Him, but for whatever reason they haven't embraced the freedom found in this truth. Perhaps they keep themselves busy with a religion, with tradition, wrongly thinking that just attending church shall save them. Perhaps they busy themselves with self indulgence, they try to fill that gaping hole in their hearts with things, or people, rather than realizing it is only God who can fill that emptiness. I find myself often times frustrated by this. They're so close and yet so far, and my heart breaks for them. I long for my loved ones to find the saving grace of a life submitted to God's will.

Recently I was crying out concerning this to the Father and I was wanted to know when. When will they see, will they ever accept, ect. It seems I want them to come to Him RIGHT NOW - even now I find myself struggling with impatience and the desire for instant gratification. Yes, they need Jesus. But it won't happen before He has determined to. And I have to keep that in mind. When it is time He will call, and no matter what I do that moment will not come any sooner than He desires it to.

And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, (Galatians 1:14-15, emphasis mine)

Paul was called WHEN God determined it was time. Paul did not come to Him in his timing, rather God came to him in His timing for His great pleasure. Before he was called Paul loved his religion and the traditions that went with it. But those traditions had no power over him when Christ called.

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

If all these things cannot separate the believer for Christ's love then surely if He has foreseen our acceptance of Him nothing will stop that from happening, not even our man made traditions, nor our pride, nor our idols. If He has foreseen my loved ones acceptance of His grace when He offers it, then who am I to demand He hurry up? He has everything in control, He calls us each when it is time and not a moment sooner.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:5-6, emphasis mine)

And now I must wait, prayerfully rejoicing in the fact that He is in control. His will shall be done. And while I may not know when I must remind myself that I do not need to because He does.

Nailed To The Cross

There was One Who was willing to die in my stead,
That a soul so unworthy might live;
And the path to the cross He was willing to tread,
All the sins of my life to forgive.


They are nailed to the cross,
They are nailed to the cross,
O how much He was willing to bear!
With what anguish and loss Jesus went to the cross!
But He carried my sins with Him there.

He is tender and loving and patient with me,
While He cleanses my heart of the dross;
But “there’s no condemnation”—I know I am free,
For my sins are all nailed to the cross.


I will cling to my Savior and never depart—
I will joyfully journey each day,
With a song on my lips and a song in my heart,
That my sins have been taken away.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

On What Day Was The Crucifixion?

David at The Thirsty Theologian has the answer here!

The Blessèd Feast

Come, poor sinner, to the blessèd, blessèd feast,
O hear the call—thy Savior’s call;
Haste to meet Him, He will welcome thee His guest,
O rejoice, there’s room for all.


Whosoever will in that feast may share,
In our Father’s house there is bread to spare;
Come to Jesus, He is waiting, waiting now,
Come, O come, there’s room for all.

Art thou weary? Wouldst thou lay thy weight aside?
Then rest thee here, the cross is near;
See where Jesus thy Redeemer bled and died,
Come and taste His mercy here.


Hark, He bids thee to the crimson fountain go,
It flows so free, so pure for thee;
He will wash thee and will make thee white as snow,
Thou His happy child shalt be.


Come to Jesus, and thy burden He will bear,
The feast is spread, lift up thy head;
Come, and rest thee in the Savior’s gentle care,
By His love thou shalt be fed.


Twist 'em or Dunk 'em?

I have much to post after my short break, but this week is rather hectic so I don't think I'll be posting much in the way of encouragement/ devotional studies until Saturday. If I get a chance I'll do it sooner, but probably not. So, instead of just letting the blog sit for a week with no postings I'd like to tell you something.

I like Oreos...A LOT. I don't buy them very often because my entire family likes them far to much for them to last. Well, last night we got some Oreos and I discovered something about my children. They like to twist! I am a hard core dunking fool when it comes to my Oreos, so how in the world did I end up with two kids who twist?!

My son only eats the side with the cream on it and hands the left overs to me for safe keeping. Now, I knew this, he had started doing this the last time we bought some Oreos. But can you imagine my surprise when my 16 month old daughter started doing the same thing? I can't decide if it is because she honestly likes that side better or if she is trying to be like her big brother. In either case it is quite amusing to watch her plop on the ground and start peeling apart the cookie. She's not quite as clean about it, and doesn't pick up after herself right away, but it is adorable. So, do you twist them or dunk them?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

See You Thursday

I'm not going to be in front of a computer until Thursday, so don't expect to see much going on here until then. ;) Take care.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Lost Gospels Version 2.0

No, I haven't seen the television coverage of the Gospel of Judas (I missed it). But about 30 million other people did see it. So next to the latest American Idol being voted off, this is probably the next big thing to be discussing. Right?

General thoughts? (By the way I did read what was available to read on line, so I think that is roughly 6-7 pages.) I'm not so concerned as to whether or not this is going to change the believer's view of Judas and Christ. I think if you're really seeking God this probably won't be a huge issue for you. Now for the unbeliever? I think this has the possibility of being something that they might struggle with. Obviously for me - and many other people out there - the Bible is true. I trust the Bible as God's Word. And God's Word tells me Christ was betrayed. I don't recall reading anywhere in the Bible that Judas had a special knowledge and understanding of who Christ was. It could be argued that he had the least understanding, or was the least willing to accept who Christ was, because he was able to betray Him. Nor do I remember reading that Jesus pulls him aside and essentially says, "Bro? I need you to go sell me to the priests so they can have me killed, oh and then go kill yourself. Ok? Ok." If I remember correctly the online version I read mentions something about Judas excelling beyond the rest of the disciples, or being exalted, or something, if he would do this. I don't get that from Scripture. Now, some argue that if Christ didn't specifically tell Judas to do it, maybe He didn't really know what was going on. But I don't get that from Scripture either.

And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
(Matthew 26:19-25, emphasis mine)

Obviously if Christ had no idea about what was going on the passage never would have taken place. And if Judas was to be lifted up and blessed, why would Christ say it would be better that he had never been born? Common sense tells us one of these is true and one is not. As they contradict each other. So it really comes down to, are we going to accept the Bible which two thousand years worth of teaching has been based off of; will we accept the Bible when it's entirety flows and approves and builds off itself even though it was written by at least 40 different men? I should hope for the believer this isn't really a question that should have need to be asked.

But how to handle the unbeliever? I must admit, this "gospel" and the ones like it are quite interesting, I remember before I came to Christ being interested and reading a couple of the "lost gospels." And because these things are interesting it can open them up to hearing about Christ more than they previously had. When the news is talking about Jesus it's hard to ignore, even if you've ignored those crazy church types before. And so it is important for us to be familiar with the Bible. If we know nothing and an unbeliever comes to us how can we expect to obey Jude 1:3's exhortation that we should contend for the faith as it has been delivered to the saints?

If we know nothing of the things we claim, how do we expect to not be misled? If we know nothing of our God's Word, how do we expect to see our lives - and others - transformed? It's time to get serious, people, there are a million teachings out there that seem appealing and if we don't know God's Word we will find it easy to be swept up in the many false teachings out there. Now, understand I'm not saying if someone asks you something that you should jump down their throats or beat them over the head because they don't know. But we should be ready to give an answer for our faith.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Lost Gospels

With the Discovery Channel unveiling The Gospel of Judas discussion concerning the "lost gospels" has reached a fever pitch. It is interesting to say the least, more to come later, probably Saturday or Sunday. I just figured I'd mention it. ;)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The LORD Hath Heard and Will Answer

My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long?
Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies' sake.
For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.
Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the LORD hath heard the voice of my weeping.
The LORD hath heard my supplication; the LORD will receive my prayer. (Psalms 6:3-9)

In times of trouble, in times of despair, in times of mourning and frustration it is easy to become overwhelmed. When I've cried out to my Father and soaked my pillow with tears and sweat sometimes He still seems distant. For whatever reason sometimes I wonder "Oh, God, how long? How long will You stay Your hand? How long, oh Lord, shall I be here in this ungodly situation, when shall I see deliverance? When, Father, when?!"

Often in those times of despair Satan tries to bring me to doubt. He tries his very best to get me to think that maybe, just maybe, God doesn't hear me. It becomes easy to buy into that. My flesh is constantly at odds with my spirit. What my heart and soul know my flesh attempts to reject. If I do not bring myself to submission in Christ daily (even hourly) it is easy to question. "Hath God said?" An overwhelming and thunderous YES is revealed throughout Scripture, and through our lives. YES, He hears His children crying out and He WILL answer their call. YES the Lord God Almighty hears me, cares for me, and shall deliver me...In His time for His glory.

And that's where it gets difficult most of the time, many of us have grown up getting what we want when we want it. We live in a society consumed with instant gratification. Email, instant messaging, cell phones; we hate to have to wait for that letter to be delivered or to have to come home to use the phone. And so we expect, often subconsciously, God to be like that. We want to be able to pick up God in a bottle, give it a rub and get our wants and needs met immediately. Would we admit to that out loud? Odds are we wouldn't. But if we examine our hearts, how often do we want that answer RIGHT NOW?

We have countless promises from God that He will come, He will deliver, and He will repay each of us for our faithfulness (or unfaithfulness as the case may be). He has given us His Word, His vow, and He is true and faithful. So when He seems far off, once we have examined our own hearts for deceit and disobedience, we must hold on to His promise. He will come, He is coming, and YES He hears us. My God is with me!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hell, Angels, and Redemption?

James over at TeamPyro has an interesting post concerning hell, redemption, and angels. You might want to take a look at it.

Just thinking out loud here:

What if God were to create a race of beings, knowing they would fall, allow them to fall, and then do nothing to lift them back up? What if there were no mercy extended to them, no invitation, no restoration, no justification, no atonement, no redemption, no chance? What if God were to extend mercy to others, but not them? What if God were to make atonement and grant justification to others, but not them? What if God simply said, "One strike and you are out?" What if God said that to them, while on the other hand offering mercy to another group of fallen peoples, equally bad?

Would that be fair? Would it be right? Would it be just?

What if God sent Jesus into the world to die for one group of fallen persons, but not for all fallen persons?

Would that be fair? Would it be right? Would it be just?

What if God said to one group, "I will provide for you a Savior," but completely ignored the other group offering them nothing?

Would that be fair? Would it be right? Would it be just?

To find out his answer check the post out. Talk about cliff hanger!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Is It Unconstitutional To Protect Our Children's Innocence?

Michigan seems to think so.

A US District Court judge has ruled that a law in the state of Michigan banning the sale of violent video games to minors is unconstitutional.

Federal District Judge George Caram Steeh issued the ruling in Detroit and said in court documents that video games were protected under the US constitutional First and Fourteenth Amendments.
The law, signed by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm last year, imposes civil and criminal penalties for anyone who knowingly distributes violent video games to a minor.

Judge Steeh said in the ruling the state "lacked substantial evidence to show violent video games cause minors to have aggressive feelings or engage in aggressive behaviour".

The Entertainment Software Association, the Video Software Dealers Association and the Michigan Retailers Association filed suit in September challenging the constitutionality of law

Well, what's next? Shall we start letting our children purchase porn? How about cigarettes? Alcohol? How about fire arms? Surely by disallowing the sale of these "products" we are inhibiting the companies from their "god given" right to do as they please! We really should just toss our morals out the window, because God forbid we stand in the way of the American dream - aka money, money, money!

Children Starved For Years By Family

I was doing a search on Google tonight and came across a story of two children who had been confined to a bathroom for years and starved. I was horrified as I read on and discovered that there were other children in the home that were treated normally and attended school and things of that nature.

Dr. Kathi Amrhein, who treated the 16-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother, has said the children suffered possibly irreversible health problems as a result of the deprivation.

The 4-foot-tall girl weighed about 40 pounds when she fled from her home and was found by sheriff's deputies, thanks to a tip from a woman who saw her on the street Jan. 19. The 3 1/2-foot-tall boy weighed 31 pounds.


It is horrifying to me that this can and does happen to children. This isn't the first case I've heard of but I find myself at a loss. I cannot comprehend it. I can't imagine...And all that runs through my head is, Praise God that they are alive! His hand was with them and has brought them out. Praise God for that. Hopefully now the children will be able to get some help, be placed with a loving family who will seek the proper medical treatment needed for them and get them on the road to living a life outside the bathroom. I cannot imagine how frightening it must be for these children.

Monday, April 03, 2006

An Expose: The Dark and Money Driven Side of Tim Challies

I didn't remember April Fools Day. Of course some people argue that I behave like a fool all year long, so my taking a single day off is of little consequence.

But it seems that various people around the blogosphere had quite a bit of fun. Most of it seeming to surround Tim Challies, a bribe, a possible retirement, and a campaign that was launched to save Tim from himself. Then an "article" appeared on his website seemingly to answer these rumors.

I do have a running theory on all the random posts concerning Mr. Challies. I believe he has bribed his friends into posting about this in order to generate traffic to his website, which includes a link to his business website. All this to drum up a little extra income before the baby comes! That or he wanted to see how many people would miss him. He obviously was fishing for compliments, and if money just so happened to be a side result he surely would be more than happy to accept as payment for the extra band width used! After all, we know Mr. Challies is just into blogging for the money!!

Sex On TV Increases Sex Among Teens

According to a study done teens who are exposed to more sexual content via television, magazines, and music are more likely to have sex than those who's sexual content intake was lower. Also of interest, which I already would have guessed, is that teens whose parents disapproved of sex were less likely to have sex. So much for kids not listening to their parents.

I Love The Internet

I have far too much fun sometimes. I love The Sacred Sandwich. Jeans for your Emergent teen, bringing the fun of a magic 8 ball to TBN, and beanies are a sure sign of a cult.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


Carla over at Reflections of The Times posted a little survey a couple days ago. I was bored enough to respond, so here are my answers with minor edits because I've eaten and talked on the phone since doing the survey last night. Enjoy.

1. FIRST NAME? Kristina

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? Nope, I'm an original. Feel free to name your children after me.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? I dunno, this week a couple times.

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Yes, because nobody can read it because it's so awful.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? Ham? Nah, I stopped eating it. Nothing I guess. haha

6. KIDS? 2

7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? This is a dumb question, but yes. I'm awesome, everyone should be friends with me.

8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Yeah, somewhere around here.

9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Never! hehehehehe

10. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes I do.

11. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Not unless I was shoved over the edge of the bridge while I was sleeping.

12. What is your favorite cereal? Frosted Mini Wheats!

13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? I don't wear shoes unless I will get arrested for not wearing them, and I don't own shoes with laces...So, no.

14. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Eh, depends on what you mean by strong I suppose.

15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Coldstone - chocolate with fudge and cherry pie filling mixed in.

16. SHOE SIZE? 8 1/2

17. RED OR PINK? Neither

18. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? The fact that I could list a million things in response to this question.

19. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? Hmm I don't know.


21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES YOU ARE WEARING? Grey pants, and good Lord I don't wear shoes unless I'm walking over glass.

22. LAST THING YOU ATE? Chicken Parmasan.

23. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? Julianne is eating, so I'm listening to the plate being bumped.

24. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Grey, because grey is awesome.

25. FAVORITE SMELL? Garlic, and the way my kids smell...Well, the way they smell when they haven't been submerged in mud.


27. FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? The fact that they are speaking to me.

28. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? haha I don't know her, but I like her research!

29. FAVORITE DRINK? Mango tea with milk

30. FAVORITE SPORT? Does chasing my kids count as a sport?

31. HAIR COLOR? Medium brown with reddish highlights.

32. EYE COLOR? Brown.


34. FAVORITE FOOD? Italian or Mexican.

35. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? Both, depending on my mood.

36. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED? Princess Diaries 2, I think.



39. HUGS OR KISSES? Hershey's makes these great little chocolates, so yes, I'll take a bag of Hugs & Kisses please.

40. FAVORITE DESSERT? Anything involving chocolate. YUM. Coldstone ice cream is at the top of the list right now, but that will change with time.


42. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Santa Clause, or the Easter Bunny. OOh, the TOOTH FAIRY!

43. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? I'm reading John Piper's "When I Don't Desire God" as well as a couple books on hell.

44. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? Laptops don't have pretty mouse pads, sorry.

45. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Honestly? Oobi, Franklin, and Little Bear

46. FAVORITE SOUNDS? My kids laughing.

47. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Neither - I used to love Fleetwood Mac though.

48. THE FURTHEST YOU BEEN FROM HOME? Assuming we're counting IL as home then Tenn. If we're counting Florida, then New York and Illinois are the farthest, not sure which, don't care enough to find out.

49. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT? Yes, I breathe. Ha. Eh, not really. I am a Jane of all trades - master of none. I play piano, sax, clarinet, trumpet, harmonica, and guitar. I paint, don't draw though interestingly enough. I love photography. And I like to write/ blog. I don't do any of these things exceptionally well, but I enjoy them.

50. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? November 12, 1983 in Jacksonville, NC.

51. WHAT CONDITION ARE YOUR HANDS AND FEET IN? They're still attached and with the exception of my right foot they still look relatively young.

52. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR? I don't have a favorite, I read whatever interests me. Right now I'm on a John Piper kick.

There you go. I hope it wasn't oozing with sarcasm too much, it's early and I'm not quite awake yet. If you want to respond be warned: when I tried to do this on Carla's blog in the comments section it didn't all show up after I submitted the comment.

Have a great Saturday everyone.