Monday, January 31, 2011

Looking for Joy?

A short time ago I started praying for more Joy.  Not the fake joy I can muster from being an overly optimistic person, but true, inner joy that doesn't fade when my kids irritate me or my day doesn't go as planned.  Do you know what I'm talking about?

God has answered my prayer!  I can say with the Psalmist:

Blessed are You, O Lord,
For You have heard the voice of my prayers.
You are my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in You, and I am helped.
My heart greatly rejoices,
And I will give thanks to You in song.
(Psalm 28:6-7, adapted by Face to Face)

I didn't know how God was going to answer me, but He did. As you might know, I'm writing theology essays for NANC Certification.  I've set aside Tuesday mornings as my time to study while the kids are in home school classes. I was studying Justification, about three weeks ago, a subject I thought I knew pretty well, and I read this passage out of Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology.

“We have no penalty to pay for sin, including past, present, and future sins... we are not subject to any charge of guilt or condemnation.” (Grudem 724-725)  

Theology might seem dry to you, but after reading that one phrase, the Holy Spirit lit a fire under me!  I was alone in a preschool class at church and wanted to jump and dance.  The truth of my salvation - long understood, but often taken for granted - is that Jesus's righteousness has covered ALL my sins: Everything I've already done, everything I'm doing now, and everything I'll do in the future.  Justification means that by believing in Jesus, He took away all my sins - yes! - and then covered me w/ the righteousness of Christ - Amen!  When God looks at me, He sees the perfect work of His Son.  Do you know that means?

I don't have to be perfect!

God's love is perfect IN CHRIST and not dependent on ME and my own works.

I can't tell you how FREE I felt.  I think I was high for a few days just on that truth.  I was blasting the song "How He Loves Us" loudly from my computer.  The next week, when I moved to study Sanctification, I was a little leary of what I'd find, because I know that Sanctification means growing to look more like Him, and I was a little afraid that my freedom would be a bit quenched by still needing to be good.  But oh my friends, I was wrong about my fire being quenched.

Yes, Sanctification is the process of becoming more like Christ, but He is not expecting us to work this out ALONE.  Jesus is the author of our faith (that's Justification) and the perfecter of our faith - that's Sanctification.  (Hebrews 12:2).  Apart from Him, we can do nothing. 

"But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, 'Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" (I Cor 1:30-31)

A man named John Hendryx said, "Since all we do has mixed motives and we seldom, if ever, love others as we should, we can confidently say that we do not bring anything of additional worth to our relationship with God.  He is fully satisfied in Christ."

Read slowly and savor this quote:

"We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ [Acts 4:12]. We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else.
  • If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of him’ [I Cor. 1:30].
  • If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing.
  • If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion;
  • if purity, in his conception;
  • if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects [Heb. 2:17] that he might learn to feel our pain [compare to Heb. 5:2].
  • If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion;
  • if acquittal, in his condemnation;
  • if remission of the curse, in his cross [Gal. 3:13];
  • if satisfaction, in his sacrifice;
  • if purification, in his blood;
  • if reconciliation, in his descent into hell;
  • if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb;
  • if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same;
  • if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven;
  • if protection, if security if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom;
  • if untroubled expectation of judgment; in the power given to him to judge.
"In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from the fountain, and from no other." (John Calvin, 2.16.18.)

This all means that we are to look to Jesus for help and grace, always full of thanks for who we are in Him. We take our eyes off of our own good works and efforts and check-lists and disciplines, where we get stuck trying to gauge our own progress and how far we’ve come. We instead look to Him until we completely forget ourselves in comparison to His love. We see Him as He is and love Him for it, asking that He will fill us with that love, which spills out on others and results in a life that looks more and more like Him.

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

I've been a mess of tears for the last few weeks in church. Yesterday singing "Your Grace is Enough!" caused them to flow again in thankfulness.  Praise to our God! 

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ!
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life!


Thoughtfully sing through this song:





And then crank up the volume and enjoy this one!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hugs and Kisses

Have you ever wanted to freeze time?

After prayers and hugs tonight, I told my 5 year old boy N, "Now one day, a long time from now, when you're all grown, you'll meet a kind, pretty young lady, and you will fall in love with her. But! Until then, you are all mine!" 

After more hugs, he whispered, "When that happens, maybe I'll meet you and you can marry me."

I about melted into a puddle of goo.

Everything in me wanted to press the pause button on my life and never let it go.

*happy sigh*

When I went in to hug my girls, I told them the story, and my 7 year old said, "Well I am never leaving you, Mommy!"  I'll have to remind her of that when the boy on the motorcycle pulls into the driveway a few years from now...

I tried the pause button, but it didn't work.  What a reminder for me to just enjoy each special moment I have with these precious gifts, savoring all of their hugs and kisses.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hope Magazine

I was an actress today in the filming of a commercial for Hope Magazine, directed by Dija Henry.  I met a dozen beautiful, intelligent, kind women and had a great afternoon!  Hope Magazine started in Indianapolis five years ago.  The copy I was able to preview today was beautiful.  Their website is full of great information and seems to have a very active online community.

They cover topics like careers, money, relationships, inspiration, style & beauty, and celebrities.  Check them out! 

As soon as I have a copy of the commercial, I'll post it here.

Have a great Lord's Day tomorrow!  I'll see you back here on Monday morning.

Cast of Commercial

Friday, January 28, 2011

WTF?

Please notice the question mark after that 3-letter combination. It’s because I was asking, “Why The Frown?” Isn’t that what you were thinking?

What? You were thinking of something else? And I probably offended you, too. That’s why you were frowning at me…

Now that I have your attention, I’d love to dialog a bit about cussing.

If you are my friend IRL, you know that I’ve been trying to decipher the Bible’s stance on “bad words” as I look to teach my own children. (It's been pretty funny at times!) Cussing is just one of many taboos that I’ve been considering lately.

Why? I don’t want to be the parent that sets up all sorts of Pharisee rules and leaves my kids to believe that our family rules are equal to God’s law. For example, they might think not taking your shoes off at the door is a sin. Then they’ll go to their friend’s house, where they keep their shoes on at all times, and will either: 1. Be puffed up with pride, that at least WE take our shoes off at our house! Or 2. Realize that people have different rules and start to become very fuzzy about the reality of sin.

So here’s where I’m going with this post:
  1. Are there any words that, if said, are always a sin?
  2. What’s the Point?
  3. Actual Cuss Words CAN be a sin.
  4. The Two Truly Sinful Words (sometimes).
  5. The Bottom Line.
1. Are there any words that, if said, are always a sin?

My answer is no. The problem with calling any specific word a “sin” is that depending on where you are, the rules change. I was talking with a boy last fall who was reprimanded by his teacher for saying some silly cussing substitute like golly gee in giving praise to another child’s work.

What about the less offensive S-words? Like Stupid. That’s a bad word in most houses I know of with small kids. As a little girl, my dad was shocked when I looked at the worms on the driveway after a rainstorm and said, “There are a lot of those suckers!” In this case, no one would say that the word “sucker” is always a sin. So why then is that S-word deemed ok, but the other, 4 letter S-word, is viewed by some people as sinful?

We have certain family members who have grown up using the S-word and consider it a normal vocabulary word. In fact, we joke that on my husband’s tombstone, we’re going to write, “The lucky little S--- beat us to Heaven!” Cultural norms differ based on where you are, so it is impossible to declare any word a sin at all times.

2. What’s the point?

It matters because if we declare that a word is a sin, then in our legalism, we can clean up the word, change it around, and make the same sentence ok. We say it is better to call someone a stupid jerk but not an F-ing A-. We can be angry and yell “Cut the Crap!” instead of “Cut the S---.” (For a good laugh regarding this, check out this sarcastic blog post.

But the reality is that regardless of the words you say, the actual sin being committed is the heart problem. My daughter could yell at her sister, “You are a silly nincompoop!” and the heart sin there is as wrong as if she’d said the BIG words.

And that’s why I think this is important. I don’t want my kids cleaning themselves up on the outside to be acceptable in our Christian, home-school, suburban culture. I don’t want them to be creating rules God hasn’t made so that they feel like “better people.” I want them to be transformed from the inside and love others as Jesus told them to.

Jesus said, "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean." (Matthew 23:27).
 
I’ll never forget when a little girl came up to me, I was in my 20’s, and said, “Hey, do you know that heck is another word for hell? You shouldn’t say it.” She obviously thought I was sinning and wanted to rebuke me, but in that context, I think the real sin issue was her disrespectful attitude toward adults…

We need to stop repenting for cussing and just cleaning ourselves up externally. We instead need to be changed from the inside out.

3. Actual Cuss Words CAN be a sin.

“What?” you ask. “Didn’t you just say the opposite?” There are three main arguments I’ve found for times when cussing – saying the words - is a sin:
  • If you think it is a sin. If your conscience still says after reading this, “I don’t care what you say, Becky. Saying F--- or S--- or D--- is sinful,” then for you, it is sinful, for to go against your conscience and say them would be an act of rebellion against what you believe to be sin. (I Peter 3:13-16)
  • If you have been told not to say them. If your parents or teachers or employers have told you to not say certain words, even silly words like golly gee, then to say them is disobedience. The real sin to confess wouldn’t be the words, but the disobedience and rebellion in your heart. (Ephesians 6:1)
  • If the people you are around will be offended. I Timothy 3 says that an overseer must be above reproach, respectable, and have a good reputation. I Corinthians 13 says, “Love is not rude.” We are to look to the interests of others, we are to speak words that build them up, and we are not to use rotten, unwholesome words. (Ephesians 4) Of course, as I’ve already said, the definition of “unwholesome” is flexible, so in general, be courteous of your audience and don’t make a habit of exercising your freedom to cuss to the detriment of others.
4. The Two Truly Sinful Words (sometimes):

The Ten Commandments say we are not to take the name of the LORD in vain, so saying God or Jesus in any way other than to speak about Him or to Him is a sin. I draw a hard line here. For that reason, I have instructed my kids to not say gosh. I have made it clear that the word gosh is not a sin, but it is so close, they could slip, and they don’t want to do that. (I need to work on not saying it myself!)

My husband was playing Rockband w/ some friends recently, and there were words flying around, but when he heard a J/C, he stopped the game and said, “Hey, I’m ok with bleep bleep bleep bleep and bleep, but when it comes to my God, I am not ok with misusing His name…”

For fun, here’s an interesting take on this by the drama group Onetimeblind: "Oh My Larry."

5. The Bottom Line:

Don’t worry. You won’t hear me swearing all the time (in public); I’m not going to write church dramas filled with cussing; and my kids are not going to have the mouths of sailors. I have explained to them that people think many different words are rude, and therefore it is not loving to say them. Also, we are to always speak kind, uplifting, gentle expressions to our friends and family, regardless of the word choice.

However, when a child recently called a TV Show (that will remain nameless) stupid, and another child tattled about it, I had to side with the “cusser.” She was right. The show was stupid – pointless and worthless, and not worth our time. But the tattler? She should have gotten in trouble for slandering her sister. (Proverbs 10:18b).

So the next time I step on a LEGO, I could say, "Darn LEGO," or I could say, "Damn LEGO," or I could say, "Ouch." But I don't think I'll be repenting for any of them, except maybe my outburst of anger.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

This thought process was sparked partially from a post by Abraham Piper on his blog 22 Words:

“Social customs define what’s taboo. Therefore, saying taboo language is uniformly sinful implies that our social customs uniformly align with God’s will.”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So feel free to comment with your opinions regarding cussing. Just remember, keep it nice! :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Current Home School Curriculums

It's been a while since I shared what we are using for our home school.  Here's an update of where we are right now.

This year, for each of the kids’ subjects, we decorated a spiral notebook to journal in.  When we add to our history notebooks, we just turn the page, and when they have a writing or grammar assignment, they use their notebooks.  I like that they are easily all kept in one place.  At the end of the year, I can put a ring in the holes and put the notebooks together.

All Kids:
A doing a Bible Lesson with Kv in the morning.
·       Bible: We are currently memorizing the Romans Road, reading “Leading Little Ones to God,” and the girls do the Wonder Devotions on their own.
·       History: I am following Beautiful Feet’s Early American History Guide and Journal/timeline suggestions, but I’m adding in books from Truth Quest and Sonlight.  For example, right now we are reading the D’Aulaire book “George Washington” as suggested in Beautiful Feet, but I am also working through the historical novel “Johnny Tremain.”
·       Science: It was my goal to do an experiment 1/week, but I have not been faithful with this.  We do them about 1/month.
·       Gym: They are in a gymnastics Class.
·       Extra: The girls are learning to knit and crochet from a lady at our Bible Study Class, and we go on American History related field trips at least 2/month.

9 & 7 YOs:
·       Copy Work:  I created my own American History Copy Work that they do daily.  I should make this into a pdf and put it out there for others to use.
·       Journal:  For creative writing, I ask them questions each week that they respond to in their journals.  They could be anything from "What memory did you enjoy most over Christmas" to "If you were able to spend all day with a friend, who would it be and what would you do?" 
·       Reading Comprehension:  I found these reading comprehension worksheets that I printed out for them.  http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/3rd-comprehension.html
·       Geography:  The girls are learning their US Map facts via this online site: http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/web_games.htm#Games

A, Age 9:

A Science Experiment
·       Reading: I am having her read books from American History as suggested in the Sonlight Catalog, such as “George Washington’s Breakfast” and “And Then What Happened Paul Revere?”
·       Spelling:  Spelling Wisdom
·       Grammar:  Primary Language Lessons
·       Math:  Shiller, book 3, and drill worksheets I print from various websites.  We learned our multiplication tables with Time Tales

K, Age 7:
 ·       Reading: I am having her read books from American History as suggested in the Sonlight Catalog, such as “George Washington’s Breakfast” and “And Then What Happened Paul Revere?”
·       Handwriting:  K just completed these free cursive lessons:  http://www.kidzone.ws/cursive/index.htm
·       Grammar:  Primary Language Lessons
Play Dough
·       Math:  Shiller, she just started book 3, and drill worksheets I print from various websites.

N, Age 5:
 ·       Reading: We are using Funnix Reading Lessons and the worksheets that go along with it.

Kv, Age 1:
·       Play time! :)  His favorite activities are playing with water in the sink, reading books, tearing up our Math Manipulatives, eating and peeling crayons, and playing with play dough.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Larger than Life! IU Health Ad.

My son and I did a print shoot for IU Health a few months ago, and a friend just spotted us on the big people mover downtown!  I think it's time for a field trip to check it out!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The B-I-B-L-E... "BIBLE!"

It's Theology Tuesday!  If you've been following, you know I'm completing open-book essays for NANC Certification and am sharing them, one at a time, on Tuesdays.
  
There are five essays on Bibliology, and this is number 3.  (Read number one and number two.)  These are my first drafts and I welcome any feedback!  We don't turn them in until all 22 Theology Essays and all 28 Counseling essays are complete.


In looking over today's essay, I was reminded of the loudest song preschoolers sing in Sunday School: The B-I-B-L-E.  It's their only opportunity to yell as loud as they can in church.  Even my 1 year old, when we sing it at home, will jump up and shout "BIBLE!" at the end.  It's precious!  I hope you are inspired today as we consider God's Word.

3.  What is the Bible’s authority on theological controversies?

One of the first arguments you will hear come up in a conversation with unbelievers about the Bible is that it can’t be believed.  “The Bible is full of contradictions.”  They look at all of the different denominations and claim that Christians can’t even figure it out, so how can anyone possibly take it seriously?  Or, perhaps they read a book or saw a movie that changed the way they viewed the Bible’s interpretation.  Culture is always trying to reinterpret the Christian faith based on new ideas or hidden secrets.

But what is Theology to begin with?  Quite simply, theology is the study of God.  As followers of Christ, we believe the Bible is the authority on the definition of God and who He is.  When controversies arise, then, as to the nature of God and His plan for mankind, the only place to go for answers is in His word.

God makes this abundantly clear.  He says numerous times that His word is perfect, adequate, right, pure, living, active, and true (Ps 19:7-11; 2 Tim 3:15-17; Heb 4:12).  God’s testimony is greater than man’s, and what did God use to affirm truth concerning His son?  He used the scriptures, declaring that they clearly testify about Him (I Jn 5:9, Lk 24:27, John 5:39).  God’s word is actually the revelation of Jesus Christ Himself! (Jn 1:14)

God’s divine power has given us His word, and Peter says that  it contains everything we need for life and godliness.  Everything!  (I Pet 1:3-4)  Then, when reading His word, if a controversy arises, the only place to turn to for answers is... His Word.  God is not the author of confusion.  No, He is a God of order and peace (Jer 29:11, I Cor 14:33).  With careful study, believers can come to solid conclusions as to God’s plan for the creation that He loves.

It is always possible, however, for the “ignorant and unstable” to twist the Scriptures to their own destruction because some parts are hard to understand (II Pet 3:16).  Therefore, it is important to have a good understand of the Bible as a whole when studying it, not taking passages out of context.  

It might be easy to say, “That is something the pastors should worry about, not me.”  However, we have been commanded to have personal responsibility in this matter.  “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”  (II  Tim 2:15)  We are also encouraged to examine the Scriptures for ourselves to see if the things we are being taught are correct (Acts 17:11).

The study of theology, then, begins with the understanding that His word is truth and totally sufficient for matters of life and godliness.  Every idea that is then formed will not depend on men’s new thoughts, traditions, or testimonies, but on the full counsel of scripture that has been breathed out by God, the divine author.  We are to avoid “worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called knowledge” and guard the truth that has been entrusted to us - as given in the Bible. (I Tim 6:20)


West Main Baptist Church.  “Theological controversies” May 19th, 2009.  9/28/10.      http://westmainbaptist.com/broben/theological-controversies
Sauder, Kevin.  “Foundational Positions”  9/28/10 
http://kevinsauder.com/Documents/The%20Bibles%20Authority%20on%20Theological%20Controversies.pdf
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pages 21-37

Monday, January 24, 2011

Free Home School Favorites

Hello!  I thought I'd share a few of my favorite FREE home school items that I've been using lately.

- Geography Games:  In two short weeks, my girls (9 & 7) have learned all the 50 states.  They also have games for capitols, rivers, and the world.  They love it, and I love the results.  (The only downside: Must use IE and not FF)

- Handwriting Worksheets:  My 7 year old daughter just finished these handwriting worksheets and can write and translate in cursive pretty well.  The font is a nice style, and best of all, it's free!

- Liberty's Kids TV Shows:  We've been watching these with our free trial from Netflix.  40 Awesome Episodes that coordinate perfectly with our study of American History!  My kids have the theme song memorized.  I think my library has these also for when our Netflix trial expires.  Actually, I think the $50 price tag on buying them  might be worth it!

- US History Time Line:  This is so helpful!!  I love seeing everything put together.

- Free Reading Lessons:  I've just completed my first 2 weeks of these free reading lessons (free in January ONLY) with my 5 year old son.  I used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with my daughters, and it worked well, but I'm prefering this for these reasons:
  1.    The teacher's voice is always pleasant.  (I can't say that about myself...)  
  2.    There is a coordinating worksheet.  
  3.    I am still involved every step of the way. 
  4.    There aren't the "funny letters" that 100 Lessons used, which tripped my boy up when we got to lesson 70.  

AND... it's FREE in January!  Download today, even if you're considering using it. 


What free home school resources are you using right now?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Need Energy in the Afternoon? Do this!

Which is the best source of energy in the afternoon:

A.  A cup of green tea
B.  A walk around the block
C.  A Nap

________________________________________________________________________

I love naps!

Did I say that clearly enough?

~*~*~ I love naps! ~*~*~

When other children complained about naps beyond the age of five, I looked forward to a warm spot in the sun to curl up under a blanket like a contented cat.  Sunday afternoons we filled with lunch, the comics, and a nap.

I have very fond memories of coming home from school, doing some homework, finding a comfortable spot on my bed, only waking to the smell of tacos sizzling downstairs.  Ahhh... if I were in "Our Town," that's a day I'd choose to relive!

In high school, whichever unfortunate teacher had me in their class around 2:00 lost my attention completely for about 20-30 minutes.  I was pretty good at disguising the naps by looking intently at my paper and holding my pencil as though I were diligently taking notes.  Looking at my notebooks, you'd see faithful note taking that slowly trailed off into a scribble of nonsense.  I once had a good friend ask, "I don't see how you learn anything in our history class!  You're either sleeping or eating!"

Once I spoke to my math teacher about it.  She said, "Well, as long as you're getting A's, I don't mind."  From then on, in her class at least, I just laid my head directly on my book and tried not to drool!

As a working adult, you would find me for about 15 minutes taking a nap at the office... but actually, that's wrong, because you wouldn't "find" me... I was usually using the toilet paper roll as my pillow!  The small break was never missed, and I came back refreshed and full of energy.  Or, I'd spend the last 15 minutes of my lunch hour with my head resting on my steering wheel.

Having children ushered in a new era of nap time for me.  The kids nap, I nap.  Even now that they're older, we have at least an hour during the afternoons where the house completely shuts down.  The older, non-napping kids know that whatever they do during that time, they must be QUIET. Shh... mommy's napping.  DO NOT CALL between the hours of 2:00-3:00.  I won't answer the phone.  It's nap time.

My adorable, energetic grandma-in-law sent me an article today.  (She always sends me envelopes full of articles and newspaper clippings, it's great.)  In it was the quiz you saw above.

So, which is best to gain more energy in the afternoon?

C.  A Nap!

It says, "Researchers at the University of Surrey in England found that ... participants who took the occasional nap when necessary had the energy to lead more active lives than their siesta-resistant peers."*

That's the best news I've heard all day!

And for the record, it also mentioned that you want to get 6.5 hours of sleep/night to live the longest.  When I'm writing, I typically go to bed at 1 and wake up at 7:30... bingo!!  Add that to my nap in the afternoon and I'm an energizer bunny!

Are you as surprised as I am about the answer?  What has your experience with nap time been?

"...for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10b
________________________________________________________________________



* From the Family Health Quiz, Parade Magazine, page 14, January 9, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

When Jesus "Jesus Jukes"

Have you heard of a Jesus Juke?  I hadn't heard of it until I read Jon Acuff's blog, Stuff Christian's Like.

He explains, "The Jesus Juke is when someone takes what is clearly a joke filled conversation and completely reverses direction into something serious and holy.  In this particular case, when I tweeted a joke about the guy doing pushups, someone tweeted me back, 'Imagine If we were that dedicated in our faith, family, and finances?'"

His blog about it is hysterical!

So then a few Sundays ago, my pastor was preaching on Matthew 24.  The disciples are looking around and say, "Hey, Jesus, check out these buildings!"  To which Jesus then replies, "It's all going to fall down..." and proceeds to start a sermon about the end times.  As my pastor said, they'll probably think twice about commenting on the buildings again!

I immediately turned to my husband and almost laughed out loud, "Jesus just Jesus Juked!!!" I almost tweeted it, but didn't think that would be appropriate...

Isn't that brilliant?  I'm still laughing about it.

You can listen to the rest of the message here, which was really very good.  It's just 1 in a series of 5 called "The End is Near" in our trek through Matthew, verse by verse.  Signs of the Times Sermon, Matthew 24.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Infallibility - big word with a bigger meaning

It's Theology Tuesday!  Here's the second essay I've written for my NANC Certification.  Have a great day!

What is the relationship between infallibility and authority?

Wayne Grudem defines infallibility as “the idea that Scripture is not able to lead us astray in matters of faith and practice.”  This word is closely related to the word “inerrant” or without error.  Broken down simply, infallibility means that the Bible is true.  

We know from Scripture that the Word of the Lord is flawless, which means it has been tested and proven to be true. (II Samuel 22:31, Ps 18:30).  Psalm 33:4 says that God’s word is right and true.  Psalm 12:6 says, “And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.”  

Jesus and other New Testament writers often referenced passages from the Old Testament in their more contemporary texts.  Jesus showed his belief in the ancient writings when He used the Old Testament to explain his death, burial, and resurrection to the men he met on the road to Emmaus.  “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” (Luke 24: 27)  Paul also declared in Acts 24:12 that he believed everything that was written in the law and the prophets.

Understanding that the Word of God is true is essential to reading and understanding it.  God himself testified in Isaiah that the words of the prophet were actually His own. “...Who told this long ago?  Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the Lord? And there is no other god beside me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. (Isaiah 45:21)”  God Himself is pure and perfect.  Numbers 23:19 says that God cannot lie.  Therefore, if all of the Bible is inspired by God as II Timothy 3:16 says, then it is also true.  

We know the Bible is God’s word because it says it is, but also, as  believers, we have the Spirit of God inside us testifying that what we are hearing is the word of the Lord.  Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”  (John 10:27).  Therefore, if someone is not a follower of Jesus, then he will not hear Him speak through the scriptures.  Instead it will be foolishness to him.  (I Cor 2:14).

Webster’s dictionary defines the word authority as “power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior.”  A father has authority over his children, to command them to act a certain way.  A teacher has authority over her students.  A boss has authority over his employees.  A General has authority over his troops.

God gave the Bible the authority to influence our thoughts and actions.  God said He gives his attention to those who tremble at His word (Is 66:2).   Jesus instructs us in John 15:10 to obey his commandments.  Paul declares in I Corinthians 14:37 that “what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.”  Therefore, disagreeing with the Bible and acting against it is disobeying God Himself.  

Now to the question: What is the relationship between infallibility and authority of the scriptures?  We must believe that the Bible is true, or infallible, and then obey it as the final authority on our lives.  It can be summarized in three words:  “Trust and obey.”  

“authority.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.  2010. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/authority (September 21, 2010)

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pages 73-82, 93-94, 1236, 1245.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Personal, Passionate Love Story


We had a very refreshing Fresh Encounter Prayer Service last night, and I was overwhelmed once again w/ how much Jesus loves us.  That carried over to my prayer time this morning, and I felt like God was covering my heart in a blanket of soft, downy feathers.  It just seemed like I was curled up in his lap as He told me the story of my life.  Through His word, yes, even while reading the "dry" book of Numbers, he gently convicted me of sin and forgave me when I confessed.  He has a beautiful plan for my life, and I love Him so much for it!

It reminded me of a drama I wrote for Easter of 2006.  It was a back-and-forth dialog between Mary of Bethany and me, my real personal story.  I hope you enjoy it!


Since I met Jesus
Easter, 2006

Mary: I was raised in Bethany as a good Jewish girl in a pretty wealthy family.  We always had more than we needed, but I had an emptiness inside and I didn’t know where to look.  When my brother Lazarus and sister Martha and I first heard of this man who was prophesying and doing all sorts of miracles, I was eager to see if this was what I’d been waiting for.  And when I met Jesus

Becky: When I met Jesus, I was really young.  My parents took me and my older brother to a good Bible teaching church.  When I was only four years old, I understood that I had disobeyed and was not going to Heaven, but Jesus died for me and if I asked, He’d forgive me.  So that’s what I did.  My faith was basic, very simple, but even at that young age, it wasn’t just a religion.  I’d been introduced to a person. 

Mary:  I had never met anyone like him.  His teaching was convicting and stern and sometimes shocking, but he was also patient and sincere.  When he spoke, I was caught up in how wise he seemed.  He handled every situation uniquely without the typical answers I’d come to expect.  He was real.  Yes, Jesus was real.

Becky:  Jesus was real, and as I got older, I learned more about Him.  He is one with God and created everything.  He’s been around forever.  He loved me enough to die for me and now cares about the details of my life.  But more than all the facts and Bible verses I’ve memorized, what impresses me most about Jesus is that he really does want me to know him.

There have been times in my life when I’ve lost friends because of my faith in Him.  I’ve done or said things to please Jesus instead of pleasing them.  It was hard, but I was never alone.  Jesus was with me in third grade when I was the new kid in school and He sat with me under the stars when I’d silently think about his power.  I can trace a line through my entire life, every moment of it, and although friends and family have constantly changed, He was with me.

Mary:  He was with me and my family a lot.  My brother, Lazarus, was especially close to him, which is why we were so surprised when he suddenly became sick and died.  Really, I can’t explain the anguish in my heart, I was grieved and torn apart.  It was a moment of truth for me.  I knew in my mind He was the messiah. I had sat at His feet for hours listening to Him teach.  He even commended me for it once, that I was doing the right thing. 

So when we lost Lazarus, even after asking Jesus to come and help, and after seeing him heal so many people he didn’t even know, I was so – surprised – that this was really happening to us. 

When Jesus finally arrived, Lazarus had been gone for three days.  When I went out to meet him I could barely look up.  My eyes must have been red and swollen.  I was certain that Jesus could have healed him and yet He chose not to… and that fact just pierced through my heart.  So I simply fell to his feet, and with all the faith in me I said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."  If only he had been there…

Becky:  Sometimes I wish I could have been there when Jesus was alive.  To have actually seen him.  But in a way I think we’re more fortunate than they were because they didn’t have Him with them all the time, like we can now. 

Mary:  You know the best part?  Jesus, who was all-knowing, didn’t rebuke me or say there’s a reason for everything.  Jesus wept.  He cried and hurt with me.  Do you see the love?  Do you see the lack of condemnation? 

So when he began talking about his death, my faith was already stronger after seeing him bring my dear brother back to life.  I knew I couldn’t always understand his ways, and I trusted that He would somehow make everything alright.  I accepted his eventual death and did what I had to do – I poured my most beautiful fragrance all over his feet and wiped it with my hair… he even said I was preparing him for his burial… I’ll never forget the way the room smelled… After all He’d done for me, I had to trust Him.  And wait and see.

Becky:  I’m still looking forward to seeing him.  I think for a long time I wanted to go to Heaven because of all the nice things – like no more sickness, golden streets, seeing family members that I missed, and these are all good things.  But as I look back over my life, and how He has been the only friend who has seen me, daily, from birth until now, through everything, and loves me anyway – I can honestly say now that it’s starting to change where more than anything else, I can’t wait to see Him.

Mary:  I can’t wait to see him again.  He’s coming back, we’re all waiting for it.  The time spent with him was the most special and valuable and amazing in my life.  If only you could have seen him.  He never lost his temper, even after a long day helping others.  He was never impatient or hurried, and He always did and said what was in our best interest.  He was passionate about truth and didn’t compromise, ever.  Jesus was just perfect, the perfect friend, and the perfect person to be around.  I can’t wait to be with Him again…

Becky:  Maybe we’ll take a long walk and talk about my life, kind of like going back through a scrapbook and reminiscing.  He’ll probably remember funny things I did when I didn’t think anyone was looking, like kissing a poster of Kirk Cameron or dancing in front of my mirror with my make-believe prince.  Maybe we’ll just laugh.  I don’t know. 

Mary:  I don’t know what I did before him.  But I know my life has been changed.

Becky:  Am I a Christian?  Oh, yeah, but it’s so much more. 

Mary:  He filled the emptiness.

Becky:  My life has real meaning.  And since I’ve met Jesus,

Mary:  I’ll never be the same.



By Becky Emerick, Easter, 2006


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Update from Friday

I wore the necklace (see previous post) for the first time tonight.  And guess what.  It broke again.

(Surprise, surprise!)

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Valuable Lesson for a Friday

While sitting here thinking about what to blog about today, my son came up and asked me to separate two flat LEGO pieces.  Instinctively, I tried to use my teeth, but then thought, "Stop!"

So I'll tell you the story of when I vowed to stop using my teeth.

But I'll back up.  I used to use my teeth for everything.  Cutting strings, removing tags, breaking apart LEGOs... they were the always handy pair of scissors/pliers in one!  Then a few months ago, when shopping with friends, I found this great knock-off necklace in a cheap store that looked just like the Silpada necklace I have drooled over... only it was about $150 less.  So, I paid $10 and walked out pretty proud of myself.  I laughed with my friend, "This necklace will be great until it breaks!"

Then later in a dressing room, guess what: It broke.  So, I immediately used my teeth to push the link back together.  Voi-la!

But when walking out of the dressing room, my tooth scratched my lip - I had chipped my tooth!

I had a photo shoot the next afternoon.  I couldn't go with a chipped front tooth!  I immediately called my dentist and scheduled a repair for first thing the next morning.

I was so mad at myself.  I thought, "For the cost of the dentist appointment, I could have bought the REAL Silpada necklace.  Oh why did I buy that *@#blasted#@! cheap necklace?!?"

The good news is, the dental assistant laughed at my story and after 2 quick swipes of the sander, my tooth was fine, and she didn't charge me.  So I vowed to use the money I would have spent at the dentist to buy a pocket knife... which I did.

So today, when I went to use my teeth to separate the LEGOs, I paused and grabbed my pocket knife.  It was a little tricky honestly, and I came close to slicing my finger open, but in the end, the pieces were separated and I was the hero.

So there.  Now you know a little bit more about me.  Have a great weekend!

PS - I have never once worn the cheap necklace.  So, in reality, I'm glad I never spent the money on the Silpada one! LOL!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Little Note on FAITH for your Thursday Afternoon

I've been marinating in this passage lately and wanted to share:

Hebrews 11:1 & 6


Now faith is confidence in what we hope for 
and assurance about what we do not see.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, 
because anyone who comes to him must believe 
that he exists and that he rewards 
those who earnestly seek him.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I guess I forgot THAT was in the Bible...

Last November, I took the challenge:  Read through my Bible in 90 days.  I dated the top of the chart, November 11, 2010.  And I began.

I'm about 9 "days" into the plan.  Oh yes, I read my Bible on a regular basis, but the 15 chapters a day just aren't happening.  But I'm still plugging along!  And at least the plan fits on one sheet of paper, and I don't have a bunch of little check lists.  I just mark off the day when I finally finish it.

For each chapter, I'm writing down a verse in a brand new journal that is meaningful for me.  There are some real winners!  It's been exciting to skim through them, getting a glance at all the Lord is showing me in His Word.

But then it all stopped... I reached Leviticus.  And as I searched and searched the chapters for SOMETHING meaningful to write down from some of the chapters, something that didn't make me blush or squirm, I've had a really hard time.

Once I cheated and wrote the first verse of the chapter, "Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron."  Does that count?  Or is it cheating?

But come on... have you read Leviticus 15 lately?  Am I really supposed to write down Lev 15:16?  Let me just say that it will not appear on my children's Bible memory schedules anytime soon.  I'd read my Bible through in High School, but somehow forgot this part.  (Selective memory?)

And though I know in my heart I could just skip Leviticus all together and it wouldn't be sin... I could jump right past the rest of the Pentateuch and into Joshua... I probably won't.  Because it is actually kind of fun.

Like it says that a woman is in her "illness" when experiencing her monthly symptoms.  Hey, can I take a sick day and stay in bed?  Have the kids bring me breakfast and I'll watch TV and drink ginger ale?

Well, probably not the best application of the text... but it was something to ponder.

Overall, through Leviticus I've seen how messy and dirty and sinful we are compared to a Holy God, and I'm thankful for His forgiveness... just read it for yourself.  We are a mess!  Praise Jesus!

I do have one nagging question I can't find an answer to... what did it mean to be "unclean" practically?  If someone was "unclean until evening," what exactly is that?  Were they not allowed to touch others?  Did they have to be separated?  Could they just not enter the temple?  Or was it just that they were unclean but it didn't change how they lived?  Does anyone know?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Best Friends Forever

You know the 2-packs of Starbursts?  My 5 Year old boy Nate offered me a pink Starburst (my favorite!).  He was holding a red one, and looking up at me with his big blue eyes he asked me, "Best friends forever?"

We had to eat our Starbursts at exactly the same time, and then he gave me a kiss and a hug.  OH-MY-GOODNESS.  Sweetest mommy moment ever!!

An Inspired Idea!

On Tuesdays, while my kids are in a home school class, I spend the mornings studying for my NANC Certification, a Biblical Nouthetic Counseling certification process.  I'm currently working through the open-book theology essays.

So what's my inspired idea?  To share these with you on Tuesdays!  You will get to read the first drafts of the essays I've completed so far.  The first one is:

~*~*~*~*~

The Bible is spoken of as “inspired.”  What does this mean?

Many people use the word inspired for works of art or literature that are so beautiful or amazing, there is no human way possible they could have accomplished them unassisted.  They are beyond limited human capabilities.  Though most people do not really take this thought to the next step - as to who the inspiration came from - that is the general idea behind the word.  

As believers in Jesus Christ, we believe that the Bible has been inspired as well, meaning it was not accomplished by limited human minds, and the inspiration came from the one true God.  Webster’s dictionary defines inspiration as “a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation.”  God, as the only truly divine influence, delivered sacred revelation to the writers of the Bible.  Therefore, it is not simply another book based on the thoughts of men that fill our library shelves.  Their words were given to them  by God’s perfect will as to what should be penned.   

We know the Bible is inspired based on many Biblical texts.  The most common passage is II Timothy 3:16, which says in the NASB, “All Scripture is inspired by God.”  Jesus also explains that it is a work of the Holy Spirit by what He said in John 14:26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  The Apostle Paul teaches, “...what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord.”  (I Cor. 14:37)  In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul says that he will give, “proof that Christ is speaking in me.”  (II Corinthians 13:3)

The word “all” in the passage in II Timothy means each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything.  For this reason, we do not believe that just some passages are inspired, but literally all of them.  From Genesis to Revelation, the entire Word of God is inspired by God.  

Understanding this, the way we read the Bible is transformed!  We are no longer allowed to pick and choose which passages we like and which we do not.  We must wrestle with the fact that God is the authority on what is true, and we must align our thoughts with His Word.

For example, some come to Christ believing that the stories of Noah and Jonah are just fictitious fairy tales taught in Sunday School Classes. However, knowing that God inspired all of the Scriptures, combined with the understanding that God does not lie, we must believe these stories to not only be true, but relevant to our lives today.  II Timothy 3:16 goes on to say that all scripture is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”  So those stories of Jonah and Noah are profitable for us as believers today.

Understanding the Bible is inspired also affects our daily life.  God’s word says that a gentle reply best calms down a wrathful person.  (Proverbs 15:1)  When confronted with a heated situation, you might be tempted to think that the only proper response is to yell and make your point heard. However, God says that a gentle answer is the only correct course of action.  If this were just good advice from a friend, then you might be able to rationalize away the instruction.  However, knowing that God is the one giving the advice, there is really no other way to act.

The inspiration of the Bible gives us hope that God did not just leave us alone to figure out life in this world that He created.  He did not abandon His children and leave them directionless.  He used men to write a book - an inspired book - to guide us to Himself through Jesus Christ by the power of the Spirit.    


Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for pas (Strong's 3956)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2010. 21 Sep 2010. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?  Strongs=G3956&t=KJV >
 

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, pages 60-61

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Fresh Start

I love starting things.  Starting new projects. Meeting new friends. Planning a new trip. Waking up with a new idea.  Writing in a fresh, crisp journal. Opening a blank Word Document. Discovering new and exciting social connections. (580 friends now on Twitter!  In just a few days - exciting!)

That's probably why I love Mondays.  A fresh start to the week!  All my goals and dreams and (often) futile efforts at an organized life are re-born and I can start again. After being completely energized at church to live my life to the fullest for Jesus, I wake up with a spring in my step!

I usually like to wake up early on Mondays to pray, but I forgot to set my alarm last night, so that will get pushed to naptime... but regardless, just because I "failed" on my own plans withing 10 seconds of this new week, I won't let it get me down.

So as I clean up the dishes, I can tell God all about my goals and dreams for the week.  (I'm so glad that He is never to busy for my unplanned appointments.)

What about you?  Do you like Mondays? Do you like having a fresh start? And does your love of starting things sometimes affect your ability to finish things?