15 July 2011

Regarding Education: Are We Asking the Right Question?


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The first in a series of posts regarding education...



I was recently asked a question I love to answer... because it's not really the right question to ask. And that is always the most interesting type of question to answer. The question was this: What are the key elements that make education distinctly Christian?

Why is that not the right question to ask, you say? (Ah! That is indeed a good question!)

Why? Because the question already presupposes all sorts of things while assuming that it gets to the heart of an important matter. And, frankly, one can never get to the heart of a matter that way.

Though it may seem the inquiry of a simple child, the real question to ask is this: What is education?

(A freebie editorial comment: The questions of a child are almost always the best, but rarely posed.)

To know what something is, is to know its nature. It is more than merely identifying it with a good definition, as helpful as that is. Upon a stroll through the woods behind my home, I come upon a tree, standing in noble state to greet me. If it is a common enough tree, I may identify it by its leaf... an oak, a pine, a maple. But I hardly know what the tree truly is, its essence, its purpose, its glory, by mere modern categorization. It is not until I investigate the miracle of photosynthesis, explore the multiple layers of frozen time in its trunk rings, dig deep to wonder at its web of roots strong and sure, that I know what the tree truly is, gazing in wonder at its complete be-ing. Then, I know its nature, its essence, its reason for its place in our universe. So, let us not be content with childish definitions of education as merely the process of learning things deemed important at the time. Let us, with child-like fervor and wonder, stop. Ponder. Discover... what this thing we call education really is.

Won't you join me? Stay tuned for more posts... and feel free to join the discovery! In the comments, share what you believe education to be... Thank you, dear friend...


To see all of the posts in this series about education, click here.

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14 July 2011

Humility, the Bow of the Brave

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This post from Ann really spoke to me today. May it speak to your heart as well. It is well worth the minutes to read the entire thing...

when you get to the root of some of the fears

Who said courage wears a Red Badge?

It’s just khaki capris, a black tee, I pull out of the closet for a day dawning summer, me leaving the house for the heat, appointment and errands.

I have no red badge of courage, but I’m trying to wear prayer, the murmur of the weak made strong in the breaking.

Fear can snap the brave bones… stiff twigs underfoot. I keep fumbling prayer.

Pray for courage while I comb my hair, while I slip on my sandals, while I grab my bag, the keys.

Pray for courage because driving into town, even just to the grocery for bananas, can break me.

They call it agoraphobia: an anxiety disorder which leads to avoiding spaces or situations associated with anxiety. I call it the vise, chokehold to the neck, crushing esophagus hard, leaving you wild to breathe.

In the beginning, I took medication to ease the panic that surged in the gut, wave of terror to the throat, when I was in crowds. The last fifteen years, I take only prayer.

Then open the front door and take the first step.

I do. Courage isn’t only for for the everyday wars waging in our soul.

On the way to the city, country roads long ribbons unwrapping a morning all gilded, I spill herbal tea all over my pants.

I get lost.

Then I am late. Ridiculously so.

Then I get a ticket. I think I might die.

“This is the reason…” I catch my reflection in the rear view mirror, mutter to me a blotchy mess of hives, all flaming nerves. “This is the reason why you never leave home.”

The woman in the mirror is ashen and I look into her eyes and I know I should comfort, but a sharp rebuke’s burning up the tip of my tongue… The Spirit interrupts.

“It’s really your ugly pride that makes you afraid. “Just bow in humility to rise up in courage.”

His voice comes gentle, immediately, a grace caress for the angst-twisted. I exhale, a long slow release.

Bow in humility

I whisper that comfort to pale face reflected.

Is it pride and appearances that box our lives up small and afraid?

Who dares explore, risk, attempt, when terrified to play the fool?

It’s only pride’s hunger for perfection that paralyzes a heart, keeps us enslaved to fear.


Pride is fear’s father and pride is the kin to all cowards.

He soothes my anxiety with surprising truth: Slip on humility, make humility the mainstay of a heart’s wardrobe, and the world enlarges. Open humility’s drawer and there lies courage. Courage to go anywhere, try anything, meet anyone.

If I wear humility, I’m not afraid of the falling.

Wear humility because really what’s the worst that can happen? Exactly what has happened on a summer morning: I play the fool. Isn’t that who I really am? Isn’t that okay — because isn’t that who I am?

Are all my fears evidence of all my pride?

Jesus didn’t find courage for the Cross in the pride of who He was or bold illusions of self-sufficiency. He didn’t find Calvary courage by pulling himself up by the bootstraps of self-confidence and self-determination.

Jesus gave the world the greatest courage of all in the lowest place of all:

“he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).

Courage for the impossible can only be found in the possibility of humility because “This is the one God esteems: he who is humble…” (Is. 66:2). Courage lives in the heart of the lowly… those who can embrace humility and the possibility of imperfection … because that needy place is the place we meet God.


Humility births courage and is brother to the brave.

I look at my watch, glance at the map, find that scared face again in the mirror and the laugh, long and good, begins in the pit of my stomach where it can unknot all my fears of failure.

I laugh and breathe deep and bow low to rise up and courage doesn’t wear a red badge but humility.

And maybe a pair of pants stained right through red, everything running all down…

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21 June 2011

Bach, on the Eight Track

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In tribute to my favorite composer, Bach, and in memory of my cello playing days.







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19 June 2011

Broken Promises Ever Renewed



Worthy words to ponder...

[T]he Great Depression was a turning point, frightening workers with the burden of an impoverished free time. After World War II, pent-up consumer demand for a high-consumption way of life was boosted by government subsidies (via the low-interest mortgages and expensive highways that helped suburbanize the country). The die was cast: the public would choose money over time, preferring to seek its pleasures and comforts in the purchase of goods guaranteed to grow ever more swiftly obsolescent rather than in the search for collective leisure—or civic virtue…


Of course, the curious thing about consumer pleasures is that they don’t last. The essence of consumerism is broken promises ever renewed. The modern consumer is a hedonist doomed to economically productive disappointment, experiencing, as sociologist Colin Campbell writes, “a state of enjoyable discomfort.” You propel your daydreams forward, each time attaching them to some longed-for object, a sofa, CD player, kitchen, sports car, only to unhook the desires from the objects once they are in hand. Even high-end durable goods quickly outwear the thrill of their early arrival, leaving consumers bored—and available. After each conquest comes a sense of only limited satisfaction—and the question, what next?


~ Todd Gitlin,


There is only one pleasure worth all the pain and joy we can give: the glory of God. The one inexhaustible satisfaction, the one fulfillment that saturates every particle of the soul.

The one true promise ever renewed.


HT: Tim Challies





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02 June 2011

From the Outside In

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A re-post, shared after a family vacation:

Echoes of words bound down the steps and cut my ears. Jagged sound waves from angry lips. My feet pursue the sharp waves as they ring louder and louder as I grow closer and closer to the source. Following their path into the fray of... sibling discord. Once the adult had left the room, botherings, annoyances led to harsh words and mean hands. Once the adult returns, new sound waves quickly rush from little lips, all beginning with those self-protecting pronouns. “He wouldn’t stop...” “But she said...” “He kept on...”

The deafening silence of “I.” Where is the “I?” The one simple word that is really behind all the rest. Me, mine, my... yet, never uttered, never confessed as “I.”

Slowly, calmly, I reach through the jagged waves and ask, seek to find and hear the “I.”

Reluctantly, yet gratefully quickly, they come. Confessions of their own sins, their own rush to harsh words and attitudes that bruise the spirit. I finally hear the “I.” This is what I did, they say. The tone in the room completely changes. The jagged waves of hostility vanish. Sheepish and tender spirits wait for what comes next.

I pause. Normally, I would tell the children that they already know what to do. Because they do. The confessions, specific and clear, would be made to one another along with requests for forgiveness, granted. But today, we needed more. Something to move the reality of forgiveness and love beyond sound waves from the lips to choices of the mind to actions from the heart.

With a quick reminder that one’s character is proven when Mommy and Daddy are not in the room, I told the children to prepare for an assignment. They would serve one another in a simple, yet hopefully memorable way. It was simple: Given that we were on vacation, they would each re-pack a sibling’s suitcase with great attention and love. Each item carefully folded and put into place. Giving it their best. But the challenge was not in the task itself, it was in the attitude they would choose. I required that it be done cheerfully, lovingly, humbly. No one in the room possessed that frame of mind and heart at the moment.

No bother. If you can’t begin from the inside out, do the next best thing, I said. Begin from the outside and go in.

Before touching the suitcase, the first step was to smile. Really smile, until the eyes sparkled. This was the hardest part. Choose to array one’s outside according to one’s choice. To what Another desires of us, the One who created our outsides and insides. Then, hands got busy, taking a smile and spreading it through arms and fingers. Slowly, putting things into place, neat and tidy, while waiting for the Spirit to do the same within. Slowly, true smiles began to appear and sweet waves of quiet purpose floated through the room.

When done, each praised the other for their work with some small spark of genuine gratitude conveyed. It was a start. I built upon the moment and told them that I looked forward to hearing at dinnertime all the other ways that they would discover during the day to “serve their siblings.” That would be the unofficial theme of the day.

One sibling, the eldest, had not given her whole heart. I could tell. She had withheld her best, perhaps still angry, perhaps thinking the exercise was stupid. No bother, she was assigned to make the bed of the child as well. Her first attempt, not her best as before. Told to begin again, she did well. I looked to the other side of the room to see the irony: the child for whom she had not initially given her best had, on his own, quietly made her bed for her without being asked. The seeds that were sown were sprouting in this young boy seedling. The inside was already matching the outside.

And now... I shall pray. Pray that the Spirit will water and spread light on these seeds. That I will take the lesson to my own heart as well. Sometimes, we have to start from the outside in. And as such, so much more is the pure act of obedience that delights my heavenly Father. Start with a smile, a sparkling smile. He will do the rest.

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence
only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and
trembling;
for it is God who is at work in you, both to
will
and to work for
His good pleasure.”
--Philippians 2:12-13

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02 May 2011

Weeping and Rejoicing

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1957-2011


A day... for somber reflection.

D. A. Carson on bin Laden:

He is an evil man, and he must be stopped, but he is a man, and we should take no pleasure in destroying him. Vengeance is the Lord’s alone.

Do not offer the alternative, “Should we weep for Osama bin Laden or hold him to account for his genocide and prevent him from carrying out his violent intentions?”

The right answer is yes.

~ Love in Hard Places (Crossway, 2002), 143.


For a great selection of thought on this, see Justin Taylor's post "How Should Christians Think about the Death of Osama bin Laden?" and read his links. They are worth your time.


HT: Justin Taylor
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22 April 2011

Walking the Life

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J. I. Packer aptly describes the abundant life:

It is the life of regeneration, repentance, and assured faith and hope in Christ,
based on knowing oneself to be a justified and adopted child of God
whom the Triune Lord has loved from eternity,
whom the Son has redeemed by dying on the cross,
and whom the Holy Spirit, the divine change agent, now indwells.
It is the life of loving both the written Word of the Lord
and the living Lord of the Word.
It is a life of rigorous self-watch and self-discipline,
for the deforming, distracting, desensitizing, demonic power of sin
in one’s spiritual system must be detected and resisted.
It is a life of reckoning with our temperamental limitations,
whatever mixture of sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic we find we are, and seeking to transcend those shortcomings.
It is a life of prayer—
praise and petition;
complaint
and confession;
meditation and celebration.
And with that it is a quest for full Christlikeness of character and action,
inasmuch as Christ “exhibited to the world such an illustrious pattern of humility, divine love,
discreet zeal,
self-denial,
obedience,
patience,
resignation,
fortitude,
meekness,
forgiveness,
compassion,
benevolence,
and universal holiness,
as neither men nor angels ever saw before.” 1
Finally, religion honors God by goodwill and integrity in all relationships
and by enterprise in seizing such opportunities for “good works” of benevolence and help as present themselves.

Beautifully said.

1 Jonathan Edwards, “The Life and Diary of the Rev. David Brainerd,” Works, ed. Hickman, 2:313 as quoted in A God Entranced Vision of All Things, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2004), 95.


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21 April 2011

His Glory, Our Joy

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Did you notice that the picture above is a mirror image?
As one side perfectly reflects the other,
a beauty is beheld,
a beauty that would not exist
without this reflection.


In the same way, the shining of God's glory and our true happiness work the same way. They are not opposed, but united in holy splendor. Hear Jonathan Edwards:

And though the emanation of God’s fulness,
intended in the creation,
is to the creature as its object;
and though the creature is the subject of the fulness communicated,
which is the creature’s good;
yet it does not necessarily follow that,
even in doing so,
God did not make himself his end.
It comes to the same thing.
God’s respect to the creature’s good,
and his respect to himself,
is not a divided respect;
but both are united in one,
as the happiness of the creature aimed at
is happiness in union with himself...
The more happiness the greater union...
And as the happiness will be increasing to eternity,
the union will become more and more strict [i.e., closely bound] and perfect;
nearer and more like to that between God the Father and the Son;
who are so united, that their interest is perfectly one...
Let the most perfect union with God be represented
by something at an infinite height above us;
and the eternally increasing union of the saints with God,
by something that is ascending constantly towards that infinite height...
and that is to continue thus to move to all eternity. 1

God's glory and our good are one. Our highest good is to bask in and shine forth His glory and His glory is resplendent all the more when poured into and through our lives to others and back to Him. It is glorious to contemplate...


1 Jonathan Edwards, “The End for Which God Created the World,” in Works, ed. Hickman, 120, as quoted in A God Entranced Vision of All Things, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2004), 94.

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20 April 2011

Soli Deo Gloria

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The glory of God and our joy weave together a bond that cannot be broken. We are made by our Creator to see, know, experience, and shine forth His glory. That is our purpose. And when we are living that purpose, our joy is full to overflowing. As we walk in love and obedience (which are really the same thing), the glory of God shines upon and into us and is likewise reflected back to its Luminary Source for all to see. This is beauty itself.

And yet, this joy-glory experienced here in our whisper of a life is nothing, nothing, compared to the glory that awaits in Heaven, in eternity. C. S. Lewis said it well in the Chronicles of Narnia when the children have been brought through a fatal train crash into the real Narnia that is to be their home forever.

Then Aslan [the Christ-like lion] turned to them and said:
“You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be ... all of you
are (as you used to call it in the Shadowlands) dead. The term is over;
the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”

. . . We can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after.
But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in
this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover
and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the
Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever:
in which every chapter is better than the one before. 1

Do we dare to live our lives this way? That all our days now are only the cover and title page to a tale we can hardly imagine? One yet to come?

Amy Plantinga Pauw captures it as follows:

Because “heaven is a progressive state,” the heavenly joy of the saints,
and even of the triune God, will forever continue to increase.... Saints
can look forward to an unending expansion of their knowledge and
love of God, as their capacities are stretched by what they receive ...
there is no intrinsic limit to their joy in heaven.... As the saints con-
tinue to increase in knowledge and love of God, God receives more and
more glory. This heavenly reciprocity will never cease, because the
glory God deserves is infinite, and the capacity of the saints to perceive
God’s glory and praise him for it is ever increasing. 2


Ah! What earthly trinkets can compare to such as this? Let us live now with this glory in view, beating in our hearts, animating our lives. Let us prepare now for the wonders we shall yet behold.

~~~

1 C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin, 1964), 165.

2 Amy Plantinga Pauw, “The Supreme Harmony of All”: The Trinitarian Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2002), 180-181.

Both as quoted in A God Entranced Vision of All Things, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 2004), 93.


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18 April 2011

Every Life...

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Just one more reason that Chick-Fil-A is my favorite fast food restaurant. A poignant reminder that every life is unique and has a story. Every person could use your smile today, even those you quickly pass by on your way...






HT: Tim Challies
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16 March 2011

Real Delight

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From Justin Taylor:

From “Satisfaction in God,” a sermon preached by Cotton Mather (1663-1727):


Our continual apprehension of God may produce our continual satisfaction in God, under all His dispensations.

Whatever enjoyments are by God conferred upon us, where lies the relish, where the sweetness of them? Truly, we may come to relish our enjoyments, only so far as we have something of God in them. It was required in Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself in the Lord.” Yea, and what if we should have no delight but the Lord? Let us ponder with ourselves over our enjoyments: “In these enjoyments I see God, and by these enjoyments, I serve God!”

And now, let all our delight in, and all our value and fondness for our enjoyments, be only, or mainly, upon such a divine score as this. As far as any of our enjoyments lead us unto God, so far let us relish it, affect it, embrace it, and rejoice in it: “O taste, and feed upon God in all;” and ask for nothing, no, not for life itself, any further than as it may help us, in our seeing and our serving of our God.


HT: William B. Barcley, The Secret of Contentment (P&R, 2011).


Cf. Augustine: “He loves thee too little who loves anything together with Thee, which he loves not for thy sake.” (Confessions, Book 10, Chapter XXIX)


Oh Yes! May it be so... and ever more so... Amen.

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01 March 2011

The Holiness of God


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Christian audio is offering this classic for free as an audiobook download. The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul is one of my top ten books. (See the right side bar for my other top ten picks.) It had a wonderful influence on my conception of God and caused many things to "fall into place" for me. I highly recommend it. I read it in college and really wish I had read it sooner. And now that it's free, what excuse can you possible have? ;)

Thanks to Christian audio for making this tome available without cost... and for offering a different book each month for free!
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15 February 2011

Love of Another Kind

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From one of my favorite bloggers, Justin Taylor:


What Is Love?

Here is Paul Tripp’s definition of love: “Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving” (What Did You Expect? p. 188).

In the following he unpacks the definition (pp. 188-189):


Love is willing.

Jesus said, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18). The decisions, words, and actions of love always grow in the soil of a willing heart. You cannot force a person to love. If you are forcing someone to love, by the very nature of the act you are demonstrating that this person doesn’t in fact love.

Love is willing self-sacrifice.

There is no such thing as love without sacrifice.

Love calls you beyond the borders of your own wants, needs and feelings.

Love calls you to be willing to invest time, energy, money, resources, personal ability, and gifts for the good of another.

Love calls you to lay down your life in ways that are concrete and specific.

Love calls you to serve, to wait, to give, to suffer, to forgive, and to do all these things again and again.

Love calls you to be silent when you want to speak, and to speak when you would like to be silent.

Love calls you to act when you would really like to wait, and to wait when you would really like to act.

Love calls you to stop when you really want to continue, and it calls you to continue when you feel like stopping.

Love again and again calls you away from your instincts and your comfort.

Love always requires personal sacrifice.

Love calls you to give up your life.

Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another.

Love always has the good of another in view.

Love is motivated by the interests and needs of others.

Love is excited at the prospect of alleviating burdens and meeting needs.

Love feels poor when the loved one is poor.

Love suffers when the loved one suffers.

Love wants the best for the loved one and works to deliver it.

Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation.

The Bible says that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. If he had waited until we were able to reciprocate, there would be no hope for us.

Love isn’t a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” bargain.

Love isn’t about placing people in our debt and waiting for them to pay off their debts.

Love isn’t a negotiation for mutual good.

Real love does not demand reciprocation, because real love isn’t motivated by the return on the investment. No, real love is motivated by the good that will result in the life of the person being loved.

Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving.

Christ was willing to go to the cross and carry our sin precisely because there was nothing that we could ever do to earn, achieve or deserve the love of God. If you are interested only in loving people who are deserving, the reality is that you are not motivated by love for them but by love for yourself. Love does its best work when the other person is undeserving. It is in these moments that love is most needed. It is in these moments that love is protective and preventative. It stays the course while refusing to quit or to get down and get dirty and give way to things that are anything but love.

There is never a day in your marriage when you aren’t called to be willing.

There is never a day in your marriage when some personal sacrifice is not needed.

There is never a day when you are free from the need to consider the good of your husband or wife.

There is never a day when you aren’t called to do what is not reciprocated and to offer what has not been deserved.

There is never a day when your marriage can coast along without being infused by this kind of love.



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13 February 2011

Counting the Countless


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logo and inspiration from holy experience


Now thank we all our God
With hearts and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom this world rejoices.
Who, from our mother's arms,
Hath led us on our way,
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

~ Martin Rinkart

(German pastor Martin Rinkart served in the walled town of Eilenburg during the horrors of the Thirty Years War of 1618-1648. Eilenburg became an overcrowded refuge for the surrounding area. The fugitives suffered from epidemic and famine. At the beginning of 1637, the year of the Great Pestilence, there were four ministers in Eilenburg. But one abandoned his post for healthier areas and could not be persuaded to return. Pastor Rinkhart officiated at the funerals of the other two. As the only pastor left, he often conducted services for as many as 40 to 50 persons a day - some 4,480 in all. In May of that year, his own wife died. By the end of the year, the refugees had to be buried in trenches without services. Yet living in a world dominated by death, Pastor Rinkart wrote the above prayer for his children to offer to the Lord.)


Praying in pictures and words, offering praise on this, the Lord's Day. Counting...



407.
Pepper, the guinea pig therapist

Don't laugh, but petting a sweet, tiny, furry, little creature
can often bring down the blood pressure
during a tense moment


408.

A REAL snowfall

Teen daughter wiping out, laughing

Frolicking in a decent amount of snow
(for a change),
fun, wholesome, just really good.


409.


Glass musical instrument concert

Enjoying a wonderful Christmas gift as a family.
Glass armonica and other glass instruments play tunes.
A real treat!


410.

Inner artist comes out

Happy for a chance to let out my inner artist,
something that rarely occurs these days,
as I made a sign for a school event


411.

Home made wheat bread

Finding a delicious and easy recipe on line
for a quick loaf of goodness
to go with dinner


412.

All creatures great and small...

Gift of smiles
when I see one of "our" squirrels
enjoying treats from our Halloween pumkin,
digging for seeds
and leaving shells behind


All gifts, great and small, the Lord God gave them all.



Join the joy of the Gratitude Community! See the link in the menu bar at the top.

www.aholyexperience.com.png

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12 February 2011

Give Me Jesus


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Ruth Bell Graham
June 10, 1920 - June 14, 2007



A life

well lived.

For Jesus.



11 February 2011

The Power

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A bite from the dessert of my day. A hard one to swallow, as I have walked this road far too often myself.

Many Christians think stoicism is a good antidote to sensuality.

It isn’t.

It is hopelessly weak and ineffective.

And the reason it fails is that the power of sin comes from its promise of pleasure

and is meant to be defeated by the superior promise of pleasure in God,

not by the power of the human will.

Willpower religion,

when it succeeds,

gets glory for the will.

It produces legalists,

not lovers.


~ John Piper, A God-Entranced View of All Things; The LIfe and Legacy of Jonathan Edwards


How great art Thou, Oh God of all, so merciful, so gracious and relentless in Thy pursuit of our deliverance from sin into Thy inexpressible life-giving joy.
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10 February 2011

Rejoicing in the Thou

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Another bite from the dessert of my day. Chew very, very slowly to taste the sweet and the bitter in these oh so wise words.

This is ... the difference between the joy of the hypocrite,

and the joy of the true saint.

The [hypocrite] rejoices in himself;

self is the first foundation of his joy:

the [true saint] rejoices in God....

True saints have their minds, in the first place,

inexpressibly pleased and delighted

with the sweet ideas of the glorious and amiable [friendly, pleasant] nature

of the things of God.

And this is the spring of all their delights,

and the cream of all their pleasures. ...

But the dependence of the affections of hypocrites is in a contrary order:

they first rejoice ... that they are made so much of by God;

and then on that ground,

he seems

in a sort [in some sort of way],

lovely to them.


~ Jonathan Edwards, quoted in A God-Entranced View of All Things; The LIfe and Legacy of Jonathan Edwards


The first thing I thought of was how many of us Christians worship. Yes, God is personal and pours His blessings of comfort and joy and help and so on.

But do we ever worship Him merely for His greatness? Who He IS?

Is that where our thoughts start, when they wander on their own? His excellencies?

Is that where we take our thoughts when we are troubled? His supremacy? Or merely, our need?

Let's reintroduce these words in our daily vocabulary:

Thou, Thee, Thine

and stay there, linger there, dwell there... first and foremost.
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09 February 2011

Treason Redefined

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A bite from the dessert of my day:

God

is the beginning, the middle, and the end of all things. Nothing exists without his creating it. Nothing stays in being without his sustaining word. Everything has its reason for existing from him. Therefore nothing can be understood apart from him, and all understandings of all things that leave him out are superficial understandings, since they leave out the most important reality in the universe. We can scarcely begin to feel today how God-ignoring we have become, because it is the very air we breathe. This is why I say that Edwards’s God-entranced vision of all things is not only rare but also necessary. If we do not share this vision, we will not consciously join God in the purpose for which he created the universe. And if we do not join God in advancing his aim for the universe, then we waste our lives and oppose our Creator.


~ John Piper, A God-Entranced View of All Things; The LIfe and Legacy of Jonathan Edwards


Wow. Apply that to every facet of your life. How convicting! How life-giving! How humbling.

It brings to mind other words quoted later in that book:

If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.


~ C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory


Join me in asking the Holy Spirit to wash and scrub off the mud... and surge in and through us to over flowing, until it's like trying to drink from a fire hose...

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