Monday, July 31, 2006

The Beauty of Philippians

Philippians 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
This thought is also expressed in Ephesians:
Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
And in Colossians:
Colossians 3:1-4 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
We have been united in Christ’s death and resurrection as the following passage makes clear:
Romans 6:3-8 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
And we are now in the presence of God. Think about it, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in it, sits before you, what do you say? He is the king of kings and yet what were your actions this morning, were they worthy to be in the presence of God? What about your words, should they have been spoken in front of God? We are in the presence of the holy and just God. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 89:14), would we ever be worthy to stand in His presence? And the answer is, of course….yes! Because we stand, not in own righteousness but in the righteousness of Christ:
Philippians 3:8-11 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Notice the language of the passages that I’ve quoted in this post, these are all things that have happened, we are united with Christ now and we sit in the heavenlies now. No wonder Paul can say with confidence:
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
So, if you struggle, good! That shows that you want to serve a holy God. If you’ve tried and failed, turn to Christ, He lives to make intercession for those who draw near to God through Him (Hebrews 7:25). But rest assured that you are already perfect in Christ, you are already dead to sin. We are hidden and one day, who we are will be revealed. Don’t despair, don’t give up. Even though we struggle, we have hope because we have the knowledge of who we are. Keep reaching for that prize:
Philippians 3:12-16 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
As Paul says, “you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). Keep going, even when it feels impossible because He will complete the work that He began in us, He has promised. Praise be to God that He has made us worthy and that He has given us a citizenship in heaven and that He will reveal it when Jesus returns. Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus.

Prayer Request

One of my readers has asked that I post a prayer request for her:

My niece is 16 years old; she has been very ill sense Saturday at her sisters wedding. My brother just called and they moved her this morning to the ICU unit at Mott's children's Hospital. I ask you fellow bloggers to please be in prayer for her. They thought on Saturday she had a bad bladder infection, on Sunday they thought it was a bad Kidney infection, and today she is having a hard time breathing, and her oxygen level is very low. Please pray that the Doctor's will be able to find out what is causing all of this. Pray for healing.

What a drag it is getting old...

I went from Julie Andrews in my head to Mick Jagger. I couldn't read my Bible in church today. It was too fuzzy to read and this is the Bible with the bigger print. Time for glasses but I'm upset about it. I'm falling apart, getting old. Mick is right, it's a drag. But I'm going to look on the bright side, maybe I'll look smarter and more distinguished with reading glasses.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #8 Favorite Things Theme



Well, the Carnival is up! And boy was that an experience! Not only did I have to do the photo hunt but I had to write my own Carnival entry and that took forever because it must have a hundred links and then I couldn't remember the name of a stupid book I read in seminary and the guy wrote like a thousand books and I couldn't even remember the proper spelling of his name and it took me a good twenty minutes before it dawned on me just to search the Westminster Bookstore. Plus I decided to get fancy and include some new ways to display graphics that I discovered this week (using CSS) but that didn't work the way I wanted, so I had to give up after wasting an hour.

Click on the chicks for the Carnival.

My Favorite Things are Books!!!!!!

Every time I read the title of this theme, I swear I hear Julie Andrews' voice singing in my head:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
Please make it stop!!!

But I think I'll refrain from singing (though singing along to the radio is one of my favorite things to do when I'm driving). I was tempted to do a top ten list of my favorite things but since I did one last week, I refrained from doing one this week. I think I will focus on one thing: books but before I do, I want you to know that my favorite ice cream flavor is Bailey's Irish Cream, my favorite food is a toss up between rib-eye steak, baby back ribs and lobster, ny favorite restaurant is Legal Seafoods, my favorite color is burgundy (though, I look best in black and red according to Samantha), my favorite TV shows are "Veronica Mars" and "Numb3rs" (even though I really don't like math) and my favorite movie is a toss up between "The Terminator," "The Incredibles," "National Treasure," and "The Philadelphia Story." I just thought you should know :-)

Image and video hosting by TinyPicI love books. I love the smell of a bookstore and of new books and the feel of the books in my hand. I love the anticipation of knowing that I'm about to sit down and spend hours inside someone else's head. I'll get to look at life from another perspective. I love it when I walk into the bookstore or the library (or go on Amazon) and discover that my favorite author just published a new book. Especially one that I had been waiting months for.

Reading has been my favorite activity since I can remember. I loved to read romance novels and murder mysteries when I was a teenager. I would spend hours escaping my world and living in another. I also liked to read about Greek mythology and lI oved reading plays. I liked comedies and "Arsenic and Old Lace" and "Midsummers Night Dream" were my favorites. And of course I was forced to read the classics and vaguely remember "Of Mice and Men," "Catcher in the Rye," "Treasure Island" and others. I would spend many hours with my books and would sometimes read until the wee hours of the morning. Setting all kinds of bad habits that I keep regressing into now that I have the summer off :-) Sarah has fallen into her Mommy's bad habits and is up past 2:00 am reading in her room.

I don't read many classics today because my brain is too fried from seminary to read anything but fluff. Occasionally, I will challenge myself like I did last summer and read The Name of the Rose but mostly it's fluff. My favorite genre is murder mysteries and thrillers. I especially love the funny ones like Donna Andrews' computer sleuth and I just started reading James Rollins and like him a lot. I just checked out Black Order from the library and I can't wait to read it. I loved Leslie Silbert's The Intelligencer and P. J. Tracey's books (it's a mother and daughter writing team). And I just saw that their new book is coming out this week, so many books, so little time!

Currently I'm reading comeback which was written by a mother and daughter and it is non-fiction. One of the authors emailed me and asked if I wanted to read it. She thought I might like it because I have daughters and she was right. I will be reviewing it on my blogs when I'm finished. It is a very powerful book filled with the darkness of our world but its also a story about hope and forgiveness and how you can turn your life around, even when you go so far down the wrong pat but mostly it's about a mother's love. I very much identified with the mom in the book and I have been engrossed in it. It is well-written and keeps the readers attention. Since I'm only half done, I can't recommend it yet but if it continues the way that it is, I will.

And of course a seminary student reads a lot of theology books. I can't say this is my favorite type of book because sometimes the writing just makes me nuts. Theologians aren't the best writers in the world. Meredith Kline may be a brilliant man but I didn't have clue what he was talking about when I read Images of the Spirit and it took me two readings to understand Walter Brueggemann's Texts Under Negotiation. I actually read these books all the way through, usually you don't. In seminary you don't usually read the introductory material or maybe you only read a chapter or two. Sometimes it's hard to get the context of the passage you have to read but there isn't too much you can do about it because you may have to read a 1,000 pages over the semester. You learn to stick to what you have to read to get by. There are a couple theologians that I actually like to read, K. Scott Oliphint's The Battle Belongs to the Lord, Sinclair Ferguson's The Holy Spirit is excellent and well worth your time. I highly recommend both these books. Also Herman Bavinck is an excellent writer (he is a favorite of many of the professors at Westminster), read anything of his. Goldsworthy is an excellent writer and if you get his Goldsworthy Trilogy you will thank me (it is dirt cheap, less than $10 :-)

I read commentaries as well. (I better if I'm going to teach the Bible!) I'm currently reading a commentary on Revelation by my hermeneutics' professor, Dr. Poythress The Returning King. This is a link to the actual book on line. Poythress has made a lot of his writing available on line (including his course material). This is a great resource that you should take advantage of since he is a wonderful writer and very kind (except for when he's stabbing a certain seminarian in the heart by giving her a B- *sniff* I'm still upset by that) and godly man.

But of course, my favorite book is the one that I keep coming back to over and over again, the Bible. It's the only book that I can read over and over again and see something new each time. I love the Bible because the author speaks to my heart and helps me to get to know Him. I'm blessed to be able to communicate with God every time I read. How cool is that, the maker of heaven and earth and the creator of all things, is willing to have a conversation with such an insignificant person like me. It is truly amazing.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Funny Blogs?

e-mom at C h r y s a l i s asks:

Can you recommend any blogs that are entertaining and/or funny?
If you know of any funny blogs, go tell her! I already mentioned Shannon and Lauren and Holy Mama. Those are my favorites. Oh and I should have mentioned Tess because she is funny too (e-Mom, you might want to add her to the list)! Tess changed the colors of her template and they are really colorful, a great combination. It reminds me of stuff that you can buy at Target (you know notebooks or bedrooms sets or something).

Saturday's Photo Scavenger Hunt: Animals

I have a picture up at Reformed Chicks Blabbing of a lorikeet from Australia that I took at the Philidelphia Zoo. It's one of my favorite pictures because the colors are so beautiful.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Agreement on Justification?

There is much celebration over a new agreement between the Methodists, Lutherans and the Roman Catholic Church over the doctrine of justification. I haven't read the document but I will make a bold prediction: not one of the groups has moved from their original position. They can't because the Protestant and the Roman Catholic position are mutually exclusive.

Chris Campbell of The Thinking Christian blogged about it and provoked a very loooong discussion thread :-).

tags: theology

Update: ESV Journaling Bible ™

Well, I'm being tempted into buying that ESV Journaling Bible that I mentioned before. Drat the publishers of the ESV and their great marketing techniques! They have a summary on their blog (yes, they have a blog) of some of the bloggers who have liked their Journaling Bible and blogged about it. And they are talking me into buying it. Some want to pass their Bible on to their kids (I thought of that years ago when I was writing in my Kay Arthur Inductive Study Bible -- and no, I didn't use her method, I thought it was too confusing, messy and time-consuming) and Adrian Warnock used his for sermon notes. Now, this is the one that's really tempting me because I was thinking about using it for my Friday morning Bible study at my church. I could put extra notes in the Bible to remind me of something I want to say.

So, don't be surprised if I post that I bought one and I love it.

(Link via Adrian Warnock)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

My Quest for a NJ Driving License

I finally finished editing my post about my visit to the DMV. It took me awhile because Blogger was being a pain about uploading my pictures, plus right when I was going to publish, Susan publishes, so I decided to wait until morning when I edited it one more time.

Today we are off to the dentist, Sarah is getting plastic put on her back teeth and then we will go to the library. Sarah reads books at the speed of light and I constantly have to keep her supplied. She is in a race with her Grandma (my mom) to see who can read the most books, Sarah is at 75! I think that I've finished 5 or 6 (a lot of my seminary reading doesn't count because you have to read the whole book not just parts of it).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

We Went to the Beach Yesterday

We had a good time but it was too windy! I felt like I had been sand-blasted by the time we left. I checked for rain before we left, I think I'll check for wind next time. I had to go to the DMV to renew my driving license (I wrote a post about this that will be published on Reformed Chicks Blabbing tonight) and I decided to go to the one near the beach. We had dinner at the Windmill with my parents and ice cream at the Lighthouse. Then we went to the bookstore. An almost perfect day. Here are some pictures:





Updated to add: make sure you click the top picture because it's a shot of cute little birds. This was as close as I could get before they would fly away. I would have posted more pictures but Blogger has been acting up today and won't let me post. There will be more pictures at Reformed Chicks tonight.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bummer!

I got a B- in hermeneutics! I'm really upset about it and I'm mad at myself for not working harder. I spent too much time setting up the blogs and the blogroll. I'm going to have to do better in the fall.

I did get some good news, I got a B in my Doctrine of Salvation II class (thanks Dr. Tipton). I'm shocked because that was the class I expected the B- (or C, I was really expecting my first C). But my good news has been overshadowed by my bad news (*sniff, *sniff).

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #7 Summer Theme

The Carnival's up. There are some interesting submissions this week. A number of poems about summer and some cute kid stories. Go check it out, click the chicks to get there.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

del.icio.us tags

I have tagged my articles using del.icio.us. The cloud for the tags is in the sidebar. I could refine the tags further and may do so in the future but for now they are pretty general. Just click on a tag and you will go to a listing of my articles on del.icio.us. Eventually, I hope they will all be listed on this blog but for now you can access my content this way.

Saturday's Scavenger Photo Hunt: Action

I forgot to mention that I have my photo hunt picture up at Reformed Chicks. I figured if you could use a verb to describe it, then it constitutes as action :-). I've spent most of my day looking at other action shots. Some very interesting interpretations of action on the photo hunt today.

I'm off to assemble the Carnival and I look forward to reading about how other people are enjoying their summer. I will, over course, post a link tomorrow. I do hope to do some writing tonight but who knows? I am certainly not going to promise anything.

Friday, July 21, 2006

ESV Journaling Bible ™

I want this! I love writing in the margins of my Bible but I never have enough room to write legibly. This could prove to be very helpful but I don't think I will be getting it. I have so many Bibles that I can't see purchasing another one! Besides I'm not reading the ones that I have (I use Bible Works for Bible study).

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Top Ten Reasons I Love Summer

Summer time and the living is easy -- yep, it's a great time of year. It is my favorite time of year even though it is so hot and muggy here in NJ. We aren't as bad as Houston or New Orleans but we are close! And though I spend most of my time sweating through the summer, I love it and look forward to it each winter. The good thing about NJ is that we don't have to wait very long for it :-) Usually it's hot by March.

Why do I love summer? Let me count down the ways:

10 It makes drinking ice tea and water and eating ice cream all the more enjoyable. If it wasn't so hot, ice tea wouldn't taste as refreshing.

9 Taking pictures. I love to take pictures and summer is my favorite time to take them. I take tons of pictures on our vacations. I have two chips for my camera -- 1 gig and 256 mb and I bring along my laptop so that I can upload the shots to make room for more pictures the next day.

8 Strawberry shortcake and ice cream (enough said :-). Plus corn on the cob -- I love corn on the cob. We have the best corn in the world (well, us and Florida). And we have the best tomatoes, there is nothing like a New Jersey tomato, fresh from the garden.

7 Summer movies! I love to go to movies during the summer. Nothing like a cool theater on a hot day. The salty taste of the popcorn and a cool, refreshing soda. Oooh! Anything new playing next week?

6 Day trips! I take my kids to local attractions like:

Bushkills Falls

The Philadelphia Zoo


Princeton

Shopping -- we don't get a chance to go too often during the school year so it's fun to walk around the local malls, have lunch and ice cream and find cheap jewelry.

5 The beach! There is nothing like going to the beach. I love the smell of the ocean, the feel of sand between my toes and the sun on my body. I love to hear the sound of the surf and the sea gulls. I love the taste of the sea water on my lips. I like to bring a book or magazine and just sit in my beach chair under my umbrella (my days of sun bathing are long over) and read and close my eyes and listen to the sound of the surf and the giggling of the children. Maybe take a little nap. And in the late afternoon, I love to sit on my beach chair, after being on the beach all day and listen to the kids playing in the sand and the surf. It is so peaceful and calm. I don't want to get up, it's the only time I don't feel like I should be doing something.

4 We get to vacation in really fun places like:

DC


Niagara Falls


Baltimore


Williamsburg

Charleston (this is Samantha's shot)

Myrtle Beach

Sandy Cove

And Disney World, Maine, Cape Cod, Cape May, Wildwood, and Shenandoah National Park (before my digital camera so no pictures).

3 I don't have to get up every morning to commute to school (both mine and the girls). I get to sleep in and stay up late.

2 I get to spend more time with my kids and doing all the fun things that I listed above. I miss the girls during the school year and I'm grateful for the time that I get to spend with them. We have a lot of fun and my goal over the summer is to always make the summer memorable for them so that they can go back to school and say that they had the best summer ever!

1 No tests!!!!! And yes that is my favorite part, not having to study. Yeah!

Hey! I'm back!

Sorry for the lack of content here for the last couple of days but I've been out of town. I went to Niagara Fall for a couple of days. My husband went on a camping trip, so I took the girls to Niagara Falls. I've never been there and have always wanted to go but never made the trip. I think it would normally be a 7 to 8 hour trip but it took me much longer (I make a lot of stops).

I'm going to blog about it but I want to write my Blogging Chick Carnival entry first. I will put up pictures and stuff later (I hope but I'm really bad about doing that as my long time readers know but I could surprise you, you never know).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Getting Whacked

"When life whacks you so hard your head flies off, sew it back on and keep going."
~ Mary Pierce ~

OK, so when trials come along we should persevere -- keep going despite the hardships. Is that what's going on with this quote. I was thinking along those lines when I first read it but when I saw the context of the quote, I started to think along a different line:
The one enduring lesson of womanhood that Christian author, Mary Pierce, learned from her rag doll, Lulu
When I saw that, I thought about this poor doll getting whacked in the head and then getting it's head sown back on by the child's mother. I thought about what that doll might have been thinking.

"Maybe I'm not cut out to be a child's doll, maybe I'm more of a shelf doll, maybe if my head gets whacked off I'm too delicate for such rough play. Maybe this child needs a sturdier doll made of steel or something."

But of course the doll doesn't get to decide. The doll gets its head sown back on and is ready to be beaten up again and if the head is knocked off, it will just be sown on again. Our life as Christians is like that, don't you think, especially in our service to the Lord. We get our head gets whacked and yet we get back up and go back in the game. Why? Because we know that we have no choice, even when we decide to sit something out, it doesn't work because we are right back in again (maybe doing something different but we are still be knocked around).

Sometimes I want to quit, just give up and sit on the shelf for awhile, be an observer while others do all the work. Sometimes I get so tired; I don't think I can continue. But then something happens and I'm pulled back in again. This last semester is a perfect example. In the fall, when I saw the winter schedule I cried because I knew that I couldn't continue teaching the Bible Study at my church -- I had a scheduling conflict with one of the classes I had to take. I had put so much effort into writing that study over the summer and now I wouldn't get to teach it, someone else would. After awhile I was feeling better about taking a break. The Lord was giving me a break, right? Ha! Has that ever been the case? I was given more work then I have ever been given before, a blog. Not just one blog but three. Not just three blogs but a whole blogroll with over 200 blogs and with all its own problems. Not only did I get whacked around by seminary but by the Internet as well.

You have a thousand pages to read this semister. Whack!
There are too many Christians on the blogroll. Whack!
Christians are stupid and believe wacky things (like writing about poop is a sin). Whack!
Writing about your struggles and told you have a problem with your heart.Whack!

Over and over again getting whacked by both my school and the Internet and every time I think that's it, I'm done, I'm not tough enough to take the criticism, my head is sown back on and I'm back in the game again. Some may read this and think that I'm doing it to myself, I don't have to have a blog, let alone three. I don't need a blogroll. But I know that I'm not. Just like the doll I have no choice. I have to be in the game because I know this where the Lord would have me be.

Getting whacked but keep going because that's what I'm called to do. And the whole time keeping in mind the word of God:
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Very Busy Today

I'm going to be very busy today and won't have time to do the Christian Carnvial again!!! I'm hoping things will settle down by the end of the week. I will post again tonight, I want to post something on the Christian Women Online quote like I did last week. I was thinking about it yesterday and I thought I came up with an interesting angle. You might want to check back tomorrow to see what my angle was :-).

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks # 6

The Carnival is up (thank you, Lord!) I didn't think I was going to make it (there were quite a few late entries). This week we had a dream theme. Click on the chick to get there.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Saturday's Photo Hunt: Doors

I've been very busy today looking at doors, or at least pictures of doors. Today's photo hunt theme was doors. I have a picture of a beautiful cut glass down from a mansion in Charleston, SC. It's up at Reformed Chicks if you are interested in seeing it.

Now, off to do some cleaning. I plan to watch "Serendipity" while I do it. I was going to watch it when first came out but I didn't get a chance to see it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I have a dream

I'm having a hard time with this topic. My dream job is to write Bible studies and have them published and my dream vacation is Australia. My dream car is a Lexus and my dream house is a log cabin (I even know that the blue print would look like). Now, what more can I say? That's it. So, thank you for visiting, good day.

After I realized that I didn't have too much to say about these topics and since I can't remember any of my dreams, I thought about what I do dream about and there is one thing. I think about it quite a lot. I wonder about it and mull it over in my head and contemplate the Scriptures that reference it. I dream about eternity.

I dream about a time when you and I will no longer be separate because of our sin, that we can experience true fellowship the way man was meant to experience it before the fall. That we all can truly be one in the body of Christ and that all who know and love Christ, will be united in worship of Him and in service to Him. A day when there is no war when all of us can live in harmony under the sovereign rein of Christ.

I dream of a day when I will no longer experience pain and ailments, when my mind and body will be free of the sins of this world. When there will be no more crying and when all our tears will be wiped away. A day when death is destroyed forever and there will be no pain and sorrow. A day when I will became like Christ and will finally see this new person that I’ve become.

I dream of a day when I will see Jesus coming down from heaven to redeem His people and He will shine like the sun and we will behold his glory. A day when I will hear the sound of the trumpet and know that He has returned, it is a sound that I am looking forward to hearing.

I dream of the day that Jesus’ vindication is seen by the entire world. A day when all the scoffers will be silenced, a day when His name will be exalted and at His name every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. A day when the Lord's enemies will be made His footstool; a day when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

I dream of a day when I will sing the praises of the Lord forever and in unison with the people of God. Oh what a day that will be!

The Devil Wears Prada

It's really starting to get difficult to take my children to the movies. During the school year, I can never get away from studies long enough to take them, so summer is it. We like to sit in the theater and have popcorn and soda and enjoy a movie together. And it's great to escape from the hot, muggy weather into the coolness of the theater. But we don't get to do it as often as we would like because Hollywood doesn't make enough teenager movies so I'm forced to either take them to see a little kid's movie (of course these are beneath the dignity of a teenager) or an adult movie (there doesn't appear to be anything in between). Samantha still likes the kid's movies but she also wants to see some adult movies as well.

And then there's the peer pressure. What do you do when a Christian mom lets her ten-year old see the movie and another Christian mom lets her fourteen-year old see the movie? I decided to take them to the movie. Sometimes you hold the line and sometimes you give up turf that isn't worth fighting over. I thought The Devil Wears Prada was a good movie to give in to. Anne Hathaway is a cute actress that the girls like and I thought that the premise would be interesting for them to watch. I want them to get an understanding of the business world (even if it is exaggerated, there are still some fundamental truths I can use -- I did the same thing with The Apprentice as well).

The movie was funny and Streep was wonderful. What I loved about her character was that she was incredibly soft spoken and yet looks so cold and arrogant. There was such power in the very fact that she was soft spoken, she didn't have to raise her voice to get her way, she did that with criticisms. She had a lot of power and wasn't afraid to wield it. She was also ruthless and got what she wanted. And it is amazing how she got everyone to do her bidding. I don't want to say too much so I don't ruin the movie for you but the character was a brilliant women who had the ability to manipulate all those around her. And what's amazing is she's portrayed, at times in a sympathetic light. You can almost see her point of view. She just wants people to do their jobs to the best of their ability but in the long run their jobs are just to do her bidding even when it's not in their best interest to do so. In some respects she really does remind you of the classical view of the devil -- manipulating people to do his bidding and thinking it was in their best interest to do so.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I Didn't Even Pray!

So, today I received a shock. Sarah tells me that she wants to learn how to do the laundry. She is going to wash and dry the clothes. Out of the blue, part of my duties have been assumed by my daughter. I think this is interesting in light of my previous post. And she even rearranged the towel closet. She says that she doesn't do enough around the house. Wow, I'm still in shock about this. So, there you go, don't force your kids to do work (except clean their room and put their own clothes away) and they may grow up to actually volunteer to do work on their own.

It is amazing to see the hand of God on people, how He moves their hearts and changes them. To take a teenager and make her think outside herself and think of others. It is awesome to behold.

Quick Answer to Prayer

So, I prayed to the Lord that He get me up earlier in the morning because I was tired of going to bed at 3:00 and waking up at 8:00-9:00 and boy did He do it quickly!!! Here it is 6:30 in the morning and I'm up. Not too bright-eyed but I'm up. And I was up at 5:30 yesterday and can you believe I actually went to bed with things to do. How can you be up at 5:30 and go to bed at 1:30 and still have things left to do? Scary! It used to overwhelm me when I looked at the amount of work that I had to do and the amount of time I had and realized that I could work 24 hours for an entire week and it wouldn't matter, I still wouldn't get it done.

I have all kinds of things I want to blog about, let's see if I actually get to them. I think I'll turn off my email notifier, that might help. I have something for the dream post I have to do for Blogging Chicks, I want to post a review of the movie I took the girls to the other day and of course my poor neglected Samson study. It wouldn't be a posting on my blog with a mention of that :-)

BTW, I temporarily renamed Reformed Chicks Blabbing, Cranky Reformed Chicks Blabbing until my mood improves.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Missed the Carnival Again!

OK, I'm getting pretty mad at myself for not writing this study and I'm starting to panic thinking about the fall. I need to start studying or I'm not going to be ready for my classes and for teaching Revelation. Please pray! I'm going to try to write it today so I can publish it tomorrow. We'll see, I have so much to do today that I might not be on the computer all that much and the rest of the week doesn't look to good.

In other news, I will be writing something about dreams for the Carnival of the Blogging Chicks. That was the result of the poll I put up on the Metablog. I'm not sure what I'm going to write since I haven't been dreaming lately and even if I were, I don't think I can write enough about it to fill an entire post.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Visiting Myself


"Once in a while you have to take a break
and visit yourself ." - Audrey Giorgi

When I first saw this quote I thought that visiting myself implies I went somewhere. Where did I go? Would I return? And then I thought maybe that visiting myself would be like visiting someone after a long absence like visiting my Grandma or an old friend.

As a mother of young children, this would have been a good reminder. I was always very busy with MOPS, BSF, writing Bible Studies and driving my kids to school and to various activities and I never had a lot of "down time," time for "visiting" myself. Now, as a mom of older kids, they don't need me as much, they have their own things to do and so I'm left to do other things. But now, I'm busy with my blogs and my Blogging Chicks blogroll, helping women with their templates, Bible study (writing them), seminary and housework (occasionally :-), that I don't have time to visit myself. Life is so short, why slow down when there is so much to do and so little time to do it in?

But I can see the wisdom in the quote because in all the busyness of my day, I lose myself and just do the next task put in front of me. I have to stop and ask myself sometimes, why am I doing this? Why not take a break and read, why not take a break and go to the movies? But then these things become just one more thing to do. Why not just sit and visit and remember who I am? Ok, I’m not going to get all existential on ya, I promise but sometimes I am not even thinking about me, I’m thinking about doing. I’ve become a doing machine and it wasn’t until I started to think about this quote that I realized it. Maybe now would be a good time to visit with myself and catch up on old times, remembering the good old days, remembering the fun and laughter, tears and disappointments.

Maybe as I visit I can think about how far I’ve come from those days, how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve changed. How God came into my life and turned it upside down and made me rethink my goals, my priorities, the very essence of who I am and what I’m here for, all of that changed and looking back on my life I’m shocked by how different I am now.

I guess visiting myself now means visiting with God. Thinking of me leads me to thinking of Him. I’m reminded of Calvin’s words:
For what man is not disposed to rest in himself? Who, in fact, does not thus rest, so long as he is unknown to himself; that is, so long as he is contented with his own endowments, and unconscious or unmindful of his misery? Every person, therefore, on coming to the knowledge of himself, is not only urged to seek God, but is also led as by the hand to find him.
As I sit here visiting with myself, visiting with God, I keep thinking of this verse:
Psalm 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"
It brings peace to my heart, a calmness. A desire to sit for a spell and watch the world go by while I contemplate the infinite, while I sit and realize that I know God. That He has made Himself known to me. Wow, that’s truly amazing and cause for wonder and really something to think about…. How about pulling up a chair and joining me?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Very Busy Yesterday!

I was helping one of the Blogging Chicks with her blog yesterday. So, very busy -- all day (and into the late night). But if she loves it then it was worth it and if she doesn't, bummer. I'm off to the movies today and then I'm going to work on the Samson study and I have something else that I should be posting tonight or I'm going to be kicking myself if I don't (ooooh, a mystery post :-). I'll tell you all about the movie when I return.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #5



The Carnival of the Blogging Chicks is up. Not too many people submitted entries this week. Maybe we should go to a biweekly format, which works for me -- less work!

Biblical Interpretation: Foundations and Basic Steps

As I have mentioned before, one of the purposes of this blog is to share what I learned in seminary with others. I’ve learned so much that it would take me years to tell you everything and I would have to leave out the Greek and Hebrew because there’s no way I could explain a whole language, let alone two. But there is stuff that I can share in little chunks that might prove helpful to you as you study the word of God. A lot of this will be familiar but I’m going to start slow and build each time I talk about Bible interpretation. Today’s material is a building block that is necessary to move to the next level. I’m not going to assume anything (and if we can spend weeks on this material in seminary then you can stand one or two articles on it).

Today I thought I would share something I learned from my Hermeneutics class. This article is based on a series of lecture notes that my professor, Dr. Vern Poythress gave us. We will be looking at the process of interpreting the Bible. Here are some things to keep in mind as we study God’s word:

1. When we study the Bible, we need to be aware that this is the word of God, He is the author of Scripture and it says exactly what He wants it to say, down to each individual word chosen. The Bible very clearly states that men were moved by the Holy Spirit to write his words, but they are also the author’s words. In some way that the finite mind can’t understand, men were involved in the process of writing the word of God. They wrote what they wanted to write and in the way they wanted to write it but ultimately, God is the author. So we can say that the Bible was written by God through the words of human authors. We see this in the following passages:

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness

2 Peter 1:19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2. The Bible is God-centered. It is about God, He is the central topic. It is the story of God’s redemption throughout the course of human history – it is about redemptive history. It is Christ-centered, it is all about Him. He is central to all that happens in Scripture:
Luke 24:25 And he said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 24:44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures
From this passage we can see that the totality of the Scriptures is in view, not just select prophetic passages. He was the main theme of the Old Testament:
Luke 24:46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
And from other passages:
2 Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

Peter 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me

John 5:46-47 If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?"

John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad."
3. God’s word has come to us in written form, in Greek and Hebrew. He had a purpose in doing that and we should respect that. And since it came to us in Greek and Hebrew, it came to us in a language that had a human culture associated with it, that was also part of the purpose of God. We need to keep this in mind as we study God’s word as well. It was given to a community, it is not just for individuals but all the people of God. We do interpretation in community, private interpretation can be dangerous if not guided by the church.. I am guided by the church throughout history as I’m guided by the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Catechisms. They help me from straying away from orthodoxy into error.

4. Which leads us to the next point which is we should be aware that we approach Bible study with presuppositions. We all have them and the most dangerous person is the one who says that he can put his presupposition aside when he reads the Bible. Sorry but it can’t be done. We bring our experiences, our knowledge of God and His word, the theology of our church, pastor, teachers and others to the Bible each time we try to interpret it. Coming to the Bible with a fresh slate is not even desirable because we need to look at the Scriptures from the light of other passages and from our knowledge of God and the purpose of the Bible. We would not understand Matthew without an understanding of the Old Testament and we would miss so much of what John wrote without an understanding of Isaiah and other books of the Old Testament.

5. Reading the Bible should be done in a similar way to reading any book but keeping in mind that it’s not like any other book because it is the very word of God. Many people will read a passage, think about the meaning and think about how it applies to them and then they go on about their day. But the Bible was never meant to be read in this manner, it is a story with a beginning a middle and an end. It starts in Genesis and goes all the way to Revelation. Reading from beginning to end helps you understand the whole story.

When you read a novel from the beginning, you don’t know what’s going to happen, things might not make sense, there are clues there but you miss them because you don’t know what’s going to happen next. And then you reach the ending and all those things fall into place, they make sense. This is a first reading of the book, getting to understand the basic structure and plot. A second reading helps you to see the things you missed in the first reading. You can understand each part of the book in light of the whole book. In the same way, we should read the Bible to understand the intent of the author, God, in writing this book. In the first reading we get familiar with the characters and the plotline as its revealed and then in a second reading we see the parts in light of the whole, how the story of Genesis fits in with the story of redemptive history. We understand the story of David in light of redemptive history and so on. A third reading helps us to understand the author’s view is different from our own, we aren’t thinking the same way and a fourth reading helps us to start adjusting our thinking to the author.

6. The Bible is meant to transform us, we should be different from our reading. We should understand that interpretation is not an academic exercise but it’s a way for us to learn about God and about us and what is expected of us as His people. We should understand that the goal of our Bible study is to learn to serve God:
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Now that we have the foundation laid, let’s take the first baby step in interpretation.

According to Poythress there are three obstacles to interpretation:

Ignorance
2 Kings 22:13 "Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us."
Misunderstanding
2 Peter 3:16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.
Inaction
James 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
The way to overcome these obstacles is the following:

Ignorance is overcome by observation – what does the text say?
Misunderstanding is overcome by interpretation – what does the text mean?
Inaction is overcome by application – how does the text change us?

For each text that we read we can ask ourselves these three questions. This will help us to focus our attention on the passage and allow us to understand what we need to know.

From Poythress notes:
Oservation
Note each work, each phrase and each arrangement of words in to sentences.
Ask who, what , when, where, how:
When and where did this happen?
Who is mentioned?
What are they doing?
Ask all kinds of questions, particularly, “What does this word mean, and what does it contribute to the passage?”
Answer questions whose answer is obvious.
Interpretation
Answer questions raised under “Observation.”
Unpack any obscurities.
Note how the parts reinforce and qualify one another.
Make interferences about general principles embodied in the passage.
Draw conclusions about the main points and overall structure of the passage.
Application
Ask and answer questions about what you should believe or do on the basis of the passage.
Do what you have seen you should do.
This has been pretty basic stuff. If you are doing this stuff already, good keep up the good work and do it for Revelation 1:1-8. If you haven’t, now is the time to start. Write out your observations and your answers to the questions and it can be very helpful to lay them out in a column form.

Now, don’t be afraid that it’s Revelation. The passage that you are starting with is very easy to interpret and you shouldn’t have any problems. I think if you try to study the Bible this way, you will be more successful than just reading it straight through and not questioning the text, you will get more out of it. You will be more engaged with the text. And you will get a clearer understanding of the word of God so that you can serve Him better.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I will be posting for the Carnival tonight

I will be posting something for the Blogging Chicks Carnival tonight. I am going to post something in preparation for studying Revelation. I know that I have another post on Samson that I need to do, I plan to post that tomorrow (Lord willing and I keep my focus like I did today). Tonight I plan to post something on the foundations of biblical interpretation for the Carnival and the methodology that I write about will be a spring board into a study of Revelation. So if you are interested in studying Revelation, I will start the process tonight!

No Garfield!

So, no Garfield movie last night. They only have one showing of it a day in the afternoon and that's it, nothing at night. So, after dinner Doug and Sarah went to see the Pirates movie and Samantha and I stopped to buy her the new Leroy and Stitch to make up for missing the movie. It wound up costing less than the cost of the two of us seeing the movie (with popcorn and such).

If I was home early, why didn't I post something for the Carnival you might ask. Well, I was going to but I was asked to help solve a template problem and I find it easier to solve template problems than to write. My mind has decided to stop working and it's hard to write when that happens.

Let's see what happens today. I do live in hope.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Movies Tonight

I'm going to see the new Garfield movie tonight. I would rather see The Devil Wears Prada but I have a 10 year old and I don't think she would like that movie (she might but she isn't going to get the chance to find out ;-). Mommy's don't usually get to pick the movies they want to see (at least in this house). We are going to do the same thing we did a couple weeks ago but in reverse. Sarah will see The Pirates of the Caribbean 2 with her dad and I'm going to see Garfield with Samantha.

So, that means I better produce something today for the Carnival of the Blogging Chicks or I'm going to have to try to write something on the same day that I assemble the Carnival and participate in the Saturday photo hunt.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Samantha is discovering the joys of IM

I haven't mentioned on this blog that we bought Sarah a laptop for her 8th grade graduation present. She had one of our very old computers and it was slower than a pen and paper but at least she could do IM. We gave her old computer to Samantha.

We were originally going to buy two laptops, one for Sarah for graduation and one of Doug for Father's Day but it got complicated so we only bought one. We got a pretty good deal on Sarah's, under $600. Doug decided that it was probably better not to get one after all. But I knew that he really wanted one so I decided to see if I could find a good deal for his computer as well and I found another laptop at a different store for under $600. A Toshiba that was similar to mine. He loved it and Sarah loved her's and Samantha was happy to get her Daddy's old computer.

But since everyone had laptops she felt a little left out until yesterday when she discovered the joys of IM and that she was able to talk to her friend for hours at a time over the Internet. Her friend explained the computer lingo (you know -- lol, brb, ttfn). After her friend got off the computer, she tried to talk her father and me into IMing her but there is no way I'm putting IM on this computer, it's bad enough that I get instant messaged on gmail. I wouldn't mind it so much except that they keep turning out the be meant for another Michele. I can't believe I'm getting wrong Michele IM's -- very ego deflating, no one wants to talk to me (*sniff, *sniff).

Anyway, I digress. So, Samantha is trying to talk someone into IMing here so I force her sister to do it for a while, but then she gets bored with that and decides to watch a movie instead. So, tonight I suggest that she call her grandma who lives in SC and IM her. Now she's on the Internet with her Grandma, her sister, and their cousin Michael and she is loving it.

So, I guess we are either the biggest bunch of nerds or harbingers of the things to come. Whatever it is, I'm glad Samantha is enjoying it.

Prayer for my husband's back

My husband hurt his back on Sunday. He slept on it wrong and then he spent the day on his feet at church (he had usher duties, he's a deacon). It's starting to lessen but it still hurts and he is supposed to take the kids camping this weekend. Please pray that he will be able to go to work tomorrow and take the kids camping. Plus, he as a big camping trip with his brothers next week.

Updated to add: my husband got the date wrong, he won't be taking the kids camping tomorrow.

What does it mean to be Presbyterian?

There is a new book out that helps to answer that question. It was written by a WTS Ph.D. graduate and associate professor of church history at Covenant Theological Seminary and is meant to be a popular treatment of the distinctives of Presbyterianism. I think I'm going to get a copy for my daughters since I think it's important for them to know why we are Presbyterians. This is also a great resource for a new members class. You might want to mention it to your pastor. Click the graphic to go to the WTS Bookstore to order a copy.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A New Metablog



The Blogging Chicks Blogroll Metablog is finally done! It took me forever but I'm done and now I'm happy with it and will rest from redesigning my blogs for a little while (I hope, anyway). I used a Gecko & Fly template again since they are so easy to work with. They write their templates in such a simple, straightforward manner. And they have an interesting blog, as well.

In other news, as you can see I did not finish the Samson study in time for the Christian Carnival. Oh well, I started it and will continue writing it and submit it early. I will devote my day to this blog tomorrow and get some content up here. I want to write something for the Carnival of the Blogging Chicks and post it early so I'm not writing and assembling a Carnival all in the same night.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th of July!


I reflect on freedom and the responsibility and cost of freedom over at Reformed Chicks Blabbing. I reflected on the fact that man's nature is to yearn for freedom. As a Calvinist I understand that man desires no ruler but himself. That he does not want to submit to the government or to God. Man's basic nature is autonomy and it takes an act of God to change that.

I know that's pretty meaty stuff for a day of fun and hot dogs and apple pie. Actually, I'm having shrimp, cheeseburgers, tiramisu and my mom's potato salad. Her secret ingredient is mustard and pickle juice. I was going to make a Apple-Blackberry buckle but I couldn't find any at the grocery store last night. I decided to buy shrimp to give my mom a treat but she probably won't like them because they won't have old bay seasoning. Her taste buds have been spoiled, I can't stand the stuff. Maybe I'll suggest that she bring her seasoning with her and then she will be happy with them.

I look forward to seeing my daughters, I haven't seen them since Thursday. Too long!! Sarah called me Grandma on the phone last night, she forgot she had a mommy :-( See? Too long!!! I'm sure they had fun though and got to spend time with their Grandparents and their Aunt Maggie and Uncle Tom.

Well, I've got cleaning to do, I must prepare to celebrate my freedom by cleaning the bathroom and the doing laundry. Freedom from tyranny but not the tyranny of the dirty house.

I hope you enjoy your 4th and to my international readers, have a great day.

BTW, I hope that I will be able to post something for the Christian Carnival tonight and I will be blogging about my DC vacation on Wednesday. It's a long post but it's filled with great shots of my vacation.

Monday, July 03, 2006

A Thank You!

Thank you to that single person who elected to say that I was a favorite at Technorati. I really does mean a lot to me. Also, I wanted to say thanks to those of you who subscribe to my site feed. I'm thankful for your vote of confidence that I might actual post something here worth reading :-)

Taking a break (but not from blogging :-)

I decided to take a break from Blogging Chicks business for a couple days. I'm posting a poll on the Metablog but I don't think I'll be adding women to the blogroll for a couple days. I'm getting a little burned out from the blogroll and want to turn my attention to posting. I plan on posting the final installment of my Samson study and to post something on the second day of my DC trip. Plus I have cleaning for my 4th of July celebration. My parents are coming over (they're bringing my daughters back) and I plan to bbq.

Also, I've been reading a book I started on my DC trip and I wanted to finish it. It was a murder mystery series that I started last year. It's pretty good but I'm a little embarrassed to admit reading it. The main character is a soap opera producer. I don't even watch soap operas but it's a pretty decent series. It's not a great work of literature but it's great to read on the Metro train in DC, I got halfway through it reading it on our commute. I think I would get a lot of reading done if I had to commute to work each day in DC :-) For those who may be interested in this genre, the book is Love You Madly by Linda Palmer. This is the third book in the series.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

They're making me do all kinds of hard work (whine, whine)

I really like having the Cluster Maps. I like seeing where everyone is coming from and I like to see when little dots grow into bigger dots. People from the Middle East are reading Reformed Chicks Blabbing (I think they might be military). When I first got it, I didn't have to do anything but create an account and install the code. Now, since Reformed Chicks has hit 10,000, it can't do it's job anymore and I have to do something and I'm not sure what it is. They don't want to update the site daily because at 10,000 blah, blah, blah (anyway that's what I think it said :-). I thought they were telling me that it would update weekly but it hasn't updated since June 22. So now I have to figure out what the heck I'm supposed to do to make it update again. All I want to do is blog, not mess with sidebar bling.

Carnival of the Blogging Chicks #4



The Carnival is up! I forgot to put a link up this morning because I was busy rewriting my entry for the Carnival. I'm still not that happy with it but I hope people get the general idea.

The Hollowness of Education

My Carnival submission is up over at Reformed Chicks Blabbing. I wrote about the implications of removing God from our schools.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Saturday's Photo Scavenger Hunt: Automobiles

I don't take pictures of cars, in fact I make sure that there aren't any cars in any of my pictures when I'm taking pictures. So, participating this week in the photo hunt was tough. But I did it. Go check out the photo.

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