Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Questions

Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
Proverbs 22:15

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Crazy Sermon


House on the rock, island of St Marko
Since I read Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love," (read the post here) obedience has been much on my mind.  In the first chapter he challenges readers to imagine how their lives would be different if they took Jesus's words seriously.  So as I read Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount pummeled me.  All day I've been asking myself to imagine that I wanted to obey Jesus' words.  Not make excuses, not explain away the hard sayings but really genuinely try to obey.  It's not going so well.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Trying to Be Nice

The hardest, most rewarding job I've ever had is parenting.  About the time I think I've got a handle on things, my youngest decides that defiance is really fun, and I feel in over my head again.  Of course, I wouldn't trade it for anything.  Watching my oldest learn to read, hearing my son point out all the ways Beaver Cleaver is dishonest, taking pictures of the baby (can I still call her that at 22 months?) with spaghetti all over her face all these are highlights of my day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Crazy Love: A Book Review

God is Love
My friend Rachel Swanson recommended a little book to me at Christmas time, Crazy Love, by Francis Chan.  I socked the name away and when Santa came through with some Barnes and Noble cards, I bought it.  I was almost sorry.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beggars, Sheep and Goats

Begging in Paris (4199679716)
Have you ever had a beggar follow you till you finally reached your hand into your pocket and parted with your change?  This is a situation that Helene and I face  nearly every time we walk outside.  Even though you might not experience the phenomenon on a daily basis like we do, all of us as Christians must decide our personal response to the poor.  Ever since moving abroad, I have struggled with how God would have me deal with this situation.  My recent reading of Proverbs made me readdress this subject in my heart and in my wallet. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hungry Bellies and Hungry Souls

Begging
When I am teaching I like to draw on the board.  So as I tried to work through this mental morass of questions  I drew some circles on the blackboard in my mind.  In the smallest circle was my family.  Inside that limited circle I am obliged to see to the physical and spiritual needs of the members. No questions here.


A larger circle encompasses my brothers and sisters.  Inside this circle the first Christians set the example of selling pieces of land and giving the money to the church leaders to alleviate the needs of the poor (Acts 2:41-47, Acts 4:32-37). In another early church example money was collected by the outer ring of mixed race churches to support the impoverished church in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). Here I start to feel unsettled.  The examples from Acts are far more radical than I see played out in most congregations.  Usually when you start hearing sermons on sacrificial giving there's a new building in the works not a brother in want. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Women of Acts

<< Return
Braet von Überfeldt woman with bible 1866
As I've tried to understand my role as a Christian woman in spreading the gospel, I've looked at all the women mentioned in the New Testament.  Don't get me wrong; I think there are more examples to follow in the Bible than just the women.  However, I don't think it is out of line to look first to those courageous and hard working ladies.  They helped the early church explode in growth; how can I do what they did?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Convicted: A Book Review

When I first read Helene's post last week about apologetics315, I was a little disturbed.  She asked how useful the field of apologetics is in our day to day Christian walk, and the answer she came up  with is "not much."  I was disturbed because I love apologetics.  I love that our God is a God of logic, and that we can come to know him through thought as well as experience.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Heart Like Jonah's


Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn - The Prophet Jonah before the Walls of Nineveh, c. 1655 - Google Art Project
I never really understood Jonah.  Why would he want all the people of Nineveh to be destroyed? I have an academic knowledge of what the Assyrians were like, with their ruthless conquering, but I didn't feel like that was reason enough to want the wrath of God vented on the whole city.  I sneered when Jonah whined at the people's salvation, and I cheered when they repented.  Even now, when I look at the sin around me, I pray for the redemption of the sinner rather than their punishment.  I rejoice to know that Jeffrey Dahmer was baptized before he died.  I wish Adam Lanza had not died because he lost his chance.  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Social Justice

CIA WorldFactBook-Political world
I have recently encountered a perfect storm.  Not super storm Sandy.  Just one of those moments when everywhere I turn people are all talking, writing, commenting on the same topic, forcing me to stop and reconsider it.  

Friday, April 12, 2013

Women in Evangelism: Prayer


Fra Bartolomeo - Woman kneeling in prayer, seen from behind (study for the figure of St Catherine) - Google Art Project
I've found that since we've started this blog, my mind and heart have returned again and again to evangelism.  It's just not possible to read the Bible, to study what it says, without coming back to the notion that one of our primary jobs is to bring the lost to Christ.  I've measured myself against the standard of the Bible and found myself lacking.  Yes, I know that teaching my children is a huge part of evangelism.  However, I don't think that my role as Christian woman stops there.  I'd like for you to join me in my journey of discovery as I try to find my place as a believing lady called to spread the gospel.  I think you'll agree that the best place to start is in the Scripture.  I've taken a look at every time women are mentioned in the New Testament from Acts to Revelation.  Over the next two weeks, we'll study together what these women did to participate in evangelism.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Apologetics and Dishwashing Brain

The Cottages of Freefolk- Life in the Village of Freefolk, Hampshire, England, UK, 1943 D15889
Few jobs can max out my tedious meter faster than doing dishes.  Pick it up, wash it off, rinse it, put it in the drainer, and if you want a fun encore dry the dishes and put them away!  To prevent being transformed into an insipid dishrag myself, I have two effective strategies. Strategy one is make the 11 year old wash them!  Strategy two is to listen to a podcast, audio book or my Bible while I work.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Making Vows


Gustave Dore Jephtha
Have you ever read something and believed that it merited further thought, but the ideas in it were just too horrific for deeper consideration?  Earlier this year I read such a story in Judges 11 concerning a man named Jephthah who makes a rash vow.  I considered writing an article about it at that time, but just couldn't do it.  Recently I was reading Proverbs 20:25 which says, "It is a trap for a man to say rashly, 'It is holy!' And after the vows to make inquiry."  When I read these words, this story came back to haunt me, and I just couldn't let it go this time.  In this blog, I'll first briefly summarize this chapter then discuss how these ideas apply to us.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A Graduate Course In Justice 2

Emblème de la Justice
Months ago, I was visited by a dear sister (read the whole story here). Sad and sick and shuddering with betrayal, she told me a story.  She had been outdone by a coworker for a coveted promotion and by the dirtiest of dirty tricks.  She held within her hand proof of her rival's dishonesty but God's word stands true: "a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just" (Exodus 23:8). We read a Psalm, we prayed, we cried and she continued to work everyday with people she knew to have betrayed her trust and their own honor.

Friday, April 5, 2013

To See Whether These Things Were So

I have a lot of respect for Helene and Jane.  I love the way they both spend time listening to God's word or to other "pure and lovely" things.  Jane listens to the Bible while massaging her son.  Helene listens to biographies of giants in the faith while washing dishes.  Because it has been so helpful for them, I tried listening to a "whatsoever" book the other day while doing housework.  After all, I listen to talk radio from time to time, why not listen to something a little more uplifting?  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

With New Ears

Melissa, Jane and I are very excited to introduce you to an amazing advocate, blogger and mom, Katherine. She writes about her young son, their family life, and Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  You'll find her blog at http://homemadetatertot.blogspot.com

We're guest posting today too as part of a Christian blog sharing event.  You'll find our post at Dene Ward's blog Flightpaths.  If you've never heard of her, let me highly recommend her devotionals.  She is near the top of the list of women-bloggers Melissa and I would like to grow-up and be!  

With no further ado except to warn you to grab a box of kleenex, Katherine's beautiful thoughts on the crucifixion. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Let Me Be A Woman: A Book Review


I know I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but sometimes the title of a book just jumps out at me.  It happened recently when I was trying to find a book to read.  As I was scrolling down the page on amazon.com, the words Let Me Be a Woman grabbed my attention.  As I read the description of the book by Elisabeth Elliot, I knew it would not disappoint. 

Ms. Elliot is a prolific Christian writer and speaker.  Her first husband was killed by South American natives as he tried to reach them with the gospel.  Elisabeth and her young daughter later spent three years living among the same tribe to continue her husband's mission.  Since that time, she has been married twice more, taught at the college level, and written numerous books.  In all of her work, she gives God the glory.  No one can claim that she is a downtrodden female, the "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen" type.  That is one reason I respect her message of accepting the roles God has given to us as women.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Someone Needs What You Have to Say

I am having trouble writing today's blog.  I feel that there is something that needs said, but what is alluding me.  I have started writing several times and nothing seems right today.  I looked back over at Psalms 139 and thought about how even when we feel so lost and alone that God knows us.  In a recent comment related to another Psalms post, Helene pointed out all of the verbs in the Psalm.  I thought about doing this here:  He has searched me, He knows when I do everything, He understands my thoughts, He scrutinizes my path, He is acquainted with my ways, He knows the words on my tongue, He encloses me behind and before, He lays His hand upon me, His hand leads me, His right hand lays hold of me, He formed me, He skillfully wrought me, His eyes have seen even my unformed substance.  I thought about talking about how we are never alone.  He is intimately acquainted with us.  I thought about pointing out how we might feel misunderstood by others, but God knows everything about us.  He knows us even better than we know ourselves.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

Following Jesus: the Conclusion of the Matter

Narrow Path - geograph.org.uk - 1264489
This week I was reading Mark and thinking about the many ways that we follow Jesus, the paths down which he leads us and the surprising twists and turns that path might take. Tripping along past his baptism  and temptation, I tumbled over this rather innocuous sentence: "As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him." (Mark 2:14).