Friday, June 30, 2006

Pet Peeves

It has been hot lately, and heat seems to bring out my pet peeves. Here are a few that have bothered me lately.

1. People who place their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle, and then sigh dramatically and jerk it out of the way when they see me trying to manuever around their cart. Or worse, totally ignore the fact that people are trying to get by.

2. People who let their children run, scream, and throw items on the floor in stores.

3. People who place those sanitary tissue seat covers on the toilet seat, and then don't throw them away, or worse, don't bother to flush the toilet.

4. People who spell Arminian, Armenian, instead of Arminian. Think Arminius, not the country of Armenia.

5. When I am in a hurry, I hit every red light through town.

6. The amount of commercials on the television remind me why I gave up television for so many years. Plus, the fact that television viewing has crept back into my life.

I can think of more, but I must get to work. Have a good day.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Beauty of Gods Holiness

Post by guest blogger, the hubster, Bruce.

The Bible shows the primary place in the life of the believer is seeking and adoring the loveliness of God's holiness. I was thinking that this is something that is largely overlooked or even lost among contemporary Christians. What caused me to hunger more for this in my own life was a reading of Jonathan Edwards Religious Affections . I came across this portion of an essay (see if this will not cause a greater desire for God's holiness, like it did for me).

The Scriptures represent the saints on earth as adoring God primarily for His holiness.They admire and extol all His attributes,seeing the loveliness of His holiness. Thus, when they praise God for His power,HIS Holiness is the beauty which motivates them."Oh sing to the Lord a new song,for He has done marvelous things:His right hand and His holy arm has gotten Him the victory"(Psalm 98:1)Likewise they praise Him for His justice and awful majesty(Psalm 99:2,3,5,8,9). They praise God for His mercy and faithfulness. "light is sown for the righteous,and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord,you righteous;and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness "(Psalm 97:11,12). "There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside you; neither is there any rock like our God" (1Samuel 2:2).

The test of affections, particularly love and joy, lies in whether or not holiness is the foundation of the affections. This is the difference between true saints and natural men. Natural men have no sense or taste of the goodness and excellence of holy things. It is wholly hidden from them. But the saints, by the mighty power of God, have discovered it. It captivates their hearts and delights them above all things. By this, you may examine your love to God and to Jesus Christ and to His Word, and your joy in them, and your love also to the people of God, and your desires after heaven. This is the real test.

Natural men may see the great power and awful majesty of God. Circumstances forces them to do so. It is said that when Christ comes "in the glory of His Father,every eye shall see Him." Then they will cry for the mountains to fall upon them and hide them from the face of Him who sits upon the throne"(Isaiah 2:10,19,21). God has often declared that it is his immutable purpose to make all his enemies know Him in this way, saying, "they shall know that I am the Lord"( Numbers 14:21).

The saints, like natural men, will see the greatness of God. But it will affect them differently. Instead of being terrified they will rejoice and praise God. They see the beauty of holiness, not terror.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Beautiful Day at Tahoe

The goose that nipped my toe when I was sleeping is now heading for my husband's toe.

We took a nature walk and ended up at Balancing Rock. Cool huh.

We came across these beautiful cliffs on our walk.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Art Show...God's Show

I was part of a group of artists at an art opening at the local museum (the May Gallery) last evening, where I work.

It was ten or so artists interpreting the Great Basin and Sierra's and is called Wilderness Realized. It was a great time....but none of the art compared to God's creation. We left around 8:30 and the sky was gorgeous.

Raincloud Sunset

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Spurgeon: Avoid Slander, Censure Sin

Spreading slander emits a threefold poison, for it injures the teller, the hearer, and the person about whom the slander is spread. whether the report is true or false, we are by this precept of God's Word forbidden to spread it. The reputations of the Lord's people should be very precious in our sight, and we should consider it shameful to help the devil to dishonor the church and the name of the Lord. Some tongues need a bridle rather than a spur. Many feel happy and satisfied in putting down others, as if, in doing so, they raised themselves up. Noah's wise sons cast a mantle over their father, and he who exposed him earned a fearful curse. One of these dark days, we, too, may require tolerance and silence from others, so let's give it cheerfully to those who require it now. Let this be our family rule, and our personal agreement -SLANDER NO ONE.

The Holy Spirit, however, permits us to censure sin, and prescribes the way in which we are to do it. It must be done by rebuking our brother to his face, not by railing behind his back. This course is manly, brotherly, Christlike, and under God's blessing will be useful. Does the flesh shrink from it? Then we must lay the greater stress upon our conscience, and keep ourselves to the work, lest by allowing sin in our friend we become ourselves participants in it. Hundreds have been saved from gross sins by the timely, wise, affectionate warnings of faithful ministers and friends. Our Lord Jesus has set us a gracious example of how to deal with erring friends in His warning given to Peter, the prayer with which He preceded it, and the gentle way in which He bore with Peter's boastful denial that he needed such a caution.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tahoe Beaches This Year

Last year this was Bruce and my favorite beach. It is now under about three feet of water. We had a tough year of lots of snow, but coming on the heels of seven years of drought, we can only rejoice. Last summer, we sat on our secluded beach and watched otters surreptiously try to steal our food. I am sure they wanted a change from the crawdads and such they usually eat. We will miss our beach, but am thankful for all the water.

On another note, please notice the mountains still have snow in this picture of Bruce with his new Pyro shirt.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Whitefield's Letter to Wesley: Confronting Error in Love and Truth

This is going to be a long post. It has been heavy on my heart recently, that in standing fast in the truth, words in the blogosphere have become very strident, and personal attacks more frequent. As a reformed believer, I know what a wretch I am without the grace of God. I was thinking of the letter that George Whitefield sent to John Wesley when he realized that Wesley was seriously straying into error. The gravity, honesty, and yet humble attitude that George Whitefield exhibited is exemplory. He spoke the truth boldly and was heavily burdened in his heart, but in his desire to glorify God in his life, was able to distinquish between taking a doctrinal stand and love and affection for his brother in Christ. I will insert some quotes by Iain Murray and include the letter from Phil Johnson's Spurgeon Archive here. Read the whole article and letter. It is excellent.

Initially Murray writes that Whitefield was very reluctant to dispute on the issues and that his heart was broken over the division. He approached the issue in humility and respect.

On Whitefield's departure from England in August 1739, Wesley immediately published this sermon. Entitled "Free Grace," it professed to be founded upon Romans 8:32, and was printed as a 12 mo. pamphlet in 24 pages. Annexed to it was a hymn by Charles Wesley on Universal Redemption. It was this sermon which occasioned Whitefield's reply here reprinted. But it is interesting to note that although Wesley's sermon was published in August 1739, Whitefield's reply is dated December 24, 1740, and was not published till early 1741. The reasons for this delay are probably as follows: (1) By the correspondence[7] which passed between Whitefield and Wesley in 1740 it is evident that Whitefield longed to avoid an open breach and still hoped that his friend might be brought to a clearer understanding of the truth. Such sentences as the following are typical of Whitefield's attitude: "How would the cause of our common Master suffer by our raising disputes about particular points of doctrines!" . . . "For Christ's sake, let us not be divided amongst ourselves" . . . "Avoid all disputation. Do not oblige me to preach against you; I had rather die . . ." (2) It is evident that while on his second visit to America, Whitefield developed stronger views on the issues which this controversy involved. Before he left England in August 1739, he had been satisfied to counsel "silence" on these doctrines and they were not at that time conspicuous in his preaching. As late as March 1740, he wrote to Wesley: "Provoke me to it as much as you please, I intend not to enter the lists of controversy with you on the points wherein we differ . . ." But before the year had ended Whitefield went back on this decision, the reason apparently being that he had come to see the seriousness of these questions in a new light. He could thus remain silent no longer.

Murray concludes his article with this distinction that Whitefield and Wesley were divided on doctrinal issues until Whitefield's death, but that they were able to separate their doctrinal differences with their affection for each other.

Some evangelical writers have sought to minimize the division between Whitefield and Wesley by referring to their "minor differences." An impression is given that Whitefield abandoned the strong conviction he had about Arminianism in 1741; in proof of this we are referred to the fact that in 1742 their personal friendship was in measure resumed and that ultimately Wesley even preached Whitefield's funeral sermon. But all this is misleading. The truth is that Whitefield rightly made a distinction between a difference in judgement and a difference in affection; it was in the former sense that he differed from the Wesleys, and that difference was such that, as Tyerman writes, it "led them to build separate chapels, form separate societies, and pursue, to the end of life, separate lines of action . . . the gulf between Wesley and Whitefield was immense."[9] But while their public cooperation was thus seriously disturbed, his personal affection for the Wesleys as Christians was preserved to the last.[10] In this respect Whitefield teaches us a needful lesson. Doctrinal differences between believers should never lead to personal antagonism. Error must be opposed even when held by fellow members of Christ, but if that opposition cannot co-exist with a true love for all saints and a longing for their spiritual prosperity then it does not glorify God nor promote the edification of the Church

I hope and pray that this is taken to heart, and we examine ourselves to find ourselves approved by God in all manner of speech and holding fast to the truth.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Eagle Falls and Emerald Bay at Tahoe

Emerald Bay

Bruce and Tree

Candy and Tree

Eagle Falls

After a fantastic sermon about delighting in the sabbath, and a wonderful time of worshipping the Lord in song and word, my husband and I drove up to Lake Tahoe. We decided to go to Emerald Bay which is one of the most photographed spots at Lake Tahoe. We wanted to check out Eagle Falls, because waterfalls in the west are amazing this year due to a great abundance of snow this past winter and spring.

We hiked down a steep road to the bay, had a picnic and then hiked up to see Eagle Falls. Tahoe also has some second growth trees that are pretty big, as you can see in the photos. The photo doesn't do Eagle Falls justice, as the falls in real life look much more impressive. I'm so glad summer is here. Time to get in shape.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Building up the Body of Christ

I know we are supposed to confront error in the Church, and expose heresy, but I have been a bit concerned about methods and tone that we as bloggers have developed towards other Christians. I was reading Colossians today and came across some scriptures that I studied a bit using footnotes from my Bible.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering: bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which also you were called in one body and be thankful. Col. 3:8-15

Lately the blog has (rightly) been up in arms about coarse language in fellow Christians. In confronting the matter, many voices have been raised and concern shown for the laxity and permissiveness the Church is falling into. pursuing holiness and right living, sometimes the stridency in tone is perhaps as harmful as the bad language being railed against. I looked up some synonyms for malice, since it is listed along with coarse language, and anger. Some synonyms are as follows: A desire to harm others or to see others suffer: despitefulness, ill will, malevolence, maliciousness, malignancy, malignity, meanness, nastiness, poisonousness, spite, spitefulness, venomousness, viciousness.

Some of these synonyms look a little bit like some of the comments posted on various blogs. I don't think anyone would say (rightfully) that they desire harm towards another Christian, but in confronting someone, do any of these words apply for the way the confrontation is stated?

What follows are from the footnotes of my Geneva Study Bible, and perhaps we need to look at these definitions and consider carefully how we relate with each other in the Body of Christ. We are accountable for our words, and our heart attitudes. Especially check out humility, meekness, and longsuffering.

Tender mercies: An emotional, caring relationship with those whose lives are hurt and broken.

Kindness: Readiness to do good even when it may be undeserved.

Humility: A posture of lowliness and servanthood.

Meekness: Or, "gentleness" in offering help, a non-coercive approach to encouraging change in others' lives.

Longsuffering: Willingness to take the long view in the face of human frailty.

The peace of God: in its practice of love, forgiveness, and graciousness, the Christian community is to be a showcase of the reconciliation and peace Christ has brought between heaven and earth, and within a fractured humanity.

Along with the controversies in the Christian blogosphere, are questions about the bloggers responsibility to communicate in a manner that brings glory to God, and growth to the Church. A good dose of humor sprinkled throughout is also refreshing, but again, let us examine ourselves in order to find ourselves approved in the sight of God that we might build up the Body of Christ and not tear it down.

Ahhh! Spring!

I thought I would add my garden pictures to the mix of bloggers who are reveling in Spring and their gardens.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Care of our Elderly

My husband and I have been married two years in just a couple of days. The first year was very blessed with lots of time together. Recently my husband and I have made a decision that will totally effect our lives. After being very convicted hearing various sermons addressing the issue, my husband and I have decided to have my mother move in with us. Now most people might respond what? What's the big deal? Well, you all have not met my mother.

My mother is very eccentric. She is very, very intelligent. She is loud and boisterous (well, not so much anymore as she is frail). she has always had the loudest laugh, and the most cynicism towards God I have ever experienced. She is highly political and knows just what buttons to push with me. She mentions how Buddha is so wonderful, and how many gods the Egyptians had, and how abortion is so wonderful now that women don't have to go in dark alleys to get an abortion. she smoked pot with my brother, me and all our friends when we were young. She let me hitchhike to Berkeley when I was 16.

She is also an alcoholic. She smokes incessantly.

She can't drink in our home (maybe just a thimble full one night a week) or smoke inside. We are hoping that we can be a testimony of the love of God. We are hoping for her salvation.

It will be such a challenge for me. I am a solitary kinda person. I paint and read in a quiet home. I sit in the garden watching birds and clouds. My husband and I read and compare notes on theology and the Word of God. My grandkids run around and flush things down the toilet. They find rolly pollys outside in the rocks.

My mother is in the beginning stages of dementia. She tells the same stories over and over within a few minutes of each other. It is worse when she drinks.

To be honest....I am scared about changing our lives to fit my mother in. I have had many tough years and sorta wanted a peaceful life. I cannot push away the convictions in my heart that God wants to do a work with my mother, and my husband and I are best suited to take her in, as opposed to my brothers and sisters. I keep hearing in sermons that I need to take care of my parents. To honor them. It will all happen in a month. I know that God in his sovereignty will work in me especially. I have become a bit selfish since my kids have grown up. Please don't rock the boat of me doing what I want. God in his wisdom puts people in our lives to challenge our sense of self.

I also think about the different stages of life. We start out with dependence upon others to meet our needs, change our diapers, teach us. We grow up and become all knowing in some respects. We move on to become elderly and once again dependent upon others for our needs. Just like people choose abortion to rid themselves of a "lifestyle impediment" so we rid ourselves of the elderly, tucking them into nursing homes away from us.

I read about homeschool moms raising kids, and listen to my twenty-some son share his angst ridden thoughts, talk with my thirty something daughter about changes coming her way, empathize with my daugher who has four kids. I have experienced all of these seasons and have been thankful for the passing of time and the wonderful adults that my children have become.

My mom increasingly lives her younger life in her thoughts, shares the same stories over and over, is incontinent, and wants me to do more and more for her. Maybe someday I will even be changing diapers again. It will be an interesting challenging time,but if I can see my mother softening towards God, then it is worth it. We know it is God's sovereignty that she move in. It is the right thing to do.

I Won a Pyromaniacs Shirt!

a bona fod Pie row shirt

I won my first contest. Not just any contest mind you. I won a Pyro shirt from the indomitable Frank Turk over at Pyromaniacs. I be stylin'. You can buy yours here.