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White Civil Rights
:: Sunday, October 30, 2005 ::
Prophets and Kings, Obedience and Sacrifice
:: Thursday, September 15, 2005 ::
Our pastor said something profound in his sermon today when he preached from 1 Samuel chapter 13. He said that he's noticed that when modernist"scholars" and Hollywood writers talk about historical Bible texts, they almost always side with Israel's kings than with Israel's prophets. Isn't it interesting that Christ accused Israel of killing the prophets? And isn't the reason why the Jews wanted Christ put to death is because he wasn't the "king" they expected? To obey is truly better than sacrifice. Anyone can make sacrifices. Pagan cultures do it all the time. Only the Holy Spirit can change the heart so that we want to obey.
Good job on the superb sermon, Pastor. May your beautiful tribe increase to burgeoning for one thousand generations.
:: Mal du siecle 1:19 PM |
:: Tuesday, July 19, 2005 ::
We've made a lot of friends at church and are fellowshipping more regularly now. A very kind woman has offered her washer and dryer to me whenever I need it so I don't have to put quarters in the machines here. So, once a week I pretty much hang out at her place while the loads get done. It takes all day, not so much because of the clothes, but because we'll get deep into a conversation and it will be awhile before I get downstairs in the basement to get another going. Our conversations are so uplifting! So, what I do is wait until the boys (usually the wee one) comes to her with a scrape or a tattle tale, which he gets admonished for of course. She's a consummate disciplinarian. And as the scriptures promise in Proverbs, the children give her rest. I've been around children who don't give their parents rest, and it's so unpleasant. I was one such child!
The weather's getting cooler now, and autumn, although not officially here, is in the air. I love that subtle nippy feeling, growing stronger until it's a huge bite that requires bundling up. There's something neat about warm and cold together in the right context. It's the same with going to bed at night. In the wintertime, the most comfortable bedding involves warm sheets and layers of quilts with a fresh, cold pillow.
They say it snowed here last Thanksgiving, and I'd love to see it that early this year!
:: Mal du siecle 6:12 PM |
Taking a Break to Work on a Few Other Disciplines
:: Monday, July 11, 2005 ::
I'll try to blog when I can, but right now I'm immersing myself in quite a few things in addition to writing. I'll be back now and then.
:: Mal du siecle 8:37 AM |
:: Saturday, July 09, 2005 ::
It was a long time before I understood the redemptive nature of the Sunday sabbath. We rest on our justification by faith alone as our common work stops; and we concentrate on the works of worship, mercy, charity and necessity. The Sabbath reminds us that we are not machines. We're not cogs in a wheel. We are moving toward a new creation.
Monday's are a symbol of our sanctification... of the work we do because we're saved. We don't groan about Monday's because they are symbols of our freedom to obey God in Christ. Monday's should be the beginnings of fruit-bearing. Bearing fruit in what? Anything we need to work on - homemaking, being a more godly wife/mother, going to scripture instead of our emotions, disciplining our inner drives. Make these things a daily practice, and the Sabbath will be even more of a blessing. We will be better for our practice of it and enjoy it all the more.
:: Mal du siecle 4:37 AM |
Saturday Morning Post
:: Thursday, July 07, 2005 ::
I haven't joined a gym here yet, but the apartment complex we manage has a pool, so I think I'm going to go for a swim today. The summers here are hot and humid, but I love the hot rain from the occasional thunderstorms we have here. In the Southern CA desert, the summer sun is hot and bright day after day to the tune of third degree temperatures.
Le sushi de jeudi il c'etait tres magnifique!
:: Mal du siecle 6:25 AM |
First Kansas City Sushi
:: Friday, July 01, 2005 ::
I've had the grocery store kind here, but that really doesn't count. I remember my very first taste of sushi being from Safeway, and I wasn't impressed. But when a restaurant opened up in the tiny Northern CA community we lived in, I had tako (octopus) and CA Maki and I was instantly hooked.
Anyway, Bill and I are going out to sushi tonight with a couple of friends. I've been warned about the quality of the seafood in the Midwest. However, I love sushi so much I'm willing to take my chances.
Time for the green and black elixer! Can't wait!
:: Mal du siecle 2:15 PM |
Conquering Irritability, a Critical and Judgmental Spirit, and Gossip
:: Tuesday, June 28, 2005 ::
That's too many things to think about, much less work on in one day! That's what I thought as I wrote finished that title and looked at it. Seems as though looking at the scripture about moving mountains being possible is in order. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome these sins, no matter what our personal circumstances are, or what our hormones are doing. We have not because we ask not.
We can all think of a scenario: Someone irritates us - our husbands, in-laws, children, a person in line at the store. Even if we don't say anything, oftentimes angry words start to form in our minds, and these words quickly become sentences which can form some pretty putrid ideas. Next thing we know, we're talking to someone else about the irritation. All too often, the summary of all this irritability is, "I'm too good to have experienced this irritation! I don't do that, and I am so much better than or superior to him/her."
Let's ask ourselves the following questions and answer them:
Are we really too good to experience an irritation?
Who are we to despise any type of trial? We are told repeatedly in scripture that we will experience trials and are to count them as blessings and steps toward our sanctification. As Christians, we need to put on the humility of Christ and really get it through our thick, arrogant, prideful skulls that the Christian life is about trials. God has ordained this irritant for your brain to sanctify it. Take the thought captive! Put on the armor (Christ's Lordship) and get ready for God's sanctification right now. If you're feeling arrogant and prideful, put it off and put on Christ's humility which is yours as a gift! If we can't handle a little irritation from people every now and then (and I do mean every) how are we going to handle really huge trials? Trials reveal our character, they don't build it.
Have we really never irritated a person in a similiar manner?
Okay, so maybe we're the quiet, introverted type who doesn't say everything that's on our minds and embarrass people. We just think those things that extroverts say. Sometimes the things I think are every bit as colorfully distasteful if not more, as things others say outloud. And even if no one hears it, God does. How offended do you think He is? Do we even care? I know I spend so much prayer time just asking God to give me a heart to care about others more, because a lot of times I really don't care! A lot of times, I have Jonah's attitude, and really would prefer that a lot of pagans just went to hell. And when it comes to other brothers and sisters, I just prefer to love them from a distance, praying they'll get it together sooner or later, and become reformed, wise and godly like me!!! (Yuck) It seems we spend so much of our lives caring more about what man thinks (us included!) than about what God has already told us in His Word.
Perhaps we're irritated because someone always talks about themselves or they are constantly complaining about what's wrong with the world. Think really hard about the things that get on your nerves about people. A lot if not most of the irritation we feel comes from our own sin, strangely similiar to the behavior that most annoys us. We do those things (perhaps in different ways) and it's just easier to judge others and think ourselves better than deal with our own sin. Because then we can't say we're better.
So, are we better? Superior?
No, we are not. The Christian life is all about putting ourselves beneath others. Under Christ, we are all each other's servants. No wonder so many people hated Christ and hate Christianity! How contrary to human nature can a religion get? Who wants to go to school and get a good education, all so he can grow up to be a slave?
All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.
We all know that scripture for evangelizing, but how often do we counsel ourselves with it - I mean, really do some serious self-discipline, complete with prayer, confession and repentance. Are you some sort of sinless being that is too good to be sinned against (that is if the person irritating you is really sinning!) Think about the blasphemy of such an idea, then think about it the next time you just want to jump out of your skin because someone is getting on your last nerve. As Christians, we constantly complain about secular humanism and man's desire to be God. Theologically we may know we can't be, but what about emotionally? Our irritation followed by a critical, judgmental spirit and possible gossip that results is just another type of humanism.
I wonder how much less humanism there would be in our culture if you and I made a daily, hourly, minute by minute practice of putting off our emotional humanism and put on Christ?
:: Mal du siecle 6:00 AM |
:: Saturday, June 18, 2005 ::
I realize that fasting isn't the best option for many people for various reasons; however, eating small portions along with fasting for 1-2 hours a few times a day really helps me to control my appetite by the time the next mealtime rolls around.
Our hunger and fullness signals can really get messed up. When we feel the first hint of a hunger pang, we are tempted to eat, and a lot of times we don't stop until we're stuffed. Or we get "hunger/thirst confusion" where we pop something in our mouth because we're dehydrated. So I drink plenty of water. And what I try to do is continue work or projects when the first hunger signals come, and then wait until I'm really hungry to eat. And then I a small portion of a meal. This way, I'm more aware of a fullness sensation. I like this method because I don't have to worry about fat free foods, carbs, calories, fat grams, etc. I'm eating what I want and what I need, but I'm eating less of it. And if I overeat at a potluck, party, whatever, I just get back on track with the next hunger pangs and small portions.
These ideas come from Gwen Shamblin's Weigh Down Workshop that our church in Northern CA was involved in the late nineties. And it was before her bad theology was exposed. However messed up her doctrine is, the basic hunger and fullness principles in her program are a great standard for weight control- at least for me. God has given us hunger and fullness signals to be used for His glory and not our own. The fact that we obtain satisfaction from eating is also His gift. And because all things are His, He makes the rules.
Fasting does encourage bingeing in some people, so again, it isn't for everyone. Some people need to eat every two hours or so; however the small portions rule should still help with weightloss. And some people do better cutting carbs, eating lowfat foods, or eliminating certain foods. As far as exercise goes, I control my weight at my age a lot better with moderate exercise than with the strenuous type, which just makes me hungrier. If you've found something that's healthy and that works for weight control, great! The important thing is to honor the Lord in our eating and drinking, and practice obedience to Him with our appetites. And if we fail, we have an Advocate with the Father in heaven, and we can start over again. The important thing is to not give up and keep practicing self-control!
:: Mal du siecle 6:14 AM |
:: Saturday, June 11, 2005 ::
I know a lot of people don't like to be told to lighten up. I'm one of them. Can't they see how serious "fill in the blank" is?
I'm experimenting, trying to tell myself to lighten up when I'm being unnecessarily critical, with the hopes that other people will say it less to me. I think of all the counseling and discipline issues that come up in the Church that wouldn't, if only the person listened to the Holy Spirit speaking through His Word. I'm not talking about God speaking to people in some sort of gnostic way, telling them what they want to hear sort of thing. I'm talking about going to the Word of God and being willing to repent of the legalism or antinomianism in our hearts that keeps us in bondage.
We were in Sunday school the other morning, and the teacher quoted from G.I. Williamson who said that it's a sin to bind your own conscience for or against something that the scriptures do not bind us to. However, if we're weak in a certain area, that's where we're weak, and we need time to grow. God will grow us through His Word over time. We also need to extend that same mercy to other saints. A constant repenting of known sins will straighten things out over time.
There are as many reasons Christians have for practicing certain things or abstaining from certain things as there are Christians. The Bible tells us that we have to be able to do something in faith, or it is sin. And it says we are not to judge a weaker brother. However, the weaker brother is also encouraged to accept the stronger. There are so many issues out there that we have to wrestle with as Christians, and while this can be very productive to our faith, we have to guard against this becoming destructive as well.
We need to read God's Word and accept discipline from the Holy Spirit. We know deep down inside when we're taking advantage of our liberties or when we are binding our consciences unnecessarily. I've certainly found that I like hearing "Lighten up!" from myself than I do from other people!
:: Mal du siecle 1:33 PM |
Weeping with Those who Weep and
:: Tuesday, June 07, 2005 ::
Rejoicing with Those who Rejoice: Conquering "Mudpie" Emotions
Some say that it's easier to weep with those who weep than it is to rejoice with those who rejoice. Perhaps people with that perspective think the latter is always accompanied by covetousness, and that ever-present sin in our lives makes that command difficult. I think that any command of the Lord can be difficult for us, because God's holy nature runs so contrary to our own sinful one.
I think one good thing to remember when the time comes to obey both commands is:
Don't be ruled by your emotions. Don't wait to communicate rejoicing or weeping until you "feel happy for so and so" or until you "feel sympathetic or empathetic". Even though we know our emotions shouldn't rule us as women, we need to be aware of our vulnerability to them, and it's imperative that we actively and continually keep our emotions checked by God's Law-Word. Don't fall into the pit of thinking that you will be a hypocrite if you do something contrary to what you feel. That's a favorite trick of Satan's in my own life. A very logical little voice will say, "Well, at least you're not being hypocritical." When you hear that little voice, say the scripture in your mind, or repeat it out loud if you have to in order to silence this type of very real spiritual attack. Christ used God's Law-Word to silence the Enemy, and the same power of God's Holy Spirit has been given to us for our sanctification. Obey God's Word. Once we do, God often rewards us with emotional peace and satisfaction that comes from obedience. And that's always better than feeling "the right way" beforehand! Don't settle for the bottom of the barrel in the "emotion" category! To use C.S. Lewis' illustration of the child playing with mudpies on the beach, believing that is the best he can get, don't settle for mudpie emotions when God has allowed you entrance into His Cheesecake Factory! Calorie-free of course!
As Christians, we can say, "That's great! I'm so happy for you" or "I'm truly sorry about your loss and I'm praying for you" regardless of how we feel, and the reason is this: We have Christ's righteousness, and in His life of perfect obedience, He was content and joyful. In His life of perfect obedience, He was truly compassionate. We don't need to wait for the "right feelings" to come. Because even if they do, they are wrought with all types of sinful motives, coming from wicked hearts we cannot know.
What is so beautiful to me is, not only do we have an escape hatch in Christ's righteous covering, He sympathizes with our weaknesses, having been tempted in every way we are. He's not just some elusive God who has no idea what we have to go through. He weeps with us! And He rejoices when wonderful things happen to us. Of course He does! He is the One who gave us these things, and He rejoices in His own Works.
And because of Christ, the ability to weep and rejoice in righteousness are now ours as well.
:: Mal du siecle 5:45 AM |
Writing Exercise #7
:: Friday, June 03, 2005 ::
"Today explore silence. This may take the form of describing the absence of sound, writing down memories and images you associate with silence, or reworking a piece of writing on the page, being mindful of the silences between words, lines, and sections."
I've always been fascinated by the way people from other people see our American culture. We Americans, for the most part, are extremely uncomfortable with silence, namely in conversation. When someone we are eating or walking with stops talking, we feel an irresistible urge to say something. Japanese people comment on this characteristic of ours a lot. They don't mind periods of silence in conversation, and even prefer them.
I have to admit that I like to have sermonaudio, a CD or a DVD on when I'm doing things around the apartment. It just feels strange to be busy without some kind of noise. However, we need to learn to enjoy the quietness of life and practice being content during these times. Prayer is good for practicing the experience of silence. A close friend of ours pauses between requests in her prayers. And when she gives her last request, she pauses before saying, "I ask these things in Jesus' Name, Amen." It's good before starting a prayer to pause and take a couple of breaths instead of just rushing before the throne. Yes, it's a place that has been opened for us, but we need to have a certain awe. This requires silence as we contemplate what an awesome privilege it is to be accepted by so utterly Holy a God. As the hymn says, "God is in His temple; all on earth keep silent."
Silence is reverent. It is polite, and silence helps us to speak better when it is time to
:: Mal du siecle 3:36 PM |
From Total Depravity to Glorification
:: Wednesday, June 01, 2005 ::
Even though the doctrine of Total Depravity is offensive to many Christians in our day of "rugged individualism" and the Arminian doctrine of "God helps those who help themselves", it's so much more beautiful to know that I have been called forth from death, than simply healed from a sickness, as taught by the doctrine of Semi-Pelagianism. Healings from sickness, cuts, bruises and colds happen all the time. Of course, this is also the work of the Lord, but when we realize that it is He who calls us forth to make us alive, and in addition to healing our sicknesses, loving Him means so much more. I think about why He would even want to change my heart from that of stone hardened against Him to one of flesh for His service. We should ponder this miracle of our regeneration continually, especially in a generation that is constantly looking for a sign.
I read Joni Eareckson Tada's biography for the first time the other day. I've read some of her later works, but for some reason I never read her first book. I guess it was because I wanted to avoid reading about the tragedy of her accident and subsequent quadriplegia. I was a young girl myself and didn't want to have to think about the fragility of my own body. So, I avoided it. At the time, I also didn't understand the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, and its incorruptibility. I had a gnostic idea that our bodies are prisons of our souls, and that in heaven we'll be floating around like ghosts. Of course I didn't want to read it. That philosophy makes doing anything depressing.
God's promises are just too much for my tiny brain. We are actually going to get new bodies! Incorruptible flesh. Wholeness through and through. We can't imagine that kind of wholeness anymore than a baby in the womb can imagine having an adult sculpted, athletic body. I always remind my mother as she ages with so much difficulty that her body will be made anew. And as I get more wrinkles and gray hair whether I want to or not, I have to remind myself that we won't have gray hair in heaven. If we do, it will be pure silver, maybe. Won't it be nice to not have any more colds or flu? No more wheelchairs? No more mosquito bites? No more scars? No more tummy aches? I mean, the fact that there won't be the presence of sin is amazing enough, but God just keeps giving more gifts. Salvation = health. That is the meaning of the word, salvation. If salvation doesn't mean health, it means nothing. Thank you, Lord, for our health, indeed, our salvation.
:: Mal du siecle 5:20 AM |
Debating and Modesty
:: Tuesday, May 31, 2005 ::
This is probably going to sound a lot like my post about women's writing, but I think this is a little more serious of an issue.
When I first became reformed, I freely debated and argued with men concerning theological issues. I was proud of the knowledge I had gained over time and felt that I could take anyone on, simply because I had studied a certain subject.
I feel differently now. While I don't mind debating theologically with another woman to a certain extent, I stay away from debating with men. In my opinion, it's something akin to a woman competing with men in the sports arena. It just isn't ladylike, it looks ridiculous and it makes both sexes look bad. Now, let me qualify by saying that I think it's a wonderful thing to discuss theology with men. We are supposed to sharpen one another, and such discussions have blessed me greatly. I just believe that women need to let men debate with men. If a man seems interested in debating a lady, she should refer him to her husband, father, pastor or elders. She should not debate with him.
I got into a discussion recently with an gentleman regarding the sufficiency of Christ in the psalms. He disagreed with me that the Psalms present a complete Christology necessary for the public worship of God. I simply said, "Well, that's the way I see it." And the discussion was closed. There was a time when I would have taken this guy on until I was sure I had converted him to my opinion!
Anyhow, my husband was in the room and took over the conversation anyway. Many women would have been deeply offended, but I was thankful. I'm thankful that I'm married to a man who protects me, even in terms of speech.
:: Mal du siecle 1:47 PM |
In Praise of the Homeworking Woman!
:: Saturday, May 28, 2005 ::
With all our modern talk of liberation, women fail to realize that the homeworking wife is actually the only liberated female! She is her own boss during the same nine or ten hours of the day that other women are doing what their supervisors say. She can make her own schedule, run her own budget, and dress as she likes, without having to meet company standards. A homeworking wife is generally free to pursue her own interests to a reasonable extent, whereas the "working wife" can't very well read a book she enjoys during working hours. A homeworker serves her "customers" directly instead of pushing paper or pushing buttons, and recieves tangible rewards daily for her labors. ("Yum! This cake is delicious, Mommy!") ~ Mary Pride, "The Way Home: Beyond Feminism Back to Reality"
:: Mal du siecle 2:22 PM |
:: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 ::
From the exercise: "Today concentrate on driving forces. Identify the forces that drive you to write."
If you ask people what the word, "inspiration" means to them, you'll get various answers. I think the word, "inspiration" is overused much of the time, sort of like the word, "love". Those who don't know God will attribute inspiration to gods whose eyes cannot see and whose mouths make no sound. I'm not saying that it is wrong to say that a certain person has inspired us, but we need to understand that if they have, it's only because the Holy Spirit has allowed them to. And if it is truly inspiring, it will agree with the original inspiration - God's Law-Word.
Inspiration meant a whole different thing to me when I started studying G.I. Williamson's Shorter Catechism with Questions. He explained that the etymology of the word is the Greek word for "breath", and the context was God's inspired Word. Every word in the Bible is God's Word to us. What an amazing thing, yet true as it is amazing.
Inspiration is God's work alone, because it is God that gives life. It is God who breathed life into Adam, making him a living being, and it is God who says, "Live" to those He has chosen for Himself.
It goes without saying that describing "inspiration" can be very elusive. I think it was Henry Thoreau who asked something like this: "With all of your science, can you tell when light floods the soul?"
Forgetting about Thoreau's theology for a moment, let's stop and think about the question being asked. I have often heard saints express their fears that they really aren't saved because they don't remember a salvation "experience". Some are so burdened that they will attend worship services that are "experience" oriented.
I can remember crying at 11 years old when I heard the gospel preached in an Assembly of God church in central California. However, I'm not sure if that was an indication of regeneration. I prefer to use this analogy: You don't have to remember your birthdate to know you are alive. When God speaks to me in His Word, a Person is speaking to me with logic, precision and accuracy. When I grieve God, it's no different than if Jesus were looking at me as He looked at Peter at a certain point in history after the cock crowed. I have offended a real Person, because a real Person with real laws loves me, takes care of me and rules over me and all things. And when I am drawn by God to repent, I am reconciled with a Person - a person with breath being breathed into me, inspiring me to become like Jesus.
There are moments in my days when I jump up to write something, bake something with an interesting ingredient, call a friend, or play something on the piano. Somewhere between primary (God ordaining it from eternity) and secondary (my decision in time) causality is inspiration. There's a little spark that makes me spring to my feet, laugh, cry... whatever. I guess it's sort of electric. Our bodies are full of electricity, and being that we are physical beings, that's the only way to describe it - at least for me. It must be this way for others, or the lightbulb picture above a person that is so popular would not ring so true. We describe inspiration with chills, shivers, a feeling of warmth... something that makes us realize that Someone is doing something in us. And if we're born again, it is God using all events in our lives to make us holier.
:: Mal du siecle 9:25 AM |
:: Saturday, May 21, 2005 ::
You Are What You Wear
From "Room to Write": "Concentrate on clothes today. Take a character shopping on your page. Or, recall in detail clothing that you love or despise. Or, start with the word clothes or clothing and see where it takes you. Or, write a short piece about a striking piece of clothing that you own."
Clothing: Looking Beyond the Bodice Into the Heart (Read Ezekiel 16:1-14 Before Reading!)
God is so gracious to clothe us. I love clothes! I love shopping at the mall and at thrift stores. I recently purchased a pretty, purple silk blouse at one thrift store for $4.00. And when I took it home, I noticed that the original price tag said $196.00!
Like anything else, clothing can be an idol, and we have to guard our hearts. When we are tempted to compete with other women, attract men, or complain on Sunday morning because
there's "nothing to wear to church", let us remember our fallen condition that makes clothing necessary in the first place. Whether it's a pretty black dress from Nordstrom, or old comfortable jeans from the Salvation Army, it is our sin nature that makes that silk or cotton mandatory. We can admire all the beautiful colors, textures and cuts of clothing, thanking the Lord for the wisdom he has given to fashion designers (within reason!) The creation is not evil. However, it's important to not worship clothing.
I know I have to fight the clothing idol constantly. What helps me is to read frequently about the Fall, and God's clothing of Adam and Eve. Remember the Fall and your redemption! In Revelation 2:5, the text says, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen. Repent and do the first works". You need clothing because you are a sinner, deserving of death. Your clothes come from Christ, and they are His. It's important to remember that God defines our clothes with the humility of death. An animal died, signifying our coming redemption, and our flesh is being mortified.
So, when you're enjoying that huge shopping spree, or buying cotton shirts at Target of Wal-Mart, remember that your sin nature is being put to death. Get those thoughts out of your mind about how much better and more beautiful smaller boned, more shapely, shorter, taller, larger or thinner other women look, or how you wish your breasts were just a tad bigger or smaller. Cut out the complaints about what doesn't fit right. Replace these thoughts with thanking God for the body He gave you - the body you have right now. And thank Him for covering you! He doesn't have to, you know, and He didn't have to do it redemptively either. He could have left you a dying, naked and humiliated baby girl, lying in the clothing of your own blood.
:: Mal du siecle 8:22 AM |
I'll be posting exercise #4 on Monday.
:: Thursday, May 19, 2005 ::
Today is just one of those Saturday Stuff days... chores, errands, miscellaneous things that don't get done the rest of the week. Have a super weekend and enjoy Sunday worship! :)
:: Mal du siecle 7:13 AM |
Writing Exercise #4
:: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 ::
"Putting out the Welcome Mat"
From the exercise: "What entices you? How do you like to enter a new environment or get to know someone? Today write about what attracts you and makes you feel welcome; are they the same for you?"
I think this is a great exercise, since we've just moved to Kansas City from California, and we're getting to know new people. I also think it's a good exercise for Reformed Christians, since we have an unfortunately well-earned reputation for being people who are difficult to get to know, at least at first. And if we aren't that way ourselves, we know Reformed Christians who are.
I have to admit that I'm a difficult person to get to know. I'm very serious, and many people have accused me of being sad or mad when I'm simply just pensive. I'm one of those people who are always told, "SMILE!" I think I'm like a lot of Reformed Christians, who aren't necessarily unfriendly, but are insecure and cautious in new social situations. We don't want to say anything inappropriate or stupid, we don't want people to experience the same level of discomfort or embarrassment that we do; and underneath the shell of our elusive, intellectual, ducks- in- a- row exterior, exists soft tender flesh that wants to be loved, just like anyone else. We may not look like we are needy or that we want to be approached, but we do! So, in case anyone was interested, that's our secret.
People in our new church are very friendly as far as greetings and small talk, but it's taking some time to get to know them more deeply. I understand completely, because it takes time to get to know me. I can't get angry or impatient with my brothers and sisters, because I am them. I own their averted eyes, pursed lip smiles, feelings of caution and fear.
The Word of God tells us that a wise man chooses his friends carefully; and while I think many of us do, sometimes we can be overly cautious and miss out on some great fellowship. Obviously not all friendships are going to be the same. Friends are like shoes. Some we wear constantly and can't imagine not having, and others are worn every now and again. There are "every now and then" high heel friends, hobby and activity running shoes friends and cuddly constant loafer friends.
Are You a Hospital?
I remember our pastor preaching a sermon on hospitality recently. He spoke of having a small living space, and not feeling as though you can really practice hospitality. He mentioned that the cross was the ultimate expression of hospitality. It was service and sacrifice. While you may not have enough room in an apartment or a rented room, you can smile at a newcomer, invite a lonely friend over for sandwiches and coffee, ask a harried, anxious mom if you can pray together. We can give of ourselves. We don't have to always feed people. Sometimes people need a place to sleep. I love offering our bedroom to a mom with a sleepy child or baby. It's a privilege. And I enjoy the simplicity of a friend offering me a glass of water or asking me if they can help in the kitchen or carry in the groceries. I feel welcomed by smiles, hugs and simple, everyday conversation. And I try to extend the same, keeping in mind that hospitality is in our hearts and shown through our hands and feet, as we give to one another, and walk, carrying each other's burdens.
:: Mal du siecle 4:17 PM |
Writing Exercise #3
From Bonni Goldberg regarding instructions for this exercise: "Today write about what you hunger for. If this seems daunting, start with a simple desire, such as a craving for chocolate or sushi, and then move on to experiences that either feed or intensify your hunger."
Burn for Burn
I like the fact that the author juxtaposed chocolate and sushi, because these are definitely two things I associate together. There was a mall in Escondido CA that Bill and I used to go to all the time for my birthday and Valentine's Day, and attached to the mall was a pretty elaborate sushi buffet restaurant. It was more expensive than your everyday buffet, but cheaper than a Japanese sushi bar and steakhouse. There were even waitresses greeting patrons with the customary "irasshaimase" or "welcome". After we ate, we'd go up the escalator into the mall and go to the Godiva chocolate store and Bill would buy me some chocolate.
I associate any kind of hunger or craving with burning... not painful burning, but a good kind of burn that you get from a good physical workout. Our stomachs burn from HCL when we're hungry, letting us know it's time to refuel. Even chocolate burns my mouth and throat when it goes down sometimes... not digestively, but culinarily. It's hard to explain, but it's a really wonderfully strange sensation. And I have to have wasabi with sushi, because I postitively love the burn of it mixed with the saltiness of soy sauce. When I crave sushi, chocolate, Chinese hot mustard with sweet and sour sauce, veggies with redwine vinegrette, mongolian barbeque or medium mexican salsa, I always want the burn of the craving to be answered by the burn of taste. I just can't believe all these flavors the Lord has made for us to enjoy. His genius literally blows my mind.
Even the dull, groggy headache that calls for coffee in the morning or in the lull of the afternoon is a sort of burn that I want to be answered by the burn of caffeine rushing through me. Even if I'm alone and I have that first sip of pure, strong Kansas City Roasterie Red Eye, I shake my head in a shivery way and say, "Good Morning!!!"
And when I crave a workout, I'm burning with a desire to stretch, move, run... something! They say that exercise is a nutrient, and that's true. My body demands it, and in return there's the burn that lets me know that I'm getting the results I want.
We burn for anything we love and need. However, because we're sinners, these good burns can turn into idolatry, and we need to take our burns captive to God's Law-Word. We have to guard our minds and be sure we are not burning in a sinful way. It's one thing to burn for food when the body calls for it, or burn for an appropriate activity at an appropriate time or in a correct context. It's another thing to burn and want satisfaction without God's boundaries. When we burn for something (or someone) in a way God's Law-Word forbids, we need to ask Him to answer that burn with His standard and replace our sin with a burn for righteousness, a love for His Law-Word, and a proper love for His creation. If we are burning with lust, unbiblical anger, bitterness, gluttony or debauchery, it may feel satisfying for a time, but it will eventually end in burning hell if gone unchecked by God's intervention. God is faithful and will show us how to burn with love for Him so we don't have to burn the other way. And the burn of a righteous heart is more satisfying than anything, since that is how God meant for us to burn!
If we love Christ, we burn. And it doesn't matter whether we are eating, watching a movie, doing a craft, writing, enjoying physical ministry to our husbands, or shopping. At the forefront, there should be a desire to feel God's pleasure. As Christians, we burn for His Holy Spirit to comfort us. We burn for God's Word and we burn as a part of the creation that yearns for the New Heavens and the New Earth. And that burn is answered with more fire as we are warmed by the flame of God's love, the love of His People and the knowledge that we are Christ's forever.
:: Mal du siecle 1:09 PM |
Writing Exercise # 2
:: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 ::
The exercise is two posts down, being that it posted on the date that I started it rather than today.
:: Mal du siecle 8:38 AM |
I'll be posting Writing Exercise #2 soon.
:: Monday, May 16, 2005 ::
One of the things I like about blogging is the ability to save a bunch of drafts... little snippets of stuff that I plan on turning into something solid... something I like. I admit I edit a lot, and many of the exercises encourage free writing, where you don't pick up the pen or stop typing. That's a challenge for me, because I'm so obsessive compulsive about my writing. Admitedly, that writing exercise helps creative ideas to flow more easily and helps one to pick out little treasures that pop up so the writer can turn them into other ideas.
One thing that has kept me from blogging in the past is wondering why anyone would want to read what I have to write, especially if it's ordinary pants- on- one- leg- at- a- time stuff. And ironically, one thing that has helped me blog is reading those blogs of other people who at some time have most likely wondered the same thing. I love reading my friends' simple entries about work, children, spiritual growth, struggles in life, laundry, pets, crafts and projects, vacations, etc. It's those simple, everyday entries that have encouraged me every bit as much as the articles other dear friends have written. So thank you all for encouraging me in so many ways!
I'm such a serious, fuddy-duddy type person, and I need to relax and have fun with writing, because it truly is fun, just as it's fun to grab coffee in the morning and make my rounds with the mouse to see the latest things my friends have written.
So, if I may employ a simile, writing is like cleaning your house. You're always more concerned about yours than anyone else is.
:: Mal du siecle 6:25 PM |
Writing Exercise #2
:: Sunday, May 15, 2005 ::
"Memory is Imagination"
"Begin with the phrase, 'I remember' and start writing. It doesn't matter whether you stick with one memory or list several."
1. I remember having pneumonia, bronchitis and chicken pox when I was little and watching way too many sitcom reruns and thrillers.
2. I remember snow on our wedding day in a town where it only snows every ten years.
3. I remember hot summer nights outside with the neighborhood kids, playing and laughing until we were all called in.
4. I remember being three and referring to the 1 year old boy named Teddy who lived next door as my boyfriend.
5. I remember babysitting for the first time at the age of 11 for a lady with two boys who lived across the street. My mom was home in case I needed her, but I remember feeling so incredibly grown up.
6. I remember lining all my dolls and stuffed animals up on the sofa, playing school with them and yelling at them when they got the "answers" wrong.
7. I remember being two and biting the head off my cousin's rubber turtle and him crying about it.
8. I remember visiting my great aunt and uncle at their home in the hills of El Cerrito, CA and seeing it for the last time for my aunt's wake shortly after Bill and I got married.
9. I remember learning Spanish at age 19 and how fun and exciting it was to learn more and more of the language with each passing day until I achieved fluency.
10.I remember my dad teaching me to play chess at age 3.
11.I remember understanding the gospel at age 11, crying during the sermon and thanking the pastor for his preaching.
12.I remember being in seventh grade and teaching a first grade boy named John to read in a junior high/elementary school tutoring program.
13.I remember #12 being my only positive memory of 7th grade.
14.I remember how cliquish, gossipy and catty the other 7th grade girls were.
15.I remember wearing green eye shadow in 6th grade and the other girls teasing me. The next time I wore it was in college, and everytime I put on makeup I think of that green eyeshadow incident and smile in the mirror. Sometimes I kiss the mirror and wipe the lipstick off in a few hours.
13.I remember being premillennial and dispensationalist as a young person and constantly being afraid the rapture would come, and I'd be left behind because of some sin in my life. I remember coming home several times, finding no one home and panicking a little. I also remember praying to God the night before a test; and instead of praying to do well, asking Him to make the rapture happen so I wouldn't have to deal with it. Of course, it didn't help that I had a poster of a chimpanzee at a desk with writing above him that said, "If I die before I wake, that's one less test I have to take".
14.I remember getting braces in the eighth grade and being so happy when I had them removed a year and a half later.
15.I remember baking banana bread with a friend as a reconciliation gift for the annoying neighbors next door, and us putting whole grapes in the batter.
16.I remember being so glad when I got to highschool and saw girls who were taller than me.
17.I remember being around 2 or 3 and being terrified of a mechanical lion in the window of Mott's Toy Store in Oakland, CA. My parents said I screamed in terror even if we drove by the store. My mother would say, "Just look at him straight in the eye and say, 'I'm not afraid of you, Lion!'"
18.I remember also being around that same age and being afraid of a stuffed, white cat in my bedroom. I have no idea on earth why it freaked me out, but it did.
19.I remember traveling in an airplane for the first time at 29 and it being one of the most exhilarating things I'd ever experienced.
20.I remember drivers training classes in highschool, and our Driver's Ed teacher, Mr. Richardson tapping the break on the passenger's side to the beat of the music on the radio.
:: Mal du siecle 1:52 PM |
Writing Exercise #1
:: Saturday, May 14, 2005 ::
"When is it Clean?"
This is the name of a writing exercise from the book, Room to Write, by Bonni Goldberg. It's not the first exercise in the book, but I'm starting with this one. I'm going to be using a lot of this book's exercises when I blog, just to avoid the excuse, "Well, I just don't have anything to write about today". These writing exercises are also something that can help others who are looking for something to write about. I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this question; but if you'd rather not talk about cleaning, I certainly understand!
As women, we think a lot about our homes and how they look. They are, after all, extensions and expressions of us and our families. Our homes tell people what colors, textures, odors, flavors, foliage, food, and artistic themes we like, where we've traveled, what type of media we enjoy, what philosophies are important to us, and the subjects that interest us. I've always been fascinated by and felt a certain sentimentality about the particular odor of a home of people we've known through the years - mixtures of soaps, fabric softeners, a woman's or man's favorite perfume or aftershave, spices, coffee, sweet clean baby scents, etc. I remember fondly one little girl who loved the scent of her dad's undershirts when he held her. Our homes, whether they be mansions, tiny apartments or a rented rooms, are as unique as we are. And they have to be cleaned.
As Christians we are fortunate that we can draw parallels between the continuous cleaning of our homes to the continuous sanctification of our souls by the Holy Spirit. How many times have we inwardly or outwardly complained about another pile of dishes, laundry, another dirty diaper, microwave, messy bedroom or garage? And how many times have we groaned at having to confess the same besetting sin to our brother and the Lord? Will we ever get it right? Is there ever going to be a time when we won't have to clean anymore? Will there ever be a time when we don't sin in this way anymore and are free from the process? The answer of course, is Yes. We will be confirmed in grace when we go to heaven, saved to sin no more, and our heavenly mansions won't need pine-sol, garbage bags, a fabric softener ball, or odor eaters.
So when is it clean?
*For me, it's clean when it smells nice. I love orange-scented furniture polish, pine-sol, and the lemony scent of the dishwasher soap while the machine is running. I love the smell of warm, fresh laundry - as comforting to the nose as a warm, freshly baked casserole or dessert is to the palate. When clothes come out of the dryer, it's just like having new clothes.
*Bill likes vacuum lines on the carpet. He feels a sense of satisfaction when he comes home and sees those lines!
*Of course, it's clean when it squeaks, whether it's the floors, the mirrors, the glass cabinet in the dining room, or my hair.
*Clean doesn't necessarily mean uncluttered all the time. A certain amount of clutter says, "This home is busy, active, friendly and happy."
*It's clean when I walk into the room and feel a general sense of satisfaction... that there's some improvement... that my home truly reflects Christ. It doesn't have to look like our neighbors' or our friends' homes, because it's our home. Sometimes clean is a quick, 20 minute wipedown, vacuuming and magazine straightening before company arrives, other times it's a satisfying scrubbing away with an old toothbrush, the charcoal gray yuckyucks that collect around the base of the kitchen and bathroom faucets, and scouring the scum in the tub. And just as the soap cleans those big and little messes wherever they lurk, God cleanses the sin that remains in us. And He'll do it again! That should give you great security as you clean the same thing or person over and over and over. There's more to cleanliness than just the repetition of your work... it's a picture of the repetition of His.
:: Mal du siecle 1:36 PM |
Restoration of Comment System
:: Friday, May 13, 2005 ::
Yes, friends, my comments are back. I really miss everyone's comments, and Valerie mentioned that Bill and I were driving her crazy! I've been consumed by guilt ever since... a good kind of course! Right now the comments are placed a little strange due to my problems with the code, but Bill will be helping me out later this evening, so by morning they should be fine. As the Word says, Joy cometh in the morning!
:: Mal du siecle 7:04 PM |
Two Beautiful Armenian Poems
:: Thursday, May 12, 2005 ::
I posted these once when I had a poetry blog section. I've always loved Armenian poetry, even before I learned about the invasion of Armenia by the Turks and heard and read R.J. Rushdoony tell about it. I used to read the poetry of Armenia in the library between classes in college.
I never got into the Armenian language, being more interested in Arabic and Persian. However, I remember buying a used book of the basics of the language and later gave it away. I could kick myself for it, because inside that little book was a quote I've never been able to locate since, that said something along these lines: "The rewards of learning the Armenian language are endless for the person who takes the time to do so."
These poems speak so well about a yearning of a people for freedom, safety, the ability to trust, solidarity and peace. They are, in my opinion, everyone's heartcry and everyone's poems.
An untitled poem by Hamo Sayan
Oh to walk my way with kindness,
And not betray my life to a cloud of suspicions...
How I wish that someone would believe me,
How I wish that I could believe someone.
To triumph in an unequal battle
To embrace with love both small and big
How I wish that someone would believe me
How I wish that I could believe someone.
Let the silence burst forth with fury,
And the eternal noise die down for good...
How I wish that someone would believe me
How I wish that I could believe someone.
The Armenian Language is the Home of the Armenian by Moushegh Ishkhan, translated by Diana der Hoveanessian
The Armenian language is the home
and haven where the wanderer can own
roof and wall and nourishment.
He can enter to find love and pride,
locking the hyena and the storm outside.
For centuries its architects have toiled
to give its ceilings height.
How many peasants working
day and night have kept
its cupboards full, lamps lit, ovens hot.
Always rejuvenated, always old, it lasts
century to century on the path
where every Armenian can find it when he's lost
in the wilderness of his future, or his past.
:: Mal du siecle 6:25 PM |
The Therapy of Optimistic Eschatology
:: Monday, May 09, 2005 ::
I tend to be a glass half- empty type of person. I tend to be cynical and critical, seeing more problems than solutions. Thankfully, the Lord has given me an optimistic husband! He showers sunshine on my dark clouds of pessimism while I give him a little shade (sometimes with too much breeze!) to put his sunshine in perspective.
God is in control of the world, working in time, space and history to fix a fallen world. Our belief in the sovereignty of God and His promise of a New Creation cannot be swayed by newspapers, crime reports, urban sprawl, illness, Church declension, our children's discipline problems, our struggles with the sin remaining in our members, the sinful habits of our husbands, our credit reports, heresies, etc. These things are not our standard. God's Law-Word is the standard for all things! And we are victorious in Him who has loved us.
Being a postmillennialist does not necessarily prevent one from being a pessimistic person. Only the sanctifying grace of God can raise our countenance and give us a true, positive outlook, no matter what our beliefs are about last things. I know, because I adhere to that eschatological construct and I can sink into a black hole faster than anyone else I know. And I've been sharpened and strengthened by my amillennial brothers and sisters who, having been strengthened by the Lord, are also optimistic about God's loving sovereignty in all the confusing, frightening details. I am so thankful for these optimistic amillennialists, because I never knew it was possible to be such! I was lovingly corrected by one pastor to whom I expressed that I loved his postmil preaching. He said, "I'm actually amillennial... I just believe this world is going to turn out right because God is in charge!"
And even though I'm a postmillennialist, I'd rather spend my time with amillennialists who are excited about what God's doing in the world (despite what the world looks like) and who are encouraging the Church to press on in her calling, than spend time with postmillennialists who are cynical, dour, angry and pessimistic in their day to day outlook, all the while exegeting postmillennialism from the Bible and criticizing the doctrine of amillennialism. I see my own sin in these dear saints, and it drives me mad. I don't want to be that way! It does me no good to theologically hold to postmillennialism if I am a joyless, pessimistic woman regarding my day to day life. What a perversion of a beautiful eschatology, that has strengthened Christians in the most brutal circumstances throughout the ages. It is like James says, looking in the mirror, walking away, and forgetting what I look like.
I remember when I first became reformed, and I was listening to John Gerstner on a tape. And he said that he sincerely doubted the salvation of a Christian who was fundamentally unhappy. That was really a wakeup call for me, because our culture thrives on the unhappiness of women, and I've been so grumpy so many times, missing too many opportunities to strengthen others. Instead, they were turned off by my witchy attitude.
God hates grumbling more than anything. He hates our haugtiness and self-righteousness. He hates it when we attempt to kill the joy of other saints, and he hates it when we look in the mirror, examine a bright face that God is making more radiant, then walk away and complain about anything, anyone and everything.
Optimistic eschatology is not only a correct doctrine, it is a necessary salve that we must apply daily to our battle wounds! Read about His victory in His Law-Word. Sing psalms and memorize them, so that if you're ever stranded in a broken down car, you can sing them with friends and family until help comes. If you're ever tempted to sin, you can escape, and overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of His Testimony!
This is my Father's world!
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
the battle is not done;
Jesus who died shall be satisfied
and earth and heav'n be one!
:: Mal du siecle 7:42 AM |
The Violation of the Tenth Commandment and
:: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 ::
the Sins of Self-Aggrandizement and Self-Deprecation
Thou shalt not covet.
There is a woman who makes it a point to keep up with the Joneses, only shop at certain stores and keep up with popular culture. This type of woman would never think of buying an assemble- it- yourself bookshelf or handsoap at Wal-Mart or Target if she can say she purchased these things at IKEA or Bath and Body Works. She would never use Suave or VO-5 on her hair, but always buys expensive shampoo from a beauty supply store or directly from her beauty salon where a haircut costs thirty dollars. Every brand new piece of technology is installed in her home and car. It doesn't matter that she has a few nice things. She wants more. She can't stand the fact that others have something newer than she does, even if what she has is wonderful. When confronted about the sin of self aggrandizement, she will say, "I just like nice things. There's nothing wrong with that!"
Then there is another type of woman who will only shop at low-end thrift stores, makes it a point to look dowdy wherever she goes and generally refuses to have nice furniture or "treat- like" food in her home and refuses to adorn herself. Nice things are practically seen as an evil.
When confronted about the sin of of self-deprecation, this woman will say, "It's what's inside that counts. I don't need nice things to be happy." This woman is as covetous as the first woman. She simply expresses her sin through self-pity and looking more impoverished than she is instead of trying to upstage the self-aggrandizing woman with more and better material goods and services.
These two types of women may be worlds apart socially and economically, but spiritually they are much more alike than they are different. They are both worshippers of self. They are both screaming, "LOOK AT ME, EVERYBODY!!!" The first woman wants everyone to admire her for being "in" and trendy. She wants everyone to say how beautiful she is. She wants other women to look at her and envy her clothing, physique, home, etc. The second woman wants pity, or wants people to think that her "going without" is inherently righteous, noble and godly. She wants others to focus on what a sad life she's had, and she especially wants to be seen as more righteous than the self-aggrandizing woman.
I have to be honest and say that I identify more with the first woman than the other. I was an only child; and while we were by no means wealthy, we certainly had enough, and much of it was very nice. My parents not only idolized me and made sure I constantly had the best of a lot of things, they didn't discipline me biblically. I was never spanked. Not a good combination of childrearing for a little girl! I am certainly thankful to God for his mercy on me, otherwise I don't want to think about the witch I could have been had there been no arrest of my pathetic nature by the Holy Spirit. So, yes, I struggle with self-aggrandizement. I have to learn to do without more, and learn that I can't always have the best of everything, nor do I need to. The Lord is showing me how to be a humble person, and He has used the gifts and even sinfulness of the self-deprecating woman to show me where I need to grow.
From having counseled women struggling with self-deprecation, I've noticed that many ladies who struggle in this way usually suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse growing up. They have been treated so poorly that they, like the self aggrandizing woman, have a perverse view of the material world. Since they don't have what others have, it's easier to disparage it than enjoy it in perspective. So much energy has been spent on their pain that they can't enjoy the finer things that our Lord has given to them.
As difficult as it is for us, we need to spend time with other sisters in Christ who have the opposite struggles that we do, because we can be strengthened, and so can they. If the self-aggrandizing woman spends all her time with sisters who have her same struggles, she may have a lot of fun, but she also may be dragged further into materialism, snobbery and discontentment... oh, that discontentment. Likewise, if the self-deprecating woman spends time with others like her, she may be spared of having to hear about "this cool shop" and "this neat purchase"; but she also may be dragged further down by self-pity and bitterness, along with the dangerous, gnostic belief that the material world is inferior to the spiritual. Both of these types of women need to be shown that their beliefs lead to an ungodly home and society. If you struggle with legalism, spend more time with Christians who understand how freedom that comes from abiding in Christ's Law-Word can lead to a fruitful, energetic, exciting Walk. If you struggle with antinomianism, spend more time with Christians who have a love for God's law, and can teach you to apply it to your life as a woman.
We need to sharpen each other and be sharpened by one another. If you sense that you lean on one side more than the other, ask God to forgive your sin and seek Christian women as mentors who are strong in the area you are weak in. One thing is for sure, we all need to learn how to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought.
:: Mal du siecle 6:36 AM |
A Good Impreccatory Psalm From the Psalter.
Tune: Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
God of vengeance O Jehovah
God of vengeance O shine forth!
Rise up O You Judge of Nations
Render to the proud their worth!
O Lord how long shall the wicked
How long shall the wicked boast?
Arrogant the words they pour out
Ill men all a taunting host
They Jehovah crush your people
And your heritage distress
They kill soujourner and widow
Murder they the fatherless
And they say "Jehovah sees not;
Jacob's God does not have eyes."
Understand O stupid people!
When O fools will you be wise?
Who the ear made does He hear not?
Who formed eyes does He not see?
Who warns nations does He smite not?
Who men teaches knows not He?
All the thoughts of men the Lord sees
Knows that but a breath are they.
Blessed the man whom you chastise Lord
Whom you teach to know your Way.
Give him rest from days of trouble
Till the wicked be o'erthrown
Our Lord will not leave His people
Will abandon not His own.
When to every verdict given
Justice shall come back again,
Everyone whose heart is upright
Will see righteous judgement then.
:: Mal du siecle 5:52 PM |
Caution: More American Dietary Overload
:: Saturday, April 30, 2005 ::
I rented "Super-Size Me" when it first came out on DVD, and was fascinated by the contrast between the subject's girlfriend's vegetarian diet with his MacDonald's diet. I thought, "How can he eat like that with all of his girlfriend's wonderful food around him at home for a month?" I couldn't do it. As surely as I'd succomb to a rich dessert or creamy cheesy casserole sooner or later after a strict diet of tofu, lentils and cucumbers, I would have to dive into veggies and whole grains after that much fast food for even a couple of days. My body will simply scream, "GIMME!" like a fussy newborn.
I was a vegetarian in my early years in college for a lot the same reason a lot of college students become vegetarians - the environment, New-Age enlightenment, etc. I didn't stay with it long, 1. Because of Biblical food liberty which is diametrically opposed to the Eastern concept of vegetarianism improving one spiritually and 2. Because I simply love meat. Bill and I both strongly prefer our steaks rare. I always laugh when he says, "Rise, kill and eat!" after his blessing of the meal. And I always make jokes about how I want my meat to make hoofprints in my potatoes.
I was having a talk with our downstairs neighbor recently, and we both came to the conclusion over hot tea that the reason America is so fat is because we can get virtually ANYTHING we want to eat ANYTIME of the day INSTANTANEOUSLY. If I want Chinese food at 2:00 AM (I'm not saying I do, at least not today!) I can get it. There's a twenty-four hour grocery store down the street where I can buy stuff from the deli or in the frozen food section if I want something right away; or if I feel like cooking in the wee hours of the morning, I can buy some staples and some Chinese spice packets. An equation with any variables works:
Food + Hour = instant palatal satisfaction
On top of that, add holidays, our church and club potlucks, All You Can Eat buffets, huge portions at restaurants, fellowships in each others' homes which center around the table... etc.
I have found that the eating of whole foods works best for me for weight control - lean meats, whole grains, vegetables, and only four servings of fruit a day because of the sugar. Sometimes my diet includes vegetarian meals when I want less fat calories. In my twenties, simply controlling my portions of any food I want worked, but now that I'm 37, I can't just eat anything I want to anytime I want to like our culture allows. I've fought it, but I can't fight it anymore. I have to wake up to reality and my metabolism and change with my body. If I want to lose a few pounds, I have to have a strategy, and work at it. That means chopping veggies and stir-frying when it's just easier to throw a veggiless (neologism alert!) casserole with mushroom soup together. It means having a piece of fruit or vegetable before bedtime when I really want cookies and cocoa, peach cobbler or ice cream.
Just like with my post about cleaning house, I've found that looking at the whole picture just exhausts me, and it's better to eat the elephant in tiny chunks - so to speak. Developing one or two eating habits is enough of a goal, even if you still have a lot of bad ones. Be happy about developing one habit! Maybe it's eating a piece of fresh fruit instead of a rich dessert at bedtime, maybe it's baking instead of deep frying. Perhaps it's substituting sugar for Splenda or molasses for iron. It could be eliminating calories from drinks during the day and drinking more water with meals. Always do everything day to day with the basic knowledge of your salvation in Christ - as the Heidelberg Cathechism says - "all things must be made subservient to my salvation". You are his precious daughter. He loves you and He'll never stop doting on you or let you go. When you establish one tiny habit, be happy and thank the Lord for it. If you mess up one meal, or one day, just start over again - sort of the way sin and repentance work. Once you've started over with a new moment, don't bring up the mistake again, even to yourself.
I'm fortunate to have a husband who constantly tells me how beautiful and sexy I am, no matter what my hormones tell me, what my favorite outfit shouts at me, or what the bathroom scale says. I know a lot of women are not affirmed that way, and it makes it even more difficult to lose weight if they have to. Even if I didn't have my husband, I have the Lord who is my Husband, and His word tells me that He's satisfied with me because of Christ. What a beautiful promise, no matter what we eat or drink. No wonder Jesus told us not to worry about it.
:: Mal du siecle 6:53 AM |
Soft Tongue Soft Pen
:: Wednesday, April 27, 2005 ::
Exactly What Constitutes Female Speech and Writing?
There has been a lot of discussion lately on various blogs regarding what is biblically appropriate writing material for women.
I always love hearing sermons about the story of creation. We read about a God who, simply because He wants to, creates everything we know to exist in six days and very good. On the sixth day He created man in His own image and likeness - not just men, but women! What a privilege to be made to reflect God's holiness, righteousness and wisdom! And how wonderful, that after Adam's Fall, we've been redeemed and are co-heirs with our brothers in Christ!
That is the extent of our equality with men. That is how we are the same. And with all the beauty contained in that equality, it should be no insult to us that that is where our equality with men ends. Functionally and economically we are subordinates, made to be so by the same God who calls us mankind, made in God's image and likeness.
I have been deeply encouraged and sharpened by the intelligence and wisdom that my sisters in Christ possess and communicate by God's grace. It is a sign to the world that the leaven of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has had a great impact on our nation. Alexis de Toqueville, author of Democracy in America, attributed America's greatness "to the superiority of her women." Christianity has demonstrated the ability to lift the American woman higher than any other religion. I believe this is due to two theological points: 1. The doctrine of the Trinity with ontological equality and economic subordination in the Godhead which serves in a way to show human equality and subordination; and 2. Christ's incarnation, which uniquely and beautifully demonstrated a God who served and sacrificed for His people. No other religion other than Christianity teaches a Trinitarian love relationship with a chain of command, and no other religion teaches the doctrine of Christ taking to Himself a body and a reasonable soul, humbling Himself to serve mankind. A man with this religion will treat others -especially women- greater than himself, realizing that if Christ came as a servant, a Christian man had better serve, since no slave is greater than his Master.
I'm not going to go into how men and women are different, because we all know we are!
However, in order to communicate my point, I'm going to use the words, "hardness" and "softness." As Christian women, our speech and our writing should communicate God's holiness
righteousness and wisdom in a softer way than men's speech or writing does. Unfortunately, because men's speech has become soft, women have answered with harder speech. The results have been disastrous for our nation, as preaching and writing in the Church has become softer and softer to the point where much of it is heretical.
When I say that women should write softly, I do not mean that we should not be using big words or hard facts. Nor does it mean that we shouldn't rebuke ungodly behavior or write on certain subjects like theology, philosophy or history. What I do mean, is, our writing should have a certain quality of nurturing, intimacy and friendliness to it. When Christ took on human flesh and walked among us, He perfectly demonstrated God's Law-Word to us in nurturing, intimate, friendly ways. You can almost see the disciples with their mouths open, thinking, "So this is what Moses, Isaiah.... etc were talking about!" Obviously men who preach, teach and write should be Christlike also, but as women, we have the unique privilege of nurturing as helpers to Christlike men.
I have some ideas for writing in a more feminine manner, and I am speaking to myself more than anyone, because each woman must look at her own heart and walk. If you are gifted as a woman for writing on a certain subject, you should evaluate your writing for biblically feminine qualities. Do you merely state, report and expound on facts and opinions, or do you intersperse the subject matter with anecdotes about yourself and your home and family - a cute statement a child made, a decorating idea, how the Lord is sanctifying you, an enjoyable outing with your husband or a girlfriend, etc? Is your material meant for your sisters in Christ? Do your female readers get to know you from your writing, or are they simply hearing facts or your opinions on issues? Are you communicating that although you have knowledge or a good command of a certain subject, that you're someone who wouldn't mind having dinner or spending an afternoon with someone who doesn't? In other words, is your speech and writing something that would sound better from a pulpit or lectern than it would in the dining or living room with food and beverages and the sounds of happy children or music playing in the background?
I think that as Christian women today, it's often easier for us to talk and write about cold, hard facts. Not nearly enough male Christian speakers and authors are doing it well, and many of us women have had to study and learn about different things on our own or from a limited amount of biblical resources. Why not show it off, right? We worked hard to learn this stuff! Also, many of us have been burned in our relationships and are afraid to write about ourselves and our lives. There have been times in my life when I knew if I exegeted scripture and taught Christ in the shadow of Moses or talked about how unbiblical our government is instead of discussing my own faith and life in someone's living room, I would be less likely to burst into tears and be vulnerable. Cold hard facts are easy. I simply state them, and log off until next time. But God didn't just give us commandments and laws. He gave us Himself! - a Lawkeeper and a Friend who was so vulnerable He submitted to a death we rightly deserved.
Write about a variety of subjects. These are creations of God, every one of them, and they are very good. Thank the Lord for your writing talents and your knowledge, and realize they belong to Him. Just make sure that as you write, other women find you Christlike, intimate and friendly. Don't use theological or social issues to cover up your pain. Don't be so lofty that other women are intimidated by you and your brothers are tempted to sin by making the pulpit softer. Softer speech and writing from us ladies will make stronger men, harder pulpits and stronger, more godly communities.
:: Mal du siecle 6:09 AM |
Beautiful Quotes From Election Day Sermons by David W. Hall
:: Friday, April 22, 2005 ::
Grab a cup of strong, hot coffee or your favorite beverage and enjoy. Let the words seep into your heart and wash over it.
"I call upon you to preserve the knowledge of God in the land, and attend to the revelation written to us from heaven. If you neglect or renounce that religion taught or commanded in the holy scriptures, think no more of freedom, peace, and happiness; the judgments of heaven will pursue you." ~ Samuel Langdon
"It is not only necessary that the State should have a religion; it is equally necessary, in order to
an adequate fulfillment of its own idea, that it have the true religion. Truth is the only proper food of the soul, and though superstition and error may avail for a time as external restraints, they never generate an inward principle of obedience. They serve as outward motives, but never become and inward life, and when the falsehood comes to be detected, the mind is apt to abandon itself to unrestrained licentiousness." ~ James H. Thornwell
There is a love of dominion natural to every human creator; and in those who are destitute of religion, this temper is apt to reign uncontrolled. Hence experience has always testified, that rulers, left to themselves, are prone to imagine, that they are a superior order of beings, to obey whom the ignoble multitude was made, and that their aggrandizement is the principal design of the social compact. But the religion of the gospel, rightly understood, and cordially embraced, utterly disdains such unworthy sentiments, and banishes them with abhorrence from the mind. It contemplates the happiness of the community, as the primary object of all political associations - and it teaches those, who are placed at the helm of government, to remember , that they are called to preside over equals and friends, whose best interest, and not the demands of selfishness, is to be the object of their first and highest care." ~ Samuel Miller
:: Mal du siecle 5:19 PM |
:: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 ::
That phrase doesn't have to be an oxymoron, especially if one is a Christian. Obviously there are days when there is more to do than others. There's housework, yardwork, homeschooling, errands, Church functions, guests... yikes... I feel busy just writing all those things! But in one form or another, these things are all part of our lives as women. I've sympathetically listened to women who have had to choose on several days whether to do schooling, or whether to do housework. I've run errands and then have come home and looked at the messy kitchen, unmade bed, or cluttered coffee table and have been so overwhelmed! And a healthy, delicious dinner still had to be made!
Elisabeth Elliot uses the maxim, "Do the next thing." Simply look at your life and look at what you have control of right now. What needs to be done right now at 6:00 AM, 2:30 PM... whenever? And I'm not talking about the ringing phone. I'm talking about that spot on the kitchen floor that can be wiped up now instead of later, that dishwasher full of clean dishes that can be emptied now, and that dirty microwave that should really get a thorough wiping before any more leftover enchiladas or spaghetti get a ride on the turntable!
Thank God for the work he's given you. Listen to a taped sermon while you clean. Rest while you work, speaking to God your prayers for your husband, children, friends and pastor of your church. He needs a lot of prayer!
Don't look at your whole house and think, "Ugh." Look at one section of one room. Not one room, just one section. A window sill, a single counterspace, a toaster, a coffee maker. I read a story once about a woman who had a messy home, and she was given a single lily in a pretty vase. She put it on her window sill and realized that the sill needed dusting. Soon she was scrubbing and cleaning the whole home, opening windows and letting in a fresh breeze and sunshine just because of that one lily.
I hate making lists of mundane things, but they really do help. Check off the list. You'll feel better. Do a lot of little things during the day while you pray, and you'll find that the big things are easier.
I'm going to clean that microwave now.
:: Mal du siecle 6:26 AM |
God is Really Good!
:: Friday, April 01, 2005 ::
I was shopping at a local used bookstore last night, and found a book of a collection of election sermons amongst all the blasphemous, syrupy junk that you usually find in the Christian section. Every now and then I'll find a Calvinistic jewel there; just as once in awhile in the political section amongst all the liberal and neoconservative garbage, I'll find an Old or Hard Right gem. When I find these books, I love to whisper, "Ah, yes", as the local beatniks pour over their relativistic filth. I feel very loved and nurtured by God that he allowed me by His sweet grace alone, to find books that rise above mediocrity.
These election sermons go back to the time when preachers had cajones. There's even one in there from James Henley Thornwell - one of my favorite preachers - Southern fire at its best! I read a quote from him in one of Rushdoony's books and quickly became a Thornwell addict.
So, when I go to the bookstore again and feel demoralized by all the junk everywhere, I'll remember all those gems on my bookshelves at home.
:: Mal du siecle 4:52 AM |
Time To Shed Winter Pounds!
:: Thursday, March 17, 2005 ::
The winters here are more chilly than I'm used to, so I've had all these cravings for comforting casseroles and baked goods. And of course, I have to have Land O Lakes Cocoa with all those yummy baked goods. Needless to say, this has all taken its toll on my waistline, and my spring and summer clothes that fit me so nicely last year no longer do!
There are a million and one diets out there, but it's necessary to keep in mind that whatever diet may work for you, make sure you keep in mind that we are gluttons by nature... maybe not for food, but for our own way. And that gluttonous sin nature manifests itself in all kinds of ways.
I know when I should not be eating... when I'm taking huge breaths after an extra serving of a meal, or dessert... when I'm eating because I'm bored or nervous. So, I'm trying to be conscientious of my body's need for nourishment. This is a struggle in our culture, because of all of the varieties of food, not to mention their availability. While there are people in other nations who have a daily struggle to obtain food, we have the struggle to abstain. We need to pray for sanctification in this area.
I was really happy the other night, when I was craving a muffin I baked with cocoa before bed. I decided to have a glass of water and a carrot instead. I thought at first, "This is really stupid. There is no way the latter is going to satisfy me more than the former." Yet, it did. Just the chewing of the carrot and drinking of the water helped me to forget all about the muffin and cocoa. So, if you don't think something is going to work, try it anyway. You never know.
Another thing that helps me is fasting a meal or so a week. I know this isn't an option for many women due to pregnancy, nursing or health, but it really works for a lot of people. Jesus actually commanded fasting in certain situations... fighting certain sins for example... and since Jesus formed every tissue of us in our mothers' wombs, he should know what is good for our bodies. Going without food for awhile gives our digestive tracts a break. It also helps control my appetite the next time I do eat.
A lot of the forming of good eating habits in our culture just simply involves putting off bad habits and putting on good ones... simple things like cutting down on portions, sweets, fats and oils... knowing what triggers cravings. Trigger foods for some may not be such for others. Alcohol may not be a temptation for some, while potato chips might. Ice cream might cause a struggle in others. All things are permissable, but not all things are beneficial, as Paul said.
Get to know the wonderful Imago Dei machine that God gave you. And trust Him to feed you. As the He said in the psalms, "Open your mouth and I will fill it." That's really what it's all about... the great antithesis of doing it our way according to our sin nature, or doing it God's way. He has made us and not we ourselves. Our bodies are not meant to be our vessels to do with as we please. Our stomachs belong to God, and we must honor Him in our eating.
:: Mal du siecle 10:02 AM |
Women's Bible Studies and the Titus 2 Mandate
:: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 ::
"...the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things - that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed." Titus 2:3-5
Paul is very specific in his instruction to the older women here regarding what they are to teach the younger women. It's noteworthy that he mentions the younger women's husbands twice - the first time with the instruction to teach women to love their own husbands, and the second, to be obedient to them. As we learn to apply God's Word to every area of our lives, we notice how rich this passage is in the details that surround our lives as women. There is so much to teach and learn from one another about how to live in the homes that God has given us and how to relate to our husbands and children.
I've talked to several reformed women who have attended women's bible studies, and there seems to be a common thread in their concerns: While they love doctrine, what they really long for is practical application in daily living at women's studies and hands on instruction in homemaking skills. That's probably why there is so much talking and subjective sharing at these studies, and eight out of ten study questions never get answered in a two hour period. Women are naturally geared for hands-on learning and mentorship. If the elders in the church and womens' own husbands are giving family devotions at home, is it really necessary to attend a study where a woman is exegeting scripture and teaching Christ in the shadow of Moses? Wouldn't that time be better spent learning from older women how to care for their homes and families? How many young women need to learn how to sew, crochet and quilt? How many need to know how to use a kitchen? Shop and plan meals? Make a meal out of a few ingredients in the house? How many women would love to learn from an older woman how to stop children's temper tantrums at home and in the grocery store, or simply how to schedule their baby's feedings and sleeping so that Mom can get the rest she needs?
Satan is very clever. He knows that as reformed women, while we would never accept the egalitarian doctrine of women pastors and elders, it is still very easy for us to usurp in other ways. I have to be honest and say that I have fallen into this trap too. Seeing theological weakness in a church among the men, I've subconsciously and perhaps even consciously attempted to fill in the gap with heavily exegeted women's devotions and studies in order to assuage the problem of abdicating men in the church. And it's so much easier to teach about election and predestination than it is to get a bunch of women together, drag out cooking or sewing supplies and clean up the mess afterward. However, this is exactly what Paul is commanding that we do! Drag out the supplies! And whether they're eight or eighty- eight, have the women in your home with lots of food, treats and supplies, and teach and learn from each other - messes, mistakes, frustrations and all.
If preaching and teaching scripture from the pulpit is the job of elders, then bible studies are also the job of elders. I remember one women's study I attended years ago where the pastor led the Saturday women's Bible study. (How that dear man handled all the estrogen in the room every Saturday morning is a mystery I'll never solve!) I remember being inwardly indignant my first week there, thinking, "This isn't his job! It's ours!" However, I must say it was the most organized, pleasant Bible study I ever attended. Whenever we would go off on a rabbit trail, our pastor firmly, yet lovingly and often humorously got us back on track so that we finished the scheduled study for that week. While I don't believe in segregation of families in the church, if there had to be a women's Bible study, that was a good way to go about it.
I am not at all saying that women shouldn't learn doctrine. We absolutely should - from our husbands and the elders of the church. It's their job, and as fallen men, they should not be provoked to abdication because of our usurpation. Our taking over the job is not going to correct their theological weaknesses, and the most brilliant theologian has them. Just as God the Father gave His Law-Word, and the Son lived it out in perfect obedience, let us be like Christ and live out the beautiful doctrines of God's Word. If and when you are tempted to be angry about your role, seeing it as inferior to that of the man, remember Christ's position in the Godhead. Although he is co-equal to God the Father, he did not use that equality to his own advantage, and neither should we.
:: Mal du siecle 4:38 AM |
Update From Kansas City
:: Wednesday, September 08, 2004 ::
Hello again, everyone. I've decided to blog again after a long break. I miss writing. I just needed some time to do some biblical reflecting and study on my own of so many important issues Christians face today. Along with everything happening in our lives, I was feeling overwhelmed... and very alone in many ways. I realize that not that many people I know share the paleoconservative, theonomic views that I do; and I've been learning to be patient. Fighting political correctness and any unbiblical views are not easy, and it's not easy getting people to understand your perspective when they've been so used to thinking in an unbiblical manner. Thinking biblically takes so much time. Robert E. Lee's quote comes to mind: "It is history that teaches us to hope." All Christians should be compelled daily to look back to the cross, and even further back than that... then to look in the mirror at someone God didn't have to save but chose to for His own glory.
Always present in us is our sin nature that constantly strives for ungodly dominion through tyranny, compromise and pragmatism. We bite and devour, shun, withdraw friendship, run and hide, pitch tents, backbite, gossip and are so proud of ourselves. I never want to be proud of myself for cutting down my brothers and sisters. Yet I never want to compromise the truths of scripture. Somewhere, somehow between my hellish depravity and Christ's presenting me to the Father in heaven is my life, involving duty, sacrifice, slowness to speak, a compassionate smile and embrace and daily time spent on my knees.
Kansas City is as liberal and PC as the day is long. Yet here I am, in a little apartment with confederate books, marrow piercing Calvinist writings (including the Bible ;*) and food made by weak, sinful hands that desire only to build a home - not an office, a bank or a corporation- just a home whose hospitality reflects those gifts of the cross... joyful entrance, nourishment, shelter, fellowship, safety, and peace upon exiting.
Kansas City is a lot of fun, since I've learned a little about how to get around. It's supposed to snow today, so we'll see if I see any out my window while I write. Maybe the snow will inspire me. There's no worse inspiration than barren Riverside County, Ca for writing. And... instead of having to blog in the dreary service porch with no windows, I can write in our apartment dining room.
I've discovered Kansas City's Roasterie coffee... namely a bold, dark brew called "vengeance". I tell my friends, "Now I can get vengeance without sinning!" Seriously, though, strong coffee has always served as a spiritual inspiration for me, as I compare strong coffee to our orthodox, reformed heritage. You either love it or hate it. I can't stomach weak, watery coffee anymore than I can handle slap happy clappy, evanjellyfish Christianity. Don't like it, don't want it, don't give it to me!
I'm going to be able to build up quite a library between my amazon.com wish list of circa 1500 items and the local bookstores over here. There isn't a lot of space in our 2b 1 ba apartment, but I can always find room for books. As I like to say, if there's room in your heart and head for the wisdom contained in books, there's room in your living quarters. I've found that books with lovely covers make beautiful decorations on top of shelves with baskets, cooking utensils, exotic coffee cans and candles. They don't all have to line book shelves. Why not display the pretty ones?
There's a darling little 5 year old girl in the downstairs apartment who I've had the pleasure of babysitting every now and then. She's one of the most darling, well behaved children I've ever met. We're also taking her to church, and she absolutely loves it, and everyone loves her. She has a hunger for the Lord, and is always disappointed when she can't attend church. Hopefully her parents will be able to attend soon also. We're thankful that they want their daughter to go with us.
It doesn't look like it's going to snow today after all.
:: Mal du siecle 6:24 AM |
We Need a New Computer
:: Saturday, September 04, 2004 ::
I'm not going to be writing much for the next few days, maybe weeks. The computer is really being a pain - locking up, etc. It's basically become useless to us. It's just too old, so we're going to have to buy a new one as soon as finances allow. However, on the bright side, one of the nice things about this recent addition of blogger is you can save pieces as drafts, and I'll be posting them soon. Everyone take care.
:: Mal du siecle 6:48 AM |
Busy Day Yesterday!
:: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 ::
We had to defog our house for fleas yesterday. Apparently they're really bad this year (at least here) and we've been tracking them in on our shoes. I have several bites on my feet, so finally I said, "No more!" Mom and I stayed at a friend's house while Bill gathered up the cat in a carrier, moved the computer into the woodshop, put three defoggers in different rooms of the house, and spent time playing computer games. When Mom and I got back at 5:30 PM, Bill had all the rooms vacuumed and brought all of our foodstuffs in out of the woodshop. I needed to organize my cabinets anyway. Today we have to wash every last dish in the house.
:: Mal du siecle 6:18 AM |
Removal of Comment System
I removed my commenting system because it's too much of a distraction. I just want the freedom to leave my blog alone for a month without having to be distracted by comments as to what happened to me, or when I'll be writing again. I know that these comments are as well-intentioned and loving as those who make them; however having the system is a stumbling block to me. No one has offended me, so there is no need for anyone to worry about that. I just write a lot better if I'm not thinking about comments! Thank you all for your understanding in Christ!
:: Mal du siecle 12:10 PM |
Low Fat High Fiber Diet... Yoga Class
:: Tuesday, August 31, 2004 ::
It's interesting... I've always been afraid to try the typical "good for you" low fat high fiber diet, but I had so many problems with low carb, that I finally decided to just cut the fat and the sugar out of everything, and I feel great! I don't like all the low fat cookies and junk like that though. I'd rather have the real thing or nothing, and I can have the real thing every now and again. Goodies are good once in awhile as treats, but I really am fine without them, and it feels so good to know it works... not just know intellectually, but actually feel the results in my body. I always thought I'd be overwhelmed by cravings so much that I couldn't make this way of eating work, but I'm fine! Fruits and vegetables really do the trick when I'm craving chocolate or something. Now let's see how the whole month goes! :*/.
I attended a yoga class last night at the gym, and it turned out to be more rigorous than I expected - it was anusara yoga which is more strenuous than hatha yoga but less strenuous than ashtanga yoga, which I've never tried. I was sort of disappointed at first because I was expecting a calming, stretching and lengthening hatha workout, especially since I'm just getting back into it. I'm not a night person, and I was looking forward for the opportunity to meditate on the Lord, thanking Him for the day, the flexibility in my body He's given me, my husband, everything - an hour to just thank Him for the little things I take for granted - air, water, electricity, fresh, crunchy vegetables, etc. And as rigorous as that class is, I know I'll need something more strenuous than hatha sooner or later. So, I'll be going back... probably in the morning though.
I was first introduced to yoga indirectly at age 14 as a freshman in highschool gym class. We did a Jane Fonda workout routine and for a cool down, I tried the plough for the first time and was amazed at the flexibility and sense of well being that it gave me. I found it interesting that I couldn't get interested in any other workout videos other than the Jane Fonda workout, and figured out that it I was drawn to the workouts because of the yoga stretches that she used after each routine. So, I bought a basic yoga book, ignored the New Age junk and learned more asanas so I could do my routines. By doing so, I not only developed balance and flexibility, but a keen interest in the Sanskrit language as well.
I love the warfare of meditating on the Triune God, Maker of all things seen and unseen, while all around me, people are depending on a blend of New Age mysticism and secular humanism to get them through their days. If they only knew Who is sustaining their bodies by His grace, and the One in whose image they are created! I live and move and have my being in Christ who knit everything on me and in me together. I guess that's why I've never had as a hard time reconciling the physical practice of yoga with my faith as many other Christians have. That surprises me too, because I have such an overly sensitive conscience about everything to the point of driving myself and everyone around me nuts. Doing the slow, deliberate, calming stretching of yoga as a Christian around pagans is really no different than working out on the treadmill around them. While I realize that many Christians cannot practice yoga with a good conscience and respect that as I can Christians who cannot drink alcohol, I thank the Lord for my ability to do it and worship Him.
:: Mal du siecle 6:33 AM |
:: Monday, August 30, 2004 ::
Bill is Back!
It turns out that he didn't have an ear infection after all. It was just a sinus/allergy problem due to working in the yard all day Saturday. He took some allergy tablets and he's fine now.
I'm going to clean out my fridge today. I don't think there's a single rubbermaid or ziploc container outside of it.
And I need to freeze some of the milk or it's going to go bad.
Hopefully I'll get to the gym this morning for an hour on the treadmill and some reps before it gets too hot. We're feeling the last blast of heat of Indian Summer, and the heatwave should last a couple of weeks.
I get to go Fall clothes shopping in a couple of weeks and I'm really looking forward to that!
Just a normal day.
:: Mal du siecle 5:45 AM |
Be Still and Know That I am God
I'm a worry wart. I worry constantly... about everything. I worry about cancer in my body and in those of my family, becoming less physically attractive with age, running out of gas without a cell phone, not having enough money to pay bills, my husband being in a car accident on the way to or from work, who's going to take care of me when I'm old, whether my house is clean enough for guests, whether people will like or hate us, whether the banana pudding has a hair in it... you name it. The media knows we worry as women, and it feeds it with constant propoganda about the latest healthy diet, the latest information about breast, cervical or uterine cancer, ways to know if your husband is unfaithful, ad nauseum, ad infinitum. Women worry.
Whenever I read about the creation in the book of Genesis, I always feel sad when I get to Genesis chapter 3. I know that right there is when God first whispered the peace of salvation to His children, covered them with dead animal skins and promised them that through the woman, Christ would destroy with a head wound the very serpent that deceived her in that paradise. Revelation 22 is in the same Bible and God delivered! Still, I can't help wondering how Eve felt, naked ashamed and vulnerable, even after she had clothes on. Not only did she disobey the Lord and feel the shame of that; and experience separation of God for the first time, but she had to listen to God pronounce the curses upon her and her husband. She would now have to submit to a fallen head. Submission was easy before, but now it would be hard. Her head would sin. And that would make her worry. Her children would be sinful, and taking dominion over the earth would now be difficult and that would lead to her worry... all because of her disobedience.
Worry is a sin, just like lust, pride, fornication, etc. It is idolatrous. It is saying, "God, I know what your Word says about your presence being with me through the fire. I know you have extended to me peace like a river. I know that my iniquity is pardoned, my warfare is accomplished, and that I am hidden in Christ who is faithful to present me before the Father as a good and faithful servant on the Last Day. But God, I love my worry more than I love You."
Imagine if we wrote a love letter to our husbands, telling them how wonderful it was to be married to them, thanking them for all of these little things they do for us, or just praising them for being them... those qualities that made us shiver when we fell in love with them. Then imagine at the bottom of the page these awful words, "As wonderful as you are, I'm in love with someone else. And I love him more. I can't give him up and I won't." The hellish pain! I don't even want to think about it. But Christ loves us more than our husbands. How hurt is He when we worry, with all He is and all He's done for us? For you?
I heard a preacher on Sermonaudio tell us that we had to harass our sin. It's part of mastering it... harassment. It's what Cain should have done instead of murdering his brother. Don't let it linger. Cut it out. Do radical surgery on that "eye", "hand" "foot", whatever. Get rid of your television, and stop looking through worldly women's magazines (even while waiting for the doctor) if you know they are going to fill your head with "What if's". Bring your Bible instead, and read all the references in there about God's peace. If you have to spend all day on your knees, do it. Pray with the children. Just say, "Mommy really needs to pray right now. I'm struggling. Will you say a prayer for Mommy?" Wrestle with God. Just get in and do it right now. You don't have to worry about what anyone else is doing or what's going on around you right now. Just pray! If you have to fast a meal a day for a month, commit to it. Refuse to let this sin master you. You have the Holy Spirit... the same Spirit that rose Christ from the dead. The same Spirit that will bring the gospel to all nations before Christ's glorious return. This is what you have to overcome your sin. God is with you.
You set the tone for your home. It is a power that we alone have as women for good or evil Just as being angry gets everyone off course, so does worry. If you worry about finances, your husband will worry about you and concentrate less on his job. Your children will worry because mom's worried. Visitors coming to your home will sense your anxiety in every room of the house.
God promises you victory over the sin of worry. Ask and you shall receive! You have not because you ask not! Ask generously for peace and praise God when he gives it to you, because He will! My prayer for my life and you my beloved sisters in Christ, is that we will draw near to the God who bids us be still.
:: Mal du siecle 9:35 AM |