Wednesday, April 30, 2008


27. A hidden stash of wrapped birthday presents for my soon to be three year old.
28. A nice visit with my mom
29. God's comforting promises.
30. Seeing my grandma hold my children.
31. Her having the patience to explain the camera.
32. Close up pictures of little curious hands and a Grandma with the courage to let a toddler use her camera
33. My twins (I call them the Littles) habit of holding hands.
34. How many different versions of the Bible I have available
36. Air conditioning
37. Hazelnut flavored coffee
38. Knowing that God called me to a life of loving service and He gave me the tools to live that life, even when I dont feel like I can
39. El Roi, thank you for showing me how you are my God who sees me
40. My sons cute little singing voice

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blessings on sick days

18. My Husband staying home in the morning from work to to let me sleep in when I'm sick.
19. My mom and grandparents coming to visit! I havent seen my mom since last december and its been nearly a year since I've seen my grandparents.
20. Not having to cook dinner. Thank you Lord for take-out!
21. The beautiful way my little girls hair curls.
22. Putting down one sleeping baby to pick up the one just woken.
23. My eldest childs good nature.
24. Family cuddles
25. Waking up from a nap feeling better than when I layed down
26. How the Lord always provides

Monday, April 28, 2008

A daily blessing to the Persecuted Church

A daily blessing to my Christian walk and to many persecuted brothers and sisters is:

17. Voice of the Martyrs.

I'm constantly in awe of the good this innovative ministry performs for the persecuted. They have a wonderful, multi-faceted ministry that branches out of their Bartlesville, OK office and their website, They have a free newsletter, an action pack program to give goods to Sudanese and Pakistani Christians, and they seek to help the persecuted in many ways. For example, they send thousands of balloons into North Korea with the Gospel imprinted on it. People from their ministry enter into very hostile territory to evangelize.
They do a service called Prisoner Alert,, that features persecuted Christians suffering in other countries. Through this website you can compose letters to the prisoner's in their own language or write a letter to their government asking for their release. Through this a believer is enabled to aswer the call of Hebrews 13:3 for Christians across the sea in hostile lands.
Hebrews 13:3 "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering" . NIV
As VOM says in one of their description snippets, those who are persecuted aren't just heroes or statistics, they're family. Whats more, there has been a visible impact of the support for jailed Christians. Just last month a man who was featured on Prisoner Alert was set free from prison and his charges dismissed!
Another ministry they do that I'm in love with is Bibles Unbound. Your donation of $30 dollars a month gains you the ability to help get bibles into countries hostile to the word. They send you five copies of the New Testament to mail to people within either China, Egypt, and Columbia, along with the addresses they are to be mailed to. You can find out more at
They have many other programs like a way to find a meeting with VOM workers , a kids ministry, and a Basic fellowship site. The link to all their various websites is
I think that being given the chance to help the persecuted church along with my brothers and sisters in Christ is a daily blessing with an eternal reward. Thank you Voice of the Martyrs for all the work you do for the body of Christ.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Late Nite Blessings

12. Holding a sleeping, well-fed baby.

13. When the sleeping baby snores.

14. Having all of my children asleep.

15. Being given a moment to reflect on my blessings in a quiet dark room.

16. Having a conversation with God.

Good Night Father.

Endless Gifts

Ann Voskamp at her Holy Experience blog has started something I think truly amazing and life-changing, a gratitude community of Christians who keep a list of the daily blessings God gives. She’s called it Endless Gifts, the idea is to make a list up to 1000 of the blessings in your life. I think this is such a fantastic idea and have decided to make my own list.

1. My life is daily blessed by the reconciliation work of the Lord Jesus Christ. I daily approach the mercy seat of God solely because Christ is my mediator.

2. The guiding ministry of the Holy Spirit. My counselor and ever-present help.

3. The eternal and daily-felt loving kindness of God the Father

4. Eph 1:4-5 Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault-we who stand before him covered with his love. 5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!
Thank you, Father for the sending of your son.

5. The spirtual leadership and love of my amazing husband

6. My wonderful children graciously given me by God. I’m blessed by their sweetness every day.
7. The inspired word of God. Without the Bible, I’d be living in darkness. Ps 119:106 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. NIV

8. My extended families love and goodwill. I miss you.

9. The body of Christ. Eph 2:22-3:1 In Him [and in fellowship with one another] you yourselves also are being built up [into this structure] with the rest, to form a fixed abode (dwelling place) of God in (by, through) the Spirit. AMP

10. The Lord Jesus Christ setting the standard for my everyday living.

I had to write those as my first ten, they are my most precious, most pondered blessings, and I am grateful to God for them. I’m grateful for my being gifted with just the knowledge of some of them. (Hmmm… I think that should be an item listed. Maybe later.) There are other ‘big’ blessings but I think I’ll space it out throughout the rest of the list. I think a lot of my blessings list will be subpoints of these first ten.

Check out the Holy Experience blog, it’s truly amazing. Ann Voskamp has a tremendous gift that can only come from God. In fact…

11. Ann Voskamp’s daily musings and writings. Very Inspirational.

Her site is linked to in my sidebar.

My glorious Victor, Prince Divine,
Clasp these surrender'd hands in Thine;
At length my will is all Thine own,
Glad vassal of a Saviour's throne.
My Master, lead me to Thy door;
Pierce this now willing ear once more:
Thy bonds are freedom; let me stay
With Thee, to toil, endure, obey.
Yes, ear and hand, and thought and will,
Use all in Thy dear slav'ry still!
Self's weary liberties I cast
Beneath Thy feet; there keep them fast.
Tread them still down; and then, I know,
These hands shall with Thy gifts o'erflow;
And pierced ears shall hear the tone
Which tells me Thou and I are one.
-Bishop Handley Moule

How lovely.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

God of Wonders

It's 3 o'clock in the morning and my little ones and me are awake. I'm trying to rock my son Gideon in his bouncer, feed my daughter Hannah, and read at the same time. God often reveals himself in new and exciting ways at times such as these. I think that's one of the many reasons I've been blessed with children, so that I have these long late night moments. Sleeps overrated, sometimes by me...

So, I'm strolling through the blog musings of others, constantly in awe of the Christ I'm being allowed to see in others. I was on Ann Voskamp's blog, Holy Experience (an experience that blesses me every time I visit... pun intended) and I followed a link to another wonderful blog called Windscraps, and there was God's plan written in the heavens, caught in a picture.
So I'm looking at the heart of a galaxy 20,000 light years away and into my head floats a really good song:

Lord of all creation
of water earth and sky
The heavens are your Tabernacle
Glory to the Lord on high

God of wonders beyond our galaxy
You are Holy, Holy
The universe declares your Majesty
And you are holy holy

-God of Wonders by Third Day

Sadly, Scripture crept in second. And I had to look it up to fill in the blanks of my memory and make sure I got it right (sigh). Thank you Lord for the knowledge that I'm a work in progress that you will complete!

From the Best Book:

Ps 19:1-4
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.

Even my favorite Psalm has a good verse (of course):

Ps 119:89
Your word, O LORD, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.

Even sadder than my maddening inability to recall Scripture is that the scientists who retrieved this picture from the Hubble telescope see an X.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Persecuted Christians

I have a deep desire to help the persecuted church in other countries. It's weird , but my desire partially stems from a wish to repay them! Their contention for the faith zapped me out of a spiritual rut I didn't even know I was in. I learned of the plight of the persecuted at a time when I was growing in knowledge of God but not necessarily in love. I was not continuing to apply what I was learning of the character and nature of God to my life. Its sad but I never really thought of Christians being persecuted in other countries. I lived in a Christianity of America bubble. Then I learned of the Voice of the Martyrs, a ministry that helps the persecuted church. I was curious, all I'd really heard was of the pastor who'd started the ministry, Richard Wurmbrand, and how he'd suffered for 14 yrs in a communist prison. So I went to check out their website,, and I was blown away. Finding out about the persecution that exists for Christians in the world today was overwhelming. I learned of the suffering people were willing to go through just to get a Bible. Of people who were beaten, locked up, chained down but still faithful. 2 Cor 4:8-10 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed ; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. NIV These people lived this verse! My eyes were opened to people who ran their spiritual races in a very harsh environment, but still ran with such vigor. From that moment, my own walk changed, I too wanted to spiritually run with God.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I Named Her Hannah

I have a four month old daughter named Hannah. She's just beautiful, delicate features, full cheeks, dark, dark blue eyes, and the happiest smile. Smile not shown... of course... sigh. When she was two days old a small red spot appeared on her right cheek. I didnt think much of it, my daughter Maggie had had one too, and it went away by the time she was three months. When I took Hannah to her one month wellness check, her pediatrician told me it was a hemanglioma, but that it would dissappear. In fact she told me that it looked like it was starting to dissappear already. I told that to my mom, who had been concerned, and felt better about it myself. Instead of going away, it got a little bigger, till it reached its present size, which is about the size of a dime. A spot the size of a dime isnt that big unless it happens to be on a baby's face. Then it's huge, especially when a month later its still not gone and it hasnt gotten any better.
Meanwhile, my Dad came to visit and see his new grandchildren for the first time. He's a doctor so my concern level grew when he said that hemanglioma's didnt always dissappear, Gorbachev's being an example. Then she developed another one elsewhere on her body (a place covered by the diaper) and I took her to the doctor again. This time I met with a different doctor from the same practice, who told me that because the spot was on her face that I could take her to a plastic surgeon and get them removed.
So it was spiritual crunch time. Do I take her to the plastic surgeon or not. I know what most people are thinking at this point, what's the big deal about getting it removed? The big deal is that I know that God put that spot on her face, that He allowed those hemagliomas to form, and that he had a purpose in doing so. So to remove it is to defy God's plan. Would He allow me to do so? Of course. Would He want me to do so? Of course not. God tells us through his word that how we show him our love is by obeying his commands and aligning ourselves to him. So I chose to not take her to a plastic surgeon. I prayed to God to remove the mark and have tried to have faith. I know that this decision is not easily understood, my mom didnt seem to understand I dont think my dad would either (despite his being a strong christian. hmm... maybe he would suprise me). But I have trust in God and I'm called to act in faith, that anything that's not of faith is sin. And I know that he will remove the mark, in fact my coming to know this is what this blog is really about.
See, I named her Hannah, after the mother of Samuel. You'll find her story in the first few chapters of 1st Samuel. She was a barren woman, one of two wives and was tormented by the other wife and by her own longing for children. She went to God in prayer and promised to dedicate any child given to her to God. God answered her prayer and gave her Samuel. The amazing thing to me, what struck me (because I have children), is that she kept her vow. She gave Samuel to the temple for him to live there and she visited him once a year. There's this one line that I can see so clearly a picture of, where she made Samuel a little robe every year and brought it too him when they made their trip to sacrifice in Jerusalem. It had such a sense of poignancy to me, and I was amazed at her faith and ability to keep her promise. When I was looking for a bible name to match with Gideon (Hannah's twin) I chose her name, even though it wasn't my favorite name (at least in the past).
Since the mark developed, I've gone to God several times asking him to remove it. Lol, Hannah's only four months old, I'm so impatient. I've strived to have faith in God, that He is fully capable of removing it. Also, to recognize that maybe he wouldn't and that his will is still preferable to mine. The last realization has been difficult but has given me reason to go to God's word to seek Him, His charactor, and His will. And while I was studying the name Lord of the Hosts, the Spirit told me what God was going to do. A website thats done a study on the different names of God, talked on the story of Hannah when discussing Jehovah Sabaoth (Lord of Hosts). Apparently 1st Samuel is the first appearance of this name.
1 Sam 1:10-11She, greatly distressed, prayed to the LORD and wept bitterly. 11 She made a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head." NASU
Quote from the website:
Hannah made a crucial choice - instead of focusing on her bitterness, she accepted God's appointment to brokenness & ran in her extremity to the sufficiency of Jehovah Sabaoth, a wonderful illustration of Phil 4:6, 4:7:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to )od. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (see notes
Phil 4:6, 4:7)

Earlier in the same site, the author had written on how the name Hannah means grace, which he/they translate to mean: "God's transforming power to live a supernatural life. I personally think that my husbands definition is more fitting. He defines grace to be all the divine circumstances that God brings together to work in a person's life. The thayers definition is "that which affords kindness, favor.(paraphrased)" Then, the author asked, "Why is Hannah suffering barrenness?" This is what they answered that question with.

Compare Hannah's "illness" to Jesus' teaching in John 9:

When queried by His disciples regarding whether the blind man or his parents had sinned, (
Jn 9: 3) 'Jesus answered,

It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him

What Jesus meant was that God had created a condition so that when He relieved it, new insights, new glory would break forth for His own name & people would understand more of His mercy, grace & power than they ever could have had the affliction not been present. God does not allow hindrances or difficult circumstances to torment us or to lead us into bitterness or resentment. We often turn our "barrenness" into bitterness. God gives "barrenness" to us in order that as we bring it back to Him in prayer, so that in turn He might lead us to a solution we never would have found otherwise, a greater answer than we ever could have dreamed of. That is what Hannah's story is revealing about the LORD of hosts. He gave her the problem in order that she might bring it to Him to find the solution He had in mind.

I put in bold the words that I know the Spirit was speaking to me through. Because of this I realized that God was showing me, and all who will be affected by her mark, kindness. That He has set up a situation to show His power. I named my daughter Hannah after a woman that God used as a demonstration of his love, mercy, and grace. And now God is going to use my daughter in the same fashion, and like Hannah of the Bible, my Hannah wont be harmed by her experience. Hannah was blessed by God with five more children. My Hannah will be healed and her face will never bear a bit of evidence that she was ever even marked.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Psalm 119

I read psalm 119 for the first time a couple years ago, but I didn't dwell on it, just thought it a wonderful read and very long. The second time I read it was because my then Pastor pointed it out as a point in one of his doctrines. He quoted it heavily and again I thought it was a truly fantastic psalm and felt sorry for the man who had written it (the back story of the man and the lesson he learned from suffering was the Pastors point). The third time I read the psalm was from studing on my own. I was searching all the bible references to teaching (using my fantastic PC study bible!) looking for that verse in Deuteronomy about teaching your children. At this point let me briefly describe the PC study bibles marvelous search function. You can search for a word from the whole of their resource library or from a specific bible version. A list will come up of all the times that word (or phrase) was used. The word teach occurs 123 times in the NIV. Some examples:
Deut 11:19-20Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. NIV
1 Sam 12:22-25For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own. 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you. NIV
Job 6:24Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong. NIV
Ps 25:4-5how me your ways, O LORD,teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me,for you are God my Savior,and my hope is in you all day long. NIV
Ps 34:11-14Come, my children, listen to me;I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, 13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. 14 Turn from evil and do good;seek peace and pursue it. NIV
Ps 51:12-13Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,and sinners will turn back to you. NIV
Ps 90:122 Teach us to number our days aright,that we may gain a heart of wisdom. NIV
By this point I'm blown away. As I was reading through these verses, I realized anew how much I needed to be taught. Not only that, but that God was faithful in both pointing that out to me and reassurring me that He would teach me. I was reminded, by the Spirit, of the Lord Jesus telling his disciples how he would send them the 'helper'. The impact this has on me and why the Spirit had to point that out will be another post. Need less to say, it wasnt a coincidence that as I was having these thoughts I reached the middle of the list and saw the ten places the Psalmist asks to be taught by God.
Ps 119:12Praise be to you, O LORD;teach me your decrees. NIV
Ps 119:266 I recounted my ways and you answered me;teach me your decrees. NIV
Ps 119:33Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;then I will keep them to the end. NIV
Ps 119:64The earth is filled with your love, O LORD;teach me your decrees.NIV
Ps 119:66Teach me knowledge and good judgment,for I believe in your commandsNIV
Ps 119:68 You are good, and what you do is good;teach me your decrees.NIV
Ps 119:108Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,and teach me your laws.NIV
Ps 119:124Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. NIV
Ps 119:135Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees. NIV
Ps 119:171May my lips overflow with praise,for you teach me your decrees.NIV
I saw all that and was naturally filled with the urge to read the psalm from beginning to end.
To Be Continued

Making Your Calling and Election Sure

Making One's Calling and Election Sure
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The Greek word translated "sure" is the adjective bebaios. Moulton and Milligan give us helpful insight into this word. They write:
Deissmann (BS, p. 104 ff.) has shown very fully how much force the technical use of this word and its cognates to denote legally guaranteed security adds to their occurrence in the NT.4
A particular example is drawn from a Greek papyrus which is translated, "and I will further guarantee [parexomai....bebaia] the property always against all claims with every guarantee [bebaiosei ]." J. B. Mayor writes of the Greek phrase for "make sure" in 2 Pet 1:10 that it equals the simple verb bebaioun and means "'to certify,' 'confirm,' 'attest'."5
This should make it clear that we are in no way required to conclude, as does the standard Greek lexicon, that the meaning here is "to confirm the call, i.e., so that it does not lapse."6 As Paul has told us, "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Rom 11:29).
Still less can this text mean that Christians are to confirm their call and election (to eternal salvation) to themselves. Such an idea is completely foreign to this passage (and to the NT!). Peter has just finished addressing his readers as "those who have obtained like precious faith with us" (1:1). Moreover, in vv 3-4 he unmistakably treats them as Christians whom God has richly endowed. To suggest that despite these direct statements by the apostle, his readers are still uncertain about their "call and election" to eternal life, is to force on the text an alien theological presupposition. This idea is not the product of exegesis at all, but the torturing of the text into conformity with a preconceived opinion.
In light of the comments of Moulton and Milligan and of Mayor (quoted above), the meaning of this verse should be obvious. Given its legal usage, the phrase bebaion...poieisthai can mean "to certify," "to offer valid confirmation"-i.e., to others. That is, when a Christian develops the character qualities of vv 5-7, he is producing valid evidence for others to observe that God has indeed "called" and "chosen" him. This is similar to James's doctrine of justification by works before men.7 The unsaved are not likely to believe that we are in God's favor on our own say-so alone. But a life filled with moral virtue and capped with love (v 7) can be very persuasive. As the Lord Jesus put it: "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).
If we understand the text this way, we can look again at the words your call and election. If the word election (eklogh = selection, choosing) referred to our being chosen before time (as in Eph 1:4), it is surprising that the phrase is not reversed: "your election and calling." That sequence would conform, for example, to Rom 8:30 where we read "whom He predestined, these He also called."
It seems probable, therefore, that we have here one of the many verbal allusions in the Petrine epistles to the teaching Peter had heard from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. The sequence call-choose brings to mind the famous statement by our Lord that "many are called, but few are chosen (eklektoi , italics added). These words, however, occur only twice in the Gospels, both instances being in Matthew (20:16; 22:14). But there is little reason to doubt that Peter must have heard them many times. In the Gospels, we only have a fragment of our Lord's spoken words (see John 21:25).
In any case, this statement by Jesus occurs in eschatological contexts both times it is used in Matthew. In one of these places, it concludes the parable of the workers in the vineyard (20:1-16) and follows the vineyard owner's decisive pronouncement about the wages of the workers (vv 13-15). In the other place, it follows the parable of the wedding supper (22:1-14) and follows the host's decisive command to expel the improperly dressed man (vv 12-13). It is beyond the scope of this article to expound these parables here. Suffice it to say this, clearly the parable about the vineyard workers refers to Christian service up to our Lord's return, while the man in the parable of the wedding feast has not prepared himself for the host's review and represents a believer unprepared for the Judgment Seat of Christ.8
From both parables it is plain that the "choice" is made after the "call"! The vineyard workers are all "called" to labor (i.e., "invited;" the Greek verb is of the same root as "calling" in 2 Pet 1:10), but the "choice" about their wages is made when the vineyard owner appears in the evening. Some are "chosen" to receive pay equal to those who have worked longer. In the wedding feast situation, many are "invited" and many turn down the invitation. But even one who came poorly dressed is not "chosen" to participate, although he had been "called" (invited).
What does all this mean for our text here? Clearly Peter encourages the building of Christian character (vv 5-7) which, in turn, leads to Christian activity and fruitfulness (v 8). This kind of lifestyle leads to pay, as it did for the vineyard workers in Matthew 20. (The common Greek word in the NT for "reward" [misthos ] basically means pay.) Unlike the poorly dressed man who appeared at the wedding feast, the lifestyle Peter commands will prepare his readership to be properly "clothed" when they meet their Lord. Indeed, he states just such a desire for them at the end of the epistle:
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him, without spot and blameless...(3:14, italics added).
We propose, therefore, that Peter's words do not refer here to a pre-temporal election to eternal salvation, which by its very nature would precede the call to salvation. Instead, all Christians have been given a "royal" summons by God Himself, "who calls [us] into His own kingdom and glory" (1 Thess 2:12). And a supremely significant part of that glory is the privilege of co-reigning with Christ (2 Tim 2:12; Rev 2:26-27; 3:21). But not all Christians are chosen to co-reign! Paul writes: "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him" (2 Tim 2:12, italics added); and he also wrote, "and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together" (Rom 8:17b, italics added).
Peter, therefore, wishes his readership to produce in their lifestyle appropriate verification that they are "royal" people, destined for high honor in the coming kingdom of God. By doing these things (i.e., the things Peter is talking about), their road into the glories of that kingdom will be smooth. They will not stumble on that path and thus run the risk of losing the rewards they are "called" to obtain (see 1 Cor 9:27). Instead, they shall prove themselves "chosen" for the divine reward.
This understanding of v 10 finds immediate support in v 11. All born-again Christians will enter the kingdom of Christ, but those who develop the Christian character described in this chapter will have a special kind of entrance. For so, says Peter, an entrance will be supplied to you ABUNDANTLY! The word "abundantly" translates the Greek adverb plousiws , which more precisely means richly. (The adjective/noun plousiws is the usual word in the NT for "rich" or "rich man.") This idea recalls the Lord's teaching in Luke 12 where He censures the life of the rich fool with these words:
So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich [ploutwn ] toward God (Luke 12:21, italics added).
This important statement in Luke is followed by an exhortation from Jesus to His disciples (see Luke 12:1) not to be concerned by their daily needs, but to rely on God for them (12:22-31). Verse 31 concludes the exhortation by urging that God's kingdom be given priority: "But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you."
The very next statement by our Lord also relates to this kingdom ("It is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," v 32, italics added) and is followed by an exhortation to lay up heavenly treasure (12:33-34). Clearly, the seeking and gaining of the kingdom and of heavenly treasure are interwoven themes in the teaching of our Lord. The doctrine they pertain to is the doctrine of rewards.
This is equally true of 2 Pet 1:10-11. Salvation from hell is not in view. Heavenly reward is the real theme. The holy and fruitful lifestyle of vv 3-8 can be a demonstration-a verification-that an individual Christian has not only been "called," but actually "chosen," for great reward in God's future kingdom. As he or she diligently pursues this pathway, doing the things that Peter has enjoined, he will be able to avoid any serious spiritual fall (you will never stumble). Thus his pathway can climax in a rich entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Everlasting wealth, or treasure, can be his in an everlasting kingdom.

Friday, April 4, 2008

AIG Article- can creationist be scientists

Can creationists be scientists?
by Dr. Jason Lisle, Ph.D., astrophysics, AiG–USA speaker and researcher
First published inAnswers Update–USAApril 2005
It has been often said that “creationists cannot be real scientists.”
Several years ago, the National Academy of Sciences published a guidebook entitled Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science.1 This guidebook states that evolution is “the most important concept in modern biology, a concept essential to understanding key aspects of living things.”
In addition, the late evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky once made the now well-known comment that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”2
But is a belief in “particles-to-people” evolution really necessary to understand biology and other sciences? Is it even helpful? Are there any technological advances that have been made because of a belief in evolution?
Although evolutionists interpret the evidence in light of their belief in evolution, science works perfectly well without any connection to evolution. Think about it this way: is a belief in molecules-to-man evolution necessary to understand how a computer works, how planets orbit the sun, how telescopes operate, or how plants and animals function? Has any biological or medical research benefited from a belief in evolution? No, not at all.
In fact, the Ph.D. cell biologist (and creationist) Dr. David Menton, who speaks at many conferences, has stated, “The fact is that, though widely believed, evolution contributes nothing to our understanding of empirical science and thus plays no essential role in biomedical research or education.”3
Nor has technology arisen due to a belief in evolution. Computers, cellular phones and DVD players all operate based on the laws of physics which God created. It is because God created a logical, orderly universe and gave us the ability to reason and to be creative that technology is possible. How can a belief in evolution (a belief that complex biological machines do not require an intelligent designer) aid in the development of complex machines which are clearly intelligently designed?
Technology has shown us that sophisticated machines require intelligent designers—not random chance. Science and technology are perfectly consistent with the Bible.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that there have been many scientists who believed in biblical creation. In my own research field of astrophysics, I am reminded of several of the great minds of history. Consider Isaac Newton, who co-discovered calculus, formulated the laws of motion and gravity, computed the nature of planetary orbits, invented the reflecting telescope and made a number of discoveries in optics.
Consider Johannes Kepler, who discovered the three laws of planetary motion, or James Clerk Maxwell who discovered the four fundamental equations that light and all forms of electromagnetic radiation obey. These great scientists believed the Bible.
Today as well, there are many Ph.D. scientists who reject evolution and instead believe that God created in six days as recorded in Scripture. Consider Dr. Russ Humphreys, a Ph.D. nuclear physicist who has developed (among many other things) a model to compute the present strength of planetary magnetic fields4 which was able to predict the field strengths of the outer planets. Did a belief in the Bible hinder his research? Not at all.
On the contrary, Dr. Humphreys was able to make these predictions precisely because he started from the principles of Scripture. Dr. John Baumgardner, a Ph.D. geophysicist and biblical creationist, has a model of catastrophic plate tectonics, which the journal Nature once featured (this model is based on the global Genesis Flood).
Additionally, think of all the people who have benefited from a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan. The MRI scanner was developed by the creationist Dr. Raymond Damadian5 who has been featured twice in Creation magazine.
Clearly, creationists can indeed be real scientists. And this shouldn’t be surprising since the very basis for scientific research is biblical creation. The universe is orderly because its Creator is logical and has imposed order on the universe. God created our minds and gave us the ability and curiosity to study the universe. Furthermore, we can trust that the universe will obey the same physics tomorrow as it does today because God is consistent. This is why science is possible.
On the other hand, if the universe is just an accidental product of a big bang, why should it be orderly? Why should there be laws of nature if there is no lawgiver? If our brains are the by-products of random chance, why should we trust that their conclusions are accurate? But if our minds have been designed, and if the universe has been constructed by the Lord as the Bible teaches, then of course we should be able to study nature.
Yes, science is possible because the Bible is true.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Colossians 3:1-17 (unfinished)

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

From One Scarred Hand to the Other

There's this wonderful song by Casting Crowns called East to West. I've liked it from the first time I heard it but only a couple days ago did I realize this song applies to me. I've always been grateful to God for evangelizing me gently, through the conversion of my husband. I'm thankful also b/c my husband remains an incredible spiritual leader of the household, I cant express how much my journey has been influenced by his headlong rush to maturity. I know that if Jared hadnt responded, it would have taken some hard times before I would have on my own. As it was I came to Christ as a silly worry-filled near-woman. I cant say that I was all that grown-up for a twenty-two year old for all that I'd been out of the house and living w/ Jared (my husband) since I was eighteen. But I've always looked back and thought well, I never had to develope cancer or go through finacial difficulties for me to go looking for God. Lol, He came looking for me! That brings to mind John 15:16 where the Lord said "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit"
Anyway, I was listening to this song for the thousandth time and right there at the very beginning I was hit by these words.

"The chains of yesterday surround me
I yearn for peace and rest
I don't want to end up where You found me
And it echoes in my mind, keeps me awake tonight"

Like I said, I came gently to God, my life has been wonderful, no trama, no drama (at least none that wasnt other than self-caused), I've been w/ the same wonderful man for ten years, my parents are divorced but whose arent anymore (my husband's, lol, lucky for him!) and even thanks again to God, was raised fairly well off money wise. But before I found the truth, I was always plagued by a deep fear of death and a huge sense of worry about life. When I was twelve I reached out to God in fear, but b/c I didnt reach out through His Son it didnt stick. When I was thirteen I stupidly played around with being suicidal, it really was just a manifestation of my fear, but it landed me a couple stints at the shrinks office( well that and the divorce which occurred at the same time, poor mom). This fear stayed and became an extreme hyperchondria that to this day I think only my husband knows just how bad it was. I spent soooo much time panicing "do I have cancer? do I have a brain tumor? do I have this? is this a symptom of that?" Lol, my dad's a doctor, I'm amazed at how much self-control I had to not plague him every day. As it was I'd get the slightest sniffle and I would get him to call me in antibiotics. I also constantly kept worrying over how past conversations went, how I seemed to others, about paying bills, etc. So far I know this seems to be pretty standard for a lot of peoples lives, too, not just mine. Isn't that sad?
Then, wonderfully, my husband began listening to a friends Pastor over the Internet, a Pastor I'm eternally grateful to though our ideologies have begun to differ. Lol, that has to be a post in the future. My life was forever changed when God revealed how His Son died for me to be able to have eternity and I chose to believe and accept that gracious, awesome gift. The first change God wrought in my life was to give me control of my fears. I've spent the last five years without having to have my husband constantly reassure me that I'm ok. No more sleepless nights filled with worry over minor pains, sure that every cough was lung cancer from smoking, a habit that I enjoyed despite the risks. I now know what happens when I die. What's more I was saved from a place of torment, and can now look forward to being absent from the body, face to face with the Lord! I grow in the surity of my future the farther along I go with God. I also can focus more on how I appear to God rather than to people, I have an absolute truth I can model my life after, a perfect pattern I can follow.
What those words spoke to me about was how my worries and fear can still creep up and put me in chains, though its still better now by far since I can now cast those cares on the Lord. But now instead of my illness or death, I now fall into fear of something happening to my children. I no longer worry about how I am in comparison to others, but I start to worry how my kids are doing compared to their age bracket. Then there the stuff that's totally new because I was never a parent before. How do I raise my kids to be believers? How do I deal with others (family) disliking my parenting decisions when I mother them according to the Bible and not according to the 'wisdom' of the world? Lol, what if my son never potty-trains, a silly fear but one that was suprisingly consistant in its presence.
I can happily, gratefully say that I grow more capable of relying on God to take care of my kids. Lol, He is faithful in giving plenty of oppurtunities to do so, I get alot of practice, just like I'm sure every other Christian gets when they have toddlers. The next verse in that song says
"I know You've cast my sin as far as the east is from the west"
My old self is dead, my past fears and worries are as far away from who I can be now as the east is from the west. But sometimes that doesnt feel very far. And I hate that. I love what Christ has accomplished with in me, He's given me the strength to do things the old me never would have been able to do. Like being able to move all the way from South Carolina to Massachusetts while pregnant with twins, having a two year old and a six month old to take care of all by myself, no family up here to help besides my husband. Like being able to choose a vaginal birth for those twins, when the overly cautious and God-lacking doctors said I should have a C-section. For no medical reason other than fear of what could go wrong, by the way. Like being able to let God have his say in my daughter Hannah's life when he gave her a hemanglioma on her face (a red mark about the size of a dime), instead of getting plastic surgery done on something that God is fully capable of getting rid of. I never would have been able to do that before I became a Christian, I was a very weak person. Granted the last one is a choice I made because I became a Christian, but I can chose what God wants and not give into fear of how it could turn out.
My strength comes from God and not from me. The end to that song is this:
Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other
Jesus does know how far my old self has been cast from me. His sacrifice bought for me the ability to go to God, to call on Him when fears creep up. The last line, one that repeated throughout the song, reminds me of my death to self. Col 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Hidden, protected, surrounded by that wall of fire, given armor to deflect the arrows. My new life is encompassed by Christ, by the leading ministry of the Spirit, by the love of my Eternal Father.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Thomas the Doubter

I'd planned on my first blog to be about the title of my page, Psalm 119, but this is something thats been circling through my head since I found out about it yesterday. Thomas the Apostle followed his great commission all the way to India! He landed on its western coast in the year 52 A.D. Wow. Not only that but he founded seven churches before being martyred. On top of that, there had been Jewish communities living in India before he ever arrived! I got this info from Wikipedia at this address- .
This is huge to me because before I became a believer five years ago, one of my biggest doubts was how the Gospel couldnt have reached the whole world. Even after I had become a believer in the Lord, this doubt was still there. I decided that I would take it on faith that God had spread the news or made possible salvation for those "unreached". Still God can tell me when I get home just how many times the prayer of "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!" went out to him. And He was faithful through my walk as his Spirit lead me to answers. 1st the fact that we do have an adversary who doesnt want the world to come to know Christ and what he accomplished at the cross. He has been more unsuccessful in that than is known now but has been recently very successful in propaganda. 2nd God is all powerful, he could have rocks proclaim the truth if he wanted. 3rd that He possibly wrote the Gospel in the stars (i'll expand on that on at a later date maybe). The fourth answer has been he most faith affirming for me- secular scientists dont have all the answers they say they do! A great organization called Answers in Genesis does far better job than me at defending against the many secular "rock solid Theories". Yes, I'm a Creationist! I believe in the Gap theory though, also possibly a later post. But to this date I've never seen a spread of early Christianity map that goes past the area of the Mediterrean and Middle East and that was a still slow growth up into the 4th century. Why dont they show the Indian expansion? If there has been strong evidence of Christianity in India in the mid 1st century, why not show it? Was it just not big enough? And if that was left out, what else is left out?
But to top it off, the disciple who went the farthest was Thomas the Doubter. Possibly anyway, who knows how far they could have gone that just doesnt have evidence to support it today.

John 20:26-29
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" Then he said to Thomas , "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." NIV

I admit it, this scene kinda made me write off Thomas. I mean I knew that he went and died a martyrs death, but he seemed kinda ready to die anyway. After all he was also the one who said, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." John 11:16 NIV. He said that about going back to Judea to resurrect Lazarus, because the people had tried to stone Jesus there. By that point he must have seen many miracles, he's kinda like the disciples throw back to the first generation of Hebrews in the desert. You know, "Yeah, yeah you parted the sea, made the water sweet, and rained down manna, but..." With Thomas it was, "Yeah, you've healed people, turned water to wine, walked on water, but there's no way you can do anything about this one." This doubting Thomas (pun intended) is the same one who sailed forty days on the sea to land in India. Who stayed there the rest of his days, which is thought to be about 20 years more. He planted churches that lasted through intense isolation for several hundred years at a time.
I know why the Holy Spirit lead me to Thomas and what he accomplished. It's because I can see elements of my walk in his. How often have I wanted to see proof. Many times have I said to God, "Yeah, yeah, you've done this and this in my life, but there's no way you can overcome this problem." And He was giving me 'proof' just like the Lord let Thomas put his hand to his side. I found evidence of how God has spread his word much farther than I've ever seen. Furthermore, I know that God is showing me through this that He wants to do amazing things with my life if I let Him. If I turn to My Lord and My God and walk the way he calls all Christians to do.
I started this blog because God has graciously answered my prayers and greatly increased my faith and love for him and I wanted a pure outlet for that. I have a myspace account but I use that for family purposes too, and I wanted to have something devoted to my thoughts on the Lord and a place to put apologetics material. Also a place to express my support of the persecuted Church. But beyond those reasons is the hope that my two unbelieving sisters will read my posts and find Christs light within me much brighter in writing than it is over the phone (we live a whole eastern seaboard away from each other). I constantly find my conversation lacking in "salt" when I speak with them and its a source of sorrow to me.
Maybe, they can see my journey and learn from it. That is if this blog doesn't go the way every single diary I've ever started has, a few entries then nothing, lol.