Friday, September 26, 2008
I have been making aprons all week... (Why did I decide to do this 2 weeks ago and wait until the last minute to begin sewing???) and sleeping very little.
The girls have also decided to participate and make some stuff. Sarah has been making some little fabric rag dolls and Hannah has been weaving coasters with strips of fabric. They are hoping to at least earn enough for corn dogs and funnel cakes!
Secretly, that's my goal, too! :)
Seriously, I am thinking that I am not a business savvy individual. I need to find something requiring less time and giving a larger profit margin. But it is just no fun to keep making the same thing over and over! Part of the fun of sewing is picking out cute fabric and trying new patterns! (this doesn't always go so well at 2:30 am, though!) If I break even, I will be pleased... if I profit enough for a corn dog and funnel cake... Hey, that's gravy!
In the next few days I will post some pics of the stuff we made and the kids at the booth.
As you think about a baby shower, it is obvious and natural to think about new life. I thought about speaking on our duties as mothers or the aspect of servanthood in mothering, but I have been in Colossians in my QT for a few months now, and the thought/phrase “new life” kept bringing to mind different passages from Colossians.
A few weeks ago someone prayed during prayer meeting, “Lord, let us help us to be a happy, holy, and humble people.” That seemed to fit so well with what the Lord has been teaching me lately. I really can’t think of anything as mothers or grandmothers or future mothers that would benefit our children more than for US to have new life in Christ and to walk closely with Him. When I am unhappy or discontent, lacking in holiness, and having a proud heart, it is so obvious to see how the little lives God has entrusted to me suffer, and so in a way, this really could be considered a talk on parenting.
We read these verses and know what true joy is, and our lives are transformed. As a result of this transformation, we now truly have the potential to be happy, holy, and humble.
This summer Sandy spoke about love one night, and the Lord began to open my eyes at that point about the direct relationship between love and other out workings of walking with God. So, the more we are loving God and others and are aware of that love that the Father must have for us, the more naturally happiness, holiness, and humility flow.
Likewise, it seems that pride and these things have an inverse relationship. The more we allow ourselves to be consumed with self, the less we will be able to see true love, happiness, humility, and holiness in our lives.
I heard someone make a remark not too long ago about what an unusual thing to see a happy Calvinist, and it bothered me! When we have new life in Christ, there is much to rejoice in. I am not going to split hairs between happiness and joy, but I will mention that when I am consciously making an effort to count my blessing and have an attitude of thankfulness, I find myself being happy! For this reason, I am putting a few verses about thankfulness under happiness.
In the first chapter Paul tells the Colossians that he has been praying that they would be filled with the knowledge of the will of God and to be strengthened for the purpose of having patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance o the saints in the light.
Paul mentions later “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you,” (1:24) and you might think “rejoice?” “sufferings?” But the reason is that he understands the riches of the glory the mystery, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (1:27)
I realize that that last verse did not say anything about happiness, but thinking of that mystery… that Christ is in the believer, and THAT is our hope of glory… that really makes me happy!
These verses are all intertwined and flow with each other, because as we think about these things and are thankful, not only do our lives reflect our joy in Christ, but they increase in holiness and humility.
There are so many verses in Colossians that speak towards leading a life of personal holiness. Chapter 4 gives several practical applications like our speech, submitting to our husbands, prayer life, and how we spend our time. It is so important for us to bear in mind that our holiness is only straight from Christ.
Col. 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
That is a great blanket statement. This verse also summarizes how we should walk in holiness:
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord; so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Col. 2:6-7)
At first reading, these verses went into my category of verses for holiness because they are a good reminder to walk in Him and be established in the faith. On second thought, it would just as easily fit in with the thought of being a happy people because they remind us to abound in thanksgiving. Also, leading into the last point, they could easily fit in with the thought of being humble. The first of the verse says, “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord.” When we remember that the way we received Jesus was by coming to God empty handed and fully trusting in His mercy through Christ, we are truly humbled. In this same way are we to live our lives… remembering that our holiness and all walking in Him comes only through Him and not by anything good in ourselves.
As we think about who we are apart from Christ and what Christ has done on behalf of sinners, we have no reason to be anything other than humble.
As Anita prepares to celebrate new life, I thought it would be helpful for us to think about our new life in Christ. When we have new life in Christ and walk closely with Him, happiness, holiness, and humility are evidences of Christ’s work in our life.
I just want to close by reading this last passage from Colossians:
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through Him. (3:12-17)
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The sermon was very helpful, and if you would like to check any of them out, I think our website is www.christchurchnewalbany.org. Just as helpful as the sermon were the hymns this morning. Some of you know that our church uses what many of us call "the funny little red hymnal." It is a small red book of hymns, but they are all written as poetry rather than with the music notes and divided into lines. (I am totally un-musical, so I don't even know what you call that...) Aside from Daily Light (see link), the hymn book is my favorite companion to the Scripture in my quiet time. Because it is written in the form of poetry, it is wonderful to read the words and really contemplate the truths about Christ that the hymns convey.
I thought I would post a few verses from one of the hymns we sang this morning... what a picture of the preciousness of Christ to the believer and how in Christ obedience from love is a joy rather than a chore or something to check off a spiritual list! #475
Come ye souls by sin afflicted,
Bowed by fruitless sorrow down,
By the broken law convicted,
Through the cross behold the crown;
Look to Jesus;
Mercy flows through Him alone.
Take His easy yoke and wear it;
Love will make obedience sweet;
Christ will give you strength to bear it,
While His wisdom guides your feet
Safe to glory,
Where His ransomed captives meet.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
This morning our homeschool cross country team competed in a large area invitational. There were over 900 runners competing in the 6 different races, so it was definitely an experience for some of the families who had never seen the difference between a 5K and an XC invitational. The runners did well, several improving their times.
I am particularly proud of Zak Priest, our top boy finisher, and the girls' team. Zak stepped up and pushed ahead of where he has been running lately. I am hopeful to see him running under 19:00 by the end of the season. The girls showed the beginning signs of working together and pack running, which is GREAT to see. I love to see improvement, and now we have a great place to jump from.
Next year I am planning on coaching again... I know that last year I said no more and then once again committed, and I am regretting that lapse of time terribly now. SO, we will definitely get a good start on a training plan in June and not wait until August to begin.
I really need to go run and then head upstairs to sew. Next week is the Tallahatchie Riverfest, and I have been given a free booth. My sister is coming from Memphis with her wooden signs that she paints, and I am planning on some major sleep deprivation this week in order to make and sell aprons. Hobby Lobby had some CUTE fabric, and I am hoping that the masses in New Albany think so too!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
I just received an email about Sarah Palin with a link to a poll asking Christians to turn the percentage around and say that we really do think she is qualified to be VP. As I looked at the list of names in the Fwd block, and considered all of the hype Christians are making over this woman, I feel the need to cry out, "What are we thinking!?"
I understand that she is pro-life, anti-gun laws, and holds a firmer position than even McCain in a lot of areas. However, it seems that we as Christians are going to be willing, even eager, to overlook Scriptural principles on the roles of women.
When I told our children who she was, my daughter's first comment was, "if she has that many children, does she really need to go to the White House and be VP?" Another friend of mine commented something along the lines of, "it seems as though we do not want our daughters to become feminists, but we are willing to make an exception if it is something as big as the presidency."
It seems so true! How many godly mothers who have taught their daughters to be submissive and under the husband's leadership are presently campaigning for a woman to leave her children, take leadership over her husband, and do the opposite of what we are teaching? (All in the name of Christ...)
It just seems to be lacking in consistency.
Ok, Ok, I know some of you might be thinking, "Oh, wow, this person has gone off the deep end and has turned radical on us..." NOT TRUE... I am not saying I am going to cast my vote for Socialism; I am confused, and I am troubled that no one seems to be feeling hesitation over this matter. There it is, I suppose that is the thrust of why I am so bothered... It is such a weighty matter, and it seems that the conservative Christian community has just jumped on the bandwagon without pause because we are supposed to be Republicans.
I will attempt to step down off the soap box... one more thing... I am not sure what I think about the whole situation, so please do not accuse me of being a Palin basher or a door mat to my husband!
As I step down off my soapbox, I realize the root of why the poll email stirred me up so much... I have had a cup of coffee after 9:00 PM and that on top of a VERY troubling experience at our local library today.
I have heard statistics about internet pornography and other things, but the truth of those things and the reality of them being present in our small community was very clear this afternoon.
We have been having internet woes (for the last 6 months), and I finally decided that I would just take the kids to the library a few days per week to allow them computer time. My reasoning was that we could spend 30 minutes, everyone could have a turn at once (with high speed internet), and it wouldn't be a big deal.
This afternoon, many of the computers were full, so the librarian plugged my children into computers spread around the little area (we like to get 4 in a row). As I stood setting Josh up on PBS kids, I realized that the woman directly to my right was looking at pornography. Josh was engrossed in Word World, so he didn't see anything, but I quickly held up my hand and asked her to please stop. As if I had made a very unreasonable request, she changed the image and tilted the screen away from me. I continued to glare and give my "nonverbal" that I am so bad about doing without realizing (although it was definitely intentional today), and she logged off and left a few minutes later. When she was safely out of the picture (literally and figuratively) and a young boy (about 10-12) was in her place, I went to check on Sarah. As I logged her onto her email, I couldn't help but see that the MAN next to her was scrolling through pictures of BOYS. Determined not to jump to conclusions, I thought to myself, "maybe he is looking for his cousin or friend or something..." THEN I realized it was match.com, and he was signing up to be the "secret admirer" of several of these boys. At this point, I knew it was time to go, so I began to round up the troops. As I was getting Josh off his computer, he realizes that the boy next to him is playing games much more exciting... there are realistically animated men with machine guns killing people and leaving them in pools of blood all over some dungeon. AAAHHH!!! Would the nightmare never end! I turned in the girl, and the librarian knew who she was... turns out she sits at the computer regularly for lengthy intervals. Hopefully they will be able to stop her... but I can't help but be concerned for young boys who might be preyed upon by the man, and what about the boy who is getting ample virtual practice with automatic weapons...
My friend summed up my feelings when she mentioned that our "Fair and Friendly City" is not all we think it to be. Really, the Lord has been opening my eyes this evening to how much our community needs HIM... not just the Southern religion, but CHRIST. If I ran across that much sin and hurt in a 20 minute span, how many more out there are hurting just as badly? Oh, I pray that He would give me the wisdom and understanding to deal with this!
In the meantime, my children will not be using the computers in our library!
Monday, September 15, 2008
Hannah's blog (which will undoubtedly be updated more often) is www.hannahduley.blogspot.com and Sarah's is www.sarahduley.blogspot.com.