Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Bearing the peculiar mark of majesty

So I'm doing this Bible study with my neighbor. First Peter. We're at that infamous submission part. I've camped out in this book for years. I frequently come back to it because it so directly speaks to me.

It bothers me that I'm bothered by the whole subject of submission because I can clearly see that submission is not a subheading under the subject of being a wife.  It is, as I've heard John Piper put it, the peculiar mark of majesty on all within the kingdom of God.  But it's just my fallen human nature to be bothered by the idea of submission.  No one. No. One. Likes someone else to be in authority over them  No one likes being the one who defers to the authority of another.  We all want to do life our way without anyone telling us otherwise.  That's just our messed-up nature.

Submissiveness is godly.  God-like.  It's not natural or human-like.  Submissiveness is to be the character of all Christians, not just women or wives.  Godly submissiveness is willing, not forced.  The godly submissive person knows where they come from.  They know who they are.  And Whose they are.  They know where they're going.  They know what their inheritance is.  They know all things are theirs in Christ.  And they willingly honor and defer to the authority of those in authority and they willingly humble themselves to lift up others.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him...  "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them." - John 13:3-5, 14-17

Because all Christians are called to a Christ-like submissiveness in the way they relate to authority and to each other there is manifestly different kinds of submission.  Those who submit to persons in authority have one kind.  Those (even in positions of authority) who submit themselves to others in various situations have another kind.  But all kinds are willing, coming from a person who knows they are a child of the Living God.  They are not weak, doormats with no will or choice.  They are the wealthiest, most powerful of all because their Father is the Creator of the universe and works ALL things for their good and His glory.  No person in a position of authority over them has any power other than what their Father has ok'd.

The person who bears the God-like, peculiar mark of majesty can look the most powerful and the most harsh and the most wealthy person in the face and face any response or consequence they may impose on their life without any fear.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday night thoughts

(Ryland did the Crossfit workout with us. Mike, the owner, training him.)

I am so sore!

All day long I have all kinds of things I want to share here and then the end of the day comes and I'm toast. So, once again I sit down to post something and my mind is a blank. It just. Wants. Bed.

It's breeding season for my Nubians so I've been busy with reading, planning, contacting, and arranging breeding for my two doelings.  I decided to give our little suburban ranch a website so that I can hopefully generate interest and share what I'm learning and doing.  I also hope to use the site as a way to advertise goats I want to sell.  But since I started that site and it has it's own blog I won't bore you with all the goat stuff here.

The Bible app on my phone has plans for Bible reading and devotionals.  I read the Book of Common prayer plan which is mostly Psalms and some Old and New T too.  I've done different things with the kids over the years but recently I found a plan on this app that I can do with the kids.  We started it last night.  It's 21 days through the book of Matthew.  There's a short entertaining video, a very short devotional and then the reading for the day to take you through Matthew.  So far, their engaged!  I'm thrilled!

Watching someone you love make decisions you know will only bring destruction and pain to their family and loved ones is so hard.  Speaking the truth in love, pleading, praying, pleading more, praying more and repeat until something changes for the better is the plan.  But deep down, what you really want to do is smack them upside the head with something very hard in hopes they'll wake up!

Trusting God in hard things is... hard.

Ok. That's about all I got.  The bed is calling and the eyelids are responding.

The Ephraimites, armed with the bow, turned back on the day of battle. 
They did not keep God's covenant, but refused to walk according to his law. 
They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them. 
In the sight of their fathers he performed wonders in the land of Egypt, in the fields of Zoan. He divided the sea and let them pass through it, and made the waters stand like a heap. In the daytime he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a fiery light. He split rocks in the wilderness and gave them drink abundantly as from the deep. He made streams come out of the rock and caused waters to flow down like rivers. 
Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. 
They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. 
They spoke against God, saying, "Can God spread a table in the wilderness? He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed. Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?" 
Therefore, when the LORD heard, he was full of wrath; a fire was kindled against Jacob; his anger rose against Israel, because they did not believe in God and did not trust his saving power. 
Yet he commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven, and he rained down on them manna to eat and gave them the grain of heaven. Man ate of the bread of the angels; he sent them food in abundance. He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens, and by his power he led out the south wind; he rained meat on them like dust, winged birds like the sand of the seas; he let them fall in the midst of their camp, all around their dwellings. 
And they ate and were well filled, for he gave them what they craved. 
But before they had satisfied their craving, while the food was still in their mouths, the anger of God rose against them, and he killed the strongest of them and laid low the young men of Israel. 
In spite of all this, they still sinned; despite his wonders, they did not believe. 
So he made their days vanish like a breath, and their years in terror. 
When he killed them, they sought him; they repented and sought God earnestly. They remembered that God was their rock, the Most High God their redeemer. 
But they flattered him with their mouths; they lied to him with their tongues. Their heart was not steadfast toward him; they were not faithful to his covenant. 
Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath. 
He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again. 
How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the desert! They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe... - Psalm 78:9-42

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

You should really try this!

So daily life is full and prayer is taking on a much greater importance and dedicated time slot in my life. (Thank God!!)

There's also the dairy-goat life and staying in touch with good friends. This week a neighbor asked me if I'd like to join her weekly for prayer and Bible study. We got together Monday morning and prayed together for an hour. It was the most wonderful morning I've had in... years.

I've been studying first Peter on an inconsistent basis.  The 12 hour shift days I work pretty much knock out everything except, eat, shower and sleep.  But when I have been engaged in the study I'm amazed.

One of the things this study by Jen Wilkin is having me do is re-write the one or two verses in focus for the week in my own words.  Have you ever done this?  You should.  I'm sure there are studies that show that comprehension is increased when we regurgitate something we've read in own words.

(As a side note, I have a screaming goat outside.  It's very distracting.  Keeping a buck goat during the rutting season is truly a challenge.  I don't suggest you try it.  Okay, back to what I was saying.)

1 Peter 1:1-25 in my own words:

From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.  To the people God chose as his own who have been kicked out of their homeland and are living in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bythneia, just as God the Father intended ahead of time would be the case to set you apart by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ. 
God is so wonderful!  Because he is so extremely merciful he has caused us to be born again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  And our new birth through Christ is a real, live guarantee that one day we will receive all that God has for us in Christ- an inheritance that can never loose value, breakdown or die. It's kept in heaven for us by God who's power through faith is keeping us saved until the day we get to fully see all that that salvation is! 

In this amazing salvation God has worked for you through faith in the risen Christ, you rejoice.  Even though for now you are suffering and are saddened by all kinds of trials.  It will only be a little while though.  These trials are testing and proving the genuineness of your faith which is worth much more than gold that perishes.  And the genuineness of your faith is going to result in glory and honor and praise when you see Jesus fact to face... when he is revealed to the whole world.  Though you have never seen him you love him and believe in him, and this is evidence of your true faith which saves you!
The Old Testament prophets prophecied about our salvation.  They longed to know what time and who they were prophesying about, searching and asking for answers.  Christ's Spirit was in them prophesying about the time when he would come, but they only knew that this was for a people to come, not for themselves.  They were prophesying the good news that we get to know and understand.  Angels don't even know what we know!  They would love to understand what we understand! 
Since then you have been so mercifully saved, prepare your minds for action!  Be sober-minded!  Let your only hope be all the grace and good that will be yours the day you see Jesus face to face.  As children of God, be obedient, not letting yourself be molded by the passions that intoxicated you before you knew Christ!  But just like God is holy- be holy in the way you live. 
If you call God Father, who is the judge of all and who doesn't play favorites in his judging, live your life in reverent awe, knowing that you were bought out of a life of meaningless living; not with money, or material treasures, but with blood- the blood of the Son of God, who is the only perfect sacrifice for your sin. 
Christ has always been known in heaven.  He is eternal but in these last days he has been made known to us who believe in him through God who raised him from the dead.  So our belief in Christ is really belief in God. 
So, since you have been totally re-born by God's living and indwelling word and have purified your soul by believing and submitting to that word (which is the good news about Christ) so that you can genuinely love these other people in God's family who have become your eternal brothers and sisters- love one another earnestly from a pure heart!  For it is written: All flesh is like grass and all the glory of flesh is like a flower- it all dies and fades away.  But the word of God never dies and never fades away!  It remains healthy and perfect and vibrant and living forever!  And this is why you will live forever!  This is what you have been born again by!

You should really try this!  Take in a few verses of God's word.  Read and re-read it over and over again.  Then pray it.  The re-write it in your own words as though you were trying to speak it to someone who'd never heard it before.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Meditations on Psalm 61, 62 and 68

Psalm 61

 "Hear my cry O God... for you O God have heard..."

God hears me.  He has heard me.  This is quite astounding if I stop and think about it.  If I want someone to listen, someone who can make a difference, someone who cares and I actually get an audience with that person it's a big deal.  I leave those conversations feeling better.  Feeling hopeful.

How much more if the Creator of the universe, the One who designed my ears and knows the hidden person of my heart... how much more astounding that He hears me.  He listens.

Is it God who I run to in my weakness and faintness of heart?  Or do I run to food.  Sleep. TV. Distraction...?  Why???  If God hears me, if he cares, if he's listening, if he's there for me why would I go to sleep, or TV, or the fridge??  Oh help my unbelief God!

"You have given me the heritage of those who fear your name."

What is the heritage God gives to those who fear his name?

Read the last verse of Isaiah 54 and then go back and read what "this" is.  There are enough promises there to keep me trusting and praying and pressing on for a lifetime!

Psalm 62

"For God alone my soul waits in silence..."

Three hidden, intangible things:  God alone. My soul. Waiting in silence.

All three I must live in.

On God alone rests my salvation and glory.  All my hope for being able to stand before the living God and not be consumed rests on Him.  All my hope for glory, for being beautiful again, for being the Imago Dei one I was created to be, for being like Christ.. it all rests on God alone.

It's a waiting of the soul.  Not a sit-and-do-nothing-and-wait waiting, but a carrying on through the storms and dullness of life while with is a hopeful look up.

In silence.  There are no words.  There is no magic spell to be spoken, no special prayer.  The salvation, the glory, the protection and strength I wait for and hope in comes not for any special plea or recitation.  My mouth is shut.  I open it only to pour out my heart to the One in which all my trust lies.  But the pouring out of my heart is not the magic key that unlocks the door to the end of my waiting in my soul upon God alone in silence.  The pouring out is simply an emptying of all that stirs my soul.  It is a return to God alone, in my soul, to silent waiting.

Psalm 68

"Blessed be the LORD who daily bears us up; God is our salvation."
"Awesome is God... he is the one who gives power and strength to his people."

If I am bearing up it is God who is doing the bearing.  I don't pull myself up by my bootstraps.  I pull myself up by the strength that God supplies.  It is not my own.  It is he.  And even when I am not pulling myself up by his strength I am falling on his strength and he is still the one doing the bearing up.