Wednesday, February 22, 2012
A Shallow stream,
What hope does one gain from these?
An empty heart,
A shallow belief,
What hope does one gain from these?
The Father's love,
The Son's embrace,
This brings the hope for all things.
The Spirit's breath
That gives us life,
Fuels the hope for all things.
To gain the love,
To gain the life,
We would gain the hope that is given.
Monday, February 20, 2012
I miss you so much already, even though it hasn't even been a day. I know you are having such a blessed time with our Lord and Savior.
I know in this life I never expressed very well my gratitude for all you have done for me... let me now do that. Thank you so much for your love, not only for me but for my family and the example you gave me through your love for the Lord. Thank you for raising my dad to be a Christian and preparing him to lead my siblings and I in the way of truth. Thank you for your example of patience, self control, and faithfulness, in these lessons I could not have asked for a better teacher.
I can't wait until I see you again :)
Your Loving Granddaughter,
Even as my Grandpa has passed from this life to a far better one, those of us that are left behind are reminded of a few things. First, cherish the time you are given with your loved ones and give them hugs every chance you get. Second, never forget to tell them how much they mean to you cause you never know when you will never have that chance again. And Thirdly, keep all your friends and family in prayer because as we know, we will get to see them again if they accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I am so happy that my I will get to see my Grandpa again :)
Prayer is a mighty weapon... let us use it to its fullest...
With an overflowing heart,
Friday, February 17, 2012
I have been very open and forthright with criticism towards my generation of homeschoolers and their lack of intentionality towards pursuing relationships, getting married, and establishing families. To that end I wrote an article over a year ago entitled: “Why My Generation isn’t getting married...and what to do about it.”
Writing this article and publishing it was a big step of faith. Many misunderstood and thought I was pointing my finger at specific people or situations. That was not my heart or intention, I simply wished to re-center the focus of my generation an encourage them to live in the fullness that the Lord has set before them. On the other hand, I have received emails from several young people (and also sarents) who thanked me for calling things the way I saw them. Since the article was published I even had a few friends who tried my advice and are happily in relationships and on their way to marriage.
I think that actually what scared me the most about writing the article was being afraid of the extra responsibility I was taking on. Not only did I know that I needed to take my own advice and set an example of pursuing every opportunity of meeting Mr. Right, I also needed to pray diligently and faithfully for my friends that are single. If there is one vital lesson I have learned in the ensuing months, it is the power of prayer.
Shortly after publishing the article I joined a few of the online singles websites that I mentioned. Of course my parents knew, and anytime I received an item of noteworthy correspondence I sent it right on to them. I was very careful in my own mindset that even if were pursuing opportunities to find Mr. Right, I was NOT going to be the pursuer. I didn’t want a man that wasn’t willing to pursue me. Additionally, I set myself some ground rules: 1. if I was to meet someone who interested me online, I would give them every means of pursuing me, 2. I wasn’t going to reciprocate affection until I had gotten a solid green light from my parents, and 3. I wasn’t under any circumstances going to get into a relationship until I had met the person face to face. So, I went about the whole process rather clinically.
Frankly, I was extremely disappointed in my whole experience. Both websites are very good in theory, and I appreciate what they have set out to achieve. Perhaps my experience would have been better if I had invested myself more. With one of the sites it was just too complicated and involved, and I didn’t really have anyone take interest, nor did I find anyone of interest. It was less than slim pickin’s. With the second site, I had 3 guys show interest successively. The first one never made time to come and get to know me. He seemed more than content with a casual friendship, and though I am grateful to have friends, that wasn’t my purpose. The second one was a lot more intentional on his part, but he also got cold feet about coming to see me, and it never went further. The 3rd guy was much more serious about a relationship with me than he was to get to know me. So, I took an entire month to pray and to talk to my parents about it, and ended up telling him that I wasn’t comfortable moving forward. At that point, I had reached the end of the end of giving these online sites a chance. I was never in a relationship with any of these men and I logged out, never to return. I know that some people might consider those months a waste of time and a string of failures, but I learned much about myself, about men, and most importantly about Jesus’ faithfulness. I am thankful for that part of my life journey.
Little did I know the wonderful and crazy path that the Lord had me walking in the midst of all this.
I had gone home for a few months to visit with my family and help a friend run for office. And, during that time I had a job interview for my current job, and the decision to make of whether to once again move almost 2,000 miles from ‘home’ for an indefinite period of time. It was a sweet few months at home, sharing time with my family, helping my friend run for office and getting to know him better, and seeing all my hometown people.
Shortly after taking my job and moving to Illinois, guy #3 came on the scene, and I began to really evaluate what I wanted and how this would work - if at all. The more I talked to him and the more I talked to my parents the more unsure I became of it. It was making me physically sick. I had determined to not move forward until we could meet face to face.
And, then, in God’s perfect timing, just as the old year was coming to a close I received a text message from a dear friend that started out: “you’re amazing...” I have to say I was shocked. Totally shocked. Not more than 48 hours before one of my best girl friends had asked me if I ever saw myself in a relationship with him and I said something a long the lines of: “Well...(insert hemming and hawing)...I doubt it...” Oh, God’s amazing sense of humor and irony. This was a man that I respected deeply, admired, and was rather attracted to, but I had guarded my heart so carefully and diligently that I was literally in shock. It was like finding out that the boy next door - one of your best friends - had a crush on you. I told him I needed a few days to think and pray about it and I did just that - talked to my family, and to my Lord. Since I already had a foundation of a friendship with him I was comfortable moving forward.
Just a few days later, he talked to my Dad. Since then we’ve been working hard at communicating and deepening our friendship and he’s been getting to know my family better. And...I’ve been learning several lessons. Lessons I never thought I’d be learning through being in a relationship.
The first lesson I’ve had to learn is repentance. Yes, repentance. I never, ever thought that would be the primary lesson that I’d learn from a relationship. I was the girl whose shoulder OTHER girls cried on. I was always giving a hug and saying, “Don’t worry...God cares more about your love life than you even do. He’s working on Mr. Right as we speak. Be patient. Trust Him!” In fact, I think that I said it so many times that I forgot to believe it for my own life. Somehow I figured that was for everyone else, but not for me. I thought that I’d spot Mr. Right in my own strength. A week or so into this brand-new relationship I was praising God, saying - “Wow! I never saw this coming!” And, I heard the Lord whisper in His ever gentle, but rebuking voice in reply, “You see how I have blessed you in spite of your unbelief?”
Whenever I was punished as I child I would tell my parents how unfair it was that kids got punished, but adults didn’t. Mom would smile and say, “But, honey, that’s not true...parents get spankings from God.” It was at that moment I understood what she meant. I felt like I had just gotten walloped. I, a daughter of the King, had professed with my mouth over and over my fealty and trust, yet I had betrayed Him in my own soul. And still He delighted to bless me with every good thing.
If that doesn’t drive a person to repentance, nothing will.
Secondly, I’ve been learning patience. Yes, I also, thought that was a lesson I’d already learned. But, somehow, being in a relationship with someone who is 1,635 miles away makes patience relevant on a whole new level. There’s so much opportunity for miscommunication...and, the waiting. Waiting for the natural development of a relationship, waiting for parental input and approval, waiting on the Lord. Always waiting. In God’s amazing irony once again, I just happen to be studying Isaiah in my Bible Study. Isaiah 40 has a rich promise for those who wait, specifically on the Lord. This season I’ve been challenged to find and embrace the Biblical promises made to those who wait.
And speaking of seasons, being in a relationship has somehow mysteriously made my time living by myself, far away from family a blessing. I am savoring my peace and quiet, enjoying the time to do reflect, read, be master of my own house and vehicle. Things that before seemed a burden are opportunities to embrace, lessons to learn, and discipline to be mastered. I wouldn’t trade this season.
Thirdly, I’ve once again been powerfully reminded of God’s Sovereignty and timing. It’s one thing to always be talking about it, but quite another to stand back and see Him at work. It fills one with a sense of awe and a sense of smallness. I am almost daily reminded of the hymn that was played at my parents’ wedding - He Makes All Things Beautiful In His Time. He truly does. His fingerprints are everywhere - if only we step back and look.
And, lastly, I’ve been learning ever so much about trust - the importance of trust in a relationship, trust in God, trust in my parents, trust in my boyfriend. Such a small word, and yet so important. I had naively thought that the hard part of trusting God and your parents was before being in relationship. Not so. That’s when its easy because you have nothing to lose. When you’ve entered a serious relationship trust becomes what it is all about - trusting the Lord that He continues to be faithful and work out His plan for good, trust that one’s parents are hearing from the Lord, and trust in the other person’s pure intentions. Another hymn comes to mind, “Trust and Obey...for there’s no other way...”
Since the moment this journey began, I have begged God to be glorified and honored in and through me. That is my only heart’s desire, and yet He has added to me blessings and joy beyond compare.
And, remember that text message I received a few months ago? The truth is that he’s pretty amazing too...and the story has just begun!
To be continued...
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Shaking off the distractions of life to even sit down and write a blog can be hard enough…it obviously is for me as have not written one in about a year. This challenge is nothing compared to that which life throws at you to keep you from having deep moment-by-moment relationship with your Savior. The reason that I say "moment-by-moment" is because when you are talking about the Savior of the universe, the one that gives you the strength to take that next step, the one that moves my fingers to type these words and puts my thoughts in a somewhat understandable sequence, WHY would you want anything less?
For the last 2 years of my life I have kind of felt like I have been in a lesson, but never finding the answer. I am still amazed at everything that I've learned, even though I had no clue why I was learning it. Thankfully we have a faithful God that in his timing chooses to show us what we are learning and why we are learning it. I have learned so much, especially around the moment-to-moment relationship that I must have with my Savior.
I must ask you…”why don’t we reach out and touch Jesus and draw our strength from Him?” He is with in reaching distance of all of us yet we choose to act like He is not. Most of us just want to be with Him but sometimes I am afraid we just want to use Him like a name drop. In Mark 5 we are told of the woman who was healed by her “faith”. I used to simply think about this from the stand point of the woman who was sick having the faith that Jesus would heal her if she could JUST touch His robe. Then, I began thinking about this story from the perspective of the crowd. It says the crowd “thronged” which simply means “(of a crowd) Fill or be present in (a place or area), to be present in great numbers."
The questions I ask myself…was no one else who was there injured or sick? Why was there no one else reaching out to touch Jesus, to be healed? I am not saying there was not anyone else that was not trying or that even did and we are not told about it, but this prompted me to ask myself "am I the person so proud of that fact that I am “walking” beside Jesus right there I don’t even consider that I could reach out and touch Him". STOP and THINK about that, put yourself right there! Are you satisfied standing beside Him or do you want to reach out and touch Him? Do you want His healing power to run through you and heal every physical, spiritual, and emotional injury?I know that for many years of my life I have been the crowd…just believing that I was in a great place because I was walking with Jesus instead of having that FAITH to reach out and touch Him.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Biblical Worldview Learning Center Friends:
This week's e-letter is part 4 of my writing Foundational Presuppositions which develops an understanding of worldviews, particularly a Biblical Worldview. Part 4 completes the introductory chapter to the book. This writing will be sent out periodically as further devotional material is developed and written. As those devotionals are produced we will be sending them out in future weekly e-mails.
Foundational Presuppositions, is based upon my seminar presentation of the same name. I do hope to publish the work in the future. If you would be interested in scheduling a single day,weekend, or longer seminar on the Foundational Presuppositions of a Biblical Worldview,arrangements can be made by contacting me at the Biblical Worldview Learning Center.
For the month of February we are making available some very helpful books in the area of Christian Biblical Worldview development. The books we are offering for our February special discount are the following:
Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview, by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen. An engaging introduction to the Christian worldview explores how Christians can live faithfully at the crossroads of Scripture and postmodern culture. Ideal for undergraduate students and laypeople. (Retail: 20.00; Special: 16.00)
Think Biblically!: Recovering a Christian Worldview, by John MacArthur. This work guides readers in cultivating a Biblical worldview. John MacArthur and other scholars confront the false worldviews that dominate the postmodern world and provide models for cultivating a Biblical mindset. (Retail: 18.00; Special: 14.40)
Lord of All: Developing a Christian World-and-Life View, by D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe. The authors define this Christian world-and-life view by considering the six main spheres of influence that Christians should be working to strengthen, from the global and national levels down to the church and the family. (Retail: 18.00; Special: 14.40)
Any these books can be ordered simply by requesting them by e-mail, phone, or mail.
For His Kingdom,
David Barrett, Director
Biblical Worldview Learning Center
The Necessity of a Biblical Worldview
Consider the following Scriptures:
"In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).
Only within the light of the truth in God's Word are we able to truly see more truth. Outside of His Word we grope in darkness.
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).
This Scripture is addressing the benefits in this life that salvation in Christ can bring. Notice the two key components that are associated with this process:
(1) You are to labor or work in this salvation growth process. It requires an investment
on your part.
(2) It takes a unique quality of character with which this laboring process is to take place
– "fear and trembling."
Yes, a believer is made a joint-heir with Jesus and He has called us "friend," but you are not His equal, you are not even close.
Yes, we are told that we can boldly enter the throne room of God, but we cannot go brashly or carelessly believing we can make demands upon Him.
God's grace is no license for immature behavior or thought patterns. God'grace gives us the promise, that by His means, our thoughts and life can be elevated to a position of pleasing Him.
The following two Scriptures also directly address the necessity of actively shaping a Biblical worldview in our lives:
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age,even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Each of these passages addresses the need to labor at developing a Biblical worldview. Can you see that? The Hebrews passage speaks about a contrast between a baby Christian that understands the simple first principles, or rudiments, of Scripture and a mature Christian. This infant child of God knows he is a sinner and that salvation is by Jesus Christ alone. This is practically all the baby Christian understands and apparently those receiving this epistle were in that condition. But the writer to the Hebrews is not pleased with that infant state of Christianity. He chastises them saying that they should have moved on to the more solid food of Scripture and the Christian life. The "strong meat" of the mature Christian is described in the last proposition of verse 14: "…those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
The mature Christian is one who has learned to apply God's Word to his everyday living and actually practiced reasoning from the Word to the situations and issues he faces. The result being, that the Christian learns to discern that which is in agreement with the Word and that which is contrary to Scripture. This is what is meant by the statement "by reason of use have their senses (perceptions) exercised." Christians need to labor to develop a Godly and Biblical perception of the world around them and the issues of their day. The development of the mind to see things as God would see them is not something that naturally develops in the believer. The believer’s mind needs to be made new. That is what the Romans passage cited above is emphasizing.
In Romans chapter 12, Paul once again warns about the dangers of the world’s influence upon the believer's life. He tells the Christian to not be conformed to this world. That is, they are to guard against being formed and fashioned into the way the world wants them to think and live. The word "conformed" conveys the idea of being changed from the outside-in. The Christian
needs to guard against being shaped by worldly pressures. This includes not only peer pressure and lifestyle pressures, but the changes that come into our lives because we gaze so long upon something that we begin to model it. That's what happens when we look upon, and meditate or vegetate, upon the world’s messages through television, movies, music, magazines, internet, and a host of other avenues.
In contrast to this, Paul exhorts the believer to be changed in another way. He says to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Both the word (transformed) and the place of change (the mind) indicate just the opposite of what we saw concerning the world's impact upon our lives. Paul is telling us that the change is to come from the inside-out. True lasting change begins internally and addresses a change of heart and mind. New presuppositions and new ways of thinking need to be established. Every single one of us, to one degree or another, began in the garbage can of life views. All of us had to be miraculously rescued from our condition of destruction and our daily diet of worldly thinking.
However, the coming to salvation is only the beginning. God, by grace though faith, saves us in an instance. When Jesus Christ returns again, we will all be changed in the twinkling of an eye. However, between these two events, and while we are still alive, we are called to invest ourselves in the process of learning to think and live in ways that are pleasing to God.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).
"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind…" (I Peter 1:13a)
These Scriptures and others, along with II Corinthians 10:5, which we looked at earlier, tell us over and over again that we need to learn to think properly in our new life. It is one thing, and the absolute necessary thing, to be rescued out of the garbage can of worldly thinking and living. It is another thing, and equally essential, to get the garbage out of your life. In other words, salvation begins and is secured by the sovereign act of God as He reaches down and pulls you from life’s heap of rubbish. But, if that were all there was to the saved life, then He would take you home the instance He saved you. Yet, for the vast majority of those He saves, He leaves us here on this earth to both share the Good News and to grow in His grace. That growth has nothing to do with our justification before God; that was established at the moment of our salvation. It does, however, have everything to do with our maturing, our sanctification, our becoming more and more into the image of His Son. And, these passages on the mind, including Romans 12:2 tell us that we are to be personally invested in this process.
W.E. Vine in his very helpful work, Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, gives very instructive insight into the meaning of this passage in Romans 12.
"…a renewal, is used in Rom. 12:2, "the renewing (of your mind)," i.e.,
the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to the mind
of God, which is designed to have a transforming effect upon the life; in
Tit. 3:5, where "the renewing of the Holy Spirit" is not a fresh bestowment
of the Spirit, but a revival of His power, developing the Christian life; this
passage stresses the continual operation of the indwelling Spirit of God; the
Romans passage stresses the willing response on the part of the believer".
This brings us back to the very purpose of this book. Every Christian needs a well defined and a well developed Biblical Worldview. None of us can rest on our laurels and say, "Well, I've been saved, there's nothing more for me to concern myself with." I trust all that I have argued above has put that attitude to rest. It's time to invest ourselves in the process of learning view the world as God would want us to and to begin thinking God's thoughts after Him.
The only infallible tool we can use to know how God would want us to think is the revelation of His Truth which is found in His Word, the Bible. It is only there that we can go and know that we are reading exactly what God would want us to know. And it is to His Word that even Christ himself directed us as he prayed for you and me in John chapter 17,
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast
given me; for they are thine…I have given them thy word; and the world
hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of
the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but
that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world,
even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word
is truth. (emphasis added)
It is now to that Word, the very Word of God, we will turn to learn what God presents as the Foundational Presuppositions that we are to hold.
February Featured Products
Click on the titles to order.
20% Discount (as Priced)
by Craig G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen
Retail Price: $20.00
February's price: $16.00
This engaging introduction to Christian worldview explores how Christians can live faithfully at the crossroads of Scripture and postmodern culture.
Ideal for undergraduate students and laypeople, Living at the Crossroads first lays out a brief summary of the biblical story and the most fundamental beliefs of Scripture. The book then tells the story of Western culture from the classical period to postmodernity. Authors Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew next analyze how Christians live in the tension that exists at the intersection of the biblical and cultural stories. They proceed to tease out the implications for key areas of life, such as education, scholarship, economics, politics, and church. The result is a deeply thoughtful yet approachable text that draws on the rich tradition of Reformational thinking but contextualizes it to a postmodern setting for a contemporary audience.
Readers will emerge from their study and reflection of worldview with renewed hope in the gospel and restored fervor to help meet the tremendous need for justice and mercy in the world.
224 pages • Paperback
by D. James Kennedy
Retail Price: $18.00
June's price: $14.40
In this book, D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe define the Christian's world-and-life view by considering the six main spheres of influence that Christians should be worlking to strengthen, from the global and national levels down to the church and family. Those with anti-Christian worldviews are working hard to push God out of these spheres,and as Christians we are called to reclaim them for Christ. With an unflinching commitment to God's truth, the authors take us through each of these spheres of influence and give us an overview of what has gone wrong and why a biblically informed world-and-life view is essential. They provide us with the tools and guidance we need to begin integrating our faith with every aspect of life.
320 pages • Hardcover
by John MacArthur
May's price: $14.40
Now in paperback, this helpful volume by pastor and best-selling author John MacArthur guides readers in cultivating a biblical worldview on a wide range of issues.
What we think shapes who we are. That's why the Bible tells us, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind" (Romans 12:2a). In a world of differing voices competing for our allegiance, we must learn to "think biblically" so we can distinguish good from evil. God is the Creator of this world; his voice-his Word-must guide our thoughts and our lives.
With the Bible in their hands, John MacArthur and other scholars and teachers from the Master's College confront the false worldviews that dominate our postmodern world. The authors provide models for cultivating a biblical mind-set on worship, psychology, gender, science, education, history, government, economics, and literature. This book will help anyone who is striving to think biblically in today's culture.
368 pages • Paperback