Monday, April 30, 2007

Pictures From Our Walk This Evening Down "Eshleman Trail"






Wholly Yours - David Crowder Band

I am full of earth
You are heaven’s worth
I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity
You are everything that is bright and clean
The antonym of me
You are divinity
But a certain sign of grace is this
From a broken earth flowers come up
Pushing through the dirt

You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I wanna be holy like You are

You are everything that is bright and clean
And You’re covering me with Your majesty
And the truest sign of grace was this
From wounded hands redemption fell down
Liberating man

You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I want to be holy like You are

But the harder I try the more clearly can I feel
The depth of our fall and the weight of it all
And so this might could be the most impossible thing
Your grandness in me making me clean

Glory, hallelujah
Glory, glory, hallelujah
You are holy, holy, holy
All heaven cries “Holy, holy God”
You are holy, holy, holy
I want to be holy God

So here I am, all of me
Finally everything
Wholly, wholly, wholly
I am wholly, wholly, wholly
I am wholly, wholly, wholly Yours

I am wholly, wholly Yours

I am full of earth and dirt and You

In the world but not of the world

Some time ago, God spoke to me from 1Corinthians 15:34. These words cut right to the very heart of my being. (For anyone keeping track, this occurred before I began to cover my head.) "Awake to righteousness and sin not, for some have not the knowledge of God; I speak this to your shame." My behavior was not in line with my beliefs. My quick temper, my snide remarks about others, the judgement I passed daily on those around me- none of it was pleasing to my God and none of it reflected well on Him when I called myself a Christian. A desire was awakened in me- the desire to live in a way that would draw others closer to Christ, or at the very least not drive a wedge between the Savior and those in need of salvation.

There are Christians who put others down, tell OR laugh at dirty jokes, act "holier than thou"... and that's the light stuff. There are also Christians who are only out for themselves, who give money to the church with the belief that their obligation to God has been met, drink on Saturday night and come to church Sunday morning, cheat on spouses, beat their spouses and children, go on mission trips to take pictures of themselves handing out tracts and hanging out on the beach. It's not difficult to see why so many people look at Christians and say, "No, thanks" to Christ. If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, our eyes have been opened to the sinful ways of this world. We ought not live like the world. In the words of Jesus, from John 17: 14-18 "I have given them [believers] 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. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world."
Recently we had the privelege to meet a young man whom we will call "Zack". Zack was brought to our house by his girlfriend, who is a Christian. Her desire was for Zack to meet real Christians, not church-goers. Zack is a nice young man. He is also a fence-sitter in the spiritual realm. He is not ready to trust Christ because of the behavior of Christians. "Awake to righteousness and sin not, for some have not the knowledge of God; I speak this to your shame." Christians, let's not allow our sinfulness to stand between Zack and the God who wants to be his savior.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Costumes



Wednesday night was Bible Character dress-up night at AWANA. From left to right, we have Mini-Moses, Noah, Moses, and Elijah. We called Gloria mini-Moses because right up to the minute I took this picture she had on a tan robe, rod, and bottle of "blood" just like Nicholas. Then she decided red was prettier, and we weren't prepared to change her accessories. Noah and Elijah desired to dress as their namesakes. These costumes were put together in under an hour- longer if you count the time it took for the paint to dry on Elijah's sword. Nicholas decided on Moses because he would get to carry a big stick and shout "Let my people go!", as well as carry a bottle of "blood" (fruit punch) that he could drink when no one was looking.
I had the opportunity to be outside with the youth while Nicholas' class was involved in game time. I noticed the gametime leader had the walking stick... I don't know if it was to prop himself up after a long day or if he took it because the 10 and 11 year old boys were whacking each other with it.
I enjoy getting to see Nicholas happily playing with other boys his age. I used to worry that because we were homeschooling, my children would have poor interpersonal skills. They have a variety of friends at church, the closest being children of other church workers. One girl who is a couple of years older than Nicholas plays with my 2 oldest sons a lot. Noah pretends he is going to eat her... as soon as he sees her, he tells her "Welcome to the sanctuary of my stomach!" and then the chase is on. I appreciate how nice she is to include Noah in the play since she is double his age right now.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Starting Over?

"Don't you have to start all over again now that you have a house?"
"What do you mean?", is my response.
"Didn't you give away everything?"
"We don't need anything."
There are still folks who think we are crazy. They chuckle when we tell them we have purchased a house. Why did we give away our furniture only to buy more 8 months later? What about the stuff we liked so much... the beautiful crystal plate we received as a wedding gift, the shells we collected on our trip to the beach, the scribbled on scraps of paper from the kids? The answer is very simple. God told us to. In order for us to be where He wanted us to be, we had to let go of the stuff that cluttered our lives. Let me be clear here. It did not simply clutter our home, it invaded the sacred parts of our lives.
Have you ever said to your child, "Don't touch that! That was a gift from Aunt Marge!" (Feel free to substitute your favorite aunt's name.) Not that there's anything wrong with protecting the family heirlooms, but we tend to make them holy objects. We will shed tears for a broken vase with family connections, or spank our children for scribbling on grandma's journal,when we left it sitting out in plain sight and in close proximity to the crayons.
Letting go of the things that we have gathered throughout the years is not necessarily easy. Some of us feel that our "things" are useful, and that makes them harder to part with. I kept a quilting frame under my bed for 2 years. It could be a wonderful tool for someone, but not for me.
And now that we are unpacking the few boxes of things that we kept, I don't miss anything that I gave up. I sometimes fondly look back on the old rocking chair that I rocked my four children in. It was patched from tornado damage, stained, and quite unattractive, but the most comfortable rocking chair we ever owned. I am glad it is gone. I let this inanimate object have a very special place in my heart and gave it honor that no object is worthy of. It sometimes is difficult to understand why people would honor wooden gods, but in light of the love I had for my ragged old chair, it is not so difficult to understand.
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me" takes on new meaning when we look at how we treat our stuff. Our stuff was a false god. We took care of it, chastised our children for mistreating it, taught them why it was important to us and what it did for us. That kind of treatment should be reserved for our Creator and Savior, not Aunt Jean's wall art or a light fixture that Janette Fritolio helped us pick out the year we were married.
What did God do for us? Aside from taking on our sin and shame, being brutally beaten and murdered, rising from the dead and extending his salvation to an undeserving world of Gentiles, He is also working in our everyday lives. He asked us to give away what we had, take up our cross daily and follow Him. Obedience is not always easy. God has given us more than we ever could have attained on our own. The junk that we gave away was nothing compared to the spiritual gifts we have obtained through our simple act of obedience. Six people living together and loving each other in a 34' RV sounds impossible. With our spare time, we made a habit of not only reading the Bible daily with our children, but also praying as a family. We played music together (not necessarily well, but we had fun and praised God in song.) I am difficult to teach, but God even taught me to wait on him, be more patient, and humble myself in a relationship with my mother-in-law. Not that I always did that, but I am better at it than I used to be. That is a post for another day.
God has even allowed me to keep one of the small treasures that I had saved for years. As I unpacked a box of photo albums last night, I found a pair of socks that each of my newborn children wore. I had never thought of them since they were packed away and if I had thought of them, I would have assumed they had been given away. I thank God that every now and then, He blesses us with a small physical gift.

Monday, April 9, 2007

A Name For Our Farm

Scott and I have decided that we should name our farm. We want something with meaning, preferably Biblical. We've racked our brains, but nothing is coming to us. I even did a google search on "naming your farm". We found a couple that we really like, but of course, we can't very well steal someone else's farm name. I like Silent Rocks (taken from the Bible verse that says if we don't praise God the rocks will). That farm is even in the same city as us. And there is Five Stones Farms, "because of the bible verse that says at the judgment, we'll receive a stone with a new name on it and there are 5 in our family." Why can't I think of anything like that? We've asked the boys to come up with ideas, but so far they have nothing. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A Path through the Wilderness


The men of the family (Scott, Nicholas and Noah) spent the afternoon clearing a path to the old logging road from our house. It's amazing what a chainsaw, pruner,and an extra set of hands to drag away the debris can do. This was a heavily forested area until today. I can now walk upright all the way back to the logging road. The only access to there up until now has been from the road, meaning a walk along the highway. We can't wait to have friends over now, so we can go exploring.
I, however,am a Class A Wimp. It was too cold for me to be outside very much. I worked inside emptying boxes of random items that were brought in from the RV.
The evening was spent with friends at a fish fry. Once again, a bit cold for my tastes. I stayed in as much as possible, and when I had to be outside I was very close to the bonfire. These folks have an awesome fire pit and the kids always have a good time just standing there and tossing sticks in. When we finally arrived home, Elijah was asleep and had to be carried in to his bed.