Sunday, June 28, 2009

Do you know what adultery is?

Do you know what God really meant when He said, do not commit adultery? Listen to this sermon by Dr. Voddie Baucham and find out the full meaning behind this command.

Are you a Lover or a Prostitute?

By: David Ryser

"A number of years ago, I had the privilege of teaching at a school of ministry. My students were hungry for God, and I was constantly searching for ways to challenge them to fall more in love with Jesus and to become voices for revival in the Church. I came across a quote attributed most often to Rev. Sam Pascoe. It is a short version of the history of Christianity, and it goes like this: Christianity started in Palestine as a fellowship; it moved to Greece and became a philosophy; it moved to Italy and became an institution; it moved to Europe and became a culture; it came to America and became an enterprise. Some of the students were only 18 or 19 years old--barely out of diapers--and I wanted them to understand and appreciate the import of the last line, so I clarified it by adding, “An enterprise. That’s a business.” After a few moments Martha, the youngest student in the class, raised her hand. I could not imagine what her question might be. I thought the little vignette was self-explanatory, and that I had performed it brilliantly. Nevertheless, I acknowledged Martha’s raised hand, “Yes, Martha.” She asked such a simple question, “A business? But isn’t it supposed to be a body?” I could not envision where this line of questioning was going, and the only response I could think of was, “Yes.” She continued, “But when a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?”

The room went dead silent. For several seconds no one moved or spoke. We were stunned, afraid to make a sound because the presence of God had flooded into the room, and we knew we were on holy ground. All I could think in those sacred moments was, “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.” I didn’t dare express that thought aloud. God had taken over the class. Martha’s question changed my life. For six months, I thought about her quesion at least once every day. “When a body becomes a business, isn’t that a prostitute?” There is only one answer to her question. The answer is “Yes.” The American Church, tragically, is heavily populated by people who do not love God. How can we love Him? We don’t even know Him; and I mean really know Him.

What do I mean when I say “really know Him?” Our understanding of knowing and knowledge stems from our western culture (which is based in ancient Greek philosophical thought). We believe we have knowledge (and, by extension, wisdom) when we have collected information. A collection of information is not the same thing as knowledge, especially in the culture of the Bible (which is an eastern, non-Greek, culture). In the eastern culture, all knowledge is experiential. In western/Greek culture, we argue from premise to conclusion without regard for experience--or so we think. An example might be helpful here. Let us suppose a question based upon the following two premises: First, that wheat does not grow in a cold climate and second, that England has a cold climate. The question: Does wheat grow in England? The vast majority of people from the western/Greek culture would answer, “No. If wheat does not grow in a cold climate and if England has a cold climate, then it follows that wheat does not grow in England.” In the eastern culture, the answer to the same question, based on the same premises, most likely would be, “I don’t know. I’ve never been to England.” We laugh at this thinking, but when I posed the same question to my friends from England, their answer was, “Yes, of course wheat grows in England. We’re from there, and we know wheat grows there.” They overcame their cultural way of thinking because of their life experience. Experience trumps information when it comes to knowledge.

A similar problem exists with our concept of belief. We say we believe something (or someone) apart from personal experience. This definition of belief is not extended to our stockbroker, however. Again, allow me to explain. Suppose my stockbroker phones me and says, “I have a hot tip on a stock that is going to triple in price within the next week. I want your permission to transfer $10,000 from your cash account and buy this stock.” That’s a lot of money for me, so I ask, “Do you really believe this stock will triple in price, and so quickly?” He/she answers, I sure do.” I say, “That sounds great! How exciting! So how much of your own money have you invested in this stock?” He/she answers, “None.” Does my stockbroker believe? Truly believe? I don’t think so, and suddenly I don’t believe, either. How can we be so discerning in the things of this world, especially when they involve money, and so indiscriminate when it comes to spiritual things? The fact is, we do not know or believe apart from experience. The Bible was written to people who would not understand the concepts of knowledge, belief, and faith apart from experience. I suspect God thinks this way also.

So I stand by my statement that most American Christians do not know God--much less love Him. The root of this condition originates in how we came to God. Most of us came to Him because of what we were told He would do for us. We were promised that He would bless us in life and take us to heaven after death. We married Him for His money, and we don’t care if He lives or dies as long as we can get His stuff. We have made the Kingdom of God into a business, merchandising His anointing. This should not be. We are commanded to love God, and are called to be the Bride of Christ--that’s pretty intimate stuff. We are supposed to be His lovers. How can we love someone we don’t even know? And even if we do know someone, is that a guarantee that we truly love them? Are we lovers or prostitutes?

I was pondering Martha’s question again one day, and considered the question, “What’s the difference between a lover and a prostitute?” I realized that both do many of the same things, but a lover does what she does because she loves. A prostitute pretends to love, but only as long as you pay. Then I asked the question, “What would happen if God stopped paying me?”

For the next several months, I allowed God to search me to uncover my motives for loving and serving Him. Was I really a true lover of God? What would happen if He stopped blessing me? What if He never did another thing for me? Would I still love Him? Please understand, I believe in the promises and blessings of God. The issue here is not whether God blesses His children; the issue is the condition of my heart. Why do I serve Him? Are His blessings in my life the gifts of a loving Father, or are they a wage that I have earned or a bribe/payment to love Him? Do I love God without any conditions? It took several months to work through these questions. Even now I wonder if my desire to love God is always matched by my attitude and behavior. I still catch myself being disappointed with God and angry that He has not met some perceived need in my life. I suspect this is something which is never fully resolved, but I want more than anything else to be a true lover of God.

So what is it going to be? Which are we, lover or prostitute? There are no prostitutes in heaven, or in the Kingdom of God for that matter, but there are plenty of former prostitutes in both places. Take it from a recovering prostitute when I say there is no substitute for unconditional, intimate relationship with God. And I mean there is no palatable substitute available to us (take another look at Matthew 7:21-23 sometime). We must choose."

Beautiful Western Washington

If you ever find yourself in the northern part of Western Washington, you have got to take the drive around Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National forest. There is a road called the Mountain Loop highway that takes you around some of the most beautiful parts of creation that God has made.

Yesterday, my wonderful husband took us on this VERY scenic drive. It took us four hours, but I wish it had been longer. We experienced sights, sounds and smells that were out of this world. It was so peaceful (hardly any traffic). There were smells that we couldn't get enough of (I believe it is called fresh air, but I am not sure, it has been so long since I have experienced it). Besides the fresh air, there were wonderful smells of nature that were stunning. We also heard the beautiful song a of a bird (that we were never able to see). We stopped the car and turned it off just so we could experience the peace and serenity that only comes when you are away from the hustle and bustle of city life. We were so blessed by God and His creation. I can't begin to describe it, so I will just encourage you to experience it for yourself. I will share a few photos though.

Sauk River

Sauk River

White Chuck Mountain

Should We Chalk Up Another One for the Anti-Marriage Crowd?

"South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is beginning to take on the look of a punching bag in the press these days (until he was rescued by the news of Michael Jackson’s death). After going A.W.O.L. over Father’s Day weekend, it was discovered that the Sanford was actually in Argentina with his mistress. Though it sounds like something from a James Bond movie (the governor being tracked via cell phone pings... his aids telling security to stop tracking him), the unfortunate reality is that this is an all-too-familiar tale of boy meets girl... boy marries girl... boy has four sons with girl... boy climbs the ladder of success... boy meets another girl... you know the rest."
To view the rest of this piece by Dr. Voddie Baucham, go to this link.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Modesty and the Christian Woman

Elizabeth Inrig gives this passionate exhortation for women to dress as would be fitting a Christ follower. Trinity Church Redlands, CA

A transcript of Nancy Leigh DeMoss's radio program on Modesty.

Here is Nancy's booklet that Elizabeth referred to.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

To the Father of my children, He is...


A=Absolutely Wonderful
E=Example to others

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Brother

I only have one brother and he is very special to me in a lot of ways.

My brother is in the Navy and I am glad he is. He tells us so many stories about places where he has been and what he has seen. I say that he is the best the storyteller in the world.

He is a very kind and loving brother I could not ask for a better brother. He is one that can make people of all ages from baby's to the elderly laugh. My brother is very encouraging, one time I didn't know how to figure out a math problem and he helped me and then it was very easy.

When my brother is away he always sends letters or calls us. Lately, he has been calling every week which is very nice.

He is a very happy person and I can not remember a time when he was not wearing a smile. When I get upset or am not wearing a smile around him he try's to make a sad face to make us happy again and it always works.

I love my brother a lot and do not know what our family would be like with out him.

My brother in his new suit.

My favorite picture

Our Weekend and the Garden

We had a wonderful weekend together. We had adventure, did our weekly shopping, had a great time at Home church and just enjoyed each others company. I praise God for my family!!

Ralph preparing to wash the car with the girls
(I wash the windows and interior)

Alicia drying the car off

Hannah drying the other side of the car off

What a difference a week makes:
The second set of radishes are already showing
(the second from the bottom on the above photo)
The zucchini sure is looking healthy

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Representing the Good Works

"If you are a full-time homemaker, you might well be the only one on your street, in this day and age when most women work outside the home. In fact, for many of your acquaintances you might be the only stay-at-home wife/mother they know. If you think about it, it means that for many people whose lives touch yours, you are representing the entire concept of being a helpmeet to your husband, a mother at home, a housewife."

You can finish reading this very insightful article by Anna at her blog, Domestic Felicity.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gardening and Sewing

Now that we have a camera , we are able to share how our garden is doing, as well as other things that are happening around our home.

tomatoes grown from seeds

broccoli, radishes, spinach, lettuce, Etna beans

radishes harvested (they only take 22 days)

Carrots and onions

Zucchinis and cucumbers
The girls made some dresses for their dolls.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Royal Treatment

One of many Happy Birthday greetings waiting for me when I came out of the bedroom
My queenly crown
A quilted pillow I had begun over 20 years ago that my daughters completed (great job ladies!!)

I had a birthday this week and received the royal treatment. My daughters made Happy Birthday signs and put them all around the house. They made me a crown to wear all day, so I would feel like a queen. The banished me from the kitchen and fixed all my meals and snacks for the day (they even did a pretty good job of cleaning up too:) They made me a blueberry cheesecake that tasted wonderful. They found a quilting project that I had started over 20 years ago and finished for me and gave it to me as a gift. One of them also made me a cloth bag to put some of my hand work in (I am always looking for something to put my projects into). They made me a beautiful card with photos of me as a baby, a teenager and one when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, they were very creative.
My new Food Saver (Thank you, VERY much Son)
My husband and son are very practical (which is one of the things I LOVE about them). My husband bought me a stick blender and camera (both of which we really needed). My son bought me a new Food Saver (the last one he bought me died from using it soooooo much). I received a very nice email from my oldest daughter in CA. So the day was a very wonderful day, even if I did turn a year older. I am thankful for my family and their thoughtfulness.
Now we can take more photos (Thank you, Honey, you are the BEST!!!)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Where Do Our Problems Come From? BUT More Importantly, Where Do The Answers Come From?

"All of our problems in our lives, in the lives of others, in our schools, in our churches, and in our families come from operating under our understanding and doing what we think is right instead of following God's Word in its entirety. I challenge you to take every problem to the Bible and seek for truth. Find out the error of the way, and how the problem could have been avoided by following scriptural principles in the first place."---Susan D. Zakula from The Joy Of Womanhood (Keepers of the Faith)

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." Proverbs 3:5