Friday, January 27, 2012

Chronicles from this Week

It’s been an exciting week!

Monday - Wednesday I was away from home watching the three youngest children of some church friends while they went out of state. I stayed at their home, had the opportunity to homeschool the kids, do piano lessons and play with them. It was the first time I had watched anyone but my siblings overnight, so it was a new experience. Time flew by rapidly, and the children did excellently. Their youngest, a five year old girl, is very sweet and loves to do things with me. She is so funny, from the names she'd create for pretend play, to the conversations we had, like this one:
H: I live in Texas!
Me: I do too!
H: You do?


Thursday I spent catching up on things at home—practicing piano, doing chores and those sorts of things. Friday morning I had to be up bright and early and head downtown for my first jury summons. After sitting for 3 hours, doing some reading, and talking to the lady next to me, the court let us all go because the cases had finished. I admit I was a bit relieved, because while there I learned that if chosen for a jury, a case could last from 3-5 days, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to that (even though it technically wouldn’t be a choice).

So thus concludes my adventures of the week, including my first experience with jury duty!

(This is probably pretty boring for most of you, especially those who don't know me personally, but please bear with my ramblings.)

Katie

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Loving When It's Difficult (part 2)


Romans 12:9 says we are to hold fast to what is good. Here comes the application of what we are to do! What would this look like in terms of our conversations and actions towards others?




Hold Fast 
If we don’t love, we are not living out the gospel. We demonstrate you can love God and not love others. "We cannot choose whom we will love if we claim to be Christians." (Unknown)

Some of the most powerful testimonies of love are those of Christians who have been severely persecuted in other countries, and how God gave them the power to show love to those persecuting them. In the United States, persecution is far less severe, yet we tend to make a huge deal out of someone hurting our feelings or rejecting us.

"If our goal is to bring others to Christ we must be willing, as He was, to risk rejection. People may disappoint us, misunderstand our motives, even despise and persecute us. Our Savior did not let suffering prevent Him from being used by God to bring salvation to those He loved. Love for His Father provided all the motivation that was necessary." Henry Blackaby Our love is not dependent on how others treat us or how they will respond to us, but it is solely because God has loved us first (1 John 4:19). Our love to others is a reflection of that love.

"God created us for a love relationship with Him. When you are not living your life in the overflow of God’s love for you and your love for Him, then you cannot live the Christian life as it is intended."  
Henry Blackaby

Katie

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Loving When It's Difficult

We can’t just say we love others. It must be genuine.

It’s interesting to read the second sentence in Romans 12:9 while thinking in light of the first sentence.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil, hold fast to what is good.” I used to think of the second part of the verse as hating apparent evil, but I had never thought of it in light of the fact of the previous sentence about genuine love. I’d like to consider how we can hate evil and hold fast to what is good in light of loving genuinely.

Abhor What is Evil
  • Avoid speaking or listening to gossip. “Proverbs says that if you're wise, you will avoid gossips. And you will do what you can to shut it down--graciously, kindly, lovingly. But you will not be a part of destroying the Body of Christ for which He gave His life.”  Nancy DeMoss (emphasis mine)
  • Avoid slander. (Col. 3:8) "The spiritually proud person shows it in his finding fault with other saints... [he is] quick to discern and take notice of their deficiencies."  Jonathan Edwards
  • Turn away from anger. (Eph. 4:31, Col. 3:8, James 1:19-20) “By identifying biblically the kind of sin that is associated with your anger, you can correct your anger not simply externally (i.e., temper tantrums, sarcasm, vengeance, etc.), but also internally (idolatry: love of pleasure, love of money, love of praise, etc.) in your heart where the anger resides.” Lou Priolo
  • Guard against bitterness. (Heb. 12:15, Eph. 4:31) “Most of our bitterness and anger towards others is rooted in an inability to be profoundly amazed at Christ's love for us in our sin.” John Piper
  • Avoid making rash judgments about others. “Very often judgment is passed against others in such a manner that shows the individual is well pleased in passing it. He is so forward in judging evil, and judges on such slight evidence, and carries his judgment to such extremes, as shows that his inclination is in it, and that he loves to think the worst about others.” Jonathan Edwards 

If we are going to hate evil, we must be careful to avoid participating in the evil that would prevent us from loving others.


Katie

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Love

Loving others isn’t always easy.
It isn’t easy to love when your sibling messes up something of yours.
It isn’t easy to love when someone rejects you.
It isn’t easy to love when someone speaks unkindly of you.

But God commands it. Why would He command something that can be so difficult?

Because when things are too hard for us, it forces us to turn to Him. It reminds us that we must cry out for His help, His mercy. It requires His power.

That’s the beauty of difficulty. When we are weak, He shows Himself strong, and we can turn to Him for real power and strength.

There’s no exception to who we can love. We are even to love our enemies! (Matthew 5:44) Christ showed love to us sinners who hated Him and hung Him on a cross. That's the glory of the gospel--Christ dying for those who hated Him. Christ displaying perfect love for us. How could we then refuse to love those who treat us unfairly or who don't love us in return? Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” 1 John 2:9-10 

Christ tells us that people will know us by our love (John 13:35). How are you showing love to those around you? Are you calling on God’s strength to love even when it’s difficult?

“In our responding to evil, we should not do evil ourselves. But when we get defensive or bent out of shape, we start to take on the characteristics of those that we’re angry at, then we have sinned. We have become evildoers, and we forfeit the opportunity to influence evildoers in godly ways. We forfeit the opportunity to be redemptive.” Nancy DeMoss


Katie

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Of First Importance


Our church celebrated it's 6th anniversary today. We have experienced God's faithfulness in so many ways! As we look toward the future, our desire is to be a God-exalting, Christ-centered, Gospel-saturated church. This is of first importance.

Yes, we've been thinking a lot about the gospel. The significance of it, the necessity of not deviating from it, adding to it or twisting it in any form. As a family integrated church, it's easy to "define" our church by our structure. But that's not of first importance. God sending Christ to die for our sins is.

"Do our choices -whether it be to homeschool our children, "court" instead of date, pursue alternative options for higher education, or {fill in the blank} -define what we believe more than the gospel of Christ does?  
 
I think they do. In fact, I know they do. We preach about this conservative choice or that conservative choice, about this decision that changed our life or that decision that turned our family upside down... forgetting all the while that our choices are important and should flow from gospel conviction, but they are not to be confused with the radical power of the gospel of Christ Jesus, the only conviction that saves.   
 
And when we confuse the two, we are not proclaiming the gospel that truly transforms lives for the glory of God, but the behavior modification that turns virtue into an idol and whitewashes open tombs for the glory of man. (Matthew 23:27)" Jasmine Baucham 




I hope and desire that my blog would become more gospel centered this year!

Katie