Thursday, 13 September 2007
It's been a crazy week so far, and I don't know that it will slow down any time soon. I don't really have time to go to the grocery store, and I definitely don't have the motivation, which was made abundantly clear to me today when I opened the refrigerator to find something to eat for lunch. I did have some leftover macaroni and cheese, but aside from that, all I have on my allotted portion of the top shelf is Gatorade, salsa, butter, two wheat tortillas, a few pieces of turkey pastrami, a huge block of cheddar cheese and some chopped up chicken in a Tupperware container. I guess if you count the shelves on the door, I also have some varieties of salad dressing and sour cream. Sounds like dinner. Yum.
Thankfully, for the next couple of days, I don't have to worry about feeding myself from my fridge. Tonight is girls' night out at Moe's. Tomorrow my mom and I are going out to lunch, and then tomorrow night SCEmily, et. al. are having a party from which I've been promised to get fried chicken and green bean casserole, among other things.
Well, I suppose that's it. Off to go do more copy-editing. Sigh.
Sunday, 09 September 2007
Thou incomprehensible but prayer-hearing God,
Known, but beyond knowledge,
revealed, but unrevealed,
my wants and welfare draw me to thee,
for thou has never said, 'Seek ye me in vain'.
To thee I come in my difficulties, necessities, distresses;
possess me with thyself,
with a spirit of grace and supplication,
with a prayerful attitude of mind,
with access into warm of fellowship,
so that in the ordinary concerns of life
my thoughts and desires may rise to thee,
and in habitual devotion I may find a resource
that will soothe my sorrows,
sanctify my successes,
and qualify me in all ways for dealings
with my fellow men.
I bless thee that thou hast made me capable
of knowing thee, the author of all being,
of resembling thee, the perfection of all excellency,
of enjoying thee, the source of all happiness.
O God, attend me in every part of my arduous
and trying pilgrimage;
I need the same counsel, defence, comfort
I found at my beginning.
Let my religion be more obvious to my conscience,
more perceptible to those around.
While Jesus is representing me in heaven,
may I reflect him on earth,
While he pleads my cause, may I show forth his praise.
Continue the gentleness of thy goodness towards me,
And whether I wake or sleep, let thy presence go with me,
the blessing attend me.
Thou hast led me on and I have found thy promises true,
I have been sorrowful, but thou hast been my help,
fearful, but thou hast delivered me,
despairing, but thou hast lifted me up.
Thy vows are ever upon me,
And I praise thee, O God.
--Valley of Vision, "God Enjoyed"
Tuesday, 04 September 2007
Now that I’ve been back in school for about two weeks, I think I’ve pretty much got a schedule down. It varies a little bit day to day, but overall I like what I’ve done. I’ll give you a look at Monday and Tuesday, as those are the most typical days.
6:00 am - Wake up, have quiet time, eat breakfast
6:30 am - head to the gym to work out and shower
8:00-8:50 am - class
9:05-9:55 am - class
10-11 am - break (normally I check my email in the computer lab)
11:15-12:05 - class
After my last class, I head home and eat some lunch. I’ve also started taking an early afternoon nap for 20-30 minutes. It keeps me alert, which is good, because I spend most of the afternoon doing homework. I normally eat dinner around 6 or so, finish up any last minute homework, read some blogs, talk to Christian, and head to bed at 10:30 pm at the latest.
6:30 am - wake up, have quiet time, eat breakfast
7:00 am - shower, get ready for class
8:00-12:15 pm - three classes
Then the same old routine. Come home, eat lunch, take a nap, do homework. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I am taking a group fitness class at the gym with my roommates. It lasts an hour and it’s really intense. After that I come back, eat dinner, finish up homework, talk to Christian, and go to bed.
It’s working out well. I am working out every day except for Sunday, and having a consistent quiet time, which has been so good for my heart, soul, mind and strength. I’m currently working through the book of Isaiah on my own and reading a chapter of Proverbs every day “with” Christian (which means we read them on our own and talk about it at some point). I’m going to a Bible study beginning this Thursday where we’ll be studying 1 and 2 Peter, and Friday mornings I meet with some girls from church — this Friday we’re starting to look at Colossians.
Anyway — there’s my life for now. Not much more to write right now. Hard to believe, but at 8 pm I actually have gotten all my homework done, so I’m actually going to engage in some pleasure reading - a novel concept. Grace and peace.
P.S. Don't forget to look at the link in my last post. Click on the banner to enter for the chance to win free books!
Monday, 03 September 2007
"It may be the cry of fire or the noise of thieves or the shriek of sudden sickness or death. We live in the world of death and sorrow. This should not alarm us, for be the terror what it may, the promise is that the believer shall not be afraid. Why should he? God our Father is here and will be here all through the lonely hours; He is an almighty Watcher, a sleepless Guardian, a faithful Friend. Nothing can happen without His direction, for even hell itself is under His control. Darkness is not dark to Him. He has promised to be a wall of fire around His people--and who can break through such a barrier? Worldlings might be afraid, for they have an angry God above them, a guilty conscience within them, and a yawning hell beneath them; but we who rest in Jesus are saved from all these through rich mercy. If we give way to foolish fear, we lead others to doubt the reality of godliness. We ought to be afraid of being afraid, lest we should displease the Holy Spirit by foolish distrust. God has not forgotten to be gracious nor shut up His tender mercies; it may be night in the soul, but there need be no terror, for the God of love changes not. Children of light may walk in darkness, but they are not therefore cast away; no, they are now enabled to prove their adoption by trusting in their heavenly Father as hypocrites cannot do." -- Charles Spurgeon
Friday, 31 August 2007
I haven't written on here since July 12th. Pretty sad. It's not that I don't think about my blog - I do - all the time, actually. I have had a plethora of topics about which to write for the past month and a half. However, the return of a certain someone to this side of the Atlantic took about five weeks out of my life, and then school started. This is the first time since August 23rd that I've actually sat at my computer for an extended amount of time and not had all that much to do.
I've been in class for about a week now. This semester I'm taking 18 hours, and it's probably the hardest 18 hours I've ever taken. All of my classes are 300-level journalism classes, which means they're not for the faint of heart, especially the class that has become the bane of my existence - copy-editing.
I carry the 2007 AP Stylebook with me everywhere I go, in the hopes that if I get a few minutes, I can start learning when it is appropriate to capitalize ranks and titles. Every day I look over the other style guide our professor put together, memorizing the names of local hospitals. Yesterday I started teaching myself the general knowledge information our professor wants us to know, which includes the names of people from arts/entertainment, U.S. politics, international politics and sports. I've also taken innumerable "usage" tests online to see how I'm doing. Basically, I'm eating, sleeping, and breathing copy-editing. This wouldn't be the worst problem in the world if I didn't have five other classes in which I also have to earn passing grades. Sigh.
That said, the semester has started off extremely well. Christian went back to Sewanee last Sunday and started classes yesterday. I'm living with three of my friends, including Katie, with whom I didn't live last year. Our rooms are adjacent to each other and it's been really great to just yell around the corner and ask her how her day was. I've also been doing some fitness classes at the school gym twice a week with four or five friends. It's a combination class that includes step, kickboxing and also some abs. In addition to that I've been working out/running on the days when I don't do that, and I'm starting to feel somewhat healthy. I'm still going to Christ Church, and am forming some really great relationships with some of the people there.
I really miss Christian. I won't lie. But the Lord is teaching me to be content in this season, that it is His will for us to be apart for this last year of school. While my heart longs to be close to my best and dearest friend, we are doing the best we can with daily phone calls (which was more than we ever did when he was in Germany) and have even resurrected our Skype accounts in order to utilize our webcams (which still sound creepy, even though we've been dating for almost a year and a half). Last night we talked for a long time on the phone while we had our webcams pointed at our faces, and it was about as close as we could ever be to talking in the same room. If I had a choice, I would ask for more, but as it is, I'm thankful for what I have, and look forward to trips up to Sewanee this fall to spend time with him.
Well, that's about it for now. Expect to see more frequent writing - if nothing else, I'll be posting my weekly stories for my reporting class, which should be absolutely thrilling.
Thursday, 12 July 2007
I was going to write about God’s sovereignty tonight, but as I don’t really have the time to cover that topic like I want to, I thought instead I’d write about something I saw online today that got me thinking.
I mentioned that I’ve been reading this book called Total Truth. It’s really good. You should read it. Anyway, it makes the point in the first chapter that so many Christians live very compartmentalized lives; that is, they would say they are people ‘of faith,’ but it doesn’t really affect how they live, nor does it change their practices in their professions. I was reminded of this again today while watching a video at a site created by Ray Comfort, the well-known evangelist from New Zealand.
Watch the video; it’s about 8 minutes long. I was really convicted by it. For those of you who don’t have the time or willingness to watch it, basically he interviews professing Christians (coming out of the movie theater, no less) and asks them first if they watch R-rated movies. Most of them respond in the affirmative. He then goes on to ask them if they watch movies with blasphemy in them (i.e. using Jesus or God’s name in vain). Most of them say yes, but uncomfortably, as though they don’t really mind the blasphemy, but feel embarrassed that he actually calls it for what it is. I won’t ruin the video for those of you planning to watch it, but needless to say, I was convicted by the end of it. He makes some really good points about blasphemy and sex in films: Would you go to a movie where they used your mother’s name in vain? Would you let someone watch you be intimate with your spouse?
I guess some might argue that movies portray real life, and so there’s no problem with seeing stuff like this. However, I would argue back that while it may simply be a portrayal of real life, you’re not required to pay money to go and see it. I can’t avoid hearing Jesus’ name taken in vain when I walk to class; I can avoid using the money God has entrusted to me to pay to hear Jesus’ name taken in vain and watch people having sex, most likely not even within marriage.
Finally, I would go ahead and encourage you to ask this question - next time you watch a movie and enjoy it, think, “Would I ever say, ‘Jesus, I just saw this great movie!’” If the answer is ‘no,’ perhaps you should re-evaluate your choices.
I just think that today, Christians fail to be consistent and genuine. I’m not going to go off about how Christians talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. Christians don’t even talk the talk anymore! There are so many videos I’ve watched or scenarios I’ve heard about where Christians say things like “I believe that Jesus is the way to heaven” but then when pressed if that means that some people will go to hell, don’t answer as they should.
That said, it IS important that our actions match up with our words. If we say that we should be zealous for the name and glory of God, then we should be just as zealous not to see movies where His name is taken in vain. If we say that God is holy and desires for us to be pure, we should not put immoral images in front of our eyes.
I hope and pray that as Christians, we will all strive to be holier tomorrow than we were today, and to be passionate about glorifying God in every aspect of our lives.
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
Tonight I spent 2.5 hours at Starbucks reading Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey. I like to read, but this book has sucked me in like no other. You could say I’m devouring it. Here are a few of the points she makes in the book so far that really stuck out to me.
- “The orthodox Christian holds a unified field of truth, because the God who acts in our hearts is also the God who acts in history.”
- “We can offer the world a unified truth that is intellectually satisfying, while at the same time meets our deepest hunger for beauty and meaning.”
- Humanity is always defined by its relationship to whatever is regarded as ultimate reality.
- Morality is derivative - it stems from one’s worldview; we must engage the underlying worldview.
- Having a Christian worldview is obedience to the Great Commission.
- Evolution itself functions as religion.
- Christians need to reintroduce the concept that religion can be genuine knowledge.
- Everything hangs on your view of origins.
“Taking a leap of faith is a sure sign that a person’s philosophy fails to explain human nature as he himself experiences it.”
I really am being captured by this book. It engages the mind as well as the heart, and is God-glorifying. I highly recommend it.
Related to that, someone recently asked me how I find all the good blogs I read. At the moment I have 67 subscriptions on Google Reader. Some of them are RSS feeds from news sites like the New York Times or CNN.com, but the majority of them are personal or group blogs that I’ve found by spending the majority of my free time on the Internet. Tonight I added several subscriptions to my list in order to have a more comprehensive view of what’s going on in the world. I’m hoping that reading more liberal, secular sites/blogs will enable me to practice analyzing biblically oppositional worldviews. In the next couple of days, I’m going to start linking to some of the blogs/RSS feeds that I read daily.
Monday, 09 July 2007
Holy Bible: New Geneva Study Bible, New King James Version (Style No 2992/White)
Having grown up in Baptist churches until high school, I went to my share of retreats, revivals and camps. While I will make no judgment on the extent to which the gospel was presented (because I don’t really remember), I do remember one thing that they had in common. In almost every situation, at some point during the last session of the day, week, weekend, there would be some time of commitment. It had different forms, different methods, but the ultimate goal was twofold - 1) If you’re not a Christian, believe in Jesus and 2) If you are a Christian, what area of your life needs to be recommitted to the Lord?
At some retreats, those wanting to make a decision of some sort went up to the front to pray, or to the back to talk with someone. At others, we were sent off on our own to pray by ourselves. I remember at one place we were given notecards and told to write something down that we needed to give up, and then we each went up, ripped up the card, and threw it in a big trashcan.
The one I remember best, though, was at a week-long camp in North Carolina. At the end of the last session, we all filed out of our rows, one by one, and picked up a small twig. At the back of the building was a huge fire, and we each had a chance to throw our stick in the fire, symbolizing the burning of our own desires or the personal commitment of our lives to Christ (for the first, second, third, eight, fiftieth time).
I mention these experiences not to mock them. I was personally saved at a revival when I was six years old. And I believe many of the tears I saw shed at these functions were sincere, and I’m sure God used them to draw many closer to Himself.
However, I think there is great danger in relying on circumstances like these to commemorate some kind of big decision we made for Christ, or in thinking that it takes a dramatic act in order to make that decision more “real.”
This past Sunday, my Sunday School class was studying the end of Acts 18, where Apollos’ ministry is discussed. The teacher was discussing how Apollos was a man mighty in the Scriptures, who had all the resources of secular knowledge at his fingertips. But, he said, Apollos only studied the world’s books in order to advance the gospel better, and the great majority of his time was spent in the Scriptures. From that he issued a challenge regarding our free time and how we use it. He encouraged us to compare our lives to that of Apollos. How much time do we spend in the Scripture? What do we spend our times doing that won’t profit us eternally?
And there, in the fifth row of the Sunday School classroom, I was convicted about something I spent my time doing that has taken up days upon days of my time over the past six months or so. It is something I have felt small amounts of conviction about before, but yesterday morning, it was as though I heard a voice plain as day in my head saying, “Chelsey, you need to stop doing that.” And almost as clearly, my heart of hearts replied, “Yes, Lord.” When I got home from church, I took the steps necessary to remove that thing from my life indefinitely.
And that was that.
I relate this story not to boast in the depth of my obedience. As I said, I have ignored conviction in the past about this particular use of my time. I mention it in order to encourage those of you who have made commitments to the Lord and have failed in them. Those of you who are waiting for the fire to be lit in your heart about what God would require of you. By all means, take advantage of God-centered events that want you to make a personal commitment and verbalize what’s in your heart, but realize that God can use a Sunday School lesson from Acts 18 to change your life as well.
You don’t always have to throw a stick in the fire.
Saturday, 07 July 2007
Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from Its Cultural Captivity
By Nancy Pearcey
When I was in high school, I distinctly remember a conversation with some friends regarding personality similarities between each of us and Winnie-the-Pooh characters. Without any hesitation, I was unanimously voted as ‘Eeyore.’
“You’re so serious all the time,” they would say.
I was, in fact, voted “Most Serious” as a freshman in high school during our Honors program superlatives.
Now, at the ripe old age of twenty-one, with only a year of school in between me and the real world, I’m beginning to suffer from the implications of those accusations.
Last year I worked with a little boy named Winston who had autism. While I think his mother was happy with the job I did as a therapist, the one recurring criticism was that I wasn’t enthusiastic enough, and that I should try to be more excited about things, because Winston responded well to that. It wasn’t really that I wasn’t excited. It thrilled me when he mastered a concept. Rather, I just wasn’t expressive enough.
This summer I’m the official babysitter for a family with four little girls, five and under. They embody enthusiasm. It exudes from every one of their pores. I just got back today from four days with them up in the mountains, spending basically every waking hour with them (and some hours when we should have all been sleeping). I’ve gotten frustrated with myself over the course of working for their family because I just haven’t felt like I’m expressive or creative enough when I play with them. However, I think that these last couple of days taught me a lot about winning points with preschool-aged children.
Apparently, any word ending in “-ooty” is automatically hilarious. For example, “booty,” “tooty,” “hooty,” “doody.” It also helps if the word is in any way related to any kind of bathroom function or bathroom-related body part. Bonus points if you use multiple words, stringing them together.
I realized after the first day or so that most of my time was spent telling them what not to do and trying to avert any and all potential disasters, including but not limited to: Margaret getting her head stuck in the railings of the balcony; Mary Thomas falling into the fish pond; Frances getting stuck between her bed and wall in the middle of the night. I thought maybe I should try better to be more fun, to be more “enthusiastic.” So I implemented the above rule regarding word endings. What follows is my best remembrance of an actual conversation with Frances.
Frances: Goodnight, booty-pooty-hooty head.
Chelsey: Goodnight, tooty-hiney-bottom.
Frances: See ya, doody-hairy-bald-headed.
Chelsey: Sleep well, silly-willy-tooty bottom.
And so Frances and I became, as she declared over ice cream last night, “best buddies.”
Maybe Eeyore can evolve.
Tuesday, 03 July 2007
Saturday my aunt, uncle, and three cousins arrived at my parents’ house to stay for a few days. Sydney just turned 6, Alayna is about to turn 3, and Abby was born in December. Needless to say, it has not been a quiet twenty-four hours (though after a couple months of babysitting four little girls under five, it’s pretty typical for me).
We decided that it would be fun to take them to the pool, so me, my mom, my aunt, and the two older girls piled into the car (I make it sound like it was fast - it took probably an hour to get everything ready) and headed to the country club where my family has a summer pool membership. I had a bag full of books, music and sunglasses, ready to lay out on a chair and work on my tan. However, within a few moments of arriving, it soon became clear that I was going to have to be in the pool with my cousins the entire time.
There must be a span of years, somewhere towards the end of high school and the beginning of college, where you feel kind of awkward in your own skin. You’re not really a little kid anymore, but you’re not really an adult. I think that a couple of years ago I would have just told Sydney that I didn’t want to swim. But maybe now I’ve realized that’s actually pretty jerk-ish of me, and now I really enjoy spending time with little kids. Does that mean I’m ready to have my own kids? I don’t know. If it does, I think I’ll still wait a while. A long while.
Anyway, my aunt had Alayna in her arms and was bouncing her around. Alayna wanted everyone to share in the fun, so she called out to her sister: “Sydney, I’m bouncing!” Then she looked at me.
“Shooby, I’m bouncing!”
None of us were really sure what she had just said. Shooby? She looked at me again.
“Shooby, I’m bouncing!”
Clearly she was talking to me. “Good job, Alayna!” I exclaimed.
And if there was any doubt that she was calling me ‘Shooby,’ it was confirmed again Sunday. We headed back to the pool, and after pushing Alayna on the swing for a while, she got off and ran to the baby pool. “Shooby, come on!” she yelled at me.
I’ve been called a lot of things. When my youngest sister was little, she couldn’t say ‘Chelsey,’ so she called me “Shashy” or “Shaf.” In the past couple of years, various foreigners and young children have called me everything from “Chesley” to “Charsy” and “Cholsey.” I guess you get used to it after a while.
Probably the cutest instance of it, though, was last night when we went out to eat at Moe’s. She looked over at me while eating her cheese quesadilla and exclaimed, “Shooby, I’m a’ eatin’ at Moo’s!”
Monday, 02 July 2007
Note: I posted this last night on my new blog, so it's a day behind. Subtract 1 from each day. :)
Christian is coming home to me in 20 days. Well, I guess he’s coming home to more things than me. But I’m the one picking him up at the airport, so technically I’ll be the first somewhat familiar thing he will see. So I’ll stand by my statement: Christian is coming home to me in 20 days.
He’s in a town called Heilbronn right now, staying with an older couple from the church he’s been attending. He’ll be with them all this week and is going back to Bamberg on Sunday. I’ll get to talk to him again in 7 days.
They’re going to London this coming week for a conference. London is a dangerous place now, apparently, which I was reminded of about 15 minutes before we said “goodbye.” I know that God is bigger than terrorists. I also know that anxiety is just a euphemism for not trusting God, which is a sin. Nevertheless, I will be very, very happy when he returns back to Heilbronn. He’ll be out of very, very potential terror-related danger in 5 days.
I guess there are other things to countdown besides things related to Christian, but he’s on my mind and heart right now, so I’ll leave it at that.
Oh, well, my aunt and uncle and three cousins (all under 6 years old) are leaving Tuesday. 2 days. I’m having fun with them, but I think the dog is ready for them to leave, so this last countdown is for Teddy.
Tuesday, 26 June 2007
“The gospel gives you psychological freedom to handle the wrong things that you will do. You won’t have to deny, spin, or repress the truth about yourself. These things don’t make it impossible to know who you are. Only with the support of hearing Jesus say, ‘You are capable of terrible things, but I am absolutely, unconditionally committed to you,’ will you be able to be honest with yourself.” - Tim Keller
I found this quote in an article on one of the blogs I read, and I starred the article to save for later because what Keller says here resonates with me so well. I have a serious psychological problem handling the wrong things that I’ve done or that I’m afraid of doing. There are things I say that are unkind. There are things I do that are unnecessary. There are things I don’t do that were needful at the time. And I am constantly thinking thoughts that should never enter into my head.
And in order to handle myself, if I forget about Jesus, my only option is to pretend that I didn’t really do or say those things, because the truth is too great to bear. And so I ignore the sin in my life, and I become someone whom I am not. I know longer know who I am anymore.
Last night in an email to Christian I told him that sometimes it’s hard for me to pray to God when I’m really hurting, because I know that when God begins to deal with my heart He will get all the way to the deepest part, and that might hurt more than anything else. But it is only through that immense pain of God dealing with us that we can have pure hearts; it is only when Christ scrapes away all the filth that we are clean.
And Jesus can honestly say that we are capable of terrible things. Some of us do those terrible things. But in light of His grace and knowing that He is unconditionally committed to us, we have the freedom to see our sin for what it is. And what it is is something that does not have victory over us.
Praise the Lord.
Don't forget to check out my new blog, "Oh Taste and See that the Lord is Good."
I think I might be breaking up with Xanga.
I've started a new blog using WordPress, and while I haven't taken the plunge and started paying for it yet, I think that already I like it a lot better.
Check it out: http://psalmthirtyfour.wordpress.com.
Feel free to leave a comment. If you're worried about not being able to keep up with me, sign up for Google Reader through Google. It's a great way to keep track of blogs. I think you have to have a Gmail account in order to use it, and if it's a problem signing up for one, let me know. I have like 148 invites left.
But I'll still be around here, because I feel like I've found a good community of people. I won't be a stranger.
Monday, 25 June 2007
OK, I'm about to go do something. And I think it's going to involve exercising, which should be interesting considering 1) I haven't exercised since, like, April and 2) it's 1 pm on a summer day in Columbia, SC.
When I get back, I'm hoping to do something involving washing dishes, folding clothes and cleaning bathrooms. All of this on about 5 hours of sleep. Sigh.
Today I got pretty angry while reading the blog of a pastor from Georgia. He appears from what he writes to have the maturity of about a five-year old, but aside from that, he went so far to refer to heaven as "an all-out rave" in regards to celebrating when a sinner is saved by grace. I wanted to throw up. Is this what the church is coming to?
Friday, 22 June 2007
Great Big World
By Pierce Pettis
see relatedIt's Friday, and Friday seems like a day to reflect on a couple of different things...
This summer my job is babysitting four little girls (not usually all at the same time). There's Mary Thomas (just turned 5), Frances (3 1/2), Margaret (20 months) and Kate (9 weeks). This week Mary Thomas has been going to Vacation Bible School. Today their mom was working and the other three were either at day school or with her, so my job was to pick Mary Thomas up from VBS and take her home, making sure to let the furniture cleaning guy in at 1:30 pm. Well, I picked her up at 12, and since it was Friday, and because her birthday was Wednesday and I hadn't really gotten her anything, I decided we would have a girls' day out. We headed to good ol' Mickey D's in hunt of chicken mcnuggets. We even got a chocolate milkshake to share. Everything was going well. Then Mary Thomas began to exercise her keen observational skills.
"Look! That guy has a ponytail!" she exclaimed loudly as a group of construction workers walked out the door. Breathing a sigh of relief that the door had closed before he heard her, I acknowledged that he did indeed have very long hair. We talked about what it would look like if her dad had long hair like that. She giggled. I thought that was the end of it. Then we got up to go outside to the play place (presumably for HER to play - I'll get to that later).
"Chelsey, come over here!" she said in a not-so-quiet whisper. I thought we were going to go look at something outside the window, but instead she stopped in front of a family enjoying their lunch and pointed directly at the teenage boy sitting there. "He has really sunburned feet!" she said loudly. As soon as I realized what was going on I tried to make it look like we were just walking by and hoped they hadn't heard, but I'm almost sure they did. We then had a long talk about being polite and not pointing at people. Sigh.
However, it was not only Mary Thomas who embarrassed me at the Golden Arches today. I managed to embarrass myself pretty well. Being only five and a rather timid child, she was afraid that she would got lost up in the play place. I'll admit that it was a complex maze of colors, eventually leading to two different slides. She asked if I would please come with her just to show her how to get to the slide. I remember my days of playing at such places. I loved it. And maybe there was a small part of my inner child that enjoyed climbing up hot plastic in the middle of a ninety-six degree Columbia summer day. However, the adult part of me had decided to wear a cotton sundress today, and while I managed modesty climbing up the tower, safe from the eyes of those inside, I hadn't thought about the implications of coming down a slide whose opening was pointing directly at the windows of the restaurant. I'm almost positive the eighty-seven construction workers and soldiers eating Big Macs got a little more than they bargained for on their lunch break.
Oh, kids. Seriously, though, I've really enjoyed watching these little girls. Mary Thomas is an especial treat, as she's old enough to really carry on a conversation. Her grandma was coming into town today, so in the car I was asking her about that, and she began regaling me with tales of every single member of her immediate and extended family, including her aunt Laura.
"She lives in... Phila--... Philadorph--... Philadorphia!" she said proudly, glad that she had been able to get her tongue around the word. Well, almost.
And so ends another week, which again leaves me with thoughts about my current conviction not to use birth control when I get married.
I also came home to a nice surprise. I've been making really good money this summer as far as babysitting goes, but it still leaves me a little tight when it comes to having money to do fun things this summer. I've tried to be diligent and thrifty, and today was glad to drop off this week's paycheck at the bank on the way home, leaving me with enough money to pay July bills and still have some left over. I was happy that the rest of what I make this summer won't have to be used for rent and cell phones, and felt good at my current state financially, thanking the Lord for what He's provided.
But as I pulled into my apartment complex, I decided to check the mail. I check the mail about once a week and figured it was probably getting full. Most of it was ads and junk mail, but within it was one of those tear-off-the-sides envelopes from my cell phone company. When I opened it, I saw that it was a check for four hundred dollars. Last summer when I got my cell phone I had to put four hundred dollars down since I didn't have a credit history. They told me that if I paid my bill on time for a year, I would get it back. I had completely forgotten.
So, just as I in my own small way tried to bless Mary Thomas today with a trip to McDonalds for no reason besides my love for her and my joy at seeing her happy, God blessed me today. I didn't deserve it, and there wasn't anything I could have done to earn it or even expect it. He is so good to us.
Happy weekend, everybody.
(P.S. Christian will be back four weeks from tomorrow, Lord willing. Part-ay!!!!!!!)
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
Great Big World
By Pierce Pettis
Song of Songs (on repeat)
see relatedDisclaimer: This is not a Facebook-bashing post. I like Facebook. I really like it. I check it approximately eighty-seven times a day. Sometimes I check it while I'm checking it -- that is, I'll be looking at something on Facebook, and then immediately click on the link in my toolbar because I've forgotten I'm checking it.
That said, I would like to address something about Facebook that not only boggles my mind, but also drives me absolutely crazy. As all of you Facebook junkies know, Facebook allows you to see when someone's birthday is coming up. This can be helpful. There are people in the circle of friends who aren't people whose birthdays you'd necessarily know, but if you knew it was their birthday, then you would definitely say something to them. This is the only kind of acquaintance/friend for which the knowledge of birthdays through Facebook is useful and appropriate.
However, it doesn't even begin to stop there. I know of at least one person who likes to count how many people write on her wall on her birthday, and compare it to other people's walls. This is mind-boggling to me for a number of reasons:
1) There is no concrete, formulaic way to judge popularity. There just isn't.
2) I would venture that 80% of the people who signed your wall saying "Happy birthday" are people you haven't spoken to within the last year, so their opinion shouldn't be factored into whatever formula used to calculate popularity, if there even is one.
3) Even if you want to argue that anyone who writes on your wall should be factored in, I will again disagree, because THE ONLY REASON THEY KNEW IT WAS YOUR BIRTHDAY IS BECAUSE FACEBOOK TOLD THEM.
So, really, the only things that you can really know for sure when people sign your wall on your birthday are:
1) The person can read.
2) The person can use a calendar.
Am I against putting your birthday on facebook? No. Am I against being friends on Facebook with people who you haven't talked to since high school? No. In fact, I don't really know what I am, except annoyed at people who don't have any common sense. And coming from me, who has little common sense of my own, that's saying a lot.
As for me, I rarely write on anyone's wall for their birthday. Why? Because they won't even see it in the midst of the 74 other people who they don't even know. And I don't like to do things for no reason, especially when I don't even get credit for it.
Sunday, 17 June 2007
Gravity | Love
By Sandra McCracken
Head Over Heel
see relatedOver the past couple of weeks I have become increasingly uncomfortable at the church I've been attending for the past year. I'm not sure exactly what brought all of this on, but I decided this morning to visit another church. I have not decided definitely to leave my church, but at this point, I don't feel that there is anything unbiblical with attending a few other churches and seeing what they're like.
I know that God desires for us to be part of a local body of believers, and that is my desire as well. However, this is not always an easy thing to accomplish. It's not hard to find a church to go to - especially not in Columbia, South Carolina - but to actually be plugged in, to really feel like I'm a "part" of God's kingdom by being part of a church - that, I've found, is pretty difficult.
That said, I am still fairly confused about what I should do. I'm not sure if my reasons for feeling uncomfortable at my current church are legitimate or not. I went to my favorite collection of quotes from Charles Spurgeon and found some of what he had to say about the church, though, and it has helped me to clear my thoughts a little. Praise God for His saints of old!
"Do not come in to weaken us, we are weak enough already. Do not come in to adulterate our purity, we have enough impurity even now. Pray that God may make you a real increase to our prayerfulness, to our holiness, to our earnestness, to our higher life, and then come and welcome, and the Lord be with you!"
(This is a good synopsis of the role I should be playing in the church. I should desire to make the church of which I am a part more holy and more earnest, and should join with brothers and sisters there in prayer. In my personal life, I should be striving for more and more holiness.)
"The church is not perfect, but woe to the man who finds pleasure in pointing out her imperfections. Christ loved his church, and let us do the same. I have no doubt that the Lord can see more fault in his church than I can; and I have equal confidence that he sees no fault at all. Because he covers her faults with his own love--that love which covers a multitude of sins; and he removes all her defilement with that precious blood which washes away all the transgressions of his people."
(This is a good reminder as I visit different churches and sometimes notice things that I don't really like. God's Church is made up of people just like me - sinners.)
"I have known persons join the church, and after they have been a little while in it, they have said, "There is no love there." Now, when a brother says, "There is no love there," I know that he has been looking in the glass, and that his own reflection has suggested the remark."
(This was especially convicting, as this is kind of one of the reasons I think I've felt uncomfortable, because I don't feel very 'loved' at my current church. That's certainly not what church is all about, and I want to be careful that the atmosphere I think I'm feeling isn't to any extent due to my own attitude or actions.)
"A church that does not exist to reclaim heathenism, to fight with evil, to destroy error, to put down falsehood, a church that does not exist to take the side of the poor, to denounce injustice and to hold up righteousness, is a church that has no right to be."
(This is a great "checklist" when looking for a church.)
With all of these things in mind, it is still a difficult decision and a difficult process. I want to go to a church that preaches the Word of God unashamedly and that knows God as a God of mercy as well as of judgment. I want the church to be God-honoring and not man-centered. I want the church to preach the doctrines of grace. I want it to be a place where I can serve. I want it to be a place where I truly do find fellow believers to be as brothers and sisters. I want a church that is a safe place to go, a place where I want to bring my unsaved friends. These requirements are not out of line with Scripture, I don't think, and yet it doesn't seem like such an easy thing to find.
Friday, 15 June 2007
Genesis 2 contains two important truths that I think the church today is failing to address adequately.
This chapter concludes the week of creation but continues through when God made woman from man. The first truth I would like to address is how God addresses the Sabbath. We see in verse 3 that God "blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it." There are several thoughts to consider here. First, did God need to rest? We know that He is the God who never slumbers or sleeps (Psalm 121), so God clearly does not need to rest. Therefore, His purpose in resting must not have been functional. Instead, it was intensely personal. God rested on the seventh day and sanctified it because He rested. It was an example for us to also set apart the seventh day and to sanctify it. The Ten Commandments show us what God intended the Sabbath day to be about, but I'm not going to go into it too deeply, mostly because there are many who are ready to argue that it's no longer applicable to us today. However, by looking at it solely from a Genesis 2 standpoint, this sanctifying of the seventh day took place long before there were Jews or Gentiles or the Law or the Ten Commandments. Just as "be fruitful and multiply" is still applicable, so then is sanctifying the Sabbath. While I'm not yet going to go into what I think sanctifying the Sabbath involves, it is definitely important to examine your own heart and how you treat God's special day.
The second issue is that of the relationship between man and woman. Man was created before woman, and woman was created from man. While some might use this to argue superiority, God does no such thing. God says that He is going to make Adam "a helper comparable to him." To be "comparable" is not to be inferior; it is to be able to fill in the places where another lacks. Christian and I have different personalities. I am often silent where he speaks, and he often has greater faith when I am struggling. In these areas we are comparable to each other: I can help encourage him to be silent when a situation requires it, and he can encourage me to trust in the Lord when my faith is failing. The relationship God is talking about is definitely more complex than that - of course men and women are comparable to each other physically as well. It was simply the way that God designed it. This should be an exhortation for all Christian women to flee from any facets of feminism they may be harboring in their hearts, and for Christian men to seek to love and honor their wives in the way that Christ loves the Church.
If any of you are interested in reading more about either topic, I would highly recommend going to the website www.monergism.com. It has thousands upon thousands of articles on Sabbath-keeping as well as Biblical manhood and womanhood.
Sunday, 10 June 2007
Note: I added "(BTTB)" to the end of the title to denote that this is part of my attempt to "blog through the Bible." That way, if I ever decide to write about some other chapter of Scripture for some other reason, no one will get confused.
After thinking more about this whole "blogging through the Bible" idea, I decided that to look at a certain theme might be more helpful, especially as I try to make my thoughts into something readable. As I've fallen more in love with the doctrines of grace, I love to be able to point to Scripture that shows God's sovereignty. So, what better "theme" of Scripture to examine than God's sovereignty? While my writing may diverge somewhat from that theme when I get to certain places, I think that all Scripture proclaims God's sovereignty, and so I don't think it will be difficult to find. With that said, let's dive right into Genesis 1.
I couldn't help but think immediately that the first four words of Genesis 1 set the theme for the entire Bible - "In the beginning God." There is no mention of man until the end of chapter 1. God is in control of creation, and He didn't even make man first. As Psalm 100:3 says, "It is He who made us, and not we ourselves." The fact that the Bible says God created everything in the world, including the world itself, is enough proof of His sovereignty, but the theme continues through the chapter. In verse 3 we see God speak for the first time, He says, "Let there be light." And, it appears from the passage, immediately there was light. From this we can gather that when God commands something, it is done. While it will not be until much later that New Testament writers like Paul really flesh out the doctrine of irresistible grace, I think that you can begin to see hints of it here. If God says He has chosen, and He calls someone to Himself, it is just as if He says, "Let this person believe in Christ's work on the cross," and it happens. In the same way, in our sanctification, what God commands, happens. What a great comfort this is!
Another thing that stood out to me was God's continual declarations that what He made was good. God's standard is the only one that counts, and so if He says something is good, then we can trust it. Six times he says that what He made was good, all of this before He makes man. After He creates man, God looks at "everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good" (1:31). While we must remember that all of this was before the Fall, when the world was perfect and as God intended it, I do not think it is a stretch to say that what God makes is always good. He is, indeed, Goodness itself, which should be a comfort to us.
There is organization in God's world. Everything is created according to its own kind. Man is declared to have dominion over everything: plants and animals and all of creation. God is not a God of chaos, as He will declare later in His Word. Everything He makes is for a purpose and is by His own hand. If this was true at creation, how much more now!
The doctrine of the Trinity also begins to stand out in this first chapter. There is a reference to the Spirit of God "hovering over the face of the waters" (1:2) and when God creates man, He uses the first person plural possessive "Our."
Verse 28, in which God commands man to "be fruitful and multiply," is one of the most commonly used arguments for not using birth control. While I don't want to go into that here, at least not at length, I think it is a verse that every Christian should take to heart. God tells them to be fruitful so they can subdue the earth. While Adam and Eve's subduing of the earth would have looked different from ours, it seems to be even more vital for us. We live in a sinful and adulterous generation. While sheer numbers are nothing in God's economy, God does use people to accomplish many of His purposes, and the more children you have, the more God can use you and your family. Adam and Eve clearly had no real means of birth control, and for them it was especially important to populate the earth (since no one else existed), but that does not mean the commandment does not still apply to us. We are quick to quote the verse that says we are created in the image of God, but are not so quick to apply that command to our lives. We should be careful when picking and choosing Scripture.
There were some interesting things I noticed in this chapter that I'm not sure have any extensive application, but I wanted to note. First of all, it appears that there was no Heaven until Genesis 1:8. I'm not sure where God was before this time, but it wasn't in Heaven. Secondly, it doesn't appear that Adam and Eve ate animals at this point, as God says He has given them "every herb...and every tree whose fruit yields seed" to eat. Similarly, the animals were given "every green herb for food." Thirdly, humans and animals are clearly superior to plants. God blesses only them after He makes them.
Aside from "Be fruitful and multiply," there are few direct commands in Genesis 1. However, there is so much for us to apply. As I said at the beginning, we have a clear view of God's sovereignty for the very beginning. He is powerful enough to be responsible for all of creation and to uphold all of it by His Word. We should remember this when we are frightened or feel like God isn't big enough to be in control of our lives. It is also important to remember when talking about who initiates salvation. While this is a simplistic argument, if God was responsible for making us, why would He not also be responsible for saving us from our sin? We should also remember that man is made in the likeness of God. This should lead us to value life and promote the sanctity of life. It should also cause us to love others, because they are made in the likeness of God, even if they are sinners. I think the final note of application that is significant here is the "be fruitful and multiply" command. I do not think we should take this lightly. While not every Christian can have children, and God does call some to be single, no Christian should automatically assume they are the exception to this rule. We should be so careful when considering methods of birth control that may or may not be individually denying God His sovereignty.
Well, there's Genesis 1. After one time of this, a chapter a time seems pretty plausible, at least at this point. When I get into the chronologies and Mosaic laws I think it will go a lot faster, but I don't want to hurry through this. Believe it or not, there isn't anywhere in the Bible that says you have to get through it in a year.Here is our world spinning round every day in four-and-twenty hours, and yet it does not make so much noise as a humming-top, and yonder ponderous worlds rolling in space in silence track their way. If I enter a factory I hear a deafening din, or I stand near the village mill, turned by water dropping over a wheel, there is a never ceasing click-clack, and an undying hum; but God’s great wheels revolve without noise or friction: all the Divine work is simply, easily, and beautifully managed. - Charles Spurgeon
- Name: Chelsey
- Location: Columbia, South Carolina, United States
- Birthday: 3/18/1986
- Gender: Female
- Member Since: 5/19/2005
"What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the 'eternal life' that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God. What is the best thing in life, bringing more joy, delight, and contentment, than anything else? Knowledge of God. What, of all the states God ever sees man in, gives Him most pleasure? Knowledge of Himself." - J.I. Packer