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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Scripture Sunday


His Anointing Teaches You About Everything

I'm writing about another week of Blogging through the Bible with Good Morning Girls. This week we read these verses:



I've decided for my weekly post I'll take each day's reading and either highlight a verse and talk about it, or highlight a concept.

Sunday- 1 Peter 5 "So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for 'God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.'" (v. 1-5)

I rarely see a church that operates this way. That is, too often I see the leaders of the church trying to lead by "compulsion" ('I say, you must do' attitude) and being dismissive of the contributions of others if they don't align with their "vision" for the way things should go. At the same time it must be acknowledged that in every church, even those with mature and wise elders in Christ, there are always younger Christians who refuse to listen or be subject to the elders. And I think the issue is often that after dealing with many of these un-humble younger Christians the elders get jaded and treat many who are not trying to oppose the leader as if they are, and seeds of discord get sown.

With that in mind, we should all extend more grace. Christ can and does promise to change us all. So we shouldn't let the past dictate how we treat people in the present, but instead always be open to listening to other Christians, all of us, elder and non-elder alike. Because all of us have the same Spirit and access to the same mind of Christ and therefore God can use us all. Who knows what blessings we're missing out on when we allow these things to cause barriers between us?

Monday- 2 Peter 1 "Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:" (v.1)

Did you get that?

By your faith, through the righteousness of Jesus you have an equal standing with Peter before God.

When I was a child I remember my teachers in like vacation Bible school and Sunday School objecting to some of the things I said saying stuff like "What, do you think you're equal to St. Paul?"

Yes. That's the point!!

Humility is not putting yourself down. It is realizing the truth about yourself. The truth that apart from Jesus you are unworthy of anything... but also the truth that when you're a Christian you come IN Jesus and through Jesus are worthy of everything!

Putting yourself down and acting as though the saints of the Bible are better than you in some way (aside from Jesus of course) is missing the point of the gospel and His message of salvation. It is not humility, it is false humility.

Even St. Peter himself says here that if you have faith in Christ, you are on equal standing with him and the other apostles. Believe it!

Tuesday- 2 Peter 2 "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep." (v. 1-3)

These false prophets and teachers exist today. I can think of some examples, but I don't want to go into that. Instead think to yourself: what is their motive? Are they committing sensual acts? (Think of cult leaders that call themselves prophets and then take any woman follower they want as 'wives.') Are they getting rich off of this ministry? (Think of televangelists who sell books and ask for donations all the while preaching a vague, feel good message instead of the hard truths of the gospel.) It's all around us and you may even know some people being swayed by them.

Especially in the case of popular "celebrity" pastors, examine and test them. If they are truly called by God, they wouldn't be offended because He clearly says to test everything. If anything seems suspect, stop listening to them. Don't condemn or judge them- maybe you're wrong and you either misunderstand what they're saying or maybe they just made a mistake in interpreting something and later will be corrected by the Spirit. Don't ever judge them. But do steer away from them, because especially if you have the access to the internet it takes to read this blog you have myriads of resources at your fingertips and you don't need to hear from a teacher you're not sure you trust. Let the Spirit guide you in prayer on that.

Also don't get militant about it. The Spirit may lead you away from a teacher simply because He wants to guide you elsewhere, and not because of the teacher's teachings. If then your friend starts listening to that person, well perhaps the Spirit has something for them there. You may even consider re-examing them at a future time, for perhaps it was not that they are a false teacher but simply God knows you needed a log or two taken out of your eye before you could see what they are saying clearly. But if you think there is false teaching there, you can introduce your friend to your testings- "I steered away from them because they said 'x' and I think that contradicts what God says in book chapter verse" and see if they reach the conclusions you do... however, fear God enough that you don't explode at them "So and So is a FALSE TEACHER and you need to STEER AWAY" because what if the error is not the teacher's, but instead your own, and you attacking the work of God in them?

God is consistent and if the Holy Spirit is really in your friend then if your friend is listening to Him then the casual tests should be enough to steer them away if the Spirit is prompting that. But if the Spirit doesn't prompt them away, don't think you know better than God! You notice when Paul is warning the Corinthians about false teachers amongst them, he doesn't name names? He could, he obviously knows what's going on, but instead he just offers his own credentials and steers them back to the Truth of God they know, knowing if the Spirit is truly in them God will back him up. (It could be the case that your friend is not listening to the Spirit. In those cases, you should turn to prayer for them, and still not character attacks.)

I will say fear the Lord in this though and if you feel Him calling you to speak out against someone, obviously obey Him and not my advice. But unless you feel that specific calling, I would avoid it because what if you are speaking out against His child without realizing it?

Wednesday- 2 Peter 3 "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed." (v. 9 &10)

This is just such an awe inspiring message. Who knows when the day of the Lord shall be? We should thank God for His mercy in being "slow" to come, and not ever doubt that He will come just because He's merciful.

Thursday- 1 John 1 "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (v.5)

My favorite hymn has that in it ("In Him there is no darkness at all, the night and the day are both alike. The Lamb is the light of the City of God, Shine in our hearts dear Jesus.") :)

But also this is such an essential Truth to grasp. I remember it being like, well like a lightbulb coming on and illuminating the Truth in every aspect of life. God is ALL good and there is NO darkness in Him. You get it?

So often we think of God as we think of people. We hold him to our standards. We think "if God does X" or "if God allows X" then what does that say about Him? We may even take it to a dangerous level and say "I don't want a God who does or allows X!" and set ourselves up to be judging God.

But when you grasp that God is ALL good then you realize two things about the way we see the world, the way we see God, and the Truth.

That is, in some ways when you don't like something God has said, done, or allowed you misunderstand who God is. For example, God does not do evil or have evil in Him. So when you see an evil doer you're not seeing the work of God, you're seeing sin. What you have attributed to God is not God, but is the direct result of rejecting God. Sin is something contrary to God's will.

At the same time, sometimes when you don't like something God has said, done, or allowed you have misunderstood what good is. For example if something is declared to be sin, but you enjoy doing it or perhaps just don't understand the harm in someone doing it, you might think God is the bad one for saying it is contrary to His will. Instead, this is where humility comes in, and you have to say "My Lord and God, I do not understand how that is a sin, but you say it is, and so I submit to you knowing that you are perfect and in you there is no darkness at all, so it is not you are are dark, but my understanding."

Friday- 1 John 2 "But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him." (v.27)

This is something that many fail to grasp. Christians do not need a teacher. Now you might be thinking but Christ calls "some to be teachers" and that's totally true. But it is the Holy Spirit in the Christian that highlights the teaching of the teacher and actually does the teaching. Too often Christians who are called to teach try to take the teaching away from the Holy Spirit. The Christians they are teaching will bring up something that the Holy Spirit highlighted for them and the teacher will steer it away, because it's not on their agenda. Or they'll approach the teaching as if it's the secular teaching that happens in a school, outlining points to know, memory verses, etc without actually praying or getting to the heart of anything. It's an academic exercise, not a spiritual feeding.

At the same time, many Christians who are being taught approach the teachers called by God in the wrong manner. They do this one of two ways. They either treat them as God ("Well maybe the Bible says that but my pastor said" or "I heard from this famous Christian on the radio that") or they forget they are called by God ("Well maybe that's Biblical, but I'd rather hear about") and in both of these ways false teachers can creep in. Which is what Peter is trying to talk about here.

One last fallacy that also happens is the idea that the only place God speaks is through the appointed teacher/teachers. For example I know of church small groups that think the only topic of conversation when they get to fellowship should directly relate back to the sermon the past Sunday. While you can certainly bring up that common hour or so experience of the group and see if God spoke to someone through the pastor's words, it's a total imbalance to ignore the other 167 hours of the week that God might have spoken to someone in the group!

The truth is that no teacher on earth has the authority of the Teacher inside the Christian. Respect and listen to teachers, but always test everything they say. And also listen to God even when man is not around. Often the biggest lessons we learn is through our private time with Him. But when you try to share with some Christians, they will ignore you because they think that lacks "authority." They do not understand that God is greater than man.


Saturday- 1 John 3 "Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." v.2

What a wonderful promise! When we see God as He is, our impurities will all be abolished, for gazing on God eradicates them. This is why Christ came! This is why Moses did not get to see God when he asked but only His "back". If we are not born again, we are bound to sin and unrighteousness is a part of us, woven into our being. Therefore in the full out presence of God we would be destroyed. But when we are born of God, the part of us that is saved to eternity is made of Him and when we see Christ it will be a purification, like the dross being burned off the golden ore, so only pure gold remains. And then we will be purely righteous, transformed. That promise is sure and true!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thankful

I'm thankful to God I was able to get to Hindi lessons yesterday. 
Thankful for my husband's days off... even though really I don't get on the computer when he's home.

I am thankful for sleep, albeit wishing I had  more control over the when part of it.

I am thankful for chocolate. Always.

I am thankful, yet again, for chai tea.

I am thankful for sunshine and it's amazing laundry drying properties.

I am thankful for Dreamer's swing.

I am thankful for Dreamer's little monkey decorated sleeping outfit that keeps her the right temperature at night.

I am thankful for her new playpen.

I am thankful for humor. Especially Dreamer's intoxicatingly adorable laugh!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Dreamer and the Cats

That sounds like a band, eh?

Vex really likes her. He and Princess both love cuddling our feet, like they'll run up and rub their faces and body on our feet and like us to pet them with our feet (which is excellent when I've got Dreamer taking over my arms.) Over a month ago he suddenly ran up when Dreamer was in my lap, her feet hanging off my arm and rubbed his face on hers! It was really cute and Ryan and I were pleased...

However, he's also got another way of showing affection. He (and Princess too) like to lick Ryan's
head. Princess actually started it last fall after Ryan had gotten a haircut so his hair was fur-length short. She started to sit and groom him, and Ryan likes the way it feels so he'd encourage it. Vex picked it up, but unlike Princess didn't decide the hair had to be fur length. So he'll also run up to me and start chewing on my hair. Like he'll take a mouthful and just chew on it like it's gum (not swallowing or anything.) I have to save it from him. Haha. Anyway, so the same day he started rubbing her feet he also ran up and tried to lick her hair and we had to stop him. Too germy. But it's sweet that he wants to, even if we can't encourage it.

The other day too he tried to snuggled up to Dreamer. Luckily I was right there and kept him from accidentally sitting on her. She was in this mosquito net thing I put her in sometimes and he was fascinated and came over and started laying on top of the edge... I had to keep pushing him away from her... but it made for cute pictures. And she was totally oblivious.

Princess on the other hand... eh. She's jealous of Dreamer I think. But not like mean jealous. Actually it's good Vex doesn't seem jealous and she does, though unexpected. When giving attention to them, Vex is the one who gets easily jealous and will shove Princess out of the way. Princess instead just gets a bit sad when she's jealous, but doesn't do anything about it. And that's how she is with Dreamer. She'll just look at me forlornly and be glum. However when I try to call her over to pet her with my free hand, she avoids me.

This Dreamer's new play pen: can you spot the cat wanting
in to play? lol.
However the second she sees me without Dreamer in my arms or right next to me she comes running up, excited, meowing for attention.

Princess was very fascinated actually a few weeks ago.. but when I'd let her get close she'd always veer away with a "oh, boring" look on her face. So I think that's her assessment of Dreamer so far: a very boring human kitten, not fun to play with but also taking all of Mommy's time. Sigh. She doesn't seem to see what I find fascinating about her yet.

Princess has also always been much more hyper and she's making it abundantly clear that the cats obviously need more toys. She's been stealing Dreamer's to play with... admittedly Dreamer could care less as she's not very interested in toys yet. But that's changing and I want to keep them out of the cat's paws. I need to get or make Princess some new toys, I know. Ryan doesn't want to spend any money and I hesitate to crochet her toys as after I crocheted them some last fall they both seemed to think that all crocheted things are cat toys. Consequently they will steal stuff I've crocheted for us or Dreamer. Still, thinking about it if I buy them toys they will probably be made of similar materials (plush stuff or hard plastic maybe) that Dreamer's toys are made of, so I'll have to teach them that just because it's a material used in their toy doesn't mean it is their toy. So I am thinking I might as well just make them new toys out of yarn, since it'll be the same difference but a whole lot more affordable.

As for Dreamer's reaction to the cats? So far pretty good. She was oblivious until recently, but if I pick up the cats and show her now she will usually smile or at least be wide eyed in interest. She seems to like Vex better, but I think it's because he's more rounded and babies are attracted to roundness in faces. She doesn't seem afraid of either of them.

Scripture Sunday


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Recipe: Chicken Meatballs

Okay, I just did this for the first time less than a month ago and I've already made them twice! I am very happy to have started to do this recipe, I think it'll be a staple for us. Especially as I can just freeze them and pull out meatballs as I need them. You could also use other ground meats in this, but chicken is the easiest to get here.

Ingredients:

1/2 kilo (approx 1 pound) Chicken mince (ground chicken/chicken keema)
1 egg
Whole wheat bread crumbs (I crumble up four slices of atta bread.)
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 3 chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Few dashes black pepper
Dashes of salt to taste
Assorted herbs. I used oregano, celery seeds, parsley, basil.
Whole wheat flour
Cooking oil

Directions:

Mix chicken, egg, spices and herbs.

Then knead in bread combs until it's a good consistency.

Take a teaspoon and make meatballs by scooping out a teaspoon, leveling it out, then combine it with another one, so that a meatball will end up being two teaspoons of meat mixture.

I didn't start taking photos until I was already starting to make the meatballs. See how I have the teaspoon full of meat? That will be half a meatball.

Roll briefly in the flour, set aside. (This is not strictly necessary, but it makes them look nice and uniform.)

atta flour
Keep going until you have done all the meatballs.


Heat up oil in a kerahi or pan.


Use a slotted spoon to put a layer of meatballs into the oil.


Turn them until nicely browned. Continue until all the meatballs are cooked.


Enjoy or store in the freezer and microwave them when needed!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Blogging Through the Bible with Good Morning Girls

A few weeks ago on a lark I joined a group to read through the Bible with a Good Morning Girls
facebook group, all brought together through Women Living Well. I joined an international group and they were needing a leader. We got one, but then she had to drop out last minute. So I stepped up with another lady to be co-leaders... the night before it started. So truly I am figuring it out as I go. I've never done a study with GMG before, but blessedly my co-leader has...

Last week a link-up was announced on Fridays. I had no idea that was coming. Ha. I thought about writing it when it was announced by last Friday Dreamer was anything but cooperative with me sitting and writing a blog post, so it didn't happen. So this week is my first blog on the subject and I'm going to talk about the first two weeks.

We have already finished our first book! We started with Esther. It's one of only two (along with Ruth) books in the Bible to be named after a woman.

Here are a few of the things that struck me in Esther. Esther was wise in taking advice. She took advise both from Mordecai and the eunuch, which helped her rise to power. She also turned to prayer and fasting before she acted.

I noticed Haman was a contrast to our God. That is verse 3:6 "But he disdained to lay hands upon Mordecai alone. So, as they had made known to him the people of Mordecai, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews, the people of Mordecai, throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus." I was struck at the evil of Haman that he couldn't be content to strike at his solo "enemy" Mordecai but instead wanted to introduce vengeance on a genocidal level. He wanted to attack not only him but anyone connected to him. This makes me think of two things: one is how sometimes our enemy will try to hurt us through our loved ones and sadly, thinking of Isis killing the poor children of Christians right now in Iraq. Secondly, it makes me think of God. Not in Haman's eviliness, but in His goodness contrasting it. I had recently read the verse elsewhere that says God visits love upon a thousand generations of those who love Him. (Exodus 20:6) This contrast just highlights our Lord's goodness and loving mercy.

And a last point that jumped out at me was part of verse 8:17 " And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them." Now I'm not sure about fear as a motivation but for God's people to go from marginalized and persecuted even to annihilation to people wanting to join them seemed a huge leap.

After Esther we have moved on to 1 Peter.

Both of Peter's epistles are just wonderful and so deep. We've read chapters 1, 2, and 3 so far. There's so much I could pick to highlight, but  I don't want this post to be too long so I'll pick a verse from each chapter thus far:

1 Peter 1:25 "'but the word of the Lord remains forever.'
And this word is the good news that was preached to you."

Forever! What wonderful news, forever. The transformative, life giving gospel remains with us forever.

1 Peter 2:2-3 "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good."

I definitely picked this verse because I'm currently breastfeeding an infant myself. You know I never realized that when people would say "taste and see that the Lord is good" it was referring to spiritual milk? This was not the only passage that jumped out at me in this chapter, it's truly a meaty one, despite talking about milk!

1 Peter 3:3-5 "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands"

Certainly not a very "politically correct" passage, but of course it's Truth. I'm still very much a new wife, Ryan and I have only been married a year and a half. A tumultuous year and a half with in-law difficulties, two moves, and a new baby. Add in the inter-cultural differences for good measure. We are still reeling from all the change.

This, which is the description of Biblical modesty, has been on my mind for a while. It has nothing directly to do with hemlines or necklines at all, does it? So many, even Christians, seem to buy the world's definition of modesty as a sexual thing. But the Biblical definition of modesty is a heart thing, a spiritual thing. It's saying do NOT get concerned with external dressings-- be they skimpy or nearly burqas. Instead work on cultivating gentleness and quietness and yes, even submission.
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